Top First Base Prospects in Minor Leagues

August 12th, 2019

Not a stellar list. Many of your top first base prospects struggle in the outfield in the minor leagues but have a good bat and eventually move to first base, making it tougher for minor leaguer first baseman to make the major leagues. Right hand hitting first baseman are not liked by scouts. For one, their glove is on the wrong side of their hand for making a tag during pickoffs and two, if you are going to have a left handed bat in the lineup put him at first base. Christian Walker is one of those rare right handed bats who plays first base, but it took him until his 28th year to become a major league starter. He still platoons with the left hand hitting Jake Lamb. So on to the unimpressive list of first base prospects.

1. Andrew Vaughn (White Sox) - He is the right handed bat that many scouts fear putting at first. The third pick in the 2019 draft is said to have a productive bat that will force itself into the lineup. He was the Golden Spikes winner in 2018 in college while playing for California, finishing his college career with a .374 average and a .688 slugging percentage. His bat is expected to produce power that is slotted for the position and because he hits the ball to all fields he will be impossible to defend with shifts. At 6′0″ he does not have the tall frame that you want to see from a first baseman, but his defense will be steady. He pitched a bit in college so he has the arm for a move to third base. In his first minor league season he has already seen himself promoted to High A. His bat has been below average in the full season leagues, hitting just above .250 with a slugging average below .430. Major league teams will want to see more from their first baseman, but he is still learning, getting his first exposure to minor league pitching.

2. Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - The arm is his biggest down side. The Orioles tried him at short and third but the loopy throws to first would not cut it in the major leagues. Left field is another option but the arm could be a hindrance there. His bat is what will get him to the major leagues and while he does not have the power of Yordan Alvarez, a rotation between first base and DH will be in his future. This year has been a breakout season for him power wise. His 20 homeruns is a career high and he is slugging .516. The big cause of concern is his 17/107 walk to whiff ratio, which means his .314 average in AAA will not be sustainable if he keeps swinging at pitcher’s pitches. The Orioles roster is filled with first baseman/DH types (Chris Davis, Trey Mancini, Mark Trumbo) so finding room for him will mean the O’s will have to say bye to Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo and keep Mancini and his sub par defense in the outfield (Renato Nunez is another DH player on their roster). His bat should be ready for the major leagues next year and a September callup is a strong possibility this year.

3. Seth Beer (Diamondbacks) - The bat is what will get him into a major league lineup. The Astros drafted him with their first pick in 2018. He was included in a trade to the Diamondbacks for Zack Greinke. So he has gone from a DH league to a non-DH league, depriving him of an opportunity to play his best position, unless the major leagues adopts the DH for both leagues. He is the first left handed bat in this list, but he throws right handed, meaning his glove is on the wrong side for pickoffs. The Astros have used him in the outfield, but his lack of speed and weak arm make him a liability there. His best position is DH. Last year he hit himself into High A, slugging 12 homeruns. He struggled a bit when trying to hit High A pitching (.262 average, 4/22 walk to whiff ratio). This year he was better at High A (.314, .602 slugging) that the Astros promoted him to AA after only 35 games. He has 25 homeruns (none in his 8 games with the D-backs AA team) with 93 RBIs. If he was in AAA with the juiced baseballs his homer numbers could be video game like. Christian Walker and his inconsistent bat is his only impediment in the major leagues so there is no one stopping him from a promotion if his bat keeps producing.

4. Triston Casas (Red Sox) - The Red Sox first round pick in 2018. He only played in two games last year because a torn ligament in his thumb ended his season early. At 6′4″ he has the size teams are looking for in their first baseman. He also throws right handed so the Red Sox are looking at him for third. That size is normally a hindrance at that position if he lacks the quickness and flexibility to handle the hot shots. He has tremendous power, so his bat is what will get him in the lineup somewhere. He played for Team USA where he showed an ability to hit to all fields, making him tough to shift against. This year he has been a bit strikeout prone with 105 whiffs in 101 games. He has clobbered 17 homeruns, but his .247 average keeps his slugging average at .468. Those are Bobby Bradley like numbers. Next year the Red Sox will promote him to High A. If he does well there that could result in a quick promotion to AA but at 19 years of age there is no reason to rush his bat until it is ready for the next level. It will be a couple years before he sees the major leagues, especially with Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers ahead of him.

5. Evan White (Mariners) - Evan was a first round pick in 2017. He is noted for his defense, which is good. There is some question about his power, which is bad when you are playing first base. He also hits right handed, another tick against him. But he throws lefthanded so good for pickoff throws. Bottom line is if Evan can hit he will make the major leagues. Last year in High A he sprayed the gaps with 27 doubles, but hit only 11 homeruns, resulting in a .458 slugging. His batting average was an impressive .303 which led to a promotion to AAA, skipping AA. This year Evan finds himself in AA and his power has impressed with 16 homeruns and a .500 slugging. With his superior glove that could get him to the major leagues. It is not like the Mariners have anyone there that can stop his promotion in 2020 except for the DH entrenched Dan Vogelbach.

6. Bobby Bradley (Indians) - The third round pick in 2014 has been hitting a lot of balls out of minor league parks. A troubled glove and an inability to hit for average has kept him pummeling minor league pitchers. Last year at AA he repeated that level and his average dropped 40 points. Despite the struggles (.214 average) he still got his promotion to AAA. This year he has hacked at AAA pitching for a .272 average and a career high 29 homeruns. It led to his first promotion to the major leagues, where he struggled (.178), hitting only one homerun in 45 at bats. Next year he may be given more of an opportunity. He’ll get to show his stuff in September. DH may still be his best position in the major leagues.

7. Nate Lowe (Rays) - Nate Lowe, like catcher Will Smith (Dodgers) may not be considered a prospect next year if he gets a few more at bats. He was a 13th round pick in 2016 out of college. His younger brother was a first round pick of the Rays in the 2016 draft out of high school. Nate is the one that has made an impact for the Rays, with a .294 average and 5 homeruns. At 6′4″ and 245 pounds he can mash a baseball when he gets ahold of it. His large frame hinders his speed for the outfield making first base his only viable position. His younger brother is the same 6′4″ and 205 pounds with the speed to one day join him with the Rays playing the outfield. Defensively Nate can handle first base, but he will not win any gold gloves. Expect Nate to be the Rays starting first baseman next year.

8. Nick Pratto (Royals) - Nick was a first round pick of the Royals in 2017, a couple picks ahead of White. Like White, Nick is noted for his glove at first base. There is some concern whether his bat will break out enough to be an offensive contributor at the position. To go along with that lack of power he also has a propensity to swing and miss with 150 whiffs last year and already 145 this year in less games. Last year he slugged .443 with just 14 homeruns, but had the ability to find the gaps with 33 doubles. This year he is really struggling with a .185 average and a .302 slugging. We’ll chalk it up to a bad season. One tool he is above average in for a first baseman is speed. Last year he stole 22 bases and this year he has 15. It is still not enough to make him an effective outfielder at any position but possibly left field.

9. Lewin Diaz (Marlins) - Diaz was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1.4 million by the Twins. They traded him to the Marlins for bullpen help (Sergio Romo). Myworld likes his 6′4″ height and his lefthanded bat. Diaz has had a breakout year with his power, slugging 24 homeruns between High A and AA. His ability to hit for average has improved, raising his High A average from .225 last year to .290, resulting in a promotion to AA. His lack of speed will restrict him to first base where his defense will be adequate. For a power hitter he does have a good ability to make contact. He could make a contribution to the Marlins next year.

10. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - The 2016 fourth round pick will rely on his power. Bobby can also play third base, but Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers could hinder his major league progress there. He is one of those players whose at bats do not result in a lot of balls hit in play. He takes a lot of walks, whiffs a ton and sends many a ball over the fence. Last year he slugged 32. This year he has 22. The strikeouts will leave his batting average below .250 but his OBA should still be good with his walks. He has a solid arm and just below average speed so a move to left field could be an option, but the Red Sox outfield is a little crowded now for that to happen. He will probably see the Red Sox next year and if J.D. Martinez is not resigned he could see time as a DH.

Astros Blame it on Rio for Walkoff Loss

August 11th, 2019

Mychal Givens and the Orioles had just given up three runs in the top of the ninth to lose a 5-4 lead. Roberto Osuna hit Chance Sisco to put the tying run on. Chris Davis came to the plate representing the go ahead run. In years past you could hope for a walk off homerun. With four K’s in four at bats you just hoped he did not hit into a double play to end the game. He hit a ball to shallow left and Jace Peterson was able to tag up and give him a sacrifice fly. It was kind of surprising Josh Reddick threw the ball home since that run did not really matter and Sisco could have advanced to second. Rio Ruiz, an unlikely hero came to the plate and with the count 2-2 he hit a no doubter that landed on Eutah Street for a 8-7 Orioles victory, their first walk off win of the year and the first for Ruiz in his career.

Asher Wojciechowski retired the Astros in order in the top of the first so it appeared to be a better start than their 23-2 loss of yesterday. The Orioles even got a run in the bottom of the first on two singles and a RBI double from Jace Peterson to give them a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the second the homer gods again frowned down on the Orioles. Carlos Correa smashed a 3-run homerun deep into the Astros end of the bullpen for a 3-1 lead. Visions of the nightmare of yesterday began dancing into the heads of the Oriole fans. The O’s bounced back in the bottom frame on an RBI single from Trey Mancini to cut the lead to 3-2.

Asher settled down after the second inning. The Astros got baserunners in every inning he pitched, but Asher was able to prevent any Astro from crossing the plate until the seventh, his last inning when a single by Josh Reddick and double by George Springer put Astros on second and third. A ground out scored a run, brought in the bullpen, but the Orioles still had a one run lead.

They were able to take the lead in the fifth off Justin Verlander. He struck out 11 hitters in his five innings of work, but in the fifth he gave up two runs to allow the Orioles to go ahead. Pedro Severino got the inning started with a ground ball double just inside the third base bag. Jace Peterson roped a pitch over the head of center fielder George Springer for a triple to tie the game. Hanser Alberto hit a foul ball into left field but it was caught by Michael Brantley. His throw was not strong enough to get Peterson racing home with the go ahead run.

The Orioles scored an insurance run in the sixth after Chris Devinski had whiffed the first two hitters he faced. Jonathan Villar singled, stole second and scored on a Trey Mancini single. Mancini had also contributed an RBI single in the second. Santander doubled down the right field line to put runners on third and second but Devinski whiffed Pedro Severino to end the inning.

The Orioles had a chance to put the game away in the eighth when they loaded the bases with one out. Santander hit a fly ball to shallow center, not deep enough to score Rio Ruiz from third. Severino then hit one over the left field fence, but it was just a couple feet foul from being a grand slam homerun. On the next pitch he grounded out to third.

The top of the ninth was another nightmare for Mychal Givens, who came into the game with five blown saves. He got out of a jam in the eighth by striking out Josh Reddick with the tying run at second. He could not get anyone out in the ninth. Springer singled to left, Peterson falling short of making a shoe string catch. Altuve laid down a bunt single down the third base line. Michael Brantley hit a ball down the right field line. Santander chased it. Brantley headed to third and as Santander picked the ball up to throw it the ball slipped out of his hand and fell behind him. By the time Santander picked the ball up Brantley had scored. Givens hit Alex Bregman on a 1-2 pitch and he was replaced by Richard Bleier.

Bleier got out of the inning with a whiff and double play. That gave the Orioles the opportunity for the walk off in the ninth.

Game notes: Santander got a bloop single off Verlander in the first. Verlander struck out Santander on six pitches in his next two at bats. Santander looked overmatched in the two at bats and saw a total of nine pitches in his three at bats against Verlander…Verlander was hitting 95-96 with his fastball. The 11 K’s shows he still has his swing and miss stuff. It also gave him double digit strikeouts for five consecutive games, the first time he has established that in his career…The Orioles can not keep Chris Davis with the at bats he has been having this year. There are just too many swings and misses in his game and not enough balls deposited over the fence. Four whiffs today upped his strikeout total to 118 in 87 games. There are at least 60 other first baseman that are better than him (other teams starters and backups and Mancini and Mountcastle). Keeping him on the roster is an effort in futility, just because they are paying him $25 million per year. Even the fans have turned against him, booing him after each whiff…Trey Mancini made a nice sliding catch with runners on first and second and two out in the fifth, saving at least one run from scoring…For Rio Ruiz it was his first walk off homerun in his career and his second consecutive day with a homerun after his recent callup…The win by the Orioles erased the Astros eight game winning streak…Rio Ruiz was named player of the game but Jace Peterson deserves some accolades with his two doubles and a triple, all contributing to runs.

Carter Threatening Homerun Record in Mexican League

August 11th, 2019

The balls are not just flying in the major leagues and AAA. They are also flying in the Mexican league. And the commissioner has admitted it, saying that he switched from the Rawlings baseball to the Franklin baseball in order to increase homeruns. After all, it is not just “chicks who dig the long ball” but fans in general. Unfortunately he did not expect the onslaught that is happening in the Mexican League. Homeruns have gone up from 1.8 per game to 2.7.

As a result of that Chris Carter is threatening the homerun record in the Mexican League held by Jack Pierce in 1985 when he hit 54 playing for the Bravos de Leon. Many may remember Chris Carter as the all or nothing strikeout/homerun hitter in the major leagues. He tied for the league lead in homeruns with 41 in 2016 and then was released by the Brewers because they did not want to pay him $8 million in arbitration. Instead they went with Marcus Thames and Jesus Aguilar.

Carter signed later with the Yankees and when he hit below his .217 career major league average (.201) they sent him back down to the minors, never to return to the major leagues. The problem with Carter is that while he hit homeruns he also led the league in strikeouts twice, with 212 in 2013 and 206 in 2016. The baseball analytics people did not like his overall production, despite the number of balls leaving the park.

The Acereros de Monclava signed him to play in the Mexican League for the 2019 season, paying him about $30,000 per month. He seems to be enjoying himself there, with 43 homeruns, 11 short of the Mexican League record. Not only is he hitting homeruns but his batting average is pretty impressive as well (.301) 100 points higher than what it was after he was released by the Yankees.

Scouts say you can pitch to Carter to retire him pretty easily. Pitchers in the Mexican League do not have the command of their pitches to hit that spot that is a virtual swing and miss in every at bat for Carter. So he thrives in the thin air of high altitude, juiced baseballs and AAA pitchers.

Alonzo Harris is right behind Chris Carter in homeruns. He has 37. Alonzo also has 41 stolen bases. With three more homeruns he will become the first ever 40/40 player in the Mexican League.

You also have Felix Pie, who is hitting .399. Willie May Aikens hit .484 in 1986 so Felix has a ways to go to catch Aikens.

Heidenheim Heidekoepfe Wins German Championship

August 10th, 2019

Heidenheim won the German championship, defeating Bonn 3-1 in the best of five championship, coming back from a two games to zero deficit. They claimed the victory the day before 3-2 to even the series at two games apiece. Heidenheim appears to be good at winning during the odd numbered years winning championships in 2015, 2017 and now 2019. The only other time the team has won a championship has been in 2009. Bonn had won the championship last year. This was the third straight season the two teams battled it out in the finals.

Little League World Series Participants

August 8th, 2019

Most of the International regionals have been completed except for Canada. The United States regionals are in process. Below are the Little League World Series participants.

Asia - Korea (Chung Nam) beat Taiwan (Ten Shan) 7-2 to qualify for the Little League World Series.

Australia - Cronulla beat Ryde Red 5-2 to represent Australia in the Little League World Series.

Caribbean - The two teams from the host country Curacao battled it out to see who would advance. Curacao A (Pabao) defeated Curacao B (Pariba) 8-3 to advance to Williamsport.

Europe/Africa - Italy (Emilia Romagna) won a 1-0 pitcher’s duel over the Netherlands (Amsterdam) to advance to the Little League World Series. There was no African representative competing in this qualifier.

Japan - Choufu shutout Ushiku 8-0 to advance to Williamsport.

Latin America - Venezuela (Cacique Mara) shutout Panama (David Doleguita) 2-0 to advance to the Little League World Series. Kudos to major leaguers Eduardo Rodriguez and Jhoulys Chacin, who according to La Vida are providing financial assistance to the Little Leaguers to make the trip.

Mexico - Mala Torres defeated Matamoros 3-1 to represent Mexico in the Little League World Series in August.

Puerto Rico Wins Pan Am Games

August 7th, 2019

Puerto Rico won the Pan Am Games, defeating Canada 6-1 in the finals. The United States did not participate in the games, choosing to focus on the Premier 12 games to be played in Tokyo. Other teams that participated in the Games - The host Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Nicaragua. For Puerto Rico it was their first Pan Am Gold, defeating the two time defending champs Canada. The poor hosts, Peru, were the only team that did not win a game.

Giovanni Soto got the start and the win for Puerto Rico in the gold medal game. Chris Leroux took the loss for Canada. Jorge Padilla drove in the first run for Puerto Rico with a double. Brahiam Maldonado went deep with a solo shot in the sixth and Edwin Gomez closed out the scoring for Puerto Rico with a two run single in the seventh.

Nicaragua, Colombia, Canada and Puerto Rico all qualified to play in an Olympic qualifier. Cuba had a rough tournament, only winning one game. They had a tough 10 inning loss to the Dominican Republic that was tied 1-1 after regulation time. When they scored 8 in the 10th it appeared they had the game won, but the Dominican Republic scored nine in the 10th to win it.

Puerto Rico won a tight 2-1 game against the Dominican Republic that went 10 innings and then two days later they beat Colombia 2-1. They finished the tournament undefeated.

Nicaragua shutout Colombia in the bronze medal game 6-0. During pool play Colombia had defeated Nicaragua 11-1.

Awards for the Under 12 World Cup

August 5th, 2019

Below are the awards issued for the Under 12 World Cup.

MVP - Chen Kai-Sheng (Taiwan) - .471 batting average, 3-0, 1.32 ERA

The All World Team:

Catcher - Shinsuke Kuwamoto (Japan) - .625, 11 RBIs and six doubles
First Base - Christian Saez (Cuba) - .522, 10 runs scored, 14 RBIs and four homeruns
Second Base - Kazuki Takahata (Japan) - .571
Shortstop - Johan Rodriguez (Cuba) - .483, 12 runs scored and six doubles
Third Base - Huang Tien-Szu (Taiwan) - .567, 14 runs scored, 21 RBIs and three triples
Left Field - Chiang Tsung-Chun (Taiwan) - .552, 15 runs scored, 11 RBIs and seven stolen bases
Center Field - Alejandro Prieto (Cuba) - .583, 14 runs scored, 11 RBIs, seven stolen bases and six doubles
Right Field - Tae-Ho Lee (Korea) - .455, 11 RBIs and six stolen bases
Designated Hitter - Leonel Dominguez (Venezuela) - .550, 13 RBIs and six homeruns

Starting Pitcher - Chen Kai-Sheng (Taiwan)
Relief Pitcher - Sakumi Aoki (Japan) - 2-1, 0.69

The most outstanding defensive player was Rui Akazawa (Japan)

O’s Earn Split with Blue Jays

August 4th, 2019

Playing in front of 4,000 plus Brits, who accounted for almost 25 percent of the crowd, the Orioles were able to beat the Blue Jays 6-5 to split their four game series. The Orioles used a career high 9 walks and took advantage of a Bo Bichette error to snatch the victory away from the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays had an excellent opportunity to score crooked numbers in the first inning off the opener Jimmy Yacobonis. A Bo Bichette leadoff double and two walks loaded the bases with no outs. Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a hard bouncer to Chris Davis, who went home with his throw and was able to retire Bichette. Justin Smoak hit a fairly deep fly ball to left field. Cavan Biggio tagged to go home and Lourdes Gurriel tagged to advance to third. Anthony Santander sent his throw to third and Jace Peterson was able to put the tag on him to get the out at third - before Biggio had crossed the plate. Myworld did not notice to see if Biggio was trotting home certain he would score on the fly ball. Either way there was a baserunning blunder by the Blue Jays - 1) for Gurriel trying to needlessly advance to third and 2) if Biggio was not sprinting home.

Sean Reid-Foley had trouble finding the plate for the Blue Jays. Mid-way through the second inning he had thrown 24 balls and just 18 strikes. In the first inning he walked Jonathan Villar but he was erased when Trey Mancini grounded into a double play. Sean walked Anthony Santander and Renato Nunez to put two runners on. Jace Peterson lifted what appeared to be a routine popup, but Bichette could not find it and it fell for a hit. Santander scored but Peterson was thrown out at second. Myworld could not see if Peterson was running at full speed when he first hit the pop up.

The Blue Jays were able to tie the game in the top of the second off Tom Eshelman. Randal Grichuk started the inning with a double down the left field line. Teoscar Hernandez drove him in with a single to left center. Brandon Drury lifted what again appeared to be a routine popup but Chris Davis took an awkward path to the ball and it fell just outside the infield grass for a single. The O’s had the shift on so that would have normally been an easy catch for the second baseman. Fortunately for the Orioles it did not hurt them as Tom Eshelman retired the next three hitters.

Bo Bichette had a rough day at short. A misplay on his part allowed the O’s to retake the lead. Chance Sisco singled and Chris Davis walked. With runners on third and second and two out Jonathan Villar hit an easy grounder to Bichette, but the ball hit off the side of his glove. Sisco scored. Two more scored when Trey Mancini rammed one down the third base line for a double.

Eshelman pitched out of a first and second threat with no out in the fourth. In the fifth a walk and ground rule double by Vlad Guerrero put runners on second and third with one out. The Orioles conceded the run and took the out on a grounder to second and it was 4-2 Orioles.

Even with the departure of Sean Reid-Foley, the Jays pitchers had trouble throwing strikes. Yennsi Diaz made his major league debut and was throwing gas, hitting 97 with his fastball, but it was rarely crossing the plate. After a leadoff single by Trey Mancini, Diaz walked four hitters, allowing two to trot home because of his walks. After his fourth walk he was gone.

Brandon Hyde may have left Eshelman in too long. In the top of the seventh Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio went back to back, Eshelman throwing only three pitches before giving up the two dingers. In came Dillon Tate and he struggled. Grichuk put the Blue Jays within one with an RBI double and with runners on second and third with one out the lead was in jeopardy. Tate was able to whiff Teooscar Hernandez and got Drury to ground out to third to end the threat.

Shawn Armstrong came on to close in the ninth. He gave up two singles to put runners on first and third with two outs. Teoscar Hernandez came to the plate again in a clutch situation. Shawn was able to strike out Teoscar for the final out, his third whiff of the inning. After getting two hits in his first two at bats Teoscar struck out in his next three at bats.

Game Notes: There were 4,000 Brits at the game. They were part of a scout troop that spent two weeks in West Virginia white water rafting, hiking and climbing mountains. They ended their trip with a visit to Camden Yards. The Brits ended up cheering for Orioles left fielder Anthony Santander. Anthony seemed to enjoy his new fan club….Bo Bichette may not be able to survive at shortstop. His throws were all over the place. He committed two errors, one on a throw that bounced to first, and he misjudged or lost a popup…Despite what appears to be Vlad Guerrero’s girth, he gets down the first base line very quickly. He beat out a grounder to first that appeared to be a routine play, though the pitcher may have been a little late covering…The first four players in the Jays lineup have impressive genes. Three of the four have Hall of Fame fathers. Bo Bichette (the only dad who is not in a Hall of Fame but Dante did have a couple 40 homerun seasons), Cavan Biggio (son of Hall of Famer Craig), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (son of Lourdes, Hall of Famer from Cuba) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr (son of Hall of Famer Vlad Sr). That is an impressive group of names. If they can come close to producing their dad’s numbers they will be very productive players for the Jays…Dwight Smith, whose dad also played in the major leagues also played for the Blue Jays before he was traded to the Orioles. He did not play in the game today…For Tom Eshelman it was his first major league victory…The back to back homers by Bichette and Biggio was the ninth consecutive game in which the Orioles have given up two or more homeruns. That ties the record the Astros broke in 2016 during their down years. Next in town is the homer happy Yankees. That record could be easily broken…The Orioles have also given up 218 homeruns. With 51 more games to play the Orioles appear to be on pace to break the Reds record of giving up 258 homers, the most in a major league season. All they have to do is give up one homerun per game.

UK Comes to Camden - New Fan Base for Santander

August 4th, 2019

Back in July the major leagues sent the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox to London to play two games. They were both sellouts. Now in August about 4,000 Britons came to Camden Yards to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play the Baltimore Orioles.

They were part of a scouting group that spent two weeks in West Virginia white water rafting, hiking trails and climbing mountains. The first journey of their trip started in New York, but they were only there half a day. They finished it with trips to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. When I asked one Brit if he was concerned about Trumps warnings about the dangers of Baltimore he said he wasn’t aware of what Trump said, but then he said most Brits don’t really listen to what Trump has to say.

The fans for whatever reason drew a liking to Anthony Santander, the leftfielder for the Orioles. He had been throwing baseballs to the fans in between innings. The UK crowd had taken most of the seats along left field. When they began chanting “twenty five”, which is the uniform number of Santander, I informed one of the chanters that his name was “San-Tan-Dare”. They changed the chant to “San-tan-dare”. He got a couple of big ovations when he caught fly balls out in left field. Santander must have been surprised that fans from Great Britain knew how to pronounce his name.

The Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel did not get the same kind of love. Myworld did not notice whether or not he was throwing baseballs into the stands in between innings. After the Santander love fest he did throw a ball into the left field stands but the Brits still ignored him. Perhaps they were showing respect for the player from Baltimore.

The 4,000 or so fans had to leave by 3 PM because they had flights to catch back to the UK. Only a few witnessed the first base hit from Santander. But he did get a big ovation the second and third time when he came to the plate. When he went back out into the field Santander played with the fans affections. They seemed to be enthralled by his attention.

Perhaps the next time the major leagues want to return to the UK to play a third game in London they should choose the Orioles, to give Anthony Santander another chance to play in front of his newly found fan base.

Taiwan Under 12 World Champion

August 4th, 2019

In the first Under 12 World Championship Taiwan was the winner but the United States did not participate. In the next three events the United States participated and Taiwan took second. It may have been better for Taiwan to have beaten the United States for the World Championship, but beating Japan was a second best option. The United States team failed to qualify for the Super Round eliminating their opportunity to defend their championship.

Taiwan relied on Kai-Sheng Chen to pitch five innings of three hit shutout ball before turning it over to Cheng-Yu Lin to close the game out in the final frame. Chen also showed some mastery with the bat hitting a solo homerun in the top of the sixth to close out the scoring for Taiwan. He finished the game with two hits and two runs scored.

Taiwan scored their first runs in the third on RBI singles from Tien-Szu Huang and Ting-Yi Jiang. Hung-Jen Yeh contributed a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.

Japan’s best opportunity for scoring came in the fifth when two singles and a stolen base put runners on second and third with two out. Chen was able to get the strikeout to end the inning. In the fifth two Taiwan errors put runners on second and third with one out. Chen was up to the task again getting out of the inning with two whiffs. He finished the game with five strikeouts.

After the win the blue ticker tape that can trap you like a spider’s web rained down upon the crowd.

Cuba 2 Korea 1

Cuba came on strong at the end and beat Korea for a second time to take the bronze. A two run homerun by Christian Saez in the first were the only runs Cuba needed to get the victory. Alejandro Prieto pitched 5.1 innings of one run ball to get the win. An error in the third, two stolen bases and a wild pitch resulted in Korea’s only run. Cuba called on Boris Sarduy to get the last two outs in the sixth inning.

For Cuba it is their first medal in the under 12 since 2011 when they finished second. For Japan the silver medal finish was their highest placement. In 2013 they took the bronze medal. Mexico, Venezuela and Nicaragua are other bronze winners.