Draci Brno Wins Czech Championships

August 24th, 2016

They are more dominant than the Yankees were back in the 1950s. Draci Brno won their 20th championship with a 21-9 win over Kotlarka. They were down two games to one in the best of five finals to win three straight. A big 10 run eighth inning put the game five out of reach.

Martin Schneider drove in seven runs with his four hits including a homerun. Michael Ondracek and Jason Jarvis also collected four hits and drove in four runs each with both players going deep in the game.

Kotlarka committed five errors, which only led to two unearned runs and walked seven to ease Draci finding home plate.

Unipol Bologna Wins the Italian Championships

August 23rd, 2016

In a game shortened by rain to six innings Unipol Bologna won the Italian Championships by downing Rimini 2-0. Ryan Searle pitched 4.2 innings of no hit ball, walking just two. Raul Rivero completed the shutout, allowing the only hit of the game for Rimini. Allesandro Vaglio drove in the only two runs of the game with a double in the fourth inning.

The best of seven series went six games. The game was called in the bottom of the sixth after a number of rain delays and the clock striking well after midnight. It was a bit of revenge for Bologna after being swept last year by Rimini in the finals.

Little League World Series - Day 3

August 23rd, 2016

The Sunday games were rained out but they played a series of games on Monday. Below is a summary of those games:

Latin America (Panama) 3 Australia 2

Brent Iredale tied the game at 2-2 driving in two runs in the top of the sixth. Panama scored a run in the bottom frame to win it 3-2. Esmith Pineda was dominant with his 11 whiffs in just five innings of work. Australia finally got their bats working when Panama went to the bullpen in the top of the sixth. Panama is undefeated while Australia was handed their first loss.

Asia- Pacific (Korea) 10 Canada 0

Korea remained undefeated with a hammering of Canada in a game shortened to five innings because of the slaughter rule. Jung-taek Ru drove in four runs to lead the offense and Tou-Bin Choi was about as dominant as you can be from the mound, striking out all 8 hitters he faced.

Mid-Atlantic (New York) 3 Southeast (Tennessee) 1

New York scored two first inning runs that proved to be the difference in the game, Ryan Harlost driving in two runs to give them the victory. Michael Mancini struck out 13, falling two outs short of the six innings to throw a complete game. New York is 2-0 while Tennessee suffered their first loss.

Great Lakes (Kentucky) Midwest (Iowa) 4

Kentucky erupted for 11 runs in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie to stay undefeated after the first two games. For Iowa they suffered their first loss. Spencer Newman spanked out four hits to drive in four runs to lead the offense.

Little League World Series Summary

August 21st, 2016

The Little League World Series got underway over the weekend. Below is a summary of the games.

Latin America (Panama) 10 Mexico 2

Panama put the game away with five runs in the seventh. Carlos Gonzalez and Esmith Pineda each drove in three runs to lead the Panama offense. Gonzalez also retired the last five batters in the game.

Australia 3 Italy 1

Clayton Campbell pitched five innings of no hit shutout ball, striking out seven to lead Australia to a victory. He also drove in one run.

Canada 10 Japan 4

Japan was abused by a Canadian team that scored in every inning but the second. Loreto Siniscalchi struck out 13 hitters in his 5.2 innings to lead Canada.

Asia (Korea) 3 Caribbean (Curacao) 0

Korea struck early with two runs in the first and Jun-Ho Jeong pitched four innings of shutout ball, striking out 10 to get the win. Sang-Heon Park worked the last two innings to complete the shutout.

Mexico 12 Italy 7

It was a wild sixth inning with Mexico scoring 8 runs and Italy scoring 6 runs. Isaac Cortez and Alejandro Mar each drove in three runs for Mexico. Italy was eliminated from the tourney.

Curacao 2 Japan 1

Japan was eliminated by Curacao. Jaden Gosepa worked five innings to pick up the win and Nair Jamanika and Donovan Antonia each drove in a run for Curacao.

Mid Atlantic 7 New England 2

Ryan Harlost drove in four runs with the New York team scoring six runs in the first two innings to hammer out the victory.

Southeast 3 Northwest 2

Tennessee rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out their victory, Robert Carroll driving in two runs to get the victory. Zach Williams pitched all six innings to get the victory, striking out 9.

Midwest 5 West 1

The Chula Vista team scored the first run but Iowa rallied for the next five to beat the boys from California.

Great Lakes 11 Southwest 1

Not much of a game, only going five innings because of the 10 run slaughter rule.

New England 8 Northwest 0

Rhode Island eliminated Oregon, Kenny Rix driving in three runs and retiring the last five hitters to lead the victory.

West 5 Southwest 0

Chula Vista eliminated San Antonio, Victor Lizarraga throwing a complete game five hit shutout.

Gurriel Debut Delayed by Rain

August 21st, 2016

The game was supposed to start at 1:30. It was to be the major league debut of Yulieski Gurriel, one of the Cuban stars in the Nacional Series. The game was delayed by 4 and a half hours. Myworld was gone by 3:30 when the United States versus Serbia Olympic gold medal basketball game, which was being displayed on the large video board, had reached half time. The game was also delayed another 30 minutes by another down pour that occurred after just the first inning had been completed.

What myworld missed:

Gurriel went 1 for 2 with a walk, being pinch hit for in the eighth inning by utility player Tony Kemp after experiencing hamstring tightness. He played DH. The last time we saw Gurriel play was in Panama in October 2011 when he played second base for the Cuban national team in the World Cup. His first major league at bat was in the second inning when he singled.

Mark Trumbo hit his major league leading 37th homerun. He will be a free agent next year. It is highly unlikely the Orioles will sign him to an extension, but his bat has enjoyed the short and low fences at Camden Yards. Twenty of his 37 homeruns have been hit at Camden, which is a pretty good balance.

The Houston Astros won 5-3. We have seen a lot of their players having season tickets to their spring training park in Kissimmee. Carlos Correa drove in two runs.

The long delay could not have been ideal for the players. The Orioles offered the fans tickets for another day but myworld’s scheduled is booked through the month of September. This is one reason why the posts have been more sporadic.

Alexei Bell Making Waves in Frisco

August 18th, 2016

At 32 and only 5′7″ not much is expected of Alexei Bell after his defection from Cuba. He is no Yoenis Cespedes. Yet if you look at his Nacional Series numbers in Cuba he was considered a better hitter than Cespedes, at least for one year. In 2007 he broke the Cuban homerun record with 31, hitting .355. That same year Cespedes hit 26 homeruns and batted .284.

The next year Bell was hit by a Yunesky Maya pitch and lost his homerun swing. In 2010 Cespedes broke the Nacional Series homerun record that would later be broken by both Jose Abreu, Alfredo Despaigne and Yulieski Guriel when he hit 33. The next year Cespedes defected for the major leagues. Abreu and Guriel would follow in their quest for major league stardom and Despaigne took the conservative route, staying in Cuba to be contracted out to play in the Japanese professional league.

Bell was contracted out to play for the Independent Can Am League and later defected, a bold move since he was already past his 30s. It took a while for him to be declared a free agent, but once he was the Texas Rangers took advantage and signed him for a relatively small bonus. In AA Frisco his bat is beginning to heat up with a .311 average. Yesterday he was a triple short of the cycle going 4 for 4 with two doubles, a single and his first professional homerun. Over his last seven games he is batting .435.

It is unclear whether Bell will ever get an opportunity to play in the major leagues, but at 32 he is giving it his best shot.

Little League World Series Participants

August 14th, 2016

Below will be the participants for the Little League World Series. Only the Great Lakes region has yet to be decided.

International

Asia Pacific - East Seoul Little League
Australia - Hills Little League in Sydney
Canada - Hastings Community in Vancouver
Caribbean - Pariba Little League in Curacao
Europe/Africa - Emilia Little League in Emilia, Italy
Japan - Chofu Little League in Tokyo
Latin America - Aguadulce Cabezera Little League in Aguadulce, Panama
Mexico - Nicolas Little League in Nuevo Leon

United States

Great Lakes - Undecided
Mid-Atlantic - Maine Endwell Little League in Endwell, New York
Midwest - Johnston Little League in Johnston, Iowa
New England - Warwick North Little League in Warwick, Rhode Island
Northwest - Bend North Little League in Bend Oregon
Southeast - Goodettsville Baseball Little League in Goodetsville, Tennessee
Southwest - McAllister Park American in San Antonio, Texas
West - Park View Little League in Chula Vista, California

Trea’s Tres Leads Nats Over Braves

August 14th, 2016

Trea Turner was a double short of the cycle yesterday. His first three hits from the leadoff spots ignited the Nationals to three two run rallies to lead the Nationals to a 7-6 win over the Braves. The bullpen almost gave the game back to the Braves with a close play at third proving the difference between victory and defeat.

Reynaldo Lopez pitched well but he put a pitch too much over the plate in the first inning to Freddie Freeman and he jacked one over the right field bullpen to give the Braves an early 1-0 win. After the first inning Lopez bent but did not break leaving the Braves scoreless the next six innings. Lopez could retire the side in order in only one of his seven innings, but only once were the Braves able to advance a runner to third.

In the bottom of the first Trea Turner got things started with hit number uno. He powdered an 0-2 pitch from Rob Whalen into the right center field gap and motored to third for a triple. Ben Revere failed to drive him in grounding to first. Dan Murphy followed with a no doubter into the second deck above the right field bullpen to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

In the third inning Turner ran the count to Whalen to 3-2 before lifting a ball into the left field corner. The ball traveled just inside the foul pole and into the seats for a solo shot to lead off the inning. Ben Revere bounced one past first base and into the right field corner, using his speed to glide into third base for the first of his two triples. Daniel Murphy again came through and powered a 1-2 pitch deep enough into center field to score Revere to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead.

With one out in the fifth Turner got hit number tres, a line single into left field. Revere pulled another pitch down the right field line. Turner was able to score and Revere pulled into third to give the Nationals a 5-1 lead. With the infield in Dan Murphy grounded a ball hard off the second baseman’s glove but it deflected to the shortstop who was able to throw Murphy out. Revere was going on contact and easily scored to up the Nationals lead to 6-1 and give Murphy his fourth RBI of the night.

The bottom of the Nationals order finally came through in the sixth to score their final run. Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa and Pedro Severino all hit singles to score one run. Turner came up with runners on second and third with two out, a double short of the cycle. He hit a hard ground ball up the middle. Jace Peterson was able to make a diving stop and threw out the speedy Turner by a step.

The Nationals bullpen almost blew the lead. Up 7-1 Sammy Solis had difficulty getting an out. Erick Aybar singled up the middle and Freddie Freeman walked. Matt Kemp lined a single into left center to score one. With runners on first and second and no out Nick Markakis rifled a shot right into the glove of Turner at second who was able to double off Freeman at second. Baker had enough of Solis and brought Shawn Kelly to strike out Adonis Garcia to end the inning.

Yusmeiro Petit came on to start the ninth. Jace Peterson started the inning lining a triple just over the glove of Daniel Murphy. A.J. Pierzynski hit one back to Petit and instead of getting the out at first noticed Peterson was too far off the bag at third. He threw to third but Peterson was able to dive back safely. Pinch hitter Jeff Francouer ended the night for Petit by lining a single into left field.

That hit brought in Nationals new closer Mark Melancon and he was not able to avoid a bit of drama tonight. Ender Inciarte bounced a single into centerfield to score another run and brought up Erick Aybar as the tying run to the plate. He lined one into left center. Ben Revere did not play the ball conservatively, ran straight towards it instead of angling back to cut the ball off and the ball whizzed past him and to the wall. Two runs scored and Aybar was speeding towards third. Revere hit Espinosa at cutoff who fired to third and Aybar was called out. Myworld thought Aybar beat the throw but a replay review showed the play was really close and the out call stood. Instead of the tying run on third with no out the Braves were down by a run with one out and no one on base. A speedier, younger Aybar or a lesser arm like Turner instead of Espinosa may have resulted in a different outcome.

Freddie Freeman hit a ball off the end of his bat and it traveled into the glove of rightfielder Brian Goodwin for the second out. Matt Kemp grounded to short for the third out and a Nationals victory.

Trea Turner did get a fifth at bat in his attempt to hit for the cycle. Both Pedro Severino and pinch hitter Clint Robinson hit two out singles to give Trea Turner one more at bat in the bottom of the eighth. Turner lifted a lazy fly ball to right for the third out.

Game Notes: Reynaldo looked good, hitting 98 with his fastball in the first inning. It settled to 94-96 in the latter innings. He also mixed it up with decent breaking pitches and a change. Not a lot of swings and misses by the Braves bats and only two strikeouts in his seven innings of work. The most important stat was just one run given up in seven innings of work. It was the hottest day of the year in D.C. so to go seven innings in that heat was impressive…Jonathan Papelbon was released by the Nationals in order to find room on the 25 man roster to call up Reynaldo Lopez…It was Star Wars night at Nationals stadium. Each player had his face placed over a Star Wars character. Jayson Werth was of course Chewbaca…Trea Turner has hit five triples which have all been since his call up after the All Star break. That would lead the majors…Jayson Werth extended his on base streak to 42 with a single to lead off the fifth inning. Ryan Zimmerman holds the Nationals record of consecutive times on base with 43, which he did in 2009. According to mlb.com Ted Williams has the major league record of 84 consecutive games on base…Pedro Severino hit a ball in the second inning that seemed headed for the dugout. But it made a 90 degree turn after hitting the grass and rolled back into fair territory. One of the strangest hop myworld has ever seen. Freeman tagged Severino for the out…The first four hits for the Nationals in the game were two triples and two homeruns. Three of their first six hits were triples.

Top Ten Japanese Under 25

August 13th, 2016

Just like the major leagues with the number of young prospects making an impact in the 2016 season the Nippon Professional League (NPB) has seen a number of young players making an impact for their teams. It will be some time before these players are posted as the $20 million posting price would not cover the losses these teams would incur with attendance and merchandise sales. Some of these players myworld has not seen play or have very little information on them except their stats, but the numbers they have put up have been promising. In fact, it could be argued that the best player in baseball right now is playing in Japan and not the major leagues.

1. Shohei Otani RHP (Nippon Ham Fighters) - No player since Babe Ruth has won in double digits as a pitcher and hit double digits in homeruns in the same year as Otani did in 2014. He has a fastball that hits three digits and a line drive swing that drives balls 400 feet. This year he competed in the All Star homerun derby and won. A blister has prevented him from pitching where he is 8-4 with a 2.02 ERA. He has struck out 140 hitters in just 116 innings, giving up just 78 hits. The blister has not prevented him from hitting where he bats in the number three spot as the DH, hitting .343 with 16 homeruns in just 245 at bats, or a homerun every 15 at bats. He does not qualify for the batting title because their manager does not play him the day before he pitches. Otani has informed major league teams that if he plays in the major leagues the team will have to use him as both a hitter and a pitcher. This would not be a problem if he can win 20 games and hit 30 homeruns something no major league has ever done but Shohei certainly has the potential to do.

2. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo OF (DeNA Yokohama Bay Stars) - At 24 years old he is having a break out season. Not that his previous two seasons were bad, hitting over .300 with 20 plus homeruns. This year Yoshitomo has already hit 35 homeruns, more than anyone in the NPB and his average is .328. His OPS is an impressive 1.131 with 82 RBIs in just 100 games. This is his seventh year in the NPB so he made his debut with the Bay Stars as an 18 year old, though only four of those seasons will be as a full time player. Don’t know what his defense is like but in his seven years he has only stole four bases, so he appears not to be fleet of foot. What he does do well is hit in the clutch with three walk off hits this year and four in his career. Not a lot of major leaguers have achieved four walk off hits prior to their 25th birthday.

3. Tetsuto Yamada 2B (Yakult Swallows) - A back problem has kept him out of the lineup these last couple days, preventing him from keeping pace with Tsutsugo for the NPB homerun crown. Last year Yamada was a 30/30 man with 38 homeruns and 34 stolen bases. He appears to be on pace to repeat his 30/30 accomplishments with 33 homeruns and 27 stolen bases. With the 61 steals he has only been caught six times, which could be a poor reflection of the Japanese catchers, or the pitchers trying to hold the baserunners. Hitting homeruns and stealing bases in bunches is not all Yamada does. His .329 average matches what he hit last year. About the only weak point in his game is his defense is not considered a strong suit for second base.

4. Shintaro Fujinami RHP (Hanshin Tigers) - When Otani and Fujinami were teammates on the 18 and under Japanese team Fujinami was thought to be the better pitcher. More teams drafted him number one than Otani during the NPB draft where all teams can select any player number one and the winner of the pick if more than one team chooses a player is determined by lottery. Fujinami is still a premier pitcher but his fastball only hits 95. He does strikeout more than one hitter per innings pitched but is not near as dominant as Otani. His ERA is at 3.23. His manager used him for 161 pitches in one game this year. At 6′5″ inches he stands a couple inches taller than Otani. Last year is 215 strikeouts led all Central League pitchers.

5. Takahiro Norimoto RHP (Rakuten Golden Eagles) - Rakuten has given the major leagues Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma. Perhaps Norimoto will be the third Rakuten pitcher to wear a major league uniform. Rakuten has not been a good team since the departure of Tanaka but Norimoto has been their ace pitcher with a career 49-35 record. His ERA has gotten better in each of his four years in the NPB. This year he is 10-6 with a 2.56 ERA. Not as overpowering as Otani or Fujinami but he does have swing and miss stuff with 200 or more strikeouts the last two years, more than any other pitcher in the Pacific League and 157 in 144 innings this year. His fastball can hit the mid-90s but at 5′10″ he lacks the tall pitcher’s frame of Otani and Fujinami. In an exhibition game against major league hitters after the 2014 season Norimoto pitched five perfect innings in what resulted in a combined no hitter. There were six major league All Stars in the lineup that could not hit Norimoto.

6. Yasuaki Yamasaki RHP (Yokahama Bay Stars) - At 22 years old he became the closer for the Bay Stars. He won the Central League rookie of the year last year saving 37 games with a 1.92 ERA. This year he has not been quite as effective with a 3.77 ERA. Command issues appear to be a problem this year with more walks in less innings. This has resulted in a few more dingers hit against him. He is not a big guy as well standing only 5′10′.

7. Seiya Suzuki OF (Hiroshima Carp) - He turns 22 this month and is already in his fourth NPB season. The 2016 season has been his first opportunity to start and he has been taking advantage of it. His .319 batting average, 17 homeruns and 72 RBIs has vaulted the Carp into first place in the Central Division.

8. Yusei Kikuchi LHP (Seibu Lions) - He was one of the first Japanese players to create controversy prior to Shohei Otani by announcing his intent to play major league baseball and discouraging Japanese teams from drafting him. He held talks with a number of major league teams but ultimately stayed in Japan after being offered a $1 million bonus by Seibu. He stands 6′0″ with good velocity on his fastball (mid-90s prior to shoulder injury). This is now his sixth season in the NPB (though not all of them have been complete) and at 25 he seems to be putting it all together. He is 8-5 with a 2.61 ERA, his best season since 2013, when a shoulder injury ended his season early and has stunted his success the next couple years. Not a big strikeout pitcher like the three others before him, but he does throw lefthanded.

9. Kenta Imamiya SS (Softbank Hawks) - One of the better defensive shortstops in the NPB. His bat may not be strong enough to hit major league pitching. This year has been his best offensive year with a .243 average and a .372 slugging percentage. His 8 homeruns are a career high. The Japanese may love him more for his ability to bunt, averaging about 50 sacrifice bunts per year. In high school he pitched and showed a fastball that hit the mid-90s, so he has the arm to play shortstop.

10. Kodai Senga RHP (Softbank Hawks) - He did well in a relief role with the Hawks when he was first brought up. This year he has been moved to the starting rotation where he doesn’t lose (8-1, 2.67). He still strikes out more than a batter per inning even with his move to the starting rotation. As a reliever he only gave up one homerun in just over 100 innings. As a starter he has dished out 11 in just 121 innings.

Top Players in the Under 15 Tournament

August 12th, 2016

Cuba beat Japan in the finals while the United States took third. Rather than pick an All tourney team myworld will name the top players of each team who performed well in the tournament based on their numbers. Myworld was not there so we could not witness their performances.

Cuba

Loidell Chapelli may have been the MVP of the tournament with his 5 for 5 day in the championship. Overall he hit .444 with 10 RBIs and a 1.028 OPS.

Malcolm Nunez hit .613 with 9 walks and one strikeout and a 1.375 OPS

Victor Mesa hit .375 with 9 runs scored.

Darian Palma hit .324 with 11 runs scored and 5 stolen bases.

Livan Chaviano appeared in four games and picked up two wins. He picked up one save and had a 0.00 ERA in 13.2 innings

Edgar Martinez struck out 20 in his 15 innings of work with a 0.60 ERA.

Japan

Shota Katekaru hit .467 with 9 RBIs and a 1.100 OPS.

Kenji Ino had a .389 average with 11 RBIs and a 1.115 OPS. He scored 13 runs and stole 5 bases.

Kanta Okada started three games and finished with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings of work.

United States

Anthony Volpe hit .419, stole 8 bases, drove in 10 runs and scored 10 runs with an OPS of 1.010. He did everything.

Cade Doughty hit .419 with 13 runs scored.

Justin Campbell did not give up an earned run in his two starts covering 7 innings, but did give up 8 hits. The United States seemed to lack a dominating pitcher in this tournament based on the numbers. No big strikeout numbers like Japan and Cuba.

Panama

Jordan Agrazal was their top hitter with a .375 average and 9 runs scored. His OPS was .901.

Venezuela

Pedro Martinez showed it all with a .481 average, 11 runs scored and five stolen bases. His OPS was 1.090.

Jesus Orecchia may have been the best hitter with his .438 average, 13 RBIs and 1.003 OPS.

Ronier Lascarro hit .379 with three triples and a 1.072 OPS. He also scored 9 runs and stole 4 bases.

Miguel Rondon had five appearances and two saves. He did take a loss when he gave up 4 unearned runs but his ERA was 0.00 in 7.1 innings.

Colombia

Marshall Cantillo hit .476 with 2 doubles and three triples to put his OPS at 1.399. He drove in 8 runs.

Luis Arzuza hit .400 with a 1.011 OPS.

Taiwan

Jui Wen Chien hit .500 with 4 doubles and two triples with a 1.360 OPS. He drove in 10 runs.

Yao Tsung Weng also hit .500, drawing 8 walks and scoring 11 times. His OPS was 1.193.

Po Yu Chen hit .444 with a .997 OPS.

Korea

Jun-Woo Shin hit .571 with 6 doubles and a 1.504 OPS. He drove in 10 runs.

Kyung-PYo Ko hit .524 with a 1.286 OPS. He walked 9 times.

Seung Ho Lee hit .393 to score 9 runs.

Hyung-Jun Park appeared in three games with one start stringing together a 1.17 ERA.

Mexico

Jared Guerrero hit .423 with 9 RBIs.

Asis Berrones struck out 15 of the 30 batters he faced but his 6.14 ERA was ugly.

Czech Republic

Marek Krejcirik hit .389 but his 14 walks put his OBA at .656 and his OPS at 1.267. He hit two triples.

Martin Grundman was 1-1 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts.

Australia

Caleb Shepherd hit .400 with a double and two triples for a 1.145 OPS. He also coaxed 8 walks in a weak lineup.

New Zealand

No worthy players of note though Taichi Nakao did walk 9 times but his average was .238, the second best average on the team for those players with 10 or more at bats.