Archive for the ‘Rookie’ Category

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.

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 23

Just got back from the Lannan bobblehead giveaway with a great story to share.   The Kinston Indians have a Taiwanese pitcher named Chen-Cheng Lee whom I’ve never seen pitch despite having seen the K-Tribe 3 times this season (Twice for bobblehead giveaways).   Joking with the pitching coach, I said hey how about putting Lee in this time since I never saw him throw the first 2 times.   He said ok and basically I thought he was just kidding.   Sure enough in the 8th, K-Tribe manager Chris Tremie signaled for Lee to get ready and he pitched the bottom half.   Happy as a lark, I snapped photos of Lee and watched him have 2Ks even though he gave up a meaningless HR in a Kinston win over Potomac.   Great times in the life of this Taiwanese player aficionado. Here’s the week ahead:

Memphis Redbirds 9/7/09 Colby Rasmus – First 1,500 – Great way to cap off the Redbirds season by giving one of its budding future Cardinal studs.

Reno Aces 9/7/09 Aceball – First 3,000 – The fan vote bobblehead in Reno features the mascot who appears when homers are hit.

Lowell Spinners 9/8/09 Extreme Blue The Frisbee Dog (Mascot) – First 1,500 – The regular season didn’t have any days left from this earlier rainout for this promo so they saved it for their playoff run.

Pittsburgh Pirates 9/8/09 Arnold Palmer – The Pirates celebrate the 80th birthday of this Latrobe, PA golf legend.

West Michigan Whitecaps 9/10/09 Jeremy Bonderman – First 1,000 – The Whitecaps have made a habit of playoff bobblehead giveaways, and this one features Bondo in a special jersey.

Arizona Diamondbacks 9/12/09 Augie Ojeda – First 25,000 – When the D-Backs traded Tony Pena to the White Sox, all hell broke loose in the Arizona bobbleworld. Ojeda was moved up to this day, which was originally scheduled to be Tony and Ojeda’s runner up was added as a final giveaway later on this month…Stay tuned.

Houston Astros 9/12/09 Jose Valverde – First 10,000 – Another animated closer bobblehead showing his tarzan-like antics upon celebrating a save.

Minnesota Twins 9/12/09 Jim Kaat Bronze Statuette – First 10,000 – Kitty still isn’t bronzed in Cooperstown but that hasn’t stopped the Twins from doing it at the Dome.

Detroit Tigers 9/13/09 Paws (Mascot) – All Kids 14 and under – This marks the first time the lovable tiger mascot is available as a giveaway at an MLB venue.

Florida Marlins 9/13/09 Hanley Ramirez – First 10,000 – When it comes to giving current Marlins out as figures, nobody comes to mind more than Han-Ram.

I’d also like to thank Southern Maryland BlueCrabs GM Chris Allen for the great hospitality Saturday night along with the Brooks Robinson and Roofman past giveaways. Good luck in the playoffs pal.

Appalachian League All-Stars Announced

The Appalachian League announced its postseason All-Stars, oh, nine days ago.  That’s quite the lag, even for me:

Catcher: Robert Stock, Johnson City Cardinals
First Base: Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, Danville Braves
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Greeneville Astros
Third Base: Vinnie Catricala, Pulaski Mariners
Third Base: Rich Racobaldo, Johnson City Cardinals
Shortstop: Brian Dozier, Elizabethton Twins
Outfield: Cory Harrilchak, Danville Braves
Outfield: Brandon Haveman, Pulaski Mariners
Outfield: Brady Shoemaker, Bristol White Sox
Outfield: Cory Rogers, Princeton Rays
Designated Hitter: Josmil Pinto, Elizabethton Twins
Utility: Gabriel Noriega, Pulaski Mariners
Starting Pitcher: Vito Frabizio, Bluefield Orioles
Starting Pitcher: Matt Crim, Danville Braves
Relief Pitcher: David Kington, Johnson City Cardinals

Player of the Year: Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, Danville Braves
Pitcher of the Year: Matt Crim, Danville Braves
Manager of the Year: Paul Runge, Danville Braves
Trainer of the Year: Cory Barton, Bristol White Sox

Spanjer-Furstenburg, owner of the coolest name in minor league baseball, was one of my three favorites for MVP. Greeneville’s Altuve and Johnson City’s Richard Racobaldo were the others.

Rinku And Dinesh, Immortalized In Cardboard And Chrome

Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel are kickin’ some boo-tay for the GCL Pirates in this, their debut season – Dinesh has a 1.42 ERA and no walks in six games, Rinku has only allowed one earned run since returning from a nineteen day layoff on August 13.  And now, the ultimate in awesome: they have their own baseball cards:

rinku and dinesh baseball cardsNow I know what I want for my birthday.

Dominican Summer League All-Stars Announced

These were announced last Wednesday, just before the start of the playoffs:

Catcher: Jaime Del Valle, White Sox
First Base: Reymond Nunez, Yankees 2
Second Base: Carlos Willoughby, Giants
Third Base: Eric Avila, Pirates
Shortstop: Juan Silverio, White Sox
Outfield: Dioris Robles, Indians
Outfield: Rafael Ortega, Rockies
Outfield: Kelvin Duran, Yankees 2
Designated Hitter: Jhonatan Javier, Orioles/Brewers
Right-Handed Pitchers: Pedro Guerra, Twins; Randol Rojas, Rangers 2
Left-Handed Pitcher: Andy Otero, Braves
Relief Pitcher: Miguel De Los Santos, Rangers 2

Player of the Year: Carlos Willoughby, Giants
Pitchers of the Year (tie): Pedro Guerra, Twins; Randol Rojas, Rangers 2
Manager of the Year: Jayce Tingler, Rangers 2

For the record, I’m officially 0-1 on MVP guesses.  I had Reymond Nunez or Alexander Sanchez taking home the award.

Giants Win Dominican Summer League Championship

Earlier today, the DSL Giants beat the DSL Twins, 2-1, to finish off a three game sweep in the Dominican Summer League championship series.

All three games were tightly contested, low-scoring affairs – 4-3, 3-1, 2-1.  In the first, the Giants came from behind to win in extra innings; in the final two, they scored in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie.

If the box scores are to be believed, all three games also featured a strange occurrence in which the pitcher threw back-to-back wild pitches that allowed a base-runner to advance twice.  It happened for the Twins in Game One and the Giants in Games Two and Three, predictably resulting in a run for the offense each time.

Lorenzo Mendoza, a perfect 8-0 in the regular season, went 2-0 in the postseason, including a complete game four-hitter to clinch the championship.

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.

Dominican Summer League Finals Are Underway

The DSL Giants defeated the DSL Twins last night, 4-3, to take a one game to none lead in the best-of-five championship series.

The Giants held a 2-0 lead until the Twins’ Yancarlo Franco tied it with a two-run homerun in the top of the seventh.  The visitors took the lead the following inning when Romy Trinidad reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on two consecutive wild pitches, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Manuel Soliman balked in the tying run before intentionally walking Gabriel Cornier to reload ’em up.  Soliman worked his way out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to preserve the tie.

It ended the next inning with a manufactured run.  Jorge Lopez walked, advanced on a acrifice bunt, and scored on a single to right to give the Giants the advantage.

Game Two was scheduled for this morning at 10 AM Eastern time.

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)