Baseball Latin America – Baseball Brazil

November 16, 2012

Brazil versus Panama game notes, the day after.

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 8:32 pm

Estadio Nacional Rod Carew, Panama City

Simply put, last night’s WBC qualifying game between Panama and Brazil was groundbreaking. Scrappy, young Brazil beat a veteran MLB-star laden Panamanian team that was playing in its home stadium. Brazil’s national baseball program has now elevated to new heights never seen before, and it now seems it might get better after the way Brazil handled Panama last night.

Brazil got production from the top of its lineup and clutch pitching throughout the game from 5 different pitchers. Brazil manager Barry Larkin did a great job of managing this team and they responded in kind by playing 9 innings of an aggressive blend Japanese, Cuban and American baseball that can only be called Brazilian.

Barry Larkin and the Brazil dugout

Panama had a pretty good looking team on paper, but their hitting didn’t really show up last night. A lot of credit for that can be given to Murilo Gouvea, who chewed up 3 1/3 innings in the middle of the game to keep from Panama getting any more runs. Gouvea, Noris Chacon, University of Utah Ute Wesley Kondo and Thyago Vieira were able to keep the Panamanian hitters off balance. 

What a sight it was to see Ruben Tejada, Carlos Ruiz and Carlos Lee get tied up on a mixture of breaking, off speed, even sidearm (Kondo) junk coming from the Brazilian bullpen, but it worked, and Brazil was able to score a few runs thanks to top of the order hitters Paulo Orlando (KC AAA) and Leonardo Reginatto (TB A) as well as Cuban-born outfielder Juan Carlos Muniz.

Reginatto at the plate and Gomes on-deck

Brazil was not without some of its own potentially devastating mistakes, but they were able to work through them and not let Panama blow an inning wide open. Brazil probably would have scored a couple more runs if their third base coach, Tiago Caldeira, hadn’t mismanaged two key baserunning scenarios involving Reinaldo Sato and Yan Gomes. Also, rising White Sox pitching prospect Andre Rienzo started the game and was able to keep his composure through the first 3 2/3 innings despite walking 5 hitters, giving up 4 hits, throwing a couple of wild pitches and two errant throws to first base. Indeed, it had to be an adrenaline rush for Rienzo start the game for Brazil. 25,000-seat Rod Carew Stadium was obviously pro-Panamanian and could get loud when the crowd of 13,700 got into the moment. Fortunately for Brazil, they were able to keep those moments few and far between.

In fact, the Panamanian fans were justifiably disappointed, and maybe even a bit embarrassed, in their own players. You got the sense their team showed up thinking they could put on a hitting fest against Brazil, and next thing you know Panama is behind in the 3rd and 5th innings.

Now Brazil plays the winner of tonight’s Nicaragua vs. Colombia game, and given their performance in their last most important game ever, they might be able to take on either one of those teams and advance to the next round of the WBC.

November 12, 2012

A glance at Brazil’s WBC Roster

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 9:18 am

photo courtesy of Brazil WBC Facebook page

The Brazilian baseball team is now en route to Panama, where they will face the host in the first game of the WBC qualifying round taking place this weekend between Panama, Brazil, Nicaragua and Colombia.

Brazil’s roster was only announced on Friday, after a one week training camp that brought players in from all over the world. When you look at the assembled roster and take stock of the collective baseball talent, you have to be impressed by how much professional depth they now have. This is  arguably the most experienced baseball team that Brazil has ever fielded in an international tournament.

14 of the  players on the roster currently play in various MLB organizations and U.S. colleges, the most prominent of which is Yan Gomes (Cleveland), who this year became the first Brazilian player to make it to the major leagues with Toronto.  There are also 10 players from the Japanese pros/semi-pros and college ranks, including long-time NPB Yakult Swallows utility player Daniel (Yuichi) Matsumoto. You can read more on the players bios on the Brazil WBC Facebook page. Here’s the roster (courtesy of ExtraTime):

Pitchers

André Rienzo, Chicago White Sox/ ( AAA)
Carlos Yoshimura, Yamaha/JAP (industrial league)
Daniel Missaki, Nippon Blue Jays (Brazil)
Ernesto Chacon, Atibaia  (Brazil)
Gabriel Asakura, Cal State Univ. LA Golden Eagles/ (NCAA)
Hugo Kanabushi, Tokyo Yakult Swallows/JAP (minor league)
Jean Antônio Tomé, Atibaia (Brazil)
Kesley Kondo , Utah Utes/(NCAA)
Murilo Gouveia, Houston Astros/(A)
Oscar Nakaoshi, Hakuoh University/JAP (university level)
Rafael Fernandes, Tokyo Yakult Swallows/JAP (NPB)
Rafael Moreno, Baltimore Orioles/(DSL)
Thyago Vieira, Seattle Mariners/(VSL)

Catchers

Bruno Hirata, Toshiba/JAP (industrial league)
Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians/ (MLB)

Infielders

Allan Fanhoni, NTT East/JAP ( industrial league)
Daniel Matsumoto, Tokyo Yakult Swallows/JAP (minor league)
Felipe Burin, Seattle Mariners/(rookie)
Iago Januário, Tampa Bay Rays/(rookie)
Leonardo Reginatto, Tampa Bay Rays/(A)
Lucas Rojo, Philadelphia Phillies/(VSL)
Márcio Tanaka, JR Kyushu/JAP (industrial leagues)
Pedro Ivo Okuda, Seattle Mariners/EUA (rookie)
Reinaldo Sato, Yamaha/JAP (industrial league)

Outfielders

Juan Carlos Muniz Armenteros, Marília/Brazil
Mike Magario, Tokyo Yakult Swallows/JAP (minor league)
Paulo Orlando, Kansas City Royals/(AA)
Tiago Magalhães, Yamaha/JAP (industrial league)

Based solely on experience, you could potentially see a starting lineup that goes like this (by defensive position):

C- Gomes

1B – Matsumoto

2B – Sato

SS – Tanaka

3B – Burin

OF -Orlando

OF- Magario

OF – Magalhães

P – Rienzo

I assume Rienzo will start the first game against Panama seeing as how he really came on this past season in the U.S. minors, blowing through Double A and Triple A hitting while on his way to becoming one of the more highly touted prospects in the White Sox organization. He is a proven shutdown starter, doesn’t allow very many runs and strikes out lots of hitters. He will have to bring his A game in order for Brazil to have a chance against a favored, MLB player-laden Panama team that is playing in its own stadium.

The good news for Brazil manager Barry Larkin is that he has a lot of options off the bench to play batter/pitcher matchups, and his bullpen features a number of Japan-based and college pitchers that not many Panamanian players or coaches will have seen before.  Additionally, most of the players on Brazil’s roster grew up playing in Brazil for club teams and for the national team, and their cumulative international tournament experience is strong, albeit mostly at the youth level.

Regardless of how they do in the WBC, Brazil gets a real opportunity to show the world how good at baseball they really are. Hopefully the rest of the country gets behind them.

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