Posts Tagged ‘Altoona Curve’

Friday Night Was The Right Night For Pitching

For whatever reason, there were a bunch of good pitching performance across the minors last night, with several starters taking no-hitters late into games.

For the second night in a row, New Hampshire’s bats were silenced, this time by Altoona’s Tim Alderson.  Alderson pitched six no-hit innings, walking one and striking out three, before being pulled after reaching his pitch count.  It was the second time this season he shut down the Fisher Cats – back on May 10, he struck out ten and took a no-hitter into the seventh.

There was no no-hitter drama in the Harrisburg-Trenton game, just a good old-fashioned pitchers duel.  Jeff Mandel went eight shutout innings for the visiting Senators, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out four.  He was outdone by Ryan Pope, however, who allowed two hits and struck out eleven without walking a batter.  Both pitchers came out after the eighth and did not factor into the decision (the Thunder won it in the ninth on a single, sacrifice bunt, and a walkoff RBI single).

David Bromberg scattered three hits and struck out nine in a complete game shutout for Fort Myers, improving to 11-1 and taking over the Florida State League’s strikeout lead.

Anibal Sanchez made a rehab start in the Florida State League for the Jupiter Hammerheads, and he was pretty good.  6.2 innings, two walks, five strikeouts, no hits.  Daniel Jennings got three outs in relief before allowing a two-out single in the eighth.

And finally, just so you don’t think that all the good performances came from the Florida State and Eastern Leagues, Randall Delgado pitched seven no-hit innings for the Rome Braves in the South Atlantic League.  He struck out nine and walked one to earn his fourth win of the season.

(Oh, and just a slight hint of offense: Layton Hiller went 4-for-5 with three doubles and eight RBI for the GCL Braves.  Elys Blanco also had a fun game for the Braves, finishing 1-for-2 with four runs scored.)


The Z-Meter: 6/29/2009

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.


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)

Pedro Alvarez: Lynchburg Hillcats (A) to Altoona Curve (AA)

Mauricio Robles: West Michigan Whitecaps (A) to Lakeland Flying Tigers (A+)

Still not a lot to see here. Many players are coming off of mid-season injuries, some all-star games have been played, and a couple of players have made jumps.

One amusing side-note, however. Justin Smoak, who spends most of his time with the Frisco Roughriders, recently spent two games with the Arizona League Rangers while rehabbing an injury. In two games and six at-bats, Smoaky managed a slugging % of 2.000, and an OPS of 2.714. I’d say he’s feeling better.

Our primary mover this week was Pedro Alvarez, who’s steaming toward Pittsburgh as fast as he can. His power numbers in Lynchburg earned him a promotion to Altoona. Mauricio Robles made a small leap from A to A-Advanced, which is actually interesting, since he was coming off an injury. Usually, don’t you rehab at a lower level?

We’ve also noticed that Michel Ynoa has been assigned to the AZL Athletics, but hasn’t accrued any stats yet. We’re dying to get him on the meter, so we’ll keep an eye out.

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): 16 Games – 7W – 4L – 3.90 ERA – 35 BB – 75 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .273 – 50 R – 12 HR – 33 RBI – 59 BB – 0 SB – .508 SLG – .920 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .302 – 55 R – 3 HR – 26 RBI – 18 BB – 27 SB – .420 SLG – .765 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 15 Starts – 4 W – 7 L – 4.92 ERA – 25 BB – 84 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .320 – 41 R – 3 HR – 29 RBI – 25 BB – 13 SB – .444 SLG – .829 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): .258 AVG – 33 R – 8 HR – 36 RBI – 37 BB – 0 SB – .411 SLG – .767 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 15 Starts – 6 W – 6 L – 3.35 ERA – 29 BB – 76 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .265 AVG – 49 R – 11 HR – 47 RBI – 53 BB – 0 SB – .498 SLG – .899 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .331 AVG – 30 R – 6 HR – 29 RBI – 35 BB – 0 SB – .483 SLG – .928 OPS
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .323 AVG – 44 R – 11 HR – 71 RBI – 25 BB – 0 SB – .505 SLG – .877 OPS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 8 Games – 7 Starts – 5 W – 1 L – 1.96 ERA – 12 BB – 38 K
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 11 Starts – 6 W – 2 L – 2.79 ERA – 14 BB – 54 K
Yonder Alonso, 1B (injured) – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .246 AVG – 4 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 6 BB – 1 SB – .377 SLG – .686 OPS
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 5 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – 2.43 ERA – 13 BB – 26 K
Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Altoona Curve (Pirates): .120 AVG – 6 R – 2 HR – 5 RBI – 1 BB – 0 SB – .400 SLG – .548 OPS

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): .228 AVG – 26 R – 12 HR – 30 RBI – 16 BB – 1 SB – .447 SLG – .733 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .259 AVG – 43 R – 8 HR – 43 RBI – 15 BB – 7 SB – .417 SLG – .714 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .256 AVG – 41 R – 4 HR – 28 RBI – 37 BB – 16 SB – .350 SLG – .707 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .316 AVG – 42 R – 15 HR – 46 RBI – 7 BB – 4 SB – .535 SLG – .886 OPS

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

Collin Cowgill, OF (injured) – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .277 AVG – 39 R – 6 HR – 36 RBI – 29 BB – 11 SB – .445 SLG – .819 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – Lakeland Flying Tigers (Tigers): 2 Starts – 1 W – 1 L – 9.35 ERA – 3 BB – 12 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .282 AVG – 30 R – 3 HR – 38 RBI – 21 BB – 4 SB – .404 SLG – .746 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 13 Games – 12 Starts – 7 W – 3 L – 1 SV – 3.18 ERA – 14 BB – 54 K 

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 32 Games – 0 Starts – 1.64 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 17 SV – 7 BB – 43 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 was the #1 pick in the college draft this season, and will join the Washington Nationals system any old day now.

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

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.

Spotlight on AA Ball: 4/30/2008

I like that the Erie Seawolves (Tigers) have a reading program for kids. At first I thought that it was aiming a bit low, only asking kids to read three books between April and September to earn game tickets, but then I realized there were no restrictions on how many times a kid could come back for more. Plus, the mascot C. Wolf is kind of cool. []

When the Altoona Curve (Pirates) pay tribute to working implements, also known as “tools”, they’re going to honor football coach Nick Saban as a Tool with a capital “T”. Now that’s funny. []

The West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (Mariners) have a LOT of rules at Pringles Park. If I were you, I wouldn’t collect $200 without passing Go, either. []

I always enjoy the Hawaiians in baseball. Meet Micah Kila Kaaihue of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals). He’s only hitting .225, but he’s blasted six homers already. []

And, since I blew off Monday’s A-ball news to write my final school paper ever, I’ll throw in the story of the Quad Cities River Bandits (Cardinals) and their battle with the Big Muddy… the Old Man… the Mighty Mississip… []

Spotlight on AA Ball – 4/16/2008

OK, for starters:

THE ALTOONA CURVE (PIRATES!) HAVE A ROLLER COASTER BUILT IN THE OUTFIELD! I TEND TO THINK THAT IS FAIRLY BAD-ASS! I wonder if anyone has ever been beaned by an errant homer while riding in the cars? [Baseball Pilgrimages]

It was a chilly night in Norwich, CT. Thirty-six degrees, to be precise. Obviously, visiting Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) lefty Dustin Richardson wanted to spend as little time on the mound as possible. He fanned double-digit Connecticut Defender (Giants) batters to earn the win. []

28 is not the ideal age for a AA player, but 3B Yurendell de Caster is tearing it up for the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals). The Curacao native is hitting .366 with 4 homers, 13 RBIs and 9 runs. He’s even legged out four doubles in just 11 games. Think the parent club could use that kind of production? []

This isn’t so much news, per se. But if you’ve spent time looking at minor-league websites at all, you know most of them follow a pretty predictable template. Which is fine, but the Carolina Mudcats (Marlins) have a nice, refreshing setup, including video. []

The Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros) play in Whataburger Field. Which is a pretty funny name, after all. But when you look at the photos of the park, and the surrounding area, it looks pretty damn sweet. []

That’s the AA news for this week. Look for the Z-Meter tomorrow, and AAA news on Friday.