Minor League All Stars AL Central

October 24th, 2014

Kansas City Royals

Francisco Pena C (AAA) - Pena only hit .240 but he slugged 27 homeruns. With gold glover Salvador Perez behind the plate for the royals he will need to find another position or team to get an opportunity with the Royals. In his previous seven years he had not hit in double digits in homeruns.

Lane Adams OF (AA) - He relies on his speed to play defense in center and to steal 38 bases. Not a lot of power (11, .427) and doesn’t hit for average (.269). He made his major league debut getting three at bats without any hits.

Andy Ferguson SP (AA) - A nice season at 11-9 with a 2.93 ERA. At 26 he may be better off in the KBO.

Glenn Sparkman SP (High A) - After relieving last year in his first season he put himself on the prospect map with an impressive season in the starting rotation (8-3, 1.56). Shows good command (25/117 walk to whiff ratio) and limited the opposition to a .213 average.

Mark Peterson Relief (High A) - He’s a fixture in the Royals minor league bullpen (1-2, 1.31) picking up 24 saves for a promotion to AA where he earned another three saves.

Chicago White Sox

Josh Phegley C (AAA) - At 26 he is getting a bit old to be considered the future catcher of the White Sox, but he did hit 23 homeruns. Needs to reduce his 14 passed balls but a 44 percent success rate on stolen bases shows a good arm.

Andy Wilkins 1B (AAA) - He showed some power for first with 30 homeruns and drove in 85 but with Jose Abreu at first his playing time will be limited.

Rangel Ravelo 1B (AA) - He did not show quite the power of Wilkins but is four years younger at 22. Rangel did hit 37 doubles with a .309 average, but only 11 homeruns and a .473 slugging. Good about making contact with a 66/77 walk to whiff ratio.

Jason Coats OF (High A) - A .291, 15, 75 season with a 35 doubles and a .487 slugging percentage should put him on the prospect map. Struggled to hit for power when promoted to AA and as a corner outfielder needs to show that pop to get an opportunity.

Courtney Hawkins OF Utl (High A) - A first round 2012 pick repeated High A. He improved his average from .178 to .240 and decreased his whiffs from 160 to 147 with more at bats.

Detroit Tigers

Ezequiel Carrera OF (AAA) - He stole 43 bases and hit .307 but at 27 he is probably more a fourth outfielder. He can play centerfield.

Mike Hessman DH (AAA) - The minor league homerun leader with 417 among active players. At 36 he is contemplating retirement but he hit 28 homeruns at AAA. At that pace he would reach 500 in three years.

Devan Travis 2B (AA) - Last year he hit .351 at two levels. He wasn’t going to repeat that pace this year but a .298 average with 10 homeruns earned him an All Star spot. Last year he was the Tigers number 2 rated prospect but that position should drop a bit this year.

Steven Moya OF (AA) - An injury free year gave the 6′6″ Moya 515 at bats where he hit .276, 35 with 105 RBIs. A 23/161 walk to whiff ratio is a red flag as he hits at higher levels.

Angel Nesbitt Relief (High A) - In his sixth year he finally got his first full year in a full season league rising all the way to AA. He was 14 for 14 in saves with a 0.79 ERA. He struggled a bit in AA saving just 6 of 11 games. Between the two levels the opposition only hit him at a .183 clip.

Wynton Bernard OF (Low A) - He stole a career high 45 stolen bases, able to get on base frequently with a .323 average and a .394 OBA.

Buck Framer RH (Low A) - The fifth round 2013 draft pick went from low A to the major leagues. In Low A he was 12-6, 3.07 in 18 starts. In the major leagues he got two starts and two relief appearances where he was 11.57 ERA.

Kevin Ziomek LH (Low A) - The second round 2013 draft pick went 10-6, 2.27. The lefthander does not overpower with stuff but was able to impress with 152 whiffs in 123 innings of work.

Minnesota Twins

Reynaldo Rodriguez DH (AA) - The rightfielder from Colombia hit 21 homeruns in AA. He struggled a bit when promoted to AAA (.156) but hit one more homerun to surpass his career high of 21 homeruns from last year.

Adam Brett Walker DH (High A) - A third round 2012 pick mauled Florida State League pitching for 25 homeruns, pretty impressive for a pitcher’s park. A .246 average and 156 whiffs are a cause of concern. His double numbers decreased leading to almost a 100 point drop in slugging.

Jose Berrios SP (High A) - The Puerto Rican 2012 first round pick with the mid-90s fastball went 9-3, 1.96 in the Florida State League. His strikeout numbers dropped after a promotion to AA.

Mitch Garver C (Low A) - Mitch slugged 16 homeruns with a 61/65 walk to whiff ratio, good contact rate for a power hitter. The catcher had a 32 percent stolen base success rate in gunning down base stealers.

Nick Gordon utl (Rookie) - The first round 2014 pick and son of Tom Gordon hit .294 in his debut. With his speed he should be better than his 11/18 stolen base rate.

Max Murphy OF (Rookie) - Hit .378 with 10 homeruns for a 1.206 OPS. Those numbers decreased substantially when promoted to Low A (.242/709) in a similar number of at bats.

Felix Jorge RHP (Rookie) - Another player who put up good numbers in rookie ball (4-2, 2.59) in 12 starts but struggled after a promotion (2-5, 9.00) is 12 appearances, eight of them starts.

Cleveland Indians

James Ramsey OF (AA) - A Cardinal at the beginning of the season where he hit .300 with 13 homers in AA. The first round 2012 pick played in AAA for the Indians hitting .284. He will have more opportunities to fit in the outfield with the Indians.

Ryan Merritt SP (High A) - The smallish lefthander may not be able to repeat his 13-3, 2.58 at the higher levels.

Monkeys Win Taiwan Series

October 24th, 2014

The Lamiga Monkeys won game five 8-3 in the best of seven series to win the Taiwan Series four games to one. It is the second time in three years they have won the series. Shortstop Teh-Lung Yu was voted the MVP of the series.

A narrative for the game can be found here:

Taiwan series

Dinos Hang on for Win in KBO Playoffs

October 24th, 2014

Designated hitter Ho-Jun Lee broke a 2-2 tie with a solo shot in the sixth and the NC Dinos hung on for a 4-3 win over the LG Twins in their third playoff game in this five game series. Jin-Sung Kim worked the last inning to pick up the save. The Dino closer had saved 25 games during the regular season. The Twins still lead the best of five series two games to one.

The win was their first playoff win in the history of the Dino franchise, entering its second season in the KBO. An Erik Thames single in the opening frame and two poor throws allowed the Dinos to open the scoring in the top of the first inning. Ho-Jun Lee then drove in the first of his two runs with a double.

The Twins were able to pull even with single runs in the third and fourth. Byung-Kyu Lee drove in the run in the third on a sacrifice fly and Joo-In Son evened things in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. The Twins tried to score a third run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Sung-Bum Na rifled a throw home to retire the runner.

The Dinos started Charlie Shirek. He got the win working five innings and allowing only two runs, one of them earned. Cory Riordan took the loss giving up three runs, two of them earned in his six innings of work.

Boxscore for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Italy Roster for 21 and Under World Cup

October 24th, 2014

Italy has provided their roster for the 21 and under World Cup to be held in Taiwan in November. No familiar minor league names on this roster, but there could be some diamonds in the rough here. The roster was provided by Mister Baseball.

Pitcher: Gabriele Quattrini, Yomel Rivera, Jacopo Piccini, Simone Bazzarini, Matteo Bocchi, Filippo Crepaldi, Enrico Varin, Davide Anselmi, Andrea Pizziconi, Milvio Andreozzi, Paolo Taschini, Valerio Simone.

Catcher: Mario Trinci, Alberto Mineo.

Infielder: Matteo Pizzolini, Mirco Caradonna, Davide Benetti, Luca Pulzetti, Leonardo Colagrossi, Mattia Mercuri, Freddy Miguel Noguera, Giovanni Garbella.

Outfielder: Sebastiano Poma, Federico Celli, Federico Giordani, Alessandro Grimaudo.

Japanese Draft Results

October 24th, 2014

The NPB held their draft for newer players. Most teams only select five to seven players in the draft. The NPB does not have the extensive minor league system equivalent to the major leagues so drafting quantity is not a priority. High school, independent and college players have to register in order to be eligible for the draft.

For the first round the NPB has a unique system of a sealed selection where every team selects their top pick. If you select the most popular player in the draft you run the risk of falling down in the draft because a lottery will determine a winner when more than one team chooses a player. A team that chooses a player not picked by any other team is rewarded that player. Once the lottery is conducted for those multiple teams who chose the same player those teams losing the lottery get to select another player for their first round pick.

Below is the list of picks:

Pacific League

Central League

Royals Turn the Tables on Giants to Even Series

October 23rd, 2014

After losing the opener 7-1 the Royals came right back and won game number two 7-2. A five run sixth inning that included a two run homer from Omar Infante off Hunter Strickland turned the trick and emptied some benches.

It started out well for the Giants when Gregor Blanco started out the game by pulling a 98 mile per hour fastball off Yordano Ventura into the right field bullpen. The Royals responded back in the bottom half with a Lorenzo Cain double, an Eric Hosmer walk and a Billy Butler single to tie the game at 1-1. The inning could have been worse for Jacob Peavy after Alcides Escobar began the inning with a single but he was caught stealing for the second out.

In the second inning the Royals got doubles from Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar to take a 2-1 lead. The Giants responded off Ventura in the fourth with doubles by Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt. Belt made a baserunning error to end the inning straying too far off second on a fly ball to right.

The Royals went to their high heat bullpen in the sixth after the Giants were able to put two runners on base with just one out. Kelvin Herrera came on to retire Brandon Belt and Michael Morse to end the inning.

The Royals then erupted for five in the home half of the sixth, Lorenzo Cain starting the party with a leadoff single. Billy Butler drove in the first run with a single to break the 2-2 tie. After Machi relieved Peavy and Lopez relieved Machi to face one batter, Hunter Strickland came in to pitch. The Royals destroyed his high heat, taking advantage of a wild pitch to advance two runners in scoring position and then getting Santiago Perez to double both runners home. After the Infante homer Strickland seemed to take umbrage to the blast, screaming into his glove. Perez standing on home plate to congragulate Infante on his bash said a few choice words back. The benches emptied but no punches were thrown or ejections issued.

Like most teams before them the Giants could not score on the Royals bullpen. Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland closed out the last three plus innings, making Ned Yost look like a bullpen savant.

Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled to go against Tim Hudson for game three. Hunter Strickland has allowed five homeruns in 23 at bats. He can throw his fastball in triple digits, but hitters are able to barrell it over the fences. In the minor leagues he only allowed three homeruns in 38 plus innings. In the major league regular season he did not allow a homerun in seven innings of work. In the post season he is giving them away like a garage day special.

With the loss the Giants ended a streak of having won seven straight World Series games.

Kaneko Expresses Interest in Major Leagues

October 23rd, 2014

Chihiro Kaneko of the Orix Buffaloes has expressed interest in playing in the major leagues. In 2014 he has put up better numbers than Kenta Maeda, recovering from elbow issues that plagued him in 2012 to combine for 31 wins.

Kaneko led the Pacific League in ERA (1.98) in wins (16-5) and was second in strikeouts (199 in 191 innings pitched) to Takahiro Norimoto (204). Maeda pitched in the Central League and was third in ERA (2.60) and third in whiffs (161 K’s in 187 innings pitched). He went 11-9 for the Hiroshima Carp but seemed to be troubled by arm issues. Maeda is slight of frame at 6′0″ and 160 pounds with a fastball in the high 80s to low 90s. He relies on command with the slider being his best pitch. Kaneko does not have any more juice on his fastball than Maeda, but he seems to have better movement. He is also slight of frame being listed as 2 centimeters smaller than Maeda and a few kilometers less in weight. Both pitchers rely on command and an array of different pitches they can throw at hitters. With their slight frames, niether pitcher will go on the mound with an intimidating presence.

Previously, Kaneko has been reticent about playing in the major leagues. In one year he can become an international free agent like Maeda and the Buffaloes will get nothing for him. Kaneko is a domestic free agent this year and the Yomiuri Giants have expressed an interest in signing him. If he signs a multi-year contract with the Giants that would probably be an end to his major league aspirations, since the Giants would have no interest in posting him now that the amount NPB teams get from the posting has been greatly reduced. The Buffaloes could still sign him for one year with the understanding they would post him to see what they could get for him.

Snyder Leads LG Twins to Game Two Win

October 22nd, 2014

Sung-Hoon Jung led the game off with a homerun and Brad Snyder added a 2-run shot in the fourth inning to give the LG Twins a 4-2 win over the NC Dinos to take a 2-0 series lead in their best of five playoff matchup. Both homeruns were hit off Eric Hacker. Snyder was a late addition to the Twins this year and struggled during the regular season with a .210 average and only four homeruns in 37 games.

The Dinos came back, getting two in the seventh, one of them scoring on a solo shot from Eric Thames. Eric Thames hit .343 with 37 homeruns and 121 RBIs during the regular season. The Dinos must now sweep in the LG Twins park to keep the series alive and return home for game five.

Kyu-Min Woo gets the win working five shutout innings while only allowing four hits. Jung-Keun Bong struck out the side in the ninth to pick up the save.

The box score for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Bird and Zimmer Win Player of the Second Week in AFL

October 22nd, 2014

The Royals 2012 first round pick Kyle Zimmer was restricted to just five starts and less than five innings in the 2014 season because of injuries. It was hoped he could make up for that lost time pitching in the AFL. The decision looked promising when he struck out 11 in five innings of work in his second start. In his third start he only lasted one inning before he was pulled because of shoulder issues. It is expected his AFL season has come to an end but not before winning player of the week honors in his second week.

Yankees prospect Greg Bird is another player who had his playing time restricted because of injury during the 2014 season. Back problems limited him to 102 games. The fifth round 2011 pick was still able to hit 14 homeruns at two different levels, walking 63 times. In 2013 he led the minors in walks with 107. In the AFL Bird has hits in all 11 games he has played, juicing up the power last week with three homeruns and six RBIs. His four homeruns lead the AFL and his 11 RBIs are second in the league to Jesse Winker, who won the player of the week award the first week. Jesse has 13 RBIs.

Giants Rout Royals in the Opener

October 22nd, 2014

Big Game James Shields has struggled to support his nickname in the post season, getting knocked around for five runs in three innings and Madison Bumgarner has shown more big game swag holding the Royals to one run in his seven innings of work in the San Francisco Giants opening 7-1 rout of the Kansas City Royals.

The Giants got to Shields in the opening frame, accumulating five hits off him. Pablo Sandoval ripped a double to score one run but Buster Posey was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning. Hunter Pence followed by blasting a two run homer to give the Giants an early 3-0 lead.

Shields seemed to settle down after the opening frame, retiring the Giants in order in the second and third. He could not get an out in the fourth before departing after giving up a leadoff double to Hunter Pence, walking Brandon Belt and giving up an RBI single to Michael Morse. Danny Duffy came on in relief to contain the damage, and though he did not give up a hit, he walked two, the second walk forcing in a run.

The Giants continued to pull away in the seventh. Joe Panik drove in a run with a triple and Pablo Sandoval singled him home for his second RBI of the game. Sandoval has reached base in his last 24 post season games. His double in the first gave him more extra base hits than any Giant, surpassing the number hit by Giants great Barry Bonds.

Salvador Perez finally ended the 32 plus inning road post season scoreless streak for Madison Bumgarner, hitting a two out solo shot in left in the seventh inning to make the score 7-1. It also ended a 21 inning World Series scoreless streak for Bumgarner dating back to 2012. Bumgarner would not go out to pitch the eighth, but with the game and the fight in the Royals just about done he was not needed.

Besides the consecutive road scoreless streak for Bumgarner ending the Royals also ended their post season winning streak at 11.

Yordano Ventura will go against Jacob Peavy in game two. Peavy is 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA in seven post season starts according to ESPN.com. Billy Butler is hitting .424 against Peavy, so the odds appear to be stacked in the Royals favor for game number two. Never under estimate a veteran pitching going against a rookie in Ventura. Also, teams who have won the opening game have won the last four World Series and 10 of the past 11.