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Wednesday, October 06, 2021

MLB plans COVID-19 vaccine mandate for minor-league players in 2022


Major League Baseball is finalizing a policy that would require all minor-league players to be vaccinated before the 2022 season, Yahoo Sports has learned. It’ll be the latest in a series of vaccine mandates that MLB and teams have rolled out recently to cover more and more people within the baseball world.

The commissioner’s office requires all employees to be vaccinated and some teams, starting with the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, have done the same — mandating that all non-playing full-time employees get the vaccine or receive a medical or religious exemption. Several executives like Nationals VP Bob Boone resigned over the requirement, while other employees who refused were fired or quit.

As first reported by The Athletic, MLB required “managers, coaches, athletic trainers and other non-playing personnel” of playoff teams to get at least the first dose of the vaccine before Oct. 4 in order to gain access to restricted areas, like the field, during the postseason. Most recently, MLB informed teams that all players who plan to participate in the Arizona Fall League later this month. A source told azcentral that some rosters were adjusted to account for the mandate, the first of its kind to apply to players themselves.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 06, 2021 at 05:16 PM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, minor leagues, vaccines

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Minor League Parks, Stripped of America’s Pastime, Await New Fates

In December, Major League Baseball completed a long-anticipated overhaul of its farm system, stripping 40 municipalities of minor league affiliations. Those cities were left with finding other baseball options or exploring a long-term solution through redevelopment.  Stadium face-lifts are often expensive — around $5 million for large-scale renovations. Even demolition can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. City officials in Huntsville, Ala., for example, estimated that tearing down their ballpark would cost $800,000.  Most abandoned ballparks have temporarily joined summer leagues serving college prospects or independent leagues, said Kevin Reichard, the editor of Ballpark Digest, a website devoted to news about baseball stadiums…

Building such facilities does not come without risk. When Major League Baseball reshaped the minor leagues, teams became locked into affiliations for only 10 years, seemingly giving minor league teams that were left out a window to refurbish their stadiums in case an availability opened up a decade later. 
The 10-year deals could also give major league clubs leverage to demand more upgrades from current partners. Major League Baseball has already ordered the minor league team in Eugene, Ore., to build a new stadium or the franchise will be relocated by 2025.  Community leaders in Lancaster, Calif., which lost the Class A Lancaster Jethawks after 25 years, are less keen on jumping through such hoops.

NattyBoh Posted: August 31, 2021 at 03:55 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rob manfred's dumb ideas, stadium renovations, stadiums

Saturday, August 07, 2021

An OF earned a W? That wasn’t the crazy part

After giving up six runs on the mound, Greensboro’s Will Matthiessen, the outfielder-turned-pitcher-turned-folk hero, smacked a walk-off grand slam to cap a seven-run comeback and give the Grasshoppers a wild 15-14 victory. To put a cherry on top, Matthiessen earned the win for his efforts on the mound. Talk about a redemption arc….

The Grasshoppers sent Matthiessen, an outfielder, to pitch in the top of the 12th inning and, as you might predict, he proceeded to get shelled. Matthiessen gave up three runs before recording an out. Ezequiel Duran then sent a three-run blast into orbit, giving Hickory a six-run cushion. Given the circumstances, the Crawdads decided to stick with Nic Laio on the mound in the 12th, after he had gotten through the 11th, to save a pitcher in a game that seemingly looked to be over.

Laio got the first two outs of the inning pretty quickly, sandwiching an RBI single by Triolo with a popout and a strikeout. Then, the Grasshoppers sparked a rally, scoring two runs on two singles and a double. At this point, there were two runners on, and Koch came to the plate representing the tying run. After a visit to the mound, Laio issued a seven-pitch walk to Koch, loading the bases. Enter Matthiessen for the most unlikely of endings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2021 at 10:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ruckus erupts at NJ Jackals game after fans throw beer at Sussex County Miners players

A fracas erupted between players and fans at a New Jersey Jackals game Thursday night, according to a statement from Montclair State University, where the independent league baseball team plays, and video footage posted to Twitter.

At some time around 10 p.m., attendees threw beer on players from the Sussex County Miners as they sat in the dugout, wrote Andrew Mees, spokesperson for Montclair State, in an email.

“The players then began going into the stands to stop them,” he stated.

NattyBoh Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:28 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: beer, minor leagues, promotions, riots

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Scoring in the minors is up…a lot

In 2019, there was a big spike in offense, while 2021 has dropped slightly in runs, home runs, doubles, and triples, but 2019 was a tough standard to beat. Still, in Triple-A West, home runs are up 55% over the three-year average and 20% above 2019 even despite the 56% jump that year. Runs-per-game in that division are at an eye-popping 6.03 per game.

It is odd that doubles and triples are down but home runs are up. Perhaps we are seeing balls travel farther (which jives with the new baseball) and either dying at the wall or going over it. As Rob Arthur pointed out in an earlier linked piece above:

MLB said they’d be tuning down the COR by an unspecified amount, which should have cut against the change in weight. Instead, we got exactly the exit velocity increase expected from the weight cut they promised, without any tempering from a COR reduction. Instead of being deadened, the baseball is as live as ever, with higher exit velocity and a little less travel.

Triple-A teams could have exhausted the old supply quickly - if there were any balls to begin with, as some teams used these balls last summer in alternate camp. They may be seeing balls hit at the right launch angle flying over the wall, while others that would have been doubles/triples under the old ball, turn into outs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2021 at 11:28 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: juiced ball, minor leagues

Friday, June 25, 2021

Partner Leagues Face Player Shortage As MLB Clubs Purchase Contracts At Record Rate

A confluence of events has left the baseball talent coffers dry, which has led professional partner leagues (known as independent leagues until this year) to set records for the number of players that have had their contracts sold to Major League Baseball teams.

The Atlantic League has sent 46 players to MLB clubs this year. The American Association has sent 64, and the Frontier League has sold 36 contracts.The Pioneer League has sold four contracts in its first year as a partner league.

That’s 150 players sent to MLB clubs and the partner league seasons are just a month old. At this time in 2019, those leagues had sent 77 players to MLB clubs. The American Association has already broken its record for player transfers in a year (50). The records for the Atlantic League (72) and Frontier League (53) are also on pace to be shattered as well.

At this time in 2019, the American Association had sold the contracts of 28 players; the Atlantic League had sold 35 contracts and the Frontier League had sold 14.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 25, 2021 at 01:23 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, partner leagues

Thursday, June 03, 2021

A’s promise changes for minor leaguers after sandwich snafu

Reacting to their latest public relations stumble, the A’s said they fired a third-party food vendor that provided “completely unacceptable” meals to players in its minor-league system, photos of which went viral over social media Tuesday.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a group that pushes for better conditions for minor-league baseball players, posted photos of the food - a barely filled sandwich and tortilla - writing:

“Players in the Oakland A’s organization shared these photos of their recent post-game meals. No employer would serve these meals to employees they care about. Why are the A’s serving them to their future Major Leaguers?”

The tweet had nearly 4,000 retweets as of Wednesday afternoon. The A’s provide a statement acknowledging problems with food being served to their minor-league players.

“Several weeks ago, we were made aware of the postgame meals being served to players in our Minor League system,” the A’s statement said. “Those options were completely unacceptable and by no means meet our quality standards. We immediately ended our relationship with that third party vendor.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 09:32 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, minor leagues

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Did new rules cause big spike in MiLB steals?

Back in March, Major League Baseball announced that it was instituting rule changes to the four full-season levels of the Minor Leagues. At High-A, all pitchers are now required to step off the rubber fully before attempting a pickoff move. Meanwhile, Low-A hurlers are allowed only two pickoff attempts per plate appearance. These were done specifically to increase the potential for stolen bases, leading to more exciting movement around the diamond. They were also isolated to their respective levels to better study whether the specific changes were having their intended effects….

The data is clear. High-A teams are attempting 50 percent more stolen bases than their 2019 counterparts with attempts up from 1.19 per game two years ago to 1.79 through the early going. It’s easy to see why. With pitchers needing to step fully off the rubber, runners are extending their leads and getting better jumps than ever, once they know the man on the mound is actually delivering the ball home.

Those leads and jumps have led to a sharp dropoff in caught-stealing rates as well. Pretty steadily, catchers were throwing out between 32.6 and 32.8 percent of opposing baserunners over the previous three seasons. That has dropped to 20.9 through the first two weeks of 2021.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 19, 2021 at 11:07 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rules experiments

Monday, May 17, 2021

Baseball America [$]: ‘It’s Awful’: Sloppy Play Rampant Across Minors After Unprecedented Layoff

Hitters are working to get their timing back. Pitchers are struggling with command and control issues. As of mid May, 41% of all plate appearances in the minors are resulting in a walk, strikeout or hit-by pitch (the MLB rate is 34 %). Both the current walk rate (12% of all plate appearances) and the current strikeout rate (28% of all plate appearances) are far beyond the rate ever seen before at any time in the minor leagues. In 2019, the minors set previous highs with a 24% strikeout rate and a 9% walk rate. So this year, another 9% of plate appearances are resulting in walks or strikeouts.

Put in different terms, if a minor league pitcher is walking 4.5 batters per nine innings and striking out 11 per nine innings, he’s right on the minor league average in both categories, even if both the walk rate and the strikeout rate seem sky high to anyone who has been watching baseball for a while.

But it’s not just walks and strikeouts. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, full-season minor league teams had either a .976 or .977 fielding percentage every year. This year, the collective fielding percentage is sitting at .970. Low-A understandably always has the lowest fielding percentage among full-season levels, but its current .961 fielding percentage is 10 points worse than its worst performance of the previous three seasons.

“Live game speed is probably the biggest adjustment right now, especially defensively,” said a fourth scout. “The game is getting fast on some guys.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 03:02 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

With Bob Cousy, Pedro Martinez And More In Attendance, Worcester Red Sox Open Polar Park

Bob Cousy was told to remember two lines, but the 75-year Worcester resident had a lot more to say.

“I’m Bob Cousy, as you’ve just been told,” he informed the crowd at Polar Park in Worcester’s Canal District on Tuesday, gathered for the inaugural Worcester Red Sox home game as they took on the Syracuse Mets.

The crowd roared.

“You’re being nice,” Cousy quipped. “If my name is even fairly familiar to any of you, that probably means you’re receiving your social security check.”


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

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

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Chicago White Sox

Leapin’ Lukevics! What a mess!

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.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 06:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, white sox

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: Cincinnati Reds Top 11 Prospects

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.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Billy Hamilton, SS
2. Devin Mesoraco, C
Three-Star Prospects
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
Two-Star Prospects
11. Yorman Rodriguez, OF

Nine More:
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.

Tripon Posted: January 17, 2012 at 06:26 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, reds, scouting

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: White Sox Top 11 Prospects

System in 20 Words or Less: Two words: Not good.

Four-Star Prospects
1. Addison Reed, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
2. Nestor Molina, RHP
3. Trayce Thompson, OF
4. Jake Petricka, RHP
5. Simon Castro, RHP
6. Keenyn Walker, OF
Two-Star Prospects
7. Eduardo Escobar, SS
8. Jhan Marinez, RHP
9. Myles Jaye, RHP
10. Tyler Saladino, SS
11. Andre Rienzo, RHP

Nine More
12. Juan Silverio, 3B: He’s a third baseman who has the ability to hit, and could move forward in 2012.
13. Jared Mitchell, OF: This former first-rounder still has tools, but the results have been disastrous.
14. Brandon Short, OF: His plus hit tool is matched with a poor approach and a lack of corner-outfield power.
15. Pedro Hernandez, LHP: He was acquired from the Padres in the Carlos Quentin deal. Martinez could pitch in the big leagues this year, but he has a seventh-inning ceiling.
16. Gregory Infante, RHP: Infante is another potential 2012 bullpen piece. He has a power arm, but does not have much to go with in.
17. Erik Johnson, RHP: This 2012 second-round pick has a plus fastball and slider, but he needs to refine his changeup and command.
18. Michael Blanke, C: He has raw power and a good arm, but there are big questions about his bat.
19. Dylan Axelrod, RHP: His ceiling is a fifth starter, but he might already be there.
20. Ozzie Martinez, SS: Martinez arrived from Florida in the Ozzie Guillen deal. He’s a future utility player.

Tripon Posted: January 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, white sox

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2012

Mansfield Daily Shield, January 16, 1912:

Edmund Lamy, who played right field and who will occupy the same position on the Mansfield club in the Ohio State league this season, may become the world’s champion skater this winter. He must win from Morris Wood in a series of matches which has been arranged between the two, to be held at Saranac Lake, N.Y., January 30 and 31. Wood is the present holder of the championship.
...

Lamy has always been prominent as a skater. He was holder of the amateur championship until he entered professional ball and played in this city.

Lamy won. He was a pretty good ballplayer - hit .320 with doubles power in Class B ball as a 23-year-old, but his baseball career ended with a broken collarbone.

After his baseball career and a stint in the military during World War I, Lamy went on to become a legendary speed skater and barrel jumper.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2012 at 05:37 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, minor leagues

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: New York Mets Top 11 Prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Matt Harvey, RHP
2. Zack Wheeler, RHP
Four-Star Prospects
3. Jeurys Familia, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
4. Brandon Nimmo, OF
5. Juan Lagares, OF
6. Jordany Valdespin, 2B
7. Jenrry Mejia, RHP
8. Reese Havens, 2B
9. Cesar Puello, OF
10. Michael Fulmer, RHP
11. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF

Nine More:
12. Cory Mazzoni, RHP: 2011 second-rounder was great in brief debut; will move to rotation in 2012.
13. Akeel Morris, RHP: 20-year-old Virgin Islands native has big, but unrefined, power arm.
14. Darin Gorski, LHP: Had arguably the best stats of any pitcher in the system, but he’s older and has more finesse than stuff.
15. Phillip Evans, SS: Over slot 15th-rounder profiles as offense-oriented second baseman
16. Wilmer Flores, INF: Bat has never taken expected move forward while scouts see big moves down defensive spectrum.
17. Jefry Marte, 3B: Age and strong showing in Arizona Fall League saves him; some scouts still believe in the bat.
18. Juan Urbina, LHP: Shows flashes of high-ceiling potential, but not enough of them.
19. Chris Schwinden, RHP: Reached the big leagues, but what you see is what you get with potential to be a number-five starter.
20. Darrell Ceciliani, OF: Plus speed and a leadoff man’s approach, but never got going with the bat in full-season debut.

Tripon Posted: January 14, 2012 at 03:28 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Kevin Goldstein: Athletics Top 11 Prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Michael Choice, OF
Four-Star Prospects
2. Jarrod Parker, RHP
3. A.J. Cole, RHP
4. Brad Peacock, RHP
5. Sonny Gray, RHP
6. Derek Norris, C
7. Grant Green, OF
Three-Star Prospects
8. Chris Carter, 1B
9. Collin Cowgill, OF
10. Raul Alcantara, RHP
11. Max Stassi, C

Nine More
12. Michael Taylor, OF: He made some improvements in 2011, but the A’s showed “confidence” in Taylor by acquiring Reddick and re-signing Crisp.
13. Josh Donaldson, C: He doesn’t have any star-level tools, but he has improved defensively and has always had solid power.
14. Yordy Cabrera, SS: He had an ugly full-season debut in 2011, but the seven-figure tools are still there.
15. Bobby Crocker, OF: This 2011 fourth-round pick is a big-time athlete with speed and power potential.
16. Aaron Shipman, OF: He could explode with some hitting refinements due to his speed and advanced approach.
17. Vicmal De La Cruz, OF: De La Cruz was beat up in the Dominican Summer League. His speed and bat are his best tools.
18. Ian Krol, LHP: He lost 2011 due to injury, but his instructional league showing has officials optimistic for a bounceback.
19. Miles Head, 1B/3B: Head came over in the Andrew Bailey trade. There is nothing pretty about what he does, but his power is significant.
20. Jermaine Mitchell, OF: He finally had his breakout season, but he is also 27 now.

Tripon Posted: January 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Seamheads: Produced Before Steroids: Happy Felsch’s Great Clouts in 1914

“the leather almost peels off when he kisses one on the trademark.” Dig it!

In the early part of the 1914 regular season, Felsch put on a long ball display that became legendary at the time. On April 28 the Brewers entertained the Cleveland Spiders at Athletic Park. With darkness setting in, Happy hit a titanic home run in the 10th inning to win the game 3 to 2. The Sentinel humorously reported the clout “cleared the fence by forty feet, traveled clear across Eighth Street, hitting the front porch of one of our best known German citizens. It then bounded through a perfectly good plate of glass and landed in the lap of Mrs. Herman Hassenfeffer, who was sitting near the window sewing a new button on her husband’s Sunday pants. Incidentally it cost [Brewer President] Al Timme three bucks for a new pane of glass, but he should worry. Didn’t it win us the game?” From the newspaper report it was obvious the hometown Felsch had a big following:

  “As soon as Happy hit the ball over the wall the bugs flocked out of the bleachers, and there was a reception committee of over a hundred fans at the plate by the time he had completed the circuit. They nearly shook his hand off, while a flock of kids followed him all the way to the clubhouse, patting him on the back and acting as only baseball bugs can act.”

A direct result of Felsch’s homer was that the Brewer management decided the 56 foot high flag pole in deep left centerfield, which was to fly the 1913 pennant, had to be raised to 75 feet, as not to obstruct Hap’s long hits.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: history, minor leagues

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Cleveland Indians

Pork Chop Pough, don’t ya know!!!

1. Francisco Lindor, ss
2. Dillon Howard, rhp
3. Nick Hagadone, lhp
4. Chen Lee, rhp
5. Luigi Rodriguez, of
6. Zach McAllister, rhp
7. Tony Wolters, ss
8. Austin Adams, rhp
9. Scott Barnes, lhp
10. Zach Putnam, rhp

If things don’t click for the Indians, they’ll likely have to turn back to trade market. The trades of White and Pomeranz and graduations of Chisenhall and Kipnis have left the system thin of talent. Cleveland’s strength in the minors is its depth of relief pitching, but Hagadone, Chen Lee, Zach Putnam and Co. aren’t going to provide the foundation for a contender.

The Indians’ best prospects are years away from contributing. They paid $4.75 million for their first two picks in the 2011 draft, shortstop Francisco Lindor and righthander Dillon Howard, but they’re high schoolers with a combined five games of pro experiences. Similarly, Dominican outfielder Luigi Rodriguez and shortstop Tony Wolters have played just 34 games in full-season leagues.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2012 at 08:46 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Friday, January 13, 2012

Braves re-sign infielder Jack Wilson

As an old pequod sod in the bar used to say to anybody named Jack…“#### you, Jack, I’m all right!!”

The Atlanta Braves have re-signed veteran infielder Jack Wilson to a one-year deal, the team’s website reports.

Wilson, 34, hit .243 with no homers, 11 RBIs in part-time duty with the Braves and Seattle Mariners in 2011. He was dealt to Atlanta on Aug. 31.

His biggest impact this season might be as a mentor/insurance policy.

Barring another acquisition, the Braves will start rookie Tyler Pastornicky at shortstop on opening day. The 22-year-old hit .314 with seven homers, 45 RBIs and 27 stolen bases between the Class AA and Class AAA levels in 2011, but he never has played in the majors.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2012 at 04:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, minor leagues, prospect reports

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