Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Santana’

The Bus Leagues Baseball 2009 Player of the Year

Shortly after the minor league season ended, I began to consider the idea of awarding a Bus Leagues Player of the Year. We are not, and never will be, well-versed in the art of baseball prospecting. What we do have, however, is “our trademark irrational sense of whimsy,” as Eric writes at the end of every Z-Meter, and it seemed we ought to be able to use that to use that to give somebody a meaningless fictional award.

I combed through a bunch of stats and narrowed it down to a highly subjective Top Ten.  At that point, five Bus Leagues contributors – Eric A., Eric M., Chris, Andrew, and myself – cast votes for our top three, with five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.

From those votes came the results you see below.  Enjoy.

jonathan gastonJonathan Gaston, LF
Lancaster JetHawks (Houston)
California League
Class A-Advanced
Total Points: 0 (10th)

Gaston led the California League in games played, runs scored, triples, homeruns, and total bases. His 35 homeruns tied Albuquerque’s Mitch Jones for the highest total in all of minor league baseball.  These facts did not impress any of the Bus Leagues voters enough to reward him with a vote.

jamie mcowenJamie McOwen, RF
High Desert Mavericks (Seattle)
California League
Class A-Advanced
Total Points: 2 (9th)

McOwen made national headlines (and won the collective heart of the Bus Leagues audience) with a 45-game midseason hitting streak, the eighth longest in minor league history.  He picked up a base hit in every game he played for nearly two months (May 10-July 8).

What The Voters Said
“The hitting streak earned him official Bus Leagues man-crush status. I always feel that a guy who can dominate the tag cloud despite relative obscurity deserves an all-star vote.” – Eric A.

ruben riveraRuben Rivera, C
Piratas de Campeche
Mexican League
Class AAA
Total Points: 3 (t-6th)

Even in an offense-oriented circuit like the Mexican League, Rivera’s 32 homeruns, 90 runs batted in, and .344/.461/.669 line stood out.

mitch jonesMitch Jones, RF
Albuquerque Isotopes (LA Dodgers)
Pacific Coast League
Class AAA
Total Points: 3 (t-6th)

While Jones and Jonathan Gaston tied for the minor league lead with 35 homeruns, Jones won the Baumann Award because he topped Gaston in runs batted in, 103-100.

What The Voters Said
“Mitch Jones, although basically past his prime, was a former Yankee prospect turned career minor leaguer (even though his power numbers prove otherwise).” – Eric M.

grant desmeGrant Desme, CF
Kane County/Stockton (Oakland)
Midwest/California League
Class A/A+
Total Points: 3 (t-6th)

Minor League Baseball’s only 30-30 man this season, Desme posted the majority of his stolen bases with Kane County and the majority of his homeruns with Stockton.

What The Voters Said
“It doesn’t matter that he did it while playing in two high offense leagues – a 30/40 season deserves our respect.” – Brian

carlos santanaCarlos Santana, C
Akron Aeros (Cleveland)
Eastern League
Class AA
Total Points: 4 (5th)

Santana has earned a mid-season All-Star selection, postseason All-Star selection, and Most Valuable Player honors in the past two years in the California and Eastern Leagues. Alas, in the Bus Leagues vote, he could do no better than fifth.

What The Voters Said
“I’m actually not picking him just because he shares a name with the guitarist (yes, I am capable of ignoring this). I’m impressed by Carlos’ consistency at Akron, where he had 90+ runs and ribbies on the season, kept his OPS near 1.000 from start to finish, and showed some power with 23 home runs. He’s a switch-hitter, which is also pretty cool. I also really like the idea of a guy named Carlos Santana playing in Cleveland, near the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (OK, I lied.)” – Eric A.

Koby ClemensKoby Clemens, C
Corpus Christi/Lancaster (Houston)
Texas/California League
Class AA/A+
Total Points: 5 (t-3rd)

Again, the California League – it’s a seriously offensive league – and again, the Lancaster JetHawks – one could argue that High Desert’s Alex Liddi is getting seriously shortchanged by being left out of our top ten. But it’s hard to argue with the counting stats Clemens posted this season.

What The Voters Said
“It’s about time there was a Clemens that doesn’t have a needle attached to his butt…and because he had a great year.” – Chris

brian dopirakBrian Dopirak, 1B
New Hampshire/Las Vegas (Toronto)
Eastern/Pacific Coast League
Class AA/AAA
Total Points: 5 (t-3rd)

2009 was Dopirak’s second consecutive season with 25 homeruns, 100 RBI, a .300 batting average, and .900 OPS. He might have given Carlos Santana a run for his money in the Eastern League MVP race if he hadn’t been called up to Triple-A (clear across the country) after just 87 games.

What The Voters Said
“This guy has to be good, because I signed up to receive news updates from the Fisher Cats, and his name was in my inbox damn near every day he played there. Seriously, though. The guy can hit, and his average actually went UP, from .308 to .330 when he jumped up to Triple-A. It’ll be interesting to see if he can do it at the next level.” – Eric A.

pedro alvarezPedro Alvarez, 3B
Lynchburg/Altoona (Pittsburgh)
Carolina/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 8 (2nd)

Alvarez is 22-years-old and just hit .288 with 27 homeruns and 95 RBI in his very first professional season. It will be interesting to see how much time he spends in western Pennsylvania next season.

What The Voters Said
“Pedro Alvarez was bored in Lynchburg. He was all, “Screw it, I’m only going to hit .247.” So the Pirates decided to call his bluff. And they said, “Go to Double-A and let’s see if you can manage that.” And he destroyed 12 cars and the mayor is on the Altoona Curve’s ass. Why? Because Pedro Alverez tore Double-A up, Lethal Weapon style.” – Andrew

chris carterChris Carter, 1B
Midland/Sacramento (Oakland)
Texas/Pacific Coast League
Class AA/AAA
Total Points: 12 (1st)

Carter earned the Texas League’s Player of the Year award by dominating the competition to the tune of 24 homeruns, 101 RBI, a .337 batting average, and 1.011 OPS. He celebrated the news of his honor by hitting three homeruns and driving in seven for Sacramento on August 31. Of course, Carter is no stranger to postseason accolades: he has earned a spot on the postseason All-Star teams in four different leagues in the past four years.  And now, he is the first ever Bus Leagues Player of the Year.

What The Voters Said
“They say that Robert Greene knows all about the 48 Rules of Power. These people are fools. The Oakland Athletics have the 36 chambers of the Wu-tang Clan, the 48 Laws of Power, the Alpha and the Omega in Chris Carter. He has a mighty bat. A great eye. Solid athleticism. Quite frankly, he will be Fantasy Baseball’s Answer to Adrian Peterson. He is…Green and Gold Jesus.” – Andrew

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Eastern League All-Stars Announced

The Eastern League announced it’s 2009 All-Stars last night.  I really want to refer to them as postseason All-Stars, because that’s basically what they are, but the season still has a week to go.  Can you have announce postseason All-Stars while the season is still happening?  What came first, the chicken or the egg?  How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  Why did Joe Savery make this team over Madison Bumgarner or Brian Matusz? Just a few of life’s unanswerable questions.

Anyway, here are the 2009 Eastern League All-Stars:

Catcher: Carlos Santana, Akron Aeros
First Base: Brett Pill, Connecticut Defenders
Second Base: Brock Bond, Connecticut Defenders
Third Base: Neil Sellers, Reading Phillies
Shortstop: Eduardo Nunez, Trenton Thunder
Outfield: Quintin Berry, Reading Phillies
Outfield: Brennan Boesch, Erie SeaWolves
Outfield: Michael Taylor, Reading Phillies
Utility: Brian Dinkelman, New Britain Rock Cats
Designated Hitter: Brian Dopirak, New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Right-Handed SP: Jeanmar Gomez, Akron Aeros
Left-Handed SP: Joe Savery, Reading Phillies
Relief Pitcher: Anthony Slama, New Britain Rock Cats

Vote For The USA Today Minor League Player Of The Year

I was looking through the Bus Leagues archives (because there’s no better way to spend a Saturday morning) and saw that last year around this time, Eric directed us to the online voting for USA Today’s Minor League Player of the Year award (Tampa Bay’s David Price eventually won).

The newspaper has already named its finalists for the 2009 season and the polls are open.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Jose Giants/Connecticut Defenders – 12-2, 1.81 ERA, 23 G/22 GS, 91 SO, 123.1 IP, .214 BAA

Brian Matusz, LHP, Frederick Keys/Bowie Baysox – 11-2, 1.91 ERA, 19 GS, 121 SO, 113 IP, .211 BAA

Jason Heyward, OF, Myrtle Beach Pelicans/Mississippi Braves – .314 BA, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 47 BB, 47 SO, .399/.557/.956

Buster Posey, C, San Jose Giants/Fresno Grizzlies – .318 BA, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 62 BB, 66 SO, .413/.529/.942

Carlos Santana, C, Akron Aeros – .285 BA, 21 HR, 89 RBI, 84 BB, 78 SO, .410/.523/.933

Not sure how much I agree with these selections.  If I have the time, maybe I’ll do my own ballot.  For position players, they seem to put a premium on guys who produce in Class AA and AAA while keeping their strikeout totals down (Heyward and Posey both did time in Class A Advanced this season but have also accumulated significant playing time in AA and AAA, respectively).  That might explain why Chris Carter gets no love despite hitting .333 with 24 homeruns and 105 RBI in Double- and Triple-A.

Bumgarner and Matusz have the numbers to be on the list.  I’m just put off by the fact that Matusz made it despite not having pitched in the minor leagues since August 1.  Bumgarner wasn’t great when I saw him in Manchester, but he has put up exceptional numbers for two straight seasons (27-5, 1.63 ERA, 255 SO, 54 BB, 265 IP) at three different levels.  His strikeouts are way down this year and his walks are up, but it’s not like San Francisco needs him to be The Man; if he can produce enough to be the number three starter behind Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, that’s a win in my book.

For the record, Bumgarner got my vote among the players listed and currently leads 38%-27% over Heyward after about 3600 votes.

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)

The Z-Meter: 4/7/2009 – Hope Springs Anew

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: None

Nobody has accumulated stats yet, so this first edition of ’09 will just introduce you to the players and give you some idea of why they’re on this list. We’ll start keeping a weekly tally of stats and farm-system promotions next week.

Players new to the list are added in green. The rest are holdovers from last year. You’ll also notice that we’ve added the college line. Odds of this being used often are very small. But this year, we have a guy who’s really worth watching.


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): A mainstay on last year’s list, and very close to being called up for good.

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): Couldn’t quite keep pace with fellow Rays hurler David Price, but came pretty close.

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals: Great Hawaiian name, and plays for my hometown team. Can belt the ball, no doubt.

Mat Gamel, 3B – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): Got a couple of at-bats in Milwaukee last season, striking out once and knocking a double. Odds are, he’ll get a chance to try again, and soon.

Matt LaPorta, CF  – Columbus Clippers (Indians): Former teammate of meter-mates Gamel and Escobar, LaPorta was traded as part of the Sabathia deal. His numbers tailed off after that, but he’s still starting the season in Triple-A, so he’s not far from livin’ the dream at this point.

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): Escobar gets on base (.328 average) and then makes you pay (34 stolen bases). He did plenty of damage at Huntsville, so he gets to start in AAA with Gamel.

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): Added by Will because he throws big-time gas. As Will says “As far as I’m concerned, with the radar gun it’s triple digits or go home.”

Ramiro Pena, SS – Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees: The switch-hitting shortstop from Mexico was suggested by our bobblehead guru, Eric Marinbach.

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP – Syracuse Chiefs: An Extra P. choice, Zimmermann would like to join the man with the one-letter-shorter version of his last name in D.C. this season. How I kept Zimmermann off of the Z-meter this long, I’ll never know.


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

Austin Jackson, OF – Trenton Thunder (Yankees): Jackson is the top prospect in the Yanks organization, according to Baseball America. He played well in spring training, even belting a grand slam, but there’s no room for him in the Bronx right now.

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): The lefty was flying up the meter last season until he got hurt, ending up playing in just 19 games all year long.

Matt Wieters, C – Bowie Baysox (Orioles): Being hailed as a god in Charm City, and was the top overall prospect of last year, an honor previously held by Jay “The Deal” Bruce. Hit well over .300 in a season split between A and AA. Expect to see him in Camden some time this year. 

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): This guy kind of embodies the frustration of playing for a championship-winning organization. He’s playing really well, but there’s no room above right now.

Fernando Martinez, CF – Binghamton Mets (Mets): Started in center for the International side in the MLB Futures Game. I can’t currently figure out where he’s been assigned, but I’ll update his status as soon as I know.

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): My favorite fireballer from last season. Had the most wins of any pitcher in the minors, with a total of 18. Struck out 160 batters as well, so, you know… holy crap.

Daniel Bard, RHP – Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox): Another of Will’s heat-throwing selections. He went 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA for the Sea Dogs last season.

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): Started 2008 in the Dodgers organization before being swapped to the Indians as part of a deal for Casey Blake. Has been destroying the minors, once getting seven RBIs in a single game, and carrying a .999 OPS throughout the season.


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): Gac! has almost become a standard salutation between OMDQ and I. The man practices economy of name, and he doesn’t waste at-bats, either. Gac! hit 32 homers last year, and drove in 109 runs.

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): Moustakas struggled in the first half of his debut season, but grew steadily stronger and more disciplined in the second half. Ended up with 22 homers and a pile of doubles.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP – San Jose Giants (Giants): Bumgarner was added to the meter late last season, so we hardly got to know him before it was all over. He went 15-3 at Augusta as a rookie, with a 1.46 ERA, and will begin the season in A-Advanced as a result.

Michael Ynoa, RHP – not assigned yet (Athletics): OMDQ wanted to see the man of many names in our countdown. Given how highly sought-after the Dominican righty has been, he’s bound to make a splash.

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: MVP for the International side of the MLB Futures Game last season. My (Extra P’s) choice to add because he’s awesome, and because he’s playing close enough to my home for me to go see him.

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): Another Extra P. selection, Vitters had epic 25- and 15-game hitting streaks at short-season Boise before spending a very brief four-game stint at Peoria to end his first pro season. Hits for average and legs out some doubles.

Shooter Hunt, RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): Shooter’s here for a few reasons. One, he went to Virginia, as did the man I named this meter after, and I live in Charlottesville, so I watch Virginia often. Second, his name is Shooter Hunt, for god’s sake. That shit is like catnip to me.

Justin Smoak, 1B – Hickory Crawdads (Rangers): BA’s Prospect Handbook compares Smoak favorably to Mark Teixiera, and that’s good enough for us. He had a record-setting career at the University of South Carolina and was a teammate of Matt Wieters in high school.


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

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State:  Has shown 100+ on the radar gun, and was the only college player to make the Olympic team last year. He’ll clearly be a top pick when he declares, so OMDQ says “no shame in tracking his stats right now.” Consider it done.

7 GS – 6W – 0L – 1.49 ERA – 10 BB – 94 K


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