Friday, October 29, 2010

Latinos are Placing Their Stamp on the World Series

All I can say after the first two games of the World Series is that the Latino bats are alive and swinging in the fall classic. Though the scoring tends to be a bit one sided with the Giants holding a 20-7 lead in runs scored, Latinos on both teams have been smoking the ball. Let's look at a few stats:

In total, Latino hitters in the first to games of the World Series are batting a combined .288 (17 for 59) with 15 RBI (of which 10 came with 2-outs). Half of those hits came in the form of extra base hits (XBH) with 7 doubles and 2 homeruns being belted out.

The Giants onslaught were led by Freddy Sanchez, Andres Torres, Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. All four players combined to hit .344 (10 for 29) with 9 RBI (7 with 2-outs), 9 runs scored and 7 XBH (5 2B/2 HR). Not bad for a team who many (myself included) had said that they had very little offense. Not only are they are putting themselves on base, they are they driving in runs especially in the clutch with two outs.

On the Texas side, most of the offense came in game one. Still, players such as Elvis Andrus, VLadimir Guerrero, Nelson Cruz, Bengie Molina and Julio Borbon combined to hit .233 (7 for 30) with 6 RBI (3 with 2-outs) 5 runs scored with 2 doubles. Texas' offense seems to have slowed down considerably since the ALCS. I believe the key is to have Elvis Andrus get on base and to let him run wild. His 7 stolen bases in the AL playoffs were a main reason why the Rangers had chances to drive in runs. Andrus put himself in the position to score with his aggressive base running. That aggressiveness seems to have been capped somewhat.

Offense was not the only way that Latinos placed their stamp on the World Series, the Latino hurlers also pitched brilliantly. With the exception of San Francisco's Ramon Ramirez, who gave up 2 earned runs in 0.1 inning pitched in game 1, the Latinos in each team's bullpens have flawless. Alexi Ogando has pitched 2 scoreless innings while Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez and Guillermo Mota combined for 4 scoreless innings in 5 appearances.

So far so good for out Latino brothers in the World Series. We'll see if the success continues in Game 3 with the change of venue to the Ballpark at Arlington, Texas. Sigue dando palos y tirando la candela hermanos.


Carlos González Ganador Premio Aparicio

It was announced today that Carlos González of the Colorado Rockies was named the 2010 Luis Aparico Award winner. The award is given out to the best Venezuelan ballplayer in MLB. The votes are submitted by sports writers across Venezuela. 

The award is named after Baseball Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio (HOF 1984) who holds the honor of being the only Venezuelan to currently be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Since it's inception in 2004 the award has only been won by a player multiple times (Johan Santana in 2004 and 2006). Here are the previous years award winners:

2004 Johan Santana SP
2005 Miguel Cabrera LF
2006 Johan Santana SP
2007 Magglio Ordoñez RF
2008 Francisco Rodriguez RP
2009 Félix Hernández SP

This year's award was decided between Carlos González, Miguel Cabrera and Félix Hernández. Each player received votes for up to a total of 100 points. Here was the breakdown of the voting:

González (471 points)
Cabrera (438 points)
Hernández (379 points)

González's 2010 campaign was one of a breakout nature. González was a Triple Crown candidate who won the National League Batting title with an average of .336 with 34 HRs and 117 RBI. He had a total of 197 hits (34 2B/9 3B/34 HR) 26 SB (34 attempts) with 135K's and 40 walks and an OPS of .974 (.376 OBP/.598 SLG). González has put himself in a position to become a future superstar in MLB.

Felicidades en gainer el premio Aparicio.


For Further Reading
- Click Here for the article Reconocido Como El Mejor Venezolano en G.L. from
- Click Here for Carlos González's season statistics from

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Latinos in the 2010 World Series

Latinos are well represented on the two teams that are playing in the World Series. In total there are 18 out of 50 players on the World Series rosters that are Latino or of Latino descent. The breakdown is as follows:

Dominican Republic 9
Puerto Rico 3
Venezuela 3
Mexico 3

Here is the breakdown by team:
San Francisco Giants
Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic)
Javier Lopez (Puerto Rico)
Guillermo Mota (Dominican Republic)
Sergio Romo (Mexican Descent from California)
Ramon Ramirez (Dominican Republic)
Freddy Sanchez (Mexican Descent from California)
Johnathan Sanchez (Puerto Rico)
Pablo Sandoval (Venezuela)
Andres Torres (Puerto Rico)
Juan Uribe (Dominican Republic)

Texas Rangers
Elvis Andrus (Venezuela)
Julio Borbon (Dominican Republic via Mississippi)
Jorge Cantu (Mexico)
Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic)
Neftali Feliz (Dominican Republic)
Vladimir Guerrero (Dominican Republic)
Bengie Molina (Puerto Rico)
Alexi Ogando (Dominican Republic)

We'll see how these 17 players do by the end of the World Series.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"El Toro" Fernando Valenzuela

I just finished watching the latest ESPN 30 for 30 Fernando Nation directed by Cruz Angeles and have to say that I was thoroughly impressed. I've had some experience with the situation at Chavez Ravine (the current location of Dodger Stadium) during the 1940s and 1950s due to my graduate studies in Urban History. So I was knowledgable on part of the social issues that were in place by the time that Fernando Valenzuela debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981. Watching the documentary put it in full color and HD the effect that Valenzuela had not only on Baseball in 1981 but more importantly the positive effect that one man can have on the Latino population the city of Los Angeles. Given the fact that Valenzuela came from a very rural part of Mexico and thrown head-first into the bright lights of Los Angeles with nary a private moment outside of the ballpark I would say that Valenzuela succeeded. Succeed he did.

The era of Fernandomania was a time of pitching dominance that hadn't been seen in Los Angeles since the glory years of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. In the strike shortened season of 1981, Valenzuela started the season at 8-0 with five shutouts, seven complete games of which the first five were in a row and the one game not completed, Valenzuela pitched the first nine innings of a ten inning game. His ERA over that stretch was 0.50 with 73 strikeouts with only 17 walks in 72 innings pitched. Add this to Valenzuela's 17 2/3 shutout innings of relief over the course of ten games during the stretch run in 1980 to the tune of a 2-0 record with a save. The Dodgers rode the 13-7 Valenzuela straight to a World Series title with a four game to two victory over the New York Yankees. Valenzuela's performance of a league leading 192.1 innings pitched (also a league leading) 180 strikeouts and 61 walks and 8 shoutouts (a Rookie record) earning him both the National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards. Valenzuela has the distinction of being the first pitcher to win both awards during the same year.

The next seven seasons (1982-1987) saw Valenzuela average 16 wins (with 12 losses) with an ERA of 3.19 and a workhorse load of an average 266 innings pitched. The highest was 285 innings in 1982 and the lowest amount in that stretch was 257 in 1983. Valenzuela's name was etched next to Hall of Famer (and fellow screwballer) Carl Hubbell when during the 1986 All-Star game Valenzuela struck out five consecutive American League batters including three future Hall of Famers: Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson and George Brett, tying a record set Hubbell in the 1934 All-Star game (Hubble struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin).

His efficiency diminished during his final three seasons in Los Angeles (1988-1990) by compiling a 28-34 record with a 4.05 ERA with 295 strikeouts and 251 walks. The final bright spot of his Dodgers' career came on June 29, 1990, when Valenzuela threw a 6-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals (on the same day that the Oakland Athletics' Dave Stewart threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays). After his release by the Dodgers during the Spring Training of 1991, Valenzuela spent the better part of six seasons with five different teams before he retired in 1997.

In total, Valenzuela finished with a 173-153 record and a career ERA of 3.54 with 113 complete games in 453 total games. Watching the footage of the fans packing the stadiums both at home and on the road for Valenzuela's starts reminded me of the energy and crowds that Stephen Strausberg starts drew early this season. I don't believe that Valenzuela will ever be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. But he will always be deemed a hero and an inspiration to Mexican and all Latinos who follow the game of Baseball.


For Further Reading
- Click Here to access the Fernando Valenzuela statistics page from
- Click Here to read Jorge Martin's article dated Aug 18, 2006 titled 25 Years After Fernandomania from

Juan Miranda's Chances in MLB

A few hours ago on Twitter (yes folks, I am on Twitter SiscoKid027 in case you want to look me up) I saw something of a suggestion by blogger TheYankeeU that Jason Giambi could possibly return to the New York Yankees to fill the role that Lance Berkman will inevitably leave behind. I asked him whether Juan Miranda could be a viable younger and cheaper option for the Yankees to consider instead of Giambi. He felt that Miranda wasn't MLB material. Fair enough but I decided to look into Miranda's stats to see if maybe he would be a career AAA player or a diamond in the rough.

Miranda is a Cuban born, Dominican nationalized player who was signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He spent 2007 in between the A+ Florida State League Tampa Yankees and the AA Eastern League Trenton Thunder. Since 2008, Miranda has mainly played with the AAA International League Scranton/Wilks Barre Yankees with a few stops with the parent team. For his minor league career, Miranda has batted .281 with 63HRs and 273 RBI in 423 games. His OPS was .845 (.367 OBP/.478 SLG) and his strike out to walk ratio was almost 1.5 to 1 (357-195). His numbers while with the New York Yankees break down like so: in 83 at-bats, Miranda batted .253 with 4 HRs and 14 RBI. His OPS was .788 (.367 OBP/.458 SLG). Miranda struck out 20 times while walking 9 times.

What does this actually mean. To me it shows that Miranda is a capable hitter in AAA. I don't think that the brief times that he has spent with the parent club can be a fair assessment of his abilities. With Mark Teixiera signed for another six years, Miranda's time with the parent club might be in the role of a part-time DH. With Jorge Posada's skills being less and less what they were, the grumblings from Yankeeland seem to suggest that for the 2011 season he will platoon behind the plate with prospect Jesus Montero and take more and more at-bats as the DH. Can Miranda be productive? Possibly. Will he get the chance with the Yankees? Probably not. A change of scenery could possibly help. Maybe the example of Alex Ramirez (who plays for the Yomiuri Giants in the NPB) is something that Miranda can consider. A productive stint in Japan has been known to increase the value of a player in MLB and in the case of Ramirez lead to a fruitful career in Japan (Does Cecil Fielder ring a bell?).

Miranda will be playing in the Dominican Winter Leagues with the Tigeres del Licey and hopefully he can put together a productive campaign in the Dominican to help his chances in the pros. I'll check back on him during the season.

For Further Reading
- Click Here for Juan Miranda's statistics page from
- Click Here for the press release on Miranda's signing with the Yankees in 2006 from