Posts Tagged ‘Chattanooga Lookouts’

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

I’ve learned a lot about minor league baseball this season, but the most interesting might be something I just discovered about ten minutes ago: major league teams and their minor league affiliates are like the characters on Friends* – sooner or later, they all end up dating one another.

*Yeah, Friends.  My pop culture references are so timely.  The backup example was Beverly Hills 90210.

Almost immediately after the season ended, what I’m assuming is a yearly affiliate shift began to occur.  And the more I read, the more I began to understand the tectonic nature of these relationships.  For example…

  • Last Thursday, the Cleveland Indians announced that they had signed a four-year player development agreement with the International League’s Columbus Clippers .  The Clippers were Washington’s AAA affiliate for the past two seasons.
  • Two days later, the Nationals signed a two-year deal the Syracuse Chiefs, also of the International League.  (Washington also extended existing deals with Class A Hagerstown and Class A Short-Season Vermont; both extensions are for two years.)
  • Two days after THAT, the New York Mets signed on with Buffalo, the International League team that had been cut loose as Cleveland’s affiliate.
  • In order to make the move to Buffalo, the Mets pulled out of New Orleans, clearing the way for division rival Florida to slide in for a two-year deal with the Zephyrs.
  • Florida’s shift to New Orleans meant that the organization pulled out of Albuquerque, where nearly 600,000 fans passed through the gates last season.  Taking their place?  The Los Angeles Dodgers organization, which returns its AAA affiliate to the place it called home for nearly three decades.
  • At the AA level, Los Angeles is returning the favor, moving from Jacksonville to Chattanooga, which allows Florida to take over the Suns franchise.  The Dodgers’ shift displaces the Reds, who were the previous tenants in Chattanooga.

Those are the major crazy, circular moves that have been announced over the past week or so.  MiLB.com has also reported on a number of other affiliate changes:

This is making my head hurt, and these aren’t even all the changes that were made.  I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but I just sort of stopped caring about decent sentence structure there after awhile; there are only so many ways you can say “shift” or “move”.  One thing is clear to me, however: we gots some work to do on our “MiLB Teams” page.

Meet Jay Bruce, Give Him a Nickname, Win a Book

If there’s one thing I know about our readership, it is that you-all are very, very curious about Jay Bruce. As central HQ for Jay Bruce worship on the web, we’ve decided to help you out. This feature will tell you everything we can glean from the vast wine-dark seas of Internetia, so we can all anticipate what the pundits will be talking about when Jay is inevitably called up within the next week or two.

Name: Jay Bruce

Hometown: Beaumont, TX

Birthdate: April 3, 1987

High School: West Brook High (2nd team HS All-American)

Parent Club: Cincinnati Reds

Position: Outfielder

Uniform Number: 32

Draft: Jay was the 12th pick in the 2005 First-year player draft. He was in good company, as that draft also netted current MLB stars Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Ryans Braun and Zimmerman. He signed his minor-league contract on December 5th of that same year, but managed to get in 54 games of Rookie ball, split between the Gulf Coast League Reds and the Billings Mustangs.

2006 brought the first full season of Minor League action for Bruce, as he logged 117 games with the Dayton Dragons, considered to be one of the top minor-league ventures in the nation. The then-nineteen-year-old put up strong stats, batting .291, plating 69 runs and 80 RBIS, and swiping 19 bags. He flashed a little bit of power, belting 16 round-trippers and legging out 42 doubles.

That performance landed him in A+, to start 2007 with the Sarasota Reds of the Florida State League. In 67 games there, he hit .325 with a balanced 49 runs and RBIs, and thus began what we like to call “The Great Leap Forward”. Bruce nabbed a cup of coffee with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts (a mere 16 games) before trotting on up to Lousville and the triple-A (almost) big time, courtesy of his stellar 1057 OPS.

Lousiville has been Bruce’s home since then, despite a spring training look-see that left nobody doubting that the kid could play in the bigs. But thanks to that silly money-grubbing salary arbitration dance, he sits in Louisville until the equation tilts in his (and the fan’s) favor. He is currently hitting .352 with seven homers and an equal number of stolen bases. His OPS is 991.

Now for the trickiest question we get. “When will Jay Bruce be called up?”. Obviously, we don’t know. The parent club is in the NL Central cellar with a .452 win percentage. It’s still early, and they’re only 6.5 games out of first right now. The Reds’ outfield is full of players who are old, ineffective, or sometimes manage to be both. There have been Ken Griffey, Jr. trade rumors, and some would happily see Cory Patterson and his .235 average swap places with Bruce outright. One thing’s for sure. If Bruce has to spend another whole year in the minors, we might as well remove the rocks from Dusty Baker’s head and insert a nice flower arrangement to pretty the place up.

With all of that said, there’s just one more order of business to take care of before we send our boy off to The Show. He needs a good nickname. Simply having two first names is not enough. We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment field. We’ll form a panel of me, OMDQ, and a couple of our baseball-loving blogger friends, and choose the best one. The best nicknamer will win a copy of the Baseball Field Guide, which I reviewed recently. It’s a great in-depth illustrated guide to the complete rules of the game from Da Capo Press.

Fire away!