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Minor Leagues Newsbeat

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dodgers finalize Minor League coaching staffs

We wondered how Guggenheim’s money combined with Friedman’s forward thinking would manifest itself in the organization. Maybe healthier training tables for minor-league players?

After radically reshaping the front office, the Dodgers announced their Minor League staff for 2015 with only a handful of personnel changes, including the addition of a third coach at all levels.

The Dodgers coaching staff runs almost a dozen deep, so why skimp out in the minors? I guarantee this is common practice throughout baseball within five years.
What else?

New director of player personnel Gabe Kapler said the added coach helps ensure at least one Spanish-speaking staff member on every affiliate.

This, too, is a move that seems so obvious - yet it’s 2015 and the Dodgers are making news by doing it.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Organization All-Stars | MiLB.com

Since this is such a slow baseball news period, here’s a link to MiLB’s organizational reports.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 27, 2014 at 12:19 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Friday, December 12, 2014

MiLB Opposes Players, Supports MLB In Lawsuit

Brand announced that beginning next year, he will petition Congress to add minor league baseball players to the list of 35 occupations not required to receive minimum wage or overtime pay as dictated in the Federal Labor Standards Act. If successful, minor leaguers would fall into a group that includes seasonal workers, trainees and babysitters—likely dooming the lawsuit.

JJ1986 Posted: December 12, 2014 at 01:10 PM | 97 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Monday, December 08, 2014

Minor League Salaries Challenged in New Antitrust Lawsuit

But exempted monopolistic trusts are the best kind of monopolistic trusts!

The Miranda suit alleges that MLB unlawfully suppresses minor league players’ salaries in a variety of ways. By subjecting North American amateur players to the first-year player draft each June, Major League Baseball prevents draftees from selling their services to the highest bidder — instead forcing them to negotiate with only a single team. MLB then artificially reduces the size of the signing bonuses that entry level players receive through its domestic and international signing bonus pool restrictions.

Once players have entered the minor leagues, their annual salaries are then largely dictated on a take-it-or-leave-it basis by their teams in accordance with MLB-imposed, minor league salary “guidelines.” And because MLB teams retain the exclusive rights to their minor league players’ services for seven years, many players go their entire careers without ever being able to sell their services in a competitive market. As a result, the suit asserts that most minor league players earn as little as $3,000 to $7,500 per year.

The Miranda suit challenges the legality of each of these restraints, effectively launching a full-frontal attack on the contractual underpinnings of baseball’s player development system. Specifically, the suit contends that by agreeing to these practices collectively, the 30 MLB teams have illegally conspired to restrain trade and monopolize the industry, in violation of the Sherman Act.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2014 at 05:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust, litigation, minor leagues, players salaries

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Running list of 2014 40-man roster additions | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball

On the surface, getting added to a 40-man roster may feel like a small move. It doesn’t guarantee a Major League spot. In fact by rule (and math), 15 of the players on said roster aren’t with the big club at any given time until September when rosters are allowed to expand.

But it does provide two things for the players involved. The first is protection. To be more specific, that’s protection from the Rule 5 Draft, coming up Dec. 11. Players who were 18 or younger when they signed their first pro contract are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft five years after putting pen to paper. Players who were 19 or older can be taken four years afterwards. Unless of course, they are added to the 40-man roster. Players on the 40-man as of Thursday at midnight ET, however, are not eligible to be taken and are therefore protected from moving to another organization.

The second is respect. Talk to a player or two that’s been added to a 40-man roster for the first time, and they’ll tell you how important it is to officially see that their organization thinks highly enough of them to give them that spot.

“It was pretty humbling, I’d say,” said Red Sox right-hander Anthony Ranaudo after being added last offseason. “It’s great to be officially on the roster now. It feels good knowing that I had a good year, and they had enough confidence in me after what they saw last year.”

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of prospects (to be updated all day Thursday) who are ranked in the Top 20 in their respective organizations by MLB.com and were added to 40-man rosters before Thursday’s deadline:

Edit: Link fixed. Sorry, Jim.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2014 at 06:43 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rule 5 draft

Friday, November 07, 2014

Minor League Free Agents 2014

Twelve players selected in the first three rounds of the 2008 draft are free for the first time to seek an opportunity with a new organization, including first-rounder Kyle Skipworth (Marlins), supplemental picks Zach Collier (Phillies) and Jeremy Bleich (Yankees), second-rounders Xavier Avery (Orioles), Destin Hood (Nationals), Kenny Wilson (Blue Jays) and Derrik Gibson (Red Sox); and third-rounders Zach Stewart (Reds), Stephen Fife (Red Sox), Kevin Eichhorn (Diamondbacks), Ryan Chaffee (Angels) and Ross Seaton (Astros).

Among those available:

RHP/LHP: Pat Venditte (AAA)

JJ1986 Posted: November 07, 2014 at 08:24 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, transactions

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Addison Russell, Peter O’Brien, Jason Adam, Blake Taylor talk about their experience being traded | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball

While new teammates are nice, there’s one aspect of being traded that can prove particularly tough: what to wear.

“That was a little bit of a process, because we had flown to Colorado Springs, so my truck was at the airport in Omaha,” Adam said. “I left it there for the rest of the season, and I flew straight into New Britain. I got in and watched the rest of the game and was just a normal guy on the team the next day.

“We had been on a five-day road trip and I had in my suitcase just enough clothes for five days. I lived on that for the rest of the year. I actually still am living on it out here in Arizona. I think the people around me might be getting sick of seeing me in the same stuff.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2014 at 12:44 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: addison russell, blake taylor, jason adam, minor leagues, peter o'brien, trades

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mariners have decided not to retain the ice-cream buying scout

Butch Baccala, the high-ranking Mariners scout who angered Jesus Montero by sending Montero an in-game ice cream treat, will be let go by the team, sources said.
[...]
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, reached by phone Sunday night, shortly after the contending team’s 4-0 loss to the A’s, declined comment on Baccala’s status with the team. The Mariners conducted an investigation to determine what happened but apparently aren’t ready to discuss the findings.


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Gleeman: John Holdzkom goes from anonymous podcast caller to the big leagues

Tremendous!

Two years ago (October 16, 2012 to be exact) I was listening to Chelsea Peretti’s podcast when an anonymous 24-year-old caller named “John” told her the story of how his once-promising baseball career went downhill and he blew through his $210,000 signing bonus after being drafted by the Mets out of high school… I did a little internet detective work and discovered the caller was 24-year-old right-hander John Holdzkom, a former Mets fourth-round draft pick who at the time was pitching for them at Single-A. They later released him and Holdzkom had to play independent ball just to keep his dream alive.

He pitched for two different independent league teams this year alone, but then the Pirates signed him and sent Holdzkom to Double-A. He thrived there, kept pitching well following a promotion to Triple-A, and then got the call up to the big leagues as part of September roster expansion.

Last night Holdzkom, now 26 years old, made his MLB debut. And it was a helluva debut, too: He struck out all three batters he faced in a scoreless eighth inning against the Cardinals…

I just hope Holdzkom calls back in to Chelsea Peretti’s podcast to update his story.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Giants to promote Brett Bochy

Gleeman is not a fan.

The Giants are rolling a family reunion into their September call-ups.

The team plans to purchase the contract of right-hander Brett Bochy, son of manager Bruce Bochy, along with four other additions after Triple-A Fresno plays its season finale on Monday.

The younger Bochy, a 20th-round pick in 2010 out of Kansas, posted a 3.57 ERA in 34 games (two starts), striking out 47 and walking 24 in 53 innings… The 27-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the Giants drafted him and has made steady progress over the past four seasons…

This isn’t the first time a Giants manager has had his son on the roster. Bochy’s predecessor, Felipe Alou, managed Moises Alou with both the Montreal Expos and Giants.

The District Attorney Posted: September 02, 2014 at 12:50 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: brett bochy, bruce bochy, giants, minor leagues

Monday, September 01, 2014

Robothal: Changed [Manny] Ramirez enjoyed helping Cubs prospects grow

I mean, if Rasheed Wallace can be on a coaching staff…

[Manny] Ramirez, 42, certainly stunned [Cubs president Theo] Epstein, who grew as exasperated as anyone with the player’s fits of immaturity and selfishness during their years together with the Red Sox.

But Epstein believed Ramirez deserved another chance and that he could impart his vast knowledge of hitting to the Cubs’ prospects… By all accounts, Ramirez positively influenced top prospects such as infielder Javier Baez, outfielder Jorge Soler and third baseman Kris Bryant at Triple A Iowa… Ramirez spent less than three months with Iowa… But during that time, he instructed Baez to be more selective, adjusted Soler’s swing path and talked situational hitting with Bryant, all with impressive results…

Ramirez still wants to return to the majors – he intends to play winter ball in his native Dominican Republic this offseason with the goal of taking one more shot. But once he saw the talent at Iowa, he essentially told the Cubs, “Don’t worry. Play the kids. I’m good.” ...

about a month into Ramirez’s stint in Iowa… Ramirez, speaking on the phone to Epstein, broke down every player on the Iowa roster, giving detailed, sophisticated assessments of not only their skills but also their personalities.

Epstein found the conversation so impressive and surprising that he left his office immediately after getting off the phone with Ramirez and walked down the hall to visit with other Cubs executives.

He had to repeat the conversation verbatim to his colleagues to make sure that it had really happened.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Backman named PCL’s top manager

Shouldn’t Vegas be the Aces? Are they named after Roswell, in a different state? What is this??

Wally Backman on Friday was named the 2014 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year… With three games left in the regular season, Backman has led the 51s to the PCL’s best record, at 80-61, after guiding it to an 81-63 mark last season that was the second-best in the league…

Finishing second to Backman in the Manager of the Year voting was Sacramento’s Steve Scarsone, followed by Memphis’ Pop Warner and Reno’s Phil Nevin, who earned Backman’s vote.

Backman said Nevin, whose Aces could be the 51s’ first-round playoff opponent — the first two games are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at Cashman Field — does a great job of matching wits against him…

Backman was named Arizona Diamondbacks manager on Nov. 1, 2004 but was fired on Nov. 5 amid legal and financial revelations… While Backman declined to speculate if winning the PCL award might help his quest to become a big league manager, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said recently at Cashman Field that he’s a capable candidate.

“He certainly deserves an opportunity, especially with the consistency of his winning at both this level and previously at the Double-A level,” Alderson said. “It’s very possible.”

As for what has prevented Backman from already getting an opportunity, Alderson said it’s hard to say.

“Each organization might be looking for someone slightly different,” he said. “Eventually there may be a match.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 31, 2014 at 10:31 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: las vegas 51s, mets, minor leagues, wally backman

Monday, August 25, 2014

Report: Cubs calling up top prospect outfielder Jorge Soler

“Soler power” could be the “WAR, what is it good for?” joke of a new generation…

Another big piece of the Cubs’ future is on the way to the majors, as David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that top prospect outfielder Jorge Soler will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa tomorrow…

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Soler defected from Cuba in 2011 and joined the Cubs in June of 2012 with a nine-year, $30 million contract. The 22-year-old was limited to just 55 games last season due to a fractured tibia, but he has exploded this season by batting .340/.432/.700 with 15 home runs in 62 minor league games between rookie ball, Double-A, and Triple-A.

The District Attorney Posted: August 25, 2014 at 11:44 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jorge soler, minor leagues

Pirates send Gregory Polanco back down to Triple-A

Nice to see Snider finally contributing, anyway.

The Pirates have sent top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco down to Triple-A Indianapolis… Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported…

Polanco, 22, hit .241/.308/.349 (86 OPS+) with nine doubles, six home runs and 12 stolen bases in 64 games after being called up in June. He is currently mired in a 1-for-30 (.033) slump, hence the demotion.

The emergence of Travis Snider—the ex-Blue Jays outfielder is hitting .268/.336/.435 (116 OPS+) overall and .319/.366/.585 (170 OPS+) in the second half—robbed Polanco of at-bats and made sending him down nice and easy.

The District Attorney Posted: August 25, 2014 at 06:19 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: gregory polanco, minor leagues, pirates, travis snider

Morgantown lands NY-Penn League baseball team

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The Jamestown [N.Y.] Jammers minor league baseball team is relocating to Morgantown and will play in Monongalia County’s new baseball stadium, according to WVU athletic director Oliver Luck.

The new stadium, which is still being built, will also be home to West Virginia University’s baseball team.

“We’re very excited about having a professional sports franchise in north-central West Virginia,” said Luck. “It’s another example of how baseball is catching on in the state.”

The Jammers are a short-season Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates that play in the New York-Penn League.

The team is owned by Bob Rich Jr., owner of Rich Products Corp., the largest family-owned frozen food manufacturer in the United States. Rich also owns the Buffalo Bisons, a Class AAA International League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, a Class AA affiliate of the Blue Jays.

“When we knew our ballpark was going to be a reality we contacted the New York-Penn League,” Luck said. “I told them we would be building this ballpark and asked if any franchise would be interested.”


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Looking past the stat line: Mark Appel

He still can’t be more of a disaster than The Apple...

Mark Appel’s 2014 Statistics

At High-A [Lancaster]: 44.1 IP, 9.74 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 74 Hits, 11 BB, 40 K

At Double-A [Corpus Christi]: 26.1 IP, 4.10 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 28 Hits, 9 BB, 24 K...

Ron Shah of Baseball Prospectus saw three of his starts with Lancaster this season and was very critical of the profile he displayed during those starts. Shah reported that Appel sat 92-93 with the fastball and touched 94, but “mostly just grooves the offering over the plate.” Shah is more optimistic about the changeup, noting its deception and grading it as a future 60 offering (on the 20-80 scale), but is down on the slider. He grades this offering as a present 45 with a future grade of 50… A MiLB.com report after Appel’s scoreless Double-A debut noted that he began the game throwing his fastball in the 96-97 range and recorded all four of his strikeouts on the slider. His velocity in that start dipped to around the 90 MPH range later in the outing, but it is still encouraging to see the highly touted righty regain some of the form that was absent earlier this season.

Appel is a tricky case, as his terrible numbers in High-A are largely due to a four-run difference between his ERA and FIP, a .414 BABIP, and one of the most hitter-friendly home parks in the Minor Leagues. However, even if we remove his fluke of an ERA, many questions about the profile remain… the realistic expectation at this time is that he will be a low three or high number four starter in the Major Leagues… I’d have a tough time ranking such a player as high as 34 and would probably bump him down to about the 45-55 range, depending on his performance in his final few starts this season.

The District Attorney Posted: August 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mark appel, minor leagues

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Minor League manager undresses during epic home plate tirade

Would a robot ump have vaporized him with its heat ray?

Joe Mikulik, the manager of the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans is arguably the most fiery managers in all of Minor League Baseball.

On Sunday, the bombastic skipper lost his mind, and part of his uniform during an epic tirade with the home plate umpire during his team’s game against the Salem Red Sox.

The District Attorney Posted: August 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: ecdysiasm, joe mikulik, minor leagues, rangers

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Calcaterra: Rays minor leaguer Josh Sale is suspended. Again.

I really thought I was going to be able to pull the trigger on the ambiguous headline here, but I just couldn’t…

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Tampa Bay Rays Minor League outfielder Joshua Sale has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  The suspension of Sale, who is currently on the roster of the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League.

You may remember Josh Sale from such films as “I verbally berated and humiliated a stripper and thought that was something to brag about” and “I received a 50-game suspension in 2012 for testing positive for meth.” I remember him from an evaluator familiar with Sale once telling me that he was perhaps the single most immature prospect he has ever seen.

Seems like things are going just great for the guy who was the 17th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He’s doing great things to help make all that he can out of his career. All on top of a 2014 line of .238/.313/.344 as a 22-year-old at high-A ball.

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2014 at 04:26 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: josh sale, minor leagues, rays, suspensions

Twins Triple-A team completes the oddest no-hitter you’ll see this season

Shore ‘nuff!

The Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, completed a no-hitter Monday against the Durham Bulls that was started in a different month, in a different state, by a pitcher who is now in the big leagues.

The no-hitter started on July 24 in Durham, where weather caused the game to be suspended until Monday in Rochester… Trevor May, who made his MLB debut for the Twins on Saturday night, started the game in July for Rochester, throwing three no-hit innings. Logan Darnell resumed the game for the Red Wings, throwing six more no-hit innings.

We’ve heard of combined no-hitters before, but cross-state combined no-hitters are a different matter altogether. Since the Red Wings weren’t traveling back to the Durham, the two teams had to finish the game in Rochester, thus making things even more odd. The Red Wings were “visitors” in their own stadium.

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:20 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: history, logan darnell, minor leagues, trevor may, twins

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Fresno Grizzlies ‘TMNT Night’ featured a cosplay wedding proposal

I’ve heard of the Splendid Splinter, but this is ridiculous!

The Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team flooded the Internet in the past couple weeks leading up to their “TMNT Night,” which by all accounts was a rousing success. There were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed jerseys and hats, the Turtles even showed up in person, free pizza was given away, the team mascot dressed up like Splinter. Good times were had by all.

In fact, it was even a life-changing night, as two TMNT superfans GOT ENGAGED ON THE FIELD.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SOE: Minor League Manhood - A first-hand account of masculine sports culture run amok.

Manhood. It’s a competition. Has been since the first grunting, snorting, finger-sniffing Neanderthal scratched out whatever he felt defined it on the wall of his cave. Battle, power, money, looks—they all have their place in the contest, but the one thing that’s been a true indicator of Manhood, since the days when men huddled around flame adorned in animals pelts, is Woman.

Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM | 178 comment(s)
  Beats: hayhurst, minor leagues, sexual assault, women

Monday, July 28, 2014

ESPN: Yankee Fan Returns Lost Red Sox World Series Ring

Manhattan restaurant owner Luigi Militello could hardly believe it when he found the shiny 2013 championship ring on a restroom sink at his Luke’s Bar and Grill on Thursday night. It was the real thing, with diamonds and sapphires and rubies, set in 14-carat white gold, with the Red Sox emblem, a Boston Strong logo and an image of the team’s bearded ballplayers.
. . .
Drew Weber had dined at the restaurant earlier; it’s one of his favorite spots. He’s a New York businessman and also owns the Lowell Spinners, a thriving Red Sox Class A minor league team in Massachusetts.Big league teams often reward executives throughout their organization with World Series rings. The Red Sox haven’t put a value on these pieces of jewelry—the rings they presented for winning the 2004 crown were worth about $30,000.
. . .
“I went looking around my apartment and started having palpitations. Sweat was pouring off my forehead,” he told the AP. “I’m looking at my finger and it’s not there.”

Nice photo at link.


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

SI.com: 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

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