Home PageClubhouse!

Baseball Analysis  The Baseball Guru Archives

[Previous entry: "WORLD BASEBALL TODAY (November 23, 2008)"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "WORLD BASEBALL TODAY (December 7, 2008)"]

11/30/2008 Entry: "WORLD BASEBALL TODAY (November 30, 2008)"

by Bruce Baskin
Radio Miami International

The jostling among Major League Baseball teams over the chance to sign a 22-year-old amateur pitcher from the Japanese industrial leagues may be on the verge of an all-out bidding war. According to the Japanese newspaper Sankei Sports, the Boston Red Sox have made a $6 million contract offer to left-hander Junichi Tazawa, while another Japanese paper, Nikkan Sports, claims Tazawa is set to sign a three-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox.
Tazawa, who pitched the Nippon Oil team to the Japanese industrial title last spring, has also reportedly received a lucrative offer from the Texas Rangers, while the Seattle Mariners and Atlanta Braves are also said to have put offers on the table.
Tazawa raised eyebrows on both sides of the Pacific Ocean earlier this year when he sent letters to all 12 Japanese major league teams informing them that he intended to bypass October’s Nippon Professional Baseball draft and sign directly with an MLB organization. The move led to discussions between Japanese and American baseball officials, but no actions were taken to prevent Tazawa from following through on his plan.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are apparently leaving no stone unturned in their effort to reverse their streak of 16 consecutive losing seasons, including signing an 18-year-old South African shortstop and two 20-year-old pitching prospects from India who have never actually played in a baseball game at any level.
The Pirates signed Mpho Ngoepe to a minor league contract after the switch-hitter impressed scouts at a showcase of African and European prospects in Pisa, Italy this past summer. The 5’9” 165-pounder will play for South Africa in next year’s World Baseball Classic, and is ticketed to start his career in the Pirates chain with Bradenton in the Gulf Coast Rookie League next June.
More intriguing are the two Indians, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. The two pitchers, who had never even picked up a baseball until last spring, both signed deals with Pittsburgh after being the top two finishers in an Indian TV reality series called Million Dollar Arm. The show sought to find athletes who could throw strikes at 85 MPH or faster. While baseball has no presence in India, cricket is a mania in the nation of over a billion residents, so it’s likely both Singh and Patel have experience as bowlers (cricket’s counterpart to pitchers).

Following the suspension of the annual Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, Major League Baseball has announced the creation of the Hall of Fame Classic, which will make its debut on June 21, 2009, which is both Father’s Day and the first day of summer.
The Hall of Fame Classic will feature over 20 retired major league players, including four members of the Hall itself. The Hall of Fame Game, which pitted MLB teams in an exhibition match, was discontinued due to scheduling problems. The Classic is a combined effort between the Hall of Fame and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, which is headed by former Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson, a 16-time Gold Glove winner and a member of the Hall since 1983.

Although it’s nothing new for the Cuban government to place things under a shroud of secrecy, it appears that protective attitude now extends to baseball. The 48th Cuban National Series was slated to open Friday, November 29, when defending champion Santiago de Cuba hosted last winter’s runners-up, Pinar del Rio. The schedule is silent for the rest of this weekend, but all 16 teams are scheduled to be in full swing Monday through Wednesday. After that, however, nobody in Cuban baseball is telling who is playing where or when.
There may be at least one reason for the heightened security. Two prominent Cuban players, pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez, have been released from the CNS Havana Industriales with only a one-sentence announcement in the Communist paper Granma noting a “grave act of indiscipline,” but offering no further elaboration. Two people close to the situation said the two players were caught trying to defect to the United States. Marti was named a 2006 World Baseball Classic All-Star, along with Japan’s Daisuke Matsuzaka and South Korea’s Park Chan-Ho.

In other winter league baseball, the Los Mochis Caneros have won the first half title in the Mexican Pacific League with a 22-13 record, three games better than the Hermosillo Naranjeros and Mexicali Aguilas, who both finished at 19-13.
Culiacan first baseman Jorge Alberto Vazquez leads all batters with a .376 average and 11 homers, while pitchers Juan Delgadillo of Hermosillo and Mexicali’s Oscar “Perfecto” Rivera both lead the league with five wins each.

The Caracas Leones continue to cruise along in the Venezuelan League with a 22-10 record, 4.5 games up on 18-15 LaGuaira. The Leones have been getting it done both at the plate and the mound, leading the league in both batting (.300) and ERA (3.57).
Oakland prospect Jesus Guzman leads Caracas with a .395 average and 42 RBIs as the Leones roster sports ten players batting .301 or better. Astros farmhand Juan Gutierrez is shaking off a 5-11 summer with Class AAA Tucson, showing a 3-0 record and a 1.56 ERA in seven starts.

The four-way battle for Dominican League supremacy continues, with the 19-12 Licey Tigres still clutching a one-game lead over the 17-12 Cibao Gigantes and 18-13 Este Azucareros, with the 17-13 Cibaenas Aguilas lurking behind in fourth place.
Washington Nationals second baseman Anderson Hernandez leads Dominican batters with a blistering .402 average, while former big league outfielder Victor Diaz has 11 homers and 32 RBIs after 29 games for Cibaenas. Licey’s Jorge Sosa has five wins and a 1.50 ERA.

The Arecibo Lobos continue to lead the Puerto Rico League with an 8-3 mark. Despite having only four players listed on major league 40-man rosters, Arecibo hitters have been battering pitchers to the tune of a .312 average. Tops on the Lobos is Washington outfielder Jorge Padilla, who’s hitting .356 with four homers and 17 RBIs after 11 games.
Santurce is second among Puerto Rican teams with an 8-6 record. The Cangrejeros have a team ERA of 3.07, by far the best in the league. Minor league veteran Luis Villarreal is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Yomiuri Giants outfielder Alex Ramirez has been named the Most Valuable Player for 2008 in Japan’s Central League, while Rakuten Eagles pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was accorded similar honors in the Pacific League.
Ramirez was a runaway winner in balloting, receiving 166 of 199 first-place votes from among baseball writers. He led the Giants to their second consecutive Central League pennant by leading the circuit with 45 homers and 125 RBIs, and finishing sixth in the batting race with a .319 average. The 34-year-old Venezuelan played major league ball with Cleveland and Pittsburgh between 1998 and 2000 before moving to Japan in 2001. He spent seven years with the Yakult Swallows before signing with Yomiuri this season.
Iwakuma became the first 21-game winner in Japanese baseball since 1985, and picked up nearly one-third of the total wins earned by the fifth-place Eagles this year. In addition, Iwakuma led the Pacific League with a 1.87 ERA and an .840 winning percentage, and was given the Sawamura Award as Japan’s top pitcher earlier this month. He received 73 first-place votes.
In Rookie of the Year balloting, Yomiuri pitcher Tetsuya Yamaguchi won in the Central League after winning 11 games in relief and turning in a 2.32 ERA in 67 appearances. Another pitcher, Orix’ Satoshi Komatsu, was named the Pacific League’s top first-year player after going 15-3 with a 2.51 ERA for the Buffaloes.

In a move that would ordinarily be only a publicity stunt, an independent Japanese team has drafted and signed a 16-year-old high school girl who is also a sidearming knuckleball pitcher. The Kobe 9 Cruise of the startup Kansai Independent Baseball League drafted Eri Yoshida after she impressed officials at a tryout camp earlier this month by retiring eight consecutive male batters without a hit.
It’s not known whether Yoshida will be on the roster when the Cruise open their first season in 2009. Besides the usual questions faced by any prospect about how good they really are, there are concerns to be resolved about housing and schooling. There’s also the obvious skepticism that the signing and drafting of Yoshida is merely for purposes of publicity. However, it must be remembered a pitcher does not need size nor strength to throw a good knuckleball, and that Ila Borders parlayed a so-called “publicity stunt” into a four-year stint in American independent baseball with teams in the Northern and Western Baseball Leagues.

The Taguig Patriots are on top of the Baseball Philippines standings with a 7-1 record, just a half-game ahead of the 7-2 Cebu Dolphins. The Patriots and Dolphins are the only two teams with winning records thus far after five weekends of action in the six-team league’s fall schedule. This weekend marks the conclusion of the regular season with the completion of four games that were suspended or washed out earlier.
Regardless of Saturday’s results, both Taguig and Cebu have qualified for the four-team playoffs. However, the final two berths are still up for grabs between the defending champion Batangas Bulls and the Multinlupu Mariners (who are both 3-5) and the Dumaguete Unibikers, who are 3-6. Only the last-place Manila Sharks are out of the postseason picture. The Sharks have completed their schedule with a 3-7 record and have been mathematically eliminated from Final Four contention.

Replies: 12 comments

migTa3 dvkascvbqflp, [url=]mquxadqqdixa[/url], [link=]oxwgmayflhrg[/link],

Posted by dkymcbr @ 02/05/2009 02:16 PM EST

migTa3 dvkascvbqflp, [url=]mquxadqqdixa[/url], [link=]oxwgmayflhrg[/link],

Posted by dkymcbr @ 02/05/2009 02:16 PM EST

migTa3 dvkascvbqflp, [url=]mquxadqqdixa[/url], [link=]oxwgmayflhrg[/link],

Posted by dkymcbr @ 02/05/2009 02:16 PM EST

migTa3 dvkascvbqflp, [url=]mquxadqqdixa[/url], [link=]oxwgmayflhrg[/link],

Posted by dkymcbr @ 02/05/2009 02:15 PM EST

s4CI9c kizwhbgmzvbo, [url=]dyxgliaoptvn[/url], [link=]ndumglzmjwga[/link],

Posted by uwtitddbpgs @ 02/05/2009 12:48 PM EST

s4CI9c kizwhbgmzvbo, [url=]dyxgliaoptvn[/url], [link=]ndumglzmjwga[/link],

Posted by uwtitddbpgs @ 02/05/2009 12:47 PM EST

s4CI9c kizwhbgmzvbo, [url=]dyxgliaoptvn[/url], [link=]ndumglzmjwga[/link],

Posted by uwtitddbpgs @ 02/05/2009 12:46 PM EST

[URL=]kpnfxgpu[/URL] fjiopwih golpeefw wllkfeic jpolooir

Posted by lnbpmshv @ 12/16/2008 01:40 PM EST

lvszmpyi qxntprks dhivrkas sihyzwdo [URL=]btohtxef[/URL]

Posted by iogmlohs @ 12/16/2008 01:40 PM EST

lvszmpyi qxntprks dhivrkas sihyzwdo [URL=]btohtxef[/URL]

Posted by iogmlohs @ 12/16/2008 01:39 PM EST

pqhvpfoo gepkrkaj cndmmmym [URL=]vcmdpypk[/URL] kmbqsezi

Posted by opzobvpm @ 12/16/2008 01:38 PM EST

pqhvpfoo gepkrkaj cndmmmym [URL=]vcmdpypk[/URL] kmbqsezi

Posted by opzobvpm @ 12/16/2008 01:37 PM EST

Add A New Comment


E-Mail (optional)

Homepage (optional)


HomeGuru's Baseball Book StoreLink to UsBraintrust & Mailing ListsEmail the GuruContact InfoBaseball Analysis Home