Archive for October, 2017

Tigers Even Series with 1-0 Win

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

The Kia Tigers evened their series against the Doosan Bears at a game apiece with a 1-0 win. These type of pitcher’s duels are rare in the KBO but the second to occur in the playoffs. Won-Jun Jang pitched seven shutout innings for the Bears. Hyun-Jong Yang went the distance for the Tigers giving up just four hits and striking out 11.

When the Bears went to the bullpen in the eighth is when the Tigers scored their first run. Joo-Chan Kim opened the inning with a double. Roger Bernadina, their number three hitter who had gone 2 for 2 with a walk, bunted him to third. Kang-Ryul Kim came on in relief and walked Hyung-Woo Choi. A ground out to third failed to get Kim out at home, but they were able to retire Choi at third.

Yang gave up a one out single in the ninth but finished the game with a fly out and strikeout to pick up the victory.

Bears Strike First in KBO Championship

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

The Doosan Bears struck first with a 5-3 win over the Kia Tigers. A four run fifth put the game out of reach, with Kun-Woo Park driving in a run with a single. Jae-Hwan Kim followed with a two run shot and Jae-Il Oh made it back to back with his solo shot to give the Bears a 5-0 lead. For Jae-Il it was his fifth homerun in two games.

Roger Bernadina hit a three run shot in the bottom of the fifth to score the only runs for Kia. Dustin Nippert went six to pick up the win. He turned it over to Duk-Joo Ham for a scoreless inning and Kang-Ryul Kim for two innings of shutout work to earn the save.

Hector Noesi got the start for the Tigers and took the loss, giving up all five runs in six innings of work.

Bay Stars Make it to Japan Series

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Next year would have been the 20 year anniversary since the Bay Stars played in the Nippon Series. Now they do not have to worry about honoring that. With their 9-3 rout of Hiroshima they advanced to the Nippon Series where they will take on the Softbank Hawks.

The balls were flying out of the park. The Carp took an early 2-0 lead after an RBI single from Yoshihiro Maru and an RBI double from Xavier Batista in the first to take an early 2-0 lead. After that first inning Kenta Ishida would be taken out of the game and a bullpen by committee of six different pitchers would close out the game.

The Bay Stars began having the balls fly out of the park after the first inning. Toshiro Miyzaki went deep in the second inning with a solo shot. Masayuki Kuwahara would give the Bay Stars with a two run jack in the third. That would also be the last inning of work for starter Yusuke Nomura.

The Bay Stars scored a run in the fourth on an RBI single by pinch hitter Seiya Hosokawa. In the fifth a two run blast from Yoshitomo Tsitsugo extended the lead to 6-2. Yoshitomo would add another dinger in the seventh, a solo shot. Takayuki Kajitani would contribute a two run homer in the eighth to close out the scoring.

The Bay Stars will play the Softbank Hawks for the NPB championship.

Myworld’s Top Ten Catching Prospects

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Myworld will spin around each of the positions and give out our top ten prospects. Obviously we can’t see every player in the minor leagues so a lot of what we assess is based on what we read. There may be some bias on players we watch, especially in the Eastern League. Players drafted in 2017 have to have performed exceptionally well or be considered can’t miss prospects to make this list. We are more attracted to results rather than just tools.

1. Francisco Mejia (Indians) - A 50 game hitting streak and .380 batting average last year shows he has the stick. His average dropped almost 100 points this year but most teams would take a .297 average from their catchers. The power exists for double digits in homeruns. He also has one of the strongest arms in baseball. There is little not to like other than his foot speed. Expect him to be catching for the Indians by mid-season in 2018. To think they had him traded to the Brewers in 2016 for Jonathan Lucroy, but Lucroy nixed the deal.

2. Jorge Alfaro (Phillies) - He has been a prospect for quite awhile. Originally signed by the Rangers out of Colombia they traded him to the Phillies in the Cole Hamel trade. He has a power bat and a strong arm. Injuries have prevented him from development time and stalled his major league debut until last year. His batting average may suffer because of his tendency to swing and miss. In 2017 he slugged .514 in 107 at bats. Expect him to start with the Phillies to begin the 2017 season.

3. Carson Kelly (Cardinals) - Probably one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. If not for Yadier Molina he would be starting for some major league team. His arm is not as strong as Mejia or Alfaro but his catching tools, blocking the plate and framing the pitch are more polished. The bat may be a bit of a concern but the power exists for him to reach double digits. In his two major league seasons he has yet to hit over .200 with no homeruns in less than 100 at bats.

4. Zack Collins (White Sox) - A first round 2016 pick has the bat to hit 20 plus homeruns. He needs to make more contact otherwise his average will suffer. Last year he struck out 129 times in 113 games resulting in a batting average of .224. His defensive skills are spotty and could result in a move to first base, but his power should be more than enough to fit at the position. For now the White Sox will hope he can fit behind the plate.

5. Meibrys Viloria (Royals) - Last year the Colombia native hit .436. His career average stood at .391 for three seasons. This year was a clunker for him (.259). 2018 will determine if this season was an aberration. His power is mostly to the gaps with the speed not to turn too many of them into triples. His lefthanded bat gives him extra points. His arm is good and his catching skills are there for him to fit at the position. Most rate Chase Vallot ahead of him. Chase may carry more power but his hit tool is lacking and his defense is spotty.

6. Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers) - Lots of Venezuela players finding themselves behind the plate. The Dodgers signed Keibert for $140,000 in 2014. Coming into the 2017 season Ruiz had a career average of .344. The bat continued to stay hot with a .316 average at two different levels in 2017. The power seemed to arrive in the California League with six homeruns in 150 at bats, doubling his two year career average. He lacks a strong arm but a quick release compensates.

7. Chance Sisco (Orioles) - Another player with a less than average arm, but a bat that could hit for a high average. His power is restricted to the gaps. The second round 2013 pick made his major league debut this year, hitting .333 with two homeruns in less than 30 at bats. Wellington Castillo will opt out of his contract giving the Orioles an opportunity to take a chance on Chance to begin the 2018 season.

8. Taylor Ward (Angels) - The 2015 first round pick hit .349 his first year in the minor leagues. His offensive numbers have not been that strong since. There is some power in the bat that may allow him to reach double digits in homeruns. His arm is strong with solid defensive skills which should allow him to be a backup catcher in the major leagues if his bat does not match his glove.

9. Pedro Severino (Nationals) - Myworld thought he was a better option than Jose Lobaton on the major league club. Many question whether the bat will develop. He lacks power with a hit tool that should fall below .250. Pedro did hit .321 in his major league debut in 2016 with less than 30 at bats. In 2017 that batting average dropped to .172. His defense is strong with a rifle for an arm. If his bat does not develop his defensive tools are good enough for him to fill a back up job for the Nationals.

10. Tomas Nido (Mets) - The Puerto Rican finished in the top three of the Captain’s Choice award, which recognizes the best defensive players at each position. The bat is strong enough to hit for double digits in homeruns and his arm is strong enough to control a running game. The Mets drafted him in eighth round in 2012. In 2016 he had a breakout year with a .320 average and seven homeruns. Last year was a down year for him with a .232 average. He did draw a career high 30 walks so that should put him on a favorable run. The Mets are known for their prospects behind the plate in the minor leagues, but it has not produced once they hit the big leagues

Other Catchers of Note:

Alex Jackson (Braves) - The Mariners drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft. Because he had one of the better bats out of high school the Mariners moved him from catcher to right field. He failed. The Mariners traded him to the Braves for a couple mid-reliever pitchers and his bat blossomed once he was returned to catcher. There is pop in his bat with an arm that was solid enough for right field.

Aramis Garcia (Giants) - He has a strong arm with a good bat that can produce for power. His biggest impediment is Buster Posey behind the plate. One of those two players needs to move to first. Aramis has the power to fit at first.

Chase Vallot (Royals) - See Meibry Viloria.

Jose Trevino (Rangers) - the Captain’s Choice catcher of the year, which is given to the catcher with the best defensive tools. He makes good contact with the potential for power.

Brothers Down Lions Despite Depleted Roster

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

There was controversy when the Brothers club established their playoff roster without many of their star players. There was some discussion that those players left off the roster were not happy with the American style managing of Cory Snyder. Some reports state the conservative owner was upset with many married players out partying late at night with women who were not their wives. Whatever the reason, the Brothers won the series against the Lions without many of their starting players during the regular season.

They won the opener 9-6 with their Lions scoring four runs in the last inning to make the game close. Bryan Woodall worked six innings, allowing just one earned run to get the win. Poor defense by the Lions gave the Brothers the win

The Lions came back to win game two 8-5 to even the series. Yun-Chih Chen broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single.

The Brothers won the next two games to win the series, 4-3 and 11-7. Tzu-Hsien Chan blasted a two run homer in the fifth to put the Brothers up for good 4-3 in the third game. The bullpen quieted the Lions bats for the last four innings. Wu Hsiung Pan slugged two homeruns to drive in five to lead the Brothers to an 11-7 win and a trip to the championship match against the LaMiga Monkeys..

This is the fourth consecutive year the Brothers have been in the playoffs.

Bay Stars Get Big Win to Lead Series

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

The bullpen retired the last 12 hitters, including squirming out of a bases loaded no out jam in the sixth to give the Yokohama Bay Stars a 4-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp to grab the lead in their best of seven series three games to two. Tomoya Mikami struck out two and Edwin Escobar retired his batter on a ground out to protect the 4-3 lead. It was then left to Shota Imanaga to work two perfect innings and Yasuaki Yamasaki to retire the side in order to close out the ninth to save the game. Seven of the 12 hitters they faced were mowed down on strikeouts and no Carp batter could drive a ball past the infield in the last three innings.

The game did not start so well for the Bay Stars. Joe Weiland got the call to start and quickly served up a two run first inning homerun to Yoshihiro Maru. A double by Ryuhei Matsuyama and another double by Takahiro Arai scored a third run in the opening frame. Weiland battled back after that retiring the side in order until he walked two hitters in the fifth. A leadoff walk and single in the sixth finished the day for Weiland.

The Bay Stars battled back. Two double plays ended promising second and third innings against Carp starter Kazuki Yabuta. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo left no doubt about the fourth inning leading it off with a homerun. Yabuta came back and struck out the side after the Tsutsugo blast.

Yabuta was chased from the game in the fifth after a lead off walk to pitcher Joe Weiland and back to back doubles from Toshihiko Kuramoto and Masayuki Kuwahara tied the game. A Jose Lopez single proved to be the game winner. The Bay Stars were able to collect another hit but a third inning ended with a double play.

The Bay Stars need just one more win to head to the Nippon (Japan) Series for the first time since 1998. The Carp lost to the Nippon Ham Fighters last year in the Japan Series. Prior to that it had been 1991 since they had last been to a Japan Series. The Bay Stars lost to the Hiroshima Carp last year in the finals of the Climax Series for the Central League. They hope it is their turn to represent the Central in 2017.

Hawks to go to Japan Series

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

More rain postponed the Hiroshima/Yokohama Climax Series conference finals but in the dome the Softbank Hawks shut out the Rakuten Golden Eagles to qualify for the Japan Series for the first time since 2015. This will be their 17th appearance in the Japan Series.

Softbank Hawks 7 Rakuten Golden Eagles 0

Shota Takeda threw seven innings of shut out ball to give the Hawks the win. The offense gave him three runs early. Seiichi Ichikawa did not extend his consecutive game homer streak to five, but he did drive in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Nobuhiro Matsuda drove in two of his four runs on the day with a double to make it 3-0 Hawks after one inning.

Matsuda extended the lead with a two run homer in the fourth to make it 5-0. Yuki Yanagita returned to the lineup and drove in the third run of the inning with an RBI single. He finished the day with two hits.

Dennis Sarfate closed out the game retiring the last two hitters. With the rain the Hawks will have some time to rest as the Bay Stars and Carp battle for at least two more games.

New Dennis Martinez Stadium Built in Nicaragua

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Thanks to a $30 million donation by Taiwan, Nicaragua has built a new stadium. It is named after the old stadium, Dennis Martinez. Myworld visited the old stadium. It would be ashame if the new stadium lacked the Roberto Clemente mural that greeted you as you went inside the old stadium.

The new stadium can seat 15,000 and expand to 20,000. It will host the Central American games in December. Perhaps at some point in the future it will host a World Baseball Classic qualifier.

Hawks One Win Away from Japan Series

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Seiichi Uchikara hit a solo shot, the fourth consecutive game in which he has gone deep and Akira Nakamura followed with a homerun to give the Lions a 4-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles. They are now one win away from advancing to the Japan Series. Rain prevented the Yokohama/Hanshin game from being played.

Softbank Hawks 4 Rakuten Golden Eagles 3

Trailing 3-2 going into the sixth inning Seiichi Uchikara led off the inning with a homeruns to tie the game. He has now hit one homerun in each of the four games of these playoffs. Akira Nakamura made it back to back sending a blast into right field to give the Hawks the lead. The bullpen held the Eagles bats quiet for the last three innings, Dennis Sarfate picking up the save striking out four of the five hitters he faced.

He came on in the eighth to strike out Japhet Amador for the last out. In the ninth he struck out the first two hitters he faced before walking pinch hitter Shintaro Masuda. Back to the top of the order Sarfate finished the game by whiffing the dangerous bat of Eigoro Mogi, who has hit two homeruns in the playoffs.

The Eagles had a solo shot from Ginji Akaminai in the fourth to score their first run. Alfredo Despaigne had a solo shot for the Hawks in the third.

Nakamura also hit a homerun in yesterday’s game. The ball hit a woman on the top of the head, where she was taken to the hospital to treat her injury. The woman was wearing a Nakamura jersey. She got the homerun ball autographed by Nakamura as a reward for her loyalty.

Bears Advance to Championship Led by Mighty Oh

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

The Doosan Bears scored 45 runs in their last three games to advance to the KBO championships against the Kia Tigers. This time it was a 14-5 win, where the bats rallied to score 10 runs in the last four innings to break a 4-4 tie after five. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say led by the bat of the mighty Jae-Il Oh.

Jae-il Oh slugged four homeruns in the game, driving in 9 runs to lead the Bears to victory. While he hit 27 and 26 homeruns the last two seasons, Oh is not one of the more prolific power hitters in the KBO. Prior to the 2016 season the 30 year old was not even a starter.

In six at bats Oh walked twice and sent four balls over the fence. There is no better way to define perfection, unless they pitched to him six times and he hit all six over the fence. In the first inning the Dinos walked Oh to load the bases but a ground out prevented them from scoring. Oh got the scoring started for the Bears with a big three run homer in the third that carried 425 feet into right field. The swat gave the Bears a 3-1 lead.

In the fifth Oh led the inning off with a walk. The team failed to score. With the score tied 4-4 in the sixth and after a critical runner was thrown out at home Oh came up with runners on first and second with two out. He blasted a pitch over the right centerfield fence to give the Bears a 7-4 lead.

A two run homer in the eighth and a solo shot in the ninth closed out his homer happy day. The last homer was part of a back to back with Jae-Hwan Kim. The last Oh homer was measured at 445 feet. The bat flips will be interesting to see, especially on the last homer. The Koreans have perfected the bat flips.

The Bears bullpen was solid. They pitched the last 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on two hits. The one run was a homerun by Sung-Bum Na in the seventh inning. In addition to his homerun Jae-Hwan Kim also collected four hits, putting him on base to score four runs.

The Bears now get to defend their championship against the first place Kia Tigers in a best of seven matchup.