Archive for June, 2018

Japanese Player All Star Results

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

Below are the All Stars in the NPB based on the player votes. Japan plays three All Star games during their season.

Central League

Starting Pitcher - Tomoyuki Sugano (Yomiuri Giants), 8-5, 2.38
Catcher - Seiji Kobayashi (Yomiuri Giants), .230, 1, 22
First Base - Jose Lopez (Yokohama Bay Stars), .324, 16, 42
Second Base - Ryosuke Kikuchi (Hiroshima Carp), .251, 8, 32
Third Base - Toshiro Miyazaki (Yokohama Bay Stars) .321, 15, 38
Shortstop - Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri Giants), .332, 10, 49
Outfield - Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Yokohama Bay Stars) .290, 17, 46, Seiya Suzuki (Hiroshima Carp) .305, 11, 41 and Yoshio Itoi (Hanshin Tigers), .302, 10, 38

Left off is the homerun and RBI leader outfielder Wladimir Balentien (.252, 18, 58) and second baseman Tetsuto Yamada (.278, 16, 34). Yamada is also 16 for 17 in stolen bases. Both players are Yakult Swallows. Hiroshima Carp outfielder Yoshihiro Maru (.317, 13, 31) has a .616 slugging percentage.

Pacific League

Pitcher - Takayuki Kishi (Rakuten Golden Eagles) 7-1, 1.94
Catcher - Takuya Kai (Softbank Hawks) .234, 4, 17
First Base - Hotaka Yamakawa (Seibu Lions), .272, 19, 63
Second Base - Hideto Asamura (Seibu Lions) .293, 15, 56
Third Base - Nobuhiro Matsuda (Softbank Hawks), .219, 14, 36
Shortstop - Sosuke Genda (Seibu Lions) .285, 0, 30, 22 stolen bases
Outfielders - Yuki Yanagita (Softbank Hawks) .350, 18, 54, Shogo Akiyama (Seibu Lions), .357, 12, 47 and Masataka Yoshida (Orix Buffaloes) .315, 10, 42
Designated Hitter - Alfredo Despaigne (Softbank Hawks) .235, 17, 44

Myworld would probably prefer for catcher the Seibu Lions Tomoya Mori (.288, 8, 43) and at third base the Seibu Lions Shuta Tonosaki (.301, 10, 40). At DH the Nippon Ham Fighters Kensuke Kondo (.355, 8, 40) would have been a better choice.

Philippines Wins East Asian Cup

Friday, June 29th, 2018

The Philippines finished undefeated (4-0) to win the East Asian Cup played in Hong Kong. They beat the host team 7-5 to qualify for the Asian Baseball Championship in 2019. The winner of the Asian Baseball Championship qualifies for a spot in the Olympics. The Philippines will be facing the traditional powers, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, who did not have to play in the East Asian Cup.

The final order of finish: Philippines (4-0), Thailand (3-1), Hong Kong (2-2), Indonesia (1-4) and Singapore (0-4). Singapore gave up double digits in runs in all four games they played.

Bradley and McKenzie Lead the RubberDucks

Friday, June 29th, 2018

Myworld made his second visit in three days to Prince George Stadium to watch Triston McKenzie pitch. He went seven innings, facing trouble in only one inning when he tried to use his change up more. The Akron RubberDucks went on to beat the Bowie Bay Sox 6-4, with three three run homers accounting for most of the scoring.

Luis Ysla got the start for the Bay Sox. He was acquired from the Dodgers for Jesus Liranza. We liked the potential of the 100 mile per hour fastball of Liranza better, but when you put a player on waivers you rarely get an equal return. Ysla had trouble finding the plate. A single and hit batsman in the first inning put two runners on for Bobby Bradley. He had already hit three homeruns in this series against the Bay Sox. He made it four with a high, majestic shot over the second wall in right field to give the Rubber Ducks an early 3-0 lead.

Ysla got in trouble again in the fourth. A walk and hit batsman put two runners on for Joe Sever. Sever lined a pitch over the left field fence to give the RubberDucks a commanding 6-0 lead.

McKenzie was sharp for Akron. His fastball sat at 90-91, but with two strikes on the hitters he gassed it to 93. At 6′5″ his arms are long and at 165 his frame is thin, so he needs to fill out. His curve ball has a decent break but still needs more consistency. The pitch that still needs a lot of work is his change. He tried using it in the fourth, but it comes to the plate at 87-88, which is too near his fastball velocity (myworld is assuming that was his change). In the bottom of the fourth McKenzie walked the leadoff hitter Anthony Santander on four pitches. A single by Ryan Mountcastle put two runners on for Aderlin Rodriguez. He pulled a pitch high toward the left field line for a three run homer, pulling the Bay Sox to with in three.

McKenzie got away from his change after that and gave up just two hits in his last 3.2 innings, facing just 12 hitters. Myworld remembers him having greater velocity when we first saw him pitch in Rookie ball. We dropped him down a notch in our prospect rankings.

Matthew Grimes came in for the Bay Sox and threw five innings of shutout relief to keep them in the game. He gave up one hit, walked two and hit a batter during that stretch. The only strikeouts he recorded were to the last two hitters he faced. At 26 he could see some time with the Orioles before the season ends, if he continues to pitch this well.

Ryan McKenna was a fourth round pick of the Orioles in the 2015 draft. Don’t know what his bat will be like but his defense is excellent. He made two over the shoulder catches on balls hit to deep center field. The RubberDucks have a smooth defensive second baseman in Mark Mathias. He was a third round pick of the Indians in the 2015 draft. Can’t say his bat will get him to the major leagues.

A couple other interesting notes. Joe Sever, the RubberDucks third baseman is the nephew of John Elway. Another RubberDuck quarterback link is outfielder Ka’ai Tom, who played backup quarterback at Saint Louis High School to Marcus Mariota. At only 5′9″ myworld can see why he was not the starting quarterback. In a basketball note, Bay Sox outfielder D’Arby Myers is the cousin of Shaquille O’Neal. D’Arby only stands 6′3″ and at 185 appears better suited for playing baseball.

Beavers More Than Abel to Win NCAA Championship

Friday, June 29th, 2018

The Oregon State Beavers rode the arm of freshman pitcher Kevin Abel to the NCAA championship. He was the winning pitcher in the last three games the Beavers won. He started and threw 95 pitches in the Beavers 5-2 win over Mississippi State that got them to the finals. The Beavers lost the first game of the playoffs against Arkansas, but Abel pitched one inning of relief in the second game and got credit for the victory when Oregon State rallied for the win. Yesterday he pitched nine innings of shutout ball, throwing 129 pitches in their 5-0 win. That is 247 pitches in six days.

He did have three days of rest prior to his one inning of work. The 129 pitch work load is something even major league managers try to control. But Kevin Abel appreciated his manager keeping him in and it was probably pretty sweet to be part of the bottom of that pile after the Beaver victory.

Adley Rutschman collected three hits, his first single driving in the first run to give the Beavers an early 1-0 lead. An error in the first inning scored the second run to give Oregon State an early 2-0 lead. Rutschman made it 3-0 with his RBI single in the third. Finally, in the fifth he started the rally with a single, eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Abel was virtually unhittable in the championship game. The only two hits he gave up were in the third inning. With runners on first and third with one out he got a strikeout and pop up to end the threat. That started a string where Abel retired the last 20 hitters he faced. So despite the 129 pitch count Abel was never stressed in the later innings.

Oregon State wins their third NCAA baseball championship. Arkansas will have to wait until next year to win their first, after coming so close this year. This was the second time they have lost in the finals.

Second Chances Allow Beavers to Advance

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

With one out left to go for a championship the Arkansas Razorbacks gave the Oregon State Beavers a second chance. A foul ball by Cadyn Greiner bounced into the campfire of three Razorback players pursuing the ball. Given a second chance Greiner singed to tie the game 3-3. Trevor Lamach followed with a two run homer to give the Beavers a 5-3 win, forcing a game three.

After Kevin Abel gave up a leadoff single to Jax Biggers to start the bottom of the ninth and bring up the top of the Razorbacks order, Jake Mullholland was called from the pen. He gave the Razorbacks no second chances, striking out the first hitter he faced and getting Casey Martin to ground into a back to the box game ending double play.

Razorbacks Take the Opener

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Oregon State went with their ace Luke Heimlich. He had his third unimpressive start, all occurring after the major league draft when major league teams passed on selecting him. The Royals are considering signing him, but a sexual assault case against his 6 year old niece when he was 15 haunts him. He pitched well until the fifth, going into the inning with a one hitter. In the fifth inning he could only retire the first hitter he faced. A walk, two singles, two hit by pitches and an error followed resulting in a Razorback four run outburst that gave them a 4-1 victory in the first game between the two teams.

Grant Koch drove in the only run for the Razorbacks with a single. The other three runs were driven in by a walk, hit by pitch and fielder’s choice. Blaine Knight worked six innings for the Razorbacks allowing just one run. Matt Cronin pitched the last inning, retiring the side in order to pick up the save.

The two teams square off tonight. A win by the Razorbacks would give them their first NCAA baseball championship.

Bay Sox Homeruns Deflate Rubber Ducks

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

The Akron RubberDucks had won 9 straight games over the Bowie Bay Sox, including a 12-5 thrashing Monday night that reminded the Bay Sox of previous 15-0 and 18-2 losses that also happened at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie. Perhaps that is why Akron is in first place and the Bay Sox are in last.

It was a different story last night with Aderlin Rodriguez hitting a three run homer in the first and catcher Audry Perez going deep with two solo shots to give the Bay Sox a 8-4 win over the RubberDucks. For Perez he has hit 8 homeruns in his 27 games with the Bay Sox.

The Bay Sox ace pitcher Keegan Akin got the start. He showed no command, walking six hitters in his four innings of work. He walked the leadoff hitter in his first three innings, twice resulting in runs for the RubberDucks. His best inning was the fourth when he retired the side in order. This is the first time myworld has seen Akin and with a 8-5 record and 2.53 ERA we were hoping for some stuff. We came away a bit disappointed, especially with his lack of control. His fastball is not overpowering and with 32 walks in 81.2 innings he needs to learn the strike zone. At best he could be a mid-rotation starter. His breaking pitch found too much dirt, and though it got some swings and misses it will not be as effective against major league hitters if he does not find the strike zone more.

Bobby Bradley went deep with his third homerun in two games. His inability to play first base and his propensity for the swing and miss make his major league prospects doubtful. That inability to make contact has brought his average to .199, although his strikeout rate the last couple years has been better than it has been his first three years.

Branden Kline impressed me the most with his stuff. His fastball sits at 95-97. Bobby Bradley was the first batter he faced and he took his 96 mile per hour fastball over the right field fence. After that Kline settled down, striking out two and retiring the next six hitters he faced. Kline was a second round pick of the Orioles way back in 2012 but injuries have prevented him from reaching his potential. That has always seemed to be a problem for Oriole pitchers. Hunter Harvey is taking the same career path as Kline, currently on the disabled list where he has spent most of his minor league career.

Some interesting international notes about the rosters of these two teams. Leadoff hitter Tyler Krieger played for Israel in the last World Baseball Classic. He plays centerfield but myworld can’t say we see a major league player in him. Danny Salters was the son of missionaries and lived in Kenya for eight years (ages 5-13). We did like his ability to block pitches from behind the plate, but at age 25 he probably has a couple more years in the minor leagues. We did not see Kieran Lovegrove pitch, but he was born in South Africa, moving to Los Angeles at the age of five. He was a third round pick of the Indians in 2012, with 13 games in relief. He has a 0.95 ERA but 12 walks in 19 innings.

The Orioles are usually pretty boring when it comes to drafting international players. Most of their international players are signed by other teams. They do have a connection in Curacao with Calvin Maduro there. Ademar Rifaela is one of their promising outfielders from Curacao that they actually signed. His power has been a big disappointment this year. After clubbing 24 homeruns in 2017 he only has two with the Bay Sox this year. Martin Cervenka was originally signed by the Indians but the Orioles picked him up as a minor league free agent this year. He is a catcher from the Czech Republic. Myworld first saw him play in a tournament in Taiwan. His batting average has dropped to .232 and he may never hit enough to make it to the major leagues, though we were impressed with his abilities to catch.

Oregon State Advances to Finals

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Oregon State scored five runs in the third to down Mississippi State 5-2 to advance to the College World Series finals. Kevin Abel went seven innings, allowing just one run and Tyler Malone blasted a three run shot in the third to lead the charge.

Mississippi State, noted for their comebacks this year, had scored a run in the bottom of the ninth and had the bases loaded with the winning run coming to bat. He grounded out to end the game.

Oregon State now faces Arkansas for a best two out of three championship. Arkansas has never won a College World Series but played in the finals in 1979. Oregon State won back to back championships in 2006 and 2007.

New Career Hits Leader in Korea

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

The LG Twins Park Young-taik needed only two hits to become the new career hits leader for Korea. He exploded for four against the Lotte Giants to get to 2,321 hits, passing Yang Joon-hyuk to become the career hits leader in the KBO. The Samsung Lions Yang retired in 2010 at age 41.

Yang got his 2,318 hits in 2,315 games. Park achieved his hit total in only 2,017 games. There was a ceremony after his second hit in the bottom of the fourth inning broke the record. Yang happened to be at the ballpark as a baseball analyst and presented Park with a bouquet of flowers.

Park entered the 2018 season with a career .309 average. At 39 years of age he is hitting .317 this year. Park is also the only KBO player to have hit 200 homeruns and steal 300 bases.

The above info was provided by Yonhap News Agency via mykbo.net.

Phillies Announce their Arrival to Nats

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Prior to the start of the season many had predicted the Nationals would easily win the NL East. The Braves and Phillies have changed that narrative. The Braves find themselves in first place in the NC East and the Phillies blew past the Nationals after beating them a second straight day to take second place. The Nationals are bottomed in third place.

Yesterday Maikel Franco had a perfect 4 for 4 day, running the bases like a wild man. He made headfirst slides into third, second and slid into home twice as part of his four hits. On his slide into second he was called out for over sliding the base. His two slides home scored the tying and go ahead runs. He also drove in a run with a single in the eighth.

Aaron Nola got the start for the Phillies. The Nationals got to him early. After Nola retired the first two hitters Anthony Rendon beat out an infield roller to third. Juan Soto blasted a pitch to left center field that bounced into the bullpen for a ground rule double. Daniel Murphy finally put some juice in his bat grounding a single up the middle to score two runs.

After the first inning the Nationals could not get to Nola. He gave up a leadoff hit to Wilmer Difo in the second inning, but that was the last hit off him through six. The Phillies pinch hit for Nola in the seventh.

The Nationals started rookie Erick Fedde. He gave up the early 2-0 lead very quickly. Scott Kingery, Maikel Franco, Jorge Alfaro and even the .036 hitting Aron Nola touched Fedde for singles scoring two runs. On the Nola single to score the second run it appeared Maikel Franco was a dead duck as he raced toward home, but the throw from Eaton was to the first base side of the bag and by the time Specer Kieboom reached over to tag Franco he had just touched the plate.

The game remained scoreless until the seventh. Maikel Franco led off with a line drive double into left center. He raced to third on a slow high bouncer to short. Jesmuel Valentin pinch hit for Nola and drove one to medium deep right field. Franco tagged and again the throw from Eaton was to the first base side of home, allowing Franco to slide in ahead of the throw.

In the eighth inning the Phillies did not treat newly acquired Kelvin Herrera well. Carlos Santana popped an opposite field shot into the Phillies bullpen to make it 4-2. Scott Kingery walked and stole second. The pesky Maikel Franco bounced a pitch up the middle. Wilmer Difo could have knocked the ball down to prevent Kingery from scoring but it skipped past his glove and into centerfield, Kingery cruising home with the fifth run.

The Nationals got their sixth hit and third run in the eighth when Anthony Rendon blasted a Adams Morgan pitch into the corner front row seats of the right center field bleachers.

Game Notes: The Nationals are now 6-9 versus the Braves and the Phillies…In addition to his two off the line throws home, Adam Eaton went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Not a good day at the ballpark for Adam…Tommie Hunter has always liked talking about food. That food is starting to take shape in his body as he is looking more like Bartolo Colon. He still throws his fastball at 96/97…The win for Aaron Nola improves his record to 9-2. You could say he is the Max Scherzer of the Phillies….Seranthony Dominguez looks good early for the Phillies. He retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two of the three hitters he faced for his fifth save. His fastball pounds the plate at 98…The two starting pitchers, Aaron Nola and Erick Fedde were first round picks in the 2014 draft. Fedde is a later arrival after undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2014 draft.