Archive for the ‘Pacific Coast League’ Category

It’s A Beautiful Day, Isotopes Fans – Let’s Turn Three

The front page of MiLB.com has a note that Albuquerque turned a triple play in Game One of its playoff series yesterday against Memphis.  I wanted to see how it happened, so I went to the game recap and found this description:

  • Brian Barden walks.
  • Mark Shorey singles on a line drive to third baseman Blake DeWitt. Brian Barden to 2nd.
  • Matt Pagnozzi grounds into a triple play, shortstop Chin-lung Hu to first baseman Hector Luna to shortstop Chin-lung Hu. Brian Barden out at 3rd. Mark Shorey out at 2nd.

Call me crazy, but I found it impossible to make any sense out of that.  Good thing there was link to a game story:

Memphis added another run in the fifth and looked poised for more in the sixth until some defensive wizardry by Chin-Lung Hu got the ‘Topes out of a jam. With Brian Barden on second and Mark Shorey on first, Pagnozzi sent a grounder to short, allowing Hu to tag Barden, who was moving on contact off second, for the first out before stepping on the bag to force out Shorey and completing the third triple play in Isotopes history with the turn to Hector Luna at first.

Okay, that makes more sense.  The recap didn’t make it clear that Hu handled the first two outs on his own before throwing to first for the rare (I imagine) 6-3 triple play.  Too bad second baseman Tony Abreu wasn’t involved – Hu-to-Abreu-to-Luna has a nice ring to it.

Now Batting For The San Francisco Giants…

Actually, “Now Batting For” might not be the best description for Buster Posey’s next few weeks with the Giants.  “Now Coming In As A Defensive Replacement And Occasionally Starting If Bengie Molina Can’t Play” is probably a more apt, though much wordier, option.

Posey was called up on Wednesday, capping off a remarkable season that started in the Class A Advanced California League and saw a promotion to Triple-A Fresno.  The 22-year-old catcher out of Florida State hit .325 with 18 homeruns and 80 RBI in 115 games between those two stops.

Chances are that Posey won’t get a lot of starts – the team didn’t even want to bring him up this season; Bengie Molina is still the top dog behind the plate, although he’s fighting an injury right now – but this will give him a chance to see the game from a major league dugout, which is important, I think.  Kinda like a young quarterback watching from the sidelines until he gets his bearings.

Giants fans are happy about the fact that Buster is coming to town.  And they’re doing a great job of keeping their expectations reasonable:

So welcome, Buster (nickname: Bustery Poseyey). No pressure. Just rescue the Giants’ offense while you’re up. Oh, and teach the rest of the team how to work the count. Also, dispel the myth that rookie catchers cause entire pitching staffs to implode. Also, I’d like a glass of iced tea.

That really doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

The Package of Pitching Prospects…

You’re a major league baseball team. Maybe you’re in the midst of spitting hot fire. Maybe you’re in the midst of crawling out from the wreckage of fail that an internet punster would deign to deem epic. But you have several highly touted young studs. And a source like Baseball America would deem that these kids are more than all right.

In fact, these kids are aces. 

And people who need something to hope for and something to hold on to? They get fired up. Because the future’s coming. And it’s going to be awesome.

Let me just tell you whippersnappers, not so fast.

Mention to a learned Oakland fan the four aces, and you will get a convulsion. You have David Zancaro, Kirk Dressendorfer, Don Peters, and the immortal douchebag that is Todd Van Poppel. And you have the best success being when Todd Van Poppel reinvented himself as a journeyman Chuck Crim among a set of broken dreams.

Nobody’s going to say that Jason Isringhausen has not culled himself a nice career. But he was the front man of Izzy, Pulse and Paul. They were a prog rocking power trio who were supposed to save the Mets. And while Izzy carved out a solid solo career as a closer? Paul Wilson was somebody who John Sickels called the perfect pitcher…before he started having shoulder troubles.

And we still don’t know whatever happened to Bill Pulsipher. I think he’s in Mexico. Or Alaska. He just wants me to leave him alone. Sorry.

And this is where we cross paths with today’s context. In the middle of the decade, the Rangers actually were filled with hope. Hope and Pitching. Pitching in the form of a very special DVD.

But John Danks had to go. They wanted to challenge the White Sox to a pitching prospect trade. Brandon McCarthy was what they got back. They immeadiately regretted that decision.

Edinson Volquez got fed to Dusty Baker. Josh Hamilton’s one spectacular half and moments of brilliance beyond the politics of his falling off the wagon was the return. But there was a third. The end of the DVD so to speak.

His name was Thomas Diamond. He was the 2004 1st round Pick. He fell off with shoulder injuries. Now, he’s off the Rangers 40-man roster. He deserves your sympathy. Expectations that most shoulders could not bear have fallen upon him.

Chris Carter Knows How To Celebrate

Monday afternoon, Chris Carter won the Texas League’s Most Valuable Player Award.  It was a well-deserved win, but one could argue that he had already received the best possible reward for his stellar play: a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, with a September appearance in Oakland not out of the question.

So Monday night, he went out there for Sacramento and celebrated in style, crushing three homeruns and driving in seven as the River Cats beat Reno, 17-6.

Carter hit a three-run homer in the first, a solo shot in the fifth, and another three-run bomb in the ninth.  They were the first three Triple-A homeruns for the 22-year-old prospect and bumped his RBI total from five to twelve in six games.  He nearly had a chance at a fourth homerun when Sacramento batted around in the ninth, but ended the game in the on-deck circle when Tommy Everidge flied out and Aaron Cunningham grounded out.

For the season, Carter now has 27 homeruns and 108 RBI in Double- and Triple-A.

Pacific Coast League All-Stars Announced

The Pacific Coast League’s postseason All-Stars were announced earlier today:

Catcher: John Hester, Reno Aces
First Base: Randy Ruiz, Las Vegas 51s
Second Base: Eric Young, Jr., Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Third Base: Esteban German, Oklahoma City Redhawks
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Nashville Sounds
Outfield: John Bowker, Fresno Grizzlies
Outfield: Terry Evans, Salt Lake Bees
Outfield: Matt Miller, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Designated Hitter: Mitch Jones, Albuquerque Isotopes
Right-Handed Pitcher: Bud Norris, Round Rock Express
Left-Handed Pitcher: Lenny DiNardo, Omaha Royals
Relief Pitcher: Scott Strickland, Albuquerque Isotopes

The four major awards – Rookie of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Manager of the Year – will be announced, in that order, over the next four days. Randy Ruiz was my pick for MVP but may be harmed by the fact that he has missed the last three weeks after being called up by the Blue Jays.

Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back

August has featured a number of exceptional pitching performances, so it was nice to look through some box scores tonight and see something impressive on the offensive side of things for a change.

Heading into the top of the eighth inning against the Round Rock Express, the Memphis Redbirds held an 8-6 advantage.  With the 2-3-4 hitters coming up, the Express brought in newly acquired Armando Benitez to make his 2009 affiliated debut.

The first two batters, Tyler Greene and Nick Stavinoha, were retired harmlessly.  Then, as often happens when Benitez is on the hill, all hell broke loose.

Troy Glaus hit his second homerun of the year to left…Allen Craig hit his 23rd homerun of the year, also to left…Mark Hamilton hit his sixth homerun of the year, once again, to left…and Daniel Descalso hit his second homerun of the year, mixing it up by taking it over the wall in right-center field.  Every infielder except the shortstop (Greene) went deep in the inning.  Both corner outfielders also hit homeruns in the game: right fielder Stavinoha in the first and left fielder Craig in the eighth.

Four consecutive homeruns by one team has been accomplished six times at the major league level (in two different clusters: 1961-64 and 2006-08), most recently by the Chicago White Sox on August 14, 2008.

Another No-Hitter

The bats are still tired.

Four Colorado Springs pitchers combined to no-hit Oklahoma City tonight.  The starter was one of Eric’s favorites, Jhoulys Chacin, a fixture on the Z-Meter before his promotion to the majors late last month.  He appeared in five games with the Rockies before being sent back to Triple-A when the team called up Adam Eaton.

Tuesday’s start was his first since returning to the minors and his first at the Triple-A level.  He started off on the right foot, pitching into the sixth, walking three, and striking out three.

Chacin was relieved by Joel Peralta (0.2 innings), who was relieved by Juan Rincon (2.0 innings), who was relieved by Randy Flores (1.0 innings).  None of the relievers allowed a baserunner – 4.1 innings of perfect relief.  And that’s how you build a no-hitter.

(Fun fact that may only interest me: Chacin is 21 years old.  The three pitchers who followed him into this game are 33, 30, and 34, respectively.)

One No-Hitter, Two No-Hitter, Three No-Hitter, Fo–No, Never Mind, Just Three

Friday was a wild day for pitching in the minors, with three no-hitters on the schedule.

The first no-no came in the Arizona League, a combined job by three members of the Angels staff.  Jose Perez started and was dominant for five innings, striking out nine and walking one.  Joshua Blanco came on for three innings and walked two more batters before C.J. Bressoud closed it out with a perfect ninth.

At 24, I thought Bressoud was a bit old to be playing in Rookie ball.  Baseball-Reference has him as a catcher in 2004, 2008, and parts of 2009, with his only pitching stats accumulating this season.  I’m guessing he’s in the middle of a conversion, and a good one: 2-0, 1.74, with 29 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.

No-hitter number two was also pitched by a player in Rookie ball, this time in the Gulf Coast League.  Dennis Tepera, a 21-year-old Texan, went seven for the Blue Jays in the first game of a doubleheader, walking one and striking out seven.  It was his second low-hit game in less than a month, following a July 25 outing against the Pirates that saw him allow no hits while striking out five.

Tepera was opposed by Rayni Guichardo who had a pretty good outing himself: one run on four hits and four walks, with eight strikeouts.  His undoing came in the bottom of the fifth, when Oliver Dominguez hit his second homerun for the game’s only score.

And finally, Oklahoma City’s Luis Mendoza pitched the Pacific Coast League’s third no-hitter this season, shutting down Salt Lake, 5-0.  Justin Smoak and Chris Davis supplied the offense, hitting two doubles each and driving in four runs between them.  It was Mendoza’s sixth win of the season and he struck out six, walked six, and threw 125 pitches to do it.

Update: John Sickels was on-hand for Mendoza’s no-hitter.

Sometimes? Redemption is not only three fights away…

I am in a bad spot at fantasy baseball. I am one of the lesser lights of the 30-team 34-man rostered league of legends known only as Lozoball. And as such? The Padres debuting starter had an interest for me today.

Now I know starting a story based on Fantasy Baseball is a dark and dangerous path. But as context goes? It’s what got me interested in the Padres starter making his debut. I mean, while the baseball literati would say there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, there are some who would say that once you show a skill, you don’t lose it.

And as such, when Cesar Carrillo, the 2006 #1 prospect for the San Diego Padres at long last made his big league debut after two lost seasons, was somebody that I was interested in seeing.

See, Carillo was the #2 prospect going into 2007. He hit Triple-A that season, for 2 and 2/3 innings. Before he complained of elbow tightness. And some genius (or in hindsight, “genius”) said that rest was going to be the elixir that would save the day. It wasn’t. I mean, his elbow was the elbow of a college pitcher.

So one Tommy John later? And we have someone who hasn’t exactly shown the best of skills in the minors on his returns. But somebody’s got to pitch for the majors. And Carillo got his turn. And got lit up. 8 runs, 4 hits, 3 dingers.

Sometimes, the light of hope does not shine. TJ’s usually not a career killer. But what he needs is something that the Padres can’t give him.

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)