Archive for November, 2020

Obregon Wins First Half in the Mexican Winter League

Monday, November 30th, 2020

The Obregon Yaquis won the first half of the Mexican Winter League, earning themselves ten points for end of the season playoff qualification. They were led by Alonzo Harris who hit .337 and led the team with 17 RBIs and Sebastian Valle, who hit .280 with six homeruns and 15 RBIs. Below are the standings and the points each team received as a result of their finish:

Obregon Yaquis 21-8 (10 points)
Hermosillo Naranjeros 15-11 (9 points)
Monterrey Sultanes 14-12 (8 points)
Culiacan Tomateros 15-13 (7 points)
Guasave Algodoneros 14-13 (6 points)
Jalisco Charros 15-14 (5.5 points)
Mazatlan Venados 14-14 (5 points)
Mexicali Aguilas 13-16 (4.5 points)
Navojoa Mayos 10-19 (4 points)
Los Mochis 9-20 (3.5 points)

The corona virus played havoc on the schedule, even postponing the season for 17 days. The batting average leader was the Mayos Omar Renteria (.407). The homerun and RBI leader was the Tomateros Sebastian Elizalde (9, 32). Sebastian was also tied for second in stolen bases (8). The leader in that area was Alonzo Harris (20).

On the pitching front Mayos Felix Doubront led in ERA (2.15). The Naranjeros Juan Pablo Ormas (5-2) and Charros Luis Ivan Rodriguez (5-0) were tied for the lead in wins. The Tomateros Manny Barreda (35) was the strkieout leader with Doubront just one whiff behind him. The pitcher perhaps have the roughest season is Monterrey’s Daniel Cruz (0-5, 13.14).

MLB Draft League to be Formed

Monday, November 30th, 2020

In an effort to take a closer look at drafted players, major league baseball will create a five or six team league of high school ball players. Because the draft has been pushed back to July, there is still enough time from the end of high school to the beginning of the draft to create a 68 game schedule.

Five teams have been established as hosts for the teams with a sixth team still in negotiation. Those teams are located in four different states. The five teams are the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Ohio), State College Spikes and the Williamsport Crosscutters (Pennsylvania), Trenton Thunder (New Jersey) and West Virginia Black Bears.

It is unclear how teams will be established but it will give the players greater exposure to the scouts. Players will also be educated to prepare them for a possible professional career.

Dinos to Post Na

Monday, November 30th, 2020

The NC Dinos will post one of my favorite players in the KBO, Sung-Bum Na. You can sing the ending of the Beatles song “Hey Jude” to his last name in celebration.

The two concerns with Na. The first concern is a serious knee injury cut short his 2019 season. Up to that point he had been a pretty decent defensive outfielder with a strong arm. After the surgery he did not spend as much time in the outfield, playing a lot of DH. Teams looking for an outfielder may want to take a look at his outfield play to see if it is major league caliber. He also played some first base in the KBO last year, so that is a possibility.

The second concern is an increase in strikeouts. The 148 were the most in his career. The upside is that his power numbers were better, with his .596 slugging percentage the second best of his career. He also did not suffer too much from his batting average (.324) and OBA (.390), both numbers above his career average. What also has to be taken into account is that his offensive numbers early in his career were inflated by a livelier ball. The KBO has changed to a ball with a little less jump to it and the offensive numbers have leveled off.

What is not in doubt with Na is his ability to hit. The walk to whiff ratio tends to be about three whiffs to every walk, which can be a concern because it can get exploited by major league pitchers. But his run production is not questioned. Last year he drove in 112 runs. He was just as menacing in the playoffs, driving in six runs in the one championship series the Dinos played. So the man can hit. Whether he can play a high level defense in the outfield is open to debate.

Top Shortstop Prospects

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

This position holds the cream of the crop. Everyone signed out of the Dominican Republic or Venezuela seems to start out as a shortstop, even Miguel Cabrera. Many of them eventually move to second or third base, or even the outfield. Some because they have gotten bigger as they have matured so they lack the range to play the position, others because a player ahead of them also plays shortstop and the bat is there to put him in the lineup at another position. Because of this, we are going to rank 20 players at this position.

1. Wander Franco (Rays) - Wander is possibly the number one ranked prospect in baseball. So was Jurickson Profar and Yoan Moncada at one time. That ranking does not carry with it automatic stardom in the major leagues, but Wander does have a big time bat that has hit over .300 at each level he has played in the minor leagues. During his 2019 season he reached full season ball, and compared to the Rookie Leagues, his power numbers dropped a little. The Rays don’t question the bat, expecting it to hit 30 plus homeruns and hit over .300 consistently in the major leagues. What is impressive about those power numbers is that he has an 83/54 walk to whiff ratio during that two year period, facing pitchers that are three to four years older than him. His speed is not great so his range is limited at the position. The Rays already have Willy Adames at short. By the time Franco is ready for short, it may also be the time the Rays are prepared to cut salary and say goodbye to Adames. Wander should see some major league time by 2022. He went down to the Dominican to get some playing time since he did not have a 2020 season, but that was cut short as he was forced to return to the United States to have a look at his injury.

2. Bobby Witt Jr (Royals) - The 2019 first round pick has a leaner build than Franco. He is also projected to have a little more power and settle as a better fielder. What Witt won’t be able to do is hit with the consistency of Franco. He has more swing and miss plate appearances, which translates into weaker bat to ball contact, lowering that batting average as he faces more superior pitching. Myworld saw him swinging an aluminum bat at the homerun derby during the All Star break. He was top dog in the competition. Witt has a father of the same name who was a pitcher in major league baseball. The legs carry good speed, which equates to good range at shortstop. There is confidence that he has the defensive tools to stay at the position. The biggest concern is improving his ability to make contact. Witt had no 2020 season, so that put a quiet stall in his development. Myworld expects him to make his major league debut some time around the end of 2022.

3. Jazz Chisholm (Marlins) - The Bahama native was originally signed by the Diamondbacks in 2015 for $200,000. Signed the same year out of the Bahamas was another shortstop Lucius Fox, who you do not see on this list. The Diamondbacks traded him straight up in 2019 for Zac Gallen. In the last two years in the minors he has shown enough power to hit 20 plus homeruns. The bat has shown many holes with a .220 average in 2019 and whiffs of greater than 140 in those two seasons. He did get to play a bit for the Marlins in 2020, hitting just .161 over just 21 games. His tendency to swing and miss lessoned and he appeared to show better discipline at the plate the more he plays. The defensive tools are there to play a quality shortstop. If he can tweak his discipline at the plate he could become a multiple all star at the position. The 2021 season will see him start at AAA with another callup to the Marlins if he does well.

4. Royce Lewis (Twins) - The first pick in the 2017 draft has been a top prospect for so long that sometimes you take him for granted. In his 2019 minor league season he reached AA, but with the Twins in a playoff race, they did not see a reason to call him up for the 2020 season. Royce had what you could call a down 2019 season, hitting just .236 in a season split between A and AA. His OBA was a dreadful .290. That is far below his two previous seasons when he hit .279 or greater. He seemed to lack patience at the plate in 2019 with a strikeout to walk rate at better than 3 to one, much worse than his previous two seasons. Royce is one of the fastest players in the minors and could use his speed in centerfield, where the Twins used him a bit in 2019. His bat is anticipated to play in the majors and it could show 20 plus homerun pop if he can make more consistent, solid contact. The 2021 season should finally see his arrival with the Twins.

5. Ronny Mauricio (Mets) - The Mets already have two solid shortstops competing for a job in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. Ronny could make it a third, though at 6′3″ he could bulk up too much to force a move to third. Since the lack of speed is one of his only down sides, he may lack the range to play short in the major leagues. His bat is expected to hit. The Mets signed him for $2.1 million in 2017. In 2019 he reached Low A, hitting .268 with four homeruns. His walk to whiff ratio was a concerning 23/99, which is a major reason Rosario has struggled with major league pitching. The Mets anticipate that his power will develop enough for a move to third base. Any major league time probably won’t be seen until late 2022 at the earliest.

6. Marco Luciano (Giants) - Marco signed with the Giants in 2018 for $2.6 million. They hope he turns out better than Lucius Fox, who they signed for $6 million, but traded away for a song. Marco is a different player than Lucius, one who can hit for power. He only got to play 47 games in the minors in 2019, but he hit 10 homeruns with a .564 slugging percentage. He batted .302 with a 32/45 walk to whiff ratio. If his walk percentage continues that trend he will be a slugging bat who gets on base a lot. A shortstop that hits .300 with 30 plus homeruns and a .400 OBA would be a dream for the Giants. As with Mauricio, speed is not a big part of his game, so a move to third base looks to be in his future. Myworld does not anticipate him being with the Giants until 2023.

7. Austin Martin (Blue Jays) - Myworld saw Austin in the College World Series in 2019. The 2020 season was cancelled early but Austin was good enough to be a first round pick in 2020. That means there are no stats on Austin. He hit .392 in college with a high OBA. The power was not great and is expected to be above average. He also played multiple positions with Vanderbilt. Many conjectured that he would be the first player selected in the draft but he fell to being the fifth pick. His ultimate position could be centerfield or second base since he had problems with consistency at shortstop with Vanderbilt. The bat though should allow him to reach the majors quickly, say sometime in 2022.

8. O’Neil Cruz (Pirates) - If the 6′7″ O’Neil can bend down to play shortstop consistently, why not allow him to play. The consensus is the Dominican with the rocket arm will eventually move to right field. The power in his bat is immense, with the potential to hit 40 plus homeruns per year. Making consistent contact is not a major problem but he could always seek improvement, with walk to whiff ratios around 30/100. Despite his large frame, speed is not a weakness. The 2020 season was a wasted season of development. He stayed in the Dominican where he got into a car accident in which two people were killed. What kind of impact this will have on his psyche for the future is open for question. Last year he reached AA, so it is a concern the Pirates did not have room for him to work out in the alternate camp. Maybe that is why they are the Pirates and fail to develop their prospects. Cruz is playing in the Dominican Winter League and should see some major league playing time late in 2021.

9. Anderson Tejeda (Rangers) - Anderson was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $100,000. He seemed to have a nice breakout season in 2018 when he hit 19 homeruns. His 2019 season was cut short to 43 games because of an injured shoulder. He got an opportunity to play with the Rangers in 2020, making his major league debut and hitting three homeruns in 23 games. One of the major issues with Tejeda is poor strike zone discipline, with walk to whiff ratios of 40/130. That will keep his batting averages at .250 or below unless he improves that discipline. His speed is just a tick above average, so there is concern about his range at short. He does make up for that with one of the strongest arms in the minor leagues. With a good spring Tejeda could be the starting shortstop for the Rangers in 2021.

10. Jose Garcia (Reds) - The Cuban prospect surprised many with his power swing in spring training. Power is not expected to be his strong suit. At 6′2″ he is not considered a small guy so perhaps some power is developing. The Reds signed Garcia for his smooth defense. He improved his bat in 2019, advancing to High A and hitting .280 with an OBA of .343 (compared to .245/290). What was surprising is the Reds called him up early to play shortstop during their playoff run last season. He struggled with a .194 average and a 1/26 walk to whiff for a .206 OBA, but they still played him because of his defense. None of his 13 hits went for extra bases. He will probably need another season in the minors, but the Reds could still have him return sometime in 2021.

11. C.J. Abrams (Padres) - A 2019 first round pick by the Padres is tough to tag. He had a nice minor league debut hitting .393 with a .647 slugging. All but two of his 34 games were played in Rookie ball. He runs with the wind, ala Trea Turner, stealing 15 bases in those 34 games. If his Rookie League stats can be deciphered accurately he makes good contact with a 11/14 walk to whiff ratio. The defensive tools exist to play shortstop, including a strong arm. However, with all that speed he may be best utilized in center field. Abrams has a long way to reach the Padres. When he does, if he wants to play shortstop he will have to usurp Tatis Jr. The Padres will probably not have to make that decision until 2023, with a possible late season callup in 2022.

12. Geraldo Perdomo (Diamondbacks) - Perdomo was a bargain signing at $70,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. In 2019 he played in A ball, showing the ability to make good contact, but lacking in power. His career walk to whiff ratio is 169/148 with a batting average of .278. There is some gap power but currently his slugging average is a wimpish .368. At 6′2″ he could develop more power but not to the detriment of his defense. He has Gold Glove potential for the position so anything his bat can do is a plus. The lack of any organized play in 2020 hurt his development process so the best Geraldo can hope for in his major league debut is sometime late 2022.

13. Jordan Groshans (Blue Jays) - Bo Bichette is the current Blue Jays shortstop with the newly drafted Austin Martin right behind him. At 6′3″ Jordan has the length to develop big time power. After hitting .296 with five homeruns in 48 games in his minor league debut in 2018, his 2019 season was cut short by a foot injury, limiting him to just 23 games. With the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season the development process has been slowed even further. Currently, Jordan’s hits are gap to gap with the potential to send more of those balls over the fence as he gains strength. Jordan has the potential to hit for power and average. His speed is a tick above average, which could slow after he matures, meaning a move to third base. His power at short is not as beneficial to the team if he has to move to third. The Jays have time to develop him so myworld does not expect to see him playing with the Blue Jays before 2022.

14. Bryson Stott (Phillies) - The 2019 first round pick has all the tools except for power. That could develop with time as his 6′3″ frame develops. He slugged six homeruns in 48 games in his 2019 minor league debut. His ability to draw walks and spank the ball to the opposite field could make him an ideal number two hitter. The tools are there to stick at short as an above average defensive player. Stott is a college drafted player so he needs to rise quickly after a wasted 2020 season. Expect the Phillies to push for his major league debut time to be 2021.

15. Robert Puason (Athletics) - Puason was a recent 2019 signing, eliciting a bonus from the Athletics for $5.1 million. That is a lot of cheddar. At 6′3″ his body is currently lean and stringy. The strength can come as he matures. He currently has good speed, but he does not want to lose that with bulk. A strong arm and plus range makes him a potential Gold Glove shortstop. All we can go on now is his high signing bonus, second to potential Yankee super star outfielder Jasson Dominguez, and the reports that all his tools have the potential to be above major league average. His start time in the majors will have to wait until 2024.

16. Gabriel Arias (Indians) - The Venezuelan prospect was signed by the Padres in 2016 for $1.9 million. His bat is still a little soft but his glove is golden. Gabriel saw some power break out in 2019 when he slugged 17 homeruns and raised his slugging average from 2018 120 points to .470. The Padres included Gabriel in a trade with the Indians for Mike Clevenger. With Abrams and Tatis Jr. at shortstop the Padres are stacked. He needs to show better plate discipline if he hopes to achieve offensive success. He has a 78/344 walk to whiff ratio in his minor league career. The Indians have been talking about trading Francisco Lindor. Arias is probably a couple steps from taking the reigns at short, so do not expect a major league debut until sometime late in 2022.

17. Oswald Peraza (Yankees ) - Yankee prospects can sometimes be a bit over hyped. Peraza was signed for just $175,000 in 2016. He reached A ball in 2019. His batting averages have hovered around .260 and he has yet to hit over 4 homeruns. leaving him with a slugging average of just .346. The Yankees hope the tools defy the numbers. The speed is there to steal 23 bases in 2019 and provide the range to play short. The arm is strong. The power may always lack. With the Yankees prospects like Peraza are normally used as trade bait to acquire a veteran to make a playoff run. Trusting a rookie shortstop not named Derek Jeter to play a critical position for a win now team is not to be expected. Perhaps he will see a platoon role for the Yankees sometime in 2022.

18. Tyler Freeman (Indians) - We just see a little too much average in the 2017 first round supplemental pick. He has hit well with a .319 career minor league average, including a .352 average in rookie ball in 2018. Over the fence power is absent, but he does have the ability to spray the gaps to hit 61 doubles his last two seasons. The speed is not supposed to be great, but he has the savvy to steal 19 bases in 2019. His defensive tools may be better used in a utility role, lacking the power to play corner and the range to play short. He could see that role in 2022.

19. Keoni Cavaco (Twins) - A 2019 first round pick, he played at Eastlake High School, which is where my niece went to school. Myworld has to give him props for that. His one and only season of 25 games he hit just .172, with a 4/35 walk to whiff ratio. That is very foreboding. He was primarily a third baseman in high school, but the Twins have been impressed with his tools at short. Obviously he will have to improve his discipline at the plate if he wishes to hit for average. He is still a far cry from any major league consideration, possibly late 2023.

20. Yasel Antona (Nationals) - The last player on a Top 20 list is normally someone special. Not that any of his tools are anything special, but Yasel is above average in all phases. He also seemed to show some increased pop in camp that had a lot of players going “Wow”. The Nationals signed him in 2016 for $3.9 million. Tommy John surgery ended his 2018 season early and he only saw three games in 2019. In 2018 he was only hitting .220 with a .331 slugging. So most of the reason he appears on this list is because of hype. A lack of speed may force him to move to third, where the power needs to show if he wants to play. Expect that to be sometime in late 2022.

Top Third Base Prospects

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Just like at second base, a number of shortstops become third baseman, but those are players who lack the range to play middle infield, but carry power in their bat. And a lot of players who start as third baseman are forced to move to first base or the outfield because of their inability or lack of quickness to react to the ball. That is why it is called the hot corner. Below are the players who currently play third who myworld believes are the top prospects for the position.

1. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The son of Charlie Hayes was a first round pick in 2015. One of the biggest criticisms of his game was his lack of offense. His defense was gold glove caliber. The Pirates promoted him in September and in 24 games and close to 100 at bats he hit .376 with five homeruns for a .682 slugging average. Replicating that production will be difficult, but if his bat can produce just a portion of those numbers he can be an All Star. In the minors his best slugging percentage was .444 and his career average is .399, almost 300 points lower than his major league production. His speed is above average for a third baseman, but they would lose a lot of defense of they move him to the outfield. The 2021 season should see him starting at third base.

2. Nolan Jones (Indians) - If not for Hayes 2020 major league production, Jones, a second round 2016 pick would have been the top third base prospect. He has a nice power bat that hits from the left side. In 2019 he mashed 15 homeruns, a slight decline from his 2018 season of 19 homeruns. There is a lot of swing and miss in his game, but that also comes with a high number of walks. The 2019 season showed him with a 96/148 walk to whiff ratio in 126 games. He should be able to hit 30 plus homeruns per year once he is major league ready. His arm is good and he has the defensive chops to be an average to possibly above average third baseman. His lack of speed prevents him from being a top caliber outfielder, but the arm keeps that possibility open. He finished the 2019 season with 48 games at AA. This should allow him to start the 2021 season in AAA with a major league promotion a possibility.

3. Nolan Gorman (Cardinals) - The 2018 first round pick is one of many third base prospects for the Cardinals. His scouting report would be similar to Jones. He hits lefthanded, has good power, limited speed, a strong arm with the ability to be an average to above average fielder. The big difference in their two games is his ability to take walks. Gorman’s walk to whiff ratio in 2019 was 45/152. This could result in lower batting averages. In 2019 he hit just .248, which could be better if he showed more patience. Gorman will probably begin the 2021 season in AA, not seeing the Cardinals lineup until 2022. Elehuris Montero is ahead of him in the depth chart and Cuban Malcolm Nunez is right behind him. The Cardinals also drafted third baseman Jordan Walker in the first round of the 2020 draft.

4. Josh Jung (Rangers) - The Rangers first round 2019 pick is a big time power bat. Unfortunately, he has not had a lot of minor league games to show it off. In 2019 he only played in 44 games with two homeruns. He did show the ability to hit for average finishing at .316. Drafted out of Texas Tech, the 23 year old should advance quickly. The 2019 season showed him being primarily a gap to gap hitter but as he strengthens and becomes more aware of the pitches he can drive he should hit consistently 30 plus homeruns each year. His speed is lacking, but his defense should be average to possibly above average. Josh should start the 2021 season in AA with a possible late season promotion.

5. Brett Baty (Mets) - Like Josh, the 2019 first round pick of the Mets played a minimum amount of games (51). His swing and miss was more severe (65) which resulted in a much lower average (.234). Brett showed that when he makes contact the ball will fly, with seven homeruns for a .452 slugging percentage. The left handed bat can drive the ball to all fields with 30 plus homerun a year power once he arrives in the major leagues. While he stands 6′3″ the athleticism will allow him to stay at third. The arm is strong but the speed is below average so a move to the outfield is doubtful. As an older high school pick the Mets may be more aggressive in his promotions than normal high school picks. He should start the 2021 season in A ball with quick promotions occurring with success.

6. Jonathan India (Reds) - The 2018 first round pick needs to increase his power to stick at the position. His career two year slugging percentage is .410 with 11 homeruns in 2019. As a college drafted player there may not be a lot of increase in strength. He does have the patience to take walks and gives the Reds an excellent OBA option. Defensively he has the ability to be an above average third baseman but his average speed could allow him to move to a corner or play second base. India reached AA in 2019 so he could make his major league debut in 2021. His numbers may fall short of what a team expects from a top five pick but he could end up a suitable major leaguer with decent numbers as a utility option.

7. Blaze Jordan (Red Sox) - Like Bryce Harper before him Blaze received a lot of publicity for his youthful power exploits. He was thought to be a 2021 draft pick but graduated from high school one year early. Signing concerns dropped him to the third round in the 2021 draft where the Red Sox were able to sign him for $1.75 million, which could be a bargain. Blaze was hitting 500 foot homeruns as a 13 year old. There are some concerns about his ability to make contact, his speed is below average and he lacks the quickness to field the position. He may ultimately move to first base. Since he was drafted as a 17 year old, losing a season does not hurt Blaze as other players selected in 2020. He could start the 2021 season in extended spring with a promotion to full season ball or short season if the minor leagues still have short season leagues.

8. Rece Hinds (Reds) - The 2019 second round pick only played three games in 2019 because of injuries. He failed to get a hit in his 8 at bats. Rece may have more power potential than any player on this list, but the concern is that he may have more swing and miss. There is also question marks on his ability to stay at third base. His arm is strong enough to move to a corner outfield, but his lack of speed would be a detriment to his defense. Rece is the last person on this list who needed to miss the 2020 season. He will be 21 years old in September with only 8 minor league at bats. Where he ends up on defense is a big question mark. If the National League adopts the DH that may be his best position, or a move to first base.

9. Isaac Paredes (Tigers) - Isaac is one of those players who spent most of his minor league career as a shortstop, but finally had to move to third because of his lack of range. His bat should be able to hit for a decent average, bordering around the .300 range. He makes good contact with the ability to take walks (57/61 walk to whiff ratio in 2019). His power should manifest itself into doubles and borderline 20 homerun power. He made his major league debut last year and hit .220 in a little over 100 at bats, a poor 8/24 walk to whiff ration a reason for the dismal performance. His defense should be above average at third because of his soft hands and strong arm. The Tigers lack an option at third base so with a good spring expect him to start at that position in 2021.

10. Kody Hoese (Dodgers) - A 2019 first round pick who showed some pop and hit for average in his brief 41 game performance in the minors. At 6′4″ he has good length to carry the ball when he makes contact. He also has the patience to take walks and the contact ability to avoid high strikeout rates. Lack of speed will prevent him from moving to the outfield, but there is enough power in his bat for a move to first base. His defense should be passable to settle at third base. Kody will be turning 24 during the 2021 season so he needs to advance quickly. Expect him to start the season in AA with a good spring.

Puerto Rico Winter League in a Bit of a Struggle

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

The Puerto Rican Winter League will begin on December 8. Only four teams will be participating. Two of them are the regular teams the Mayaguez Indios and the Caguas Criollos. There will be a third team named the Manati Atenienses and a fourth team named RA 12. Three of the regular teams will not participate this year because of the financial concerns brought about by the corona virus.

Santurce Cangrejeros, one of the more successful teams in Puerto Rico will not participate. Also not participating are the Carolina Gigantes and the Aguadilla Tiburones. All players on those rosters will become free agents.

The RA 12 team is a team put together by Roberto Alomar. They are a developmental team.

It will only be an 18 game season in Puerto Rico. The games will be played without fans, making it financially difficult for the three established teams to operate.

Break Out the Brooms - Back to Back Sweeps for the Hawks in Japan Series

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

The Softbank Hawks swept the Yomiuri Giants for their fourth consecutive Japan Series championship. Last year they swept the Giants and they repeated that effort this year with a 4-1 win. The Giants were not a very competitive team in this series.

Ex-major leaguer Tsoyoshi Wada gave up a run in the first inning and lasted just two innings. The Hawks went with six different relievers to shut out the Giants for the remaining seven innings on just three hits. Yuki Matsumoto followed Wada and worked 2.2 innings. The Hawks then stuck to the same script they have been using during these playoffs, bringing in Livan Moinelo for the eighth and Yuito Mori for the ninth.

The Hawks scored all four of their runs in the first two innings. Yuki Yanagita gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead with a two run homer in the first. Takuya Kai hit his second homerun of the series, a two run blast in the second. Giants starter Seishu Hatake gave up both blasts and was removed from the game after the Kai homer.

The good news for the Giants was the bullpen held the Hawks to just one hit in the last 6.1 innings. The bad news is the Giants could not generate any runs off the Hawks pen.

The Hawks have been the dominant team in the NPB the last seven years, winning the last four and six of the last seven championships. Their 12 championships are now one behind the Seibu Lions but still far behind the Giants 22 championships.

Moore Pitches Hawks to Game Three Win

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Matt Moore threw no hit ball through seven innings and the Softbank Hawks shutout the Yomiuri Giants 4-0 to get within a game of winning the Japan Series. One more win will give them four straight Japan Series titles. The Hawks have now won 11 straight Japan Series games, and seven straight against the Giants.

Livan Moinelo continued the no hitter into the ninth inning. Yuito Mori got two outs into the ninth before giving up a hit to Yoshihiro Maru. The only no hitter in a Japan Series game appears to be in 2007 when Daisuke Yamai and Hitoki Iwasi combined for one.. Yamai went eight innings in the 1-0 win.

Akira Nakamura got the scoring started early for the Hawks when he drove a pitch from Angel Sanchez in the third inning into the bleachers for an early 2-0 lead. Nakamura made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the seventh. Yurisbel Gracial added a fourth run with a single in the seventh.

Dominican Roster Update

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

The Dominican Republic has started their winter league season. Absent a 2020 minor league season the rosters are loaded with some interesting prospects and ex-major leaguers who are listed on the rosters. Because of the restrictions on foreign players, most of the rosters are filled with Dominican players. Below is a brief look at some of the players to watch.

Aguilas Cibaenas

Victor Robles - He leads a strong outfield for Aguilas with Juan Lagares and Melky Cabrera also on the roster. At one point he was a better prospect than Juan Soto, but his bat has not developed as expected. His defense is gold glove. In five games he is hitting .316 with one homerun. The down side is he has been caught stealing twice in three attempts.

Juan Lagares - Released by the Mets Juan hopes to find some interest with other clubs. His defense has never been a problem, but a quiet bat has prevented him from keeping an outfield job. In seven games Lagares is hitting .267 with no walks and seven whiffs.

Edmundo Sosa - The Cardinals shortstop prospect has not impressed with a .211 average and .263 slugging in five games. It is still early.

Robel Garcia - Released by the Cubs after they signed him in the Italian League, he leads the team in homeruns with two but is hitting just .158.

Wilmer Difo - He is also trying to find some interest after being designated by the Nationals. A .250 average after five games is what you can expect from this possible utility player.

Michael Ynoa - The 6′7″ righthander at one time had the highest bonus signing of international players. He has been a disappointment in the majors, having issues with control. In four appearances he has yet to give up a run with a zero to seven walk to whiff ratio in four innings.

Yunesky Maya - Myworld thought he would have a better career than Aroldis Chapman. That prediction did not turn out so good. He has been released by major league and Korean teams. In the Dominican Republic he is sharp with a 1.59 ERA after one start.

Junior Fernandez - The Cardinals top pitching prospect was beset by injuries last year. His first relief appearance did not turn out so well, giving up three hits and a walk in one inning of work for a 27.00 ERA.

Yoanner Negrin - He has not given up a run in two starts, working 11 innings and allowing just five hits. He has walked one and struck out 10.

Estrellas Oriente

Francisco Mejia - He was supposed to be a front line catcher with one of the strongest arms and a good bat. That has not come to fruition in the major leagues. In three Dominican games he is hitting .273 with one homerun.

Lewin Diaz - The power bat for the Marlins has yet to go deep and is hitting just .231 after four starts. With a good spring he could win the first base job in 2021.

Domingo Leyba - Drug suspension issues got him released from the Diamondbacks. The future utility player is trying to impress with Estrellas, but in four games he is hitting .231. He does have one homerun and a double from his three hits so a .538 slugging is good.

Christian Bethancourt - He is back to catching after being tried on the mound for a couple years. His quiet bat continues with a .100 average after three games.

Emmanuel Clase - Missed last season because of injury. He has made one relief appearance, walked one and struck out two in his one inning of shutout work.

Norge Ruiz - Myworld was not impressed of what we saw from Ruiz in the Series del Caribe in Puerto Rico. The Cuban was signed to a big contract by Oakland and the 5′10″ righthander has lived in the minors. He has had one relief appearance, gave up two hits in his one inning of work and allowed an unearned run to score.

Cristian Pache - The outfield prospect is listed on the roster but has yet to play.

Gigantes del Cibao

Ronald Guzman - Ronald lost his first base job with the Rangers after a poor 2020 season. A .375 average and 6/3 walk to whiff ratio is a good start to win that job back. The walks put his OBA at .565. The one downside is he has not hit for a lot of power with only two doubles and four singles.

Oneil Cruz - The Pirate prospect was in a major traffic accident over the summer in the Dominican Republic that killed a couple people. He has played three games and is hitting .231 without a walk and five whiffs in 13 at bats.

Rogelio Armenteros - Threw three innings of no hit ball in his one start, walking one and striking out five.

Escogido Leones

Wander Franco - The top prospect in baseball may miss some time because of a hurt bicep. In five games he was hitting .350 with one homerun. He had scored six runs and had a 3/4 walk to whiff ratio. He has also stolen a base. A good winter and spring and the Rays could be tempted to bring him up for the 2021 season.

Julio Rodriguez - Also one of the better prospects in baseball, the Mariners future outfielder is hitting just .222, but is leading his team in RBIs with four. He has also stolen two bases. Strikeouts have been a problem with a 2/10 walk to whiff ratio in 27 at bats.

Nate Lowe - He left the country after COVID concerns. He was only hitting .188 when he left.

Gregory Polanco - The outfielder is trying to solidify his status after a down year last year. He went 0 for 4 in his only Dominican game.

Franchy Cordero - There is an opening in the Royals centerfield. Cordero may be better at a corner. He has yet to see any playing time with Escogido, but he could report later in the season.

Jumbo Diaz - At 315 pounds we’ve always liked Jumbo. The free agent is trying to impress and has four shutout appearances of four innings to show early in the season. He has walked one and struck out three.

David Paulino - Once a promising Astros pitcher felled by injury and drug suspension issues. He has seen two relief appearances covering 3.1 innings. His ERA is 2.70 but his walk to whiff is 3/6. He still appears to have a lack of command, but a lot of swing and miss.

Rhiner Cruz and Enny Romero - Two pitchers who have pitched in Japan and are trying to find a team to continue their career. Both throw hard.
Cruz has an ERA of 4.50 after two appearances and Romero has a 9.00 ERA after one three inning start.

Francis Martes - The once promising Astros pitching prospect had a rough relief appearance, retiring two batters but giving up one hit and two walks. His ERA sits at 13.50.

Tigres de Licey

Anderson Tejeda - A good winter and spring could win him the starting shortstop job with the Rangers next year. In three games all three of his hits have gone for extra bases (two doubles and a homerun) for a .273 average. He has a .727 slugging.

Yasel Antuna - The Nationals shortstop prospect is on the roster but has yet to appear in a game.

Albert Abreu - The Yankees could have some openings in their rotation in 2021. In his one start Abreu went 3.2 innings, walked two and struck out 5. His ERA sits at 3.25.

Luis Gil - The other Yankee pitching prospect had a rough three inning relief appearance, giving up two runs on four hits for a 6.00 ERA. He walked one and struck out three.

Ervin Santana - Yes. He is still pitching. Major league teams will be looking for bargains this year. In his first start covering 3.1 innings Ervin gave up six hits but also struck out six. He also walked two, yet despite all those baserunners only one crossed the plate.

Adonis Medina - The Phillies pitching prospect is on the roster but has yet to appear in a game.

Toros del Este

Miguel Andujar - He is trying to win back a major league job. In his first 11 at bats he has two singles for a .182 average.

Jorge Mateo - Another big time Yankees prospect that is seeking a job. He has wandered around two teams now. With Toros he has a double in 10 at bats for a .100 average.

Jesus Sanchez - The promising Marlins outfield prospect has only appeared in one game. He did not get any hits in his four at bats, striking out twice.

Vidal Brujan - The speedy Rays second base prospect has yet to appear in a game, but he is on the roster.

Domingo German - Suspended for the entire 2020 season for a domestic abuse violation, the Yankees pitcher started one game and pitched four hitless innings. He walked one and struck out seven and took out his anger on the hitters with two hitbatsmen.

Anthony Gose - He continues his conversion from outfielder to pitcher. In two relief appearances he has yet to give up a run.

Jenry Meija - The ex-major league closer is trying to get his mojo back. He threw a two inning relief appearance that was perfect, striking out one.

Dinos Capture Korean Series for First Time

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

The most recent expansion team, the NC Dinos have won the Korean Series after their 4-2 win over the defending champion Doosan Bears. It is also a bit of revenge for 2016 when the Doosan Bears swept the Dinos to win the championship.
Again, the Dinos got stellar pitching, this time from Drew Rucinski, who tossed five innings of shutout ball. Mike Wright came on in the sixth and shutout the Bears for one more inning to extend the shutout streak to 25 innings. The Bears finally broke the ice in the seventh after two hit by pitches started off the inning. A ground out scored one run and a Kim Jae-ho double drove in the second run for the Bears, but by then the Bears were already down by four runs.

Korean pitcher of the year Raul Alcantara shut down the Dinos through the first four innings. A two out rally in the fifth nicked him for one run. Three straight singles, the last one by Lee Myung-gi made it 1-0. The Dinos pulled away in the sixth with three runs. Park Suk-min had an RBI single to score Aaron Altherr, who had doubled. Two walks loaded the bases with two outs to set the stage for a clutch two run single from Park Min-woo.

Song Myung-gi pitched a perfect eighth and Won Jong-hyun threw a perfect ninth to seal the first Korean Series title by the Dinos.