Archive for the ‘AAA’ Category

Twenty Percent of Syracuse Fans Are Excited To See Wang In 2010

Just about every team that uses the standard MiLB.com web template has a poll up in the lower right corner of the page.  The questions generally ask something like, “What 2010 promotion are you most excited about?” or “Which player are you most excited to see in _____ in 2010?”

This isn’t amusing on its own.  Look at the home page for the Syracuse Chiefs, however, and you’ll get a good laugh:


I’m pretty sure that 20% for Wang is mine – I threw him a courtesy vote so I could see what the actual tally was – because as cool as it would be to see a guy who won 46 games from 2006-08, including 19 each in the first two years, I can’t imagine anyone would be more excited to see him than Strasburg.

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Jason Heyward is a Whole Lot of Awesome

As you might have noticed, we’re typically a little slow to unfold from the winter-long hibernation here at Bus Leagues. This is our third spring, and the routine is almost always the same: finish the season strong, fade away to virtually nothing from October to February, start working out the kinks in March, and really start firing on all cylinders in April. Just like the players, we need a little bit of spring training to get ourselves back in the groove.

I bring this up because it is the best explanation for our ignorance to-date of Braves minor leaguer Jason Heyward. Heyward is Baseball America’s top-ranked preseason prospect, although you wouldn’t know it from the way we (and, in fairness, everyone else) wax poetic about Stephen Strasburg. Not that there’s anything wrong with Strasburg – it’s just that Heyward is pretty darn good too.

In fact, here are three good reasons to keep an eye out for Heyward this season (besides the fact that Baseball America – and pretty much the rest of the baseball world – has already proclaimed his excellence):

  • He Tweets – Not only does Heyward have a Twitter account, he’s active on it, taking time to answer questions from his 3,000+ followers.  That’s where I found out that he prefers oatmeal raisin cookies to chocolate chip (BLASPHEMER!) and grew up a Yankee fan (…).
  • He Has Already Drawn Favorable ComparisonsBobby Cox is 68 years old, 69 in May.  He’s been around baseball, and the Braves, for more than fifty years.  So while his statement that the sound of Heyward’s line drives is “kind of like ol’ Hank Aaron’s sound” might initially be taken as an off-the-cuff utterance of a grandfatherly old man, it also has to be considered as the wisdom of a guy who has seen a lot of good players in his day.  Oh, who am I kidding – it was a completely crazy thing to say.  All it does is make the public’s expectations of Heyward even more unreasonable.
  • He Destroys Stuff – Earlier this spring, Heyward’s bombs to right dented cars and smashed windshields in a parking lot used by Atlanta’s front office, requiring a net be put up for protection.  Once you get past the fact that these people continued to park there – maybe someone familiar with the Braves’ spring training facilities could shed some light on that, because I find it hard to believe that there was NOWHERE else to park safely – you realize how awesome it is: a 20-year-old kid consistently hitting the ball 450 feet.

So yeah, Heyward is good.  And truth be told, all of this got me thinking.  Two years ago, we had a contest and gave Jay Bruce (the consensus number one prospect at the time) a nickname.  Shouldn’t we do the same for Heyward?  (I know what you’re thinking – what about Matt Wieters?  Unfortunately, Wieters appears destined to go the way of the 1904 World Series – he loses out because the powers that be couldn’t get their crap together.)

I tossed the idea around Bus Leagues headquarters, where it was well received (not a surprise, really; giving people stupid nicknames is one of our raisons d’etre).  A few ideas were tossed around – Hank; the J-Hey Kid; at one point, Pookie was mentioned (I think Eric might’ve been drinking) – but nothing definite.  So what we can do is backburner this for the moment.  It’s only early March, no need to rush things.  If you, the reader, happens to think of one that works, leave a comment or email us.  Pay it forward.  And when we have a few, we’ll figure out some way to pick the best one.

But rest assured, Jason Heyward will be awesome.  And he will be awesomely nicknamed.  This is fact.

Where Will Strasburg Start The 2010 Season?

Stephen Strasburg is gonna rock some lucky fan base’s world in 2010.  The question is, where?

Tuesday morning, Nats manager Jim Riggleman “strongly hinted” that Strasburg would spend some time riding the buses in ye olde minor leagues to begin the season, the reason being that live game action against Double- or Triple-A hitters will provide a better overall measure of the phenom’s performance than a few spring training outings against major leaguers.

Tuesday evening, of course, Riggleman “definitely didn’t rule out” the idea of Strasburg in a Natinals uniform on Opening Day.  So really, nobody knows what the hell is going to happen.

That leaves me with only one option: to assume that if Strasburg starts off in the minors, it will be in either Syracuse or Harrisburg, and to figure out when those teams might be coming to a ballpark near me.  Because obviously, the main objective is to see this kid throw in person.

I looked at the road trips for each of those two teams, but first the lightning in a bottle scenario: my second annual baseball road trip takes me through Washington in early June, either the fourth or the fifth, when the Nationals play the Reds.  This guarantees at least a shot at seeing Jay Bruce, of course, and is also right around the time that Strasburg would likely be getting a callup if he does in fact go to the minors.  So there’s that.

(And don’t get me started on the possibility of a Strasburg-Aroldis Chapman matchup…)

Now, if he does start off in Triple-A, here are the Chiefs’ road trips through the end of June:

April 14-16 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
April 17-20 @ Lehigh Valley
April 27-30 @ Toledo
May 1-4 @ Columbus
May 14-17 @ Pawtucket
May 18-21 @ Rochester
May 27-28 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
May 31-June 3 @ Buffalo
June 12-15 @ Charlotte
June 17-20 @ Gwinnett
June 29-30 @ Buffalo

It must be noted that my friend Chris, who writes for this blog, lives in upstate New York, so even if Strasburg gets called up at the end of May, he’s still a) playing his home games in nearby Syracuse, and b) making trips to Buffalo and Rochester. If Strasburg ends up in Triple-A and Chris DOESN’T see him at least once, he’s doing something wrong.

I can’t help but notice, however, that journeys to my corner of the world are few and far between. There’s just one, actually, a four-game trip to Pawtucket in mid-May. It’s a longshot, admittedly, but it’s possible.

Now, there is just as good a chance that the higher-ups will send Strasburg to the Harrisburg Senators. If that’s the case, he could be just up the road in Manchester, right? Or maybe Portland? As my son likes to say, “Uh, uh…no.”

April 8-11 @ Altoona
April 12-14 @ Bowie
April 22-25 @ New Britain
April 26-28 @ Reading
May 10-12 @ Altoona
May 21-23 @ Akron
May 28-31 @ Erie
June 1-3 @ Richmond
June 8-10 @ Altoona
June 15-17 @ New Britain
June 18-20 @ Bowie
June 28-30 @ Portland

I don’t know how the Eastern League puts together its schedule, but if you’re scoring at home, that’s three visits to Altoona, two to Bowie, and two to New Britain before the Senators wind their way up to northern New England in the last week of June. And that stop in New Hampshire, right up the road? Last week in July, my friends, by which point The Strasburg will most certainly have left the building.

So the point of all this, I guess, is that unless the cards fall right, I’m unlikely to see Stephen Strasburg pitch this season. The bright side, though, is that Chris should have ample opportunity to see him if he lands in Triple-A, and fans in minor league towns up and down the eastern seaboard should have that same chance regardless of where he plays.

The Best Names in Minor League Baseball

Hi, you may have forgotten about me and the fact that I actually work here. Not so much work as attempt to write here, but hey. My screeds are at once fun and educational. But today, I will name the best names in each and every organization in the minor leagues. There’s one rule here. Fun factor outweighs crazy syllables. I may not name Atahulpa Severino the best name in the Nationals orgazization.

Then again? I might. Color your asses teased son.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Some say he has the upside of a Damaso Marte? Others say he’s a lefty Guillermo Mota. But I say that if you want the best name in the organization, you go with Leyson Septimo!

Atlanta Braves: And here’s where your fun factor mileage may vary. I’m not hyped for a Barbaro Canizares or a Dimasther Delgado. Not nearly as much as a Freddie Freeman, (1B) they should call him Captain Marvel.

Baltimore Orioles: There are no truly fun names here. So you know what? To avoid trying to make some irrational connection between Matt and Kurt Angle? I will go with an old standby. Choyre Spoone. (SP)

Boston Red Sox: Ryan Westmoreland would be a fine choice. Xander Bogearts would also be a choice worth your while. But my pick to click? Seth Schwindenhammer. Right Fielder.

Chicago Cubs: Obvious choice is obvious, right? Baseball America’s #1 Cub prospect is named Starlin Castro. (SS) But I say there’s a tie here. Because there’s a left fielder named Smaily Borges. He’s gold pony boy.

Chicago White Sox: Sometimes its as simple as clear lyricism. There’s a small righty with a strong arm and several fits of wildness. The name? Clevelan Santeliz! It’s like Heckathorn but awesomer

Cincinnati Reds: Plenty of good names here. But the best of them? Mariekson Gregorious! Dutch Shortstop! If you utter his name five times in rapid succession, a tulip shall grow from where you stand.

Cleveland Indians: Lyricism meets top prospectery with a dash of felonious behavior in Lonnie Chisenhall. He’s also on my fantasy team. He’s an edgier Mat Gamel. Another sentence to make this paragraph official.

Colorado Rockies: In a world with Jhoulys Chacin and Rex Brothers? Why would I go with Al Alberquerque? Obvious reasons. Bullpen mastery? The last name of a city? All that and more.

Detroit Tigers: Here’s the great (good) debate. Toolsy or do we go with the floor polish. I’ll go with toolsy. Avasail Garcia. Right Fielder. Because Avasail? It just brings more lyrical joy than Sborz. Right?

Florida Marlins: Sequoyah Trueblood Stonecipher. The inspiration for this post. He’s an outfielder. In the shortseason. Yay!

Houston Astros: By the rule of Wladimir Balentin, anyone named Wladimir is a default choice for any organization. And with nobody of an interest? His name is Wladimir Sutil. He plays shortstop.

Kansas City Royals: If you need a rap name to steal from any organization, then it’s the Kansas City Royal shortstop currently blocked by Yuniesky Betancourt. Yowill Espinall. He knows how to haul. And other fresh lyricisim. What?

Los Angeles Dodgers: Put it simple? Brian Cavazos-Galvez is the sort of prospect who you cannot say the last name as fast as possible without it degenerating into a horrible Ahnuld impression. Get to the Choppah!

Los Angeles Angels: And like Cavazos-Galvez the last name of Peter Bourjos is funsational. Because he hits triples. And steals bases. And allows me to work my accent work in terms of my crappy Russian.

Milwaukee Brewers: The 30th ranked prospect of the Brewers is dangerous. He’s a loose cannon. He plays by his own rules. His body’s writing checks that he just can’t cash. He’s Maverick Lasker. Riding through the short season danger zone.

Minnesota Twins: He’s kind of in the tall weeds in terms of his control issues. But the one thing that’s honest and true is that Shooter Hunt’s name is awesome. I hope he lands on his feet in some form or fashion.

New York Mets: I would call Jordany Valdespin’s name here. But no. He’s a jerkface. So I will use the familia. Jeyrus Familia. He’s a lower upside, better named Jenrry Mejia.

New York Yankees: In this weeks edition of the adventures of Graham Stoneburner, middle reliever? He allows two inherited runners to score! But it doesn’t hurt his ERA! Huzzah!

Oakland A’s: Are we going to live in a world where every second baseman a crazy name? I say that this is the change we believe in. Because Conner Crumbliss is a man. A second base-man.

Philadelphia Phillies: Dear Steven Inch, What kind of crazy mixed world does Inch become a surname? And it’s not as if your family’s short? You’re 6’4″ for pete sakes! Stop confusing me! Love, Bus Leagues Baseball.

Pittsburgh Pirates: In what sort of crazy mixed-up world does Dinesh, Gift, or Rinku not make the best name list? But there’s a better name. A righty pitcher. His name? Brooks Pounders. I mean, when your name is Brooks Pounders, every outing is like a gangbang!

San Diego Padres: There will be a second baseman that I mention in the future who has a fun listed first name. And in my dreams? Beamer Weems will be playing Shortstop. Rymer Liriano can suck it.

San Francisco Giants: He absolutely has no prospect value. But come on. Brian Bocock is in the organization. Comedy Bocock Factor is everything.

Seattle Mariners: Here’s another one where fun factor trumps syllables. In a world of Kaneoka Texiera and Paul LaFrombase, how in the heck does Shaver Hansen win? Because his first name is Shaver.

St. Louis Cardinals: In a mixture of algebraic principles and gritty back-up catching, Arquimedes Nieto is a fringe pitching prospect. But he’s fun! Yay!

Tampa Bay Rays: Did you know the Rays drafted the King of Queens last year? It’s true! Kevin James currently resides in the organization. And he’s looking to go Paul Blart: Mall Cop on opposing hitters!

Texas Rangers: The struggles of Warner Madrigal last season mean the set-up man is up in here as a contender. That being said? Jurickson Profar. The short stop is #5 in the organization’s prospect list, and #1 in my heart.

Toronto Blue Jays: My fantasy baseball team owns J.P. Arencibia, but I cannot in good conscience pass on Balbino Fuenmayor. The third baseman’s first name has to be an homage to the delightful 1980’s commoner Steve Balboni, right?

Washington Nationals: While the heir to the Applebee’s fortune lives here? It’s Atahulpa Severino. I mean, duh.

1100 Words on nomenclature. I hope you’re happy, because I am?

You Mean There’s ANOTHER Man Muscles?

The Minnesota Twins shook up their minor league coaching assignments today, shuffling three managers up the minor league ladder into new positions. Tom Nieto moves from Double-A New Britain to Triple-A Rochester, Jeff Smith moves from Class A-Advanced Fort Myers to New Britain, and Jake Mauer moves from the Gulf Coast League Twins to Fort Myers.

Mauer’s name jumped off the screen when I first saw the story this afternoon, and as I poked around a bit it became clear why: his younger brother, Joe, is good at baseball.  Jake was drafted the same year (2001) as Joe and played with him at his first couple minor league stops, but never got higher than Double-A before suffering a career-ending injury.  He went right into coaching with the Twins, eventually ending up as the manager of the GCL team this season.

The Twins finished 34-21 under Mauer, losing in the first round of the GCL playoffs (I say “first round”; it was actually just one game).

So who knows: Ron Gardenhire is only 52 (well, his birthday is Saturday).  Maybe he gets bored in another couple of years, the Boy Wonder steps in to take his place, and leads the Twins to glory.  I just hope that if that happens, somebody checks on Sooze.  She might not be able to handle the reality of two Mauers in the same dugout.

The Bus Leagues Baseball 2009 Pitcher of the Year

Click here to see the breakdown on the 2009 Bus Leagues Player of the Year.

Bus Leagues voters were given twelve pitchers to consider for Pitcher of the Year – eight starters and four relievers.  The presence of relievers on the ballot caused some early dissension within the ranks.  Some refused to consider them, others didn’t care.  In the end, we decided to leave things as they were because a) I had already done the work and wasn’t changing it up at that point and b) relievers are eligible for major league awards like the Cy Young, so why not include them here?

When the smoke cleared and all five voters had cast their ballots, only seven pitchers received votes (two of the relievers ended up missing the cut).  Those seven will get the full treatment seen in the Player of the Year post – pictures and everything.  Fancy stuff, coming from me.  The five who didn’t get no love…well, I’ll talk briefly about them below, but they don’t get pictures.  Consider it tough love.

(This seems like a good time to mention that all pictures in these two posts, with the exception of Koby Clemens and Craig Clark, were taken from MiLB.com player pages.  Clemens’ came from Google and Clark’s from the San Jose Giants web site.)

Brad Brach, Fort Wayne TinCaps: Of the four relievers on the original list, three had something special that made them worthy of inclusion and consideration.  All Brach had going for him was that he was really, really good.  The 6’6″, 210 lb. righty had 33 saves, a 1.27 ERA, and 82 strikeouts in 63.2 innings for the TinCaps.

Bradley Meyers, Potomac Nationals/Harrisburg Senators: Meyers made the list because his 11-3 record, 1.72 ERA, and 108 strikeouts were very similar to fellow finalists Brian Matusz and Madison Bumgarner and I didn’t want to be biased based on name recognition.  This worked not at all, as I suspect most of the voters looked at his name and said, “Who?” before voting for one or both of the other two.

Simon Castro, Fort Wayne TinCaps: Castro pitched a seven-inning no-hitter on August 18, which made his 10-6 record, 3.33 ERA, and 157 strikeouts just a little more impressive.  In fact, that no-no probably unfairly influenced my opinion of him.

Eric Surkamp, San Jose Giants: Surkamp finished 11-5 with a 3.30 ERA and 169 strikeouts.  No-hitter or not, I felt that if I included Castro, I had to include Surkamp.  In retrospect, both probably should have been left on the cutting room floor and we could’ve gone with ten finalists.

Miguel De Los Santos, DSL Rangers 2: Wanna know why De Los Santos made this list even though he only pitched 32 innings this season?  Because he had 70 strikeouts in those 32 innings.  Seventy.  If my calculations are correct, that works out to 19.69 strikeouts per nine innings.  It wasn’t enough to entice anyone to vote for him, but it certainly made him worthy of inclusion on our list.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the seven pitchers who received votes for Bus Leagues Pitcher of the Year.

travis woodTravis Wood, LHP
Carolina/Louisville (Cincinnati)
Southern/International League
Class AA/AAA
Total Points: 1 (t-6th)

One year after going 7-13 with a 5.47 ERA in the Florida State and Southern Leagues, Wood beat up Double- and Triple-A to the tune of 13-5, 1.77 ERA, 135 strikeouts. His ERA at Carolina was a ridiculous 1.21 in 119 innings.

What The Voters Said
“Solid amount of K’s and his ERA is solid; however, if you look at his previous years he’s just not at the same level and will probably be in the minors for another year or two and probably won’t be anything spectacular in the show (watch him win two Cy Young awards now).” – Chris

craig clarkCraig Clark, LHP
San Jose Giants (San Francisco)
California League
Class A+
Total Points: 1 (t-6th)

Clark was 16-2 with a 2.86 ERA and 135 strikeouts for San Jose. Good numbers, right? Right – especially since, as Andrew pointed out, they came in the freakin’ California League, where only six qualifying pitchers had an ERA under 4.00.

What The Voters Said
Clark’s lone vote came from Andrew, who didn’t include a rationale for his choice beyond the one mentioned above. It must be noted, however, that he only voted for Clark because I mentioned that I thought Brian Matusz’s last name rhymed with “lattice” and Andrew didn’t like that. Irrational sense of whimsy, indeed.

atahualpa severinoAtahualpa Severino, LHP
Potomac/Harrisburg (Washington)
Carolina/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 5 (5th)

Severino almost didn’t make the cut. I removed him at one point before deciding that the awesome name, perfect 10-0 record and 15 saves, and connections to our friend Darren Heitner were too good to leave on the table.

What The Voters Said
“He’s got it going on, really. Great name, perfect W-L record, and the ability to throw effective relief when called upon. I’d like to see him in person. However, I’d feel a lot better if his jersey could somehow read Atahualpa instead of Severino. Quintessential Bus Leagues type of player.” – Eric A.

brian matuszBrian Matusz, LHP
Frederick/Bowie (Baltimore)
Carolina/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 6 (4th)

If Matusz had spent the last month of the season with Bowie instead of Baltimore, he might’ve walked away with this award in a landslide. In the minors, he was 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA; add in his numbers with the Orioles and he was 16-4, 2.68 ERA, 159 strikeouts in 157.2 innings.

What The Voters Said
“Definitely a strong season down in the minors, the stats speak for themselves. Unfortunately I think his stats would be even better if the Orioles didn’t call him up for some starts in the majors. Wow, thanks a lot Orioles…you’ve taken away my Pitcher of the Year.” – Chris

pat vendittePat Venditte, BHP
Charleston/Tampa (Yankees)
South Atlantic/Florida State League
Class A/A+
Total Points: 8 (t-2nd)

One of life’s great mysteries: why does Venditte’s profile page on MiLB.com list him only as a righthanded pitcher? The 24-year-old out of Creighton is professional baseball’s only ambidextrous pitcher, a fact that might make him my favorite Bus Leaguer (which is weird because he’s a future Yankee). And it’s not just a gimmick – the guy can pitch: 4-2, 1.87 ERA, 22 saves, 87 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.

What The Voters Said
“I chose Venditte first because of the grand possibility of being groomed as the future closer once Mariano Rivera decides it’s time to retire. True he doesn’t quite have a blazer for a closer, but being ambidextrous (and equally effective at both) should prove to be a no-brainer.” – Eric M.

madison bumgarnerMadison Bumgarner, LHP
San Jose/Connecticut (San Francisco)
California/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 8 (t-2nd)

Over the past two seasons, Bumgarner is 27-5 with a 1.65 ERA and 256 strikeouts. A lefthanded pitcher with a great won-lost record, low ERA, and lots of strikeouts? Shades of Sandy Koufax (I’ll take ridiculous hyperbole for $1000, Alex). Bumgarner’s strikeouts decreased sharply this season, but if he can overcome that hiccup, teams will soon fear the 1-2 punch of Lincecum-Bumgarner in San Francisco.

What The Voters Said
“The kid seemed unflappable, so it’s no surprise he got called up so early in his career. The low number of strikeouts concern me quite a bit, but he’s a winner in the Bus Leagues.” – Eric A.

daniel hudsonDaniel Hudson, RHP
Kannapolis/Winston-Salem/Birmingham/Charlotte (White Sox)
South Atlantic/Carolina/Southern/International League
Class A/A+/AA/AAA
Total Points: 16 (1st)

Lots of players had good seasons in 2009. None of them, however, did it under quite the same conditions as Hudson, who started the year with Chicago’s A-level team in Kannapolis and ended it with the major league club. In a span of about five months, he stopped at every organizational level except Rookie and Short Season, pitching impressively en route to an overall minor league record of 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 147.1 innings. That’s why he ran away with this thing with three first place votes – because those numbers are very good, and to compile them while being pushed up the organizational ladder is amazing.

What The Voters Said
“Daniel Hudson is my pick. Yes, he pitched for four different teams. He has a 5 to 1 K to BB ratio, which is pretty good. His ability to move to all levels in the minors and even get a start with the White Sox is very impressive too. So there it is…. I’m voting for Daniel Hudson with his boring name and all to win Bus Leagues Pitcher of the Year.” – Chris

The Bus Leagues Baseball 2009 Player of the Year

Shortly after the minor league season ended, I began to consider the idea of awarding a Bus Leagues Player of the Year. We are not, and never will be, well-versed in the art of baseball prospecting. What we do have, however, is “our trademark irrational sense of whimsy,” as Eric writes at the end of every Z-Meter, and it seemed we ought to be able to use that to use that to give somebody a meaningless fictional award.

I combed through a bunch of stats and narrowed it down to a highly subjective Top Ten.  At that point, five Bus Leagues contributors – Eric A., Eric M., Chris, Andrew, and myself – cast votes for our top three, with five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.

From those votes came the results you see below.  Enjoy.

jonathan gastonJonathan Gaston, LF
Lancaster JetHawks (Houston)
California League
Class A-Advanced
Total Points: 0 (10th)

Gaston led the California League in games played, runs scored, triples, homeruns, and total bases. His 35 homeruns tied Albuquerque’s Mitch Jones for the highest total in all of minor league baseball.  These facts did not impress any of the Bus Leagues voters enough to reward him with a vote.

jamie mcowenJamie McOwen, RF
High Desert Mavericks (Seattle)
California League
Class A-Advanced
Total Points: 2 (9th)

McOwen made national headlines (and won the collective heart of the Bus Leagues audience) with a 45-game midseason hitting streak, the eighth longest in minor league history.  He picked up a base hit in every game he played for nearly two months (May 10-July 8).

What The Voters Said
“The hitting streak earned him official Bus Leagues man-crush status. I always feel that a guy who can dominate the tag cloud despite relative obscurity deserves an all-star vote.” – Eric A.

ruben riveraRuben Rivera, C
Piratas de Campeche
Mexican League
Class AAA
Total Points: 3 (t-6th)

Even in an offense-oriented circuit like the Mexican League, Rivera’s 32 homeruns, 90 runs batted in, and .344/.461/.669 line stood out.

mitch jonesMitch Jones, RF
Albuquerque Isotopes (LA Dodgers)
Pacific Coast League
Class AAA
Total Points: 3 (t-6th)

While Jones and Jonathan Gaston tied for the minor league lead with 35 homeruns, Jones won the Baumann Award because he topped Gaston in runs batted in, 103-100.

What The Voters Said
“Mitch Jones, although basically past his prime, was a former Yankee prospect turned career minor leaguer (even though his power numbers prove otherwise).” – Eric M.

grant desmeGrant Desme, CF
Kane County/Stockton (Oakland)
Midwest/California League
Class A/A+
Total Points: 3 (t-6th)

Minor League Baseball’s only 30-30 man this season, Desme posted the majority of his stolen bases with Kane County and the majority of his homeruns with Stockton.

What The Voters Said
“It doesn’t matter that he did it while playing in two high offense leagues – a 30/40 season deserves our respect.” – Brian

carlos santanaCarlos Santana, C
Akron Aeros (Cleveland)
Eastern League
Class AA
Total Points: 4 (5th)

Santana has earned a mid-season All-Star selection, postseason All-Star selection, and Most Valuable Player honors in the past two years in the California and Eastern Leagues. Alas, in the Bus Leagues vote, he could do no better than fifth.

What The Voters Said
“I’m actually not picking him just because he shares a name with the guitarist (yes, I am capable of ignoring this). I’m impressed by Carlos’ consistency at Akron, where he had 90+ runs and ribbies on the season, kept his OPS near 1.000 from start to finish, and showed some power with 23 home runs. He’s a switch-hitter, which is also pretty cool. I also really like the idea of a guy named Carlos Santana playing in Cleveland, near the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (OK, I lied.)” – Eric A.

Koby ClemensKoby Clemens, C
Corpus Christi/Lancaster (Houston)
Texas/California League
Class AA/A+
Total Points: 5 (t-3rd)

Again, the California League – it’s a seriously offensive league – and again, the Lancaster JetHawks – one could argue that High Desert’s Alex Liddi is getting seriously shortchanged by being left out of our top ten. But it’s hard to argue with the counting stats Clemens posted this season.

What The Voters Said
“It’s about time there was a Clemens that doesn’t have a needle attached to his butt…and because he had a great year.” – Chris

brian dopirakBrian Dopirak, 1B
New Hampshire/Las Vegas (Toronto)
Eastern/Pacific Coast League
Class AA/AAA
Total Points: 5 (t-3rd)

2009 was Dopirak’s second consecutive season with 25 homeruns, 100 RBI, a .300 batting average, and .900 OPS. He might have given Carlos Santana a run for his money in the Eastern League MVP race if he hadn’t been called up to Triple-A (clear across the country) after just 87 games.

What The Voters Said
“This guy has to be good, because I signed up to receive news updates from the Fisher Cats, and his name was in my inbox damn near every day he played there. Seriously, though. The guy can hit, and his average actually went UP, from .308 to .330 when he jumped up to Triple-A. It’ll be interesting to see if he can do it at the next level.” – Eric A.

pedro alvarezPedro Alvarez, 3B
Lynchburg/Altoona (Pittsburgh)
Carolina/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 8 (2nd)

Alvarez is 22-years-old and just hit .288 with 27 homeruns and 95 RBI in his very first professional season. It will be interesting to see how much time he spends in western Pennsylvania next season.

What The Voters Said
“Pedro Alvarez was bored in Lynchburg. He was all, “Screw it, I’m only going to hit .247.” So the Pirates decided to call his bluff. And they said, “Go to Double-A and let’s see if you can manage that.” And he destroyed 12 cars and the mayor is on the Altoona Curve’s ass. Why? Because Pedro Alverez tore Double-A up, Lethal Weapon style.” – Andrew

chris carterChris Carter, 1B
Midland/Sacramento (Oakland)
Texas/Pacific Coast League
Class AA/AAA
Total Points: 12 (1st)

Carter earned the Texas League’s Player of the Year award by dominating the competition to the tune of 24 homeruns, 101 RBI, a .337 batting average, and 1.011 OPS. He celebrated the news of his honor by hitting three homeruns and driving in seven for Sacramento on August 31. Of course, Carter is no stranger to postseason accolades: he has earned a spot on the postseason All-Star teams in four different leagues in the past four years.  And now, he is the first ever Bus Leagues Player of the Year.

What The Voters Said
“They say that Robert Greene knows all about the 48 Rules of Power. These people are fools. The Oakland Athletics have the 36 chambers of the Wu-tang Clan, the 48 Laws of Power, the Alpha and the Omega in Chris Carter. He has a mighty bat. A great eye. Solid athleticism. Quite frankly, he will be Fantasy Baseball’s Answer to Adrian Peterson. He is…Green and Gold Jesus.” – Andrew