Archive for the ‘A’ Category

South Atlantic League All-Stars Announced

The South Atlantic League postseason All-Stars were announced earlier today:

Catcher: Jordan Pacheco, Asheville Tourists
First Base: Josh Mazzola, Augusta Green Jackets
Second Base: Stephen Lombardozzi, Hagerstown Suns
Third Base: Corban Joseph, Charleston River Dogs
Shorstop: Tim Beckham, Bowling Green Hot Rods
Outfield: Scott Robinson, Asheville Tourists
Outfield: Anthony Gose, Lakewood Blueclaws
Outfield: Ronnie Welty, Delmarva Shorebirds
Utility OF: Melky Mesa, Charleston River Dogs
Utility INF: Erik Morrison, Hickory Crawdads
Designated Hitter: Derek Norris, Hagerstown Suns
Right-Handed Pitcher: David Phelps, Charleston River Dogs
Left-Handed Pitcher: Rudy Owens, West Virginia Power
Manager: Dusty Wathan, Lakewood Blueclaws
Coach: Bob Kipper, Greenville Drive

Most Outstanding Pitcher: Rudy Owens, West Virginia Power
Most Outstanding MLB Prospect: Derek Norris, Hagerstown Suns
Most Valuable Player: Jordan Pacheco, Asheville Tourists

I came closer on this one: Norris was my MVP candidate.

Advertisements

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 22

Where has the 2009 baseball season gone?  It seems like yesterday when teams had just started to break camp in AZ and FL and further disperse their minor league talent to respective cities and now this week begins 40 man roster expansion in MLB with minors races and playoffs to follow.  Here’s what’s coming up:

Chicago Cubs 8/31/09 Billy Williams – First 10,000 – One of the more popular cubbies of all-time. Williams was better known for hitting than for defense, but he made crucial catches in two different no-hitters by Cubs pitchers: Ken Holtzman in 1969, and Milt Pappas in 1972.

Lowell Spinners 8/31/09 Gary DiSarcina – First 1,500 – Lowell honors their 2009 manager after sporting an impressive MLB career mostly with the California Angels.

New Hampshire Fishercats 8/31/09 Ted Williams – First 2,000 – Another copycat from Lowell, this time of the Splendid Splinter flying a plane from his war days.

Trenton Thunder 8/31/09 Chien-Ming Wang Figurine – First 2,000 6 and up – This will be the 2nd statue of the most famous Taiwanese pitcher in MLB history thusfar.

St. Lucie Mets 9/1/09 Slider (Mascot) – First 250 – This time Slider will go to the adults.

Portand Seadogs 9/1/09 Jon Lester – First 2,000 – Boston’s #2 starter played a major role while he pitched at the AA level, thus he gets this honor.

Albuquerque Isotopes 9/3/09 Manny Ramirez – First 3,000 – This is the Isotopes 2nd opportunity to get a Manny bobblehead to their fanbase that honors the rehabber.

Hudson Valley Renegades 9/3/09 Paint Your Own Bobblehead – First 3,000 – Nobody really knows who it will be or what colors they will have, but how many different ways can you paint a raccoon?

Wisconsin Timberrattlers 9/3/09 Brett Lawrie – First 1,000 – Lawrie was the 2009 fan’s choice winner and a rising star to boot.

Delmarva Shorebirds 9/4/09 Matt Wieters – First 1,000 – Interesting that this is the only affiliate that is giving out Wieters that he has never actually played a game at.

Lansing Lugnuts 9/4/09 Carlos Marmol – First 1,000 – Marmol is now back in his closer role with the Cubbies and was always very popular at this affiliate.

Charleston Riverdogs 9/5/09 Paint Your Own Bobblehead – First 1,000 – Are you a budding artist? Then show off your skills when you come to the Joe for the Paint-it-Yourself Bobblehead giveaway. The first 1,000 fans this Saturday will receive a free plain bobblehead and a set of paints to decorate their player in their favorite team colors.

Cleveland Indians 9/5/09 Travis Hafner BobblePen Holder – This time Pronk is able to store pens instead of swinging his huge bat; interesting concept!!!

Wilmington BlueRocks 9/5/09 Andrew Layman – First 1,000 – The 2009 fan favorite bobblehead of the Rocks denotes their Asst. GM which becomes their 2nd front office bobblehead after Chris Kemple was honored a few years ago.

New York Mets 9/6/09 Frankie Rodriguez – First 25,000 – Krod comes to the Mets after setting an MLB record for saves with Anaheim and also sporting 2 bobbleheads while in their system.

Potomac Nationals 9/6/09 John Lannan – First 1,000 – The PNats will try again to distribute the Chaminade grad after an earlier rainout.

Vancouver Canadians 9/6/09 A&W Root Bear (Mascot) – First 500 – Ahh I got it now…Root Beer, Root Bear…HA HA.

I’m debating making a trip for the final long weekend of the minors season and just looking to calculate distances and midpoints. Anyone who is interested in helping me plan feel free to get in touch with me.

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).

Arizona Fall League Rosters Announced

Okay, so they were announced Tuesday.  Timeliness has never been one of my strong suits.

More information about the AFL can be found in this column from Examiner.com and the Winter Leagues page at MLB.com.  I’ve taken the liberty of listing some of the key players for each team, their ages, and the levels at which they played in 2009:

Phoenix Desert Dogs
Brandon Erbe, RHP, 21 (A-/AA)
Drew Storen, RHP, 22 (A/A+/AA)
Stephen Strasburg, RHP, 21 (NCAA)
Derek Norris, C, 20 (A)
Adam Loewen, OF, 25 (A+)

MLB 40-Man Roster: Stephen Strasburg (RHP, WAS)

Scottsdale Scorpions
Danny Moskos, LHP, 23 (AA)
Buster Posey, C, 22 (A+/AAA)
Domonic Brown, OF, 21 (R/A+/AA)
Collin Cowgill, OF, 23 (A+)
Jose Tabata, OF, 21 (AA/AAA)

MLB 40-Man Roster: Bryan Augenstein (RHP, ARI), Cesar Valdez (RHP, ARI), Donald Veal (LHP, PIT), Mike Zagurski (LHP, PHI), Brandon Allen (1B, ARI), Pedro Ciriaco (SS, ARI), Hector Gomez (SS, COL), Jose Tabata (OF, PIT)

Mesa Solar Sox
Hank Conger, C, 21 (AA)
Starlin Castro, SS, 19 (A+/AA)
Josh Vitters, 3B, 20 (A/A+)
Ryan Kalish, OF, 21 (A+/AA)
Mike Stanton, OF, 19 (A+/AA)

MLB 40-Man Roster
: None

Peoria Javelinas
Phillippe Aumont, RHP, 20 (A+/AA)
Justin Cassel, RHP, 24 (AA/AAA)
Nick Hill, LHP, 24 (AA)
Dustin Ackley, 1B, 21 (NCAA)
Carlos Triunfel, SS, 19
Dayan Viciedo, 3B, 20 (AA)
Joe Dunigan, OF, 23 (A+)

MLB 40-Man Roster: Oscar Aguilar (RHP, MIL), Mark Rogers (RHP, MIL), Travis Schlichting (RHP, LAD), Luca May (C, LAD), Dustin Ackley (1B, SEA), Dayan Viciedo (3B, SEA)

Peoria Saguaros
Mike Minor, LHP, 21 (NCAA)
Jason Castro, C, 22 (A+/AA)
Matt McBride, C, 24 (A+/AA)
Yonder Alonso, DH, 22 (R/A+/AA)
Freddie Freeman, 1B, 19 (A+/AA)
Jonathan Gaston, LF, 22 (A+)
Jason Heyward, RF, 20 (A+/AA)

MLB 40-Man Roster: Wilton Lopez (RHP, HOU), Yonder Alonso (1B, CIN), German Duran (2B, HOU)

Surprise Rafters
Ian Kennedy, RHP, 24 (AAA)
Austin Romine, C, 20 (A+)
Daniel Descalso, 2B, 22 (AA/AAA)
Mike Moustakas, 3B, 20 (A+)

MLB 40-Man Roster: Thomas Diamond (RHP, TEX), Ian Kennedy (RHP, NYY)

From MLB Draft Pick to NCAA Champion?

C.J. Henry (Getty Images)

C.J. Henry (Getty Images)

I know, I’m like you. That sounds totally backward to me.

In the course of doing research for an upcoming college basketball project, I looked into the much-vaunted Henry brothers, both of whom were set to play for the Memphis Tigers this season before coach John Calipari bolted for Kentucky. Instead, the brothers opted to switch their allegiance to the University of Kansas, which happens to be my alma mama, and that of Henry mom and pop, both of whom starred in basketball there.

This is all nice, Eric, but what does it have to do with baseball?

Well, while both Xavier and C.J. Henry are listed as freshmen on the KU roster, only one of them is truly a spring chicken. Xavier is a hotly-recruited blue-chipper who is only in college because of NBA rules. C.J. is a 23-year-old walk on who spent four years swinging a bat for the farm clubs of the Yanks and Phillies before deciding his future lay on the hardwood.

The Yankees made Henry – a 6’3″, 205-lb. shortstop from Oklahoma City – the #17 pick of the 2005 June draft. That’s the draft that gave us Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ryan Braun, not to mention Troy Tulowitzki and our hero, Jay Bruce. For perspective, the following players were drafted lower in the first round than C.J. Henry: Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus, and Clay Buchholz.

The elder Henry brother had a modest first season with the GCL Yankees, then started 2006 with the Charleston RiverDogs. 77 games into the Sally League season, he was traded to the Phillies as part of the deal that sent Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to New York. Henry was racking up errors as a shortstop, and his hitting was nothing to write home about, so 2007 saw him auditioning at third base and every position in the outfield for the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws. The experiment failed, and Henry was released.

Believe it or not, that wasn’t his last gasp. The Yankees re-signed CJ in 2008 and even moved him up a level, to the A+ Tampa Yankees. He played in 20 games, put up a .237 average with no errors in left field, and then abruptly quit. He walked on at Memphis but sat out the season as a redshirt with a foot injury. Then Calipari left, and CJ rode his younger brother’s coattails to national title contender KU.

C.J. Henry has actually played this pretty well. As a walk-on, he doesn’t have to take up a precious scholarship, which would probably have limited his options, though his ability to bring his superstar kid brother along might have induced someone to burn one on a guy who might still be able to play. At 23, he probably still has his skill-set intact, and he had a year of practice time while sitting out at Memphis to shake off some of the rust. One assumes he still has some of his bonus-baby money to keep him in pizza and beer while he lives the college life. Even if he isn’t a major contributor, he’s going to be a member of a team that has Final Four written all over it.

They say there are no second acts in American lives. C.J. Henry begs to differ.

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 21

Nice week for me, Melancon bobblehead on Wednesday in Trenton, Lowrie bobblehead in Wilmington on Friday, capped off by having Melancon sign the afformentioned giveaway for me last night in front of his mom and fiancee during my Scranton roadtrip. Pretty amazing I must say. Here’s week 21:

San Francisco Giants 8/25/09 Carlos Santana – Santana the popular hispanic musician is being given as part of a Latino night promotion, complete with guitar.

New Hampshire Fishercats 8/26/09 Jonathan Papelbon (Bobble Leg) – First 2,000 – Once again the Fishercats dig deep into Lowell Spinners history and copycat another bobblehead from them while sticking on a local sponsor. That’s just wrong.

Albuquerque Isotopes  8/27/09 Manny Ramirez – First 3,000 – Probably some Dodger leftovers but at least he rehabbed there before being reinstated from his PED suspension.

Lowell Spinners 8/27/09 Micky Ward – First 1,500 – Ward won three New England Golden Gloves titles as an amateur before turning pro in 1985. He was coached by former New England Olympic Champion John Peverada (of Portland Maine). He started off 14-0 in his professional career, but after a stretch of defeats in the early 1990s, Ward hung up the gloves for a period of three years. He returned in 1994 with a vengeance, winning nine straight fights and earning some fights against big name fighters like Arturo Gatti.

Norfolk Tides 8/28/09 Mark Reynolds, Ryan Zimmerman, Bruce Smith(Set of 3) – 200 Fans – A Lucky 200 fans will receive the 2009 neighborhood heroes set…Drawing via lottery.

Palm Beach Cardinals 8/28/09 Albert Pujols – First 1,000 – The Florida State League affiliate honors their parent club’s MVP.

San Angelo Colts 8/28/09 Casey (Mascot) – First 1,000 – The Texas independent league team once again gives out their mascot, hopefully in a different pose from other years.

Tulsa Drillers 8/28/09 Jeff Francis/Matt Holliday/Mark Teixeira Triple – First 1,000 – This magnificent triple bobblehead is the final in the decade all-star series.

Hagerstown Suns 8/29/09 Vernon Wells Bronze Statuette – First 1,000 – Part of the Suns HOF statuette series.

Kane County Cougars 8/29/09 Ozzie (Mascot) – First 1,000 – No good alumni from the Cougars this season so Ozzie makes the perfect choice one more time.

Lowell Spinners 8/29/09 Extreme Blue The Frisbee Dog (Mascot) – First 1,500 – One of the few frisbee catching dog mascot sideshows around the minors.

Rockford Riverhawks 8/29/09 Sammy Sosa – First 1,000 – Last of the retro Rockford Cubbie series, cork or roids not included.

Round Rock Express 8/29/09 Sam Houston – First 3,000 – One of the most famous politicians in US History gets his due.

St. Paul Saints 8/29/09 Paint Your Own Bobblehead – First 2,500 – Remember the words of Obama, if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig!!! Now you can paint your own.

Beloit Snappers 8/30/09 Kyle Weaver – First 500 – Current NBA Star and former Beloit Memorial High School Stand out Kyle Weaver will be honored by the Snappers in the final edition of the 2009 Bobblehead giveaways.

Milwaukee Brewers 8/30/09 Jeff Suppan – During 2009 Spring Training in Maryvale, AZ I congratulated Soupy for finally reaching bobblenirvana… We shared a good laugh of course.

St. Louis Cardinals 8/30/09 Adam Wainwright – First 25,000 fans – Wainright figures finally graduate to MLB status after having minor league bobbleheads in Memphis as a Cardinal and Myrtle Beach while still a Brave.

San Francisco Giants 8/30/09 Randy Johnson – First 20,000 – A late season addition to the Giants promo lineup that pays tribute for the latest 300 game winner in MLB history.

Keep track with the latest goings on in the bobblehead hobby at thetruebobbleheadboard.yuku.com

Timber Rattlers Closing In On Attendance Record

Heading into today’s game against Cedar Rapids, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are close to breaking an attendance record that has stood since 1996:

On Saturday night, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers attendance was 5,256 to give them a cumulative attendance of 233,393.

The current single season attendance record for the Appleton baseball franchise of 233,797 was set in 1996, the second year of Fox Cities Stadium. That record will be surpassed on Sunday.

The team is giving quite a package to the 405th person through the gates today, including a Timber Rattlers jersey, a bat autographed by the Timber Rattlers, tickets to a 2009 Milwaukee Brewers game, on-field recognition and a first pitch before Sunday’s game, a $200 Timber Rattlers Gift Card, and a VIP suite for a Timber Rattlers game in 2010 with a $200 credit for food.