I know I always say there is a lot of stuff going on in Brazilian baseball these days, but there REALLY is a lot going on these days, including the breakout performance this season by Yan Gomes for the Cleveland Indians, and some recent drama surrounding the Brazil Olympic President with quotes attributed to him about baseball and softball in the 2020 Olympics.
First, with the good news: Yan Gomes. The Yanimal had the game of his life yesterday against the Seattle Mariners, hitting 2 home runs, including a walk-off 3 run homer, and throwing out two runners. Gomes is now hitting .302 this season in 53 at bats, with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 10 runs scored, 9 RBIs, a .951 OPS, a 1.2 WAR and he’s thrown out 7 of 11 base runners.
Gomes has done all of this while essentially being the backup catcher to Carlos Santana, who is also doing well with the bat this season, but doesn’t seem to have the chemistry with the pitching staff that Gomes has been able to develop. Nevertheless, expect Gomes and Santana to alternate behind the plate and in the DH spot. Gomes can also play first base, third base and the outfield though Cleveland’s bench is deep, so it’ll probably be less likely to see him in one of those spots unless the injury bug hits the Indians.
Gomes’ success comes at a great time for Cleveland, who is currently leading Detroit at the top of the AL Central by 2.5 games. Some would argue that Gomes is a big reason why they’re winning. The Indians are 14-3 when Gomes plays. The Indians start a home series against the Tigers tonight, by the way.
Now, on to the controversial news of today:
Yesterday it was announced by the newly formed World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) that Brazil Olympic Committee and Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman had written a letter to the Brazilian Baseball and Softball Federation (CBBS) offering his support for a bid to re-include baseball and softball for the 2020 Olympics. The announcement was originally posted on the aroundtherings.com website, but has since been removed.
The WBSC is the newly merged entity of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF), and apparently they got their wires crossed, because today Nuzman denied offering his support to the CBBS. In fact, he reiterated his support for wrestling and badminton instead.
Nuzman is not a popular figure in Brazil, as he’s been accused of squandering away a lot of money on Brazil’s Olympic bid, so in some respects it may be good for Brazilian baseball to not be associated with him.
In more heartwarming news, two more Brazilian players were signed by MLB teams earlier this month. Nippon Blue Jay and Brazil WBC team pitcher Daniel Missaki, who had gone to Arizona during spring training to try out for a number of teams including Texas and Arizona, ended up signing with the Mariners. Missaki’s fastball has been clocked in the high 80’s, and he’ll be starting his pro career this season in the Venezuelan Summer League with the Mariners VSL squad.
Catcher Luis Gustavo Paz, out of Marilia, was signed by the Brazilian first-time shoppers Los Angeles Dodgers, which is not surprising considering that Bob Engle, the Mariners long time international director who now works for the Dodgers in the same capacity, has long since been developing a pipeline of talent from Brazil, including Luiz Gohara, Thyago Vieira, Felipe Talos, Felipe Burin and Pedro Okuda (who technically signed out of high school in Japan).
Back in Brazil, the CBBS-sanctioned 8th Brazil Cup Inter-Club U-15 Tournament was held last weekend in Londrina, and the home team won the tournament over Paraná state rival Maringá. Be on the look out for Londrina’s Gabriel Maciel, because he once again dominated a tourney by posting the best batting average and taking the most valuable pitcher and most valuable player awards. Lucas Fornelli, also of Londrina, had the most home runs in the tournament with 3.
Speaking of Daniel Missaki, here’s a piece done by the Brazilian magazine/website VEJA from the 7th Seattle Mariners Cup, held at the end of April, which includes footage of Missaki pitching in the tournament. Ibiúna won the U-15 category and Marília won the U-17 category of the tournament.
Meanwhile in the independent adult Liga São Paulo de Beisebol, the Red Foxes are at the top of the standings with a 9-1 record, followed by the Giants at 8-2, Bats at 7-3 and Underdogs at 6-4. Updates can be found on their Facebook page.
Over in the Liga Paulista de Beisebol, Piracicaba is on top at 6-0, followed by FARMIME A at 3-2 and Underdogs B at 2-1. Unfortunately, the LPB has had a number of rain outs to begin the season. More information is available on their Facebook page.
I’ve also been following a new (to me, anyway) adult independent league this season, called the Liga Curitibana de Beisebol, which as the name suggests is based in and around the city of Curitiba, in Paraná and features 8 teams. Thus far, Nikkei Juvenil is at the top of the standings with a 3-0 record, followed by Sushiyama at 2-0 and the Curitiba Tigers at 2-1. They also have a Facebook page where you can follow all their latest news.