Archive for September, 2017

Japan Still Number One in Baseball Despite United States Dominance

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

The United States has finished higher than Japan in most of the tournaments the two play in. The main reason Japan is rated higher is they have played in more tournament, two November World Cup age tournaments that the United States chose not to participate in. The voting system tends to favor quantity of tournaments played rather than quality.

Below are the top ten countries in baseball. You can see the complete list at WBSC.org.

1) Japan - 5598
2) United States - 5414
3) Korea - 4908
4) Taiwan - 3747
5) Cuba - 3637
6) Mexico - 2957
7) Australia - 2634
8) Netherlands - 2374
9) Venezuela - 2286
10) Canada - 2142

Carp and Hawks Clinch First in NPB

Monday, September 18th, 2017

The Hiroshima Carp have clinched first place in the Central Division and the Softbank Hawks have clinched first place in the Pacific Division. In the NPB clinching first place has significant advantages when the playoffs start. First you get a bye while the second and third place teams battle it out. Second, all the games are played at your park until you get to the Japan Series. Last, you get a 1-0 lead in the series against the winner of the second and third place match.

For the Carp this is the first time in franchise history they have won a division two consecutive years. For the Hawks, they have been one of the more consistent teams in the NPB, but this division win was their first since 2015. It is their 18th division win in franchise history. Dennis Sarfate became the first pitcher in NPB history to save 50 games in a season to lead the Hawks.

In the Central Division the Hanshin Tigers have a comfortable 4.5 game lead for the first wild card spot. The Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars are in a virtual tie for the second wild card spot. Both teams have the same number of wins and losses, but the Bay Stars have played one more game than the Giants resulting in one more tie game (4 to 3).

The Pacific Division seems pretty well set with the Seibu Lions getting the second wild card spot and the Rakuten Golden Eagles capturing the third. The Golden Eagles seem to have recovered from their collapse, when they once had first place in their grasp and are no longer a threat to lose a playoff spot. The Orix Buffaloes seemed to be charging hard to take advantage of that collapse, but at 12 games behind with just about 20 games to play their chances of catching the Eagles are slim.

Under 18 World Cup All Tournament Team

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Below is the Under 18 World Cup all tournament team. Myworld will include other players who were deserving of consideration based on their statistical performance.

Catcher - Dae-Hyun Cho (Korea) - .278, 1 HR, 11 runs scored, 8 RBIs with a .935 OPS

First Base - Leonardo Seminati (Italy) - .423, 2 HR, 7 RBI with 1.185 OPS

Second Base - Cesar Prieto (Cuba) - .581 ave with a 1.251 OPS

Third Base - Noah Naylor (Canada) - .313 average with .856 OPS

Shortstop - Brice Turang (United States) - .364, 7 runs scored with a .932 OPS

Outfield - Jin-Won Ye (Korea) - .355, 1 HR, 10 runs scored, 6 RBIs with a .992 OPS
Outfield - Alek Thomas (United States) - .361, 8 RBIs and six runs scored with 5 stolen bases
Outfield - Michael Siani (United States) - .333, 12 runs scored and 6 RBIs with 7 stolen bases and a .896 OPS

Starting Pitcher - Ethan Hankins (United States) - 1-0, 0.75 ERA, 27 K’s in 12 innings

Relief Pitcher - Fuminaru Taura (Japan) - 1-1, 1.32 ERA with 29 K’s in 13.2 innings

Others to Consider

United States

Triston Casas - .250, 3 homeruns and 13 RBIs with .993 OPS. Voted MVP of the tournament
Matthew Liberatore - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 12 innings
Ryan Weathers - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 9.2 innings
Brandon Dieter - 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 10 innings

Korea

Jun-Hwan Jang - .381, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs with 7 runs scored and a 1.234 OPS. 8 walks
Baek-Ho Kang - .375, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 runs scored, 4 2Bs with a 1.100 OPS. Also 4 K’s in 2 innings. The Shohei Otani of Korea.
In-Hyok Yi - .300, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 runs scored with a .967 OPS
Been Gwak - 1-1, 2.51 with 18 K’s in 14.1 innings
Min Kim - 1-0, 0.77 in 11.2 innings

Japan

Kaito Kozono - .378 average
Hisanori Yasuda - .324 average, 4 2Bs with a .918 OPS
Ginji Miura - 2-0, 0.00 ERA with 19 K’s in 12 innings
Kento Kawabata - 0-2, 2.51 ERA with 25 K’s in 14.1 innings

Canada

Jason Willow - .333, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 runs scored with a .928 OPS
Archer Brookman - .219, 2HR, 11 RBIs, 9 runs scored with a .866 OPS

Australia

Jack O’Loughlin - 2-0, 0.69 ERA with 15 K’s in 13 IP

Cuba

Roidal Martinez - .429 ave with a 1.026 OPS
Victor Mesa - .320 ave.

Taiwan

Han-Yu Tseng - .393 with .964 OPS
Tien-Hsin Kuo - .364 with .860 OPS

Netherlands

Dylan Koster - .364 with .845 OPS
Donny Breek - 1-1, 1.08 ERA, 18 K’s 16.2 innings, 151 opponent average

Italy

Michele Vassalotti - 1-0, 1.64 ERA with 15 K’s in 11 innings
Chih-Jung Liu - 1-1, 1.98 with 13 K’s in 13.2 IP
Yi-Sheng Chu - 1.29 ERA with 12 K’s in 7 IP

Nicaragua

Wandley Lagos - .424 ave, 4 stlen bases with a .899 OPS
Jeyner Flores - .393 ave, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs with 1.219 OPS

Mexico

Saul Martinez - .423 with a 1.041 OPS
Jose Gaona - .400 with a 1.070 OPS
Jorge Valdez - 1-0, 1.17 ERA with 10 K’s in 7.2 innings

South Africa

None

Otani to Have Ankle Surgery

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Otani has been bothered by a sore ankle all season, limiting him to just three starts. To alleviate the injury he will have ankle surgery that will require a month to three months of rehabilitation. While he is expected to have the Nippon Ham Fighters post him to the major leagues for next season his stock keeps dropping as far as salary expectation.

Because he is under 25 his salary will be restricted by the international salary cap. Now the ankle surgery may prevent him from doing workouts until sometime after January. His talent may overcome any teams attempt to low ball him because of the surgery.

The announcement was made by yakyudb.com via Sponichi.

Kang Future Two Way Player in KBO

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Baek-Ho Kang was the first player drafted in the KBO by the KT Wiz in the 2017 draft. He has a fastball that hits 95 and can hit over .300. In the 18 and under tournament his bat helped Korea to a second place finish. He also pitched two shutout innings.

The Wiz will use him as a hitter but pitch him out of the bullpen. If he hits and pitches Kang will become the second KBO player to hit and pitch. Sung-Han Kim was the first doing it during the 1982 season for the Haitai Tigers. He led the league in RBIs with a .305 average but also finished 10-5 on the mound with a 2.88 ERA. Kim found the double duty strenuous and stopped pitching after the 1986 season.

Korea did have an Ichiro Suzuki of Korea. His name was Shin-Soo Choo. His career was not as productive as Suzuki, injuries playing an issue. Kang is being called the Shohei Otani of Korea. His fastball is a bit slower and his bat may be less productive. Next year will be his KBO debut where he can prove himself.

Otani Impressive in Third Start

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

The scouts are trying to figure out what to do with a player who hits fastballs 450 feet and throws fastballs at 100 plus miles per hour. Shohei Otani had his best outing of the year, throwing 5.2 innings of shutout ball and just allowing one hit. His strikeout numbers were down (4) but his fastball hit triple digits.

His ERA is still at a lofty 6.97. An ankle injury has prevented him from appearing on the hill, but it has not prevented him from hitting. His .346 batting average would be tops in the NPB if he had enough at bats. His OPS is at .990.

London Mets Retake British Crown

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

The London Mets, who won the championship in 2015 played the Southampton Mustangs, the champions from last year. In a best of three series the Mets swept the series 2-0, winning the first game 15-14 and blanking the Mustangs in the second game 6-0.

United States Wins Fourth Straight Under 18 World Cup Championship

Monday, September 11th, 2017

The United States, especially their pitching staff was dominant in their fourth straight 18 and under World Cup championship.

United States 8 Korea 0

The United States tossed their second straight shutout against Korea to win their fourth consecutive 18 and under World Cup championship. Matthew Liberatore did not dazzle with strikeouts, but still pitched six innings of four hit shutout ball, striking out just one. Three different relievers completed the shutout with one inning of relief each.

Triston Casas again provided the big bat for the United States team with a double, homerun and three RBIs. It was his third double and third homerun of the tournament. Triston has 13 RBIs in the nine games he has played in the tournament.

Japan 8 Canada 1

Japan rolled over the hosts to win the bronze medal in the tournament. Ginjii Miura pitched seven innings of three hit shutout ball, striking out 12. For the tournament he did not give up a run in his two starts, working 12 innings and striking out 12. Japan stole five bases and coaxed six walks in the rout. Kyota Fujiwara was the offensive catalyst for Japan with two hits, two runs scored, an RBI and stolen base.

Japan finished in second place in the two previous tournaments, so playing for the bronze had to be a disappointment. Canada finished second in 2012. South Korea last won this tournament in 2008. Canada last won the tournament in 1991.

18 and Under World Cup - Korea Versus United States for Championship

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Korea got into the finals of the 18 and under World Cup championship relegating Japan to a bronze medal match. Korea will get a rematch with the United States, who they lost to earlier 2-0 in super round play. Japan will play Canada for the bronze medal match.

United States 9 Australia 0

The loss eliminated Australia from any medal competition but making the top six was an accomplishment. The United States had already clinched a gold medal appearance and had nothing to play for. Brandon Dieter pitched eight innings of three hit shut out ball for the United States to get the win. A five run third inning put this game away early. Five players in the United States lineup contributed two hits each with Nolan Gorman leading that bunch with two RBIs. Alek Thomas also drove in two runs with his one hit.

Korea 6 Japan 4

Korea knocked Japan down to the bronze medal game with their second win over the samurai team. Korea lit up Japanese ace Fumimaru Taura for five runs in the first two innings. Errors plagued both teams with three each, the sloppy play allowing three unearned runs to score for each team. Taura made a throwing error on a bunt in the first inning that ignited a three run rally for Korea.

Japan bounces back for three in the top of the second, aided by a Korean error. Taura, who came into the game striking out 27 hitters in just 12 innings gives up a single and two walks to load the bases in the second inning. After a strikeout he walks in a run and his day is done.

The bullpens do a good job after the early explosions. Kento Kawabata limits the Korean offense to just one run in his 6.2 innings of work. After giving up three in the second Min Kim survives until the sixth, when a single, two walks and a sacrifice fly ends the day for Kim. Jun-Young Ha bails Kim out of the sixth and strikes out seven of the nine hitters he faces. Young-Lun Kim pitches the final inning to earn the save.

Jun-Hwan Jang led the offense for Korea starting the game off with a single off Taura, igniting the three run first. He finished the game with two runs scored on two walks and a single in four at bats. Baek-Ho Kang drove in two runs for Korea. Shuto Sakurai collected three of the five Japanese hits.

Canada 4 Cuba 2

Cuba did not have anything to play for in this game, finishing the super round winless. Considering previous Cuban teams this was a major disappointment. Canada rallied for three runs in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. Victor Cerny drove in two runs with a double. Jason Willow also had an RBI double in the inning.

Michael Stovman works eight innings for Canada to get the win. Jack Decooman works the ninth to earn the save. Victor Mesa, the rising Cuban star went 4 for 4 in the first game of the tournament, but then could only string together four hits in the final seven games. He did not draw a walk in the tournament.

Caribbean Winter Baseball Update

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The Cuban Naccional Series has begun the first half of their season with Pinar del Rio roaring to the top of the standings with 18 wins in their first 22 games. At the bottom of the pack is poor Guantanamo, who has won only five of 24 games. The first half of the season is 45 games with the top six teams advancing for the second half. There is a draft in which the best players from the teams that did not advance are added to the six teams playing in the second half.

It was supposed to be Venezuela to hold the Caribbean World Series next year, but because of the turmoil there it was decided to have Mexico host it. The games will begin February 2 and end February 8. The city of Zapopan in Jalisco, Mexico will host the Series. The games will be played at Estadio Charros, which hosted the second round of play of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Seating will be expanded from 12,000 to 16,000. The stadium is the home park of the Jalisco Charros.

Cuba will again be invited to participate. The format will be the same as in previous years with the five teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico competing in a four game round robin schedule. The top four teams will advance to a single elimination four team tournament.

Venezuela will begin their winter league on October 10. The country has given the league $10 million from its foreign exchange reserves to buy equipment and pay for foreign players to fill out the rosters. It will be tough for Venezuela to attract name players for the regular season games but they might be able to add some players for the Series del Caribe.

The Cuban League started August 5. See above for details on their season. Many of their teams have been diluted by players leaving the island in their attempt to play in the major leagues.

Puerto Rico begins November 9. They have always had money issues trying to sustain the league. To decrease costs they will resort to more double headers. The league is also beginning one month later than the other winter leagues. One of their top franchises Santurce is under new ownership.

Dominican Republic starts their season October 13. They were embarrassed last year by their representative being eliminated early from the finals. The Dominican Republic is one of the stronger leagues and always a favorite to win the Series del Caribe.

The Mexican League begins October 10. This is also one of the stronger leagues, but they will be impacted by the Mexican summer league splitting their season in two with a summer and fall schedule. As a result the Mexican summer league will go into November. Many of the winter league players also play in the summer league. To alleviate the impact the Mexican winter league has expanded their foreign player roster to eight.