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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
MLB.com’s David Adler cited a 2015 Scout.com 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.
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox are moving to San Antonio, Texas.
Sky Sox owner David Elmore and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor announced in a city council meeting Thursday that the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate is headed to Texas for the 2019 season, according to the San Antonio News-Express.
The move is contingent upon a new downtown baseball stadium.
“The ability for guys to come up together is always a great thing,” said Red Sox assistant farm director Brian Abraham. “You see that now with our major league team: Blake Swihart, Mookie Betts, Christian Vasquez, Travis Shaw. Those guys all played together throughout the minor leagues. The camaraderie and team work they are able to establish at the big league level, that’s been going on since they were drafted, since they signed. That’s really important, it’s great when you’re able to form that friendship all the way throughout the minor leagues.”
Edit: The linked spreadsheet should be useful if you have a minor league draft coming up.
John Sickel’s Top 150. It came out a few days after my simulation league’s minor league draft so it didn’t help me this year. If you haven’t had your draft yet check it out. Also, here’s an Excel sheet of most of my prep work. If you haven’t had your draft yet, I’m positive it can help you.
For all the issues the Raiders had with the city and Oakland and Alameda County, at least they were never evicted.
That’s what the High Desert Mavericks of the Class A California League are facing, with the city of Adelanto filing documents to evict the minor league baseball team from Heritage Field, The Sun News reported over the weekend.
Adelanto mayor Rich Kerr said in a release the city declared a fiscal crisis in 2013 and is ``still not in position to assume financial responsibility to pay for water, gas, electricity, landscaping and maintenance for the stadium for the next seven months to accommodate the team’s schedule.’‘
High Street Baseball LLC, which owns and operates the Mavericks, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, contend the city is attempting to get out of a binding contract.
...Once hailed as a beacon for a new era of development and prosperity in Newark, the return of minor league baseball to the state’s largest city proved to be a misstep almost immediately…Though the stadium opened to much fanfare in 1999, and the team attracted future major league stars like Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco, the Bears failed to capture the hearts of area fans, and the team soon had nearly as many unpaid bills as nightly attendees. A group of developers rescued the franchise from bankruptcy in 2008, but it folded for good five years later. The 6,014-seat venue has hosted only college and local games in the years since…
The franchise-less stadium has continued to cost Newark and Essex County taxpayers a combined $2 million in annual debt payments..
I experienced both coaches and players make remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart. I was miserable in a sport that used to give me life, and ultimately I decided I needed to hang up my cleats for my own sanity. -Tyler Dunnington
1. Atlanta Braves
2015 rank: 6
Players in top 100 (2016): 7
This system was among the bottom five just two years ago after several bad drafts and questionable player development, but a series of trades—including several fleecings of the Diamondbacks—has stocked the system with pitching depth that is the envy of the industry. They tied for the most players in my top 100 and had a couple of other players who could make cases for inclusion, and their 11th- to 20th-ranked prospects still include a lot of prospective major league value. It has been a remarkable turnaround for general manager John Coppolella and his front office, and the future is even brighter with the team having the third overall pick in June’s draft. The team’s agreement to sign Venezuelan prospect Kevin Maitan on July 2 is the worst-kept secret in the industry….
30. Los Angeles Angels
2015 rank: 27
Players in top 100 (2016): 0
I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen. They traded their top two prospects in the Andrelton Simmons deal and had no one remotely close to top-100 status. They need a big draft this year to start to restock the system or we’re going to start talking about whether it’s time to trade Mike Trout.
Broadcasters in the minors are subject to many of the same things that test the commitment of players. The conditions are rough. The road trips are long. The pay sucks.
And minor league broadcasters can’t exactly minimize the hours they’re exposed to these things.
Ritzo, for instance, is officially the director of broadcasting for San Jose. In a 2015 interview with Dick Sparrer of the San Jose Mercury News, he said his workday includes not only calling the game but also providing coaches with statistics, getting quotes from players and coaches, compiling packets for the media, doing a postgame show and writing a game recap.
This is much like the typical workday Solondz outlined for Josh Leventhal of Baseball America in 2010. And all the extra work beyond calling the game is necessary. According to Leventhal, merely announcing games in the minors only pays about $1,200 to $1,500 a month. And remember, that’s for less than half the year.
Elsewhere, announcers aren’t exempt from the assorted pains in the neck that come with the territory in the minors. For example, you never know when the team bus will break down.
Just a free-for-all of ideas from a tranny. If you like baseball and trains, you’ll LOVE this thinkpiecebrainstormgonemad.
Finally, there is the baseball ballpark itself. I have always urged that baseball continue to be located there. In 2006, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I wrote that “the Braves — or any other professional baseball franchise — should stay right at The Diamond. It doesn’t matter whether it is a new or renovated stadium. The current location is perfect if one looks beyond the limits of a single baseball team and a single-use stadium.”
Another record-setting attendance this past year of 417,828 fans, first in the Flying Squirrels league, should not be ignored. The people from RVA love that site because it is so easy to get to and they will continue to come to all of its sports and entertainment venues.
And now the suggestion of a renovated baseball Diamond, built to the specifications of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, makes that a more realistic option. The recent release of the Save The Diamond Committee plans for the renovation of the ballpark and the 50 acres of city-owned land around it is a starting point for a complete rethink of a major development project for RVA.
hen Frank Viola underwent open-heart surgery and missed the beginning of the 2014 season, the New York Mets assigned Brooklyn Cyclones pitching coach Tom Signore to Las Vegas to fill in. A mishap during his stay with the Triple-A club ended up costing Signore use of his right eye. It also led to nightmarish concussion symptoms that left him unable to work.
Now, Signore feels able to return. But the 53-year-old Signore has been pushed out by the organization. And he feels betrayed.
He suggests the late decision not to renew his contract leaves him unable to find a position with another organization for 2016. He also believes the decision is coming from the Mets’ human resources department because of liability fears, not from a baseball-operations staff that holds him in high regard.
Signore indicated that he has an active workman’s compensation case against the Mets. He said the only explanation he has received from human resources, after more than a dozen attempts to reach them, is that they decided to go in another direction.
“I think I deserve a better explanation, because I gave up an eye for the organization,” Signore said. “It’s not fun having given up a right eye. I know that I can do my 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.”
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.
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!
System in 20 Words or Less: This is the youngest, riskiest, most volatile Top 11 I’ve ever done.
1. Francisco Lindor, SS
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
9. Scott Barnes, LHP
10. Robel Garcia, INF
11. Elvis Araujo, LHP
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.
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.
1. Addison Reed, rhp
2. Nestor Molina, rhp
3. Simon Castro, rhp
4. Trayce Thompson, of
5. Jake Petricka, rhp
6. Keenyn Walker, of
7. Jhan Marinez, rhp
8. Tyler Saladino, ss
9. Juan Silverio, 3b
10. Ozzie Martinez, ss
With his farm system failing to supply impact players, GM Ken Williams constantly has had to be on the lookout for OPT—other people’s talent. He has chosen poorly in recent years, hamstringing Chicago with bad contracts for Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy and Alex Rios.
...The club could struggle to contend in the immediate future because it has done a poor job of signing and developing its own talent. Chicago has the worst farm system in baseball, and it’s no coincidence that it ranks last in draft spending in the last five years ($18.3 million) and has had little presence on the international amateur market in that time.
System In 20 Words Or Less: Considering the trades made for a 2012 run at the National Leaugue Central, there is still some strength in the system.
1. Billy Hamilton, SS
2. Devin Mesoraco, C
3. Zack Cozart, SS
4. Robert Stephenson, RHP
5. Daniel Corcino, RHP
6. J.C. Sulbaran, RHP
7. Didi Gregorius, SS
8. Todd Frazier, UT
9. Neftali Soto, 1B
10. Henry Rodriguez, 2B
11. Yorman Rodriguez, OF
12. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP: Can’t stay healthy, but continues to tease with some of the best stuff in the system.
13. Kyle Waldrop, OF: Athletic outfielder impressed Pioneer League scouts in 2011, has excellent chance to move up.
14. Donnie Joseph, LHP: Lefty reliever has bat-missing arsenal; could reach big leagues in 2012 with more strikes.
15. Gabriel Rosa, 3B: 2011 second-round pick is raw, but has the potential for plus power and defense.
16. Tony Cingrani, LHP: 2011 third-rounder has crazy number in pro debut, but projects for many as reliever.
17. Ryan LaMarre, OF: 2010 second-rounder has speed and contact ability, but leaves scouts underwhelmed with overall hitting.
18. Tucker Barnhart, C: Will get to the big leagues on defensive chops alone, but backup bat.
19. Juan Duran, OF: Finally began to untap the power in 2011, but is still uncoordinated after growing to six-foot-seven.
20. Ryan Wright, 2B: Overachiever with more skills than tools, but hard not to like.