Mariners Scott Arrested in Australia

January 30th, 2015

It would be a dream of every ball player to get an opportunity to play baseball in Australia and get paid for it. That dream is turning into a nightmare for the Mariners Troy Scott. He let his emotions get the best of him in a brawl, punching the ABL homerun leader Kellin Deglan hard enough to create facial injuries requiring dental work. The assault led to his arrest, suspension and a fine.

The Adelaide Bite qualified for the championship this year but Scott will not be participating in those games. The six game suspension of Scott is the most severe in ABL history and will cause him to miss the playoffs. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

You can read more here:

arrest

Youth Teams Announced for 18’s and 12’s

January 30th, 2015

The 18’s will be played at Koshien Stadium during August 28 to September 6. Koshien is where Japan plays two high school tournaments called the spring and summer Koshien that are often played before 40,000 plus. It will be interesting to see if high schoolers not from Japan attract the same crowds. It is also the location for the NPB Hanshin Tigers, who were kind enough to revise their schedule so the tournament could be held at Koshien. It is the first major international tournament to be held in Japan this year. In November Tokyo will host the semi-finals and finals of the Premier 12, composed of the top 12 countries in the world.

The teams that will compete in the 18’s through qualifying matches for their geographical area are (with their world rankings in parenthesis):

Japan (1), United States (2), Cuba (3), Taiwan (4), Canada (7), South Korea (8), Italy (11), Mexico (12), Australia (14), Brazil (16), Czech Republic (20) and South Africa (29).

It was also announced Tainan City in Taiwan would host the 2015, 2017 and 2019 12’s championships. This is different from the Little League World Series that is played in Williamsport and gets wide viewership in the United States. These 12 year olds are the best in their country, not restricted to play in a certain district. So the best of the West, East, Midwest, etc. in the United States would be formed into one All Star team.

The teams selected to compete in the 2015 event from July 24 to August 2 are (with their rankings in parenthesis):

Japan (1), United States (2), Cuba (3), Taiwan (4), South Korea (8), Venezuela (10), Mexico (12), Panama (13), Australia (14), Nicaragua (16), France (27) and Russia (32)

Countries and Their Links to Major League Teams

January 30th, 2015

Interesting article in Fangraphs you can read at the link below. Because of scouting expenses certain teams are better focused in specific countries. Some of the highlights from the article:

Once Ichiro Suzuki plays a game for the Miami Marlins the Reds will be the only team not to have a player born in Japan on their roster.

Since 1998 to 2014 the Nationals and Royals used the most players from the Dominican Republic on their roster with 52. The Orioles were second at 51. This surprises me since myworld does not recall the Orioles having a lot of Dominicans on their roster. At the bottom were the Angels and Athletics.

For Venezuela the top team is the Seattle Mariners, followed by the Detroit Tigers. The two teams at the bottom are the Cardinals and Athletics.

For Cuba the Yankees take the top spot. Two teams, the Rays and Braves fall one behind. The Astros have yet to have a Cuban player appear on their roster with the Angels and Indians having one apiece.

The Padres rule with Mexico as is to be expected followed by the Rockies. The Dodgers fall five players behind the Padres in fifth. The Giants have only had one player from Mexico on their roster with four teams having two.

In Japan the Mets reign supreme by a clear majority with the Red Sox and Mariners falling three players behind. The Reds and Marlins have not had a Japanese player appear on their roster, though Ichiro will change that this season. The only Japanese player to appear with the Orioles is Koji, though I recall Tsuyoshi Wada on the roster, and possibly even called up but he may not have made an appearance in the major leagues while with the O’s because of Tommy John.

countries and teams

Perth Win Opening Playoff Round in ABL

January 30th, 2015

Matt Kennelly tied the game in the eighth with a double and Joey Wong singled to give the Perth Heat an opening round 5-4 win over the Sydney Blue Sox in the opener of the best two out of three. Joey Wong finished the game with two runs driven in and Rene Tosoni helped in the offensive assault for the Heat with his solo homerun in the fourth. Jorge Marban retired the last five hitters to pick up the save, including three on strikeouts. The winner of this plays the Adelaide Bite for the championship.

The boxscore for the game can be found here:

boxscore

South Africa 18 and under Champions in Africa

January 30th, 2015

The tournament was hosted in Meru, Kenya. South Africa won the 18 and under division by beating a Uganda team 4-1. Tanzania won the bronze by beating the hosts Kenya 25-13. It was the first ever appearance by Tanzania in a baseball tournament and the first time Kenya has hosted a baseball tournament.

This qualifies South Africa for the 18 and under tournament to be played in Japan at the historic Koshien stadium in August/September of this year. The schedule is dependent on the schedule of the pro team the Hanshin Tigers who play their games at the stadium.

A youtube clip of the event can be found below:

tournament

Cardinals - 2015

January 29th, 2015

General - The Cardinals 2014 season ended tragically, beginning with their loss to the Giants in the championship series courtesy of a Travis Ishikawa homerun. Coming into the playoffs not many Cardinal fans were familiar with the name Travis Ishikawa. The season ended early meaning one of their top prospects left for the Dominican Republic early. Oscar Taveras died in a single car traffic accident when he should have been playing in a World Series game if things had gone differently. The Cardinals hope the 2015 season has better news. They have won their division the last two years and made the playoffs the last four years. No reason to think a fifth year is not in the cards. The core of Holiday, Molina and Peralta is getting older, but they still have a few good years left in them.

2015 key additions - Their big move was with the Braves when they acquired Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. Right field had been reserved for Oscar Taveras but Jason Heyward has it now. Walden should fit nicely in the high heat Cardinal bullpen. They also signed the swing and miss bat of Mark Reynolds as insurance at the corners and Matt Belisle to bolster the bullpen. Not a lot of moves but the Cardinals are all about development and bringing up the younger players.

Catcher - Yadier Molina has always been a rock, catching 140 something games a year. Last year he only played 110 games because of injuries. At 32 years old he is no longer a youngster. The Cardinals will give more playing time to Tony Cruz, who while a solid defensive catcher still falls short of the Molina tools. He also does not have much of a bat. When Molina is catching the Cardinals will have one of the best at the position. It just won’t be as often as it used to be.

First Base - Has Matt Adams come down to earth? He seemed to come from nowhere as a lot of Cardinal prospects do with monster shots rising over the fence. Last year he hit 15 with a .457 slugging average. That was short of his 17 homeruns and .503 slugging average of 2013. He also struggled hitting lefthanders with a .180 average which could result in a platoon for 2015. In 2013 he hit .231 against lefties. Mark Reynolds could be the bat to come off the bench against tough lefthanders. He can hit the ball a long way, but there is a lot of swing and miss in his bat. He plays better defensively at first base than third from what myworld saw of him at Baltimore. Xavier Scruggs is a player to watch. He doesn’t hit for a lot of power, but has the potential for a .300 plus average and hit lefthanders at a .350 clip in AAA. There is not much more he can prove in AAA.

Second base - Kolton Wong struggled early but by the end of the season was the starter. He needs to improve on his .292 OBA which would result in more stolen bases and a player the Cardinals could put in the leadoff spot. He led the team last year with 20 stolen bases, so he is their only real speed source. Pete Kozma will replace Daniel Descalso as their utility player. Kozma has a soft bat but has the glove to play all the infield positions well.

Third Base - Matt Carpenter may be more comfortable at third base but his offense suffered last year after the move from second base. In 2013 he batted .318. Last year his average dropped to .272. He still does a good job getting on base (.375 OBA) which makes him good for the leadoff spot, but he lacks speed to steal bases. Mark Reynolds can play here, but unlike Adams the lefthanded bat of Carpenter does not have any trouble hitting lefthanders.

Shortstop - Last year the Cardinals got solid production from Jhonny Peralta. He may not provide a lot of range at the position, but he fields most balls hit at him and he carries a power bat for a shortstop (21 homeruns and .443 slugging). Pete Kozma will provide some blow time for Peralta who may need to rest his 33 year old legs to keep him fresh for the 162 game season. Dean Anna played for the Yankees last year and is the alternative utility player should Pete Kozma fall more into a full time player or needs extended time on the DL because of injury. Neither player offers a terror bat that you would want at this position for an extended period.

Left Field - Matt Holiday still provides a terror bat for the position. He hit .272 with a .441 slugging. He also takes a lot of walks (.370 OBA). The defense is less than satisfactory so expect fourth outfielder Randall Grichuk to play a lot of late inning defense. Grichuk is more noted for being the player the Angels drafted ahead of Mike Trout when they had back to back first round picks, calling the name of Grichuk before Trout. He started in right field during the playoffs but will fall to the fourth outfielder role with the arrival of Heyward.

Center Field - Peter Bourjos is a superb defensive player. The Angels preferred him in center over Mike Trout when the two played with the Angels. His bat is far behind his defense at this point and may make him more of a fifth outfielder for the Cardinals. John Jay is a player with less range but more of a bat. Last year he hit .303 but he won’t hit for a lot of power or steal bases. He is just a steady, vanilla type player who won’t get the headlines.

Right field - The Braves thought Jason Heyward was going to be a superstar. Solid starter was just not good enough for them, so they traded him to the Cardinals to improve their pitching. Heyward has the potential to hit 30 plus homeruns but last year he hit only 11. A .169 average versus lefties slows down his numbers. This may create a platoon with Randal Grichuk who hit lefthanders better in AAA (.325) than the major leagues (.242).

Starting Pitcher - Adam Wainwright was third in the Cy Young voting. His 20-9 record puts him as the ace of the Cardinals rotation. He knows how to throw the double play grounder. Lance Lynn has not got his due. He had another good season, giving the Cardinals 15 wins and 200 plus innings. He led the Cardinals in strikeouts despite throwing less innings than Wainwright. Question marks follow these two pitchers. They would like to see Michael Wacha reach his potential. Despite solid numbers (5-6, 3.20) the Cardinals did not have the confidence to use him in the playoffs. John Lackey is a veteran starter who could eat innings or be released by mid season. Jaime Garcia hopes to return to his old form after being hurt for most of last year. Prior to his injury he was the Cardinals number three starter. Carlos Martinez has been used in the bullpen, but the Cardinals would like to see his 95 plus fastball as a starter. He was used in that role in the winter league. Marco Gonzalez was a 2013 first round pick that saw five starts last year. He will probably start his season in the minors and be called up when help is needed.

Closer - Hitters tagged Trevor Rosenthal a little better in 2014 than in 2013. His fastball did not seem to have the same velocity. The Cardinals are still happy with his 45 saves, second in the National League to Craig Kimbrel. Carlos Martinez and Jordan Walden also throw high heat fastballs geared toward the closer role.

Other relievers - If Martinez does not make the rotation he will be the setup man. His .297 average against lefthanders means he needs to enhance his changeup. Another pitcher who throws hard who will arrive on the scene like Rosenthal in 2013 is Sam Tuivailala who hits the radar in the triple digits. He may not be seen until mid season. Randy Choate limited lefthanders to a .093 average. That is as automatic an out as you will find. Others returning from last year are Sam Freeman and Seth Maness. Free agent pick up Matt Belisle will provide depth at the back end of the bullpen. A solid group that will live and die as Rosenthal goes.

2015 rookies - Marco Gonzalez has a shot to make the starting rotation. Randall Grichuk has not lost his rookie status but will be limited to a fourth outfielder role. Xavier Scruggs is not a highly touted prospect but he could rake if his starts are restricted to lefthanded pitching. Tim Cooney saw 25 starts in AAA and is a nice fit in the back end of a rotation. Sam Tuivailala will be another high heat bullpen source before mid-season. They have a couple power bats in Ed Easley and Cody Stanley who will only see time behind the plate if Yadier Molina misses time because of an extended injury. Aledmys Diaz is a Cuban signing that could see a utility role along with Dean Anna and Greg Garcia. The Cardinals hope for a bigger bat with Diaz and if a more permanent role is needed at short he could get the call if he shows success in the minors.

2015 Finish - The team is getting older. Myworld thinks they have enough to make the playoffs, but they may fall short to the Pirates for the division title this year. A lot will depend on the development of their younger pitchers and how they respond to the starting rotation when called upon.

Miguel Tejeda to Continue His Career in Mexico

January 29th, 2015

At 40 years of age Miguel Tejeda just loves to play baseball. He will not be playing in the major leagues in 2015, but in the Mexican Summer League where a number of other ex-major leaguers extend their careers. He will be playing for the Puebla Pericos, who lost in the finals last year to the Mexico City Red Devils. The Mexican League is considered AAA caliber.

Caribes Last Team to Qualify for Series del Caribe

January 29th, 2015

Caribes 8 Magallanes 3

Caribes will represent Venezuela for the second time in their franchise history after beating Magallanes in five games. They scraped together 16 hits and punched across four runs in the top of the ninth to ice the game. Jose Gil hit a two run homer in the ninth to sustain that rally. Niuman Romero and Ehire Adrianza continued to smoke from the leadoff spot for Caribes, each collecting three hits. Jose Castillo one upped them with his four hits from the clean up spot. Caribes used seven different pitchers, including starter Amicar Gaxiola who pitched in the Mexican League round robin playoffs but got his third start for Caribes, going only two innings.

Japan Dream Team to Form for Premier 12

January 29th, 2015

Hiroki Kokubo, who put together the team of Japanese all stars that defeated the major league touring group (I would not identify them as All Stars) in a best of five series plans to put together a dream team for the Premier 12 tournament to be co-hosted by Taiwan and Japan in November this year. The semi-finals and finals, as well as the opening match are to be played in Japan.

The problem with a “Dream Team” is the amount of pressure put on the players to win. Puerto Rico put together a dream team for the 1995 Series del Caribe and won it all. The United States put together a couple basketball dream teams to compete in the Olympics and both teams won it all. Now Japan will do the same for the Premier 12.

It will be interesting to see how the United States responds. Will they send a bunch of AAA ballplayers or a college national team. It is clear Cuba will put together their best group of players together who they have some confidence won’t travel to Japan just to defect to the major leagues. The United States has always had a challenge of putting together a group of their best major leaguers that can win a championship.

What many fail to understand is the major leagues is not composed of just United States players, but a collection of foreign players coming to the United States for the big paycheck. Those foreign players comprise over 30 percent of the major league rosters and continues to increase. The United States has yet to prove that their players are the best in the world. The Dominicans accomplished that in the last WBC in 2013 and Japan has won the previous two events. The United States youth teams have had quite a bit of success in international tournaments, but when it comes to senior tournaments the United States has choked.

Venezuela has apparently tasked Carlos Guillen to put together their team for the Premier 12. It will be interesting to see what kind of cooperation he can get from major league teams to get the best Venezuelans to compete in the event. They could be a pretty formidable team with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Felix Hernandez, Miguel Montero, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Pablo Sandoval, Alcides Escobar, Elvis Andrus, Wilson Ramos, Jose Altuve, Henderson Alvarez and Salvador Perez to just name a few. That is 13 players that could compete and beat many major league teams.

Next Korean Import

January 28th, 2015

The next Korean name to remember is Byung-ho Park. He was a teammate of Jung-Ho Kang but shows less versatility, his bulky frame limiting him to DH or first base duties. He does have more power than Kang and the two of them were often referred to as the Ho-Ho club, similar to the M&M reference to Mantle and Maris.

Park hit 52 homeruns in 2014 to become the first player in 11 years to go past 50 and only the third KBO player to accomplish that feat. He finished second in the MVP voting for that year. He did when two straight MVP awards in 2012 and 2013, hitting 31 and 37 homeruns while driving in 105 and 117 runs. He is listed at 6′1 and 236 pounds.

Park has signed with Octagon, the same U.S. agency that negotiated his ex-teammate Kang’s United States contract. The Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox are two teams that have taken an interest in Park. The Heroes must agree to post him before he can become available to major league teams. If his teammate does well with the Pirates that can only drive up the posting price if he can have a fourth monster year.

Park is about ten months older than Kang. You can see his stats below:

Park