Archive for the ‘Appalachian League’ Category

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.

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Your Random Rasmus Brothers Update

Because I wait excitedly for the Rasmus Brothers to perform on the same day, I assume that you do too. Here are the results from yesterday:

Colby: 1-4, HR, BB
Cory: 2.2 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 4 BB, 3 SO

Colby’s hit wasn’t a walk-off this time, but he “wins” this round because Cory had a bad day. The fourteen inning no-hit streak? Gone in the first inning. Both brothers’ teams eventually won, however – the Cardinals topped the Padres, 7-0, and Danville came from behind to beat Greeneville, 5-4, in ten innings.

Circle August 21 On Your Calendars: Round 3 In The Battle Of The Rasmus Brothers

Five days ago, I brought you the story of the Brothers Rasmus: older brother Colby, one of Baseball America’s Top 100 preseason prospects and an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, celebrated his birthday, only to be upstaged by little brother Cory, who pitched a seven-inning no-hitter for the Danville Braves.

Tonight was to be the night Colby got his revenge. The rookie broke a 5-5 ninth inning tie with his twelfth homerun of the season, a two-run walk-off bomb off Padres closer Heath Bell. Score one for Colby in the ol’ sibling rivalry contest, right?

Probably – a walk-off is pretty cool – but let’s look at the facts first. As the fates would have it, Cory also started for Danville tonight, his first outing since the no-hitter, and he did alright for himself: despite control problems (walking four and hitting a batter) that led to a pair of runs, he did not allow a hit for the second straight game. With five hitless innings under his belt tonight, seven in his last start, and two in the start before that, he has now gone fourteen consecutive innings without giving up a hit.

It appears we got ourselves a good old fashioned rivalry brewing between the baseball-playing Rasmus Boys.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.

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)

Top Performers: Thursday, July 16, 2009

Class AAA
Yurendell de Caster, Pawtucket (International): 2-4, walk-off HR
Brian Barden, Memphis (Pacific Coast): 4-5, 4 RBI
Kevin Richardson, Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast): 3-6, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Class AA
Dave Krynzel, Bowie (Eastern): 4-6, 2 3B, 2 RS, 2 RBI
Joseph Nowicki, Bowie (Eastern): 4-5, 4 RBI
Jared Goedert, Akron (Eastern): 3-6, HR, 6 RBI
Madison Bumgarner, Connecticut (Eastern): 5.1 IP, 1 H

Class A-Advanced
Bryan Shaw, Visalia (California): 5 IP, 3 H, 8 SO
Paolo Espino, Kinston (Carolina): 8 IP, R, 3 H, 8 SO
Yamaico Navarro, Salem (Carolina): 2-5, HR, 5 RBI, walk-off grand slam

Class A
Kenny Smalley, Kane County (Midwest): 6 IP, 0 R, 3 H
Ethan Hollingsworth, Asheville (South Atlantic): 5.2 IP, 10 SO
Dexter Carter, Kannapolis (South Atlantic): 8 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 9 SO
Isaias Velasquez, Bowling Green (South Atlantic): 4-4, 4 RS
Ryan Lavarnway, Greenville (South Atlantic): 2-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI

Class A-Short Season
Robert Taylor, Jamestown (New York-Penn): 2-4, walk-off HR
Logan Watkins, Boise (Northwest): 5-6, 3 RS
Ryan Ortiz, Vancouver (Northwest): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Class Rookie
Audry Perez, Johnson City (Appalachian): 1-1, pinch-hit walk-off HR
Geoffrey Baldwin, Royals (Arizona): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 RS
Pedro Pena, Cardinals (Dominican): 8.1 IP, 10 SO
Cesar Ciurcina, Twins (Dominican): 7 IP, R, 3 H, 8 SO
Adan Velazquez, Padres (Dominican): 2-5, 2 HR
Brent Weaver, Marlins (Gulf Coast): 2-5, HR, 5 RBI
Michael Tonkin, Twins (Gulf Coast): 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 15 SO
Matt Kramer, Braves (Gulf Coast): 2-2, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Eliezer Mesa, Casper (Pioneer): 4-5, 4 RBI

Top Performers: Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Class AAA

International League
Erik Kratz, Indianapolis: 2-2, HR, 2 RBI, 2 RS

Pacific Coast League
Esteban German, Oklahoma City: 3-4, HR, 4 RBI

Class AA

Southern League
James Adduci, Tennessee: 3-5, HR, 2 RBI, 3 RS
J.D. Durbin, Chattanooga: 8 IP, 0 R, 5 H
Johan Limonta, West Tenn: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 RS
Desmond Jennings, Montgomery: 2-2, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB

Class A-Advanced

California League
Jacob Wild, High Desert: 6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 8 SO
Efren Navarro, Rancho Cucamonga: 4-4, 3 RBI
Engel Beltre, Bakersfield: 4-5, 3B, 2 RS

Carolina League
Lastings Milledge, Lynchburg: 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 RS

Florida State League
Francisco Pena, St. Lucie: 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Tim Stronach, St. Lucie: 8.1 IP, 1 H (lost no-hitter with one out in ninth)
Steven Hirschfeld, Fort Myers: 9 IP, 0 R, 3 H
Starlin Castro, Daytona: 4-4, 2 RS

Class A

Midwest League
A.J. Pollock, South Bend: 2-5, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 RS
Taylor Sinclair, South Bend: 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 5 SO

South Atlantic League
Braeden Schlehuber, Rome: 2-6, HR, 4 RBI (walkoff two-run HR in 11th)
Scott Robinson, Asheville: 4-4, 2 2B, 2 RS
Kiel Roling, Asheville: 3-4, HR, 4 RBI

Class A-Short Season

New York-Penn League
Ryde Rodriguez, Batavia: 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Brandon Moore, Brooklyn: 8 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 9 SO

Northwest League
Logan Watkins, Boise: 4-5, 2 RS

Rookie

Appalachian League
Vincent Catricala, Pulaski: 3-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Gabriel Noriega, Pulaski: 5-5, 2 2B, 2 RS
Cody Rogers, Princeton: 4-4, 2 RBI, 2 RS

Arizona League
Carlos Quintana, Giants: 4-4, 2 RS
Jonathan Hesketh, Mariners: 2.2 IP, 7 SO
Jesus Aguilar, Indians: 4-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 RS

Pioneer League
Michael Wing, Orem: 4-5, 3B, RS, RBI
Nicholas Bucci, Helena: 7 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 9 SO

Bus Leagues Interview: Mariners Prospect Nick Czyz

A few weeks ago, OMDQ had a brainstorm. We like inside perspectives on what it’s like in the minors. Our internet buddy Darren Heitner manages minor league ballplayers as part of his growing business called Dynasty Athlete Representation. So, we got together, and the Quail kicked it off by discussing the WBC with Australian player Paul Rutgers. I chose a player who reminded me of home.

Meet Nick Czyz, former pitcher for the Kansas Jayhawks of the Big 12. As a freshman, he earned a win in the conference championship while his older brother, Don, picked up the save. He was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 2008 draft and played his rookie ball in Virginia with the Pulaski Mariners of the Appalachian League. The team went 40-27 to win their division, and Nick tied for the team lead with six wins, though he also pitched from the bullpen on occasion. This season, he’s expected to begin the season in A-ball with the Everett Aquasox, who begin play in June (I am on record as being a big fan of the Aquasox logo, btw).

Nick was kind enough to take time out of his season preparations and answer a few questions for Bus Leagues.

Oh, by the way. It’s pronounced “Chez”.


Bus Leagues: You played college ball at my alma mater, the University of Kansas.  Did playing in the Big 12 help prepare you for the transition into professional baseball?
 
Nick Czyz: I definitely think that playing in the Big 12 helped prepare me for professional baseball.  There is so much talent in that league that you can’t take one team lightly, any team either is in the Top 25 or has the potential to be in the Top 25 year in, year out.  With that said I have played with and against many players while at my time at Kansas that have gone on to becoming professional baseball players and a couple have already made it to the Big Leagues.
 
czyzkansasBL: Is the program at Kansas growing into a contender?
 
NC: Without a doubt the University of Kansas baseball team is becoming more and more a threat in the league with every year.  Coach Rich Price has done an outstanding job of raising money to make improvements to and around the stadium.  They recently just built a $2 million dollar clubhouse for the guys this year and that is only going to help for recruiting purposes to continue to get better players.  As long as Coach Price continues to stay on the path that he is on I think Kansas has the possibility to become a consistent team in the Top 25.

[editor’s note: as of today, Kansas is ranked #23 in the nation and headed to the Big 12 Championships]
 
BL: Your brother also pitched at Kansas and went into the minors.  Did he give you any advice?
 
NC: He always gives me advice, but he told me to never give a hitter more credit than they deserve no matter what league or level you are at.  My brother had a bulldog mentality on the mound and so we always have talks about pitching and his mindset when he was on the mound.  He has a lot of knowledge about pitching so I always try to pick his brain and apply his concepts.
 
BL: At one point, you and your brother bookended a game in the Big 12 Championship.  Did it give you extra confidence to know that Don had your back in the ninth?
 
NC: That was the best memory I have of playing Baseball.  It’s kind of funny because him and I had always joked around that year about how cool it would be if I pitched really well and went 8 innings or so and he came in after me to slam the door shut for a victory.  Unfortunately it had not happened one time up until that day in the Big 12 Championship game when I picked up the Win and my brother Don got the save.  I never went 8 innings that day but ended up pitching really well and he had been absolutely lights out all year long for us so I knew that once he got the ball in the ninth they had no chance. 
 
BL: Which adjustment between college competition and the minors has been the hardest?
 
NC: I think so far that the only thing that has been the hardest between the two is that in college the pitching coach and I had a game plan for each hitter on the opposing team so when I got to the minor leagues I never knew anything about the opposing hitters I just pitched to my strengths and trusted that was enough to get hitters out.
 
czyzpulaskiBL: You’ve been a starter and a reliever in Pulaski.  What role would you prefer to fill going forward?
 
NC: I’ve been a starting pitcher my whole life, when I got to Pulaski they were using me more as a reliever which I didn’t mind at all.  My first start came on July 4th in front of the biggest crowd of the year, I pitched really well that day and from that point on was in the starting rotation for the rest of the year.  I’m not really sure which role I prefer from here on out but I think that if I ever do make it to the big leagues I think it would be as a reliever.
 
BL: What improvements have you and the coaches been working on?
 
NC: Being a left-handed pitcher it is important that I am able to control the running game, this last summer in Pulaski I was really slow to the plate and runners were stealing second base pretty easily and regularly.  When I came into spring training that’s what the coaches and I worked on the most with a new look out of the stretch that allows me to be quicker to home plate.
 
BL: What do you think you’d ben doing if you weren’t playing baseball?
 
NC: I still have two semesters until I graduate so if I wasn’t playing baseball I’d definitely be trying to finish that up and then try and figure out what I wanted to do.
 
BL: You have a long road ahead of you on your way to the show.  How do you keep yourself focused on the goal?
 
NC: The hardest thing to realize is just how far away you are from the big leagues and the long road that it takes, that’s why you absolutely have to stay motivated and take it one day at a time and try to make yourself a better player literally every single day that you are on the field. 
 
BL: If you make the Mariners as a reliever, what song would you want the PA to play when you take the mound?
 
NC: When I was in college I walked out to “For Those About to Rock” by ACDC.  However, I don’t think that I would bring that back.  I’m not quite sure what I would take the mound to but that is a problem that I would love to have and figure out hopefully one day.
 
BL: Thanks for your time, Nick. Good luck this year!
 
NC: Thanks and Rock Chalk!