Posts Tagged ‘Lynchburg Hillcats’

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.


Potomac Nationals at Lynchburg Hillcats – 4/10/2009

My son was on spring break last week, so it was a perfect time for us to take in our first game of the season. Since the Braves flew the coop in Richmond, Lynchburg is the nearest minor-league town to ours, and we go there often. This time out, I was excited to see the Pirates’ top new prospect, former Vanderbilt star Pedro Alvarez.

Alvarez went 0-5, but knocked in a couple of RBIs. The Hillcats beat the Potomac Nationals 14-7 to start their season undefeated. Here’s what it looked like from where I was sitting.


Jester-dude who made balloon animals/hats/stuff. My son was very skeptical of his schtick.


Jack with the innovative new Lynchburg Hillcats foam claw. He’ll never go back to the plain old foam finger now.


This young lady was the hottest concessions worker I’ve ever seen, but she messed up my order bad. That’ll teach me – always buy snacks from the old guy who’s been there a thousand years.


Fans are always welcome to chat or nab a signature. We sat along the third base line, right next to the home dugout.


National Anthem time. Even on cloudy days, like this one, the sun always seems to come out at this moment.


Alvarez at third. He made a couple of fielding errors, but he’s a rook, so we’ll forgive him.


Alvarez at the plate. He’s not the most patient hitter I’ve ever seen, but then again, it was his second pro game ever.


I bought a funnel cake at this stand. I hadn’t had one since my grandparents took me to Silver Dollar City when I was a kid. I figured, if it’s good enough for the cop, it’s good enough for me. Of course, I ended up with powdered sugar all over my clothes when the chilly wind kicked up.


With our apologies to Dippin’ Dots, Jack and I happen to believe that the simple sno-kone is the ice cream of the past, present, and future.


Southpaw dancing on the dugout. We got a new appreciation for the dangers of mascotting when he slipped in a rain puddle and went down. But he was a trooper, and he finished his set.


As night fell, it got colder, though the temperature never fell below 65 degrees. The wind was pretty cutting, though, so I bought jack a Hillcats-model blanket to cover up with. For those of you about to call social services, his lips were blue from the sno-kone, not the temperatures.

That’s our first trip. Very soon, I hope to make it to Salem, VA, where they’ve recently become affiliated with the Red Sox. They’ve stashed some great prospects there, including Ryan Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin, and I want to get there before one of them is called up.

Photos: Kinston Indians @ Lynchburg Hillcats 7/10/2008

Suddenly, we’re just lousy with photos around here. Which is awesome. Last night I went to a Carolina League game in Lynchburg, VA. It was between the Kinston Indians, who are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, and the Lynchburg Hillcats, who are low-level Pittsburgh Pirates.

Originally, we thought we were going to a 7:05pm start, but then the previous day’s rainout was rescheduled and we had to scramble to make a 6:05 start. Everyone had to leave work early. Darn.

Anyway, here are some swell photos from the ballpark.

Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium

Inside the park.

Hillcats mascot Southpaw dancing atop the home dugout

Indians Outfielder Cirilo Cumberbatch. Man, oh man, did we love saying that.

Dusk falls as the second half of the double-header commences.

We were unable to stay for both ends of the double-header. Even sitting for the first two innings of the second dip got me and my friends back to Charlottesville well after dark. But this was definitely one of the most fun evenings I ever spent at a ballpark.

Rock Rogers in the 21st Century

Tony Mansolinio is a utility outfielder for the Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates). Being a utility guy in A Ball probably doesn’t signal a really bright future, but fortunately, Tony has some other talents he’s decided to share with the world. Through his own publishing imprint, Play Ball Publishing, Mansolino has published his first children’s book, titled “Dreams Will Come, Dreams Will Go”.

Following the “write what you know” dictum offered to first-time writers, Mansolino’s book follows career minor-leaguer Rock Rogers (who, honestly, probably has a shot at a porn career, too). He made good use of his Bus Leagues travel time, too:

“Dreams Will Come, Dreams Will Go” was written during the 2007 season while on long bus rides and in cramped clubhouses. The story is about a fictitious player named Rock Rogers who finally breaks through and makes it to the Majors after a long Minor League career. Over the course of the story, the reader is given an insider’s perspective of a Minor League season.


The book may be a bit of wish-fulfillment, since Rock Rogers ends up in the bigs at the end of the story.

Kudos to Mansolino for breaking from the stereotype of the dumb jock. But we’d expect nothing less from a Vanderbilt man.

Reliving the Summer of Baseball

Last summer I took my son to nearly every minor league ballpark in our home state of Virginia. I called it “The Summer of Baseball”, and published some of my photos on this blog. I ended up writing an article about it for Camperways magazine, which runs destination features for fans of RV travel. At the time we had seven teams active in the area.

Since then, the Atlanta Braves have announced that they will be moving their AAA affiliate from Richmond to the Atlanta suburbs, and the Rookie level Pulaski facility, which had its Blue Jays affiliation yanked before I could visit, is now back in the game as the lowest level of the Mariners organization.

The article was published tabloid-style, so I had trouble scanning single pages – hope you can stand to read the giant .jpgs I made instead.




I love going to games, and I love to write about it, but I don’t know jack about making readable internet files.