Archive for January, 2020

Colombia in and Cuba Out in Series Del Caribe

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Cuba was unable to obtain visas in time to compete in the Series del Caribe 2020 so Colombia was invited to play in their stead come Saturday in Puerto Rico. On the first day Colombia will play Venezuela, Mexico will battle the Dominican Republic and Panama will duke it out against Puerto Rico. The last time the Series del Caribe was played in Puerto Rico myworld was there. Not this year.

Cuba hopes to be able to participate in the next Series del Caribe when it is played in Mexico next year. Colombia hopes to repeat what Panama accomplished last year, winning the Series del Caribe in their first appearance. As the series struggles with name players choosing not to play in the event, the event has expanded to include other countries. First it was Cuba, then Panama and now Colombia, two countries that have been asking to play in the tournament for years. Nicaragua is another country interested in participating.

It will be interesting to gauge attendance to see what kind of participation Panama and Colombia brings to the group. In year’s past countries brought delegations to the games and it was a party atmosphere. As the name players have dropped out the attendance has sagged. Back in 1955 Puerto Rico had an outfield of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Bob Thurman, with Don Zimmer as their shortstop. That would have been fun to watch. Now Jorge Mateo will be playing shortstop for the Dominican Republic with Felix Pie, Junior Lake and Jordany Valdespino manning the outfield.

Culiacan Mexican Winter League Champion

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Not much stress in winning a game seven, 11-0. After Mazatlan’s Juan Pablo Orames retired the first two hitters in the bottom of the first, Culiacan hit back to back to back doubles and Efren Navarro ended the scoring with a two run homer to give them an early 4-0 lead. With Anthony Vazquez tossing six innings of shut out ball the game was over after that.

Culiacan continued mashing the ball, with Ramiro Pena slugging two homeruns and driving in five of the next seven Culiacan runs. He hit a solo shot in the third, added an RBI single in the fourth and blasted a three run homer in the sixth. Up 10-0 after six the Tomateros went to their bullpen to work the final three innings.

Culiacan is the last team to qualify for the Series del Caribe.

Myworld’s Top 100 90-81

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

This is a continuation of our Top 100 list, which is basically a ranking of five other top 100 prospect rankings and giving each player points based on where they were rated. The points were aggregated and then divided by five to get an average score. The Mets win this prospect ranking with two players ranked within this top ten.

90. Noelvi Marti SS (Mariners) - For a player who signed in 2018 and has seen nothing higher than the Dominican Summer League, this is an impressive ranking. In years past there would not be enough information on player’s who did not play state side, but in the age of the internet and videos passing information on skills sets it is now so much easier to evaluate players. Noelvi signed for $1.55 million. Speed could be the main part of his game but he shows some power that could make him a very intriguing player. In The DSL he hit .309, slugged 9 homeruns and stole 17 bases as a 17 year old. He has the tools to play short, but his speed would also be an asset in centerfield, so the Mariners have options. How he fills out as he matures could dictate his ultimate position. Next year he will start the season in extended spring, play in rookie ball and could get promoted to Low A before the season ends. He is at least three years away from fitting a major league uniform.

89. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - The Mets have not had a lot of success with young minor league catchers fulfilling their success in the major leagues. They hope this Venezuelan who signed for $2.7 million in 2018 will achieve success. Alvarez has massive hands and wide forearms built by helping his dad carry 90 pound concrete bags as a ten year old. Don’t know how those big hands will impact his catching behind the plate, but it has given him some power at the plate. Last year he played in the Rookie League and hit .312 with seven homeruns and a .916 OPS. His bat has the ability to hit for some big time raw power. The arm is strong enough behind the plate so if he can improve on the other areas of defense he should be fine. It takes catchers a little longer to develop so Francisco is still probably four years away from the Mets.

88. Shane Baz RHP (Rays) - Baz was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2017. When the Pirates had the hopes of making the playoffs they traded Baz to the Rays for Chris Archer. Now that the Pirates are rebuilding they would probably like that trade back. Baz can hit triple digits with his fastball but normally sits in the mid-90s. He has a plus slider that gets lots of swings and misses (87 whiffs in 81 innings) and a developing change that should keep him in the rotation. There is some inconsistency in finding the plate but that should improve with experience and more repetition. If he fails to harness his control there is always the option of the bullpen. Shane got 17 starts and was 19 innings short of 100. He should start the 2020 season in High A and work for a promotion to AA late in the season. This should prep him for a major league callup by 2021.

87. Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP (Blue Jays) - The Mets drafted Simeon in the second round of the 2018 draft. His fastball can carry readings in the lower etches of the high 90s and he has a big breaking curveball. Generally he will sit in the low 90s. His strikeout numbers were impressive (126/106 whiff to innings pitched) at High A and AA. In his six starts in the Florida State League he limited the opposition to a .182 batting average. With more success next year he could be pitching in AA, just a knock on the door to the major leagues. At 6′3″ he has good height to add more velocity to his fastball. One curiosity is how many letters the Mets will allow him for the back of his uniform.

86. Nick Solak OF (Rangers) - Not a typical player to be found in a Top 100 list. Nick was originally drafted by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft, traded to the Rays in a three team trade in 2018 and finally traded to the Rangers for a pitcher Peter Fairbanks, who was a 9th round pick of the Rangers in 2015. Solak got some major league opportunity last year hitting 5 homeruns and slugging .491. The Rangers used him both in the outfield and at second base. His arm is probably best suited for left field but his speed could allow him to fill in at center. Second base is his more natural position. His bat carries some pop with the Rangers motivated to promote him after he hit .347 with 10 homeruns in just 30 games after the Rangers acquired him from the Rays. He will compete for a major league utility job with the Rangers next year.

85. Jonathan India 3B (Reds) - India was a first round pick of the Reds in 2018. The last third baseman they drafted number one (Nick Senzel - 2016) they had to move to another position because of Eugenio Suarez filling the third base bag. Senzel has been injury prone the last couple years, but was considered to have better tools than India. As a college drafted player India should move quickly. Last year he blitzed through High A and AA, hitting .259 with 11 homeruns. That matches Senzel in his rise up the minor leagues, with Nick hitting more homeruns and producing better batting average numbers. India has some pop in his bat and the position versatility that he could be used as a utility player his first couple years with the Reds. Like Senzel, there is enough speed in his legs that he could get outfield time and play at shortstop. Next year he should start the season in AA but do not expect a callup until sometime in 2021.

84. Corbin Carroll OF (Diamondbacks) - The Diamondbacks have the luxury of going for it with a rich minor league system filled with tradeable prospects. The Diamondbacks used one of their many first round picks in 2019 to draft Carroll, selecting him 15th overall. Currently his hit tool exceeds his power, with his burner speed making him an ideal fit for centerfield. His power could develop more than gap power as he matures, but time will tell on that. Last year he stole 18 bases and slashed seven triples in just 42 games. Corbin drew enough base on balls to put his OBA above .400. He appears ideally suited for the lead off spot, but is not expected to see any major league time until 2023.

83. Ryan Mountcastle 1B (Orioles) - The million dollar question you have for Ryan is what glove do you give him. His arm is not adequate enough to play the left side of the infield and the outfield would be limited by his loopy throws. The Orioles like his bat where he went on to hit 25 homeruns in AAA. First base and DH are two of the crowded positions in the Orioles major league lineup so Ryan may have to continue mashing homeruns in AAA. Ryan was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2016 and at that time played shortstop. Next year he should make his debut with the Orioles.

82. Brady Singer RHP (Royals) - Brady was the top pitcher for the Florida Gators and fell to the Royals as the 18th pick in the 2018 draft when many felt he was a top five pick in the draft. The Royals chose to rest his arm and did not pitch him in 2018. This year he debuted his low 90s fastball with a devastating slide to minor league hitters. The numbers were rather pedestrian. He pitched well in High A (1.87) where he kept the ball on the ground. When promoted to AA batters hit more balls over the fence and he was rather pedestrian with his numbers (3.47 ERA). He gives up close to a hit for each inning pitched and falls below a strikeout for each inning pitched. The Royals were hoping to see more, but perhaps he will break out in his second season of minor league ball. The 6′5″ Singer is due to start the season in AA and could be ready to pitch for the Royals in 2020.

81. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - Amed Rosario currently holds the shortstop job but has struggled with defense. Andres Gimenez is a defensive shortstop that lacks the bat of Rosario. And you have Mauricio, whose bat should hit for power and average, but at 6′3″ his body will out grow the position and eventually move to third. Ronny does not have good speed so even if the Mets chose to keep him at short he would be limited defensively. The Mets paid out $2.1 million to sign Mauricio in 2017. Last year he played in Low A with a 23/99 walk to whiff ratio an explanation for his .268 average. He will need to find more patience before finding major league success.

Toros Wins Last Two for Dominican Championship

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

The Toros del Este have only won two Dominican championships. They won their first in 1995, 12 years after entering the league. It took more than a decade to win their second, with a championship in 2011. And with their 5 games to three championship win over Licey they did not have to wait a decade to win their third championship.

Toros won the last two games 8-0 and 7-1 to clinch the championship. They scored all eight of their runs in the seventh inning to win game seven. Jordany Valdespin, Junior Lake and Jeimer Candelario went deep in the inning to drive in five. Alen Hanson drove in the first three runs in the inning with his bases clearing triple. Raul Valdes pitched 5.1 innings of shutout baseball, but Fernando Abad got the win with his one inning of shutout work.

Alen Hanson was the big bat in the clinching game eight winner. He hit a solo shot to lead off the seventh inning and give the Toros a 2-0 lead. They would go on to score two runs each in the last three innings to win 7-1. Paola Espino tossed 5.2 innings of shutout ball to give the Toros the victory.

It is on to the Series del Caribe for Toros del Este.

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospect List - 100 to 91

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

All prospect lists are subjective. We hate subjective assessments. They are usually incorrect as the years confirm. To make matters simpler, this isn’t really my Top 100 list. It is a combination of five top 100 lists. That way I can be more objective. MLB.com, Baseball America, CBS Sports, Rotochamp and Brickwall were the five Top 100 lists used this year. Because it takes so much time putting them together, we are breaking them down into ten prospect lists. This will be list 100-91.

100. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - Jordan was born in Canada. The Twins waited until the fifth round of the 2016 draft before acquiring him. He lingered away from any top ten prospect lists until his 6′5″ inch frame began throwing fastballs above the 95 mile per hour readings. His strikeout numbers were impressive (129 whiffs in 93 innings) and his opposition average (.193) confirmed his ability to get hitters out. Despite his height he showed good command of his pitches. Jordan has yet to pitch 100 innings in one year. A promotion to AA is expected and the Twins hope to have him hit the 100 inning mark in 2020. Don’t expect him with the Twins until 2021, unless they want to manage his innings in a bullpen role.

99. Josh Lowe OF (Rays) - Josh is the brother of Nate, who is a first baseman in the Rays organization. Josh was a first round pick out of high school in 2016 while his brother waited until the 13th round of that same draft to hear his name called. Nate was the first of the two to make the big league roster, appearing in 50 games, but Josh should make more of an impact. Josh had a break out year last year with his first double digit homerun year, blasting 18 homeruns. His whiff numbers were a tad high (132) resulting in a .252 average, which is just one below his career minor league average. The speed exists for him to play centerfield and steal bases (30). At 6′4″ the power numbers should only increase. All of his damage occurred at AA last year so Rays fans could see him in 2020 if a need arises.

98. George Valera OF (Indians) - George was born in New York but moved to the Dominican Republic as a youth. The Indians signed him for $1.3 million. If he had stayed in New York, where the baseball weather is not ideal, he would have been part of the draft last year. Not a lot of million dollar contracts given to New York high schoolers. He made his stateside debut in 2018 but an injury limited him to just six games. The 2019 season saw him play more games but not doing a lot of damage (.236). The Indians hope they have another Juan Soto, but he has to show a little more damage with the bat. The tools are all just above average so the speed is marginal enough where he could play centerfield, and the arm is strong enough to survive in right. The bat will have to play for him to earn his spot in the outfield, probably left field like Soto.

97. Tyler Freeman SS (Indians) - The Indians first round pick in the 2017 draft. In 2018 he mauled the New York Penn League for a .352 average. The 2019 season was his first in full season and the bat continued to mulch pitchers, hitting .306 between High A and Low A. Power does not appear to be in his game, with just 7 homeruns in his first three years in the minors. He sprays the gaps, with 32 doubles and makes contact, rarely striking out. The tools are there for him to play short, but not at the Francisco Lindor capacity. Defensively, his best fit may be second base, but with the willingness of the Indians to trade Lindor he may be called on earlier than expected. At best he will see a half season in AA and be ready for the major leagues in 2021.

96. Clark Schmidt RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees selected Clark in the first round of the 2017 draft, despite having Tommy John surgery that made him unable for him to pitch that year. The 2018 season was a rehab year where he only threw 23 innings. Last year the Yankees let him throw just over 90 innings and he showed a low to mid 90s fastball with good command and lots of swings and misses (102 whiffs in 90.2 innings). A smaller frame (6′1″) is cause for some durability concerns, despite being two inches taller than the Yankees top pitching prospect of the moment (Deivi Garcia). He did start three games in AA last year and drafted out of college if the Yankees feel his arm is ready they could give him a call next year, more likely out of the bullpen.

95.Bobby Dalbec 3B (Red Sox) - Bobby is one of the reasons there is a lot of downtime in baseball. He draws a lot of walks and has his share of strikeouts. This year the strikeout numbers dropped significantly but that failed to result in a higher average (.239) or power production (.460). His power numbers actually dropped from the previous season. At 6′4″ Dalbec is a little stiff for third base, but the Red Sox have too many players whose best position is first base. His lack of speed makes it not an advantage to move him to the outfield. So the Red Sox have to hope his power bat continues to progress and makes up for any defensive inefficiencies he shows at third. Bobby will start the season in AAA but is an injury away from being called up. If the Red Sox are seeking power next year he is the bat that will show it for them.

94. Sam Huff C (Rangers) - High school catchers have a tough career in the minor leagues. Most do not make it, and many of those who do play another position because they have a productive bat. That may be the eventual route of Huff. The seventh round pick in the 2016 draft continues to increase his power numbers, hitting 18 in 2018 and combining for 28 last year. A 33/154 walk to whiff ratio shows a lack of patience at the plate. His defense is still a work in progress, with a strong arm, but still to much stiffness behind the plate for his 6′4″ frame. The Rangers will find a position for him if he continues to hit 30 plus homeruns/year. While he dominated in Low A (.796 slugging) he struggled a bit in High A (.262). Huff is probably still at least until 2022 from reaching the Rangers, and it may be to get his bat into the lineup at a position other than catcher.

93. Orelevis Martinez SS (Blue Jays) - There is a lot to like in Orelevis, but not in huge waves. The Blue Jays opened their pocketbook for him, lavishing him with a $3.5 million bonus in 2018. His bat could be his best tool. The bat makes good contact and can spray the gaps, with more than half his hits going for extra bases last year. His speed is not great for the middle infield so staying at short will be a challenge. In 40 games at rookie ball he slugged .549 so a move to third base could be a possibility. If he stays at short he could be one of the more productive at the offensive end. Since he only played rookie ball last year he is a long ways away from wearing a Blue Jay uniform.

92. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - Myworld would bet that his name came up in the Starling Marte trade. Geraldo is a little more seasoned than Liover Peguero. The Diamondbacks spent $400,000 more for Peguero ($475,000) than Perdomo ($70,000). Perdomo lacks power but last year he showed enough patience to walk (70) more than he struck out (67). His batting average did not get rewarded for that patience (.262) but there was improvement when he was promoted to High A (.301). The tools are there for him to stick at short, with his arm his biggest asset. Despite lacking burner speed Geraldo is still able to turn singles into doubles with 26 stolen bases. The Diamondbacks will be patient with him. Expect it to be 2022 before he wears a Diamondback’s uniform.

91. Aaron Bracho SS (Indians) - The Indians win the lower spectrum of the prospect race with three in the bottom 10. Aaron signed out of Venezuela back in 2017, the same year as Valera. An arm injury left him sidelined in 2017 and 2018. He finally showed his tools in 2019 getting in 39 games and showing the ability to make contact which allowed him to hit for a decent average in rookie ball (.291). The power was there for him to slug .593. While the tools were there, they were not overwhelming. Because of his arm injuries the Indians played him at second base. His lack of speed and average arm may make that a permanent solution. Next year the kid gloves should come off and Aaron will be let loose to whereever his tools will take him. He is still a couple years away from having an impact on the Indians.

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Lara Wins Venezuela Series

Monday, January 27th, 2020

The Lara Cardenales defeated Caribes 4-2 to win the Venezuela Winter League. Lara will represent Venezuela in the Series del Caribe. It will be the second straight season for Lara in the Series del Caribe.

A three run eighth proved to be the game winner. Yordanys Linares had the big two run single that broke the 2-2 tie. Ricardo Gomez worked a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory.

Caribes got back to back solo shots from Gorkys Hernandez and Gabriel Lino to score both of their runs.

Caribbean Leagues in their Finals

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

One league is finished with first place finisher Santurce winning in five over Mayaguez. Satnturce rallied in the opener coming back from a 3-2 deficit. They score one in the eighth and got a walk off single from Ryan Casteel to win 4-3. Jan Hernandez opened the inning with a double and was balked to third to set up the single.

Mayaguez won game two, their only win in the series. They bashed out 16 hits in the 9-2 win. Henry Ramos went deep with a three run homer and Emmanuel Rivera rocketed a two run shot, one of his four hits in the game. Giovanni Soto tied up the Mayaguez bats to just three hits in his eight innings of work to give Santurce a 3-0 win. Santurce won their next two games 4-3 to take the series.

The other three Caribbean Series are ongoing. Licey destroyed the league champion Toros in the opener 17-2. 16 of their runs were scored after the fifth inning. Socrates Brito led the charge with four RBIs. Toros won the next two games, winning 6-3 in extra innings in game number two. Jeimer Candelario blasted a two run homer in the 11th to break the tie. Jorge Mateo hit a solo shot in the third inning, the first of his three hits in the game.

Mateo homered again in the third inning of game three, a two runs shot and league homerun leader Peter Obrien hit a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie. Christian Bethancourt added a two run shot in the sixth to pad the lead.

Licey evened the series at two games apiece, Lisalverto Bonilla tossing five shutout innings. Licey jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and Toros scored two in the eighth to break the shutout. Licey wins 6-2.

The bats of Jorge Mateo and Jeimer Candelario combined to go 4 for 5 to give Toros a 3-1 game five win. Licey evened the series with a 5-1 game six win in a best of nine series.

Down Mexico way Culiacan struck first blood with their 6-2 win. The Tomateros sent four balls out of the park, Ramiro Pena, Joey Meneses, and Efren Navorro hitting solo shots while Dariel Alvarez hit a two run blast. Meneses hit another solo shot in game two with Culiacan winning 4-3 to go up in the series 2-0. Culiacan used 9 pitchers to pull out the victory.

Juan Pablo Orames shut down the Tomateros for seven innings in Mazatl├ín’s 7-0 win. Ricky Alvarez hit a two run homer and drove in four to lead the offense.

In the finals in troubled Venezuela the Caribes are up three games to two in their series against Lara. In the opener, Lara scored four runs in the eighth inning to win 6-2. Yordanys Linares drove in the last of his three runs to break the tie and Luis Jimenez closed off the scoring with a two run single.

The Caribes got six solid innings from Wilfredo Ledezma to win game 5-1. Another 5-1 victory in game three with seven innings from Felix Doubront. Lara evened the series with their 5-1 win, Nextor Molina going six innings of two hit ball.

Caribes jumped on top with their 3-2 win in a controversy filled game. In the top of the ninth the Caribes manager was ejected after Lara scored a run to tie the game 2-2. Caribes stormed right, Williams Astudillo hitting the walk off single to give Caribes a 3-2 win. More excitement in the ninth with the ejection of Cardenales catcher Yojhan Quevedo.

Lara took it to a game seven with their 6-5 walk off win in the 10th. Yonathan Mendoza getting the big hit to end the game.

Matanzas Wins First National Championship

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

One thing the defections have done to Cuban baseball is turn the league around. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. In 2017 and 2018 Granma won their first Cuban titles Last year it was Las Tunas. This year the Matanzas Crocodiles downed Camaguey Bulls in six, winning the sixth game 11-2. For Camaguey they had not won a championship so no matter the result it would have been the fourth consecutive year a first time champion would be crowned in Cuba.

A six run sixth broke the game wide open. Noelvis Entenza ensured the victory by throwing six shutout innings. He gave up two in the seventh inning, turned the ball over to Jonder Martinez and Jonder closed out the game.

Cesar Prieto and Erisbel Arruebaruena each hit solo homeruns for Matanzas. Erisbel was one of those players who defected, but could not make it with the Dodgers and returned to Cuba.

Changes to the KBO for the 2023 season.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

The KBO has made a number of changes that will have an impact on their 2023 season and in some cases prior to 2023. Below are a list of those changes.

1) A salary cap. It will be set at 120 percent of the average salary of the top 40 highest paid players, excluding rookies and foreign players. Salaries will be used from the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Teams exceeding the cap will be fined and have their first round draft pick drop by nine positions from the following year.

2) Service time reductions. They will be lessoned by one year, eight years for those drafted out of high school and seven years for those drafted out of college.

3) Minimum wage increase. The minimum wage will be increased from 27 million won to 30 million won (around $25,000)

4) All three foreign players can play in same game. Starting the 2020 season all foreign players can play in the same game. The KBO allows a maximum of three foreign players per roster (usually two pitchers and one hitter). Previously, if a position player was in the lineup and a foreign player was pitching the second pitcher or position player could not play in the game. There will also be a $4 million cap to compensate all three foreign players. Beginning in the 2023 seasons teams can add an additional two foreign players (one pitcher and one position player) to their minor league teams. The annual salary for these minor league players may no exceed $300,000.

5) Injured list to be introduced. The KBO will adopt three injured lists of 10, 15 and 30 days.

6) Positioning cards can be used. Wrist bands or index cards can be used to determine where a player is to play for a specific batter. In the past only outfielders were allowed to use positioning cards.

7) Breaking first place ties. If two teams are tied for first place they will play a one game playoff to determine winner. If three or more teams are tied then head to head record will be used.

8) Seven game series formats. Instead of the 2-3-2 format the KBO will use the 2-2-3 format, with the last three games