Archive for February, 2021

Myworlds Top 2021 Prospects 50-41

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

Shortstops dominate this ten, especially if you fit in Jeter Downs as a shortstop. Righthanded pitchers follow with four. The cool thing about today is that spring training games for the major leagues began. Looking at box scores again was a pleasant experience.

50. Max Meyer RHP (Marlins) - Meyer is a 2020 first round pick, the third player taken in the draft. He starred at Minnesota, beginning his college career as a closer and then moving into the starting rotation as a sophomore. At only 6′0″ he does not have the height that scouts would like to see in a righthander, but his fastball sits in the mid-90s, touching triple digits on occasion. He also has a nasty slider that he used quite effectively closing for the collegiate national team. Those two pitches will allow him to reach the major leagues as a closer. Where he fits will depend on the development of his change. Meyer has no issues with command, so if his change can represent a solid third pitch he could fit in a rotation. If it lags behind he could always fill the role of the closer. As a college drafted pitcher his window is short, much shorter if the Marlins want to use him out of the bullpen. If used in relief he could be in the major leagues in late 2021, but service time issues will probably delay his arrival until 2022 as the Marlins tune him up to be in the rotation.

49. Brandon Marsh OF (Angels) - Early in his career the second round 2016 pick had trouble generating power. At 6′4″ the build and strength exists for him to carry the ball a long ways. He was also projected as a right fielder. Those attitudes have changed now. For a big man he does have excellent speed that will allow him to patrol centerfield. Presently Mike Trout could be a barrier and in the future Jordyn Adams will be his nemesis for that spot. The arm could easily allow him to fit in right field. The expected power in his bat has yet to manifest itself, with just a .408 slugging percentage the last two years. The 2021 season may change that. Marsh improved on his swing and miss proclivities in 2019 from 2018. In 2018 he struck out 158 times in just 127 games, while in 2019 that improved to just 99 times in 101 games. His speed will make him a threat on the basepaths, with the possibility to eclipse 20 steals per year. With some good numbers Marsh could see the Angels outfield sometime in 2021. Jo Adell will get the first opportunity to play the outfield, but if his struggles continue Marsh is next on the depth chart.

48. Alek Thomas OF (Diamondbacks) - The second round 2018 pick of the Diamondbacks carries three impressive tools. His lefthanded bat scorches line drives through the infield which could make him a consistent .300 hitter. He also has impressive speed that will make him an above average defensive centerfielder and a pest once on the bases. What is lacking in his game is the ability to hit for power, and an arm to fit in right field. The homerun numbers could reach the double digit teens, but with greater strength he may be able to improve on those numbers. A quick release may allow him to stay in centerfield. A move to left would require greater power numbers in his bat. His career minor league slugging average of .455 is not bad. Alek should see the Diamondbacks sometime in 2022, after starting this year in AA.

47. Jeter Downs SS/2B (Red Sox) - The supplemental first round pick of the Reds has already bounced around a couple times. The Reds first traded him to the Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade and the Dodgers later traded him to the Red Sox in the Mookie Betts/David Price transaction. He was named after his father’s favorite shortstop. His overall tools are not extraordinary, but he is above average in all categories. The arm and range exist for him to stay at shortstop, but those tools work better for him at second base. If he had a monster bat the Red Sox could choose to keep him at short. His bat should carry decent power and swim around the .270 pool. In 2019 he combined for 24 homeruns and he also stole 24 bases. Where he plays in the middle infield could be determined by the Red Sox needs. He will start the 2021 season in AA and is just a phone call away from making his major league debut.

46. Logan Gilbert RHP (Mariners) - The Mariners 2018 first round pick stands an imposing 6′6″. That height becomes more imposing when you have to stand in the batter’s box to face his mid-90s fastball. Fortunately for hitters he has pretty good command of his pitches. The slider is his preferred breaking pitch and the change is an impressive third offering. In his lone season in 2019 he rose to AA, going 10-5 with a 2.15 ERA. The opposition only hit .198 against him and he had a fabulous 33/165 walk to whiff ratio. The Mariners are still rebuilding and service time appears to be an issue with Mariners personnel, so despite his quick ascent in 2019 Gilbert will probably not size up for a Mariners uniform until 2022, unless for some reason the Mariners find themselves in the playoffs in 2021.

45. Spencer Howard RHP (Phillies) - This 2017 second round pick throws hard. His fastball sits in the mid-90s but it consistently bleeds into the high 90s. His changeup may be his second best pitch, which if played off his fastball makes him tough to hit. He also throws two breaking pitches, with the slider being his preferred pitch. Shoulder issues limited his 2019 season to 15 starts. He was pretty dominant during those starts with a 2.03 ERA and a .173 opposition average. He carried a 16/94 walk to whiff ratio in 71 innings. This performance put him on the Phillies radar and he made his major league debut in 2020. It was not awe inspiring performance (5.92 ERA, .300 opposition average). His command deserted him in the major leagues with 10 walks in 24 innings and six taters. This should be a wake up call for what he needs to do to have success in a major league rotation. Expect him to return to the Phillies rotation sometime in the middle of the 2021 season and achieve a little more success.

44. Noelvis Marte SS (Mariners) - The Mariners signed him for $1.55 million in 2018. He has yet to play state side, but he put up some impressive numbers in the Dominican Summer League (.309/.371/.511) with 9 homeruns and 17 stolen bases. He carriers some speed but as he has grown bigger some of that speed has disappeared. This could limit his range at short and force a move to third base. Fortunately, the bat contains enough power that he could be a fit at third base. His arm can be a little erratic, but it is strong. The Mariners will probably start him somewhere in A ball in 2021 with a major league arrival time delayed until 2023. The baseball world will know more in 2021 what he can do once he hits stateside.

43. Nolan Jones 3B (Indians) - The second round 2016 pick has some thunder in his bat. Many considered him the best high school bat in the 2016 draft. He tends to be extra patient at the plate, walking 96 times in .2019. The last three minor league seasons he has had OBAs over .400. That patience at the plate also results in a lot of strikeouts, more than one per game. If he can reach his projected 30 per year homerun power the Indians will accept the abundant swings and misses. While he played shortstop in high school, his lack of foot speed limits his range and has forced a move to third base. His 6′4″ height creates challenges for his defensive prowess, but he should be able to stick at the position. The Indians could move him to AAA in 2021, which means a late season callup could be in his future in 2021.

42. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - While he is listed at shortstop, this 2017 international signing will eventually move to third base. The Mets shelled out $2.1 million to sign him, so they have faint hopes they can keep him at short. His lack of foot speed creates range issues. The move to the hot corner will put pressure on him to develop more power. His current minor league slugging percentage is .374. His power is limited to the gaps, but at 6′3″ the Mets are confident that his strength will grow with maturity. Ronny will probably begin the 2021 season in High A. With Bret Baty projected to be the Mets third baseman of the future it will be interesting to see where Ronny is destined when he is ready to reach the Mets sometime in 2023.

41. Jazz Chisolm SS (Marlins) - The Marlins traded a successful pitcher in Zac Gallen to get “all that Jazz”. The Diamondbacks signed him out of the Bahamas for just $200,000. The hope is that Jazz will make that trade look beneficial in 2021. His first spring training at bat this year was a homerun. He made his major league debut in 2020 but struggled for a .161 average. In his last two minor league seasons he has slugged 46 homeruns. Making contact has been his biggest challenge. In those last two minor league seasons he whiffed 296 times in just 224 games. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at shortstop. If he does not improve his contact ability he could be a 30 homer, .230 average type of player who can steal 20 bases per year. The Marlins will give him another opportunity to play shortstop in 2021, but they are probably grooming him more for 2022 to be a starter.

Granma Pounds Pinar to Advance in Cuban Playoffs

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

In three of their four wins Granma scored more than 10 runs. In the other victory they scored nine. So the 13-3 drubbing by Granma over Pinar del Rio was no surprise. Pinar had scored two in the first to take an early 2-0 lead. After that it was all Granma, with the game shortened to eight innings because of the slaughter rule. Granma advances to the finals with a 4-2 series win.

Raico Santos drove in three runs to lead the offense. Alexquemer Sanchez scored three times and drove in two runs to also contribute. Sanchez drove in a run in the four run second that tied the game and added a solo shot in the fourth. Guillermo Garcia blasted a two run homer in the seventh. Santos drove in two of his three runs in a five run seventh that put the game out of reach.

Leonardo Martinez only needed to go 5.2 innings to get the win for Granma. Pinar ace Vladimir Banos was roughed up for four runs in 1.2 innings.

Granma must now wait for the finish of the Las Tunas/Santiago five game series which Santiago leads 1-0, and then the winner must still play Matanzas in a best of seven semi-final game.

Myworlds 2021 Top Prospects 60-51

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Myworld continues to whittle down our top prospect list, going through 60-51. This group of ten has a good mix, with lefthanded pitching taking the majority of slots.

60. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - Arizona got a bargain with Geraldo, signing him for just $70,000 in 2016. The Dominican has the defensive tools to remain a shortstop. The over the fence power is lacking, but he sprayed the gaps in 2019 with 21 doubles. He makes solid contact with a career walk to whiff ratio of 169/148. That could keep his on base skills (.411 OBA) high enough to fit at the top of the order. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases per year. At 6′2″ the hope is that as he matures he develops additional power. The 2021 season should see him start at AA. If he continues to spray hits to keep that OBA at .400 he could see the Diamondbacks lineup some time late in 2021.

59. Jose Garcia SS (Reds) - The Cuban defector, who signed for a $5 million bonus in 2017 got a rough introduction to major league baseball last year, hitting just .194 with a .206 OBA. The highest level he reached in 2019 was High A where he hit .280, so struggling with major league pitching should not be a surprise. Not everyone is a Juan Soto. Jose has the defensive tools to be an asset at shortstop. At 22 years of age he may need some further refinement in the minor leagues, but the Reds still lack a shortstop. Garcia lacks power, but did contribute 37 doubles in 2019. The speed is decent but it will not result in a lot of stolen bases. Making better contact would enhance his batting average. In the minors his walk to whiff ratio was a woeful 44/195 in 229 games. With the Reds it was 1/26 in 24 games. With a good spring he could win the starting shortstop job in 2021, but it would be better for his development if he percolated a bit more in the minor leagues, with a mid season callup in 2021.

58. Nick Lodolo LHP (Reds) - The 2019 first round pick relies more on his command to retire hitters. The lefthander does not have an overpowering pitch, but at 6′6″ he has an intimidating presence. His fastball hovers around the low 90s and is made better by a quality slider and change up. Over time, as he gains strength one could see that fastball start reading the mid-90s pretty consistently. What helps him is his radar like command. In his only minor league season in 2019 he did not walk a batter in his 18 innings of work, striking out 30. Opposing hitters were able to bat .247 against him, so less time around the plate could be a positive. As a college drafted pitcher Nick should advance quickly in the minor leagues. Don’t be surprised to see a late season 2021 debut if his minor league numbers warrant it.

57. Josh Jung 3B (Rangers) - One of the best hitters in Texas Tech history was rewarded by being a first round pick in the 2019. The Rangers hope that he will be their Kris Bryant. While he played a little shortstop with Tech, the hot corner will be his position with the Rangers. His lack of speed will inhibit his range at short and at 215 pounds he is just not built for the position. The bat contains some power. Once he learns to pull more he could reach 30 plus homeruns a year in the major leagues. In his 2019 minor league debut he did hit .316 with two homeruns. Expect him to start the 2021 season in High A with a Ranger arrival date in 2022.

56. Daniel Lynch LHP (Royals) - Daniel is part of a fearsome four of pitchers selected in the 2018 draft. Lynch was drafted in the first round along with Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar and second round pick Jonathan Bowlan, who are all considered worthy of being in the Royals top ten prospect list. Lynch is the lone lefthander in the group. His fastball has some juice and like Nick Lodolo it is thrown from an angular 6′6″ frame. His slider is an excellent pitch and he also throws a decent curve and change. Despite the height and the difficulty it creates in getting the long levers to all operate in one smooth motion, Lynch has good command of his pitches. As a college drafted pitcher you would like to see him advance through the Royals minor league system at a faster rate. He finished the 2019 season in A ball, while Brady Singer is on the major league roster. The Royals could gamble with him and begin his 2021 season in AA. This would put him a stone’s throw from contributing to the major league club. Realistically, he can expect a callup to the Royals some time in 2022.

55. Nick Madrigal 2B (White Sox) - Madrigal came with enough hype in his college career to motivate the White Sox to draft him in the first round of the 2018 draft. There is a winner’s pedigree in him after leading the Beavers to a College World Series championship. If not for an injury in the 2020 season he may not have qualified for this list. He did hit .340 in his 29 game major league debut. His minor league career average sits at .309. Those numbers may look impressive, but they do not come with the power. His contribution will have to come from spraying the ball into the outfield and making quality defensive plays at second base. If not for an average arm, his defense could be proficient enough to play shortstop. Nick should be the White Sox starting second baseman to begin the 2021 season.

54. Zac Veen OF (Rockies) - The Rockies 2020 first round pick has the 6′4″ frame typical of rightfielders. The arm is a good fit for the position. He also carries some speed to be able to patrol centerfield, though not the burner speed a lot of teams prefer for the position. His path to the major leagues will be destined by the power in his lefthanded bat. Rockie offensive numbers are usually inflated because of the high altitude, but Zac does not need that to carry balls over the fence. Because there was no 2020 season Zac should begin the season in Low A. The second high school player taken in the 2020 draft is still a couple years away from impacting the Rockies lineup, but the 2023 season should see his major league debut.

53. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - Venezuela is noted for developing pretty good catchers. The Mets paid a $2.7 million bonus to sign him in 2018. Francisco has some impressive tools, especially on the offensive side. His bat should contribute power as well as a high average. In 2019 he was able to hit .312 with seven homeruns and a .510 slugging percentage. There appears to be enough patience not to swing at anything close to the plate, his 26 walks in just 42 games producing a .407 OBA. On defense his arm is strong enough to slow a running game. He also moves well behind the plate, shifting his 220 pounds with ease. The other intricacies to the game such as pitch calling will come with more experience. The 19 year old will start the 2021 season in A ball with a Met appearance sometime in the 2023 season.

52. Edward Cabrera RHP (Marlins) - The Marlins signed the Dominican way back in 2015. He cost them a measly $100,000 signing bonus. Edward is one of many flame throws elevating up the Marlins system. The 6′5″ righthander hits the plate with a fastball travelling in the mid-90s. His slider is also a pretty effective pitch. Enhancing his change and improving his command will be game changers, allowing him to fit at the top of a rotation. His 2019 season was a break out season with his 2.23 ERA almost two runs better than his three previous minor league seasons. Hitters also struggled to hit just .190 against him, an improvement of 80 points or more from his three previous seasons. The 2021 season will determine whether this vast improvement was a fluke, or part of his increased understanding of becoming a pitcher. Unfortunately, it has not gotten off to a good start, with an arm injury that will sideline him for the early spring. The Marlins were considering him for the rotation towards the end of the 2020 season but arm and back issues kept him away from making his major league debut. Let us hope these injuries are not part of a pattern. Otherwise he should make his major league debut sometime in the 2021 season.

51. Matthew Liberatore LHP (Cardinals) - The Cardinals were so enamored with Liberatore that they traded the homer machine Randy Arozarena to acquire him. Of course, that was before Arozarena hit all those playoff homeruns. The Rays drafted Liberatore in the first round of the 2018 draft. In the long run he could end up being the better player than Arozarena. The lefthander stands 6′5″, can throw in the low 90s and could see some increase in velo as he grows into his frame. His curveball is his quality second pitch and the slider and change also exist in his repertoire. He has no problems finding the plate. The last level Matthew pitched was in Low A. He could see High A in 2021 and hopes to show Cardinal fans, sometime in 2023 that the Cardinals got the better deal in acquiring him.

Granma Takes Game Five in Rout

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Neither team has yet to take two in a row. if that trend continues it would be good for Granma. Taking Game five 12-4 has put them up in the series three games to two. Now it will take Pinar to win two in a row to advance to the finals.

A seven run fourth inning put the game out of reach 8-0. When Granma scored two in the eighth the game could have been over because of the slaughter rule, but Pinar bounced back for four in the bottom frame to extend the game one more inning. Granma did most of their damage with the nickel and dime approach, bunching together 12 singles, with the only extra base hits two doubles.

Guillermo Garcia (4 RBIs) and Raico Santos (3 RBIs) were the big bats for Granma. Lead off hitter Roel Santos went hitless, but he got on base enough to score three runs. Garcia began the seven run uprising in the fourth with a lead off single. Osvaldo Abreu drove in the first two runs of the inning with a single. Raico Santos followed with a two run single. Garcia got a second at bat and the opportunity to finish off the scoring with a two run double.

Lazaro Blanco pitched seven innings of shutout ball to get the win. It was his second win of the series, after going eight in the opener. For the post season he has been unstoppable, going 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA. When Granma went to the bullpen Pinar battered around Kelbis Rodriguez for four runs in the eighth inning. Erlis Casanova got rocked in the fourth, leaving the game after only getting one out in the inning, coughing up six runs in the game. He gave up eight hits and walked two.

Game six is scheduled for Saturday. With a win Granma can clinch advancing to the finals.

Pinar Bounces Back to Even Series

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

It is a see saw affair. One team wins and appears to gain momentum, but the next game that momentum is lost as the other team wins. Yesterday it was Pinar who showed their superiority with a 5-3 win over Granma, taking advantage of a big error that allowed the final two runs to score. The seven game series is now even at two games apiece.

Granma had jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a second inning dinger by Guillermo Garcia. Leadoff hitter Juan Arencibia tied the game in the third inning with a two run single. And the see saw battle had begun. At least this game was not a rout.

Roel Santos gave Granma a brief lead in the top of the sixth with his RBI single. Granma could have scored so much more loading the bases with no outs prior to the Santos single. Pinar was gifted two runs in the bottom frame on an errant throw to first after one run had scored on a ground out. The first baseman Garcia seemed to be cemented to the bag after the ball got past him leaving it to the right fielder to retrieve the ball. By that time two more runners had crossed the plate. That made the score 5-3.

After that debacle Granma could not get any offense going in the final three innings. Yoandy Cruz pitched the last four innings, allowing just one hit to get the win. He came into the game after starter Yosvany Torres had given up a double to put runners on second and third with no out in the sixth inning. He limited that damage to just one run.

Top Canadian Prospects

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Abraham Toro was the top Canadian prospect last year. He graduated from this list but has two major league seasons of hitting less than .200. The list is not strong on can’t miss prospects. None of these players appear on Top 100 prospect lists. Many of the players were recently drafted. Players from the list last year who dropped off include Tristan Pompey, Andy Yerzy and Adam Macko. Macko was born in Serbia so he could make a European list if I can find enough players from Europe to make the list. Most of their players are born in Curacao, a Dutch colony. So below is the list of the top ten Canadian prospects.

1. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - Jordan was a fifth round pick in 2016. He was taken on his potential, with a 6′5″ frame that showed promise. When his fastball started hitting the mid to upper 90s that turned him into a prospect. He still needs to perfect his secondary pitches (slider and change) in order to stay in the rotation. Jordan has no problems finding the plate. After a poor 2017 season he had two years where he progressively improved, limiting the opposition to a .233 average in 2018 and a 193 average in 2019. Pitching at the A level he had a walk to whiff ratio of 25/129 in just 93.2 innings. Jordan should start the season in AA and could at least start his major league career in the Twins bullpen to help them with their playoff run.

2. Bo Naylor C (Indians) - The younger brother of Josh, Bo has the better tools and the more accepted playing weight. Like Josh, Bo was a first round pick, except a few rounds later in 2018. At 6′0, 190 he should be able to stay behind the plate where he has decent defensive tools. What will separate Bo from the other catchers is his offensive potential. In 2019 he hit only .243, but contributed 18 doubles, 10 triples and 11 homeruns. His speed is above average for a catcher and better than Josh, but it may not be enough to move to the outfield if the Indians want to find another position for him. Bo could be ready to tackle AA in 2021 or the Indians could be conservative with him and start him at High A. Catchers normally move slower than other position players because of the intricacies of the catching position, but Bo should arrive sometime late in 2023 with the Indians.

3. Owen Cassie Of (Cubs) - Owen was a second round pick of the Padres in 2020, the highest Canadian drafted that year. The Padres included him in the Yu Darvish trade with the Cubs. The plan was for him to play for the Michigan Wolverines, but the Padres shelled out $1.2 million to convince him otherwise. At 6′4″ he carries a power bat and has a solid arm that fits well in right field. He has enough speed to survive in center but the corner appears to be his best fit. There is some concern in his swing over his ability to make contact. That has not been tested at the professional level. There will be no Rookie league in 2021 so Owen will need to start his first professional season probably in Low A. It will be a few years before he sees a major league outfield.

4. Adam Hall SS (Orioles) - The second round 2017 pick is a smooth fielding defensive shortstop. His best role could end up being a utility player. The big concern is with a quiet bat that may not hit enough to be an every day player. He does not have a large frame so power is lacking. The 2018 season saw him hit just one homerun in 62 games with a .374 slugging percentage. Those numbers climbed to five homeruns and .395 in 2019. In both years the batting average falls a tick or two below .300. The Orioles could start him in AA for the 2021 season, but it may be more prudent to get his feet wet at High A before a mid-season promotion to AA. When and where he plays will all depend on his maturation process and his ability to develop more power.

5. Otto Lopez SS (Blue Jays) - Otto was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in the Montreal area. He moved back to the Dominican Republic before his draft eligible year and signed an international contract for $60,000. He lacks any stand out tools, which could result in a utility role. His arm needs to get stronger for him to play shortstop on an every day basis. His best tool may be his ability to make contact. There is not enough power in his bat to reach double digit homerun totals, but he makes enough contact to finish north of .300. The speed is not great but he carries enough savy to steal 34 bases in his last two years. His 2019 season ended in Low A Lansing so the Blue Jays could be aggressive with him and start him in AA or have him ease his way back in the minors at High A. Either way, he will probably not see the Blue Jays until some time in 2023.

6. Trei Cruz SS (Tigers) - The 2020 third round pick in 2020 has a pretty good gene pool. His father and grandfather (both named Jose) and his two great uncles (Hector and Tommy) both played professional baseball. Trei hopes to continue with that tradition. Despite being drafted after high school he decided to take a different route to his professional career and play for Rice. The last great position player from that school was a player by the name of Anthony Rendon. Unlike Rendon, the tools Trei carries are only average or fringe. He lacks the range to play short and the power is not there to fit at third. At best he could play second or be used in a utility role. Trei will start his 2021 search for a position in the Tigers Low A affiliate.

7. Dasan Brown OF (Blue Jays) - Unlike the other players mentioned above, Dasan has one impressive tool. That is speed. It makes him a good defensive candidate for centerfield. The big question mark is whether he can hit enough to be in the starting lineup, or end up as a fourth outfielder who is used for defense or as a pinch runner. Dasan was drafted in the third round in the 2019 draft. In his short 2019 minor league season he only hit .222, but he showed enough acumen to get on base, walking nine times in 14 games for a .444 OBA. He also struck out 17 times. So there are some holes in his swing that need to be fixed as he climbs the minor league ladder. The 2021 season will probably be spent in Low A.

8. David Calabrese OF (Angels) - A team mate of Owen Cassie on the junior national team for Canada. The Angels drafted him in the third round in 2020. Like Brown, speed is his only real above average tool. His bat lacks power. So what was said about Brown can also be repeated for Calabrese, except he lacks any minor league history. David will begin his minor league career in Low A in 2021.

9. Jordan Nwogu OF (Cubs) - Jordan was a third round pick in 2020. He starred for the Michigan team in 2019 while they played in the finals in the College World Series. He runs well and his bat can carry some pop. At 6′3″ there is a lot of potential for growth. If he can fit in centerfield his value would increase, but his route to balls are suspect. The arm is not strong enough to fit in right. So if he has to play in left the power has to materialize for him to be a good fit at that position. The power/speed tools are there for him to be a 20/20 player, but the ability to hit major league pitching is a concern. Jordan will begin the 2021 season in Low A.

10. Brandon Marklund RHP (Royals) - Brandon was an undrafted player, signed by the Royals in 2019. They saw him pitching in the Australian Baseball League and thought well enough of him to sign him. His fastball velocity climbed after the signing, hitting consistently in the mid to upper 90s. In his 2019 minor league debut he fashioned a 0.46 ERA in 24 relief appearances with 44 whiffs in 39 innings. Opponents hit just .162 off him. He lacks an effective third pitch to survive as a starter. His fastball/slider combination could prove effective in the pen. That will be decided upon as he rises through the minor league ranks. He will probably start the 2021 season in Low A. At 24 he could move through the system quickly.

Granma Punches Back in Cuban Playoffs

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

After being routed 13-3 against Pinar del Rio, Granma came right back and routed Pinar 12-1. Like the previous game, this one did not go nine innings. It lasted seven. By then the Stallions had met the slaughter rule and now lead the seven game series two games to one.

Cesar Garcia went six innings to get the win. Pinar starter Yaifredo Dominguez could not survive through the third inning to take the loss. He was assaulted for four runs and five hits.

Granma combined for 14 hits in those seven innings. All of them were singles except for four doubles. Raico Santos crossed the plate three times and drove in two runs to lead the offense. All nine players in the starting lineup contributed at least one run batted in and crossed the plate at least once. Talk about a team effort.

After falling behind 6-0, Pinar had an opportunity to come back in the game. They loaded the bases with no outs, but Lazaro Blanco grounded into a double play. That double play ground out scored the only run for Pinar.

Adrian Gonzalez to Play in Mexican Summer League to Prepare for the Olympics

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Adrian Gonzalez has not played competitively since 2018. Last year Mexico surprised the world, upsetting the United States in a third place game to qualify for what should have been the 2020 Olympics but is now the 2021 Olympics. Put the two together and you know what is in store here. Adrian Gonzalez hopes to get in playing shape so he can represent Mexico in the Olympics in 2021.

Gonzalez, like Shin-soo Choo, is 38 years old. He has represented Mexico a number of times in the World Baseball Classic. He now wants to represent Mexico in the Olympics. He has not announced the team he will play for in the summer league. The Mexican summer league has delayed the opening of their season until May 20.

Another pretty cool path being taken by a veteran player.

Choo to Play for Parents and Korean Fans

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Shin-Soo Choo has never played professional baseball in Korea. He played for South Korea when they won the gold medal in the 18 and under World Cup back in the early 2000s. Choo was voted the MVP and top pitcher of the event. The Mariners signed him for $1.35 million and converted him to the outfield. That is when his professional baseball career started. In the United States.

South Korea referred to him as their version of Ichiro Suzuki. He may not have put up the numbers as Ichiro, but he had a pretty good career and like Chan-ho Park before him, Koreans are proud of his accomplishments. In his 16 year major league career he hit 218 homeruns and batted .275. He played for the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds.

At 38 years of age coming into the 2021 season he became a free agent. After signing a seven year $130 million contract in 2014 with the Texas Rangers he didn’t really need the money. So what was he to do? There were multiple paths he could take. Eight major league teams were offering him money, but there was no guarantee of significant playing time. He could retire and enjoy life with his family. Or he could play in Korea, where many fans had not seen him play.

A couple of those fans who had not seen him play were his parents. He tried to get them to the United States last year to watch him but the pandemic with the corona virus did not make that possible. So he decided to sign with the SK Wyverns for $2.4 million and and take his game to them. To play at least one more year. In Korea. Now, for the first time his parents and those in South Korea can watch him play. He may not have the skills that he had when he was 27 but Choo still thinks there is still enough in his game that he can make a difference for the team.

A number of years ago another Korean player decided to end his playing career in Korea. That player was Chan-ho Park. He pitched for the Hanwha Eagles, going 5-10 with a 5.06 ERA in 23 starts. He was 39 years old when he returned to Korea for the first time to play in the Korean Baseball Organization. Choo has decided to take a similar path.

Article 94 Voids Navarro Taiwan Contract

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

On February 21 the Fubon Guardians announced that Yamaico Navarro had signed a contract. A couple days later that contract was voided, citing Article 94, which is a rulebook regarding player conduct.

Don’t know how thick this rulebook is, but the basic premise of Article 94 as explained by CPBLstats.com is that “all players with criminal records, violent crime charges, game fixing charges, or any misconducts that will damage the public image of the league will face immediate dismissal.”

After the Navarro signing it was learned that he was arrested for driving under the influence in 2012 while with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2016 Japanese Customs found a bullet in his luggage which violated Japan firearm laws. In 2018 he was arrested in the Dominican Republic for possession of an unregistered firearm.

That is three strikes in three different countries. In baseball, three strikes and you are out. The CPBL determined that these three events over nine years was enough to void the contract of Navarro.