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Jim Furtado
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Minor Leagues Newsbeat

Monday, September 26, 2016

Minor Leagues, Minimal Wages

According to Nathaniel Grow, an associate professor of legal studies at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, the MLB is able to maintain such low wages (or avoid paying them entirely) thanks to a clause in the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. The law, a linchpin of the New Deal that, among other things, outlined the 40-hour workweek and established a federal minimum wage, carved out an exception with which Major League Baseball justifies its practice. Minimum-wage and overtime requirements do not apply, the law stipulates, to “any employee employed by an establishment which is an amusement or recreational establishment” that “does not operate for more than seven months in any calendar year.”

“From a general fan perspective,” Grow says, “there’s no question that the baseball or football teams are amusement and recreational.” But digging into the technical details reveals some complications, he says: “These baseball teams also have sophisticated marketing departments, ticket-sales departments, all these other more core business functions. Are all of them seasonal employees at an amusement or recreational establishment?” Grow brought up other, finer-grained questions: “Is the Tampa Bay minor-league affiliate for the Yankees a separate establishment that you then judge seasonality differently than the main team in the Bronx? Within the team in the Bronx, is it all one, or is the business office a separate establishment from the provision of entertainment to the fans?”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2016 at 08:10 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: labor, minor leagues, wages

Rawlings, Minors announce ‘16 Gold Glovers

Birmingham second baseman Joey DeMichele is the only repeat winner from 2015, as he registered a .990 fielding percentage in 122 games for the Barons in 2016. The fifth-year pro out of Arizona State University recorded 579 total chances and was a part of 88 double plays. DeMichele, 25, was selected by the White Sox in the third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Pensacola shortstop Zach Vincej recorded a .991 fielding percentage in 105 games for the Blue Wahoos. Vincej, 25, who had 423 total chances and turned 54 double plays, was the only shortstop with a fielding percentage north of .985. Vincej was selected by Cincinnati in the 37th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Pepperdine University.

Reno third baseman Carlos Rivero posted a .987 fielding percentage in 110 games at the hot corner for the Aces. Rivero made just two fielding errors in 234 chances. Rivero, 28, was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent on May 30, 2005 out of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2016 at 12:08 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, gold gloves, minor leagues, prospects

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mets fire Wally Backman after manager went rogue

Wally Backman’s tenure in the Mets organization officially concluded Monday, with general manager Sandy Alderson’s announcement the popular figure from the 1986 World Series-winning club has resigned to pursue other opportunities.

But a club source indicated Backman was fired.

Backman spent the last seven years managing in the minors for the Mets. He guided the organization’s Triple-A team at Buffalo and Las Vegas for the last five years. In 2014 he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.

According to a source, Backman was told he was out because he didn’t use Brandon Nimmo in the leadoff spot and kept Michael Conforto on the bench against lefties, defying the organization’s wishes.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2016 at 09:42 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: brandon nimmo, mets, michael conforto, minor leagues, wally backman

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Minor-leaguer makes history, plays all 9 positions |

Melvin “The Machine” Mercedes, playing for the Class-A Stockton Ports, appeared at all nine positions in a game Saturday against the Bakersfield Blaze.

Prior to the game, Mercedes played six different positions during the 2016 season, failing only to appear at first base, center field, and behind the dish. Mercedes finished 1-4 at the plate with a double, a walk and closed out the game pitching a scoreless inning, striking out tw

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:37 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Monday, August 29, 2016

OTP 2016 August 29: Minor-league team offers Trump, Clinton bobbleheads with real hair

On Sept. 3 some lucky game-goers will receive a bobble of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and said bobblehead will be adorned with real hair. Putatively, this is a feature and not a bug.
But wait: That’s not all!


Bitter Mouse, Space Tyrant Posted: August 29, 2016 at 07:50 AM | 1397 comment(s)
  Beats: bobblehead, bobbleheads, minor leagues, politics

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Five California League expansion options

Why it works: Oxnard is a sweet spot for minor league franchises in California, close enough to have a rabid fanbase of a major league team, but far enough (and along such a heavily-trafficked route) that many fans can’t get to the games. With baseball passion, beautiful scenery and a large fanbase to draw from, especially once nearby Ventura’s population is included, Oxnard checks the boxes for a successful minor league franchise.

Why it doesn’t: The area is so Dodgers-heavy, it would be tough to draw or maintain interest unless the team was a Dodgers’ affiliate. There are also plenty of other entertainment options to choose from—the beach, local wineries, Santa Barbara to the north and Los Angeles to the south—that would make it a challenge for a local minor league team to compete for entertainment dollars. Like most coastal cities in the state, the high cost of land makes building a stadium difficult.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 07:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: california league, minor leagues

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Affidavit shows Hooks outfielder attacks girlfriend at Whataburger Field

Inside a Whataburger Field stairwell, a Hooks player backhanded his girlfriend three times, according to an arrest affidavit.

Footage of the attack, captured on video surveillance, prompted Hooks officials to contact police the next day.

The affidavit into what led to the arrest of outfielder Danry Vasquez was released to the Caller-Times on Tuesday.

Police arrested Vasquez on a warrant Aug. 4 on suspicion of assault family violence, a misdemeanor. The Venezuelan national remains free on $10,000 bail.

Hooks President Ken Schrom said Major League Baseball placed Vasquez on administrative leave and the league is handling “all aspects from the investigation to the discipline that will take place.”

In a Tuesday statement, Astros officials said they are cooperating with police and expressed their support for the league’s domestic violence policy.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2016 at 06:49 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, domestic violence, minor leagues

Monday, August 15, 2016

OTP 2016 August 15: Amarillo’s Politics Could Cost City a AA Baseball Team

Nelson presented a feasibility study to the Lubbock city council Thursday showing how bringing a major league affiliated baseball team to the city would benefit them not only culturally with downtown development but economically as well.

“Part of the project is to build a stadium with a minimum capacity of 6,000 seats. Nelson said. “Deterime the ideal site for that stadium. Determine the viability of sharing the stadium with the College Baseball Hall of Fame.


Bitter Mouse, Space Tyrant Posted: August 15, 2016 at 08:09 AM | 989 comment(s)
  Beats: ballparks, minor leagues, politics

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Morning Call: L.V. IronPigs: Chris Truby continues down unconventional path

Catching up with an unconventional Primer legend who is now the Phillies’ roving minor league infield coordinator.

Whether he’s working with prospects in Reading, Lehigh Valley or Clearwater, or back home in Indiana at a baseball facility, all Truby wants to do is be around the game.

“I love the game,” Truby said. “I knew whenever I was done playing, I wanted to stay in it somehow. Jobs are not easy to come by. I was lucky enough to have a couple of connections.

“I love what I do now. I like having an area to concentrate on. We’re all baseball guys, so I’d like to open it up and get another opportunity in the dugout.”


Greg Franklin Posted: July 31, 2016 at 01:03 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, phillies

Monday, July 11, 2016

OTP 2016 July 11: Power player interns with Congressman Raul Ruiz by day

It’s a rite of passage for a United States president to throw out the first pitch in a Major League Baseball game at least once during his tenure. Other than that, though, politics and baseball don’t often mix. That’s what makes the summer schedule of Palm Springs Power relief pitcher Alex Strizak unusual.

By night, Strizak is a relief pitcher for the Palm Springs Power. By day, he is an intern working for U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert).

Bitter Mouse, Space Tyrant Posted: July 11, 2016 at 07:17 AM | 1784 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, politics

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Phillies prospect Matt Imhof suffers serious eye injury, has surgery

Awful news.

A Philadelphia Phillies minor league pitcher suffered a potentially career-threatening eye injury in a freak training accident in the Class A Florida State League late last week, his agent confirmed to Monday.

Clearwater Threshers pitcher Matt Imhof, the Phillies’ second-round pick in the 2014 MLB first-year player draft, suffered a “significant injury to his right eye’’ during postgame arm care band work, agent Adam Karon said.

Imhof, 22, was taking part in a routine stretching regimen after a game at Brevard County when a piece of equipment malfunctioned and he was struck in the right eye, a baseball source told Imhof has undergone surgery and is likely to need further procedures, the source said.

Imhof, a 6-foot, 5-inch left-hander out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, received a signing bonus of $1,187,900 from the Phillies as the 47th overall pick in 2014.

The Associated Press will use automated writing to cover the minor leagues

The Associated Press will begin using an automated writing service to cover more than 10,000 minor league baseball games annually, the news cooperative announced Thursday.

The Associated Press, which did not previously publish minor league game stories, will produce the stories using technology from Automated Insights and data from MLB Advanced Media, which is the official stat-keeper of the minor leagues:

Automated game stories are now available for all Triple-A, Double-A and Class A games, covering 142 MLB-affiliated teams and 13 leagues. The stories also will appear on, the official website of Minor League Baseball, and the official sites of the teams being covered.

The Associated Press has been using automated writing in some form since July 2014, when it began using technology from Automated Insights to produce earnings report stories. The AP now uses automation to produce more than 3,500 earnings reports stories about U.S. companies every quarter.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 30, 2016 at 10:32 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: journalism, minor leagues

Congress members introduce act to limit minor league wages

Kentucky congressman Brett Guthrie and Illinois congresswoman Cheri Bustos have introduced a new act to the House of Representatives to limit the salaries of minor league baseball players.

The “Save America’s Pastime Act” act comes in response to a push for minor-league players to make more money and a lawsuit arguing that federal overtime laws should apply to players.

If the bill is passed, minor league players would not be protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Minor League Baseball announced its “full support” of the act on Wednesday.

Bill text here.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 30, 2016 at 08:43 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: labor, legislation, minor leagues, wages

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Yard Goats Facing Season On The Road

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Hartford Yard Goats this season. Now, the team’s scenario is careering rapidly toward the worst case.

Hartford mayor Luke Bronin at a Monday press conference on Monday announced that the stadium’s developers, DoNo Hartford and Centerplan Cos., were being removed from the long-delayed project.

The announcement came after the developer took issue with the team’s release of the still-unfinished items at Dunkin Donuts Park, which was last scheduled to be turned over to the Yard Goats on May 17 in preparation for a May 31 opener.

At Monday’s news conference, according to the Hartford Courant, Bronin revealed that the impetus for the decision involved an e-mail from the developers notifying him that the remaining work would take at least 60 days to complete.

Also at issue, Bronin said, was the concern from the developers that they might not have the funds to complete the project without requesting more money from the city. The stadium was already slated to cost the city $47,050,000.

Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:24 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rockies

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Batavia Muckdogs Sale Could Bring Minority Owner

The slow-but-sure demise of the Batavia Muckdogs (New York-Penn) franchise might soon open the door to a new chapter of Minor League Baseball history. If all goes according to plan, the Muckdogs will soon become the only majority black-owned team in baseball.

The Muckdogs have reached an agreement to sell the franchise to a group of black businessmen in the Washington area who plan to move the team next season to the D.C. suburb of Waldorf, Md., according to three sources who requested anonymity.

There are some obstacles to the deal, however.

Bote Man Posted: May 19, 2016 at 02:16 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, nationals

Monday, May 16, 2016

Minor League Fantasy Baseball Is Real And Kinda Cool, Maybe?

Fantasy players assemble weekly rosters from 100 of the game’s top prospects, with points distributed for certain on-field events (four points for hitting a home run, one point for striking a batter out, etc.) A minor league game, however, presents challenges that don’t exist in other fantasy sports.

“I had one guy this week that just got called up to San Diego, so that kind of defeats the purpose if they get too hot,” Kevin Kievit, a 38-year-old AFLAC insurance salesman in Rhode Island, said. “I don’t get any points that way.”

The site’s Latest News feed discusses recent accomplishments of up-and-coming players but also the setbacks of youngsters demoted back to the minors—and back into the Futures Fantasy game, which has attracted a little more than 1,000 participants in its first two months. Too much success can eliminate a player from use, but a subsequent slump can return him. It’s therefore a good thing that fantasy participants choose new rosters each week.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2016 at 12:49 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, minor leagues

Saturday, May 14, 2016

MiLB: Rangers call up former top pick Bush

Nearly 12 years since being drafted, Matt Bush is finally getting the call he’s dreamed of.

The former No. 1 overall pick was promoted to the Majors on Friday by Texas after starting the season with Double-A Frisco, where he was 0-2 with a 2.65 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 innings. The 30-year-old right-hander will join the Rangers after signing with the team this past December following a three-year prison sentence from a nearly fatal DUI incident in 2012.

The Rangers optioned outfielder Delino DeShields to Triple-A Round Rock to make space on the roster.

“Sooo excited for my boy Matt Bush to get his shot in the show,” tweeted Orioles All-Star outfielder Adam Jones. “Overcame some mistakes but that never took away from his passion of baseball.”

According to the RoughRiders, Bush has consistently been hitting 98-99 mph with his fastball in the Texas League. He was clocked throwing 100 mph on April 23. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn a save on April 7 in his first appearance since 2011.

Had no idea he was still in the game. Well, back in the game, anyway.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Five Changes I’d Make If I Ran The Minors

2. Bring The Majors To The Minors

During the final few games of spring training every year, some teams leave their team’s spring training site and play a few games somewhere else before heading out for their first regular season game. The Mets this year played the Cubs for two games in Las Vegas‚ which worked because it’s the home of the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate and is the hometown of (among others) Cubs star third baseman Kris Bryant. The Phillies, too, got in on the fun. Their post-Clearwater slate included three games against a squad of their prospects. The second and third games were in Philadelphia, but their first stop was in Reading, Pa., the home of their Double-A affiliate.

The Mets and the Phillies each gave fans in their minor league markets a taste of the big club, which is especially admirable in the Mets’ case because fans in Vegas aren’t likely to get to Citi Field very often. These kinds of games should be an end-of-spring staple. Fans in Zebulon, N.C., never got to see Ozzie Albies play with the Mudcats. Why not give them that chance in late March when the Braves head north?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2016 at 05:54 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Monday, April 25, 2016

Yankees prospect Acevedo dies in car wreck

Yankees Minor Leaguer Sandy Acevedo was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic on Saturday night, the team said. Acevedo was 18 years old.

Prior to their Sunday game against the Rays, the Yankees held a moment of silence in memory of the third baseman. Acevedo had not appeared in any Minor League games since signing with New York as an international free agent last July 6, his 18th birthday.’s David Adler cited a 2015 interview in which Donny Rowland, New York’s director of international scouting, said of discovering the infielder, “Acevedo was one of the hitters that we brought in to face [pitching prospect Yoan Lopez, now the D-backs’ No. 8 prospect], and he absolutely owned him in three out of four at-bats and crushed stuff.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2016 at 02:34 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, obituaries, prospects, yankees

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beasley: Bryce Harper “can handle” starting season with Nationals

Beasley: Bryceslist: Killer job.

New Triple-A Syracuse manager Tony Beasley believes Harper could use some more seasoning but has also demonstrated hints of the complete package
“I would hate to see him come all the way through the system quickly, skip levels and then get the major league level and really skid,” Beasley said. “The thing he has that is special, and I have talked to him about it, is his mindset - the way he believes and the level of confidence he has and his ability to play the game of baseball. I don’t think you want to shake that, especially at this age. I don’t think you want to take the chance of shaking that.”

...But all you can go on is what you have seen and Beasley believes in what Harper has produced in one season. He believes it is a very positive sign for what lies ahead for the Nationals and their top prospect.

“I think so far he has done outstanding. That is the tough call for general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson (to make). All we can do as a minor league field staff is to prepare him as best we can for on and off field situations. I think so far he is way, way ahead of his years and he gets it. I think (Harper) really understands it,” Beasley said.

So, is Harper ready?

“If he gets the call out of spring training this year,” Beasley said, “I have a feeling that he can handle it.”

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, nationals, prospect reports, scouting Economic considerations at heart of Carmona’s decision

An interesting analysis of signing ages, signing bonuses, and success rates in the Dominican Republic, by Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated ...

Teams pay premiums for 16-year-olds for two primary reasons: One, because teams often want to be the first to sign a promising player and, thus, avoid bidding wars with other teams; and two, clubs prefer to develop their players’ skills under the watchful eyes of their own club personnel rather than under those of unqualified and unaffiliated coaches or trainers.

But are 18-year-old Latin American players really worth 70 percent less than their 16-year-old counterparts? Here’s another data analysis that calls into question the industry practice of placing a premium on youth. Let’s assume the most basic marker of a successful signing is making it to the majors. We’ll make it simple and look at the 79 players who have made their major league debuts from 2008-2011 from Carmona’s Dominican Republic. Of those 79, only six were signed as 16-year-olds. The debuts suggest older players were more likely to advance to the majors. ...


What’s more, SI tracked down the bonus data for 60 of the 79 players. Fernando Martinez, signed by the Mets in 2005 for $1.3 million, was the only one to receive a seven-figure bonus. Only nine others signed for six figures and one — the Rockies’ Juan Nicasio — received nada to sign, according to the data obtained by SI. The median signing bonus among them tallied a paltry $35,000.

Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 21, 2012 at 04:09 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, international, mets, miami, minor leagues, rockies, scouting

Friday, January 20, 2012

THT: Jackson: Thinking big in Big D in 1950

During the late 1940s, the Cotton Bowl, located in Dallas’ Fair Park, had been expanded to more than 75,000 seats, largely because of ticket demand for SMU football games during the Doak Walker era. Some Dallas people were boasting that the Cotton Bowl now held more people than Yankee Stadium. Perhaps that was what put the idea in Dick Burnett’s head to stage a baseball game there.

Great article, both for its richness of detail and the sheer novelty of what it describes.  With all the staging of football and hockey games and what-not at baseball parks in recent years, I think it’s time that baseball was reciprocated.  Time for a Rangers series in the Cotton Bowl!

BDC Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: history, minor leagues

Kevin Goldstein: Indians Top 11 Prospects

System in 20 Words or Less: This is the youngest, riskiest, most volatile Top 11 I’ve ever done.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Francisco Lindor, SS
Three-Star Prospects
2. Dillon Howard, RHP
3. Ronny Rodriguez, SS
4. Austin Adams, RHP
5. Tony Wolters, SS
6. Nick Hagadone, LHP
7. Dorssys Paulino, SS
8. Luigi Rodriguez, OF
Two-Star Prospects
9. Scott Barnes, LHP
10. Robel Garcia, INF
11. Elvis Araujo, LHP

Nine More
12. Jake Cisco, RHP: This 2011 third-round pick has size and stuff, but he’s raw.
13. Zach McAllister, RHP: He has command and fastball movement, but little else. His ceiling is a fifth starter.
14. Felix Sterling, RHP: This young righty has a power arm and big potential, but he needs refinement.
15. Jorge Martinez, SS: He’s yet another teenage Dominican with loud tools. He profiles as a third baseman with power.
16. Chen Lee, RHP: This undersized righty has an electric fastball. He should pitch in big leagues this year, and has a seventh- or eighth-inning ceiling.
17. Levon Washington, OF: He’s still a great athlete, but his swing fell apart in 2011.
18. Jesus Aguilar, 1B: This massive first baseman is a bat-only prospect, but there are questions about what he can do other than hit for power.
19. Chun-Hsui Chen, C: He has impressive offensive skills, but he’s well below average behind the plate.
20. Zack Putnam, RHP: Like Lee, Putnam should reach the big leagues this year, but he profiles as a solid reliever, not an impact one.


Tripon Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:33 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Thursday, January 19, 2012

IIATMS: Jim Callis of Baseball America Talks Yankees Prospects

(checks fine print for Calvin Riggar update)

CB:  Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are two of the brightest and most highly sought after pitching prospects in the Yankee system.  While they each miss a lot of bats and generate big strikeout numbers; both have exhibited difficulties in limiting walks.  After watching each struggle with their command in 2011, are you still projecting both pitchers to be top of the rotation starters?

JC:  I don’t think I’ve ever projected Betances as a frontline starter. That may be his ceiling, but given his slow development path and still less-than-stellar command, I’ve suspected for a while that he’s going to end up as a reliever. I still see Banuelos as a starter, however, but again, I don’t think I’ve ever called him a No. 1 starter. He’s a No. 2 or 3 if everything comes together.

CB:  After being listed as Baseball America ’s 108th best prospect prior to the 2011 amateur draft, the Yankees selected Dante Bichette, Jr. with the 51st pick.  He signed quickly and promptly set the Gulf Coast League afire hitting .342/.446/.505 and winning league MVP honors.  Looking back, do you think your initial evaluation was accurate?  If not, what has changed?

JC:  Our initial evaluation was based in part about suspicions that he’ll eventually wind up in the outfield. If he can stay at third base, and the Yankees think he can, then he’ll have more value. Bichette has boosted his stock since the draft with his strong debut and his initial play at third base.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 05:13 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, yankees

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kiwi teen signs with Orioles

Makes sense, the O’s can’t fly either.

Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2012 at 06:22 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, orioles

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