Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new. It’s not, however, because nothing good has been going on in the world of Brazilian baseball. In fact, a lot of great things have been going on. Here’s a recap of the highlights:
– The Nippon Blue Jays closed out 2014 with a victory over GECEBS in the 21st edition of the Brazil Baseball Cup. NBJ’s Salomão Koba drove in the winning runs with the scored tied at 2, and with 2 strikes and 2 outs. Pretty dramatic stuff that was televized live on the internet and can be seen still via the links on the CBBS Facebook page.
– Earlier this month, Brazil National Team Manager (and Hall of Famer) Barry Larkin & Friends were back at the 5th installment of the MLB International Brazil Elite Camp, which brought together the best young prospects in Brazil for workouts in front of MLB scouts. Here’s what Larkin had to say about it on the MLB Network.
– Last month, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Italian Baseball League veteran pitcher Tiago da Silva to a minor league contract with an invitation to their big league team’s spring training camp. Da Silva, who’s a native Brazilian but has actually played for the Italian national team in two WBCs as well as in numerous European championships, pitched last season in the Mexican Baseball League for the Delfines del Carmen, where he posted a 7-4 record with a 2.07 ERA/0.90 WHIP and 29 saves in 51 appearances. Since the Mexican league is considered essentially at the same level as Triple A, those are pretty impressive numbers for someone with no prior North American pro ball experience. Da Silva, who turns 30 this March, is probably a long shot to make the big league roster out of camp, but if he does well enough in the spring and in the minors he could be on the short list to provide some bullpen help if the Blue Jays need it during the season. If anything, da Silva does have the advantage of being a relative unkown to U.S. minor and major league hitters.
– This Saturday, February 28th, is the start of the 13th South American Baseball Championships, taking place in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil. In addition to the host country, other participants are Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Peru. While Cuiabá is not considered a traditional baseball stronghold, it is an opportunity for the sport to continue getting more exposure in other parts of Brazil. No doubt, Brazil will have one of the deepest teams in the tournament. As usual, it features an eclectic mix of players with US and Japanese pro ball experience, young up and comers and long time local journeymen.
Below is the Brazil roster. Players with US pro experience are indicated in bold, guys with Japan pro/semi-pro ball experience are in italics (*indicates experience in Italian semi-pro/pro ball):
Felipe Manabo Hanada
Pedro Ivo Okuda
Many of these players, including Jean Tomé, can both pitch and play multiple positions in the field, so depth shouldn’t be an issue. The winner of this tournament gets the last open spot in the 2015 Panamerican Games, taking place in Canada later this year. Boa Sorte Brasil!