Archive for August 29th, 2009

Anything For A Game Used Ball

Slow roller down the line late in the game.  The ball ended up in the hands of the Sea Dogs third base coach, who ignored a bunch of screaming kids in the front row, flipping it over their heads and causing two older guys to bang into one another pretty hard as they went after the toss.

Later, a scrum almost broke out when Lars Anderson tossed a ball into the same section and two guys reached for it at the same time. Fun times.

Promotions, Promotions Everywhere

There is a promotion happening in the next section over, led by Morgan, who carried Kevin Gray’s team in the homerun derby. My wife: “We should be doing that. She’s your friend. Hook it up.” Um, yeah, right. We’re close. Totally.

The Fisher Cats are doing a really cool thing. Tonight’s game, as mentioned, was supposed to be a doubleheader. To make it up to fans, they’re offering to exchange the ticket stub from tonight’s game to either the last home game of the season on Monday or any April home game next season.

Kalish has hit the ball well tonight – just pulled a rope down the line for an RBI double.

The Lars Is Wrong

I’m no expert on swings and stuff like that, but Lars Anderson looks technically okay. Good strike zone judgment, worked the count well, decent bat speed – he just doesn’t seem to hit the ball hard. Two popups and a weak groundout.

Ryan Kalish, on the other hand, hit the hell out of one to center, nearly 400 feet, that went for a long out.

Billy is very disappointed by the lack of special effects at the ballpark. Multiple balls have gone over the roof in foul territory, only one “breaking glass” effect.

My wife stood behind a kid who looked like McLovin in the fried dough line.

Lars And The Real Hitter

Sorry about the headline. My wife likes Ryan Gosling’s work.

With the score 2-0 New Hampshire, Lars Anderson led off with a weak popout to third on a 2-0 pitch. Luis Exposito followed with a slicing drive down the right field line to cut it to 2-1. Two batters later, Jason Place tied it with a shot to left.

With two outs, the pitcher for the Fisher Cats took a shot to the leg and went down hard. Didn’t look good, but he was able to walk off the field.

The Hamburglar appears to be running arounf in the stands right now as part of a promo with the Red Arrow Diner. I don’t know what just happened.

O Say Can You Eat…

There were literally fifteen first pitches before the game. I’ve never seen a catcher take a bucket out to catch the first pitch before.

Billy hates the girl two rows in front of us because she was eating during the national anthem. I’m not saying he’s wrong. It’s just funny that every game we go to, something awkward happens during a patriotic song.  (There was also the “God Bless America” incident in Pawtucket and the “Star Spangled Banner” incident in Baltimore.)

Kalish saw two pitches in the first before hitting a sky high fly to left. That thing was up there for a looooooong time.

Bus Leagues Live, Part Two

Once again, I’m live from Merchantsauto.com Stadium in Manchester, watching the Fisher Cats. Tonight, they will be taking on Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson, and the Portland Sea Dogs. This was originally supposed to be a doubleheader and Daisuke Matsuzaka was supposed to start one of the games, but Tropical Storm Danny took care of that.

Still, the rain has subsided enough for tonight’s game (or at least the start of it), so hopefully I’ll be back with a few updates throughout the night.

Actually, a quick update on my friend Billy’s abilty to put a lid on a souvenir cup (see: 2008 All-Star Game): he and my wife both just bought similar cups, and neither worker could figure out how to get the lid on. Redemption, thy name is Billy.

Eastern League All-Stars Announced

The Eastern League announced it’s 2009 All-Stars last night.  I really want to refer to them as postseason All-Stars, because that’s basically what they are, but the season still has a week to go.  Can you have announce postseason All-Stars while the season is still happening?  What came first, the chicken or the egg?  How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  Why did Joe Savery make this team over Madison Bumgarner or Brian Matusz? Just a few of life’s unanswerable questions.

Anyway, here are the 2009 Eastern League All-Stars:

Catcher: Carlos Santana, Akron Aeros
First Base: Brett Pill, Connecticut Defenders
Second Base: Brock Bond, Connecticut Defenders
Third Base: Neil Sellers, Reading Phillies
Shortstop: Eduardo Nunez, Trenton Thunder
Outfield: Quintin Berry, Reading Phillies
Outfield: Brennan Boesch, Erie SeaWolves
Outfield: Michael Taylor, Reading Phillies
Utility: Brian Dinkelman, New Britain Rock Cats
Designated Hitter: Brian Dopirak, New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Right-Handed SP: Jeanmar Gomez, Akron Aeros
Left-Handed SP: Joe Savery, Reading Phillies
Relief Pitcher: Anthony Slama, New Britain Rock Cats

Early Progression Of 2009 First Round Draft Picks

Now that the deadline has passed for 2009 draft picks to sign with their teams, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the first round selections, where they landed, and how they’re doing.

1. Stephen Strasburg, 21, RHP (Washington Nationals) – Expected to make his debut with the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.

2. Dustin Ackley, 21, 1B (Seattle Mariners) – Expected to make his debut with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League

3. Donavan Tate, 18, OF (San Diego Padres) – Expected to make his debut in 2010 due to injury.

4. Tony Sanchez, 21, C (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Hitting .331 with 6 homeruns and 42 RBI in 40 games between State College (A-, New York-Penn League) and West Virginia (A, South Atlantic League); he was named the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Week on August 17.

5. Matt Hobgood, 19, RHP (Baltimore Orioles) – Has compiled a 1-1 record, 5.40 ERA, and 13 strikeouts in 21.2 innings over seven starts for the Bluefield Orioles (R, Appalachian League).

6. Zack Wheeler, 19, RHP (San Francisco Giants) Expected to make his debut in 2010.

7. Mike Minor, 21, LHP (Atlanta Braves) – Has started two games for the Rome Braves (A, South Atlantic League), allowing no runs on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.  He will play for the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

8. Mike Leake, 21, RHP (Cincinnati Reds) – Expected to make his debut in the Arizona Fall League; he was not on the original roster because he signed after rosters were submitted, but the Reds are petitioning to add him.

9. Jacob Turner, 18, RHP (Detroit Tigers) – Appears to be looking at instructional leagues this fall and winter, leading into a 2010 debut.

10. Drew Storen, 22, RHP (Washington Nationals) – Has made stops at Hagerstown (A, South Atlantic League), Potomac (A+, Carolina League), and Harrisburg (AA, Eastern League), compiling a 1-1 record, 2.14 ERA and nine saves in 25 games.  He has struck out 44 batters in 33.2 innings and will pitch for Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League.

11. Tyler Matzek, 18, LHP (Colorado Rockies) – Indicated soon after signing that he was headed to the Pioneer League, but has compiled no stats and does not appear to be slated for the AFL.

12. Aaron Crow, 22, RHP (Kansas City Royals) – One of three first rounders who did not sign prior to the deadline, Crow’s lack of college eligibility actually gives the Royals until just before next year’s draft to sign him.

13. Grant Green, 21, SS (Oakland Athletics) – Doesn’t have any stats yet and I can’t find anything that says where he might be headed.

14. Matt Purke, 19, LHP (Texas Rangers) – Did not sign; will attend Texas Christian University.

15. Alex White, 21, RHP (Cleveland Indians) – Will not pitch this season due to a heavy workload in college; he may make his debut in the AFL.

16. Bobby Borchering, 18, 3B (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Hitting .167 with one homerun and four RBI in eight games for the Missoula Osprey (R, Pioneer League).

17. A.J. Pollock, 21, OF (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Hitting .269 with three homeruns and 22 RBI in 54 games for the South Bend Silver Hawks (A, Midwest League).

18. Chad James, 18, LHP (Florida Marlins) – Doesn’t have any stats yet and I can’t find anything that says where he might be headed.

19. Shelby Miller, 18, RHP (St. Louis Cardinals) – Reportedly assigned to the Quad Cities River Bandits (A, Midwest League), but has not appeared in a game yet.

20. Chad Jenkins, 21, RHP (Toronto Blue Jays) – There’s a Chad Jenkins pitching in the Nationals system, but it’s not the same one, which is weird because Washington was looking at this Chad Jenkins prior to the draft.  I’m not sure where the Blue Jays’ Jenkins has landed.

21. Jiovanni Mier, 19, SS (Houston Astros) – Hitting .277 with six homeruns, 27 RBI, and ten stolen bases for the Greeneville Astros (R, Appalachian League).

22. Kyle Gibson, 21, RHP (Minnesota Twins) – Not sure where he will land; had a stress fracture in his arm that caused him to drop in the first round, not sure how that’s still affecting him.

23. Jared Mitchell, 20, OF (Chicago White Sox) – Hitting .296 with no homeruns and ten RBI in 34 games for the Kannapolis Intimidators (A, South Atlantic League).

24. Randal Grichuk, 18, OF (Los Angeles Angels) – Hitting .329 with seven homeruns (five in the last nine games), 53 RBI, and ten triples in 52 games for the AZL Angels (R, Arizona Summer League).

25. Mike Trout, 18, OF (Los Angeles Angels) – Hitting .369 with one homerun, 25 RBI, and seven triples in 38 games for the AZL Angels (R, Arizona Summer League).

26. Eric Arnett, 21, RHP (Milwaukee Brewers) – Has compiled an 0-3 record with a 4.57 ERA in 11 games (six starts) for the Helena Brewers (R, Pioneer League).

27. Nick Franklin, 18, SS (Seattle Mariners) – Hitting .282 with one homerun and four RBI in nine games for the AZL Mariners (R, Arizona Summer League).

28. Reymond Fuentes, 18, OF (Boston Red Sox) – Hitting .296 with one homerun and 14 RBI in 39 games for the GCL Red Sox (R, Gulf Coast League).

29. Zachary Heathcott, 18, OF (New York Yankees) – Hitting .100 with no homeruns and no RBI in three games for the GCL Yankees (R, Gulf Coast League).

30. LeVon Washington, 18, OF (Tampa Bay Rays) – Did not sign; will attend Chipola College.

31. Brett Jackson, 21, OF (Chicago Cubs) – Hitting .325 with seven homeruns and 35 RBI between stops with the AZL Cubs (R, Arizona Summer League), Boise (A-, Northwest League), and Peoria (A, Midwest League).

32. Tim Wheeler, 21, OF (Colorado Rockies) – Hitting .256 with four homeruns and 31 RBI in 60 games for the Tri-City Dust Devils (A-, Northwest League).

Vote For The USA Today Minor League Player Of The Year

I was looking through the Bus Leagues archives (because there’s no better way to spend a Saturday morning) and saw that last year around this time, Eric directed us to the online voting for USA Today’s Minor League Player of the Year award (Tampa Bay’s David Price eventually won).

The newspaper has already named its finalists for the 2009 season and the polls are open.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Jose Giants/Connecticut Defenders – 12-2, 1.81 ERA, 23 G/22 GS, 91 SO, 123.1 IP, .214 BAA

Brian Matusz, LHP, Frederick Keys/Bowie Baysox – 11-2, 1.91 ERA, 19 GS, 121 SO, 113 IP, .211 BAA

Jason Heyward, OF, Myrtle Beach Pelicans/Mississippi Braves – .314 BA, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 47 BB, 47 SO, .399/.557/.956

Buster Posey, C, San Jose Giants/Fresno Grizzlies – .318 BA, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 62 BB, 66 SO, .413/.529/.942

Carlos Santana, C, Akron Aeros – .285 BA, 21 HR, 89 RBI, 84 BB, 78 SO, .410/.523/.933

Not sure how much I agree with these selections.  If I have the time, maybe I’ll do my own ballot.  For position players, they seem to put a premium on guys who produce in Class AA and AAA while keeping their strikeout totals down (Heyward and Posey both did time in Class A Advanced this season but have also accumulated significant playing time in AA and AAA, respectively).  That might explain why Chris Carter gets no love despite hitting .333 with 24 homeruns and 105 RBI in Double- and Triple-A.

Bumgarner and Matusz have the numbers to be on the list.  I’m just put off by the fact that Matusz made it despite not having pitched in the minor leagues since August 1.  Bumgarner wasn’t great when I saw him in Manchester, but he has put up exceptional numbers for two straight seasons (27-5, 1.63 ERA, 255 SO, 54 BB, 265 IP) at three different levels.  His strikeouts are way down this year and his walks are up, but it’s not like San Francisco needs him to be The Man; if he can produce enough to be the number three starter behind Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, that’s a win in my book.

For the record, Bumgarner got my vote among the players listed and currently leads 38%-27% over Heyward after about 3600 votes.