Archive for October, 2017

Keller Dominates in AFL

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Myworld could not get excited for any of the performances of the AFL players on Sunday. Paul Clemons pitched four innings of no hit ball, but he is a journeyman that has been released by a couple teams already. On Monday, Mitch Keller is the winter league player of the day, though it was a very limited schedule for the Caribbean Leagues.

Mitch pitched five innings of one hit shutout ball in the Glendale Desert Dogs 3-2 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions. For Keller it was his fourth start in the AFL and his second shutout performance. His ERA sits at 1.72 and the opposition has struggled to make solid contact off him, batting .151. That performance has earned him an appearance in the AFL Fall Star game.

Last year Keller reached AA, pitching at three different levels. He compiled a 3.03 ERA while limiting the opposition to a .202 average. The second round 2014 pick sits in the mid 90s with his fastball with an above average curveball. He sprung into prospect status after whiffing 9.5 hitters per nine innings in Low A in 2016. His strikeout rate in the AFL (10 in 15.2 innings) is not as great, but he is still able to limit contact. If he continues to have success next year expect him to see some time in the Pirates rotation in 2018.

Kia Tigers KBO Champs

Monday, October 30th, 2017

The reign of the Doosan Bears is over just as the four year reign of the Samsung Lions ended with the Bears first championship two years ago. The Kia Tigers ended the Doosan Bears two year run with their first championship since 2009, a 7-6 thriller that appeared to be a blow out from the beginning.

The Tigers appeared to have put the game away with a Bum-ho Lee grand slam in the third triggering a five run inning for a 5-0 lead. The Tigers added two more in the sixth to up their lead to 7-0. Doosan Bears ace Dustin Nippert was charged with all seven runs in his 5.1 innings of work.

Hector Noesi was cruising for the Tigers until he hit a giant wall in the seventh. The Bears maimed him for four straight hits, three singles and a double to score two runs. A hit by pitch to load the bases ended the night for Noesi. The bullpen gave up two more singles to score three runs and a ground out scored the sixth run of the inning to trim the Tiger lead to 7-6. It had now become a ballgame.

Yoon-Dong Kim retired the Bears in order in the eighth. Hyun-Jong Yang gave the manager some tense moments. A walk to the leadoff batter, an error and a second walk loaded the bases with just one out. Se-Hyuk Park popped to short and Jae-Ho Kim popped to the catcher in foul territory to end the game. Yang had secured the championship for the Tigers.

Hawks Take 2-0 Lead Over Bay Stars

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Hawk ace Nao Higashihama was cruising through five with a 1-0 lead. A one out homer in the sixth by Takayuki Kajatani tied the game at 1-1. Higashihama was gone after a single by Jose Lopez. Toshiro Miyazaki took Yuito Mori deep for a two run blast to give the Yokohama Bay Stars a 3-1 lead.

The Softbank Hawks recovered rallying for three runs in the seventh when the Bay Stars turned to their bullpen. Shota Imanaga had gone six innings allowing just one run, but the Hawks battered three different bullpen pitchers to score three runs and take a 4-3 lead. Yuki Yanagita drove in one run with a single and Akira Nakamura drove in two with a single.

Cuban Livan Moinelo pitched one inning of perfect relief and mister reliable Dennis Sarfate pitched the last inning to notch the save. Another Cuban Alfredo Despaigne drove in the first run with an RBI single in the first inning.

The Hawks now lead the series 2-0 as the teams head to Yokohama for games three, four and five.

Fried Stays Hot in Fourth AFL Start

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Max Fried was a first round pick by the Padres in 2012. The Padres traded him to the Braves in December 2014 in the Justin Upton trade. Tommy John surgery forced him to miss much of 2014 and all of 2015. Last year was a bit of a struggle (8-7, 3.93) and 2017 was even worse (2-11, 5.54 ERA in 21 starts). The bright side to the season was his 3.81 ERA in nine appearances, four starts for the Atlanta Braves.

Lucas Giolito was his high school teammate in Los Angeles. At the time Lucas was the pitcher scouts wanted to see. An injury to Giolito and the improvement of Fried made Max a higher draft pick than Giolito.

In the AFL Max with his lefthanded fastball has limited the opposition to a .136 average and a 0.47 ERA in four starts. His fastball can hit the high 90s with a plus curveball. He had his third shutout appearance, going six innings and allowing just three hits while striking out five. The Peoria Javelinas defeated the Salt River Rafters 10-4.

Hawks Crush Bay Stars in Opener

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

A seven run fifth put this game out of reach with the Softbank Hawks winning their Nippon Series opener over the Yokohama Bay Stars 10-1. The Hawks took advantage of four walks in the fifth to pounce on the Bay Stars. Kent Imamiya got the big hit in the inning with a two run triple and Yuki Yanagita added a two run single.

Alfredo Despaigne gave the Hawks an early lead with an RBI double in the first. He finished the day with three hits, contributing one more RBI on a single in the seven run fifth. Yuya Hasegawa extended the lead to 3-0 with a two run homer in the third. Lead off hitter Yuki Yanagita drove in two runs and scored twice from the leadoff spot.

Kodai Senga was the winning pitcher going seven innings and allowing just one unearned run. He was wild early, walking two in the first inning, but he did not give up a walk after that, allowing just four hits through his last six innings of work.

Tigers Take 3-1 Series Lead Over Bears

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Sloppy play by the Bears defense and strong pitching from the Bears led to a 5-1 win. Ki-Yong Im worked 5.2 innings, scattering six hits without allowing a run. Se-Hyun Kim retired the last four hitters to capture the save.

The Tigers scored two runs early in the first. A one out Joo-Chan Kim double was followed by a Roger Bernadina triple to score the first run. A Hyung-Woo Choi single drove in Bernadina and gave the Tigers all the runs they would need to earn the victory.

A two out error with runners on first and second in the seventh allowed one run to score. Roger Bernadina drove in another with a single. That gave the Tigers a commanding 4-0 lead. They scored a final run in the ninth, aided by a catcher’s interference. It was the third Bear error of the game.

The Tigers now lead the series three games to one with only one more game at the Doosan Bears park. A win will end the series. A loss will send the game to the Tigers park for the final two games.

Major League Gold Glove Finalists

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Below are the top three players at each position who are being considered for the Gold Glove. The winner will be announced when the World Series is complete.

American League

Pitcher

Chris Sale (Red Sox)
Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays)
Alex Cobb (Rays)

Catcher

Yan Gomes (Indians)
Martin Maldonado (Angels)
Salvador Perez (Royals)

First Base

Carlos Santana (Indians)
Eric Hosmer (Royals)
Mitch Moreland (Red Sox)

Second Base

Brian Dozier (Twins)
Ian Kinsler (Tigers)
Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)

Third Base

Manny Machado (Orioles)
Jose Ramirez (Indians)
Evan Longoria (Rays)

Shortstop

Elvis Andrus (Rangers)
Andrelton Simmons (Angels)
Francisco Lindor (Indians)

Left Field

Brett Gardner (Yankees)
Alex Gordon (Royals)
Justin Upton (Tigers/Angels)

Centerfield

Lorenzo Cain (Royals)
Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays)
Byron Buxton (Twins)

Right Field

Kole Calhoun (Angels)
Mookie Betts (Red Sox)
Aaron Judge (Yankees)

National League

Pitchers

R.A. Dickey (Braves)
Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks)
Zach Davies (Brewers)

Catcher

Buster Posey (Giants)
Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
Tucker Barnhart (Reds)

First Base

Joey Votto (Reds)
Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks)
Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)

Second Base

D.J. LeMahieu (Rockies)
Dee Gordon (Marlins)
Ben Zobrist (Cubs)

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (Rockies)
Anthony Rendon (Nationals)
David Freese (Pirates)

Shortstop

Freddy Galvis (Phillies)
Brandon Crawford (Giants)
Corey Seager (Dodgers)

Left Field

Gerardo Parra (Rockies)
Adam Duvall (Reds)
Marcell Osuna (Marlins)

Centerfield

Billy Hamilton (Reds)
Michael Taylor (Nationals)
Ender Inciarte (Braves)

Right Field

Yasiel Puig (Dodgers)
Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins)
Jason Heyward (Cubs)

Acuna and No Hit Outings Dominant Winter League Action

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Myworld has identified three players for winter league player of the day for October 27.

Ronald Acuna

He will probably be considered the best prospect in baseball when the prospect rankings for 2018 come out. He has all five tools, ability to hit for power, speed, an arm to play right and the defense to play center and the ability to hit for average. His pop showed up on Friday with two solo shots in the Peoria Javelinas 9-8 win over the Salt River Rafters. Acuna also contributed a double and scored three runs in the victory.

The three hits raised his AFL average to .378 with three homeruns. Last year at three different levels, finishing at AAA he hit .325 with 21 homeruns and 82 RBIs. At 19 years of age, the Braves saw no reason to promote him to the major leagues. Next year will be a different story.

Mike Mayers

Mayers threw five innings of no hit shutout ball, striking out 9 in a losing cause with the Toros winning 2-1 over Escogido. The bullpen came on in the seventh and coughed up two runs on RBI singles.

Mayers was a third round pick of the Cardinals in 2013. After next year he can become a six year minor league free agent if not placed on the 40-man roster. In 2016 he struggled in a September callup, finishing with a 27.00 ERA Last year he had an 11.57 ERA in three September appearances.

In two appearances in the Dominican League Mayers has only given up one run in 11 innings, striking out 14. He has only given up three hits, one of those a solo shot that accounts for the only run he has given up. His fastball has some velocity, hitting the mid-90s, but his secondary pitches have held him back. The Cardinals may try to use him in the bullpen where his lack of a breaking pitch will have less of a negative impact.

Daniel Rodriguez

In the Mexican League Daniel Rodriguez had a perfect game no hitter until giving up a leadoff single in the ninth inning. The Culiacan Tomateros were able to hold on to defeat the Navojoa Mayos 1-0. After a sacrifice bunt Chad Guadin came on to get the last two outs of the inning to earn his fourth save.

Rodriguez has pitched in the Mexican Summer League for the last three years. At 32 years of age it would be difficult to find a team in the major leagues. In three appearances in the Winter League he has been sharp, giving up only two runs in three appearances. He has only given up 9 hits in 20 plus innings with a 0.89 ERA.

Tigers Down Bears to Lead Series

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

It was a duel of two American pitchers. Pat Dean pitched better than Michael Bowden, working seven innings and giving up just three runs. Bowden could only go four innings and allowed four runs. Se-Hyun Kim retired the last four hitters, two of them on strikeouts to earn the save in the Tigers 6-3 win over the Bears.

Ji-Wan Na hit a critical pinch hit two run homer in the ninth inning to extend a 4-3 lead to 6-3. Chi-Hong An also drove in two runs for the Tigers.

Nick Evans hit a solo shot off Pat Dean in the seventh inning. The Tigers now lead the series two games to one.

Brentz and Riley Winter League Mashers of the Day

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Myworld is going to try to recognize at least one player who performs well each day in the winter leagues. Today we have two. Austin Riley a prospect for the Braves and Bryce Brentz, a used to be prospect for the Red Sox. They both had tremendous hitting days in their teams rout of their opponents, Riley in the Arizona Fall League and Brentz in the Mexican League.

Austin Riley hit for the cycle in the Peoria Javelinas 19-4 win over the Mesa Solar Sox. The day started very innocently with a ground ball single up the middle in the second inning. It was the only hit of the inning and it ended with Mesa leading 2-0. With the score 4-0 going into the bottom of the third Peoria rallied for five runs to take the lead. Riley blasted a two run homer to give Peoria the lead.

In the fifth inning Riley strikes out. The game is still close 5-4. The sixth inning gives Riley a fourth at bat and he doubles to center to drive in his fourth run. Peoria erupts for seven runs and Riley is a triple short of the cycle. He gets another bat in the seventh inning and triples in two runs to complete the cycle and drive in five of the 19 Peoria runs. His final at bat is in the eighth inning when he reaches on a fielding error.

At 6′3″ Riley is a highly touted prospect in a very deep Braves minor league system. He hit 20 homeruns between High A and AA with a .275 batting average and 74 RBIs. His 124 whiffs in 129 games tells he has a propensity for the swing and miss. He is currently hitting .346 in the AFL with two homeruns in six games. A former pitcher, he has the arm to stick at third but his height combined with a heavy frame may force a shift to first.

Bryce Brentz used to be a top prospect with the Boston Red Sox. The rightfielder was noted for his strong right field arm and his power bat. That power bat was on display yesterday with his three homeruns in the Herosillo Naranjeros 17-4 win over the Culiacan Tomateros. So if my Spanish does not fail me the Oranges beat the Tomatoes.

Bryce began his power display in the first inning with a three run homer to fuel a five run opening frame. His solo shot in the third made it 6-0. He then led off the fifth with a homerun to give him three homeruns in three at bats. With plenty of at bats left in an early game a four to five homerun display was in the making.

In the sixth inning he had to settle for a single, but it drove in a run to give him his sixth RBI of the game. He flew out to left in the seventh inning in his last at bat to leave his homerun total at three.

Bryce is currently hitting .233 with four homeruns in the Mexican League. That follows his blueprint as a prospect, a low average hitter with lots of strikeouts to go along with his pop. He’ll turn 29 in December and he has six years playing for Pawtucket. Perhaps it is time the first round pick of the Red Sox in the 2010 draft find another team in need of an outfielder. He did hit a career high 31 homeruns last year at Pawtucket. Injuries have restricted him to less than 100 games from 2013 to 2016. In his two September callups to the major leagues (2014 and 2016) he has one homerun in close to 100 at bats. He has 127 homeruns in his eight year minor league career, 72 of those with Pawtucket.

Bryce was removed from the Red Sox 40 man roster just after spring training in 2017. This would make him a six year minor league free agent free to sign with any club.