Archive for May, 2020

The Young Guns in the KBO

Sunday, May 24th, 2020

The KBO used to be known as a hitter”s league. Since they have changed balls it has now transformed into less of a hitter’s league. This has allowed some young pitchers to come up and start making an impact in the KBO. In order to qualify for this list the pitcher has to be under 25, pitched at least 10 innings or used consistently as a reliever and have an ERA below 4.00. We may have some exceptions. Below is a list of those young pitchers.

NC Dinos (14-3)

The hottest team in the KBO have a trio of young pitchers who qualify for this list.

Koo Chang-Mo (2-0, 0.41) - At 23 he could be the best pitcher in the KBO. Last year was his breakout season when he went 10-7, 3.20. Despite lacking overpowering stuff, the lefthander strikeouts more than a batter per inning, something only foreign pitchers usually do. In his three starts covering 22 innings he has only given up one run.

Kim Young-Gyu (0-1, 3.94) - The young 20 year old lefthander made his debut last year (5-4, 5.29). He has only walked one hitter in his 16 innings of pitching, but his ERA is high because of the 6 homeruns he has given up. Last year, with his ERA at 5.29 he only gave up seven homeruns.

Bae Jae-Hwan (1-0, 2.25) - The 25 year old righthander has appeared in eight games. Usually, when Korea turns to the bullpen the runs start appearing on the scoreboard. Not so with Bae. The one down side is he has walked seven in his eight innings of work.

LG Twins (11-6)

The second place team also has a trio of young pitchers contributing to their early season success.

Lee Min-Ho (1-0, 0.00) - This is the first year for the 18 year old righthander, not to be confused with the Dinos 26 year old righthander of the same name. Lee pitched a couple early games of relief, not giving up a run, then got sent down. When recalled he got a start and pitched 5.1 innings of shutout one hit ball. In 9.1 innings he has yet to give up a run, though his 4/2 walk to whiff ratio is nothing to get excited about.

Lee Sang-Gyu (1-0, 1.93) - The 23 year old righthander only pitched to three hitters last year. This year in 8 appearances he has given up two runs. He has a win, hold and a save in those 8 appearances.

Jung Woo-Young (1-0, 1.17) - At 6′4″ the 24 year old righthander has a nice height for a Korean pitcher(most Korean pitchers stand 6′1″ to 6′2″). Last year was his rookie season when he pitched 56 games of relief. This year he has appeared in five games of relief, given up just three hits in 5.2 innings and already picked up a win, a save and two holds. He has struck out a batter in each of his appearances (six whiffs total).

Doosan Bears (10-7)

The Doosan Bears have no pitcher meeting our category.

Kiwoom Heroes (10-8)

Choi Won-Tae (0-2, 3.86) - The 23 year old righthander has given up three unearned runs, but in his last outing he limited the Lotte Giants to one run in six innings. He has been a work horse for the Heroes, making four starts and pitching 21 innings. He has yet to give up a homerun during that time.

Kia Tigers (10-8)

Matt Williams is not a manager that is comfortable with rookies, but the Tigers have one young pitcher he has confidence in.

Jean Sang-Hyun (1-0, 0.00) - The 24 year old has pitched in seven games of relief and has yet to give up a run. He has picked up two holds and given up just four hits in his 8 innings of work.

Lotte Giants (9-8)

This 19 year old was struggling until his last outing.

Seo Jun-Won (2-1, 4.98) - He has now made two good starts and two non-quality starts. His last start he did not give up a run in 6.2 innings, limiting the Kiwoom Heroes to just three hits. There will be some ups and downs as the youngster tries to stitch his way through the KBO.

KT Wiz (7-10)

Bae-Je-Seong (1-0, 0.89) - This is the fourth year for the 23 year old righthander. His last two starts he did not give up a run, pitching seven innings in each start.

Hanwha Eagles (7-11)

They have a duo of youngsters to help their rotation.

Kim Min-Woo (0-1, 2.25) - The 23 year old righthander is now in his sixth KBO season. He has only given up 13 hits in his 24 innings, striking out 25. This is his first year he has struck out more than one hitter per inning pitched. He has also never had an ERA less than 5.14. This could be a break out season for Kim.

Kim Ee-Whan (1-0, 3.14) - This is his second season in the KBO. The numbers are not great but at 19 years of age the righthander needs some time to adjust.

Samsung Lions (6-12)

The Lions have a trio of youngsters on the pitching staff.

Won Tae-In (1-1, 4.50) - This is the second season in the starting rotation for the 20 year old righthander. He had one bad start in his three starts where he gave up five runs in five innings. The numbers are weak, but he has time.

Choi Chae-Heung (3-0, 2.65) - The 25 year old lefthander has won all three of his starts in his third season. In two starts he gave up a total of just one run in 11 innings. He has only given up 11 hits in 17 innings.

Choi Ji-Gwang (0-0, 0.00) - At 5′8″ the 22 year old righthander would not be attractive to major league scouts. This is his fourth season. Last year he appeared in 63 games. A 5/7 walk to whiff ration in just seven innings is a cause of concern.

SK Wyverns (3-14)

They have no one, which is a cause for concern for a team at the bottom of the standings. They have pitchers at 25 and under, but all have ugly numbers.

Illinois Dream Team

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The state of Illinois has an impressive Dream team. Below is the roster that could be created for those players born in Illinois who played in the major leagues.

Starting Lineup

Rickey Henderson LF
Kirby Puckett CF
Fred Lynn RF
Jim Thome 1B
Greg Luzinski DH
Robin Yount SS
Gary Gaetti 3B
Jim Sundberg C
Red Schoendienst 2B

Bench

Tom Haller (C), Lou Boudreau (Utl), Ben Zobrist (Utl), Ted Kluszewski (1B), Shawn Green (OF), Wally Berger (OF)

Starting Pitcher

Robin Roberts, Red Ruffing, Bret Saberhagen, Denny McClain, Rick Reuschel

Bullpen

Jason Isringhausen, Scott Garrelts, Jason Frasor, John Wyatt, Dan Stanhouse, Dutch Leonard

Ben Zobrist would probably start at second base for the most part, but we put him at utility to add flexibility to the lineup. Phil Masi seemed to have better numbers as a catcher, but we were more comfortable with Tom Haller for the bench role. The starting staff is strong though it really lacks an ace from a dream team perspective. Denny McClain had two amazing years, which was enough to get him in the rotation. The bullpen really lacks a shutdown closer. This might be a middle of the pack kind of dream team if it had to play games with the other dream teams.

Czech League Starts Today

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

The first European League will begin today. The league normally begins in April but because of the corona virus the league was postponed until May 22. Ten teams will play a round robin format and I’m assuming after that a playoff will happen.

The European Leagues normally allow foreign players. Because of the corona virus concerns, the only foreign players that will be allowed to play this year have to have been a permanent resident of the Czech Republic. This will provide an opportunity to many young Czechs who may have been forced to play in a lower league to accommodate foreign players.

The Arrows Ostrava will be trying for their third straight championship. Other teams in the league are Olympia Blansko, Techniko Brno, Eagles Braha, SaBat Praha, Draci Brno, Kotlanka Braha, Tempo Braha, Cardion Hrosi Brno and Nuclears Trebic.

You can go to a Youtube channel, query Baseball International and they give a nice run down of the teams in the Czech Republic.

With Major League Baseball Sidelined KBO Continues to Get its Day in the Sun

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

With no major league baseball and the international community starving for baseball, ESPN plans to expand its coverage of baseball to 130 different countries. Baseball hot beds currently deprived of baseball like Canada, Mexico and Netherlands will be included in this coverage.

ESPN has been carrying six games a week of KBO baseball. It would be interesting what the ratings are. With the major league owners and the players separated by salary disagreements, the KBO could be the best baseball the world can get, until the NPB gets started in mid-June or early July.

Taiwan Minor Leagues Open Tomorrow

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Something that may not happen in the United States is happening in the Taiwan. Their minor leagues are open for baseball. Fans will be allowed to attend the games, with a limit of 200 fans. The games will begin Saturday May 23.

To attend a game you need to fill out a government required health declaration form. The registration forms must be completed by 6 PM the day before the game is to begin in order for you to attend the game. That could create an impediment on attendance. And I’m assuming you must also wear a mask.

Taiwan has five minor league teams. Four of the minor league teams are for their four major league affiliates. The fifth is the expansion team Wei Chuan Dragons, who are expected to play in their majors next year.

Summer Koshien Cancelled for Japan

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

It is perhaps the largest and most prestigious tournament in Japan. They have a spring Koshien, but the summer Koshien is where legends are formed. Especially the pitching legends, who pitched daily, often tossing more than 150 pitches each game to advance their team to victory.

In 1933 Masao Yoshida tossed a 25 inning shutout in a semi-final win, throwing 336 pitches in that game. That will be a record that will never be broken, now that innings limits are being taken more seriously by high school coaches. Daisuke Matsuzaka almost matched that with his 17 inning 250 pitch performance in 1998. Matsuzaka also threw a no hitter in the finals, so the pitch count did not seem to impact his effectiveness.

A high school team from Taiwan qualified for Koshien and made it to the finals in 1933. A movie, Kano was made about their accomplishments.

The tournament was not played in 1918 because of rice riots. It was also not held from 1941 to 1945 because of World War II. Now add 2020 to the list because of the corona virus pandemic.

Dream Team Maryland/Virginia/DC

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Originally, myworld looked at a dream team for Maryland because we knew one of the greatest players of all time was born in Maryland. The roster was a bit short so we opened it up to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Most who live here think of it as one metropolitan community anyway. So below is the Dream Team for the Maryland/Virginia and D.C. area.

Starting lineup

Brady Anderson CF
David Wright 3B
Babe Ruth LF
Al Kaline RF
Jimmie Fox DH
Cal Ripken SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Gene Alley 2B
Brandon Inge C

Bench

Todd Hundley (C), Don Money (Utl), Maury Wills (Utl), Harold Baines (OF), Juston Upton (OF), Brian Jordan (OF)

Starting Pitching

Lefty Grove, Justin Verlander, Vic Willis, Bobby Witt, Danny Neagle

Bullpen

Josh Hader, Billy Wagner, Steve Farr, Mike Williams, Jeremy Jeffress, Johnny Klippstein

The lineup is very strong one through seven. The catching is weak and I might want to switch Wills to second base. It is hard to put him there now because he was primarily a shortstop. I could move Ripken to third but that would force Wright from the lineup. Putting Wills in the lineup would allow Brady to bat second and would really lengthen the power in the lineup. Alley would probably make a better utility player than Wills. The bench is not strong. After the first two starters the rotation takes a big dip in talent. The bullpen has a couple good lefty closers, but then it takes a big hit after that. So this team will need to score a lot of runs with its starting lineup to win and hope the pitching staff pitches just good enough to support the lineup.

No Swing and Miss in Min-Woo Park’s Game

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

The NC Dinos have started the season 11-1. That is one of the first starts in the KBO. The main straw that stirs the Dinos lineup is leadoff hitter Min-Woo Park. Despite going hitless in his first two games Park is now hitting .432. He has just one strikeout in his 48 plate appearances. What is even more amazing is that when Park takes a swing at the ball he makes contact, 98.8 percent of the time.

Last year, while most offensive numbers in the KBO went down, Park’s offensive numbers went up. He hit .344, not a career high, but his second highest average in the KBO. Back in 2017 he hit .363, but that was when the ball was juiced. He lacks power, with his season high in homeruns at 5, but he sprays the ball to the gaps. His career average is .329, but he has yet to hit below .324 since 2016.

Last year was also the first year in which he walked more than he struck out, a 41/40 walk to whiff rate. This year he may break that pace with four walks and one whiff. While the balls may not carry over the fence, when Park swings they are likely to find some place in the grass, good enough to get a rally started.

Leon Wins Nicaraguan Championship

Monday, May 18th, 2020

The statement that the only baseball being played was in Taiwan was never accurate. They were also playing ball in Nicaragua, though there is some question as to whether it should be considered as a professional league.

Leon won the national championship of Nicaragua. They beat Managua 2-0. Norman Lopez got a complete game shutout in the win. Geraldo Chevez hit a solo shot to provide all the offensive support Lopez needed. Arnol Rizo also drove in a run.

It was the second national championship for Leon. The first was in 2010.

Cuban Dream Team

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

The Cuban Dream Team could be better if they were not limited to just players who have played in the major leagues. There are a number of Hall of Famers who dominated in international tournaments that probably could have been good major league ball players, but in the early days it was rare for players to defect. The Cuban arrival to major league baseball is still in its infancy when compared with the Dominicans arrival. So the team may not be quite as good but they have some stars. Again, to qualify for the Dream team the player has to be born in Cuba and played in the major leagues. Myworld used Baseball Reference as its focal point to identify the players.

Starting Lineup

Minie Minoso CF
Tony Oliva LF
Tony Perez 1B
Jose Canseco RF
Rafael Palmeiro DH
Yuli Gurriel 3B
Yoan Moncada 2B
Yasmani Grandal C
Bert Campaneris SS

Bench

Eli Marrero C, Jose Abreu 1B, Zoilo Versalles UTL, Leo Cardenas UTL, Yoenis Cespedes OF, Yordan Alvarez OF

Starting Pitching

Luis Tiant, Dolf Luque, Jose Fernandez, Mike Cuellar, Livan Hernandez

Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias, Diego Segui, Danys Baez, Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pascual

Luis Robert and Jorge Soler may put themselves on this team next year just as Yordan Alvarez put himself on this team based on his rookie performance. Gurriel had a breakout season last year, but was always one of the top players in the Cuban League with Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes. Myworld was torn between Paul Casanova or Marrero as the back up catcher. The team probably has too many first base/DH types that are poor defensively and too many utility players that do not shine offensively when you think of a Dream team. The starting pitching is rock solid, even with the abbreviated opportunity Fernandez had to pitch. The bullpen was a little shy of arms so myworld was forced to add two long relievers in Pascual and Ramos who can both start and relieve. This team will compete.