Posts Tagged ‘Akron Aeros’

The No-Hitters Keep Coming

August has been a good month for minor league no-hitters – there have been approximately 412 so far (that might be a slight exaggeration), with three more added to the list on Saturday.

In the Arizona League, three Athletics pitchers combined to hold the Angels hitless – payback, perhaps, for August 14, when the Angels did the same to the A’s.  There was only one problem: the Angels won both games.

Hector Garcia started and went five innings, striking out five and walking two.  One of those walks came in the fifth, to the leadoff batter, who advanced to second on a passed ball, to third on a groundout, and to home on another groundout.

After Christopher Mederos pitched two perfect innings, Daniel Tenholder got the call.  He pitched a perfect eighth, but in the ninth, two consecutive errors and an intentional walk loaded the bases with nobody out.  The end was anticlimactic: a walk-off walk to Randal Grichuk.  So I guess, technically, it was an eight inning no-hitter.

The outcome of the Northwest League game between Salem-Keizer and Everett was a bit more traditional.  Three Volcanoes pitchers combined for the no-hitter, but these guys managed to win the game, 8-0.  Craig Westcott went the first five, striking out six and walking two to run his overall record to 6-0 between two levels (he also has 51 strikeouts in 33.1 innings), before turning things over to Brandon Graves and Wilber Bucardo for the last twelve outs.

The finest performance of the day was turned in by Erie’s Thad Weber.  Weber went the full nine innings against Akron, striking out ten without walking a batter.  Only a third inning error and an eighth inning hit batsman stood in the way of a perfect game.  His teammates made it easy for him, scoring seven runs in the fourth en route to a 16-0 drubbing of the visiting Aeros.


Matt McBride Homers Twice, Drives In Eight; That’s A Good Day

We’ve mentioned Akron’s Matt McBride here a couple times, first when he saved Jeanmar Gomez’s perfect game with a terrific catch in the outfield and later when a story came along regarding his struggle to find a defensive position.

Akron beat Binghamton 16-3 on Friday, scoring in every inning but the second, and McBride was at the head of the charge. The leftfielder from Bethlehem, PA went 3-4 with two homeruns and eight runs batted in to beat the Mets.

How did those RBIs add up? Here’s the at-bat by at-bat look at a pretty good day for McBride:

1st – sacrifice fly
2nd – 3-run homerun
3rd – popout
4th – double
5th – 3-run homerun
6th – sacrifice fly

Matt McBride Is Still Figuring Out This Whole “Playing The Outfield” Thing

Remember the story of Jeanmar Gomez, the pitcher in the Cleveland system who pitched a perfect game a couple weeks ago?  He cruised until the ninth inning, when the leadoff hitter ripped a sinking liner to left.  Only a diving play by Matt McBride saved the gem.

There was a story about McBride in The Morning Call of Allentown, PA this morning that goes a long way toward explaining just how amazing that play was (strangely, without directly referencing the perfect game).

McBride was drafted by the Indians in 2006 as a catcher, and a good one.  His labrum wasn’t so good, however, and he ended up missing most of last season recovering from surgery.  This year, he is attempting to improve his value by learning to play the outfield and first base.  That story linked above actually begins with the tale of a play he didn’t make:

The ball off the bat of Reading’s Mike Spidale flared into no-man’s land in shallow left field, where Akron’s left fielder, center fielder, and shortstop converged at full speed.

The two outfielders, Matt McBride and Jose Costanza, got there at the same time, colliding as the ball rolled away for a triple during Monday night’s Eastern League game at FirstEnergy Stadium.

According to coaches, he’s working hard at the transition.  I’m sure no one is more appreciative of his efforts than Jeanmar Gomez.

The Z-Meter: 5/27/2009 – Two For the Show

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.


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

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)

Odds are, I’ll find out that someone else got promoted this week, too, which will invalidate my “clever” title for this post. But I am going to wilfully ignore any such occurrence.

Two fast climbers on the Z-meter have reached the desired pinnacle – a ticket to the show. As OMDQ informed us earlier today, Fernando Martinez, who is not even old enough to drink legally in this country, has been brought up to the Mets to fill some injury holes. Matt Wieters, through sheer dint of his prowess, is making it to the show as a catcher, after just a touch more than one season in the minors. A hearty Bus Leagues welcome to them both!

We’ll be adding Jeanmar Gomez of the perfect game to fill one hole in the meter. Since OMDQ already wrote about him, all you need to do is follow the link to learn more. My other choice is 26-year-old outfielder Andrew Locke, who has been belting it for the Corpus Christi Hooks in double-A. He’s not exactly undergoing a meteoric rise to the top, but he’s definitely getting very hot, and may be worth a look from the Astros if he can keep it up.

Ah, yes. Here’s where the screw-up has occurred. There’s usually at least one like this, so I was waiting to find it. I had Ramiro Pena on the meter, despite the fact that he’s spent pretty much all season playing in New Yankee Stadium instead of Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Pretty big difference there (goes to show just how diligently I avoid following the Yanks). So he’s off the meter, and Yonder Alonso is on. Mostly because he’s good, but also because I can’t, under any circumstances, resist a power-hitter named Yonder. When your given name is also a good description of where you can hit ’em, you’re a Bus Leagues kind of guy.

Antonio Bastardo also went up a notch, pitching his way from Reading to Lehigh Valley. He’s shown skeelz as a starter and a reliever this season, so his promotion could lead to a future debut for the Phillies in either slot. The kid got a no-decision in six innings, and ended up with a 4.5 ERA after his first triple-A start. The good news is, he only issued 2 walks and notched a pretty stunning 11 Ks in that interval, so he’s definitely got the stuff to bring home some Ws.

For a look at Strasburg, check out televised coverage of the College World Series over the next few weeks.

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): .282 AVG – 35 R – 2 HR – 16 RBI – 15 BB – 9 SB – .459 SLG – .803 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 9 Games – 5W – 1L – 2.66 ERA – 23 BB – 30 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .277 – 31 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 43 BB – 0 SB – .539 SLG – .978 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .287 – 34 R – 2 HR – 14 RBI – 12 BB – 21 SB – .388 SLG – .722 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 9 Starts – 0 W – 6 L – 5.81 ERA – 13 BB – 52 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .358 – 23 R – 0 HR – 19 RBI – 19 BB – 8 SB – .446 SLG – .888 OPS

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 1 Games – 1 Starts – 0 W – 0 L – 0 SV – 4.50 ERA – 2 BB – 11 K

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): .228 AVG – 22 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 22 BB – 0 SB – .409 SLG – .739 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 9 Starts – 3 W – 4 L – 3.49 ERA – 19 BB – 43 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .303 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 28 RBI – 30 BB – 0 SB – .549 SLG – .985 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .324 AVG – 26 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 31 BB – 0 SB – .500 SLG – .943 OPS
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .358 AVG – 25 R – 9 HR – 48 RBI – 14 BB – 0 SB – .593 SLG – .993 OPS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 3 Games – 2 Starts – 3 W – 0 L – .50 ERA – 4 BB – 21 K
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 5 Starts – 4 W – 1 L – 1.29 ERA – 3 BB – 30 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): .222 AVG – 9 R – 4 HR – 16 RBI – 8 BB – 0 SB – .404 SLG – .679 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .293 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 35 RBI – 9 BB – 2 SB – .488 SLG – .815 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .234 AVG – 21 R – 9 HR – 37 RBI – 26 BB – 0 SB – .449 SLG – .784 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .211 AVG – 22 R – 1 HR – 13 RBI – 20 BB – 7 SB – .293 SLG – .614 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .359 AVG – 28 R – 11 HR – 28 RBI – 4 BB – 2 SB – .628 SLG – 1.016 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): .278 AVG – 33 R – 5 HR – 29 RBI – 19 BB – 6 SB – .463 SLG – .831 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 9 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 3.24 ERA – 18 BB – 67 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .305 AVG – 18 R – 2 HR – 24 RBI – 12 BB – 1 SB – .422 SLG – .775 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 9 Games – 8 Starts – 6 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 2.83 ERA – 8 BB – 42 K

Yonder Alonso, 1B – Sarasota Reds (Reds): .289 AVG – 19 R – 6 HR – 35 RBI – 19 BB – 0 SB – .493 SLG – .858 OPS

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

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 13 Starts – 13 W – 0L – 1.24 ERA – 19 BB – 180 K

Visit SDSU’s Strasburg Central for more.

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

Jeanmar Gomez Pitches Perfect Game, Owes Matt McBride A Nice Steak Dinner


Coming into the 2009 season, Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Jeanmar Gomez had compiled a 20-19 career record in three seasons.  His highest level reached was A+ Kinston, where in 2008 he went 5-9 with a 4.55 ERA in 27 starts.

After starting this season with a 2-2, 2.63 in four starts for Kinston, the 20-year-old Gomez earned his first in-season promotion, making the leap to Cleveland’s AA affiliate in Akron.  In his brief time with the Aeros, he has been nearly unhittable, allowing nine hits in 29 innings.  Throw in the 4-0 record, 0.31 ERA, and 26 strikeouts, and you’ve got a guy who undoubtedly looks forward to heading over to the ballpark every day.

And that’s without even mentioning his last start, a nine inning perfect game against Trenton on Thursday afternoon.

Gomez, needless to say, was pretty darn good, striking out eight to win his fourth straight start.  According to the game story, he tore through the lineup with the greatest of ease, with the only close call coming in the ninth inning.  Leadoff hitter Kevin Smith lined a pitch to left field, but Matt McBride saved the gem with a diving catch.

Is Gomez a hot prospect for the Tribe or a flash in the pan who will eventually come back down to earth (ahem: the Z-Meter awaits)?  Only time will tell.  At least now, however, he has a memorable experience on his resume, regardless of whether or not he makes it to the majors.

Photo: Akron Aeros

Photos: Akron Aeros @ Altoona Curve 7/24/2008

What the heck was Extra P. doing in Altoona, PA?

It’s a direct result of this site, actually. The primary goal of my trip to Pennsylvania was to visit my brother, who lives in Pittsburgh. There are much quicker ways to get there than to go through Altoona. But I knew that the Altoona Curve (Pirates) have a cool ballpark, and when I saw that there was a noon game against the Akron Aeros (Indians) on my travel day, I knew I had to make the detour.

The Aeros, as you probably know by now, are breaking in a new guy by the name of Matt LaPorta. Sadly, the big fella went 0-4 and left five men on base. The Curve won, 3-1.

Facade of Blair County Ballpark

The Aeros run in from calesthenics

The roller coaster at the adjacent Lakewood Park provides written support for the team, and an interesting view of the ballpark.

Aeros DH Matt LaPorta has the uneasy feeling that several thousand people are watching him.

LaPorta meets a young fan, as well as an older one.

Curve mascot Steamer eats children. You’d think there’d be more of a public outcry.

Also cool: the Aeros have a player with the last name of Panther. That’s got to be an advantage with the ladies.

I’m going to perform a public service here and let you know how the whole roller-coaster thing works. Blair County Ballpark is part of an entertainment complex, including an ice park and the Lakewood amusement park. When I went to buy my tickets, I could never figure out whether the roller coaster was inside the park or not. It’s not.

The good news is that the roller coaster is an easy walk from the game – the parking garage is right between the two. Entry to the amusement park is free. Once inside, you can buy tickets to ride individual rides – the roller coaster costs $3 per person, so that’s a good deal in my book. There’s also railroad-themed mini golf and a water park, so a visitor could really spend all day in one area. Seems to me it would be fun to go early, ride the coaster while the teams were warming up or even during the first inning, and then head into the ballgame.

Anyway, if you get a great day like we had, and you don’t mind the detour, this is a great place to spend a day.

Mother Nature Delays LaPorta’s Akron Debut

We’re still waiting for Matt LaPorta’s debut as a Cleveland subsidiary following the big Sabathia trade. The big fella was scheduled to make his first start for the Akron Aeros this evening, but a massive thunderstorm blew through Ohio and put that on hold.

Matt LaPorta’s debut as an Indians farmhand was postponed after a thunderstorm blew through downtown Akron before game time tonight.

Tonight’s game between the Aeros and the Bowie Baysox will be made up Wednesday at Canal Park as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6:05 p.m.

Two seven-inning games will be played.


Akronites. Akronians. Check this guy out on Wednesday. You get a double dose. I’m not tryin’ to say he’s, like, Jay Bruce or nuthin’, but he’s GOT to be good, right?

Indians Minor Leaguer Newsom Selling Himself Off For $20/Share

I’ve seen this story in several different places today, a fact that would normally cause me to turn tail and find something else to write about, but it was just too good to pass up.

It starts simply enough: Randy Newsom is a 25-year-old pitcher for the Cleveland Indians’ AA affiliate in Akron, OH.  Originally signed by the Boston Red Sox, he was sent to Cleveland as part of the Coco Crisp trade in 2006 and enjoyed a career year last season, finishing 4-2 with 18 saves and a 2.80 ERA between two minor league levels.

As prospects go, Newsom isn’t special.  He was undrafted out of Tufts University, is 25 years old and has never pitched above the AA level, and was recently rated the 50th best prospect in the Indians farm system by one web site.  According to that same site, however, he’s got a few of things going for him – a submarine pitching style, brains, and guts, to name three – that suggest it might not be ridiculous to think that he’ll be standing on the mound at Jacobs Field Progressive Field by the end of the 2008 season.

Why does this matter?  Because Newsom is currently selling the rights to 4% of his future earnings (if he makes the major leagues) for $50,000.  Interested parties have until February 1 to purchase shares of Randy for $20 apiece, each of which entitles the buyer to .0016% of Newsom’s future earnings should he ever reach the major leagues.

I don’t know for sure how minor league contracts work when a player is called up to the majors, but let’s assume that Newsom goes to spring training next month, impresses somebody, and makes the Indians’ Opening Day roster.  I’m going to assume that he will then be given a contract for the $390,000 major league minimum.  If the above 4% is based off of his gross pay, then a full season would entitle one shareholder to a whopping $6.24 of his 2008 salary, with a maximum of about $15,000 total being paid out.  As noted here, the break even point for this endeavor is career earnings of $1.25 million, which he would likely reach in his third season.

According to the Real Sports Investments web site that has been set up for Newsom, 181 shares have currently been sold.

Player Profile (Real Sports Investments) 
Markets in Everything – Relief Pitcher Earnings (Marginal Revolution)
An Easy Way to Earn an MLB Salary (Shakedownsports)
You, Too, Can Invest In A 25-Year-Old Pitcher (Deadspin)