In an effort to change and update the site, we are rolling out a podcast. Today is episode no. 1 and we go over the WBC pool in Seoul, South Korea.
Look for more podcasts in the weeks to come. We are lining up some interviews and other guest appearances. Our focus will continue to be on foreign leagues with some tidbits from the USA.
This is a new venture for us here, so bare with us as we learn how to produce better and better podcasts.
Shout out to CPBLEnglish.com for some stats on the players for Chinese Taipei, and to Fuss Ricket for our music. You can check them out on Spotify and at FussRicket.com.
Our drink of the week – Green Man Wayfarer IPA. Check it out if you can. Green Man Brewery has some great stuff. I’ve never been disappointed, well if you don’t include the fact I can’t find it in Texas. You can find more about the brewery at GreenManBrewery.com.
Moving forward we will try to keep the podcasts no longer than 20 minutes. We intend to bring you stories and people from around the world of baseball. So stay with us. Give us some feedback on what you hear and what you would like to hear as well.
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for listening.
We have reached the final part of our 10 part segments on breaking down the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. We have seen a lot of talent so far, but these guys are at the top of the heap and will be interesting to watch for years to come. So without further ado.
No. 10 Ozzie Albies, 2B/Atlanta Braves – Albies is one prospect that many Braves fans are both high on and will defend at every move. The speedy infielder who could play short or second will most likely end up paired with another Top 10 prospect in Dansby Swanson up the middle for Atlanta. He just turned 20 where he will most likely spend the season at AAA Gwinnett where he struggled a bit last year. He tore up AA at only 19. While the Braves traded for Brandon Phillips to hold down second base, the veteran is really holding down the spot until Albies is ready for the big leagues, so there is no need to rush him this season. Albies ranked no. 12 in 2016.
No. 7 Victor Robles, OF/Washington Nationals – Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Robles spent the 2016 season split between the South Atlantic League and the Carolina League. He possesses great speed and even stole 37 bases last season but is still learning the art of the stolen base after getting caught 14 times. He might be a few years away from the big leagues, but he could be a franchise type player. However, he won’t turn 20 until May, so he has to be given time to learn. Robles ranked no. 10 in 2016.
No. 5 Amed Rosario, SS/New York Mets – The Top 10 of the list is full of shortstops with Dominican Rosario being one of the brightest. He will play this season at just 21, and he is the future of the Mets at short, but there is no need to rush him to the big leagues. However, if he continues to impress he may force their hands. He spent half of last season at AA Binghamton impressing big time. He hit .341 with a .392 OBP in 54 games. While he might not turn out to be a 30+ home run hitter at the big league level, he plays above average defense and hits with contact and extra-base power. Rosario ranked no. 11 in 2016.
No. 3 Gleyber Torres, SS/New York Yankees – Torres is the top rated shortstop prospect in the game, and he will play the 2017 season at just 20-years old. Signed out of Venezuela in 2013, Torres was the biggest prize for the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal. He is advanced at the plate and could turn into a 20+ homer type shortstop. There is no need to rush him to the big leagues with Didi Gregorius holding down the spot in New York. Torres looks to be the centerpiece of the Yankees for years to come though when he is ready. Torres ranked no. 17 in 2016.
No. 2 Yoan Moncada, 2B/Chicago White Sox – Last season’s no. 1, Moncada is just 21-years old. The switch-hitting infielder out of Cuba has lived up to his big price tag to sign, $63 million by Boston. The big piece for the White Sox in the Chris Sale deal, Moncada could pair quite well with fellow youngster Tim Anderson up the middle in Chicago. He has the tools to be an impact player at the big league level with speed, power, and the ability to hit for average. He may not start off in Chicago to begin the season, but look for him to be there at some point this summer.
If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:
We are trying something new this year here at BaseballdeWorld. As the season moves along and different leagues start to play, we will keep track of current standings in one place. Meaning you no longer have to search posts to find the current standings.
Instead just head over to the right hand of our site and you will see a new section called League Standings. There you will see a list of the different leagues around the world and you will be able to click on whatever league you want to see the current standings.
We will also be adding schedules to the pages so you can see what is coming up. We are just getting started and will be adding more leagues and schedules as the weeks near opening day around the world for many of the leagues.
They will also be in a drop down menu under Federations at the top of our page. So feel free to poke around and see what we have so far. We are in the works as we speak to add more to the list. We hope this helps you in keeping up with your favorite leagues around the world.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again soon.
Former contributor to BaseballdeWorld Gabriel Fidler recently talked to a former big leaguer playing this summer in Italy, Mark Teahen. The former Royals star will be suiting up for Tommasin Padova this summer.
Fidler, who contributed here with some in depth posts on the WBC in 2013, has been writing for both Mister-Baseball and at his own site at Extra Innings: Baseball Around the World. Be sure to follow Gabriel on Twitter as well as read his articles at Extra Innings. You can find him tweeting at @Extrainnings_bb.
I found it interesting how Teahen came to play in Italy as well as how playing there will impact his other business, a wine room. Gabriel and Mark talked a good bit of baseball and wine and it is all a good read.
No. 20 Francis Martes, RHP/Houston Astros – Martes, out of the Dominican Republic, is a hard throwing righty who had a solid year in 2016 at Double-A Corpus Christi. he threw 125.1 innings allowing just 104 hits and striking out 9.4 per 9. He has a plus fastball that sits between 93-96, touching 98 at times. It is his secondary pitches that still need polishing, and he will need to work on his command. While he struck out more than one hitter per inning, he also walked 3.4 per 9 which is way too high to be an effective front line starter at the big league level.
No. 17 Rafael Devers, 3B/Boston Red Sox – Devers, out of the Dominican Republic, is just a 20-year old with power to all fields. Last season he played for Salem in High-A ball where he showed some power (32 doubles and 11 home runs) but more than anything he bounced back after a slow start to finish strong. Whether or not he stays at third will remain to be seen as he continues to grow as a player with a possible shift across the diamond to first.
No. 13 Eloy Jimenez, OF/Chicago Cubs – Jimenez, who hails from the Dominican Republic, will be just 20 this season. Last year he spent the entire season in Single-A ball with South Bend in the Midwest League. There he hit .329 with 14 home runs winning the leagues MVP award. He has plus power, even drawing comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton by some. He spent most of his time in left last season, but has the arm for right as he continues to improve his defense.
I’ve been listening to The Baseball Project music for awhile now. I have their first 3 albums on CD and I absolutely love them all. But one song stands out more than the others to this Atlanta Braves fan, To The Veteran’s Committee.
If you are not familiar with The Baseball Project, first of all where have you been? Secondly, they are made up of some of the greatest musicians of our time. So let’s do a rundown of the band before we get into my favorite song of theirs.
Scott McCaughey (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Percussion, SF Giants) – Most notably McCaughey worked with R.E.M. for nearly 2 decades. He is also a singer and songwriter for The Young Fresh Fellows and The Minus 5.
Steve Wynn (Vocals, Guitars, New York Yankees) – He led the band The Dream Syndicate for nearly a decade in Los Angeles before he went onto a solo career. He went on to record with Steve Wynn and The Miracle Three and in the 90s Gutterball.
Linda Pitmon (Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Minnesota Twins) – Drummer and wife of Steve Wynn, Pitmon has appeared with different artists including Steve Wynn and The Miracle Three and Zuzu’s Petals.
Peter Buck (12- and 6-string Guitars, Fender VI Bass, Banjo, Washington Senators) – Co-founder and lead guitarist for R.E.M. Buck has appeared with many other groups and side projects including Hindu Love Gods, The Minus 5, and Tired Pony. He also has been a successful record producer.
Mike Mills (Bass, Vocals, Atlanta Braves) – One of the founding members of R.E.M. Mills has continued to record and contribute to other artists works. He played piano on a single released by Drive-By Truckers member, Patterson Hood, in protest to a Wal-Mart being built in Athens, Georgia.
So back to the music.
My favorite song of theirs is To The Veteran’s Committee, which is a song about my all-time favorite player Dale Murphy. It is basically a plea to the committee to elect Murphy to the Hall of Fame, a feat I would love to see in my lifetime. In the song, which I have a feeling has a lot of Mike Mills behind it as a Braves fan, the group gives some reasons why they would like to see Murphy in the Hall of Fame. These include even taking shots at Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
They also go over some of his stats including his 398 home runs talking about how 400 is the magic number, or at least it was around the time of his retirement not to mention his 2 NL MVPs and 5 Gold Gloves. While admittedly Murphy is a borderline Hall of Famer, he remains my favorite player of all-time and I would love to see him get in one day. He personifies what it is to be a member of the hall. He was loved by fans, never got in trouble, never used PEDs, and put up impressive numbers. And while I do understand that the hall is about what happens on the field, I admit to be a bit biased.
You can check out the band at The Baseball Project. There you can see where they might be performing or purchase their music. If you are a baseball fan, I don’t think you will regret picking up a CD or two from them. I plan on sharing more of their music in the coming weeks because they sing about some interesting people and stories from the game.
No. 25 Anderson Espinoza, RHP/San Diego Padres – Espinoza signed for just under $2 million. This was a new record for a prospect out of Venezuela. He impressed last season, which was his first full season in A-ball. He split time between two leagues after being apart of the trade that sent Drew Pomeranz to Boston, where Espinoza was drafted. A power right arm that sits between 94-97, Espinoza has to improve on his secondary pitches though he will pitch this upcoming season at just 19-years old.
No. 23 Manuel Margot, OF/San Diego Padres – Margot is another former Red Sox farmhand to be traded to San Diego. This time it was for Craig Kimbrel. Margot is out of the Dominican Republic and was named a Pacific Coast League All-Star in 2016 before making his MLB debut in San Diego in September. He has shown great speed. Last year he stole 30 bases and hit 12 triples in AAA. With that speed he will be able to patrol centerfield in San Diego with the possibility of that coming as soon as 2017.
No. 21 Willy Adames, SS/Tampa Bay Rays – Adames worked his way to Double-A ball at just the age of 20. The Dominican prospect was named a Southern League All-Star in 2016 and played in the annual All-Star Futures Game for the World Team. Last season in Montgomery Adames showed a little pop with 11 home runs, 31 doubles, and 6 triples. Many feel he has the makeup for a middle of the order shortstop at an All-Star-caliber. He looks to contribute to the big league club in 2018.
No. 40 Francisco Mejia, C/Cleveland Indians – The 21-year old out of the Dominican Republic has a bright future ahead of him. Last season he split time between the Single-A Midwest League and the High-A Carolina League. He hit well in both leagues. He had a 50-game hitting streak that stretched over two leagues. The switch-hitting catcher has a strong arm from behind the plate. While he might need another year of seasoning in the minors, he could compete for a spot in the big leagues as early as 2018. He ranked no. 85 on the 2016 list.
No. 34 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B/Toronto Blue Jays – Born in Canada to future hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is only 17-years old and already ranks at the no. 3 third base prospect in the game. Guerrero posses speed (stole 15 bases in 62 games in 2016), power (hit 8 home runs and 12 doubles), and shows plate discipline having almost as many walks (33) as strikeouts (35). He spent all of the 2016 season with Bluefield in the Appalachian League. It will remain to be seen if he can stay at third base or possibly move to first or the outfield.
No. 33 Jose De Leon, RHP/Tampa Bay Rays – The 24th Round pick in 2013 struggled a bit in his pro debut, but the Puerto Rico native found his strike in 2014 in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He tore up AAA last season before getting the call from the Los Angeles Dodgers making his MLB debut. In AAA he struck out 11.6 per 9. That did not translate over to his MLB debut, but the righty has a plus fastball that can top out at 96. He projects to be a mid-rotation starter which is why the Rays traded for him in January where he might get a shot at the rotation this spring. He will also be part of the designated pitcher pool for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
No. 32 Kevin Maitan, SS/Atlanta Braves – The 17-year old from Venezuela has not played a game yet in the Braves farm system, but he is already being heralded as the next big thing bout of Venezuela. With a plus arm, the switch-hitter is already being compared to Miguel Sano. He has pop from both sides of the plate and excellent range. Some think he might move off shortstop eventually with a move to third base. If that does happen, he should make the transition easily when it comes to defense.
The Puerto Rico WBC roster for 2017 has been announced, and they will look to improve on their silver medal from 2013. The small island is hoping to build on its 2017 Caribbean Series title and bring home another championship in March.
The Puerto Rico lineup will be filled with some of the youngest superstars in the game right alongside some veterans.
While the infield is full of young talent, the outfield features to tried and true veterans that will be big contributors to the club. Led by future Hall of Fame inductee Carlos Beltran the outfield will be a formidable one. However, Beltran struggled last go around in the WBC hitting just .188 as the DH. His fellow outfielder Angel Pagan led the offense for Puerto Rico in 2013 hitting .364 with a team lead 12 hits and 2 stolen bases.
Calling the pitches and shutting down the running game will be perennial all-star Yadier Molina. Molina is returning after a decent 2013 WBC. He will be looked upon to handle the pitching staff more than anything.
Roman is coming off a stellar winter season where he lead the Criollos de Caguas to the Caribbean Series title. During the Caribbean Series he pitched 10.0 innings allowing just 1 run. If he can repeat this, Puerto Rico will make another run at the title.
Texas Rangers’ reliever Alex Claudio will be a big lefty arm in the bullpen for Puerto Rico. Seattle revliever Edwin Diaz looks to hold down the 9th for Puerto Rico. Diaz had 18 saves a season ago for the Mariners. The elder statesman in the pen will be J.C. Romero. The 40-year old last pitched in the big leagues in 2012. He has continued pitching in independent leagues and with different AAA teams up until 2015. He did pitch this winter in Puerto Rico.
The Brisbane Bandits repeated as Australian Baseball League champions this weekend winning their second straight Claxton Shield. The Bandits swept the Melbourne Aces to claim the title.
Game 1 Brisbane 6, Melbourne 2
The Bandits blasted former Texas Ranger Mark Hamburger for 6 runs in Game 1. Hamburger tossed 8 innings in the loss. He gave up 10 hits but struck out 10. However, the Bandits used the long ball to propel themselves to victory hitting 4 home runs off of Hamburger.
Trent Oeltjen, another former big leaguer, got Brisbane off to a quick start with a 2-run homer in the top of the first inning. The Bandits would never trail. After picking up another run in the top of the 2nd, Bandits starter Justin Erasmus gave up 2, 2-out hits making the score 3-2. Erasmus would not factor into the decision going only 2.1 innings. The Bandits pitching staff, including former big leaguer Ryan Rowland-Smith, shut down the Aces bats for the final 7 innings.
David Rodriguez would add a solo shot in the 3rd inning giving Brisbane a 4-2 lead. Then in the top of the 8th, the Bandits added back-to-back solo shots from Logan Wade and Kevin Padlo to finish off the Aces in Game 1.
Game 2 Brisbane 3, Melbourne 1
In the final game of the season, Kramer Champlin pitched Brisbane to its second straight Claxton Shield. Champlin tossed 7.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 1 hit. He struck out 6 picking up the win. The lone run for the Aces off of Champlin came in the 4th inning on a solo home run by Cody Jones.
Aces starter Josh Tols pitched well too matching Champlin for 5 innings. However, after Tols was pulled in the 6th reliever Jon Kennedy gave up 2 runs in 0.1 innings to take the loss. It took 3 Aces relievers to get out of the 6th inning with no further damage. Former big leaguer Peter Moylan finished off the game throwing 3 shutout innings for Melbourne, but the bats never came alive.
Brisbane took an early 1-0 lead on a Wade Dutton RBI single to drive in Liam Bedford. But the lead was short lived as two innings later Jones would homer to tie the game at 1. In the 6th, with runners at the corners Allan de San Miguel allowed a past ball letting Kevin Padlo to score from 3rd base. A few batters later, Aaron Whitefield grounded out to 2nd baseman James Beresford driving in David Sutherland from 3rd base for the final run of the game.
Ryan Searle pitched the final 2.0 innings striking out 4 to pick up his second save of the playoffs.
The Netherlands WBC roster has been announced, and it is full of talent. Highlighting the roster will be the Dutch infield which is stacked with MLB talent. However, up and down the roster there is talent and they will compete for a spot in Round 2 and possibly further.
Curt Smith is back again for Team Netherlands. He has a lot of international experience and even hit .321 in the 2013 WBC as the Dutch ran off to a semifinal appearance. Also back from 2013 is Yurendell de Caster who hit .400 in limited action. He provides experience off the bench with a quality right handed bat that can play multiple positions.
Bringing power to the outfield is Wladimir Balentien. While he might not be a household name in the USA, he did play parts of 3 seasons with the Mariners and Reds, he is a star in Japan in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. After leaving the USA for the 2011 season, Balentien has gone on to hit 30+ home runs 5 times, including 60 in 2014 which broke the all-time record in Japan.
On the bump the Dutch have some talent as sell. Diegomar Markwell is back after a stellar 2013 WBC where he went 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 3 starts. While he is inching up in age (36) he still has a quality arm that should be able to get the Dutch some good starts. Also back is Orlando Yntema who had a good 2013 WBC pitching twice and making one start. In the bullpen they will return Loek Van Mil (0.00 ERA in 2013).
The most intriguing player for the Netherlands this go around is Jair Jurrjens. The former MLB starter with Atlanta, Baltimore, and Colorado pitched the 2016 season in Taiwan. Still only 31, but far past his prime, he could still give the Dutch some solid innings either out of the bullpen or perhaps in a spot start.
In 2013 starting pitcher Sam Deduno went 2-0 in 3 starts with a 0.69 ERA. He is back for more and should figure into the rotation for the team. Edison Volquez is also back after starting 3 times in 2013. Following up the starters is a bullpen that is full of strong arms. Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney are both back after pitching in 2013. Joining those two will be the likes of Jeurys Familia who had 51 saves a year ago with the Mets.
Another big arm in the bullpen will be Alex Colome. The young hard throwing righty savd 37 games for Tampa Bay a season ago. Dellin Betances saved 12 games a year ago for the Yankees pitching in 73 games. Over his 73 innings he struck out 126 or 15.5 per 9.
The defending champions will face off with Canada, Colombia, and the United States in Pool C in Miami, Florida. Their first game will come on Thursday March 9th at 6 PM EST versus Team Canada.
Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:
Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster was announced today, and it looks good at first glance. The team that manager Jim Leyland will be leading this go around will feature a lot of great young talent from the big leagues.
Former NL MVP Buster Posey leads the catching crew this year, but he is paired up with two other strong guys behind the plate. This will be a key position because not only will they be looked to for some offensive punch, but they will be looked upon to lead this talented but young and diverse pitching staff. Joining Posey will be Jonathan Lucroy, who played in 2013, although sparingly. A.J. Ellis will be the eldest statesman behind the plate.
This is the group that really excites me when I look at the group as a whole. Led by some established stars like Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kinsler the infield features some of the great young talent in the game from the USA. Nolan Arenado to me will be one to watch. The 25-year old is one that will show off his power and defense, but he will have big shoes to fill since David Wright really led the offense for Team USA in 2013 from the third base spot.
Another exciting player to watch from the infield will be Alex Bregman. He is a huge young talent, but with the breakdown of the roster it will interesting to see just how much playing time he will see.
This is an exciting group as well. Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Christian Yelich will be the guys patrolling the outfield for Team USA. Stanton and Jones both played in 2013, but neither was a huge impact for Team USA although they had good tournaments in different areas. Yelich might not be a name that many outside of Miami know, but the Marlins outfielder will show his talent come March. He can hit, hit for power, and can play multiple positions including centerfield if necessary.
The pitching staff will include some of the best young arms in the game with a mix of veterans. Chris Archer is one to watch for me. The young hard throwing righty could be a force to reckon with if he shows up sharp. The back end of the bullpen will be a strong point for Team USA as well with the likes of Sam Dyson, Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, and David Robertson. Miller has already said he wants to be available for the entire tournament. Each team will have a pool of pitchers that they can choose from for each round which is why you will see so many names.
Puerto Rico wins 2017 Caribbean Series Championship defeating Mexico 1-0 in 10 innings.
After going 1-3 in the round robin, Puerto Rico found its 2nd win to take down Venezuela in the semifinal before downing Mexico to take the title. It was the 2nd Series title for the Criollos de Caguas, the first since 1987.
It was a pitching duel the entire way. Puerto Rico starter Adalberto Flores had a no hitter into the 6th inning, but he had to exit in the 7th with a blister on his pitching hand. He finished the night tossing 6 innings allowing just 1 hit. Andres Santiago came in to shut down the Mexico bats for 2 innings, before Miguel Mejia picked up the win finishing the final 2 innings.
Hector Velazquez had a good night dancing out of trouble a few times for Mexico. He threw 6.0 shutout innings allowing just 5 hits. Jake Sanchez took the loss giving up 1 run in the 10th inning.
The only run of the game came on a Jonathan Morales sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning. Yadiel Rivera led off the inning with a double. He was moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt before Morales drove him home with the winning run.
Pena pitched 5 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits. He stymied the Cuban bats all night longs striking out 4. Following him on the hill was Rodriguez who tossed 3 hitless innings of his own, while striking out 5. Jake Sanchez (S, 2) came into finish off Cuba to pick up his second save of the Series.
Offensively Agustin Murillo picked up the only RBI on a single to left to drive in Ronnier Mustelier. Mexico as a team only combined for 5 hits, and Cuba was limited to 2.
Lazaro Blanco (L, 1-1) pitched well but took the loss for Cuba. He went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. He struck out 5.
Mexico returns to the championship looking for the countries 5th title in 7 years. These two countries have been in the finals the past two Caribbean Series with each taking a title.
The Aguilas de Mexicali (Mexico) is looking for the club’s 2nd title in its history with the last coming in 1986. Their opponent will be the Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) who will be in search of a 4th Series title, with the last coming in 1987.
The teams for the 2017 National High School Invitational have been announced. The annual tournament will be in its 6th season this year when the teams converge on Carey, North Carolina and the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The tournament will take place from March 29-April 1.
Back again from last year will be the 2016 NHSI champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, CA). Several other schools are back for a second time, but none other has won a title.
Florida and California are the most represented states with the two combining for half the field. Illinois has its first ever contestant in the tournament with the invitation of Brother Rice High School out of Chicago.
The schedule for the 2017 edition of the tournament will be released February 21 as part of a pre-event video series that can be found at USABaseball.com.
2017 National High School Invitational Participants:
American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.)
Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.)
Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.)
Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)
Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.)
Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.)
Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.)
Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.)
South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.)
Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.)
No. 50 Yadier Alvarez, RHP/Los Angeles Dodgers – Alvarez, who hails from Cuba, signed for a $16 million bonus in 2015. The hard throwing righty peaks in triple digits with his fastball while sitting between 94-97. Last season, his first in the US, he struck out 12.3 per 9 innings. He pitched well in his call up to A-ball in the Midwest League. He is still only 20 but is working on commanding his great fastball. While he may still be a few years away from the Dodgers rotation, he is one to really keep an eye on because he may be electric when he arrives.
No. 47 Jorge Mateo, SS, 2B/New York Yankees – Mateo comes out of the Dominican Republic and will be just 21 for half of this season. Last season he played 113 games in the Florida State League (A+) and showed some of his tools. He stole 36 bases, a year after swiping 82. He has the speed, although he might still need to learn the art of stealing. With his raw power, which might project out to about 15 home runs a year, he has enough tools to make him an exciting player to watch. With the arrival of Gleyber Torres from the Aroldis Chapman trade, Mateo might be forced into a second base only role.
No. 46 Reynaldo Lopez, RHP/Chicago Whitesox – Lopez comes out of the Dominican Republic and since 2014 has really proven himself in the Washington Nationals system before moving to Chicago in the Adam Eaton deal this winter. Lopez made his MLB debut his past season getting into 11 games at the big league level, including 6 starts. The hard thrower posted a 4.91 ERA over 44.0 innings and struck out 8.6 per 9. He has a power fastball, a solid curve, and a workable change but at times can struggle with control.
The Brisbane Bandits and the Melbourne Aces will face off with one another next weekend in the ABL Championship in Melbourne. Brisbane is looking to repeat as champions, while Melbourne is looking for its first title in only its second trip to the finals.
After splitting the first two games with Adelaide, Brisbane’s bats came to life in Game 3. The Bandits pounded out 23 hits en route to an 18-2 stomping of the Bite. However, the game was closer than that most of the way.
Heading into the 7th inning it was only 4-1. Then the Bandits exploded for 6 in the 7th and 8 more in the 8th to run away with the game. Catcher Ryan Battaglia hit his second home run of the game in the 7th for Brisbane, a grand slam. Logan Wade added a 2-run shot of his own in the 7th.
But the biggest performance came in the 8th inning. Mitch Nilsson homered twice in the inning. The first was a solo shot to lead off the inning, which was followed by a back-to-back shot by David Rodriguez. Nilsson came up later on in the inning with 2 on and 2 out hitting his second of the night.
Lost in the shuffle of the late inning Brisbane run were Stefan Welch and Jordan McArdle home runs for Adelaide.
Rick Teasley picked up the win for Brisbane going 7.0 strong innings. He allowed 1 run on 3 hits and struck out 9.
Brisbane now travels to Melbourne to defend its title.
2017 ABL Playoffs:
Game 1: Brisbane 3, Adelaide 1
Game 2: Adelaide 8, Brisbane 4 (12)
Game 3: Adelaide 2, Brisbane 18
2017 ABL Championship Series:
Friday February 10th 7:30 AET
Game 1: Brisbane at Melbourne
Saturday February 11th 6:30 AET
Game 1: Brisbane at Melbourne
Sunday February 12th 2:30 AET
Game 1: Brisbane at Melbourne
A team that started 1-3 in the round robin will be in the 2017 Caribbean Series Championship, Puerto Rico. It defeated Venezuela in the semifinal this afternoon 9-6.
Puerto Rico held off a late inning rally for the win after almost blowing a 9-2 lead. Puerto Rico picked up 4 runs in the top of the first to jump out on top of Venezuela starter Mitch Lively, who didn’t make it out of the first frame. They continued pounding reliever Wil Ledezma for 3 runs over 2.2 innings before he was pulled.
Orlando Roman (W, 1-0) got the start for Puerto Rico and pitched well going 5.0 innings. He gave up just 1 run on seven hits while striking out 7. Reliever William Oliver was touched up for 4 runs in 2.2 innings, all in the 8th inning.
Venezuela made a comeback picking up 4 in the 8th, including a 2-run double from Ronny Cedeno. Venezuela then loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 9th, but Ricardo Gomez worked out of the jam to pick up the save.
Notable Performers: David Vidal hit a home run and drove in 2 runs for Puerto Rico. Henry Ramos set the table going 3-for-5 and scoring 2 runs from the lead off spot. Denis Phipps homered in the loss for Venezuela.
No. 56 Yohander Mendez, LHP/Texas Rangers – Mendez hails from Venezuela where he was signed as a free agent in 2011. The 22-year old is one of the Rangers top prospects and even made his Major League debut last September pitching in 2 games out of the bullpen. Last season was a year of moves for Mendez. He started out in High-A ball and moved his way through AA, AAA, and then to the big league club. While he might not have the breaking stuff of some, his change up is quite good. Add that to his sinking low to mid-90s fastball and he could be a solid starter for years to come. Maybe not ace material, but could be a solid no. 3 starter for a long time. It remains to be seen where he will start the 2017 season, but he should contribute to the big league club very soon. This is his second straight year at no. 56 on the list.
No. 55 Leody Taveras, OF/Texas Rangers – Taveras is just 18 having played his first season at 17 last year. A legitimate 5-tool center fielder, he showed his speed last season in the Arizona League (Rookie) stealing 11 bases in just 33 games. He played at 3 different levels last year but struggled a bit at Spokane. He still has some things to learn and he is still filling out since he is still so young, but he could be a force to reckon with in the coming years if he lives up to his potential. He will definitely be one to watch as the years progress. On a side note, he is the cousin of former big league Willy Taveras.
No. 54 David Paulino, RHP/Houston Astros – The Astros took Paulino in a trade even though he was going to miss the entire next season with Tommy John surgery. It might turn out to be a great move. Paulino comes out of the Dominican Republic and at 6’7″ he has the power (tops out at 98) to go with a power curveball. He spent most of his 2016 season at AA Corpus Christi, but threw a few starts at AA Fresno before getting the call to the big leagues. He has started and finished games in the same season, but has never pitched 100 innings in a season. Last year was his high at 97 innings pitched, so health is a concern moving forward. Last season Paulino checked in at no. 70 on the list.
No. 52 Franklin Barreto, SS,2B/Oakland Athletics – Barreto was one of the key pieces in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson from Oakland to Toronto. The 20-year old middle infielder out of Venezuela has impressed at every level. He spent most of 2016 at AA Midland for Oakland where he played 119 games hitting .281 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs, and 30 stolen bases. The tools are there, but Barreto would benefit from more time in the minors to hone in on some skills like basestealing. He was thrown out 15 times last year at AA. He had a brief, but impressive, stint at AAA Nashville last year. And with him being blocked at the big league level by both Marcus Semien and Chand Pinder, look for him to gain some more experience at AAA next year. In 2016, Barreto was no. 43 on the list.
Mexico improved to 3-0 at the 2017 Caribbean Series in Culiacan on Friday night after Sebastian Valle ended the night on a walk-off grand slam. The loss sent Venezuela to a 1-1 record.
For 8 innings the game was a pitching duel. Both starters went at least 5 innings and both only allowed a single run. Carlos Hernandez got the nod for Venezuela going 5.2 innings allowing just 5 hits. For Mexico it was Barry Enright who went 5 innings allowing just 5 hits.
The bullpens were on as well. Three relievers for Mexico, including Oliver Perez (W, 1-0), shut down the Venezuela bats for the remaining 4 innings.
Venezuela had three strong outings from its pen as well, until Pedro Rodriguez entered the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. Rodriguez never got an out.
Luis Juarez singled to start the bottom of the 9th. Ronnier Mustelier was next to reach base before Jesus Castillo walked to load the bases. Then on a 3-2 count with no outs, Sebastian Valle blasted a no doubter to left field to send Mexico home with the win.
Mexico now sits atop the standings and is assured a spot in the semifinals next Monday regardless of what happens in its final game on Sunday night against Cuba.
The Adelaide Bite needed 12 innings to extend its season on Saturday in the ABL Playoffs. Mitch Dening had two bit RBI in the 12th on a 2-run home run giving the Bite the lead over the Brisbane Bandits. Loek van Mil pitched 4.0 scoreless innings in relief to hold the Bandits off.
Adelaide jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning. LeDarious Clark led off the game with a walk and quickly scored on a Jordan Cowan double. After a ground out, Marcus Greene Jr. homered to left giving the Bite a quick 3-0 lead.
It was a short lived lead.
Brisbane would get a single run back in the bottom of the 1st inning on a Mitch Nilsson RBI single. An inning later they would tie the game on back-to-back homers by Wade Dutton and Minnesota Twins prospect Aaron Whitefield.
Both would score a single run before they headed to extra innings and the Mitch Dening home run. Dening finished the game 2-for-5 with a walk.
Ryan Searle (L, 0-1) took the loss giving up the four runs in the 12th. Neither started made it out of the 5th inning.
Notable Performers:Jordan Cowan finished the game with 4 hits (4-for-6) and scored twice. Marcus Greene Jr. drove in two and picked up 3 hits (3-for-6). Josh Altmann also went 3-for-6 in the game for the Bite.
The deciding Game 3 will be played Sunday afternoon in Brisbane. The winner advances to next weekends ABL Championship round against Melbourne. Brisbane is trying to repeat as champions. Neither Melbourne or Adelaide have won a title, although Adelaide has finished runner-up three times, including the past two seasons.
Gong for Brisbane in the deciding Game 3 will be former Tampa Bay Rays farmhand Rick Teasley.
Former Arizona Diamondback and Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Trent Oeltjen helped the Brisbane Bandits to steal Game 1 of the ABL Playoffs from the Adelaide Bite.
The Bite led 1-0 after the 6th inning on a Jordan Cowan two out triple to score Jordan McArdle. Bite starter Max MacNabb tossed 7.0 solid innings. The former draft pick of the San Diego Padres who played for the Senart Templiers in the French Division 1 League last summer didn’t allow a run while striking out 6.
But Brisbane would come back with a strong 8th inning to pull off the win.
Matthew Williams came in to start the 8th for MacNabb and he immediately gave up a lead off single to David Sutherland. Wade Dutton followed Sutherland with a bunt single of his own to put two men on with no outs. Aaron Whitefield tried to sacrifice the two runners over, but a throwing error by Bite pitcher Williams allowed the tying run to score and left two Bandits’ runners still on base. Then still with no outs, Oeltjen tripled to put the Bandits up 3-1 to secure the win.
Ryan Searle pitched the final two innings for Brisbane to pick up the save. The former Chicago Cubs farmhand pitched in both Taiwan (Lamigo Monkeys) and Italy (Unipol Bologna) in 2016.
The two teams will face off once again on Saturday with Brisbane a single win away from a return to the ABL Championship.
The two teams travel to Brisbane for Game 2. On the hill for the defending champion Bandits will be Kramer Champlin a former Toronto Blue Jays farmhand who has pitched in the Frontier League the past few summers. For Adelaide will be 16-year old Jack O’Loughlin who went 3-3 in 9 games (8 starts) with a 3.02 ERA this season.
Vladimir Garcia (W, 1-0) tossed 6.0 innings allowing just one run en route to leading Cuba to a 6-1 victory over Puerto Rico at the 2017 Caribbean Series. William Saavedra went 3-for-4 with a 2-run home run in the 7th inning improving Cuba to 2-0. The loss drops Puerto Rico to 0-3.
Cuba took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Carlos Benitez drove in Denis Laza with an RBI single to center. Puerto Rico quickly countered with a run of their own in the next half inning to put the score at 1-1.
It did not remain there for long.
In the bottom of the 3rd Cuba broke the game open with 3 more runs to pull ahead 4-1. Alfredo Despaigne got the scoring started with a RBI single to center scoring Yunior Paumier. William Saavedra followed with an RBI double. Carlos Benitez pushed the final run across the plate in the inning with a sacrifice fly to right scoring Despaigne.
Notable Performances: Saavedra finished the game with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Despaigne scored twice and Livan Moinelo pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Cuba will face off with Venezuela tomorrow night which could be a game between undefeated teams depending on how Venezuela handles a streaking Mexico tonight.