Luke Heimlich’s Signing in Taiwan Put on Hold

August 11th, 2018

Luke Heimlich was considered a first round pick by major league baseball while a junior pitching for Oregon State in 2017, until it was discovered he pled guilty as a 15 year old of molesting his then six year old niece. He was required to list himself as a sex offender, though that history was not known until a local newspaper discovered it after he was required to report his status after moving to Oregon. He removed himself that year from the NCAA championship playoffs and the major league draft.

As a senior this year he was the ace pitcher who led Oregon State to the NCAA championship. Even though he was eligible for the draft major league teams refused to draft him, even lower in the draft when risky players are often selected. Many scouts changed their opinion on him, calling him nothing more than a mid or back end of the rotation pitcher at best. His tools did not justify facing the backlash of signing him, even though his sex offender status was recently removed after his probationary status had passed without any further violations. It should be noted two other players from Oregon State were drafted in the first round.

The Kansas City Royals considered signing him as an undrafted free agent, but nothing ever came of that review. Shunned by the major leagues the La Miga Monkeys of the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan signed him to a contract. Once the facts came out of his molestation charges there was fervent backlash from the Taiwan fans. The CPBL immediately terminated the contract citing their “zero tolerance policy on players with a criminal history.”

Perhaps the Manny Ramirez signing after two major league drug violations did not meet the “criminal” standards. Heimlich denies the molestation charges saying he only pled guilty to protect the niece from having to go through a trial. The parents of the girl molested have stated they would not trust any child to be alone with Luke.

So the Heimlich saga continues. Some league somewhere seeking publicity of any sort may take a risk of signing him. Otherwise he may have to find another craft to try to make a living since most baseball leagues are reluctant to sign him.

Amador Suspended Six Months by NPB

August 11th, 2018

The Rakuten Golden Eagles Japhet Amador has been suspended for six months by Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for violating their performance enhancing drug policy. He tested positive for chlortalidone and furosemide, which are listed as diuretics and masking agents. Amador has denied intentionally using the drugs.

Amador was hitting .269 with 20 homeruns and 42 RBIs for the Eagles. His 20 homeruns were tops on the Eagles team despite him only playing in 62 of 100 games. The top homerun hitter in the Pacific League and the NPB is Hotaka Yamakawa, who has 30.

Favorites Pull Out Wins in 15 and Under World Cup

August 10th, 2018

There were no surprises in the 15 and under World Cup on the first day, though host Panama surprised Taiwan in the night game 9-1. Below are the summaries for some of the earlier games.

Brazil 10 Germany 0

Brazil used three different pitchers to no hit Germany in the opener. The game ended after six innings because of the slaughter rule. Pedro Lemos de Costa worked the first four plus innings walking three and whiffing six. Kawan Silva de Araujo got the last two outs in the fifth getting credit for the win. Denis Silva pitched the sixth inning to complete the no hitter.

Gabriel Gomez was the big bat for Brazil with three RBIs. He contributed a double and two walks in his four at bats.

Japan 4 Australia 2

Japan got six shutout innings from Kyosuke Kuroyanagi (3.1) and Shinnosuke Kanai (2.2) to get their win. Australia rallied for two in the ninth to make the game close. Leadoff hitter Asahi Hanada crossed the plate twice, which proved to be the difference in the game.

United States 27 China 0

China committed 10 errors in the five inning game and their pitchers walked 9 in the United States battering of China. 17 of the 27 runs were considered unearned. Joshua Hartle drove in six runs with a single and two doubles in five at bats. Davis Diaz crossed the plate four times without benefit of a hit, walking twice.

Cuba 5 Netherlands 1

Cuba scored three runs in the opening frame to lead them to their opening day victory. Edgar Quero drove in two runs on two hits to earn Cuba the victory. Brander Guevara got the win, striking out seven in five innings of work.

Dominican Republic 5 South Africa 3

Ronny Polanco hit the first homerun of the event driving in three runs to prove the difference in the game. Dominican Republic pitchers did not allow a hit in the game, but walked 8 to provide South Africa with all their offense. Cristofer Gomez pitched 2.2 innings of perfect shutout relief to close out the game.

Panama 9 Taiwan 1

It was a bit of a surprise how easily Panama destroyed baseball power Taiwan. Carlos Gonzalez was a homerun shy of the cycle, driving in two and scoring two runs. Leonardo Bernal had a perfect 2 for 2 day with three RBIs to lead Panama. Taiwan scored their lone run in the seventh inning

Bay Sox Blast Fisher Cats

August 10th, 2018

The Bay Sox blasted the Fisher Cats 13-6 on Tuesday night. You wouldn’t have thought by the score that two of the top ten pitchers in ERA in the Eastern League would be starting the game.

The Canadian Jordan Romano was lit up early. He gave up seven runs in the first two innings, but finished his outing with two shutout frames. Anderson Felix tagged him for a three run homer in the first inning. Felix would finish the night with six RBIs. The recently acquired Brett Cumberland led off the second inning with a solo blast into right field. He was acquired from the Braves in the Kevin Guasman deal. It was his first Bay Sox homerun.

Third baseman Jon Berti struggled in the field for the Fisher Cats. His two out error in the first allowed Felix to inflict his damage in the opening frame. Myworld put him down for two more errors, one in the three run fifth and another in the eighth that would have accounted for more unearned runs, but the scorer generously gave the Bay Sox players a hit.

Anderson Felix drove in two runs in the fifth on a single and one run in the eighth on a single. Both innings were started by a Berti boot that were ruled as hits. Aderlin Rodriguez blasted a solo shot in the sixth.

Keegan Akin started out well for the Bay Sox facing the first six hitters. His fastball was hitting 94-96, but it seemed to drop after the second inning to 92. With two outs in the second he ran into trouble walking Gunnar Heidt and then giving up three straight hits to cut the lead to 4-2.

Ryan Mountcastle continues to look uneasy at third. His throws are not strong and his error in the third inning led to a run. Cavan Biggio and Forrest Wall singled to score Harold Ramirez with the unearned run. Biggio hit a solo shot in the fifth to account for all the Akin runs given up.

Harold Ramirez appears to have found his bat this year. He also appears a bit slimmer. He came into the game hitting .313 and doubled in the first and powered a solo shot homer in the seventh, his ninth of the year.

There were a couple baserunning errors by touted prospects. Bo Bichette hit two singles. After his second single he had strayed too far off first on what appeared to be a routine fly to Austin Hays. Hays rifled a throw to first to double off Bichette. Hays made a baserunning blunder of his own in the second. After singling to drive in the third run of the second inning he tried to advance to second on the throw home but the ball was cut off and Hays was caught between first and second. Mountcastle broke for home and the throw went there to get Mountcastle. Myworld was told this isn’t the first time Hays has been caught trying to advance the extra base on aggressive baserunning.

Yusniel Diaz did not get the start in the game. He was only hitting .192. There may be some buyer’s remorse from the Orioles as there is the appearance Diaz has a motivation problem. Some are concerned with his lack of hustle, although that was just one scouts opinion. Myworld has not seen enough of him to make that assessment.

Gonzalez Comes up Big for Nats

August 10th, 2018

Gio Gonzalez has had difficulty winning the big game. He came up big yesterday against the Atlanta Braves tossing seven innings of one run ball in the Nationals 6-3 win over the Braves. This was the final game of the four game series after the Braves had won the first two out of three. A win by the Braves could have sent a dagger into the hearts of the Nationals hope to make the playoffs. Gonzalez big outing gave them another day to stay alive.

Gonzalez was bailed out of some tough situations in the first three innings. On a hit and run Freddy Freeman ripped a rocket to Michael Taylor in centerfield. Ozzie Albies had already rounded second and was easily doubled off first to end the inning. He gave up a leadoff homerun to Nick Markakis in the second, put two runners on base but struck out the pitcher to end the threat. In the third a double by Freeman and a single by Markakis could have scored a run but Adam Eaton threw a strike home and Freeman slid right into the tag for the third out. Gonzalez gave up just one hit in the next four innings, though he was bailed out on a nice diving catch by Michael Taylor.

Nationals killer Anibel Sanchez cruised through the first two innings, but just like the first game of a double header on Tuesday a comebacker knocked Sanchez out after the second inning. He was able to recover and get the out at first to end the inning but did not come out to start the third inning.

Instead, the Braves went with Wes Parsons to make his major league debut and the Nationals feasted. Gonzalez got things started with a single with one out in the third. Adam Eaton singled off the pitcher Parsons foot and the ball caromed into leftfield. Parsons did some warm up tosses and seemed to be okay. Or maybe not. He walked Trea Turner on four pitches and threw three straight balls to Juan Soto before walking him on a 3-2 count to force in a run. Anthony Rendon came within feet of hitting a grand slam, but the ball was caught at the wall, Eaton scoring the second run on the fly ball to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth inning Michael Taylor blasted a ball into centerfield for a homerun. Another run was added in the sixth after a leadoff single by Rendon and a Daniel Murphy double into the right centerfield gap. Rendon slid into home just ahead of the throw.

Ronald Acuna Jr. went deep off Justin Miller in the eighth to close the gap to 4-2. The Nationals put the game away in the bottom frame with RBI singles from Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds.

Ryan Madson worked the top of the ninth and gave up a run on a sacrifice fly hit by Dansby Swanson. His struggles continue as he gave up singles to the first two hitters he faced, creating some anxiety for the Nats fans.

Game Notes: The game may have changed in the second inning after a diving stop by Daniel Murphy stole a hit away from Ender Inciarte. That would have put runners on first and second with one out and a walk to Dansby Swanson would have loaded the bases…This was the first win by Gonzalez after 11 starts. His last win came on May 28. During that time he was 0-6 with a 6.37 ERA…Anibal Sanchez left the game with a left calf contusion. He hopes to be able to make his next start…Bryce Harper was a late scratch from the game yesterday, replaced by Michael Taylor. He was bothered with a swollen shin after being hit for a second time in that area. Michael Taylor made a couple excellent defensive plays and slugged a homerun after being inserted into the lineup.

Braves Earn Split with Nationals

August 8th, 2018

After being thrashed in the opener 8-3 the Braves battled back in the second game to win 3-1, earning a split with the Nationals in the Tuesday doubleheader. To stay ahead of the Nationals for one of the wild card spots all the Braves have to do is play .500 against the Nationals. They have two more games against them the next two days.

In the opener Max Fried pitched two shutout innings but was taken out of the game after being hit in the back for the last out on a line drive hit by Spencer Kieboom. He still had the presence of mind to chase after the ball and throw Kieboom out, but in the top of the third the Braves pinch hit for him with Kevin Guasman. It was later learned he strained a groin trying to avoid the ball and was placed on the disabled list.

Kolby Allard came on in relief. He shut out the Nationals in the third but in the fourth the Nationals erupted. Two players who fans would like to take on more of a leadership role with this rudderless Nationals team are Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. Both started the fourth inning with booming homeruns, Harper’s a liner deep to the bleachers in right and Zimmerman’s a tomahawk no doubter to the deepest part of the park in center. Jefry Rodriguez helped his cause by lining a single to left that advanced Spencer Kieboom to third. Jefry advanced to second on the throw to third. Trea Turner and Juan Soto made it 4-1 with RBI singles.

It was a short outing for Jefry Rodriguez but he did his job. He gave up his first three hits of the game in the fourth for the Braves first run. Johan Camargo drove in Freddy Freeman with the first run with a seeing eye single through the shortstop hole. Rodriguez pitched one more inning in the fifth and was done for the day.

The Braves tacked on one more run in the sixth off reliever Matt Grace. Ozzie Albies started the inning with a double. Nick Markakis drove him in with a line single to centerfield. Justin Miller was called on to retire the last two hitters to keep the lead at 4-2.

The Nationals responded just as they did in the fourth inning when the Braves scored a run. They responded with a four spot. Rookie reliever Shane Carle was the victim. He walked three of the first four hitters he faced, and though it will say Juan Soto was walked intentionally that was after the count went to 3-1. A fly ball by Anthony Rendon to Nick Markakis scored Spencer Kieboom. A single to left by Bryce Harper tacked on another. Ryan Zimmerman blasted a double over the head of the left fielder to plate the final two runs of the inning.

The Braves scored a final run on a Charlie Culberson pinch hit solo homerun in the ninth.

An odd play happened in the third. With Trea Turner on first Soto hit a deep fly to center. Ender Inciarte leaped near the fence and the ball appeared to hit his glove where Adam Duvall backing up caught the ball in the air. An umpire did call “no catch”, but Trea Turner thinking it was a catch hustled back to first. After review it was confirmed the ball hit the wall and not Inciarte’s glove. Soto was credited with a single but called out for passing Turner on the basepath, which was the original call. The only thing the Nationals could appeal was that Soto never passed Turner on the basepaths.

The second game turned into an old fashioned pitcher’s duel between the veteran Max Scherzer and the youngster Sean Newcomb. Sean buckled in the first inning by giving up a solo shot to Juan Soto, who bopped one into the left bleachers for his 14th homerun. That surpassed Mickey Mantle for the most homeruns by a teenager, putting Soto now fifth in the major leagues for the most homeruns by a teenager in a season.

Scherzer buckled in the sixth when he gave up a lead off homerun to Charlie Culberson. He did put runners on first and third with no out in the fourth, but he got out of that inning with a strike out, pop up and ground out.

It was 1-1 going into the ninth. The Nationals called on Kelvin Herrera to pitch that inning after Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth. Freddy Freeman started the inning rifling a single to left. Nick Markakis followed with his own line shot single to left. Kurt Suzuki lined one to third but Anthony Rendon made a diving catch. The crowd was getting restless because Herrera appeared to be throwing meatballs. Ender Inciarte hit one down the line past first base for a double. The ball kicked off the fence and then scooted by Harper. Harper appeared to be in no hurry to retrieve the ball once it got past him and then heaved a wild throw to home allowing Inciarte to advance to third (the scorer gave him a triple).

At that point Kelvin Herrera shrugged his shoulder, the trainer came out and Herrera was taken out of the game with a tight shoulder. Justin Miller came on to pitch. They intentionally walked Johan Camargo to set up a double play, but did not need it when Miller struck out both pinch hitter Adam Duvall and Ozzie Albies to end the inning.

The Nationals rallied in the bottom half off new closer rookie A.J. Minter. Ryan Zimmerman started the inning with a double. With one out Michael Taylor was hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second Matt Wieters tagged a line drive that was snagged by Camargo at third. He found Zimmerman too far off the bag at second and was able to double Zimmerman for the third out. Myworld can not fault Zimmerman for being off the bag as hard as that ball was hit (105 miles per hour on the exit gun). It would have been part of his normal lead and instinctively you do not return back to second on a ball hit that hard.

Game Notes: Greg Holland made his Nationals debut and looked a bit rusty. He walked the leadoff man and had 3-2 counts to the next two hitters, but what saved the day for him was he struck out the last three hitters. Myworld would not call it a good outing despite the box score results (one walk and three whiffs). He did get some swings and misses…Juan Soto went 2 for 2 with three walks in the first game. He may be reading too much of his press clippings. In the second game he struck out three times on called third strikes. There has been lots of talk about his patience at the plate but he still needs to stay aggressive. He stranded three runners with those called third strikes…With rain on the horizon and lightening flashing in the background the umpires just wanted to get the first game over before any downpour came. With two outs in the ninth Dansby Swanson hit what appeared a game ending grounder to Anthony Rendon. Rendon casually threw to third but the ball sailed over the head of Zimmerman. One more batter and a strikeout and the game was over. The rains never came…Later reports state that Max Fried had to leave the game with a left groin strain. He was placed on the disabled list…Shane Carle was also placed on the disabled list after his outing with right shoulder inflammation…Herrera exited his game with shoulder tightness. He will undergo an MRI on Wednesday before a decision is made on his status…Soto is tied with Phil Cavaretta for fifth place with 14 homeruns for a teenager. Ken Griffey Jr. is next on the list with 16. Teammate Bryce Harper is second with 22 and Tony Conigiliaro stands atop the list with 25.

Colon Makes Latin American History

August 8th, 2018

Bartolo Colon won his 246th game to become the all time winningest major league Latin American pitcher. He surpassed Dennis Martinez of Nicaragua. At 45 years of age Bartolo Colon has been pitching a long time. But there is another record on his agenda. Despite the number of years he has pitched he has only completed 3,445 innings. Colon needs to surpass 3,507 to surpass fellow Dominican Juan Marichal to achieve another record, the most innings by a Latin American pitcher. He needs 60 innings to achieve that goal. If he can not accomplish that this year some team would have to be willing to sign him next year at 46 years of age for him to achieve that record.

A Cycle for Two

August 8th, 2018

Kevin Newman and Jacob Stallings, minor leaguers for the Pittsburgh Pirates created a bi-cycle. The two teammates both hit for the cycle in the Indianapolis Indians 12-5 win over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It is rare for one player to hit for the cycle in a game but to have two teammates hit for the cycle in the same game is a once in a lifetime feat.

Newman started off his cycle from the leadoff spot with a double in the first inning. He scored on a Jacob Stallings double. Newman singled in the third, tripled in the fifth and then hit his second double in the sixth. He completed the cycle with a homerun in the eighth to finish a 5 for 5 day.

In addition to Stallings double in the first, he also hit a leadoff homer in the fourth and singled in the fifth. After Newman hit his homerun in the eighth to complete his cycle it was left to Stallings to complete his two batters later needing a triple. Stallings is not the fastest player, but he got his triple with a deep drive to right center and lumbered into third to complete the bi-cycle. Stallings finished the day 4 for 5.

This bi-cycle was not the first hit this season. Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller of San Jose hit for the cycle on the same day earlier in the season. In the major leagues this has only been done twice ever, but neither event occurred with teammates. Bobby Veach of the Detroit Tigers and George Burns of the New York Giants hit for the cycle on September 17,1920 and Adrian Beltre of the Seattle Mariners and Stephen Drew of the Arizona Diamondbacks did it on September 1, 2008.

Little League World Series Participants

August 6th, 2018

The United States and Canada still need to sort out their participants, but the other international teams for the Little League World Series have been decided. The Little League World Series will be in Williamsport, PA August 16-26.

Asia Pacific Regional

The two powers South Korea and Taiwan came out of their pools as the top teams. When the finals were played South Korea (Seoul) were the victors 6-1. Hong Kong did well, finishing second in their pool to Taiwan and defeating Guam 6-5 to take the consolation game.

Australian Regional

Australia will be represented by Gold Coast Baseball Assoc. in Queensland. They beat Adelaide 11-0 in the championship match.

Caribbean Regonal

The World Baseball Classic success has created a resurgence in baseball in Puerto Rico. There Little League team dominated their regional finishing 8-0. The closest team to them was Curacao at 5-3. A second Puerto Rican team did not do so well, going winless at 0-6. Puerto Rico played Curacao in the championship match and beat them 5-2.

Europe/Africa Regional

Just as last year there were no African teams represented in this region. So a better effort needs to be made to get African representation or just drop the name from the title. It takes a lot of coin to participate in a tournament in Europe. Spain (Catalunya) was the big surprise beating the Netherlands 19-0 in the finals. This is the first time that a true team from Spain will play in the Little League World Series. There previous four appearances had rosters filled with American players living in Spain.

Japan Regional

Kawaguchi Little League in Tokyo will represent Japan. They pasted Nagasaki Minami 23-2 in the championship game. They seemed to get better as the tournament wore on, winning their opener 2-1, taking the second game 7-2 and winning the semifinal match 13-2 before waltzing in the playoffs.

Latin America Regionals

Panama (Vacamonte) only loss in pool play was to their brethren Panama (Aguadulce Cabezera) in the last game of pool play 8-0. They opened against them in the first round of the playoffs and avenged that loss with a 2-0 win. In the championship match they went up against Nicaragua and won 6-3.

Mexico Regionals

Matamoros Little League finished undefeated at 8-0 beating Trevino Kelly 5-3 in the championship game.

Cervenka Named July Player of the Month in Eastern League

August 6th, 2018

We did not name Martin Cervenka as one of our top ten catching prospects in the minor leagues but we still like the Czech born catcher. That like got stronger as he was named the Eastern League player of July. Before his arrival to Bowie Cervenka was used mainly in a back up role. Last year for Lynchburg he finally got over 400 at bats and did well with a .278 batting average with 8 homeruns. At 6′4″ he has a large frame for a catcher, which makes it more difficult to limit the passed balls (9). He became a six year free agent after the 2017 season and signed with the Orioles.

Cervenka hit .364 for the month of July playing for the AA Bowie Bay Sox. He finished second in homeruns (7) and RBIs (25) and led the Eastern League in slugging (.725) and OPS (1.191). The hot month has given him a career high 12 homeruns for 2018 and put his slugging average at .458. With the Orioles rebuilding they could have some roster spots to promote him to the major leagues in September.

There have been four players born in the Czech Republic that have played in the major leagues. Myworld would guess they moved to the United States in their early years and played baseball as youngsters in the United States. Frank Rooney played in the most games (12). All of them were position players but had limited careers in the majors.