Czech League Starts Today

May 22nd, 2020

The first European League will begin today. The league normally begins in April but because of the corona virus the league was postponed until May 22. Ten teams will play a round robin format and I’m assuming after that a playoff will happen.

The European Leagues normally allow foreign players. Because of the corona virus concerns, the only foreign players that will be allowed to play this year have to have been a permanent resident of the Czech Republic. This will provide an opportunity to many young Czechs who may have been forced to play in a lower league to accommodate foreign players.

The Arrows Ostrava will be trying for their third straight championship. Other teams in the league are Olympia Blansko, Techniko Brno, Eagles Braha, SaBat Praha, Draci Brno, Kotlanka Braha, Tempo Braha, Cardion Hrosi Brno and Nuclears Trebic.

You can go to a Youtube channel, query Baseball International and they give a nice run down of the teams in the Czech Republic.

With Major League Baseball Sidelined KBO Continues to Get its Day in the Sun

May 22nd, 2020

With no major league baseball and the international community starving for baseball, ESPN plans to expand its coverage of baseball to 130 different countries. Baseball hot beds currently deprived of baseball like Canada, Mexico and Netherlands will be included in this coverage.

ESPN has been carrying six games a week of KBO baseball. It would be interesting what the ratings are. With the major league owners and the players separated by salary disagreements, the KBO could be the best baseball the world can get, until the NPB gets started in mid-June or early July.

Taiwan Minor Leagues Open Tomorrow

May 22nd, 2020

Something that may not happen in the United States is happening in the Taiwan. Their minor leagues are open for baseball. Fans will be allowed to attend the games, with a limit of 200 fans. The games will begin Saturday May 23.

To attend a game you need to fill out a government required health declaration form. The registration forms must be completed by 6 PM the day before the game is to begin in order for you to attend the game. That could create an impediment on attendance. And I’m assuming you must also wear a mask.

Taiwan has five minor league teams. Four of the minor league teams are for their four major league affiliates. The fifth is the expansion team Wei Chuan Dragons, who are expected to play in their majors next year.

Summer Koshien Cancelled for Japan

May 21st, 2020

It is perhaps the largest and most prestigious tournament in Japan. They have a spring Koshien, but the summer Koshien is where legends are formed. Especially the pitching legends, who pitched daily, often tossing more than 150 pitches each game to advance their team to victory.

In 1933 Masao Yoshida tossed a 25 inning shutout in a semi-final win, throwing 336 pitches in that game. That will be a record that will never be broken, now that innings limits are being taken more seriously by high school coaches. Daisuke Matsuzaka almost matched that with his 17 inning 250 pitch performance in 1998. Matsuzaka also threw a no hitter in the finals, so the pitch count did not seem to impact his effectiveness.

A high school team from Taiwan qualified for Koshien and made it to the finals in 1933. A movie, Kano was made about their accomplishments.

The tournament was not played in 1918 because of rice riots. It was also not held from 1941 to 1945 because of World War II. Now add 2020 to the list because of the corona virus pandemic.

Dream Team Maryland/Virginia/DC

May 19th, 2020

Originally, myworld looked at a dream team for Maryland because we knew one of the greatest players of all time was born in Maryland. The roster was a bit short so we opened it up to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Most who live here think of it as one metropolitan community anyway. So below is the Dream Team for the Maryland/Virginia and D.C. area.

Starting lineup

Brady Anderson CF
David Wright 3B
Babe Ruth LF
Al Kaline RF
Jimmie Fox DH
Cal Ripken SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Gene Alley 2B
Brandon Inge C

Bench

Todd Hundley (C), Don Money (Utl), Maury Wills (Utl), Harold Baines (OF), Juston Upton (OF), Brian Jordan (OF)

Starting Pitching

Lefty Grove, Justin Verlander, Vic Willis, Bobby Witt, Danny Neagle

Bullpen

Josh Hader, Billy Wagner, Steve Farr, Mike Williams, Jeremy Jeffress, Johnny Klippstein

The lineup is very strong one through seven. The catching is weak and I might want to switch Wills to second base. It is hard to put him there now because he was primarily a shortstop. I could move Ripken to third but that would force Wright from the lineup. Putting Wills in the lineup would allow Brady to bat second and would really lengthen the power in the lineup. Alley would probably make a better utility player than Wills. The bench is not strong. After the first two starters the rotation takes a big dip in talent. The bullpen has a couple good lefty closers, but then it takes a big hit after that. So this team will need to score a lot of runs with its starting lineup to win and hope the pitching staff pitches just good enough to support the lineup.

No Swing and Miss in Min-Woo Park’s Game

May 19th, 2020

The NC Dinos have started the season 11-1. That is one of the first starts in the KBO. The main straw that stirs the Dinos lineup is leadoff hitter Min-Woo Park. Despite going hitless in his first two games Park is now hitting .432. He has just one strikeout in his 48 plate appearances. What is even more amazing is that when Park takes a swing at the ball he makes contact, 98.8 percent of the time.

Last year, while most offensive numbers in the KBO went down, Park’s offensive numbers went up. He hit .344, not a career high, but his second highest average in the KBO. Back in 2017 he hit .363, but that was when the ball was juiced. He lacks power, with his season high in homeruns at 5, but he sprays the ball to the gaps. His career average is .329, but he has yet to hit below .324 since 2016.

Last year was also the first year in which he walked more than he struck out, a 41/40 walk to whiff rate. This year he may break that pace with four walks and one whiff. While the balls may not carry over the fence, when Park swings they are likely to find some place in the grass, good enough to get a rally started.

Leon Wins Nicaraguan Championship

May 18th, 2020

The statement that the only baseball being played was in Taiwan was never accurate. They were also playing ball in Nicaragua, though there is some question as to whether it should be considered as a professional league.

Leon won the national championship of Nicaragua. They beat Managua 2-0. Norman Lopez got a complete game shutout in the win. Geraldo Chevez hit a solo shot to provide all the offensive support Lopez needed. Arnol Rizo also drove in a run.

It was the second national championship for Leon. The first was in 2010.

Cuban Dream Team

May 17th, 2020

The Cuban Dream Team could be better if they were not limited to just players who have played in the major leagues. There are a number of Hall of Famers who dominated in international tournaments that probably could have been good major league ball players, but in the early days it was rare for players to defect. The Cuban arrival to major league baseball is still in its infancy when compared with the Dominicans arrival. So the team may not be quite as good but they have some stars. Again, to qualify for the Dream team the player has to be born in Cuba and played in the major leagues. Myworld used Baseball Reference as its focal point to identify the players.

Starting Lineup

Minie Minoso CF
Tony Oliva LF
Tony Perez 1B
Jose Canseco RF
Rafael Palmeiro DH
Yuli Gurriel 3B
Yoan Moncada 2B
Yasmani Grandal C
Bert Campaneris SS

Bench

Eli Marrero C, Jose Abreu 1B, Zoilo Versalles UTL, Leo Cardenas UTL, Yoenis Cespedes OF, Yordan Alvarez OF

Starting Pitching

Luis Tiant, Dolf Luque, Jose Fernandez, Mike Cuellar, Livan Hernandez

Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias, Diego Segui, Danys Baez, Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pascual

Luis Robert and Jorge Soler may put themselves on this team next year just as Yordan Alvarez put himself on this team based on his rookie performance. Gurriel had a breakout season last year, but was always one of the top players in the Cuban League with Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes. Myworld was torn between Paul Casanova or Marrero as the back up catcher. The team probably has too many first base/DH types that are poor defensively and too many utility players that do not shine offensively when you think of a Dream team. The starting pitching is rock solid, even with the abbreviated opportunity Fernandez had to pitch. The bullpen was a little shy of arms so myworld was forced to add two long relievers in Pascual and Ramos who can both start and relieve. This team will compete.

KBO Update

May 15th, 2020

One of the newest franchises, the NC Dinos have gotten off to a good start in the KBO. But the powerful Kiwoom Heroes are close behind. The surprise KBO team is the Lotte Giants, who finished in the basement last year but are one of the hottest teams to start the season. And don’t forget the defending champion Doosan Bears, who are part of the three way tie for second. The games are still being played without fans, unlike Taiwan, who has gone from fanless, to 1,000 fans per game and tomorrow will allow 2,000 fans.

NC Dinos (8-1)

Last year he was considered one of the better players in the league last year, but catcher Yang Eui-Ji (.312, 0, 7) has gotten off to a pedestrian start. The batting average is decent but the power is absent. Last year they missed Na Sung-Bum (.257, 3, 6) for all but the beginning of the season so they are glad to have him now. The two Parks around the infield, Min-Woo (.410,0,7) at second base and Suk-Min (.320, 3, 5) at third are providing plenty of offense. Aaron Altherr (.200, 1, 2) has yet to put it in gear.

Normally the top pitchers are foreign pitchers, but 23 year old Koo Chang-Mo (2-0, 000) is changing that narrative. He has not given up a run in two starts covering 14 innings while striking out 18. The lefthander is not overpowering, but he does have good breaking stuff. Many have pegged him as a major league possibility in the near future. Ex-Oriole Mike Wright (1-0, 2.45) has pitched well in two starts.

Doosan Bears (6-3)

Jose Miguel Fernandez (.526, 2, 9) is leading the KBO in hitting. Last year, in his rookie season Jose hit .344. Outfielder Kim Jae-Hwan (.361, 4, 14) has been the most productive bat, leading the team in RBIs. Oh Jae-il (.425, 3, 5) has the highest average among Korean bats. Veteran Kim Jae-Ho (.371, 0, 4) may be losing some range at short, but he is making up for a down season last year.

The top pitcher on the Bears staff early in the season is 22 year old Lee Young-Ha (1-0, 2.38). Last year he had a break out season with a 17-4 record. Chris Flexen (2-0, 3.75) is undefeated as he tries to replace MVP Josh Lindblom, who left the Bears for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2020. Pitching has been an issue early in the season for the Bears.

Kiwoom Heroes (6-3)

Next year you may see Kim Ha-Seong (.143, 1, 2) in a major league uniform. The 24 year old shortstop was the replacement for Kang Jung-Ho, who left for the Pirates a coupe years ago. He could be pressing knowing this is his walk year. Their big power hitter Park Byong-Ho (.212, 2, 6) is also dragging. The only bat really hitting is young 21 year old super star Lee Jung-Hoo (.355, 2, 8) . Lee normally does not hit for power, but he did go back to back early in two games this season.

Their top pitcher is also a young Korean pitcher, 21 year old Choi Won-Tae (0-1, 2.92). Foreigner Eric Jokisch (1-0, 0.82) has only given up one earned run in two starts. Jo Sang-Woo leads the KBO in saves with four. He has only appeared in four games and has yet to give up a run.

Lotte Giants (6-3)

They got off to a hot start with five straight wins to start the season. Ex Major leaguers Lee Dae-Ho (.424, 1, 6) and Dixon Machado (.281, 3, 13). Dixon was not known for his power in the Tigers minor league system but he is slugging .625 early in the KBO season. So far the trio in the outfield has been exceptional. Jung Hoon (.367, 1, 7), Min Byung-Hun (.368, 2, 2) and Son Ah-Seop (.429, 1, 8) are hitting far above their career averages, so when they level out the Giants may settle nearer the second division.

Dan Straily (1-1, 2.12) may be their most consistent starter. His 19 whiffs lead the KBO. Watch for 19 year old Seo Jun-Won (1-0, 4.09) who did not give up an earned run in six innings in his first start. Last year in his rookie season he was 4-11.

LG Twins (5-3)

Roberto Ramos (.419, 3, 6) has been providing big time power for the Twins at first base. Ex-major leaguer Kim Hyun-soo (.455, 1, 9) is having a torrid start. Last year in his second year back with the KBO he slumped in an offensively down year. Fellow outfielder Lee Chun-Woong (.387, 0, 1) is also contributing but more so in the runs scored department where he has crossed the plate 10 times. He also has three stolen bases.

Foreign pitchers Casey Kelly (22.50 ERA) and Tyler Wilson (0-1, 7.84) have been struggling. The Twins have had to turn to Lim Chan-Gyu (1-0, 1.50) and Cha Woon-Chan (2-0, 3.75) to get victories.

Kia Tigers (4-6)

Preston Tucker (.417, 3, 12) is the only offensive player contributing. No other player has more than 4 RBIs.

Aaron Brooks (0-0, 1.42) has only given up one run in each of his two starts, but the offense has not hit for him to get the victories.

Samsung Lions (4-6)

In his first 11 KBO seasons Kim Sang-Su (.344, 0, 2) has never hit above .300. The second baseman is off to a good start this year. Tyler Saladino (.174, 1, 2) needs to hit to stay in the KBO. His defense at shortstop is secondary. Outfielder Kim Dong-Yeop (.310, 2, 8) leads the team in RBIs.

Choi Chae-Heung (2-0, 3.27) has half of his team victories, despite walking seven in 11 innings. David Buchanan (1-1, 3.46) pitched seven shutout innings in his second start to get his first win.

Hanwha Eagles (4-6)

Song Kwang-Min (.265, 2, 4) is the only player on the team with more than a single homer. The power in the bat of Jared Hoying (.242, 1, 5) has been quiet. Sharotstop Ha Ju-Suk (.361, 0, 6) leads the team in RBIs.

Jang Min-Jae (1-0, 3.00) picked up a victory in his last start. The best pitcher has been 24 year old Kim Min-Woo (0-0, 2.38) who has only given up four hits in 11.1 innings, striking out 13. Warwick Saupold (1-0, 1.20) pitched a complete game shutout in his opening day start.

KT Wiz (2-7)

They may not be winning a lot of games, but they probably have the best young player in the KBO in 20 year old outfielder Kang Baek-Ho (.289, 3, 7). Mel Rojas Jr (.462, 2, 4) is second in the KBO in hitting. Bae Jeong-Dae (.345-0,2) is also hitting which leaves no room for Jo Yong-Ho (.636, 0, 3) who has seven hits in his 11 at bats. Catcher Jang Sung-Woo (.323, 2, 12) leads the team in RBIs.

The 23 year old Bae Je-Seong (0-0, 1.28) has had two quality starts but no wins to show for them. So Hyeong-Jun (2-0, 3.18) has picked up the only two victories for the Wiz in his two starts. Odrisamer Despaigne (0-0, 3.27) has pitched well in his first year in the KBO.

SK Wyverns (1-8)

This is a young, rebuilding team playing on the cheap. Han Dong-Min (.300, 4, 10) leads the KBO in homeruns, but it has not led to any wins. No one else on the team has more than three RBIs.

Ricardo Pinto (1-1, 3.18) has picked up the only Wyvern victory.

New York Dream Team

May 14th, 2020

The state of New York has produced a number of Hall of Fame baseball players. A vast majority of them played prior to 1920. Myworld was forced to eliminate them when considering the Dream team for New York. The type of ball that was played during that time was quite a bit different than it is today. The eligibility rules are that the player must have been born in New York, played major league baseball and played during the modern baseball era, i.e. after 1920. Despite the elimination of these players this team from New York would be one of the stronger Dream teams. Below is the Dream team for New York.

Starting Lineup

Eddie Collins 2B
Frankie Frisch 3B
Alex Rodriguez SS
Lou Gehrig 1B
Rocky Calavito RF
Carl Yastrzemski LF
Edgar Martinez DH
Craig Biggio CF
Joe Torre C

Bench

A.J. Pierzynski (C), Lou Whitaker (Inf), Bobby Bonilla (Inf/OF), Phil Rizzuto (Inf), Hank Greenberg (OF), Raul Ibanez (OF)

Starting Pitchers

Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Jim Palmer, Orel Hershiser

Bullpen

John Franco, Roy Face, Don McMahon, Dave Giusti, Johnny Podres, Frank Viola

The greatest thing about this team is the flexibility. You have a number of players that played multiple positions during their careers. Biggio played CF, 2B and caught, so he could be a third catcher. A-Rod could play 3B or SS. Frankie Frisch played both 3B and 2B. Bonilla could also fill in at third and Rizzuto could probably play anywhere. The starting rotation is impressive. The hardest pick was settling on a fifth starter. The bullpen was tough to pick. We settled on having Frank Viola as a long man and possible starter when the bullpen options got a bit limited.