Archive for the ‘NCAA’ Category

The Z-Meter: 6/9/2009 – Draft Day Edition

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Andrew McCutchen: Indianapolis Indians (AAA) to Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)

Why an edition of the Z-Meter dedicated to the MLB draft? Several reasons.

  1. Most of the guys on this meter came to us from the MLB first-year player draft. The rest were signed out of shady, desparate third-world baseball academies.
  2. I will be leaving for Omaha on Friday, so I’m forced to meet my obligation of posting once per week earlier than usual.
  3. None of these humps has been promoted this week, so we need a “hook”.

The draft will begin at 6pm tonight. I wonder who will go first????????


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 12 Games – 6W – 3L – 3.18 ERA – 29 BB – 52 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .280 – 38 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 50 BB – 0 SB – .505 SLG – .932 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .309 – 45 R – 3 HR – 21 RBI – 13 BB – 22 SB – .436 SLG – .783 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 11 Starts – 1 W – 6 L – 5.14 ERA – 17 BB – 63 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .340 – 31 R – 1 HR – 27 RBI – 22 BB – 11 SB – .453 SLG – .866 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .262 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 34 RBI – 25 BB – 0 SB – .441 SLG – .788 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 11 Starts – 4 W – 4 L – 3.19 ERA – 22 BB – 52 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .282 AVG – 37 R – 10 HR – 39 RBI – 39 BB – 0 SB – .546 SLG – .957 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B (injured) – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .325 AVG – 28 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 32 BB – 0 SB – .503 SLG – .947 OPS
  
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .348 AVG – 36 R – 10 HR – 60 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .557 SLG – .948 OPS
 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 5 Games – 4 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – 1.86 ERA – 8 BB – 29 K
 
 
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 7 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 3.20 ERA – 6 BB – 38 K
 
 
Yonder Alonso, 1B – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .219 AVG – 3 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 4 BB – o SB – .313 SLG – .618 OPS
 
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 1 Start – 1 W – 0 L – 0.00 ERA – 3 BB – 4 K
 
 

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .252 AVG – 9 R – 9 HR – 24 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .483 SLG – .785 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .273 AVG – 33 R – 7 HR – 36 RBI – 13 BB – 4 SB – .440 SLG – .754 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .240 AVG – 27 R – 10 HR – 42 RBI – 31 BB – 1 SB – .454 SLG – .792 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .215 AVG – 26 R – 1 HR – 17 RBI – 26 BB – 8 SB – .287 SLG – .607 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .338 AVG – 35 R – 13 HR – 36 RBI – 6 BB – 3 SB – .592 SLG – .970 OPS

Shooter Hunt (injured), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .279 AVG – 39 R – 6 HR – 33 RBI – 26 BB – 10 SB – .457 SLG – .827 OPS

Mauricio Robles (injured), P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 10 Starts – 4 W – 3 L – 3.91 ERA – 23 BB – 70 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .297 AVG – 26 R – 3 HR – 31 RBI – 18 BB – 2 SB – .427 SLG – .788 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 11 Games – 10 Starts – 7 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 3.17 ERA – 11 BB – 47 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 26 Games – 0 Starts – 1.04 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 16 SV – 5 BB – 33 K


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg and the Aztecs were eliminated from postseason play in their regional. Tonight’s draft will give us the first idea of where he’ll start his Z-Meter career as a pro.

 


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

Can college destroy a hitter too?

Before the post, a brief introduction. I’m Andrew, I was invited to join this conclave by young mister One More Dying Quail, and I’m only too happy to join up with this conclave. You might know me from The Grand National Championships or my brief appearance as Fat Guy #2 in Monk’s Super Bowl Spectacular.

But as we get into the College World Series and the baseball draft, we have to ask. Does college baseball ruin prospects? I’ve already made mention about how Augie Garrido ruins pitchers. But here’s my new premise.

Mark Marquess ruins hitters.

Unless you’re a hardocre Philly fan, you may not know who this is. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. He’s Michael Taylor, and he is made of speed and power. But he wasn’t exactly off to a fast start as he went to college.

Why? Because Mark Marquess has a system for hitters. Level swings. They must use only one plane of contact to their swing. Mark Marquess has won Pac-10 games with the better part of thirty-three seasons. And in that time, he’s had three hitters who have had moments above commonality.

Ed Sprague, Jeffrey Hammonds, and Carlos Quentin. That’s about it.  He’s brought more early round busts than professionals. And that’s not even if you count pitching…but anyway.

Why has Michael Taylor become such a professional success? And he is rolling up with a .351/.413/.600. He got away from the Stanford system. The Stanford system messed up people like Joe Borchard and Donald Lucy. And now?

The Phillies have a J.J. Davis whose actually developed some skills.

The 2009 College World Series Is Set

Your participants:

Arkansas
LSU
Cal State Fullerton
North Carolina
Virginia
Southern Miss
Arizona State
Texas

Bus League’s own Extra P is on the ground in Omaha as we speak, living out a lifelong dream of visiting Rosenblatt Stadium. If Virginia wins the whole deal, it may be awhile before we see our bearded friend again.

The College World Series Is Quickly Taking Shape

Three teams finished off a two-game Super Regional sweep yesterday to advance to the 2009 College World Series.  Cal State Fullerton beat Louisville, 11-2; Arkansas stopped Florida State, 9-8; and LSU handled Rice, 5-3.  The remaining series on that side of the bracket will be decided today when Ole Miss and Virginia play at 3 PM on ESPN.

On the other side, Texas, Southern Miss, Arizona State and North Carolina took 1-0 leads in their Super Regionals.  The four games today all have staggered start times and can be seen on ESPN and ESPN2 (assuming you don’t have a two-year-old who insists on watching some combination of Cars, Meet the Robinsons, and Madagascar all day.  I’m lucky I even got to see Roger Federer take care of business in the French this morning).

North Carolina vs. East Carolina (North Carolina leads, 1-0) (12:00 PM, ESPN)

TCU vs. Texas (Texas leads, 1-0) (3:00 PM, ESPN)

Ole Miss vs. Virginia (Series tied, 1-1) (3:00 PM, ESPN)

Florida vs. Southern Miss (Southern Miss leads, 1-0) (7:00 PM, ESPN2)

Clemson vs. Arizona State (Arizona State leads, 1-0) (10:00 PM, ESPN2)

If any of these series go to a third game, they will be played tomorrow.

Also, in honor of Arkansas’s first College World Series appearance since 2004, here is Academy Award-winning actor Brian Walker from a game against Ole Miss a couple years ago:

Walker was drafted in the 29th round by the Angels in 2007.  He is hitting .310 in 21 games for Rancho Cucamonga this season.

A Brief Update on the 2009 College Baseball Postseason

Why college baseball?  Because today’s collegians are tomorrow’s Bus Leaguers, that’s why.

The right side of the Super Regional bracket got started last night with Cal State Fullerton, Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU gaining 1-0 advantages in their best-of-three series.  Louisville, Florida State, Virginia and Rice try to avoid elimination today.  Any potential third games will be tomorrow.

The left side of the bracket starts today and continues through to Monday if necessary.

There are eight games on the schedule today (all times are Eastern Standard Time).

Ole Miss vs. Virginia (Ole Miss leads series, 1-0) (12:00 PM, ESPN2)

East Carolina vs. North Carolina (12:00 PM, ESPNU)

Arkansas vs. Florida State (Arkansas leads series, 1-0) (12:00 PM, ESPNU)

Southern Miss vs. Florida (3:00 PM, ESPNU)

Cal State Fullerton vs. Louisville (Cal State Fullerton leads series, 1-0) (5:00 PM, ESPN2)

LSU vs. Rice (LSU leads series, 1-0) (5 PM, ESPN)

Texas vs. TCU (6 PM, ESPNU)

Arizona State vs. Clemson (9 PM, ESPNU)

The Z-Meter: 6/5/2009

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Andrew McCutchen: Indianapolis Indians (AAA) to Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)

I know a few people who live in Pittsburgh, and they are spitting, cussing mad that Nate McLouth – a rare All-Star for the Buccos – has been traded to Atlanta. From my somewhat vulturine Z-meter perch, however, I am pleased that this has happened, because it means that we finally get to see what Andrew McCutchen can do in PNC Park. Andy Mac is a pretty classic table-setter; he gets on base, is a threat to steal, and scores more than he drives in. His range in the outfield should be a serious boon to the Pirates as well. In fact, he already went 3/4 with a swipe and three runs in his debut.

To replace him, we’re going with a legacy pick. Kyle Drabek is the son of 1990 Cy Young winner (in Pittsburgh!) Doug Drabek. He appears to be following in dad’s windup, piling up enough strikeouts at Sarasota to earn a promotion to Reading just this week. This whole edition of the Z-meter has a very Pennsylvania feel to it, doesn’t it?

Wade Davis has had middling numbers so far this year, but the Rays might take a closer look at him after this week’s start. Davis threw 13 strikeouts in a game that ended up as a loss for the Durham Bulls. Still… thirteen! Poor old Carlos Carrasco finally got his first win in Lehigh, beating the McCutchen-less Indianapolis Indians on June 4th. Keep ya head up, Carlos!


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 11 Games – 5W – 3L – 3.51 ERA – 26 BB – 45 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .278 – 36 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 49 BB – 0 SB – .521 SLG – .955 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .296 – 41 R – 2 HR – 15 RBI – 13 BB – 22 SB – .399 SLG – .737 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 11 Starts – 1 W – 6 L – 5.14 ERA – 17 BB – 63 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .348 – 29 R – 1 HR – 26 RBI – 20 BB – 11 SB – .465 SLG – .885 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .243 AVG – 26 R – 6 HR – 30 RBI – 23 BB – 0 SB – .405 SLG – .734 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 10 Starts – 3 W – 4 L – 3.38 ERA – 20 BB – 45 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .284 AVG – 35 R – 9 HR – 37 RBI – 37 BB – 0 SB – .547 SLG – .964 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B (injured) – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .325 AVG – 28 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 32 BB – 0 SB – .503 SLG – .947 OPS
  
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .363 AVG – 35 R – 10 HR – 57 RBI – 16 BB – 0 SB – .585 SLG – .987 OPS 
 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 5 Games – 4 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – 1.86 ERA – 8 BB – 29 K
 
 
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 6 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 2.77 ERA – 5 BB – 33 K
 
 
Yonder Alonso, 1B – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .313 AVG – 3 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 3 BB – o SB – .500 SLG – .921 OPS
 
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 1 Start – 1 W – 0 L – 0.00 ERA – 3 BB – 4 K
 
 

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .231 AVG – 15 R – 7 HR – 20 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .440 SLG – .729 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .263 AVG – 33 R – 7 HR – 35 RBI – 11 BB – 2 SB – .433 SLG – .734 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .240 AVG – 26 R – 9 HR – 41 RBI – 31 BB – 1 SB – .448 SLG – .792 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .217 AVG – 24 R – 1 HR – 16 RBI – 21 BB – 7 SB – .289 SLG – .600 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .348 AVG – 33 R – 13 HR – 34 RBI – 5 BB – 2 SB – .610 SLG – .995 OPS

Shooter Hunt (injured), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .273 AVG – 37 R – 6 HR – 33 RBI – 23 BB – 9 SB – .459 SLG – .822 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 10 Starts – 4 W – 3 L – 3.91 ERA – 23 BB – 70 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .291 AVG – 21 R – 3 HR – 29 RBI – 14 BB – 1 SB – .413 SLG – .757 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 10 Games – 9 Starts – 7 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 3.05 ERA – 9 BB – 46 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 23 Games – 0 Starts – 1.13 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 15 SV – 5 BB – 32 K


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg and the Aztecs were eliminated from postseason play in their regional. Let the draft watch begin.


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

College Baseball: Super Regionals Set

I’ve never had much of an interest in college baseball, but I have to admit that this year’s postseason tournament caught my eye in its first weekend.  If the programming geniuses at ESPN hadn’t confined it solely to the desolate wasteland that is ESPNU, I probably would have tuned in to check out a few games.  But that’s in the past – after four grueling days of double elimination hell, the field has been narrowed to sixteen teams.  The Super Regional portion of the tournament, a series of eight best-of-three matchups, will begin Friday, June 5 and conclude on Monday, June 8, at which point we will know the eight participants in this year’s College World Series.

For now, here are the Super Regionals.  Special kudos go to Extra P’s local nine, the University of Virginia, which was thrown into maybe the toughest region in the nation and advanced by beating Stephen Strasburg and San Diego State in the opener, then taking out top-ranked UC Irvine not once, but twice.

TCU (39-16) vs. Texas (44-13-1)
Southern Miss (38-24) vs. Florida (42-20)
Arizona State (47-12) vs. Clemson (44-20)
East Carolina (46-19) vs. North Carolina (45-16)
Cal State Fullerton (45-14) vs. Louisville (47-16)
Florida State (45-16) vs. Arkansas (37-22)
Virginia (46-12-1) vs. Mississippi (43-18)
Rice (43-16) vs. LSU (49-16)

The Z-Meter: 6/2/2009

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)

This week saw the culmination of the meteoric rise of Antonio Bastardo. Did we like it that the word “bastard” was in his last name? Yes. Do we look forward to growling “Bastardo!” the same way Jerry Seinfeld said “Newman!”? Yes. But he also had some dynamite stats in ’09, proving that he had fully recovered from an injury-marred ’08 season. He hopped from AA to AAA this season, and then right on up the ladder to the Show. Welcome to the World Champs, Antonio.

To replace our long-lost Bastardo, I decided to give the bullpen some love. Brad Brach of the Fort Wayne TinCaps is leading the Midwest League in saves, and he’ll be our new guinea pig closer.

Yonder Alonso was promoted to AA almost as soon as he was placed on the meter. Way to go, Yonder!

Stephen Strasburg and SDSU were eliminated in ignominious fashion from the NCAA postseason. I’m going to have a hard time feeling too sorry for him, since my hometown UVA Cavaliers came out of California with no losses and their first Super Regional appearance ever. Can’t wait to see where Strasburg ends up!


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .295 AVG – 39 R – 4 HR – 20 RBI – 16 BB – 10 SB – .487 SLG – .839 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 10 Games – 5W – 2L – 3.40 ERA – 25 BB – 32 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .275 – 34 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 46 BB – 0 SB – .525 SLG – .956 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .294 – 40 R – 2 HR – 15 RBI – 13 BB – 21 SB – .393 SLG – .731 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 10 Starts – 0 W – 6 L – 5.40 ERA – 15 BB – 58 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .349 – 27 R – 0 HR – 23 RBI – 20 BB – 11 SB – .440 SLG – .865 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .238 AVG – 26 R – 6 HR – 27 RBI – 22 BB – 0 SB – .411 SLG – .739 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 10 Starts – 3 W – 4 L – 3.38 ERA – 20 BB – 45 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .284 AVG – 30 R – 7 HR – 31 RBI – 33 BB – 0 SB – .515 SLG – .931 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .325 AVG – 28 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 32 BB – 0 SB – .503 SLG – .947 OPS
 
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .376 AVG – 33 R – 10 HR – 57 RBI – 15 BB – 0 SB – .613 SLG – 1.026 OPS
 
 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 4 Games – 3 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – .78 ERA – 6 BB – 24 K
 
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 6 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 2.77 ERA – 5 BB – 33 K
 
Yonder Alonso, 1B – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): Stats reset due to promotion.
 

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .224 AVG – 12 R – 4 HR – 17 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .388 SLG – .678 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .269 AVG – 30 R – 7 HR – 35 RBI – 10 BB – 2 SB – .445 SLG – .751 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .244 AVG – 25 R – 9 HR – 41 RBI – 29 BB – 1 SB – .460 SLG – .805 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .230 AVG – 23 R – 1 HR – 15 RBI – 20 BB – 7 SB – .303 SLG – .628 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .356 AVG – 32 R – 13 HR – 34 RBI – 5 BB – 2 SB – .633 SLG – 1.024 OPS

Shooter Hunt (7-day Disabled List), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .281 AVG – 37 R – 6 HR – 31 RBI – 22 BB – 9 SB – .466 SLG – .839 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 10 Starts – 4 W – 3 L – 3.91 ERA – 23 BB – 70 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .305 AVG – 20 R – 3 HR – 26 RBI – 13 BB – 1 SB – .433 SLG – .790 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 10 Games – 9 Starts – 7 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 3.05 ERA – 9 BB – 46 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 23 Games – 0 Starts – 3 W – 2 L – 14 SV – 5 BB – 31 K


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg and the Aztecs were eliminated from postseason play in their regional. Let the draft watch begin.


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

Bus Leagues Interview: Jonathan Johnston

Our Memorial Day post last week garnered attention from an unusual source: former Navy catcher and Oakland farmhand Jonathan Johnston.  In the section on Johnston, I linked to a Yahoo! Sports column by Jeff Passan.  Johnston left a comment on the post, I responded with an email, an exchange followed, and before I knew it, we were making plans to speak on the phone and hopefully resolve some issues he had with the way he was portrayed in Passan’s article.

Bus Leagues: I figure I’ll get right into it. Obviously, we linked that story, from Yahoo, about you, and from emails and comments that passed back and forth between us, I got the distinct impression that you were pretty bothered by the way you came across in it, the way you were presented. You actually said that it was “the antithesis” of who you are. And when you agreed to talk to me, you said you would as long as you had your real story reflected – that came across as something that was really important to you. So what I wanted to start with was, what is it you would want to say to set the record straight regarding that story?

johnston navyJonathan Johnston: The guy who wrote that, Jeff Passan, is a great guy, good writer – I don’t think he really understood where I was coming from. And he is a writer, and I understand that it’s what’s gonna catch the reader’s eye or the reader’s ear or whatever, and I understood that. But I think some of the way he kind of changed my quotes and stuff made me sound like I was a little bit less excited about being in the Navy, which is not the case. I’m very proud of it, being able to lead people, because I have to say that I’m pretty good at it. It’s something that’s exciting, there’s good job experience, there’s all these good things. The number one thing I would want to say is that I have NO regrets about being in the Navy at all, number one. And I actually enjoy what I do, but I wanna do something else. And I don’t know if that’s selfish or not, but…

BL: That was sort of the impression that I got from speaking with you and communicating with you afterward was that you enjoyed it, and you respected it, but you had another place that you wanted to be. You have another skill that has a shelf life on it, if you want to put it that way.

JJ: Exactly. It’s not that I don’t like the Navy, it’s just that – who wouldn’t want to play baseball? I can’t think of anybody that wouldn’t want to do it, if they had the opportunity, and that’s the only question I wanted to ask by doing that article was, why am I any different than any of the Army guys?

BL: A lot of you guys came out around the same time, were drafted within a couple years of each other. Do you talk to those guys, and the guys in the Navy, compare notes?

JJ: I talked to Mitch Harris, but I haven’t talked to him – he’s playing with the military All-Star team I guess, you know about that I think.

BL: Yeah, I saw he was doing some sort of traveling All-Star team or something.

JJ: Yeah, well, I did that before I got the chance to go play in the minors, and it was what it was. I’m not gonna say it was a terrible experience, but it wasn’t like I was playing a college baseball game at all. Talking about that, he’s in the place that I was a year ago, or a little more than a year ago. He wants to play, and he’s trying to do whatever he can, whatever it is, if he happened to be playing on that team, trying to hold on, just keep his skills sharp.

Little side note: my dad’s a Legion coach, he coached for like 25 years and then he ended up coaching me. He was the assistant and we had a pretty hard, old school head coach who coached me for like five years, and I don’t talk to any of the Army guys because the way I was brought up playing, we didn’t like the other team no matter what. And that’s completely different now, I understand that, but I cannot get past that for the longest time, I just hated everybody that I played against. I never really developed a rapport with those guys.

BL: It’s kind of funny to hear it put that way.

JJ: I mean, it sounds stupid…

BL: I get it, because you get it so ingrained in you that you’re not supposed to fraternize with the guys on the other team or hang out with them or talk to them, it’s just an ingrained mentality.

JJ: Yeah, and it was appalling to me to ever even see that. So I don’t talk to those other guys, but I’m happy for them.  That’s awesome that they – I think they’re doing a great service. Nick Hill, he’s doing pretty well, I’ve been following him a little bit, he’s progressing in the Mariners system, you know, he’s a great pitcher. He always had my number ‘cause, well, number one ‘cause it’s a lefty on lefty. But yeah, I think it’s awesome that people are hearing about Army. And I’m sure that wherever he goes, it’s, you know, this kid graduated from a military academy. I mean, now people are gonna pay attention to him. So I think that’s awesome for him, but I don’t really talk to him that much.

BL: So how long do you have before your commitment is done?

JJ: I have a five-year commitment, so I have two more years. Actually, two days ago was my three-year mark.

BL: Oh, wow, so you’re getting there.

JJ: Yeah, I’m almost there. Oakland’s been holding on to me. I played last year, they’ve been holding on. I’m still under contract with them. I’m trying to see if the Navy will let me go with the two-year rule. I put up another request and we’ll see where that goes. But I think I’m gonna try to get into winter ball and hopefully go back to spring training next year.

BL: So if you can get back playing, what would the Navy have you doing? Would they have you doing recruiting stuff? Because in the post I did last week, I wrote about David Robinson a little bit, and he only did a couple years of his commitment, but he was known forever afterward as The Admiral. It’s a little bit different situation, but that was such a big thing for the Navy, to have this superstar with a Navy related nickname. So it would seem to me that you would be just as valuable if you were recruiting, you know, out there as the face of the Navy.

johnston kaneJJ: Well, you know, I’m no David Robinson by any stretch. I’ll probably never ever be the star that he is, that everybody knows, and I know that. But I’m not one of those guys that didn’t have to work. I’ve worked so hard to become so much better in every aspect, not just baseball, but every aspect of my life. And that’s the way I would approach the off the field stuff for the Navy. In my request, I actually mentioned that as part of a professional organization, they encourage you to do community service and stuff like that, and that’s one thing that I would not even think twice about, is going out there. I was actually doing clinics in Kane County when I was playing there, just interacting with the kids, or whoever. I mean, whatever I needed to do. My whole thing is, I think I could find people that would do well in the Navy. I think I have a good idea about that, who would be able to perform well, and if I can talk to anybody, that’s all I’ve got to do, is get the name out there. So my answer to the question is, I would go above and beyond whatever I had to do to get the Navy’s name out there. And I’d have to work a little bit harder than David Robinson, to be honest with you. [laughs]

BL: Yeah, it’s not a perfect comparison, but I thought it was interesting because it shows how some good publicity and some good feeling can be generated just by a story and by you saying, “You know, the Navy has given me this opportunity to be a recruiter and to work in other ways, they’ve worked with me.” It seems like that would be more valuable to them than to have somebody who’s kind of frustrated, and who respects what he does, but is a little frustrated by the fact that there’s something else going on that you want to be doing.

JJ: Oh yeah, I mean, like I said, the Department of Defense policy actually says you serve two years then you do double the remaining service that you owe. So that would be whatever I owe, I owe two years now, two times two is four, so I would owe four years in the reserves. I would still be in the reserves, in the Navy, but I’d be playing. That’s the Department of Defense policy. The Navy policy was suspended while Secretary Winter was in office. Whether that changes now or not, I don’t know. But the opportunity is out there, I think I need to go for it. Like I told you in my email, I’ve never tried to get out of something, I’m not trying to get out of my commitment. I’m trying to do within the rules of the Navy what I can do for the Navy. I think, I’ve done three years of active service and I’ve been blessed to do some pretty amazing things and be in some pretty cool situations, and perform well in them. So, I mean, if I can do something – next year I’m gonna be going into shore duty anyway, so hopefully they let me start a little bit early and go play and do something maybe a little bit more noteworthy.

BL: Yeah, I gotta say, on a non-baseball note, I was actually fascinated from that Yahoo story about the experience that you had with the pirate attacks over off the coast of Somalia. Because obviously that was a huge issue, what, six weeks or so ago. Especially around here, I’m in New Hampshire, the captain was from Massachusetts, so it kind of got a little extra play up here, I think. I found that fascinating, and it’s kind of an off-topic note, but what goes through your mind when you get that call and they say, “Hey, we gotta go do this.” Is it just, you think of your training and you just go do it? What goes through your mind there?

JJ: Well, I’ll tell you one thing that doesn’t go through your mind: exactly what was in that article, the fact that I couldn’t think about anything else but playing baseball. What happened to me was I had just taken over the watch, I was the officer on the deck, I’m in charge of the ship. I’m the head guy in charge of the ship for the captain, because the captain’s not up there all the time. And I had just taken it, I hear the call over the radio, you know, “Mayday mayday, we’re being attacked by pirates, they’re shooting rockets at us. And this is our location.” And I go look at the chart, and it’s like, it’s right there! So, I just head right to them. I mean, it’s just reaction at that point. It’s just like baseball, you work so hard and prepare so much that you know what you want to do, and to be honest, being the type of guy that I am, I wanna go do something anyway. So, I’m going at ‘em. And I did all the reports I had to do, I called the captain, this and that, and everybody got out there eventually, but I just had to get into position that we could do something if we had to. So yeah, it’s just reaction.

BL: That’s a pretty amazing experience, from my perspective.

JJ: It is, it’s exciting.

BL: So you said you’re going back onto shore duty now? So what is that, you won’t be out…

JJ: No no no, right now I’m what they call the Damage Control Assistant, I’m basically the fire chief on the ship. So that’s what I’m doing right now, and next year I’m slated to go to shore duty.

BL: So you’re hoping the shore duty could coincide with…

JJ: Well, no, I’m actually hoping they let me go and do this a little earlier than next year.

BL: Okay, I think I got it. Another thing I picked up – honestly, I thought that story had a lot of information in it, and one thing I picked up on was the conversation you had with Oakland’s assistant GM when you told him that you had to leave, you said, “Please don’t forget about me.” Do you feel like they’ve been pretty supportive of this?

JJ: Oh my God, I will go beyond that. Oakland’s organization is one of the best organizations I know. The coaches, the people that they have, they have it right. The whole key to an organization is getting good people in it, and they have that. And you know, for whatever reason, it is a business, but they have been very supportive and understanding of the fact that I can’t really control what’s going on, and I think they know how hard I am willing to work and whatever I need to do I’ll get it done. I’ve been blessed to be with Oakland, and it’s pretty amazing how I got with them too.

BL: Yeah, you weren’t drafted right out of school, but you had a tryout afterward?

JJ: Yeah, I wasn’t drafted out of school, and then I knew somebody that knew somebody that knew a scout, and the scout gave me a tryout. I went and worked out with him and he was like, “We want to sign you.” And I was like, “Where?” And then they wouldn’t let me go right away, and they drafted me the following summer. I was pretty upset after I didn’t get drafted my senior year because they were telling me I was supposed to, and a lot of teams were looking at me, but it didn’t work out then, and maybe it’s better that it didn’t.

BL: So you’ve got 36 games of professional baseball under your belt. If you never played again professionally, would you be able to look back on that and be happy about it, knowing that you couldn’t really control the circumstances but that you at least made it to professional baseball, which not a lot of people can say?

JJ: I kind of have to answer that question in two ways. One, yes, I’m happy for the opportunity to play professional baseball, without a doubt. I’m so glad I got to play for 36 games. Those 36 games, and that entire time, spring training to when I left, was THE best time of my life. I had so much fun, I mean, I’m playing baseball everyday. Yes. On the other side of me, I have to say I always told myself that I wanted to stop playing on my own terms, and I think every player wants to stop playing on their own terms. I feel like I’m still getting better, I’m still improving my game, and I want to be the best player that I can be before I stop playing. Whether I make it to the bigs or not, or if I make it to Double A or High A or whatever and that’s as good as I can get, that’s fine. As long as I was as good as I can be.

BL: Is there anything else that you want to add? I wanted to make sure that if I was going to talk to you that I did justice to it, that I gave you the chance to say what you wanted to say. Was there anything else in closing that you wanted to throw out there that you wanted to set straight or anything that you felt needed to be said?

JJ: Basically I don’t really care what people think. I just don’t like coming across as somebody that’s not grateful for what I’ve been given. I’m grateful for being in the positions I’ve been in, being able to lead sailors in the Navy, some of the best sailors that I’ve seen, and going to one of the most prestigious schools in the nation, in the world, really. I’m not ungrateful for anything. I’m just trying for another opportunity, and I don’t think you can fault me for that. And that opportunity is hopefully going to help the Navy as well. That’s the way I would like people to think about me, if they had to. I just don’t want anybody to think that I’m ungrateful.

Thanks to Jonathan for taking to time to talk with us.

It’s Hard Out Here For A Buckeye

Don’t look now, but Florida State has unleashed the hounds on poor, unsuspecting Ohio State.  When the score is 32-0 after five innings, it’s probably not your day.  FSU’s Stephen Cardullo, Ohmed Danesh, and Mike Meschke are a combined 14-19 with 13 runs scored and 13 runs batted in.  They currently lead 33-2.

Assuming there’s no more scoring, Ohio State will be eliminated with two losses by a combined score of 57-10.  That’s a rough weekend.  The Seminoles will be the first team to nail down a spot in the Super Regionals.

Update: The final score was 37-6.  Florida State is actually the second team to clinch a Super Regional slot – North Carolina advanced with a 12-1 win over Kansas earlier in the day.