Archive for January, 2021

Cuban Opening Day Playoff Salvo

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

They are in the quarterfinals of the Cuban playoffs. You can read more at the BaseballdeCuba website.

In the opening round Industriales defeated Granma 5-4. Myworld watched the first six innings of this game, until we had to interrupt the game with volleyball practice. Industriales tied the game in the ninth with a Alberto Calderon solo shot to send the game into extra innings. Earlier in the game he appeared to lose a ball in the sun and have it travel past his glove for a double, opening up a two run rally for Granma to tie the game.

The game ended in the tenth on a throwing error by shortstop Yulian Millan trying to complete a double play that allowed the winning run to score. Andy Rodriguez returned for the bottom of the tenth for his second inning of work to give Industrial the victory. It was their ninth straight post season win over Granma, almost as bad as the Yankees domination of the Twins in post season play.

Twenty one year old Brian Chi had an impressive performance, working six innings. He was removed from the game after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh. It was at this time myworld also departed from the telecast.

Alfredo Despaigne drove in two runs for Granma, one on a single and the other on a sacrifice fly.

The second game saw Santiago scratch by Las Tunas 7-4. Edilise Silva drove in three runs and Adriel Labrada drove in two runs with a homerun. Las Tunas appeared to stay with their starter Yudier Rodriguez for too long. He gave up six runs in his six innings of work, including three of the four runs in the seventh to lose a 4-3 lead.

Carlos Font worked seven innings for Santiago to get the win to go 13-3 on the year. Yunior Tur Pozo finished the last two frames to earn his 15th save of the year.

Winter League Update - Caribes Sweeps in Venezuelan Finals

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

And then there was one. Only the Mexican Winter League remains to identify their champion for the Series del Caribe. It took ten innings and multiple lead changes, but Caribes was able to pull out an 8-7 win to sweep Lara. Niuman Romero had the walk off game winning single to seal the victory.

It was a wild game that saw multiple lead changes. Both teams started out strong, scoring runs in the opening frame. Carlos Rivero hit a three run homer in the top of the first to give Lara an early 3-0 lead. Oswaldo Arcia responded with a two run double in the bottom half of the first inning to close the gap to 3-2.

Lara loaded the bases in the top of the second with two walks and a single but failed to score. They loaded them again in the third, this time with just one out but were prevented from scoring. This gave Caribes an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom half of the third. Ali Castillo and Arcia delivered RBI singles to give Caribes a 4-3 lead.

In the top of the fifth Lara tied the game on a RBI double by Rene Reyes. Lara then loaded the bases again in the sixth with one out but failed to score. Caribes took advantage again by scoring in the bottom half to pull ahead 5-4, Luis Sardinas with an RBI single.

Lara loaded the bases for the fourth time in the seventh, but this time scored. Yonathan Mendoza walked to force in a run. Ildemaro Vargas grounded into a double play to allow another run to score to give Lara a 6-5 lead. A walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases again, but the Cardenales could not deliver, Carlos Rivero flying out.

Caribes loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with one out, but could not score. Oswaldo Arcia, who had driven in three runs already, failed to deliver this time, flying out with Niuman Romero tagged out at home.

Caribes loaded the bases in the eighth, but Niuman Romero delivered with a 2 run single to recapture the lead 7-6. Jesus Sucre was thrown out at third on the hit.

In the ninth Gorkys Hernandez tied the game for Lara with an RBI single. When Caribes could not score in the bottom frame it went overtime.

That had to be a fun game to watch. Lara stranded 17 runners. Caribes stranded 9. Caribes pitchers walked 14, including Rene Reyes four times. No pitcher in the game threw more than 2.2 innings. The game lasted 4 hours and 43 minutes. For all the action too bad the attendance was only listed as 88. Corona virus concerns had to limit the attendance figures.

Mexico

In a more sedate game, Hermosillo outpitched Culiacan to win their game 1-0 to take a three games to one lead in their series. Isaac Paredes drove in the only run for Hermosillo with a double in the sixth. Jose Samayoa lasted seven innings for Hermosillo, allowing just two hits with no walks and six whiffs. Manny Barreda worked the full nine innings for Culiacan in a losing cause, giving up six hits and three walks, striking out two. Fernando Salas came on in the ninth to string together his third save of the series.

Winter League Update - Oranges over the Tomatoes

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

The only game played yesterday was in Mexico. Venezuela plays today with a win by Caribes sending them to the Series del Caribe with a sweep.

The Oranges vs the Tomatoes. Those are the two teams battling for the final playoff spot in Mexico. The Hermosillo Naranjeros took a two games to one lead over the Culiacan Tomateros with their 5-4 win. Julian Leon crunched a two run homerun in the eighth inning to score the deciding runs and give the Oranges a victory.

Victor Mendoza also drove in two runs and Isaac Paredes one for Hermosillo in the win. Fernando Salas closed out the ninth for his second save of the series.

SK Wyverns Sold to Shinsegae

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

One of Korea’s biggest retail stores in Korea, Shinsegae Group has agreed to purchase the SK Wyverns. The Wyverns were owned by SK Telecom, one of Korea’s largest mobile carriers. The purchase price is estimated at $122 million.

The Wyverns were not a team known for handing out big contracts. This has resulted in the fall of a franchise that once consistently made the playoffs. The contract is expected to be signed February 23. With that will probably come a name change for the franchise. Teams in Korea are named after the corporations that owns the team.

The Wyverns joined the league in 2000 after taking over for the departing Ssangbangwool Raiders. They won four Korean championships with the last being in 2018. The 2007 to 2012 period were their glory years when they played in six consecutive championships. The 2020 season however was a huge disappointment when they finished in ninth place out of ten teams with a 51-92-1 record.

What could be interesting is that Shinsegae also owns a small percentage (14.5) stake in the Samsung Lions. Don’t know if that creates a conflict of interest. The KBO clubs still need to vote for the approval of the sale, with a two thirds majority required to approve.

Information for this piece was acquired from Yonhap News Agency courtesy of MyKBO.net.

Cuban Baseball Playoffs Begin Today

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

The Cuban baseball playoffs begin today. You can watch them live via the Gametime channel. The game between Granma and Industriales will be televised there starting at 12:50 PM. Granma should have slugger Alfredo Despaigne available for the lineup. If you are not sure how to access Gametime go to the WBSC.org website for the link.

Because of the corona virus the Cuban playoffs are being played in a bubble with Estadio 5 de September in Cienfuegos and Jose Antonio Huelga Stadium in Sancti Spiritus as the playoff sites for the quarter finals. Other playoff matches include Matanzas vs Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus vs Pinar del Rio and Santiago de Cuba vs Las Tunas.

Winter League Update - Caguas Clinches Puerto Rican Championship

Monday, January 25th, 2021

Venezuela

Caribes used the bats of Rafael Ortega and Ali Castillo to down Lara 9-6. Ortega drove in four runs with a double and triple while Castillo used a 4 for 5 day to drive in two. Oswaldo Arcia also hit a solo shot. With a three games to none lead Caribes is now one win away from clinching a championship.

Puerto Rico

There were only two serious teams in the Puerto Rican League this year, after two teams dropped out. Caguas proved they were the better of the two teams by sweeping Mayaguez in four games, winning the final 7-6. They rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to win the game, two hit by pitches putting the tying and go ahead runs on base. A Victor Caratini single drove in the tying run. Vimael Machin drove in the go ahead run with his RBI single.

Fernando Cruz came on in the ninth to retire the side in order to garner the save. Jarren Duran led the game off with a homerun and scored three times, including the tying run. Jose Miranda launched a three run homer in the fifth inning to lead the Caguas offense up to the ninth inning.

Winter League Roundup - Durran Leads Caguas to Win

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Puerto Rico

Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran led Caguas to a 7-4 win over Mayaguez to leave them one game away from sweeping the series. Mayaguez had tied the game 2-2 in the top of the seventh after an RBI double by Danny Ortiz. In the bottom of the seventh Duran drove in what proved to be the go ahead run with an RBI double. He clinched the victory in the eighth with a three run homer, giving him four RBIs for the game.

Mexico

Culiacan evened their series with Hermosillo with a 6-1 win. Efren Navarro gave Culiacan a 1-1 tie with his solo homerun in the fifth. The Tomateros put the game away in the seventh and eighth innings to combine for five runs to put the game away. Sebastian Elizalde smashed a solo shot in the seventh and Yoelkis Guibert piled it on with a two run blast in the eighth in his only at bat of the game. Guibert had come in for defensive purposes but showed he could do much more.

Anthony Vasquez went 6.1 innings to get the win. Juan Pablo Ormas went six innings for Hermosillo, allowing just two hits, but one of them was the game tying homer hit by Navarro.

Venezuela

It was an old fashioned pitchers duel before Caribes was finally able to score their first run in the eleventh inning to beat Lara 1-0. Andres Machado allowed just one hit in his five innings for Caribes. Raul Rivero worked six innings, allowing just three hits for Lara.

In the top of the eleventh, Luis Sardinas delivered his first hit in five at bats to drive in Ali Castillo for the go ahead run. Lester Oliveros came in to close out the game, but could only retire one hitter, while walking three to load the bases. The Caribes called on Jean Toledo to escape out of the jam, and on his fourth pitch he got the double play ground ball that ended the game.

Top Dominican Prospects in American League

Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

Last week myworld identified the top ten prospects from National League teams from the Dominican Republic. Sixto Sanchez, Jesus Sanchez, Luis Garcia, Christian Pache, Brailyn Marquez and Edward Cabrera all made their major league debuts from that list. From that group all reappeared on this year’s list except for Luis Garcia, who lost his rookie eligibility.

The top three from the American League list remains unchanged. Leody Taveras, Jorge Mateo and Deivi Garcia all played in the major leagues. Below are the top prospects from the American League from the Dominican Republic.

1. Wander Franco SS (Rays) - For many he is considered the top prospect in baseball. Wander was denied a 2020 season so he went to the Dominican Republic to play in the winter league. An injured bicep ended his season early. There is no question that Wander can hit. In his two minor league seasons his career average is .336/.405/.523. He also has a walk/strikeout ratio of 83/54. The main question around Wander is whether he can stick at shortstop. The arm is strong enough to play there but there is some concern about whether the range to cover the position exists. If he is not a fit at short the bat is potent enough that a move to third would not be a problem. The Rays already have a decent shortstop in Willy Adames. If Franco is promoted in 2021 it will probably be to play third or fill in for an injured Adames.

2. Julio Rodriguez OF (Mariners) - The Mariners signed Rodriguez for $1.75 million in 2017. Power will be his calling card. The 2019 season was his debut in the minor leagues and he hit .326 with 12 homeruns in just 84 games playing in Low and High A. The walk to whiff ratio was 25/76, which could result in an average more in the .270s once he hits the major leagues. He should be good for 30 plus homeruns. The speed is a better fit for a corner outfield position and his arm is strong enough for right field. If he is tearing it up in AA he could make his major league debut in 2021. The Mariners are rebuilding and Julio is one of their most important pieces in this project.

3. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - It has been a long time since the Yankees have had a superstar center fielder. Jasson could change all that. Little is known about Jasson from a stat perspective since he was not signed until 2019 for $5.4 million. His tools have had him compared to Mike Trout but at 17 years of age he has some growing up to do. He is a five tool player with the speed to steal 30 plus bases and the power to hit 30 plus homeruns. He should provide quality defense in centerfield and have the arm to fit in right. There is no short season league in the minor leagues, so the Yankees could keep him in extended spring and then promote him to Low A later on in the season.

4. George Valera OF (Indians) - The Indians outfield has been short of quality players the last couple years. They hope to change that with Valera, who was signed for $1.3 million in 2018. The hitting tools are there for him to hit over .300 and slug 30 plus homeruns. His speed and arm rate about average, making him a better fit for a corner outfield spot. Valera actually lived in New York until his teenage years when he moved back to the Dominican Republic. In 2019 he started at short season. He only hit .236 but still slugged 8 homeruns. Too many swing and misses resulted in a low average. A promotion to Low A was even worse, where he only hit .087 in 23 at bats. Valera will probably only play A ball in 2021. An Indians debut is not expected until late 2022.

5. Vidal Brujan 2B (Rays) - Sometimes players who rely mainly on speed can turn into major league disappointments. Jose Peraza is an example of that. Brujan is one of those players with tremendous speed but very little power. That speed resulted in stolen base totals of over 100 the last two seasons. He did have pretty good walk to whiff ratios, but that digressed in 2019 to 37/61, dropping his average to .277. The previous year he had hit .320. To utilize his speed Brujan needs to get on base to be effective. He did play 20 games down in the Dominican in the Winter Leagues where he hit just .254 with a .691 OPS but he did steal 10 bases in 13 attempts. He is an above average defensive player for second base so that is on his plus side. He also has a strong enough arm to play short making a utility role another possibility. Vidal should make his major league debut in 2021.

6. Deivi Garcia RHP (Yankees) - Last year he made his major league debut, performing in six starts. His ERA was not that stellar (4.98) and opponents hit .254 against him with six homeruns. He did have an impressive 6/33 walk to whiff ratio, showing an ability to hit the plate that he struggled with in 2019. Perhaps he was around the strike zone too much. His minor league career shows a .202 career opponent average. Deivi stands only 5′9″, which is usually a death height for right handed pitchers. His fastball is not overpowering and can ride the plate in the mid-90s. It is his breaking pitches, both the slider and curve that will grade his success higher. If a starting role does not pan out Deivi always could be used in relief. Expect the Yankees to go north with him in their rotation in 2021. How long he stays there will depend on his success.

7. Noelvi Marte SS (Mariners) - The Mariners signed Marti for $1.55 million in 2018. He was considered one of the top international prospects for that year. In 2019 he only played in the Dominican Summer League, but he put up some pretty impressive numbers, hitting .309 with a .511 slugging. He showed enough speed to steal 17 bases in 65 games. Noelvi will hit for power. His defense is a bit shaky for short. Whether he stays there or not will depend on keeping his consistency. He could move to third, or if he keeps his speed a move to the outfield is also a possibility. The 2021 season should see him play A ball. Noelvi will probably not see the Mariners until sometime during the 2023 season.

8. Gilberto Jimenez OF (Red Sox) - Over the last couple years the Red Sox farm system has turned a bit bleak. They hope Gilberto is one of many players who can change that prognosis. They only had to shell out $10,000 to sign him in 2017. For that they could have their centerfielder who can run with the wind. The last couple years Gilberto was able to combine for 30 steals in the Dominican Summer League and short season ball. He hit an impressive .359 in his short season debut. Gilberto does not carry a lot of power in his bat, slapping the ball into the outfield instead of driving it into the gaps. He did hit three homeruns in 2019, with 17 of his 84 hits going for extra bases. It appears that speed will bring Gilberto to the major leagues. That speed has not resulted in a lot of stolen base success, but it could help him fill the centerfield role. Don’t expect him to fill that role for the Red Sox until 2023.

9. Robert Puason SS (Athletics) - Like Dominguez, Puason was a major international signing for 2019 with a $5.1 million bonus. With no 2020 season not a lot is known about Puason. At 6′3″ he could develop some power, but at this point in his career that could be the weakest part of his game. There is speed, an arm and the tools to play a quality shortstop. The Athletics will probably keep him in extended spring or perhaps have him play some Dominican summer league ball before rushing him to full season ball. He will probably not see the Athletics until sometime late in 2023.

10. Anderson Tejeda SS (Rangers) - The Rangers are talking about moving Isiah Kiner-Falefa from third to short. Last year Anderson played 23 games there, hitting .253 with three homeruns. Anderson does not carry great range at shortstop, but he has an excellent arm. With some power in his bat he could ultimately become a utility player. The one big question with his hitting skills is his patience at the plate. Last year he had a 2/30 walk to whiff ratio, giving him a poor .273 OBA. He did play eleven games in winter ball, slugging .500 with half of his hits going for extra bases. He hit .300 with a .348 OBA, enough to stick with the Rangers if he can keep plugging those numbers. With a good spring Anderson could convince the Rangers to keep him with the club as their shortstop or as a utility player. Otherwise he will play in AAA to further enhance his game.

Winter League Championship Playoff Review

Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

The Dominicans have already identified their champion, Aguilas. Now Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico need to find theirs. Below is the summary of the playoff championships in those three countries.

Mexico

Hermosillo scored two runs in the first to defeat Culiacan 2-1 in the opening game of their championship series. Ryan Verdugo worked seven shutout innings to get the win, allowing just five hits and walking none. Culiacan managed to rally for a run in the ninth, but Fernando Salas finished out the inning to earn the save. After giving up the two first inning runs, JC Ramirez pitched well through the sixth inning for Culiacan.

Venezuela

Orientes shut out Lara 6-0 in their opener. David Martinez only went 4.2 innings, so he could not get the win. He was followed by six different relievers who combined to complete the shutout. Orientes was shut out by Logan Darnell in the first five innings, then scripted together three innings of two runs each to get the win. Luis Sardinas was a perfect 4 for 4 for Orientes.

Puerto Rico

Caguas picked up their second win of their series with a 7-5 win over Mayaguez. Jose Miranda drove in three runs and Yadiel Molina drove in one and scored twice to lead the offense. Mayaguez scored twice in the final frame off Fernando Cruz to make things interesting. Jeremy Rivera led all hitters with three hits, but it was all for naught.

Winter League Playoffs - Yadier Shines

Friday, January 22nd, 2021

Puerto Rico

The two teams expected to play in the finals after a shortened regular season and a mismatched playoff went at it today. Jose de Leon was dominant in six innings striking out 12 and allowing just two hits in Caguas Criollos 4-0 win over Mayaquez Indios. Yadier Molina has not retired yet, showing he still has some legs by driving in two runs with a first inning triple. The three run first was all de Leon needed to dominate. Caguas pitchers struck out 15 batters. All nine players in the Indios lineup struck out at least once.