Archive for August 9th, 2009

Average Distance From Majors To Affiliates: American League Central

Cleveland Indians (average: 501 miles)
Cleveland to…
…Columbus Clippers (AAA): 143 miles
…Akron Aeros (AA): 39 miles
…Kinston Indians (A): 650 miles
…Lake County Captains (A): 19 miles
…Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A): 72 miles
…GCL Indians (Rookie): 2,081 miles

Detroit Tigers (average: 572 miles)
Detroit to…
…Toledo Mudhens (AAA): 58 miles
…Erie Seawolves (AA): 270 miles
…Lakeland Tigers (A): 1,177 miles
…West Michigan Whitecaps (A): 165 miles
…Oneonta Tigers (A): 586 miles
…GCL Tigers (Rookie): 1,177 miles

Kansas City Royals (average: 756 miles)
Kansas City to…
…Omaha Royals (AAA): 184 miles
…Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA): 227 miles
…Wilmington Blue Rocks (A): 1,119 miles
…Burlington Bees (A): 300 miles
…Surprise Royals (A): 1,258 miles
…Burlington Royals (A): 1,018 miles
…Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie): 1,183 miles

Chicago White Sox (average: 833 miles)
Chicago to…
…Charlotte Knights (AAA): 778 miles
…Birmingham Barons (AA): 662 miles
…Winston-Salem Dash (A): 758 miles
…Kannapolis Intimidators (A): 799 miles
…Bristol White Sox (Rookie): 623 miles
…Great Falls Voyagers (Rookie): 1,377 miles

Minnesota Twins (average: 1,172 miles)
Minneapolis to…
…Rochester Redwings (AAA): 1,010 miles
…New Britain Rock Cats (AA): 1,291 miles
…Fort Meyers Miracle (A): 1,690 miles
…Beloit Snappers (A): 316 miles
…Elizabethton Twins (Rookie): 1,034 miles
…GCL Twins (Rookie): 1,690 miles

A Quick Word On The “Average Distance” Posts

The Cardinal Nation Blog.  That’s the name of the blog that linked to one of the “average distance” posts and pointed out a problem with it.

Normally I wouldn’t use a whole brand new post to mention something like that, but I like what’s going on in the comments section over there – one, I’m referred to as “the Bus Leagues blogger”, which is strangely amusing, and two, commenter JumboShrimp has thrown out a few thoughts about these posts and what they mean in terms of the relationship between major and minor league teams.

The reason I decided to do the “average distance” posts was rehab assignments.  Basically, I was curious to see if most teams kept affiliates nearby so they could rehab a player in the minors and still have him close at hand and ready to join the major league team when finished.  Also, Toronto’s top affiliate is in Las Vegas, which has fascinated me since it was announced this summer.

I do have some more affiliate-related stuff I’m working on, because I think it’s interesting, and hope to incorporate some of the stuff that was mentioned by JumboShrimp as well.

Average Distance From Majors To Affiliates: American League East

Baltimore Orioles (average: 266 miles)
Baltimore to…
…Norfolk Tides (AAA): 240 miles
…Bowie Baysox (AA): 29 miles
…Frederick Keys (A): 49 miles
…Delmarva Shorebirds (A): 110 miles
…Aberdeen Ironbirds (A): 36 miles
…Bluefield Orioles (Rookie): 366 miles
…GCL Orioles (Rookie): 1,006 miles

New York Yankees (average: 544 miles)
New York to…
…Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA): 125 miles
…Trenton Thunder (AA): 67 miles
…Charleston RiverDogs (A): 771 miles
…Tampa Yankees (A): 1,142 miles
…Staten Island Yankees (A): 18 miles
…Gulf Coast Yankees (Rookie): 1,142 miles

Boston Red Sox (average: 550 miles)
Boston to…
…Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA): 45 miles
…Portland Sea Dogs (AA): 108 miles
…Salem Red Sox (A): 682 miles
…Greenville Drive (A): 962 miles
…Lowell Spinners (A): 31 miles
…GCL Red Sox (Rookie): 1,474 miles

Tampa Bay Rays (average: 682 miles)
Tampa Bay to…
…Durham Bulls (AAA): 702 miles
…Montgomery Biscuits (AA): 509 miles
…Charlotte Stone Crabs (A): 71 miles
…Bowling Green Hot Rods (A): 794 miles
…Hudson Valley Renegades (A): 1,235 miles
…Princeton Rays (Rookie): 782 miles

Toronto Blue Jays (average: 1,215 miles)
Toronto to…
…Las Vegas 51s (AAA): 2,254 miles
…New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA): 591 miles
…Dunedin Blue Jays (A): 1,355 miles
…Lansing Lugnuts (A): 301 miles
…Auburn Doubledays (A): 220 miles
…Gulf Coast Blue Jays (Rookie): 1,355 miles

Why Don’t More Teams Hold Minor League Games At Major League Parks?

I’m not sure how common things like the “Futures at Fenway” and “Road to Wrigley” games are, but they’re the kind of events I would like to see major league teams sponsor more often.

What’s not to like?

–Players get the chance to ply their trade on a major league field.  For some guys, the prospects, it might be their first opportunity to check out the on-field atmosphere in the big leagues; for the guys that won’t quite make it that far, it’s a nice story just to be able to say they played in a major league park.

–Front offices get to see how some of the organization’s best players respond to the pressure of playing in front of larger crowds than they will see in the minor leagues.  More than 30,000 people were at Fenway on Saturday; you think Theo Epstein and Andy MacPhail weren’t keeping an eye on Lars Anderson and Jake Arrieta to see if they maintained their composure? (Official attendance for both games was about 16,000, but I’ve seen that 30,000 mentioned in more than one place.)

–Fans get the opportunity to visit a major league ballpark for slightly more than minor league prices, but certainly not major league prices.  I went to the Cape Cod League All-Star Game at Fenway a few weeks ago and it was amazing.  Not that I remember much of what happened (it was raining; the game was called after the top of the fifth) – it was just awesome to be sitting in great seats at Fenway Park for just $10.

Maybe the Red Sox and Cubs are special cases given the historic nature of the ballparks in which they play, but I’m not so sure.  I’d be willing to bet that many fans would be willing to spend up to ten dollars to see the future of their franchises in action in a major league ballpark.

Gaston’s Homer, Clemens’ Two Ribbies Not QUITE Enough For Lancaster

Lancaster teammates Jon Gaston and Koby Clemens lead the California League in homeruns and RBI, respectively, and each added to their totals on Saturday night.  Gaston hit his 30th homer in the sixth, a solo shot, and Clemens added a two-run double for RBIs 95 and 96 in the eighth.

Unfortunately, that was the only offense the JetHawks in a game where their pitching staff forgot to show up.  Bakersfield scored at least three runs in six of the first seven innings and led 18-0 by the time Gaston went deep.  Before Clemens drove in his two, it was 24-1.

A team that scores 24 runs in a game will have no shortage of offensive stars, but two players stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Mauro Gomez was 4-6 with two homeruns and four RBI, moving him into third and seventh in those two categories.  Elio Sarmiento had an even bigger game, going 5-6 with a double, homerun, four RBI, and six runs scored.  He’s been hot in August, with a .455 batting average and 1.311 OPS in seven games.

A Zephyr Can Beat A Grizzly, But The Grizzly Will Put Up One Hell Of A Fight

This would have been a much bigger story if the home team had won, but I still find it fascinating that Fresno entered the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday trailing New Orleans 14-1 before putting eight on the scoreboard and almost making a game of it.

The Zephyrs dominated early, building a 13-0 lead by the middle of the fifth.  Five players had two or more hits, led by rightfielder Brett Carroll (4-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3B, 3 RS – not often that somebody misses the cycle by a double), starting pitcher Willie Collazo and reliever Brett Sinkbeil combined for eight innings of one-run, three-hit ball, and it looked like one of those nights that, if you’re associated with the Grizzlies, you write off as a loss and focus on the next one.

Then Carlos Vazquez replaced Sinkbeil to start the ninth.  He walked the first two batters he faced, the third reached on an error to load the bases, and the fourth, Jesus Guzman, hit a grand slam to centerfield to make it 14-5.  Vazquez walked the next batter before finally recording an out via strikeout, then gave up another homerun, to Matt Downs, to make it a 14-7 ball game.

That’s where it was decided that perhaps this just wasn’t Carlos Vazquez’s day.  He was pulled in favor of Chris Mobley, who promptly allowed a single and a double to put two men in scoring position with still just one out.  A visit to the mound settled him down, however, as he got Clay Timpner to ground out for the second out (as the inning’s seventh run scored).  A single made the score 14-9, but with a runner on first and two down, the rally was just about dead even before Nate Schierholtz lined out to short to end the game.

One good inning doesn’t erase eight bad ones for the Grizzlies, but at least they ended the day with something positive to fall back on.