Archive for April, 2018

Daisuke Matsuzaka Gets First Win Since 2014

Monday, April 30th, 2018

The 37 year old Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-1 win over the Yokohama Bay Stars. Daisuke worked six innings and gave up just the one run. While he only gave up three hits he had trouble finding the plate, walking seven hitters. The Dragons gave him an early cushion scoring all three of their runs in the first inning.

The last win for Matsuzaka was with the Mets back in June 10 of 2014, a 6-2 victory. For the NPB his last win was in 2006 before he left to join the Boston Red Sox. He returned to Japan for the 2015 season but injuries have limited him to just one inning when he pitched for the Softbank Hawks. In his first two starts for the 2018 NPB season he took the loss, though he pitched well. He has a 2.00 ERA in three starts, but in 18 innings he has given up 15 hits and 12 walks.

Brothers and Guardians Duke it Out

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Things are not friendly between the two CPBL teams the Brothers Baseball Club and the Fubon Guardians. The Brothers Baseball Club chose to release a number of players from their club last season right before the playoffs were to begin after allegations were made that they were partying and breaking curfew regularly during the baseball season. When the season ended the Guardians signed four of those players, Chiang Chih-Hsien, Chen Hung-Wen, Lin Yu-Ching and Chang Cheng-Wei.

The brawl started after Brothers rookie pitcher Chen Hu hit two Guardians, Lin Yi-Chuan and Lin Che-Hsuan. Friday had already seen two bench clearing incidents after brush back pitches and hit batsman, so this was an extension of that animosity. Chiang was soon pushing Brothers American manager Cory Snyder, who was said to be responsible for the decision to release the players.

Brothers fans began hurling insults at Chiang questioning his moral fiber. Chiang left the game claiming he had a breathing problem.

Mike Loree pitched seven brilliant innings to lead the Guardians to a 1-0 victory in the game. The Brothers find themselves sitting in the basement of the CPBL in the first half while the under performing Guardians reside in third place, seven games behind the leaders. The defending champion LaMiga Monkeys sit atop the four team division. If the Brothers don’t improve their stock American manager Cory Snyder may find himself a one way ticket back to the United States.

Top Puerto Rican Prospects

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Compared to previous lists, last year’s Puerto Rican prospect list only graduated one player because of major league service time. Rio Ruiz got 150 at bats with the Braves, but a .193 batting average did not guarantee a return. Five players saw some major league time but not enough to lose their rookie status. Jorge Lopez got one major league appearance with the Brewers while Joe Jimenez pitched in 24 games for the Tigers, rewarding them with a 12.32 ERA. Jose Deleon got one appearance for the Rays. Tomas Nido saw a few games behind the plate for the Mets as did Victor Caratini see some plate action with the Cubs. That is six major leaguers from the top ten, but none of them with the potential impact of Carlos Correa, Joes Berrios, Francisco Lindor or Javier Baez, players who had appeared in previous lists. Below are the top ten prospects from Puerto Rico in the minor leagues.

1. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - Heliot has the tools to be a difference maker, something not seen from the list last year. He was a first round pick of the Giants in 2017. His power and speed, with a plus arm make him a potential five tool player. One cause for concern was his lack of patience in the Arizona Rookie League where he had a 10/48 walk to whiff ratio in 35 games. Those whiffs did not prevent him from hitting .348 with six homeruns and a 1.049 OPS. The Giants started his 2018 season in Low A where the cold weather in Salem has quieted his bat (.259 average, .397 slugging). When the weather warms up the bat should start producing.

2. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - Perhaps the comparisons to Carlos Correa were unfair. A failed drug test also dropped his draft status. The Cardinals still made him a first round pick in 2016 but at the back end of the first round. It’s been two years and he has yet to clear the fence. He struggled last year in rookie ball hitting just above .200. A hit by pitch broke a bone in his hand and mercifully ended his season early. His defense is above average but if his bat doesn’t produce a utility role may be his best bet. Delvin could see a third year in the rookie leagues. He has yet to appear in a game in 2018.

3. Joe Jimenez RHP (Tigers) - With his mid-90s fastball Jimenez was being groomed to be the closer for the Tigers. A 12.32 ERA in 24 appearances with the opposition hitting him at a .356 pace tempered those expectations. Command has been a problem and major leaguers will take advantage. Joe made the Tigers roster to begin the 2018 season with promising results. He has yet to give up an earned run in 10 appearances, with the opposition hitting him at a .171 clip. That is quite a bit of improvement from his numbers last year. At this rate he should stick in the Tigers bullpen and graduate from this list.

4. Victor Caratini C (Cubs) - Caratini can hit, but Wilson Contreras is ahead of him behind the plate. A move to first is a possibility but the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo there. So Caratini will take his bats where he can get them, filling a utility role. His bat is much better than his glove. Last year at Iowa he hit .342 with 10 homeruns and a .558 slugging percentage. To start the season he will play as the back up to Contreras and Rizzo. The at bats will not be plentiful but it should be enough to lose his rookie status. Expect him to be a role player for his career.

5. Isan Diaz 2B/SS (Brewers) - Isan has not been able to replicate his .360 average from his rookie league season in 2015. Last year he struggled with a .222 average. The power is there with double digit homeruns all three seasons. His defense is not stellar so he needs to hit to get in the lineup. The Brewers have been playing him at short, but his best position is second base. Last year he committed 21 errors at the two positions in just 102 games, 14 of them at second base. The Brewers have started him at AA to begin the 2018 season and his .198 average would be a further decline of his batting average. His prospect status is fading.

6. Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - The Brewers appear to be moving Lopez to the bullpen. A 6.81 ERA at AAA Colorado Springs in 2016 dropped his prospect status. His fastball may be better suited for the bullpen, with his curveball a quality second pitch. The key is being able to find the plate. His move to the bullpen last year saw him lower his ERA. This year he has returned to AAA where he has picked up two saves. At 25 years of age the Brewers may put him on the roller coaster, calling him up from AAA when they need an arm for the bullpen.

7. Jose Deleon RHP (Rays) - Drafted by the Dodgers they traded him to the Rays for Logan Forsyth. The Rays were hoping to use him in their rotation last year but injuries limited him to eight minor league starts. His mid-90s fastball from previous years had trouble reaching 90 last year which made has change less effective. He also had some issues finding the plate. The Rays were hoping to get some starts from him in 2018 but Tommy John surgery will end his season. The Rays will have to hope that his fastball will return when he is healthy for the 2019 season.

8. Tomas Nido C (Mets) - Nido is an above average defensive player with a strong arm good enough to gun down 45 percent of those runners attempting to steal against him in AA last year. There is some power in his bat when he connects but there is still too much lack of barrel of bat on ball contact. Last year he hit just .232 at Binghamton. The Mets have had some injuries behind the plate, with Travis d’Arnaud out for the year, giving Nido an opportunity to show what he can do. Currently he is hitting only .182 but his ability to play defense will give him more opportunities.

9. Edwin Rios 1B/3B (Dodgers) - At 6′3″ and 220 pounds Edwin has big time power that is not seen often in Puerto Rico. Last year he hit 24 homeruns between AA and AAA but with Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner ahead of him at first and third his opportunity for playing time with the Dodgers may be limited. He is much better defensively at first base, with below average skills at third base. Left field is a possibility but his speed is limited there. An injury to Justin Turner this year seemed like an opportunity for Rios, but he has started the season dinged up and has yet to appear in a game. The injuries were said to be minor but he has yet to appear in a game this year.

10. Nelson Velasquez OF (Cubs) - Nelson was a fifth round pick in 2017 by the Cubs, but he was the first position player they drafted. He showed some plus power in the rookie leagues with eight homeruns with the speed to steal five bases. His poor routes may prevent a centerfield option but the arm is powerful enough to fit in right. He still is quite raw as a player but shows great potential. The 2018 season has been spent in extended spring where he may need to wait for the rookie leagues to begin play in July.

2017 top Puerto Rican Prospects

Ramirez Leads Indians Over O’s

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez each hit two homeruns on Sunday. Ramirez had help from his teammates to score additional runs. Manny had very little help. The result was a 7-3 win by the Indians. The countdown for the O’s to trade Machado begins.

Machado got the O’s off to a good start off Indians ace Corey Kluber, driving a 2-0 pitch high and deep into the left field bleachers. In an anemic looking lineup Machado was the only Oriole hitting over .300. The closest to him was Pedro Alvarez who was at .214. Everyone else was below the Mendoza line.

Andrew Cashner got off to a good start on the mound, striking out four of the first six hitters he faced. In the third an error and bunt put him in a situation with runners on second and third with just one out. He got Francisco Lindor on a shallow fly to right and Jason Kipnis on a fly out to center to get out of the inning. In the fourth he was not so fortunate, giving up a leadoff homerun to Jose Ramirez. The Indians tacked on another run on back to back doubles by Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso to take a 2-1 lead.

The Orioles battled back in the bottom frame. Manny went deep for a solo shot, lining a pitch into the centerfield bullpen to tie the game. The O’s added another run on a double by Adam Jones and a beat the shift ground ball single by Chris Davis into right field to drive in Jones. Davis strikes out a lot but his .164 average tells a tale that he does not beat the shift often.

The Indians did not trial for long. In the top of the fifth Rajai Davis walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Francisco Lindor drove him in with a single into right center. Another walk by Cashner to Jose Ramirez set up an RBI single by Michael Brantley and the Indians had a 4-3 lead.

Kluber held the anemic Oriole bats to one hit for the next three innings. A lead off single by Caleb Joseph in the eighth brought in Andrew Miller and he set the O’s down in order, whiffing two.

The Indians put the game away in the ninth off Brad Brach. Jose Ramirez slugged a two run homer, just clearing the right field scoreboard. Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes hit back to back doubles to make it 7-3.

Game Notes: Anthony Santander will not win any gold gloves in the outfield. He missed a diving catch turning a single into a double and looked bad going back to the wall on a ball that would have been tough to catch but it turned into another double. Quicker outfielders may have turned those plays into outs but they resulted in two Indian runs…The signing of Chris Davis may have been a mistake, especially the way he hit last year and the way his season has started this year. Now they have four firstbaseman on their roster in Pedro Alvarez (Mark Trumbo when he replaces Alvarez on the roster), Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander. When they signed Davis they had Christian Walker and Trey Mancini as two replacements at first…Corey Kluber had one strikeout through his first six innings. In the seventh he struck out the side to give him four for the game. The Oriole hitters lead the American League in strikeouts…Jose Ramirez struck out twice and hit two homers. Prior to the game he was the toughest hitter to strike out with one every 20 plate appearances.

Yanagita Hits for Cycle

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Cycles are not common in Japan. In a 5 for 5 performance Yuki Yanagita was the first player to hit for the cycle in the NPB since July 30, 2016 when ex-major leaguer Kosuke Fukudomo accomplished the feat. It was the first cycle by a Pacific League player since 2007 (Julio Zuleta). Yuki hit a homerun in the first inning, singled in the fourth, doubled in the fifth and achieved the hardest hit with a triple in the eighth. Yanagita drove in four runs in the Softbank Hawks 10-0 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Yanagita could probably start in the outfield for any team in the major leagues. In 2015 he hit 34 homeruns with 32 stolen bases with a .363 average. As a result of those numbers he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the Pacific League. As he has gotten older his steals have gone down but his power still exists with 31 homers last year. It is probably too late in his career for him to make an impact in the major leagues since he turns 30 in October of this year. If he is going to make a break it will have to be next year.

Argentina Wins South American Championship

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Argentina defeated Brazil 7-1 to win the South American championship, qualifying them for the Pan American games that will be played in Peru in 2019. Diego Echeverria went the distance in pitching a three hitter. Argentina put the game away with four runs in the ninth inning, fueled by a two run homer from Eduardo Zurbriggen. Jacinto Cipriota drove in the first two runs for Argentina with RBI singles in the third and fifth innings.

This is the first time Argentina has qualified for the Pan Am games. The other two times their team played was when they hosted the tournament. The final standings 1) Argentina, 2) Brazil, 3) Chile, 4) Bolivia

If Argentina wins a gold or silver medal they will advance to the Americas qualifier where one of eight teams will compete in the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Cervenka Leads Bay Sox with the Walkoff

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

We liked Martin Cervenka as a player when we watched him play for the under 23 team Czech Republic national team in Taiwan a couple years ago. Now he is 25, no longer with the Indians and we got an opportunity to watch him catch for the Bowie Bay Sox. We still like him as a catcher and a team leader. Last night he ended a 12 inning game with a walk off single to lead the Bowie Bay Sox to a 4-3 win over the Akron Rubber Ducks.

It was the first minor league game for myworld this year. Of course it had to be an extra inning game. We got an opportunity to watch the new rule for extra inning games in minor league baseball where they put a runner on second to begin the inning. It was done to shorten the game and save pitcher’s arms, but the two teams needed the third extra inning before ending the game.

Myworld prefers this approach over the international game where they put runners on first and second. That approach is too predictable, resulting in a bunt to move the runners over. Failing to do so usually results in defeat and myworld has a problem with the sacrifice bunt taking on so much importance in a baseball game.

Cervenka ended the game with three hits and a walk. His batting average shot up to .395. He also did a good job of blocking balls at the plate, preventing them from banging into the back stop to allow a runner to advance the extra base. The Indians were the team that signed him so it was ironic that he should beat them with his game winning single.

The Akron RubberDucks came into the game last in the league in hitting with a .188 team average. Almost everyone in their lineup was hitting less than .200, including the slugger Bobby Bradley. Bradley was able to launch a solo blast to the opposite field in the third inning to give Akron a 1-0 lead. The 1 for 4 day raised his average to .111.

Austin Hays showed off his arm, rifling a throw from the warning track in center field in the air to the third baseman on a double in the fourth. Connor Marabell and Mark Mathias led off the fourth inning with back to back doubles to give the Duckies a 2-0 lead.

Taiwan pitcher Shao-Ching Chiang was in control for the first three innings. His fastball hit 96 but there were not a lot of swings and misses with his pitches. He gave up single hits in the first three innings but allowed no runs. In the fourth the Bay Sox ripped him for three runs, assaulting Chiang for five hits. Adrian Marin had a two run double and Erick Salcedo drove him in with a single to score the three runs. Cervenka had a single to extend the rally.

The Bay Sox bullpen held the Duckies to zero hits in the final 6.1 innings. Tanner Chleboard, Paul Fry and Jay Fiaa each shared two innings of work to hold the anemic Akron bats to zero hits.

Austin Hays made a baserunning blunder in the ninth inning when he singled to right center. He had the intention right out of the box of trying to hustle to second. When he realized he was dead meat half way to second he did a Jayson Werth slide to a stop, but got into a rundown before being tagged out.

Mike Yastrzemski, the grand son of Carl, is struggling in this cold weather. He went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .132. He struck out in the eighth with runners on first and second and no out, failing to lay down a bunt on the first two pitches. Coming into the game his 20 strikeouts was fourth in the Eastern League. He added one more to that total.

Foreign Players NPB Central

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Below are the foreign players on NPB rosters in the Central League. Teams can use four foreign players but a maximum of three can be position players or pitchers. Teams can not use all pitchers or all position players for their four foreign player allotment. On the 70 man roster teams may have more than four foreign players, but only four of them can be included on the active 28 man roster. For each game three players on that 28 game roster must be inactivated, so most teams eliminate the starting pitchers from the day before and the starting pitcher for the next day from the 28 game roster. The four foreign player restriction applies to the final 25 man roster.

Hiroshima Carp

Leonel Campus (RHP) - Pitching down on the farm. Has a 4.50 ERA but given up three homeruns in six innings.

Jay Jackson (RHP) - This is his third season in a setup role for the Carp. Strung together over 30 holds his first two seasons and has seven holds in 9 appearances this year. He has given up six walks and two homeruns in just nine innings but has a 2.00 ERA.

Kris Johnson (LHP) - His fourth year starting for the Carp. Kris won in double digits his first two years but injuries last year limited him to 13 starts. This year he has gotten off to a good start (2-1, 2.37) with only one walk in 21 innings.

Brad Eldred (1B) - The streaky hitter is the Carp’s power bat. In a 144 game season he has yet to play more than 118 games. This year he is hitting .195 with three homeruns.

Xavier Batista (OF) - He played in a part time role last year (61 games) but hit 11 homeruns. This year he has only gotten into four games with a .214 average. In the minors he has bashed six homeruns in 22 games. Playing time limited by the foreign restriction.

Hanshin Tigers

Rafael Dolis (RHP) - The Tigers closer saved 37 games last year. This year he has saved seven games with a 2.00 ERA.

Yen-Ching Lu (LHP) - Down on the farm he has appeared in one game, pitching one inning and giving up three runs.

Marcus Mateo (RHP) - He was the Tigers closer until Dolis arrived on the scene. In his third Tiger season he is the setup man with 36 holds last year and four this year, but an unkind 5.40 ERA.

Randy Messenger (RHP) - In his ninth season with the Tigers and now considered Japanese he is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA. He has 87 career Japanese wins.

Diego Moreno (RHP) -Toiling in the minor leagues waiting for an opportunity.

Wilin Rosario (DH) - After destroying pitchers in the KBO Wilin is finding the NPB a bit more challenging, hitting .242 with just one homerun.

Yokohama Bay Stars

Edison Barrios (RHP) - After pitching four seasons with the Hawks, with 2015 at 30 appearances his most activity, Barrios chose to sign with the Bay Stars for the 2018 season, moving from bullpen to starting rotation where he is 2-1, 2.76 ERA.

Edwin Escobar (LHP) - His first year was split between the Fighters and Bay Stars. In nine appearances he has walked six hitters in seven innings, putting his ERA at 3.86.

Spencer Patton (RHP) - The setup man has four holds but a 6.35 ERA. Last year he strung together 27 holds and a 2.70 ERA.

Joe Wieland (RHP) - Pitched last year for the Bay Stars, getting 21 starts, winning ten games with a 2.98 ERA. Rehabbing in the minors to begin the 2018 season.

Jose Lopez (2B) - In his sixth season, the first two with the Yomiuri Giants. His bat has come to life with the Bay Stars with 64 homeruns his last two seasons. This year he has slugged three with a .323 average.

Yomiuri Giants

Arquimedes Caminero (RHP) - The hard thrower has been thrown in their closer role. Winning has not come often so his opportunities to close this year have been limited (2 saves). This is his second season with the Giants.

Taylor Jungmann (RHP) - The first year player is seeing life in the minor leagues waiting for a foreign slot to open.

Jen-Lei Liao (RHP) - Another minor league arm being used in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson (RHP) - The hard throwing Canadian righty is in his seventh season with the Giants. He has bounced around between being a closer and setup man, but has settled into the role as setup. He has not given up a run in four appearances.

Casey McGehee (3B) - His first year he played with the Rakuten Golden Eagles and in his second year with the Giants. Last year his production dropped from 93 RBIs to 77. This year he is scuffling with a .239 average and two homeruns.

Alex Guerrero (2B/outfield) - After failing with the Dodgers, the Cuban played for Chunichi last year and led the league in homeruns (35). This year his power has been quiet (two homeruns) with a .281 average.

Chunichi Dragons

Onelki Garcia (LHP) - Another Cuban who failed with the Dodgers and White Sox. He is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in three appearances covering 12 innings for the Dragons.

Dillion Gee (RHP) - The Mets rotation was a bit crowded so Dilllon signed with the Dragons. In three starts he is 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA but the last couple years the Dragons have had trouble winning.

Raidel Martinez (RHP) - A developmental player pitching well in the minors (0.75 ERA).

Dayan Viciedo (DH) - The Cuban slugger is hitting .259 with three homeruns. The last two years with the Dragons he has hit 40 homeruns. He needs to pick it up more or Steven Moya will be given more of an opportunity.

Steven Moya (OF) - In his first year in Japan he got into his first game yesterday and hit .800 in five at bats, with three RBIs. Down on the farm he was hitting .377. That bat needs to get in the Dragon lineup more consistently.

Yakult Swallows

David Buchanan (RHP) - His second year with the Swallows he is 2-0, 1.61 ERA in four starts.

Matt Carasiti (RHP) - Taking on the closer role in his first season in Japan. Matt has picked up three saves with a 2.00 ERA, but walked five hitters in nine innings.

Dave Huff (LHP) - His first season in Japan has not been kind with an 0-2, 7.71 ERA in three starts. He has struck out 16 in 16 innings, but he also has given up four homeruns.

Wladimir Balentien (OF) - Wladimir has had trouble staying healthy but he broke the Japanese homerun record in 2013 with 60, playing in 130 of the 144 games. In his eighth year he is good for thirty plus homeruns per year. This year he is hitting .234 with three homeruns.

Foreigners on NPB Rosters (Pacific League)

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Below are the foreign players on NPB rosters in the Pacific League. Teams can use four foreign players but a maximum of three can be position players or pitchers. Teams can not use all pitchers or all position players for their four foreign player allotment. On the 70 man roster teams may have more than four foreign players, but only four of them can be included on the active 28 man roster. For each game three players on that 28 game roster must be inactivated, so most teams eliminate the starting pitchers from the day before and the next day from the 28 game roster. The four foreign player restriction applies to the 25 man roster.

Softbank Hawks

Livan Moinelo (RHP) - A reliever purchased from the Cuban League he has had trouble finding the plate resulting in a 6.00 ERA in 8 relief appearances.

Dennis Sarfate (RHP) - The Hawks closer, the last four years his save totals have increased from 37, 41, 43 and 54. This year he has five but leg problems may limit his appearances early in the season.

Rick Van den Hurk (RHP) - The well traveled Dutch righthander won 13 games last year. This year he has started 2-1, 2.84 in three starts.

Yurisbel Gracial (Infield) - Another player purchased from the Cuban League he has spent most of his time in the minors, appearing in just two games but hitting .600 (3 for 5). In the minor leagues he is hitting .423.

Alfredo Despaigne (Outfield) - Probably the best player in Cuba on loan to the Hawks, makes it tough for Gracial to get any playing time with the three pitchers and Despaigne on the roster. Despaigne is struggling with a .167 average and three homeruns in his 16 games. Those three homeruns are his only extra base hits.

Seibu Lions

Fabio Castillo (RHP) - Decent ERA in his three starts (3.24) but his 13/12 walk to whiff ratio in 16 innings is cause for concern.

Neil Wagner (RHP) - Struggling in 6 relief appearances with a 5.06 ERA.

Brian Wolfe (RHP) - This is his 9th year in Japan, the first four with Nippon Ham, the next two with Softbank and his third season with Seibu. He has struggled in his three starts (6.57 ERA) coughing up 19 hits in his 12 innings.

Ernesto Mejia (1B) - Blocked by Freddy Freeman, this is the fifth year for Mejia in Japan. Last year was his least productive year with just 19 homeruns. This year has been a slow start with his .172 average and one extra base hit (a double) in his 10 games.

Nien-Ting Wu (Infielder) - The Taiwanese infielder has yet to play this year but his first two years carried a .202 average in 58 games.

Rakuten Golden Eagles

Josh Corrales (RHP) - Spent most of his time on the farm. In his one appearance he walked six in three innings for a 15.00 ERA.

Frank Herrmann (RHP) - Second year of bullpen work for the Eagles. 33 holds last year. He has been a bit more hittable this year (4.50 ERA) with 10 hits in six innings.

Japhet Amador (DH/1B) - Signed out of Mexico, this is his third season in Japan. The Astros signed him but when he did not make the major league roster in his second season he was returned to Mexico. Last year he hit 23 homeruns but a .234 average. This year he is hitting .254 with three homeruns.

Zealous Wheeler (3B) - The journeyman minor leaguer has found a home in Japan. His homerun numbers have increased from 14 to 27 to 31. In his fourth season with the Eagles he is hitting .268 with one homerun.

O’Koyea Dickson (OF) - Still has not played in the minor or major league team.

Carlos Peguero (OF) - In his third year with the Eagles, Carlos has gotten off to a slow start with a .185 average with 29 whiffs in 16 games.

Orix Buffaloes

Andrew Albers (LHP) - The Canadian is in his first year in Japan with two wins and a 2.25 ERA. He has struck out 16 in his 16 innings.

Brandon Dickson (RHP) - Brandon is a veteran of six years with Orix. The starting pitcher has never won more than nine or lost less than eight. This year he is 0-2 in his first three starts with a 3.06 ERA.

Chris Marrero (1B) - The former first round pick is in his second season with Orix. Last year it was an abbreviated season with 20 homeruns in 82 games. This year he has slugged five but is only hitting .203. His 15 RBIs is among the league leaders.

Stefan Romero (OF) - His rookie season last year Stefan slugged 26 homeruns. This year he is hitting just .188 with two homeruns.

Nippon Ham Fighters

Nick Martinez (RHP) - In his first year the rookie pitcher is 2-2 with a 1.74 ERA in four starts. He has two complete games.

Bryan Rodriguez (RHP) - Only appeared in one game but got winged for 9 hits and 8 runs in just two innings (30.85 ERA). Bryan has not been very effective in the minors (18 hits in just 10 innings).

Michael Tonkin (RHP) - Michael has two saves and two holds in his eight appearances in his first year in Japan (3.52 ERA).

Brandon Laird (1B/3B) - The slugger has hit over 30 homeruns in his three years for the Fighters. This year he has three with a .212 average. In two of his three years he has hit .229 and .231.

Oswaldo Arcia (OF) - In his rookie season he is hitting .295 with one homerun.

Lotte Marines

Mike Bolsinger (RHP) - In his rookie season he is 1-1 in three starts with a 2.04 ERA.

Kuan-Yu Chen (LHP) - This is the fourth season for the pitcher from Taiwan. In his only start this year he got blasted for 11 hits in four innings, three of them homeruns for a 13.50 ERA.

Edgar Olmos (LHP) - His first year in Japan has been spent in the minors (0.79 ERA) waiting for a foreign opening.

Tanner Scheppers (RHP) - In his first season Tanner could provide that opening (6.75 ERA) picking up one save and four holds in his nine appearances.

Matt Dominguez (3B) - His first year is also being spent in the minors waiting for a foreign opening (.250, 4 HRs).

Tu-Hsuan Lee (utility) - Played three years for the Hawks from 2012 - 2014. Four years later he is hitting .200 for the Marines.

Francisco Peguero (OF) - He has spent his first year in the minors hitting .295 with three homeruns.

Dae-Ho Lee on Fire

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Though his team the Lotte Giants are mired in last place, Dae-Ho Lee is hoping to extricate them from that position. There is probably no hotter hitter in baseball than Lee. In his last five games Lee is 15-20 with 6 homeruns, 2 2Bs and 16 RBIs. In three of his last four games he has slugged two homeruns. The Giants have won three of those five games.

Lee had a stint with the Mariners back in 2016, hitting 14 homeruns but only batting .253. At 6′4″ and 250 pounds his mobility at first base was limited. Baseball reference had his defense in the negative as far as his number of runs saved. The Mariners felt his offensive production was not enough to justify his defensive struggles at first base. The following year he returned to Korea where he hit 34 homeruns and drove in 111 runs. For his career he now has 266 homeruns in the KBO, 98 in Japan and 14 in the major leagues. He could hit the 400 homerun club after the end of this year, making him the only player to achieve that goal playing professionally in three different countries.