Eddie Alvarez Gets Major League Opportunity

August 5th, 2020

Eddie Alvarez becomes the second player to win an Olympic medal in a sport other than baseball to make it to the major leagues. The first was Jim Thorpe. The corona virus helped a bit, decreasing the Marlins roster by 13. One of those players put on the disabled list was Marlins starting shortstop Miguel Rojas.

Eddie earned a silver medal at the 2014 winter Olympics in short track speed skating. Shortly after that the Marlins signed him to a contract. The son of Cuban immigrants has been working his way up the minor league ladder, reaching AAA in 2016. Last year he hit .323 in AAA with a career high 12 homeruns. He also has the speed to steal bases, stealing 12 last year, but in 2015 he stole 53 in A ball.

Last year his primary position was third base, but he also played a lot of shortstop. In prior years his primary position was shortstop. It will be interesting how the Marlins use him. They will be playing a double header today so he should get his first opportunity to play.

For those wondering, Jim Thorpe won gold medals in the pentathlon and the decathlon at the 1912 Olympics. It was discovered he had played professional baseball prior to 1912 and he was stripped of the medals. Thorpe went on to play professional football after his baseball career and was good enough for the Hall of Fame. He had a six year major league career that began in 1913 and had a career batting average of .252 with a .362 slugging.

Cole and Tanaka - Consecutive Win Streaks

August 4th, 2020

The press has been talking about Gerritt Cole’s 19 game consecutive win streak. The major league record for consecutive wins for a pitcher is held by Rube Marquard, who won 24. That was back in 1912, more than 100 years ago. Many reports are saying what Cole is doing now is unprecedented.

Not true. All Cole has to do to find a pitcher who broke Marquard’s win streak is to look in his dugout. That is where Masahiro Tanaka will be sitting. Over a two year period in 2012 to 2013 Tanaka won 26 games in a row while pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the NPB. In 2013 he finished the season 24-0 with an ERA of 1.27. He finally lost a game in game 6 of the Japan Series playoff. In 2014 he signed a major league contract with the New York Yankees.

So if Cole needs someone to talk to about pitcher winning streaks, Tanaka would be a good player to seek out. He had a season for the ages. Of course, if you include playoff games, Cole’s streak was broken last year in game one of the World Series against the Nationals. Eliminate the loss Tanaka had in his playoff start, add on the six consecutive wins he had when starting for the Yankees in 2014 and his consecutive win streak would have slipped past 30 (not too sure how many playoff wins Tanaka earned that would have to be eliminated from his win streak).

Baystars Reaping the Benefits for Yamaguchi

August 3rd, 2020

Prior to being posted to the major leagues Shun Yamaguchi was a free agent pitcher who signed with the Yomiuri Giants. As is the policy on signing free agents the Yokohama Bay Stars earned a compensation pick for the signing of Yamaguchi. Taira Kentaro had only pitched one game for the Giants in 2016, giving up four runs in just 3.2 innings. Myworld saw him pitch back in 2014.

Yamaguchi was a first round pick of the Yokohama Bay Stars in 2005. He had an undistinguished career with the Bay Stars, never reaching double digit wins with the team until his last season with them in 2016, when he won 11. He pitched two years for the Giants and it was his second season with them when he went 16-4, 2.78, a career year for Yamaguchi. The Giants normally do not post players to the major leagues but they felt they had gotten the best from Yamaguchi and it would not get any better. The Giants posted him and the Blue Jays bit, signing him to a two year contract for $6.35 million. It will be interesting if Yamaguchi can live up to that contract.

The Baystars took it slow with their compensation pick. In his first three years with the Bay Stars his high for innings pitched was his third year when he reached 70. This year he has earned a spot in the starting rotation and he has been stellar, going 2-2, 1.99 ERA. He has struck out 35 in 45 innings.

He did pitch for the 21 and under Japan Samurai World Cup team back in 2014 while he was with the Giants. My world saw him pitch in a game against Taiwan. He allowed just one hit in three innings of work. It has now been six years. I have to admit, I have no idea how he pitched, but I do have the scorebook.

Hawks Have First Player Test Positive

August 2nd, 2020

It would happen. Myworld posts about no players in the Asian Leagues having positive tests for corona virus since the leagues have begun play. A day after the post a Hawks player, Yuya Hasegawa, tests positive for the corona virus. Japan has seen an uptick in corona virus cases, which creates a big concern for them with the Olympics scheduled for next year after being postponed from this year.

The Sunday game between the Hawks and Lions will be postponed. It will be the first postponement of Asian League games because of a corona virus positive test. Hasegawa becomes the sixth NPB player to test positive. Five of those players tested positive before the season began and resulted in the delay of the start of the season.

Hasegawa has been playing with their minor league team, but many major leaguers make use of the minor league facilities. He did play 11 games early in the season but was sent down on July 7.

White Sox Make History with Cuban Batting Order

August 2nd, 2020

The Chicago White Sox made history by becoming the first team in major league history to have the first four players in the batting order born in Cuba. Because of the injury to Tim Anderson, Luis Robert took the lead off spot. Yoan Moncada batted second and played third. Jose Abreu hit third and played first base. Yasmani Grandal, who grew up in the United States but was born in Cuba and migrated here as a youngster, batted cleanup.

The top four in the order did pretty good, leading the White Sox to an 11-5 win over the Kansas City Royals. Luis Robert went 4 for 5 with a homerun and two runs scored and driven in. Moncada went 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Jose Abreu went 2 for 6 with one run scored. Yasmani Grandal closed out the hitting going 2 for 5 with two runs scored and driven in. That is 11 for 21 with seven runs scored and four driven in.

If not for the last two batters in the order it would have been an all Latin lineup. Dominicans Edwin Encarnacion, Eloy Jimenez and Leury Garcia batted fifth, sixth and seventh in the White Sox order. The last two spots in the order were filled by United States born Adam Engel and rookie Nick Madrigal.

The Royals tried to counter the batting order by starting the recently acquired Cuban Ronald Bolanos, making his second start of the season. He did not survive to get to the third inning, giving up five runs in 1.2 innings. He gave up two long balls. Jorge Soler was also in the batting order for the Royals, making it 6 of the 20 players in the starting lineup born in Cuba. Gio Gonzalez was the starting pitcher for the White Sox and he has Cuban ancesters, though he was not born in Cuba.

Major League Baseball and the Corona Virus

August 1st, 2020

It seems major league baseball has been hit with a number of positive tests for the corona virus. In Asia, in the NPB, the KBO and the CPBL I am not aware of one positive case. I can’t say whether they are testing daily or not but they have yet to have a postponement because of the corona virus. The major leagues seem to be having a number of postponements and their season just got started.

Makes you wonder about the United States efforts and ability to contain the virus. If there is a case in Asia everything shuts down as they contact trace. In the United States myworld wonders if they even bother trying to contact trace. In many cases, by the time you get a result seven days or more has passed and contact tracing becomes irrelevant. At least the major leagues has the ability to get results back in a day or two, but they have been getting so many positive results back that it makes continuing the season difficult. That requires quarantine for any player the positive case came in contact with, which is usually the whole team.

Myworld is not aware of any instance where an Asian player in the NPB, the KBO or the CPBL had a test come back positive and the player had to be put on the disabled list. The NPB had there season delayed because players tested positive, but once the season has started no positive tests have been reported.

Myworld wonders how the major leagues can complete the season with so many positive tests occurring after the season has started.

Balls Appear to be Flying Again in KBO

August 1st, 2020

The offense has seemed to taken on a resurgence in the KBO. Or the pitchers are suffering from tired arm and are giving up runs in droves. Two teams scoring 20 plus runs in five days. During that same time frame close to 30 percent of the teams have scored in double digits. Batting averages and ERAs are rising. Perhaps that is the humidity.

The Kiwoom Heroes scored more than 20 runs yesterday in their 22-7 win over the Samsung Lions. They have scored 32 runs in their last two games against Samsung. David Buchanan was the victim of the assault yesterday, giving up eight runs in less than five innings.

The acquisition of Addison Russell seems to have brought some life into the Heroes bats. They have surged to a five game winning streak, the last four games with Russell in the lineup. With Addison Russell hitting .357 and their superstar Jung-hoo Lee hitting .353 that is a potent one-two combination. Future major leaguer Ha-Seong Kim has scored two or more runs in those five games, including a 5 for 5 rampage against the Doosan Bears a couple days ago in their 8-5 win. The Heroes swept the defending champs in a three game series that saw one game rained out.

The LG Twins have scored 9 or more runs in four of their last five games, including a 24-7 thrashing of the SK Wyverns. Roberto Ramos (.309, 19, 46) has cooled off a bit, but ex-major leaguer Hyun-Soo Kim (.341, 14, 61) has been on fire. He recently had a 10 game hitting streak broken in which he drove in 14 runs. Kim is sixth in the league in batting and fourth in RBIs.

Time will tell if the warm weather and the influx of fans will continue the resurgence of the offense in the KBO. The league has now played 70 games, almost halfway through their season. Unlike the major leagues, they have had no corona virus outbreaks. But the bats appear to be letting loose.

Choi Jeong Now Number 2 in KBO Homeruns

July 29th, 2020

Choi Jeong slugged a solo shot for his 352nd homerun, putting him second on the KBO homerun list. He had been tied with Yang Joon-hyuk, but he is still more than 100 homeruns shy of Lee Seung-yeop, who sits at 467.

The homerun did not help the Wyverns beat the LG Twins, who won the game 11-6. After hitting six homeruns yesterday in the 24 run outburst, they slugged three homeruns, including one by Roberto Ramos, his 18th of the season.

In other KBO news, the Samsung Lions released Tyler Saladino, who went down with a back injury on July 15. Daniel Palka, a former teammate of Saladino was signed to replace him. The Lions have lost five games in a row and have dropped to 34-35. They hope Palka will provide some offense to the lineup.

LG Twins Erupt for 24 Runs; Russell Makes His Debut for Heroes

July 28th, 2020

The balls are supposed to be less juiced. The scores of the games have been lower, beginning last year. Perhaps some of those juiced balls got mixed into the LG Twins 24-7 win over the SK Wyverns yesterday.

Ricardo Pinto was the victim of the 24 run outburst. He was the starting pitcher for the Wyverns working four innings and giving up six runs. The Twins racked up runs in every run derivation except for “5″, “8″ and “9″ and scored in seven of the nine innings. The DH Chae Eun-sung was the big bat for the Twins driving in 8 runs with three hits, including a grand slam in the six run 9th inning.

Six different players from the Twins went deep. Only three players in their starting lineup failed to hit a homerun. One of those was slugger Roberto Ramos, who has not been the same slugger after early season injuries. He has hit 17 homeruns but only one in his last 10 games. His batting average has dropped to .303.

The Wyverns got two homeruns from Yoon Suk-min. The two homeruns he hit in his two at bats came in a reserve capacity and doubled his season numbers. Tyler Wilson was the starting pitcher for the Twins. He survived five innings, giving up three runs. Normally when foreign pitchers are on the mound the runs are scarce. For this game, that was not the case.

Addison Russell also made his KBO debut in the Kiwoom Heroes 6-2 win over the defending champion Doosan Bears. Russell singled to extend a two run sixth inning, scoring one of those runs. He drove in two runs in the three run ninth with a single to secure the victory. Russell played shortstop in his debut, moving Kim Ha-seong to third.

The game saw two of the better foreign pitchers duel it out for four innings of shutout ball, before the Bears scrapped two runs off Eric Jokisch (9-3, 2.20) on a two run homerun by Kim-Jae-hwan, his 14th of the year. The Heroes bounced back for two off Sandy Alcantara (10-1, 2.80) in the sixth inning, one of those runs unearned. Neither pitcher survived long enough to pick up a decision in the Heroes win.

KBO to Welcome Back Fans

July 24th, 2020

The KBO will be allowed to open their stadiums to fans effective for Sunday games, as long as they do not exceed 10 percent of their capacity. KBO teams have been struggling financially with empty stadiums and the corporations who sponsor the teams have been footing the bill. The 10 percent stadium capacity will help ease those financial burdens. These last few days have been burdened by games that have been rained out so hopefully the weekend comes through with good weather.