Posts Tagged ‘Lancaster JetHawks’

Gaston’s Homer, Clemens’ Two Ribbies Not QUITE Enough For Lancaster

Lancaster teammates Jon Gaston and Koby Clemens lead the California League in homeruns and RBI, respectively, and each added to their totals on Saturday night.  Gaston hit his 30th homer in the sixth, a solo shot, and Clemens added a two-run double for RBIs 95 and 96 in the eighth.

Unfortunately, that was the only offense the JetHawks in a game where their pitching staff forgot to show up.  Bakersfield scored at least three runs in six of the first seven innings and led 18-0 by the time Gaston went deep.  Before Clemens drove in his two, it was 24-1.

A team that scores 24 runs in a game will have no shortage of offensive stars, but two players stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Mauro Gomez was 4-6 with two homeruns and four RBI, moving him into third and seventh in those two categories.  Elio Sarmiento had an even bigger game, going 5-6 with a double, homerun, four RBI, and six runs scored.  He’s been hot in August, with a .455 batting average and 1.311 OPS in seven games.

Koby Clemens Had A Good Night Last Night

Just the other day, I was wondering whatever happened to Koby Clemens.  Roger’s oldest boy was drafted several years ago and popped up from time to time while Dad was still an active player, but once the Rocket retired and began fending off accusations of steroid use, Koby sort of disappeared from view.

So imagine my shock when I was putting together the first attempt at a daily minor league recap (in the future, it will likely be just a Top Performers post – that’s what I find most interesting, anyway) and saw that Clemens had put up some outstanding numbers for Lancaster last night: 4-5, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI.

All day, I thought about how I was going to write that Koby Clemens hit for the cycle.  It took me until tonight, when I looked at the post again, to realize that he had just missed – by a single, of all things.

So no cycle.  Much a pity.  But still, Clemens was the only minor leaguer with a multi-homer game yesterday (granted, there were no games in AAA due to the All-Star Game), and a seven RBI game is nothing to shake a stick at.

(Worth noting: San Jose’s Thomas Neal also came close to hitting for the cycle, and also missed by a single.)

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.

California Earthquake: Teams On The Move

According to a recent article in Baseball America, the High-A California League might be losing a couple of teams. And their loss will be the Carolina League’s gain.

The franchises in question are the Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers) and the High Desert Mavericks (Mariners). Both teams play in antiquated ballparks and struggle to draw enough fans. The article suggests that the Braves’ decision to pull their AAA affiliate out of Richmond might have provided the perfect opening for the transcontinental migration.

Richmond is the hot market available in the minor leagues, with plans for the Braves and the International League to release the territory when the R-Braves move to Gwinnett County in surburban Atlanta. One source said High Desert had the inside track to moving to Richmond, and that Bakersfield would end up in Fayetteville, N.C.; another source said more markets within the Carolina League footprint were under consideration.

“Nothing is set in stone, but do I think it is going to happen? Yes, I think it is going to happen,” one source said. “And I think it should happen.”

[Baseball America]

Further complicating matters for the California League is the decision by the Red Sox to move their high-A club from the geographically nonsensical Lancaster outpost of the California League to the slightly more distant, but less travel-intensive Salem, VA market in the Carolina League.

Some sources say that the league already has a deal in principle, which MiLB denies. The Carolina League bylaws stipulate a $1.5 million payment for each club that wishes to enter what is currently an eight-team league with a tight geographical locus.

As a resident of central Virginia, all of this sounds good to me, though I can’t imagine that a single-A franchise is the long-term solution in Richmond. I do feel bad for the California League, but the refusal of some localities to upgrade facilities is the sort of thing that MiLB just won’t abide any more. The Bus Leagues are getting tonier by the minute.

Spotlight on A Ball – 3/31/2008

aquasox_logo.gifWith 300+ minor league teams in these United States, OMDQ and I will need some way to focus our energies, and this is one way we figured to do it. Monday is “A” ball day. That will include Rookie League and every form of A ball. Wednesday we’ll check out the AA clubs, and then on Friday on up to AAA. We’ll also develop a few weekly features to slot in on the other two days in the rotation.

So, for today, here’s the A News:

The Danville Braves of the Appalachian League are preparing to enter 2008 with a new manager. Former coach Mel Roberts passed away on September 1, 2007, just one day after his club finished their season. Roberts was 64 years old, and had coached at every level in the Braves’ minor league organization. The Braves have turned to a familiar face – new coach Paul Runge led the Atlanta affiliate to an Appy League championship in 2006.

In happier news for the Appy League, the Mariners have brought baseball back to Pulaski, VA. The Blue Jays pulled out of Pulaski before the 2007 season, leaving the league with an unbalanced schedule for one year, but the Mariners have filled that void.

The Casper Ghosts (Rockies) of the Pioneer League are offering Glow-in-the-dark caps this season.

The Midwestern League’s Beloit Snappers (Twins) will welcome 7’1″ Dutch prospect Loek Van Mil to their roster this season. The righty moved up from the Rookie League this season to become the tallest player on a pitching staff that boasts exclusively six-footers and above.

The Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins) of the South Atlantic League have an impressive new presence on the web. Sports writer and season-ticket holder Will Brinson will be covering his hometown team at the new site GrassBloggers.

The Lancaster JetHawks are ready to fly in 2008. The Red Sox A-Advanced affiliate has a full-size FA-18 outside their stadium, and it’s pointed at the sky.

You have to love a Fan Festival hosted by Warthogs. This will be the Winston-Salem (White Sox) club’s last opening day at Ernie Shore Field, as they look forward to a gleaming new downtown stadium in 2009.

In listing their Ten Names to Know, the A-Advanced Florida State League included the awesomely-named Razor Shines, manager of the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies). Aside from his name, the guy can obviously coach, and we might see him in the bigs someday soon.

The State College Spikes are the Short-Season A affiliate for Pittsburgh. Which explains the excellent motto “The Bucs Start Here”.

And just allow me to close by saying I love the Everett Aquasox (Mariners) frog-based logo. If I had to pick one item to buy via internet, I think it would be, well, the socks.

That’s the news I was able to cull by randomly dropping by the league sites. If you are a fan of a team, and would like to let me know about something great going on in your town, drop me a line or a link at busleagues (at) gmail (dot) com.