Archive for the ‘A Short Season’ Category

How Many, “Hey, Somebody Pitched A No-Hitter” Titles Can I Possibly Come Up With?

As many as I have to, apparently.

Brooklyn Cyclones pitcher Brandon Moore became the latest to join the No-Hit Club on Sunday against the Aberdeen Ironbirds, striking out six and walking three in seven innings of work to improve his record to 6-2 on the season.  His teammates backed him up with single runs in the first and fourth innings before putting it away with a three-run seventh.

It was the first no-hitter in team history.

Twitter Invades Minor League Baseball

Our pal Jordi Scrubbings is a full-blown, unapologetic devotee of Twitter, so it’s fitting that we learned about minor league baseball’s firm embrace of new media directly from him.

As Jordi noted in his post, Sunday’s game between the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Staten Island Yankees was streamed live on twitcam.com, and it was reasonably popular:

So far they have nearly 70 viewers and have several people discussing the game through twitter with each other and the Hudson Valley Renegades twitter feed (@HVRENEGADES). There are even family members of the Renegades tuning in and contributing to the discussion. No word yet on whether there are any fans on location chiming in.

I’d like to think that this isn’t too far from what I was doing the other night with that series of posts from the ballpark.  It has the potential to be a huge, huge thing for sports organizations in that it allows them to offer fans another way to enjoy the game.

Many teams are already using Twitter (I hope to have the reasonably complete list in a page link up top by the end of the week).  This concept makes that medium much more valuable.

The No-Hitters Keep Coming

August has been a good month for minor league no-hitters – there have been approximately 412 so far (that might be a slight exaggeration), with three more added to the list on Saturday.

In the Arizona League, three Athletics pitchers combined to hold the Angels hitless – payback, perhaps, for August 14, when the Angels did the same to the A’s.  There was only one problem: the Angels won both games.

Hector Garcia started and went five innings, striking out five and walking two.  One of those walks came in the fifth, to the leadoff batter, who advanced to second on a passed ball, to third on a groundout, and to home on another groundout.

After Christopher Mederos pitched two perfect innings, Daniel Tenholder got the call.  He pitched a perfect eighth, but in the ninth, two consecutive errors and an intentional walk loaded the bases with nobody out.  The end was anticlimactic: a walk-off walk to Randal Grichuk.  So I guess, technically, it was an eight inning no-hitter.

The outcome of the Northwest League game between Salem-Keizer and Everett was a bit more traditional.  Three Volcanoes pitchers combined for the no-hitter, but these guys managed to win the game, 8-0.  Craig Westcott went the first five, striking out six and walking two to run his overall record to 6-0 between two levels (he also has 51 strikeouts in 33.1 innings), before turning things over to Brandon Graves and Wilber Bucardo for the last twelve outs.

The finest performance of the day was turned in by Erie’s Thad Weber.  Weber went the full nine innings against Akron, striking out ten without walking a batter.  Only a third inning error and an eighth inning hit batsman stood in the way of a perfect game.  His teammates made it easy for him, scoring seven runs in the fourth en route to a 16-0 drubbing of the visiting Aeros.

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 20

Well the Happ bobblehead giveaway I went to was a mob scene. They even had to open up early since the line at the one gate was all the way into the parking lot causing a big problem with people that expected to have the gates open at 6pm, not 5:45 like they did. Unfortunately management didn’t care much, but also didn’t mention to the fans that only half were given at the fans gate with the other half being saved for their plan holders and luxury box people. Here’s this week’s giveaways:

Greeneville Astros 8/17/09 Davy Crockett – First 1,000 – Crockett was born on 8/17/1786 and he comes complete with outfit, funky hat and a bat to boot.

Memphis Redbirds 8/18/09 Jason Motte – First 1,500 – Motte had started his rookie campaign in 2009 as the potential closer until handing the job to Ryan Franklin.

Long Island Ducks 8/19/09 Frank Boulton – First 2,000 – The Atlantic League franchise finally gives their owner his due.

Los Angeles Dodgers 8/19/09 Matt Kemp – First 50,000 – Kemp won the fans hearts by their vote in the 2009 bobble stakes.

Norfolk Tides 8/19/09 Bruce Smith – First 2,000 17 and under – As a neighborhood hero, the Tides do their first football player bobble. The fact he’s in the NFL HOF makes it sweeter.

Philadelphia Phillies 8/19/09 Brad Lidge – Lidge was perfect in save opportunities in leading the Phillies to the 2008 WS title.

Trenton Thunder 8/19/09 Mark Melancon – First 2,000 6 and up – Melancon was one of the many who made their Yankees debut in 2009. The others should make up the 2010 set to come!!!

Erie Seawolves 8/21/09 Curtis Granderson – First 1,000 – Granderson is the player selected as the bobblehead of the Tigers era in this set.

Oakland A’s 8/21/09 Jason Giambi – First 15,000 – Too bad Giambi was recently released before his comeback bobble to the A’s

Wilmington BlueRocks 8/21/09 Jed Lowrie – First 1,000 – Lowrie is one of the few bright spots from Boston’s tenure with the Rocks before they returned to a Royals affiliate.

Potomac Nationals 8/22/09 John Lannan – First 1,000 – A Long Island native made his debut with Washington in 2008 and has turned into their ace.

Quad Cities River Bandits 8/22/09 Jimmy Buffett with Parrott – First 1,000 – It’s a night for parrotheads in the Quad Cities, with a concert following the game.

Tri-City Valleycats 8/22/09 Steve Caporizzo – First 1,000 – The Cats fans have spoken and their favorite weathermaq is Caporizzo from an earlier poll.
Washington Nationals 8/22/09 Frank Howard – First 15,000 – Played for the Washington Senators from 1965-1971. During an amazing one-week stretch in the spring of 1968 (May 12–18), Howard hammered 10 home runs in 20 at bats, with at least one in six consecutive games; his 10 home runs are also the most ever in one week. He would go on to hit 13 homers in 16 games, a mark that would stand until Albert Belle matched it in 1995.

Florence Freedom 8/23/09 George Foster – First 1,000 – A 5-time All-Star (1976-79, 1981), Foster was a member of the 1970s Big Red Machine, leading the league in home runs in 1977-78, runs batted in from 1976-78, and OPS in 1977.

2 giveaways for me this week…Melancon in Trenton and Lowrie in Wilmington. Also have a friend getting me the LA Kemp. See ya next week.

Minor League MVP Candidates, League-By-League

Just for the heck of it, I decided tonight to look at the stats for every league in the minors and see if I could come up with a candidate or two (no more than three) for the Most Valuable Player award.  (I’ll try to do the same for pitchers later this week.)

Some of these are no-brainers (*cough*Chris CarterTexasLeague*cough*), but most had at least a couple guys that should find themselves in the running for some awards.  In most cases, I tried to limit a player’s eligibility to the league they currently play in – Brian Dopirak and Michael Taylor, for example, are still in good shape in the Eastern League, but shouldn’t win any awards there after spending more than a month of the season in Triple A.

If I missed anyone obvious, or if you have a personal favorite, throw it out there. We’ll see how many of these (if any) we actually get right.

Triple A
International League
Andy Marte, Columbus: .963 OPS (1st), 18 HR (t-4th), 66 RBI (4th)
Shelley Duncan, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 25 HR (1st), 76 RBI (1st), 54 BB (t-1st), .899 OPS (5th)

Mexican League
Ruben Rivera, Campeche: 32 HR (1st), 90 RBI (t-4th), 1.130 OPS (2nd), 96 R (2nd)
Saul Soto, Monterrey: 28 HR (2nd), 93 RBI (2nd), 1.095 OPS (3rd)
Dionys Cesar, Vaqueros: .380 BA (1st), 40 SB (1st), 92 R (3rd)

Pacific Coast League
Randy Ruiz, Las Vegas: 25 HR (2nd), 106 RBI (1st), .320 BA (10th), .976 OPS (3rd), 81 R (5th), 148 H (1st), 43 2B (1st)

Double A
Eastern League
Carlos Santana, Akron: 20 HR (4th), 82 RBI (2nd), 71 BB (2nd), .943 OPS (4th), 73 R (2nd)
Ryan Strieby, Erie: .982 OPS (1st), 17 HR (4th), .305 BA (6th)

Southern League
Juan Francisco, Carolina: 22 HR (1st), 74 RBI (1st), .822 OPS (10th), 63 R (8th)
Todd Frazier, Carolina: 124 H (1st), 37 2B (1st), 13 HR (t-6th), 63 RBI (t-5th), .852 OPS (8th)

Texas League
Chris Carter, Midland: .336 BA (1st), 21 HR (1st), 90 RBI (2nd), 101 R (1st), 148 H (1st), 38 2B (1st), 73 BB (t-1st), .433 OBP (1st), .574 SLG (1st), 1.006 OPS (1st)

*Carter has to be a frontrunner not only for Texas League MVP, but Minor League Baseball’s Player of the Year. What an outstanding season thus far.

Class A Advanced
California League
Alex Liddi, High Desert: .356 BA (1st), 1.044 OPS (1st), 21 HR (t-4th), 86 RBI (4th), 85 R (t-2nd)
Jon Gaston, Lancaster: 30 HR (1st), 81 RBI (6th), 1.015 OPS (4th), 15 3B (1st), 100 R (1st)
Koby Clemens, Lancaster: 96 RBI (1st), .343 BA (3rd), 1.023 OPS (2nd)

Carolina League
Cody Johnson, Myrtle Beach: 26 HR (1st), 76 RBI (2nd), .886 OPS (2nd)
Brandon Waring, Frederick: 20 HR (2nd), 74 RBI (3rd), .870 OPS (3rd)

Florida State League
Chris Parmelee, Fort Myers: 14 HR (1st), 64 RBI (1st), .814 OPS (4th)
Ben Revere, Fort Myers: .307 BA (3rd), 36 SB (4th), 60 R (3rd), .368 OBP (t-8th)

Class A
Midwest League
Kyle Russell, Great Lakes: 24 HR (1st), 79 RBI (t-1st), .915 OPS (2nd), 74 R (4th)

South Atlantic League
Derek Norris, Hagerstown: 23 HR (1st), 75 RBI (2nd), 69 R (3rd), .296 BA (10th), .955 OPS (3rd)

Class A Short-Season
New York-Penn League
Leandro Castro, Williamsport: .353 BA (1st), .973 OPS (1st), 37 R (t-1st),
Neil Medchill, Staten Island: 10 HR (1st), 30 RBI (t-5th), .925 OPS (5th), 33 R (4th)

Northwest League
Vincent Belnome, Eugene: 39 R (1st), 8 HR (t-2nd), 37 RBI (2nd), 37 BB (2nd), .952 OPS (4th)

Rookie
Appalachian League
Jose Altuve, Greeneville: 45 R (1st), 21 SB (1st), .324 BA (7th), .916 OPS (8th), 26 BB (1st)
Richard Racobaldo, Johnson City: 1.077 OPS (1st), 26 RBI (t-9th), .415 BA (1st)
Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, Danville: .383 BA (2nd), 1.032 OPS (2nd), 7 HR (t-3rd), 39 RBI (2nd)

Arizona League
Cody Decker, Padres: 1.127 OPS (1st), .357 BA (3rd), 11 HR (1st), 46 RBI (1st)

Dominican Summer League
Reymond Nunez, Yankees 2: 10 HR (2nd), 57 RBI (1st), .947 OPS (4th)
Alexander Sanchez, Mets: .391 BA (1st), .982 OPS (2nd)

Gulf Coast League
Brett Newsome, Nationals: 1.020 OPS (1st), .304 BA (9th), 25 R (1st), 13 2B (t-3rd)
Layton Hiller, Braves: 6 HR (1st), 34 RBI (1st), .846 OPS (8th)
Marcell Ozuna, Marlins: .928 OPS (2nd), .344 BA (3rd), 24 R (t-2nd), 18 2B (1st), 4 HR (t-7th), 31 RBI (2nd)

Pioneer League
Jerry Sands, Ogden: 14 HR (1st), 39 RBI (4th), .350 BA (4th), 1.114 OPS (1st), 41 R (1st)

Venezuelan Summer League
Roan Salas, Rays: 15 HR (1st), 59 RBI (1st), 49 R (t-3rd), 75 H (t-5th), .338 BA (2nd), 1.063 OPS (1st)

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 19

Well the Strawberry event was a rather interesting one.  At the beginning of the season, the Cyclones had announced that Strawberry was not only being honored with a bobblehead, but he was to make an appearance at Keyspan Park, and also do a free signing.  A week before this event was to take place, all was changed.  The only way you could get Darryl to sign anything was if you purchased 1 of 2 “Meet and Greet” packages.  Either you could go to a room for an hour prior to the game and he would sign for just $25 or you could sit with him in a skybox during the game for 3 innings for a mere $125.  There were very limited spots for either and also poorly advertised in their press releases, but I managed to wiggle in for the cheaper way.  Guess Madoff even had its effect on the minors as well.  Here are the Bobblehead giveaways for this week:

Great Lakes Loons 8/10/09 Chet Lemon -First 1,000 – Another link to the 1984 WS Championship Tigers team.

Huntsville Stars 8/10/09 Microwave Dave – First 1,000 – Ok boys mystery solved. Microwave Dave and the Nukes are a blues band from the area and they honor their leader in this promo.

Chicago Cubs 8/11/09 Ryne Sandberg – First 10,000 – Look for 2 Sandberg giveaways this week. See below for the minor league version.

Joliet Jackhammers 8/11/09 Jammer (Mascot) – First 1,000 – Jammer rocks the house with another bobblehead character.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 8/11/09 Mike Napoli – One of the many MLB players to homer in his first big league AB.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs 8/12/09 J.A. Happ – First 2,500 18 and over – Everyone demanded Happ in trade talks, now the fans can command his bobblehead.

Worcester Tornadoes 8/13/09 Peterman (On Field Emcee) – First 1,000 – Dave Peterson, better known as “Peterman,” has worked for the Tornadoes organization since 2005 as the On-Field Emcee.

Lynchburg Hillcats 8/14/09 Nate McLouth – First 1,000 – I think this is the final team in the Pirates organization to honor Nate. A message to the organization for dealing him perhaps? Hmm…

Cincinnati Reds 8/15/09 Brandon Phillips – First 30,000 – Another original Expos prospect let go for an overachiever (I think he was part of the Fatolo Colon deal).

Lancaster Jethawks 8/15/09 SR71 Bobble Plane – First 1,000 – Part of an aviation night celebration.

Las Vegas 51s 8/15/09 Cosmo (Mascot) – First 2,500 – This mascot’s bobblehead is simply out of this world.

Orange County Flyers 8/15/09 Phil Nevin – First 1,000 – A veteran MLB ballplayer returned to Goodwin Field at Cal State Fullerton as the ESPN analyst for the Super Regional against Stanford. In December 2008, he was named the manager of the Orange County Flyers in the independent Golden Baseball League.

Quad Cities River Bandits 8/15/09 Rascal (Mascot) – First 2,000 – Come early for the Rascal bobblehead giveaway and stick around for lively post-game entertainment consisting of an extravagant fireworks show and Dueling Pianos provided by Nan’s Piano Bar!

Reno Aces 8/15/09 Josh Whitesell – First 2,500 – Betcha Whitesell is glad he’s away from the Nationals, the team that originally drafted him!!! He was also a high school teammate of Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco.

Tennessee Smokies 8/15/09 Ryne Sandberg – First 1,000 – Great way for Ryne to cap off the week with his 2nd bobblehead promo.

St. Louis Cardinals 8/16/09 Fredbird (Bobble Frame) (Mascot) – First 25,000 – Capture your Busch Stadium and Cardinals memories to display in this one of a kind picture frame with a Fredbird Bobblehead attached.

I’ll be happy to take a Happ from Lehigh Valley this week. Come join me and say hey.

A Mendonca Among Boys

Spokane’s Tommy Mendonca has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, hitting .395 in his last ten games.  He has had multiple hits in half of those and exactly three in four.

Last night against Salem-Keizer, the 21-year-old out of Fresno State enjoyed the best game of his young career, belting three solo homeruns to lead the Indians to a 6-2 win.

Mendonca was the Most Outstanding Player at the 2008 College World Series while playing for the Bulldogs team that won the national championship.  He was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft.  He hasn’t hit for a ton of power early in his professional career, with only four homeruns in 114 at-bats prior to yesterday’s outburst, but he had 29 in two seasons of college ball, so maybe those three were the rule rather than the exception.