Taiwan Not to Host WBC Games

May 17th, 2016

Taiwan will not play host to the World Baseball Classic games. They submitted an application to major league baseball to host a playoff round in Kaohsiung back in November, and since they had not yet heard from major league baseball have decided to abandon their hopes of hosting.

Because of a lack of communication by major league baseball there was no opportunity for the city to prepare for the games. Taiwan was a first round host for the 2013 games so major league baseball may be considering another country in Asia to play host (Korea?). Korea recently opened a new stadium in Seoul that would be conducive for a WBC game. The WBC is expected to announce the hosts in the next couple weeks.

Otani Extends Homer Streak; Aids in Ending Winning Streak

May 17th, 2016

The previous night Shohei Otani was throwing 100 mile per hour fastballs in a start he lost to the Seibu Lions 6-3. He gave up five runs in the outing, striking out 11 in his six innings of work. The big blow was the three run homer hit by Takeya Nakamura in the seventh after a walk and an error put two runners on. The loss raised his ERA to 3.34 and dropped his record to 1-4. The strikeouts are there, but containing the big inning has been his down fall. A lack of run support has also been a problem in getting victories.

The next day against the defending champion Softbank Hawks Otani was put in the DH spot. The starting pitching for the Hawks was Rick Vandenhurk, who had a streak of 13 wins in a row since arriving from the KBO. Otani greeted Vandenhurk with a two run homer in the first inning to extend his streak of hitting homers to five consecutive games. The homerun was also his eighth of the season.

Vandenhurk also gave up a two run homer to leadoff hitter Dai-Kan Yoh in the third inning to fall behind 4-0. The Hawks would never recover as they fell to the Nippon Ham Fighters 7-2.

The last player to hit five consecutive homers in a game in the NPB was Tony Blanco back in 2013. Ironic that Tony Blanco hit his first homerun yesterday in a season plagued by injuries. The overall professional record for consecutive homeruns is nine held by now Seattle Mariner Dae-Ho Lee, who had his streak in the KBO. Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr. hold the major league record with 8. I believe Sadaharu Oh holds the Japanese record with 7.

In other NPB news, the Cuban pitcher Hector Mendoza has been called up to pitch for the Yomiuri Giants. Hector is one of the players the Cuban government has loaned out to the NPB. He was the closer for the Cuban National team. The early appearances have been a struggle. Yesterday in his third appearance he got banged around for two runs in his one inning of work. Ex-Giant Jose Lopez tagged him for a two run homer, his second homer of the game. The ERA for Hector rose to 11.25.

Hot Weekend Prospects

May 16th, 2016

A busy weekend of games prevented us from updating the prospect hot sheet on a daily basis, so this will summarize those prospects that made an impact over the weekend.

Peter O’Brien 1B/LF (Diamondbacks) - Rotating between the outfield and first base, the bat is what will get O’Brien to the majors. He hit two homeruns to up his AAA season total to 12. A 4 for 5 day elevated his average to .342, but it now sits at .331. A 3/37 walk to whiff ratio may make him a puppet with major league pitchers.

Matt Davidson 3B (White Sox) - The ex-Diamondback is starting to get the average up with a 6 for 9 two game streak in which he hit two homeruns and three doubles. He also drove in six runs during the two game extra base hit barrage, raising his slugging average to .504 and his batting average to .274. Matt has as much power as any player, but last year could not get the average above .200 in a down year. His strikeout numbers have been reduced drastically from 32 in April in 22 games to just 9 in May in 10 games.

Kevin Newman SS (Pirates) - The Pirates 2015 first round pick is making High A look easy and expect a promotion soon. A 7 for 11 two game assault on High A pitchers brought his average up to .371. The hitter is near impossible to strikeout with a 10/7 walk to whiff ratio. Extra base hits have been a little slow with four doubles and one homerun among his 39 singles.

Rob Refsnyder 3B (Yankees) - Another player looking for a promotion to the major leagues. After hitting .218 in April Refsnyder is raking in May with a .404 average. Yesterday he launched his first two homeruns of the year. The Yankees have been using him at second base, third base and right field, so perhaps the days of Dustin Ackley are done if he does not start producing.

Jarrett Parker (OF (Giants) - A brief promotion to the major leagues got him a couple pinch hit at bats and a start in left field where he went 1 for 4. A return to the minor leagues resulted in a continuous barrage of balls leaving the park. In his first two games back he went 4 for 7 with three homeruns. He has hit 10 homeruns in the 10 AAA minor league games he has played in the month of May.

Albert Almora Cf (Cubs) - The Cubs do not have a lot of room in their outfield but when a player with Almora’s defensive tools begins to hit it is time to take notice. Albert currently has an 11 game hitting streak, recently ending a five game hitting streak where he stroked two or more hits. His average is up to .338 but he has not taken a walk in his last 20 games covering 88 at bats. It is difficult to take a walk when the bat makes contact every time it swings.

Kyle Tucker OF (Astros) - His brother Preston was recently demoted to the minor leagues. The way Kyle is hitting a promotion to High A could be a possibility. A few more levels and they could be teammates. Kyle is on an 8 game hitting streak where seven of those games have included multiple hits, the 16 for 30 streak raising his average to .328. Kyle is 16 for 19 in stolen base success, but his 6′4″ frame has only lifted one ball to travel over the fence. The Astros expect those power numbers and his .448 slugging percentage to rise with increased strength.

Pitching

Julio Urias LHP (Dodgers) - Everyone is waiting for the teenage sensation from Mexico to be called up to the Dodgers soon. The last teenage sensation from Mexico who threw lefthanded was named Fernando Valenzuela. Unlike Fernando, Julio may begin his Dodger career in the pen. His six shutout innings over the weekend give him four appearances where he has not given up a run, covering 21 innings. His ERA sits at a dazzling 1.25 and righthanders find it just as difficult to hit off him (.173) as lefthanders (.190).

Ben Lively RHP (Phillies) - When the ball is delivered from his hands it dances just like his name. A seven inning 12 strikeout performance improved his record to 6-0 and his ERA to 1.53. His last two appearances covering 13 innings he has not given up a run. Expect a promotion from AA soon.

Chih-Wei Hu RHP (Rays) - The Taiwan native has a hard time giving up runs. He threw seven innings of four hit shutout ball over the weekend to lower his ERA to 0.54 in AA. In all six of his appearances in AA Hu has given up one or less runs. He did get a AA start where he gave up four runs in 4.2 innings. He would like a return engagement to show he can pitch at that level.

Dylan Unsworth RHP (Mariners) - The South African native tossed a seven inning complete game shutout over the weekend to lower his ERA to 1.08 and improve his record to 3-0. The AA Southern League does not look long for Dylan.

Saupold Picks up First Win

May 15th, 2016

Myworld remembers Warwick Saupold when he pitched for the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League. No major league team had signed him yet and at 22 years of age he was not a young pup. He also pitched in the Asian Series for Perth Heat and we thought his fastball was electric. Myworld has put him on our Top Ten Australian prospect list since he signed with the Tigers in 2012. Today he got his first major league win in his second major league appearance, tossing 2.2 innings of shutout ball, striking out four. In his most impressive strikeout he struck out Pedro Alvarez on an 85 mile per hour changeup with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.

He would not have gotten the win if not for a non call by first base umpire Mark Wagner. Most of the 37,000 in attendance had thought J.D. Martinez had went around, which would have resulted in Darren O’Day striking out the side. Instead the count went to 3-2. The next pitch J.D. drilled into the center field bullpen to tie the game. The 37,000 rained boos on Wagner as J.D. circled the bases. On the next pitch from O’Day Miguel Cabrera lined a pitch that carried into the center field bleachers for a go ahead homer. More boos directed at Wagner. Buck Showalter did not have a lot of nice things to say about the non-call in a press conference after the game, talking about the inconsistency of umpires when making the check swing call, especially when it results in a strike three result.

Kevin Gausman the Orioles starter struggled in his five innings of work, giving up a run in each inning except one. In the first inning Ian Kinsler opened with a double down the third base line. Miguel Cabrera lined a single into centerfield to score Kinsler.

In the second inning Gausman gave up a lead off single to Justin Upton. Steven Moya lined one over the glove of the second baseman Schoop that had so much force it rolled to the fence, Moya hustling to third with a triple. The throw looked like it would beat Moya to the bag but it skipped past Alvarez. Gausman bore down and retired the next two hitters before hitting Kinsler and walking J.D. Martinez to load the bases. The toughest out in the lineup Cabrera lined a ball to center caught by Adam Jones to limit the damage to one.

Ian Kinsler hit a solo shot in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3. In the fifth Joey Rickard lost a ball in the sun giving Justin Upton a gift double. James McCann, hitting about .130 slashed a two out single into the 3B hole to give the Tigers a brief 4-3 lead. Mychal Givens replaced Gausman in the top of the sixth.

The Orioles got to Michael Fulmer early in the first inning. Joey Rickard led off the first with a single. Adam Jones pulled a pitch over the head of left fielder Steven Moya, who did not look good defensively going back for the ball (though in the minors he has played mostly right field, where the ball comes at you differently). Rickard scored on the hit. Back to back walks to Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo loaded the bases for Jonathan Schoop, who slapped a single just past shortstop to score two runs and give the Orioles an early 3-1 lead.

Fulmer settled down after the first inning, striking out four in a row in the second and third inning. An error by shortstop Mike Aviles after Fulmer had retired nine in a row opened the gates for Manny Machado to power one into right center that rattled between the bleacher wall and right centerfield wall for a two run homer and a 5-4 O’s lead. A walk to Adam Jones ended the day for Fulmer.

The Tiger bullpen retired the last nine Oriole hitters to secure the win, Alex Wilson working the eighth and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez with his 87 mile per hour fastball retiring the side in order in the ninth. The win by the Tigers prevented the Orioles from sweeping the four game series.

Game Notes: Steven Moya was removed from the game for defensive purposes in the eighth inning. He was supposed to bat second in the ninth inning, a homerun short of the cycle. Myworld would like to have seen him get the at bat, but Brad Ausmus went with Anthony Gose in center and the more experienced Justin Upton in left….Both Michael Fulmer with his 93-95 mile per hour fastball and Warwick Saupold with his 90-92 mile per hour fastball got a lot of swings and misses. Myworld thought it was interesting when Ausmus replaced Fulmer with Saupold in the fifth inning to face the left hand hitting Chris Davis. Saupold walked Davis, then struck out Trumbo and eventually Alvarez with the bases loaded to make the move pay off. It doesn’t say a lot about the quality of the lefthanded arms in the bullpen…James McCann twice had a runner on third with less than two outs and hit an easy pop up in the infield. The RBI single in the fifth had to make him feel good, though he struck out with runners on second and third with two out in the seventh and the Tigers down 5-4. Myworld was shocked Ausmus did not use a pinch hitter in that situation, but his bench is pretty thin and it could have resulted in an intentional walk to load the bases to pitch to the .120 hitting Mike Aviles…In the seventh inning only Chris Davis at first base was on the dirt in the infield when Victor Martinez led off in the seventh. He flew out to left field. Myworld has never seen a defensive shift with six players playing the outfield.

A Really Perfect Game

May 14th, 2016

St Edward High School pitcher Jaret Edwards pitched a perfect game. What was incredible about this perfect game is he faced 15 hitters in this five inning game and struck out all 15, 11 of them swinging. This is not his first no hitter since he pitched one on opening day, but it is probably his best one. Edwards has committed to George Washington.

St. Edwards won the game 10-0. Because the team scored so many runs the game was shortened to five innings and Edwards was denied the opportunity to tie the state strikeout record of 21, shared by many. What made the game even sweeter is it was the Strongsville Sectional championship game. For the season Edwards is 4-1 with a 0.96 ERA, striking out 57 hitters in the 47 innings he has pitched. He has only given up 26 hits in those innings he has thrown. He reaches the upper 80s with his fastball and mixes in a cutter, slider and change.

For the full story you can go to the link below:

perfect game

Hot Prospects for May 11

May 13th, 2016

Not a lot of names that impressed.

Christin Stewart OF (Tigers) - The 2015 first round pick hit his major league leading 12th homerun at High A on Wednesday, the third consecutive game in which he went deep. That streak would end the next day but his 11 game hitting streak would continue. The Tennessee Volunteer is hitting .371 for the month of May to up his overall average to .258. The Tigers have been using him in left field where they currently have a surplus of talented corner outfielders in their system.

Jake Gatewood 3B (Brewers) - Jake had his second two homer game in three days to give him five for the year. On Wednesday he only drove in three runs in a perfect 3 for 3 day. Jake drew his first walk in between these two homer games giving him a 1/37 walk to whiff ratio in 32 games. Those walk to whiff ratios have improved for the month of May (1/9) compared to April (0/28) explaining his .366 average for the month to raise it to an overall .270.

Pitchers

Tyler Jay LHP (Twins) - The Twins 2015 first round pick threw his second consecutive shutout outing with seven innings of three hit ball. That extends his shutout streak to 13.1 innings and lowers his ERA to 3.03.

Chad Kuhl RHP (Pirates) - When your AAA rotation includes players like Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow not many pay too much attention to Kuhl. Until you look at his numbers. He threw six innings of shutout ball Wednesday, his third start in which he has not given up a run. In six starts he has not given up more than two runs. Not as overpowering as Taillon or Glasnow but his 1.10 ERA is evidence he gets hitters out. The Pirates have lots of options if they should need someone to fill their major league rotation.

Adalberto Mejia LHP (Giants) - The Dominican lefty tossed 7.2 innings of six hit ball, not allowing a run. He has been pretty solid in his six starts (2.70 ERA) but has yet to pick up a decision. Lefthanded hitters are only hitting .147 off him.

Hot Prospects for May 9 and 10

May 12th, 2016

Volleyball coaching and attending some baseball games have prevented me from doing the research necessary to identify the hot prospects. We’re catching up with a two day post today.

Dan Vogelbach 1B (Cubs) - It seemed only a couple days ago we talked about Vogelbach after a five RBI game. On Wednesday he drove in four runs with two homeruns, his fourth and fifth of the year. Ironic that his only RBIs for the month of May are on the two days when he drove in five and four runs. A .337 batting average in AAA could have the Cubs promote him in an American League park to use as a DH. That is how Kyle Schwarber got his first major league opportunity.

Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Verdugo had a big RBI night with seven, six of them a result of a two run and grand slam homerun in the first two innings of a game the Tulsa Drillers won 10-0 over the Springfield Cardinals. Verdugo finished the day 3 for 4.

Bradley Zimmer CF (Indians) - The 2014 first round pick went 3 for 4 with a homerun and four RBIs. The homerun was the culmination of three consecutive games in which he hit one homerun. His final RBI total for those three days was eight. The three homeruns give him seven for the year. Bradley has also been stealing his fair share of bases with 14 in 18 attempts to date.

J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - After hitting .289 with 26 homeruns last year, the third round 2014 pick has gotten off to a slow start this year. A 3 for 4 day in which he hit his second homerun and drove in four runs raised his average to .205. He went his first 21 games without hitting a homerun and then hit two in his next three games.

Anfernee Seymour SS (Marlins) - A 4 for 5 day was the third game of a four game hitting streak that has raised his average to .230. So far only one of his 28 hits have gone for extra bases. He has yet to hit a homerun since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2014.

Kyle Wren LF (Brewers) - A 4 for 5 day has raised his average to .277. Most of his time at Biloxi has been in left field, but he lacks the power to play that position. He does have the speed to play centerfield but Brett Phillips has been seeing most of the time there. This makes Wren look more like a fourth outfielder type.

Phillip Ervin CF (Reds) - The Reds expect Phillip to carry a power bat. His two homeruns on Tuesday give him five for the year. He also walked and stole his 13th base without being caught. Currently, the 2013 first round pick is only hitting .229.

Harrison Bader CF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals 2015 third round pick has been a beast against AA pitching. A 4 for 5 day with two solo shots has extended his hitting streak to 13 games and increased his homer total to 7. There have been three four hit games during this 13 game hitting streak, increasing his average to .379. In 10 games for the month of May his batting average is .455. The only down side to his season is a 4 for 11 success rate in stolen bases.

Austin Dean LF (Marlins) - Austin had a two homerun day and added a triple to finish 3 for 5 with five RBIs. The two homeruns give Austin three for the season.

Austin Slater CF (Giants) - A big 5 for 5 day has increased his average 50 points. He was a triple short of the cycle. Austin currently has a five game hitting streak with doubles in three consecutive games.

Roeman Fields CF (Blue Jays) - Roeman has gotten hot with two four hit games within four games to raise his average to .262. Only one of the 8 hits went for extra bases (triple) his only extra base hit for the month of May. Fields will not hit for a lot of power, but will be relied on to be a leadoff hitter whose legs will carry him around the bases (11 for 14 success rate in stolen bases).

Pitchers

Jake Jewell RHP (Angels), Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates), Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) and Yaisel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - All pitchers went six innings allowing just two hits. Jake (8.54 ERA) and Yaisel (5.40) hope the shutouts will turn around a slow start to their 2016 season. For Keller this is his fourth start of six in which he has not given up a run to lower his ERA to 0.79.

Ben Lively RHP (Phillies), Chris Ellis RHP (Braves) and Shawn Morimando LHP (Indians) - Lively and Ellis improved their records to 5-0, Lively throwing six innings of four hit shutout ball, Ellis pitching seven innings of three hit shutout ball. Ellis was drafted by the Angels but included with Sean Newcomb in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Simmons is now injured and the Angels are desperate to find pitching. Lively lowered his ERA to 1.80 and Ellis to 1.77. Morimando gave up two runs in his eight innings of work but has won all six of his starts to begin the season to 6-0. He has not given up more than two runs in any of his six starts.

Julio Urias LHP (Dodgers) and Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Both pitchers did not give up a run in six innings of work, allowing only four hits. For Lamet he picked up his fifth win, which equaled the amount he won last year. The shutout was his second in a row giving him at least 12 innings of shutout ball. He has also only given up one run in his last five outings covering 23 innings to lower his ERA to 1.18. The next start for Urias may be in the Dodger pen after his third straight appearance in which he did not give up a run, covering 15 innings.

Ryan Merritt LHP (Indians) - Ryan got a rare complete game shutout victory, giving up just four hits. He threw just 97 pitches. Merritt will not overpower anyone with a fastball in the upper 80s. He wins games by command and a excellent changeup that makes his fastball feel like the low 90s.

Andrew Moore RHP (Mariners) - Andrew was dominant for his second start. Earlier he had thrown seven innings of no hit ball. Monday he went six innings and just allowed one hit.

Stephan Gonsalves LHP (Twins) - This was Gonsalves fourth start in which he has given up only two hits. Three of the four starts he has not given up a run. In his last five starts he has given up only two runs with four two hitters in those starts. His ERA dropped to 1.21.

Yaz Showing Some Pop

May 12th, 2016

Many are familiar with the name Yastrzemski. Carl Yastrzemski established many fond memories for Boston Red Sox fans a number of years ago. His grand son Mike is hoping to do the same for Baltimore Oriole fans.

When myworld first watched Mike play when he first came up with the Bay Sox we thought he would be at best a fourth outfielder in the major leagues. We are starting to change that opinion. Yesterday we witnessed him hit his sixth homerun of the season, a high fly ball over the right field fence for a three run homer. The Bay Sox ended up losing the game 6-4, but they were facing the best team in the Eastern League the Hartford Yard Goats.

For Mike it was his third homerun in his last four games. Last year he only hit 6 homeruns for the Bay Sox but the power was beginning to show with his 30 doubles. This year he already has six homeruns, which is one more than his five doubles. Those gappers rolling to the wall are now travelling over the wall.

His season high for homeruns is 14 when he collected that number with three different teams. Because he played on three teams people tend to overlook his totals. That year he hit 34 doubles, 16 triples and 14 homeruns for a .490 slugging percentage. Most of the damage was done in Low A where in just 63 games he produced 14 doubles, 10 triples and 10 homeruns.

At 26 years of age and playing in AA he may be getting up in years where baseball experts question his prospect status. The Orioles will not complain if he is producing 30 homer results with them in a couple years, whether these baseball experts consider him a prospect or not. The baseball world is full of late bloomers. Mike hopes to be one of those and establish memories for Oriole fans that Carl gave to many Red Sox fans many years ago.

Justine Siegal to Become First Female Manager of Men’s Profesional Baseball Team

May 12th, 2016

In an Independent League, the San Rafael Pacifics have announced Justine Siegal to become manager of their baseball team. The significance of that is she will become the first female to ever manage for a men’s professional baseball team, according to the link below associated with San Rafael.

The catch is she will only manage for two games on June 29th and 30th against the Sonoma Stompers. Siegel has already made baseball history by becoming the first female coach for a major league team when she coached the Oakland Athletics as a guest instructor for the 2015 instructional league. She has also served as the assistant coach for the Springfield College baseball team from 2008 to 2010.

Siegal is the founder and executive director for Baseball for All. In 2002 Siegal formed a team named Sparks, the first all girls team to compete in a “boys” baseball tournament. She also teaches or teached at Northeastern. It is unclear how the girls did in the tournament, but as a coach in volleyball many times it is not all about winning but whether you are having fun in what you are doing that matters the most.

San Rafael does not begin their season until they play an exhibition game on May 26th. The season starts on June 7 with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh on tap to sing the Star Spangled banner. Sounds like a team interested in creating interest in people coming to their games.

female manager

Otani Homer Streak; Vanderhurk Winning Streak

May 12th, 2016

Rick Vandenhurk won his fifth game of the year in the Softbank Hawks 2-1 win over the Chibbe Lotte Marines. He went eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits, striking out 10 with no walks. His ERA dropped to 1.98. He had a perfect game until the sixth inning when a one out single broke the perfection.

Moving from the Korean League (KBO) to the Japanese League (NPB) has not created any problems for Vandenhurk. Since his move over last year he has won 14 consecutive games. That streak established two new NPB records, 1) the most consecutive wins to begin a career in the NPB, and 2) the most consecutive wins by a foreign pitcher. He is still far behind the Masahiro Tanaka record for most consecutive wins by a pitcher, which stands at 28.

Shohei Otani is recognized as one of the best pitchers in professional baseball. If he went to the major leagues he would be the ace for many major league teams, equaling the accomplishments of Yu Darvish. Otani is also showing he is a pretty good hitter. The Nippon Ham Fighters manager has been using Otani in the DH spot on the days when he is a couple days removed from pitching. His homer yesterday gave him seven for the year, but also gave him homers in four consecutive games. Michael Abreu was the last player in the NPB to hit homers in four consecutive games and that was in 2013. The last Japanese player to do it was Sho Nogata in 2010.

Shohei has expressed an interest in playing in the major leagues, but he has stated he would only sign with a team that uses him as both a hitter and a pitcher. In 2014 he became the first player in professional baseball to hit for double digits in homeruns and pick up double digits in victories as a pitcher since a player by the name of Babe Ruth. Otani is hitting .322 in addition to his seven homeruns proving he is just as good a hitter as he is a pitcher, leaving major league teams with a quandary of how to use him if he ever gets posted. For a $20 million posting fee and his popularity in Japan, major league teams will have to wait until he becomes a free agent, or one year away from free agency before he becomes available. Otani is worth far more than $20 million to Nippon Ham in merchandise sales and attendance.

The hitting could be having an impact on the effectiveness of Otani’s mound work. For the 2016 season Otani is struggling with a 1-3 record with a 3.02 ERA, numbers that fall far below his previous seasons. The strikeouts continue to come in bunches with 58 in 50.2 innings.