Archive for July, 2019

Robot Umpires Make Their Debut

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

The independent Atlantic League used technology in their All Star game to call balls and strikes. A real umpire actually stood behind the plate with an ear piece connected to an Iphone in his pocket and made the call after it was received from Trackman that relied on Doppler radar. It all sounds a bit complicated for one call.

The technology is not perfect as the home plate umpire can still over rule calls, or must be prepared to make a call if the Doppler radar goes down and a call is not made. Balls that bounce in front of the plate and cross the plate high enough in the strike zone could be called strikes and the human umpire can over turn those calls. Check swings can not be detected by the technology so humans are needed for that. If a pitch sails a foot outside the Trackman may not detect the pitch and the human umpire needs to call it.

There were some delays in calls. Some pitchers thought the Trackman called a higher strike, which they claim human umpires never call. The experiment was originally supposed to be used at the start of the season but some technical glitches had to be resolved. Now that it has been brought out in the All Star game the second half will use the robotic strike call until the end of the season.

There is no time table for when the major leagues will use the technology. A lot will depend on the success or failure of the robotic calls in the Atlantic League.

KBO All stars

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

Offense is down in the KBO because of a switch to a slightly larger ball. The SK Wyverns are in first place at this point, six games ahead of the Doosan Bears. The team with the largest salary in the KBO, the Lotte Giants are in last place, eleven games behind the last wild card spot. The All Star teams are broken into Divisions named the Dream Team and the Nanum team with the players in bold the starters. The Dream team may have the advantage since they have All Stars from the Bears and Wyverns, the top two teams in the KBO. Below are the All Stars from each team.

Dream Team

Pitchers - Kim Kwang-Hyun (Wyverns/2.66 ERA), Kim Tae-Hoon (Wyverns/3.43 ERA), Ha Jae-Hoon (Wyverns/1.13 ERA), Raul Alcantara (Wiz/4.02), Rhee Dae-Eun (Wiz/4.37), Jung Sung-Gon (Wiz/4.46), Josh Lindblom (Bears/2.02 ERA), Lee Young-Ha (Bears/3.92 ERA), Jang Shi-Hwan (Giants/5.57 ERA)

Catchers - Kang Min-Ho (Lions/.223 ave., 11 HRS), Na Jong-Deok (Giants/.162 average), Park Se-Hyuk (Bears/.268),

Infielders - Jamie Romak 1B (Wyverns/.272 ave., 20 HRS), Kim Sang-Soo 2B (Lions/.288 ave., 5 HRA), Choi Jeong 3B (Wyverns/.291 ave., 20 HRs), Kim Jae-Ho SS (Bears/.298 ave., 2 HRS), Ryu Ji-Hyuk (Bears/.246 ave), Lee Hak-Ju (Lions/.273 ave., 6 HRS)

Outfielders - Koo Ja-Wook (Lions/.282 ave. 11 HRS), Ko Jong-Wook (Wyverns/.331 ave, 2 HRs), Kang Baek-Ho (Wiz/.339 ave., 8 HRs), Kim Kang-Min (Wyverns/.282 ave., 5 HRS), Min Byung-Heon (Giants/.337 ave., 5 HRS)

Designated Hitter - Jose Miguel Fernandez (Bears/.338 ave., 12 HRs)

Nanum Team

Pitchers - Tyler Wilson (Twins/2.55 ERA), Jung Woo-Young (Twins/2.81 ERA), Ko Woo-Seok (Twins/1.62 ERA), Kim Kang-Soo (Heroes/2.80 ERA), Eric Jokisch (Heroes/3.09), Moon Kyung-Chan (Tigers/1.57 ERA), Ha Joon-Young (Tigers/4.11), Drew Rucinski (Dinos/2.58 ERA), Won Jong-Hyun (Dinos/3.20 ERA)

Catchers - Yang Eui-Ji (Dinos/.356 ave., 13 HRs), Choi Jae-Hoon (Eagles/.295 average), Yoo Kang-Nam (Twins/.266 ave., 10 HRs)

Infielders - Park Byung-Ho 1B (Heroes/.277 ave., 17 HRs), Park Min-Woo 2B (Dinos/.336 average), Kim Min-Sung 3B(Twins/.251 ave., 4 HRs), Kim Ha-Sung SS (Heroes/.316 ave., 14 HRs), Jung Eun-Won (Eagles/.283 ave., 5 HRs), Park Chan-Ho (Tigers/.290 average)

Outfielders - Kim Hyun-Soo (Twins/.307 ave., 5 HRs), Lee Cheon-Woong (Twins/.311 average), Lee Jung-Hoo (Heroes/.329 ave., 5 HRs), Jerry Sands (Heroes/.319 ave., 18 HRs), Jared Hoying (Eagles/.295 ave., 15 HRs)

Designated Hitter - Lee Hyung-Jong (Twins/.280 ave., 8 HRs)

Top Venezuelan Prospects in the American League

Friday, July 12th, 2019

It is pretty clear that the Dominicans have the top prospects in baseball. Cuba is a distant second. The prospect wave from Venezuela has gotten smaller because of the humanitarian crisis there, but there are still enough players filtering out of the country to break it down into the two leagues, American and National. This list was put together before the season started so we are not influenced by their numbers this season. Six of the ten players in the American League are pitchers, something you would not see from the Dominican Republic, where they like to hit themselves off the island.

The players who graduated from the list created last year are Gleybor Torres, who was number one and Franklin Barreto who was number three. Barreto has not really won a full time job with the Athletics yet but is getting another opportunity to play with the major league club. A number of players dropped off the list as new players earned a spot to the higher rankings

1. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Twins) - Last year he missed making the top five. This year he is the best Venezuelan prospect in the American League. At 6′1″ he is not a big guy but his fastball sits at the lower end of the high 90s. He has two breaking pitches with the slider the most effective of the two. His change still needs some work. If he can improve his command and does not face durability issues he will fit in the starting rotation. If the change never develops or he has trouble staying healthy to stick in the rotation he could be used as a closer. This year he is limiting the opposition to a .188 average in AA. Last year he had success at the two A levels. His strikeout numbers are not impressive but he does get a lot of ground ball outs. Expect to see him in a Twins uniform before the season is done. He did miss the 2016 season because of Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch more than 102 innings in a season.

2. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was signed by the Astros in 2014 for $1 million. The Astros traded him to the Tigers as the primary player in the Justin Verlander trade. Since arriving with the Tigers Franklin has had trouble staying healthy. The pitches are there with a fastball reaching the mid-90s, two above average breaking pitches and a change that is good. Last year he only pitched 19 innings because of a lat strain and shoulder issues that cropped up after his return from the lat strain. This year he has gotten two starts and has thrown less than 10 innings. At one time he was the top pitching prospect with the Tigers, but Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows are all surpassing him. Perez still has the nastier stuff, but you have to pitch on the mound in order to show that stuff.

3. Jose Suarez LHP (Angels) - The Angels always seem to be short of pitchers. At 5′10 and 225 pounds Jose would not give one an impression that he is a pitcher if you saw him at the grocery store. The left handed arm does not throw an overpowering fastball, usually sitting in the low 90s. His ability to control the fastball and mix in an excellent change up makes his fastball play better. His breakout season came in 2018 when he went from High A to 17 starts in AAA, which rose him into the top ten on this list all the way to number three. Success followed him in 2019 (3.18 ERA) which led to a promotion to the major leagues. There his lack of stuff proved less mysterious to major league hitters who spanked him at a .273 clip, while the minor league bats could only hit .200. If you are looking for a number five pitcher for your rotation Jose could be your man. If you want better pass him by.

4. Kevin Maitan 3B (Angels) - Kevin was once considered a superstar when he first signed with the Braves for $4.25 million. He was allowed to leave as a free agent because the Braves were involved in illegal international signing discretions. Once he was declared a free agent the Angels swooped in and signed him for $2.2 million. His superstar status has now slipped and now there are questions of whether the bat will play for him to reach the major leagues. His lack of range forced a move from shortstop to third base. The bat carries enough power to play third base, but the swings and misses and soft average (.214) does not allow that power to show up with much frequency. He still is only 19 years old but Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres were in AAA at 20 years of age and Maitan is still swinging and missing in A ball. This needs to be his break out season if he wants to make a similar jump.

5. Luis Oviedo RHP (Indians) - Luis signed for a generous $375,000 in 2015. He has a good pitcher’s frame (6′4″) and a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. That will keep him on prospect lists. His secondary pitchers are good enough to keep him in the rotation and he throws strikes. If he can improve one of his breaking pitches and the change he could climb from a back or mid rotation starter to a number two starter. He has yet to throw more than 63 innings in a season but last year was his most successful one. He did get two starts in Low A and walked seven in just nine innings. This year he has already reached 83 innings in Low A with numbers that are not impressive (5.40 ERA, .244 average) but he is getting the work in. Don’t expect him to rise too quickly. He needs to find consistent success at the lower levels before they consider him for the majors.

6. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Darwinzon is another big guy at 6′2″ and 245 pounds who must watch his conditioning if he hopes to continue his career playing baseball. Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed him for just $7,500. As the years passed his fastball was hitting the high 90s and the swings and misses were becoming more prevalent, putting him on the prospect radar. He has the breaking pitches and the change to make it in the starting rotation. What he lacks is the ability to throw the ball across the plate or hit his spots in the strike zone. That is one reason he might be best used in the bullpen. Despite his lack of success in the minor leagues this year (5.04) the Red Sox promoted him to the major leagues where he had one start and one appearance in relief. Finding the strike zone was still a challenge with six walks in just 5.1 innings resulted in an ugly 5.06 ERA. The Red Sox bullpen is a little erratic so he may be called up again to help out in the pen if he can show strike one is not a difficult pitch to make.

7. Luis Rengifo 2B/SS (Angels) - The Mariners signed Rengifo for $360,000. He was traded to the Rays where the Angels acquired him just before spring training 2018 for C.J. Cron. With the Angels he climbed up their minor league system hitting over .300 in High A and AA putting him in AAA where he hit .276. Luis does not offer a lot of power but he makes contact with a 75/75 walk to whiff ratio in the minor leagues last year. Luis does not have great speed but it was good enough to swipe 41 bases last year. After hitting .273 this year in AAA the Angels had a need for a middle infielder. With the Angels he has played most of his games at second base with the remaining games at shortstop. Luis is best used as a utility infielder. The tools are a little light to be a starter.

8. Luis Arraez 2B (Twins) - Base hits seem to come easy for this Luis. He lacks power and the speed is below average but his hits seem to find the grass. His career minor league average entering the 2019 season was .329 with a 98/114 walk to whiff ratio. Because of his lack of tools in other areas he will need to keep on finding the grass to stick in the major leagues. He missed all but three games of the 2017 season because of ACL surgery but came back last year to hit .310. This year he abused AA pitchers with a .342 average. A promotion to AAA did not phase him as he continued to hit (.348). No balls travelled over the fence in his more than 200 at bats, but it got him a promotion to the major leagues. There he hit .393 in close to 100 at bats, including two homeruns. The return of Marwin Gonzales from the disabled list and the hitting of Jonathan Schoop complicates his status as a major leaguer. But any hitter who has a .976 OPS in 100 at bats deserves a spot in the major league lineup. In the minors his walk to whiff ratio is 24/15 while with the Twins it was 10/8.

9. Bryan Mata RHP (Red Sox) - The Red Sox found another bargain when they signed Bryan for $25,000. At 6′3″ he has a nice pitcher’s frame. Adding some weight could put some more mustard on his low 90s fastball, allowing it to sit consistently in the mid-90s. Last year finding the strike zone was a bit of a challenge with 58 walks in just 72 innings at High A. He doesn’t get a lot of swings and misses but he limited the opposition to a .229 average. This year the Red Sox started him in High A where he seemed to locate the strike zone for just 18 walks in 51 innings and a 1.75 ERA. He was rewarded with a promotion to AA where in two starts the strike zone has gotten a little more elusive. If Bryan can locate the strike zone again the Red Sox could promote him this year to help in the bullpen. If not, you could see him late in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Everson for $1.5 million in 2017. There is the potential for a borderline five tool player here. The arm rates as average but all the other tools are impressive. Last year the Yankees brought him up to rookie ball where as a 17 year old he was able to hit .263. There were a lot of strikeouts in his game (60 whiffs in 41 games) but the potential is there. This year he is playing in the New York Penn League, hitting .171 with a .257 slugging percentage. It will be a struggle early in his career but the Yankees have plenty of outfield talent to wait for him. Don’t expect to see Pereira in a Yankee uniform until September 2021 at the earliest.

Future’s Game Ends in Tie

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

First they changed the format to American versus National. In the past it was the United States versus the World. The game was also cut from nine to seven innings, but the players did not appear to cooperate, specifically Sam Huff who hit a two run homer in the bottom of the seventh for the American Leaguers off Ben Bowden to tie the game 2-2. They played one more inning but neither team scored so it ended in a tie. It was the first tie to be played in a Future’s Game. Myworld hates ties in baseball. Ugh.

The National League team scored two in the top of the fourth off Matt Manning on RBI singles from Taylor Trammell and Dylan Carlson. They had the bases loaded with just one out but Daulton Varsho struck out and Taylor Trammell, the MVP from the Future’s Game last year was thrown out trying to steal home.

The American Leaguers were able to put runners on first and third with one out after the Sam Huff homerun in the seventh. Isaac Paredes doubled and Jarren Duran singled. Luis Patino came on to pitch and struck out the next two hitters to keep the game knotted.

Despite putting a runner on second to play the one extra inning neither team could come through with a hit.

Pitching was the story in this game. Nate Pearson hit triple digits four times, striking out two of the three hitters he faced in his perfect inning. Sixto Sanchez also hit triple digits with his fastball. Deivi Garcia got the start for the American Leaguers, pitched a perfect first inning and then was told by the Yankees that he would be promoted to AAA.

The American League pitchers did not give up a hit in the first three innings, Garcia, Justin Dunn and D.L. Hall each pitching a perfect inning. The National League was not as perfect, but still pitched three hitless innings to begin the game, Ian Anderson, MacKenzie Gore and Dustin May doing the honors. Gore walked a batter in the second inning. Patino faced five hitters, retiring all of them, including three by strikeouts.

The Orioles had two pitchers appear in the game, Hall and Grayson Rodriguez each pitching a perfect inning of work. If you look at the Orioles minor league pitching it is looking pretty good.

Mexican Prospect Signing and the Finer Print

Monday, July 8th, 2019

It appears the signing of prospects from Mexico to major league teams has not been resolved. The Mexican League and major league baseball had a deal in place that would compensate Mexican League teams 35 percent of the bonus amount paid to the Mexican prospect. But as the lawyers have gotten involved the payment of that 35 percent may never happen if one reads the fine print.

According to the agreement as reported by baseballmexico.blogspot that 35 percent paid out by major league baseball to the Mexican team that owns the players rights only needs to be paid if 1) the player is 16 years old, 2) has lived at least two years in Mexico and 3) has one year experience in the Mexican League.

The first two criteria are easy to meet. The third criteria is a bit harder. Prospects that major league baseball have interest in signing usually do not meet the third criteria. Because of their younger age they are normally playing in developmental leagues and are not on the Mexican League teams rosters to be eligible to play in the Mexican League. So major league baseball would be under no obligation to compensate Mexican League teams for those prospects.

Myworld is not sure how many prospects from Mexico have signed contracts after the agreement was put in place. To resolve the issue Mexican League teams could put prospects on their Mexican League rosters for one year, but that would delay their signing with major league teams by one year. Parents might not be happy to wait that long for a big contract.

Myworld predicts another slow down in the signing of prospects from Mexico. Before the agreement had been signed major league baseball had prevented their teams from signing players from Mexico under contracts by Mexican League teams for almost a year. Major league teams were paying the Mexican League teams the bonus negotiated for the players and that player only received a small portion of that contract. Major league baseball teams only had to report the portion paid to the player in their international bonus payment cap.

From Bologna to the Major Leagues

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

There are many routes to the major leagues. Some choose to go to Japan and then find their way back to the major leagues. Some play in Independent ball to keep their hopes alive. Robel Garcia chose to go to Italy to play baseball there.

Robel was born in the Dominican Republic. He tried the traditional route, signing a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians in 2010. He played four years in A ball towns, his batting average hovering around the Mendoza line., sometimes just over .200 but many times below .200 There were a lot of strikeouts and failures. He was released after spring training in 2014.

In 2016 Garcia got an opportunity to play baseball in Italy for a team named Imola, not one of the better teams in Italy. The next year he signed with Unipol Bologna. At the European Champions Cup in 2017 he led Bologna to a second place finish, leading all players in RBIs with 10. In the Italian playoffs in 2018 he hit a homerun in game four to lead Bologna to the Italian League championships over Parma. That got him an invite to the national team where in October 2018 Team Italy went down to Arizona to play some exhibition games against minor league prospects. The Chicago Cubs took a liking to his bat and signed him on October 31, 2018.

For most journeys there would be long empty road trips with no visits to the major leagues. For Robel he hit 21 homeruns in 72 games, first in AA and then in AAA. He drove in 58 runs during those games.

The Cubs were struggling. They needed to find a bat. What was there to lose by calling up Garcia. They called him up on July 3, when many 16 year old Dominicans are signing minor league contracts, hoping for that path to the major leagues. Anthony Rizzo, who played for Italy in the World Baseball Classic gave him the traditional European greeting in the dugout, cheek to cheek.

The first at bat for Robel cam on July 3. It did not go well. He came up as a pinch hitter and struck out. The next game he started and was a double short of the cycle. He hopes to continue on that major league path, but if he should veer off and get sent back down to the minors he can at least say he got on the path. That is more than most people can say. Robel Garcia is a major leaguer, something he may not have been thinking about during those weekend games in Italy. From Bologna to the major leagues.

Bernadina Released by Monkeys

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

In Taiwan the four professional teams are allowed three foreign players on their roster. For the most part those three foreign players are pitchers. This year, two of the four teams signed a position player to help with the offense. That trend has not lasted long with the release of the last position player Roger Bernadina. The LaMigo Monkeys replaced him with pitcher Mathew Grimes.

Eric Wood was signed by the Chinatrust Brothers. He lasted only a week after having issues with the manager. An 0 for 9 start did not help matters. The Brothers quickly replaced him with slugger Alex Liddi, but if you are going to be a position player you have to put up numbers that are better than the average Taiwan hitter. Alex didn’t with a .243 batting average and .487 slugging percentage, below average numbers in the CPBL. The Brothers now have three foreign pitchers on their roster.

Now Bernadina has been released after hitting just .256 with a .378 slugging percentage. Those are not even close to the numbers he was producing in the Korean League (KBO). Grimes gives them three foreign pitchers on their roster. Myworld would like to see the CPBL change the rules to a model similar to Korea, where the teams can have three foreign players, but one of them must be a position player. It would force the league to develop more local pitchers rather than relying on 60 percent of your rotation being foreign players.

The Monkeys have won the CPBL in four of the last five seasons, but the corporation is finding that supporting a professional team is financially draining. According to CPBLstats.com the LaMigo Monkeys are putting the team up for sale. The other three teams and the new expansion team have much more financial backing than LaMigo. Below are the networths of the CPBL teams as put together by CPBLstats.com.

Fubon Guardians - Fubon Financial Holdings ($250 billion)
Chinatrust Brothers - CTBC Financial Holdings ($190 billion)
Uni-Lions - Uni-President Enterprises Corporation ($13 billion)
Wei Chuan Dragons - Ting Hsin International Group ($9 billion)
LaMigo Monkeys - La New Corporation ($28 million)

A potential buyer of the Monkeys could be the Shin Kong Group, which has been providing advertisement for Monkey games and has expressed an interest in getting involved in baseball. They are another financial holding group.

Scherzer Looks Good in Blue

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

It was throw back afternoon at Nationals park with the Nationals wearing the powder blue uniforms of the Expos. Max Scherzer looked good in the powder blue, throwing seven innings of shutout ball and striking out 11 in the Nationals 6-0 win over the Royals. In the seventh Scherzer struck out the side throwing only four fastballs, getting the Royals to swing and miss at his sliders and change. Max even had a single and stolen base in the game.

The Nationals also scored early to support Scherzer. Glen Sparkman got the start for the Royals. Trea Turner started the Nationals off with a single to left. Adam Eaton lined one into right center that advanced Turner to third but Eaton hustled it into a double. Anthony flied to shallow right to hold the runners. Juan Soto lined one into left center. It stayed up and was close to being caught with Turner staying glued to third, breaking for home once the ball hit the ground. Eaton was more than halfway to third and Henley tried to hold him up. Eaton ran through the red light and the Royals cutoff man Mondesi gunned Eaton out at home. A potential big rally was stunted by a baserunning error.

In the second Matt Adams worked a walk. Kurt Suzuki piled into a pitch and sent it over the bullpen just reaching the left field bleachers for a two run dinger. The Nationals were not done. Victor Robles followed with a double down the left field line. Trea Turner blooped one over the first baseman’s glove for a single, Robles stopping at third. Turner made a late break for second stopped halfway. Mondesi chased after Turner, Robles broke for home about the time Mondesi tagged Turner. It appeared the throw beat Robles to the plate but Gallagher was in front of home and by the time he turned to make the tag Robles had slid his hand across the plate. The Nationals had a 4-0 lead.

The Nationals loaded the bases in the third inning, just like they had done three or four times in their loss the previous game, but just like that game they failed to score when Kurt Suzuki grounded into a double play. Sparkman settled down after that, allowing just one baserunner in his last three innings of work.

The best shot the Royals had of scoring against Scherzer was in the first inning when a lead off single and one out walk put two runners on with two out. A fly to center advanced Merrifield to third, but Scherzer ended the rally by striking out Jorge Soler. The Royals could not get more than one baserunner for the last six innings, failing to get anyone past second.

The Nationals tacked onto their lead in the seventh off reliever Jorge Lopez. Sloppy fielding by the Royals led to the two runs. Pinch hitter Gerrado Parra started the inning with a single. Jorge Soler let the ball go through his legs. Parra broke for second with Soler recovering in time to have his throw beat Parra to the bag, but the ball skipped past Mondesi at second. Adam Eaton hit a slow bouncer to third, which Dozier allowed to eat him up, the ball skipping past his glove into left field. Most third baseman are expected to make that play. It was ruled a hit but myworld has an error in the scorebook. Parra scored on a deep fly out by Rendon in left. After an Eaton stolen base Soto lined a single to center to score Eaton to make it 6-0.

Tanner Rainey came on to relieve Scherzer in the eighth. He was a bit shaky, issuing a one out walk to Merrifield and a single to Alberto Mondesi. Alex Gordon, who Scherzer had failed to retire in three previous at bats, hit the ball hard against Rainey, but right at Kendrick who turned a 4-6-3 double play.

Matt Grace came on in the ninth to preserve the shutout and lower his ERA to below 6.00.

Game Notes: Vladimir Guerrero threw out the first pitch in the game. Nationals manager Davey Martinez caught. Davey also played for the Expos after he had played for the Reds. Vladimir threw a strike. It appears life has been good to Guerrero since his waist line shows he has been eating well. Like all of us once we get past 40 he has gained a few pounds in the middle…Max Scherzer stole a base in the fourth inning, breaking for second while Glenn Sparkman was in the stretch. Sparkman went to the plate instead of stepping off the rubber and throwing to second. For Scherzer it was his second career stolen base…Jorge Lopez was in the starting rotation at the start of the season. His ERA rose close to a 7.00 after a decent start to the season. The Royals were forced to move him to the bullpen. His fastball is good, sitting at 95-97. The velo may not be at that level when he is starting, but he has good stuff. The location of that stuff is a bit spotty…Scherzer failed to retire Alex Gordon, who walked, doubled and singled in three at bats. He got on base more times than his teammates combined while Scherzer was on the mound. He also has a .390 batting average against Scherzer when Max pitched for the Tigers…Anthony Rendon has decided not to participate in the All Star game to rest his legs. Myworld did comment about his apparent lack of hustle as he ran around the bases, but he has been bothered by leg injuries, which restrict him from running too hard. So myworld takes back what we said about his lack of hustle when running around the bases…Max Scherzer had just returned from paternity leave to pitch in this game. On Thursday his wife gave birth to their second daughter.

MLB Opens Office in India

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

The two Indian players who won the million dollar arm contest are now retired from baseball. One went back to India and the other stayed in the United States to become a wrestler once their baseball careers ended. But that has not deterred major league baseball from opening an office in India to help promote the sport there.

There is some thought of putting together another million dollar arm contest this fall from September to November. They expect thousands to participate based on the success of 2014 contest that resulted in a movie and enriched the lives of the two contestants that won the contest.

Major league baseball also hopes to introduce baseball in many of the primary schools, similar to what they are doing in China in an attempt to introduce kids to the sport at a young age. India On Track (IOT), which is India’s leading sports management, marketing and development company is partnering with major league baseball to promote the sport.

Time will tell whether their efforts will have any success.

Lindblom Lights Out in Korea

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

The new balls have suffocated the life out of the offense in the KBO. The pitchers have seen the most benefit. And Josh Lindblom is having his second year of awesome results in the KBO.

Lindblom signed with the Lotte Giants in 2015, three months after the Pittsburgh Pirates had signed him as a minor league free agent. He was drafted in the third round by the Houston Astros in 2015 but his major league career did not blossom. After the end of the 2014 season the Oakland Athletics designated him for assignment.

He had two seasons in the KBO with the Lotte Giants, with his second year seeing his ERA rise to 5.28 after a 3.58 ERA his first year. After the 2016 season ended he chose to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates and return to the major leagues. The Pirates released him in July of 2017 and the Lotte Giants signed him a day later.

Despite a decent 2017 half season (5-3, 3.72 ERA) the Giants chose not to resign Lindblom. The Doosan Bears jumped into the fray and chose to sign him for the 2018 season. Lindblom won the KBO ERA title (2.88), was voted a Gold Glove and finished with a record of 15-4. The Doosan Bears finished second to the SK Wyverns in 2018.

For the 2019 season, with the more mushy Korean balls Lindblom is even better. He is 12-1 with a 1.95 ERA, with a 18/105 walk to whiff ratio in 111 innings. The Bears find themselves in second place to the Wyverns in 2019. Only 32 years old Lindblom could be one of those players who could return to major league baseball for a third attempt to achieve success. Leading the Bears to the KBO championship would help him in that task.