Posts Tagged ‘Matt LaPorta’

The Z-Meter: 5/4/2009

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.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)

As OMDQ was kind enough to inform us, Matt LaPorta’s star has continued to rise. The former Brewers prospect was swapped to the Cleveland organization as the key to the C.C. Sabathia trade, which pretty much guaranteed that, barring a catastrophe, we’d be seeing him in the majors this season. Matt hit .333 with 5 homers in 75 triple-A at bats, and the call came. I’m very glad I got a chance to see him play in a double-A Akron Aeros uniform last season, because he’s unlikely to be nearly as accessible now that he’s in the show. Congrats, Matt!

That leaves a gap in our meter, which I’ve chosen to fill with a young A-ball phenom by the name of Mauricio Robles. The Venezuelan import pitches in the Detroit organization for the West Michigan Whitecaps. If you wonder why I chose him, just look at the dude’s walk/strikeout ratio. Cha. Ching.

The Mets’ Fernando Martinez has shaken off a slow April with a red-hot start to May. He’s hitting .542 with two home runs over the first four games he’s played this month. Reading’s Antonio Bastardo continues to yo-yo between the starting lineup and the bullpen, but his most recent start led to a 6.75 ERA and a loss, so relief might be his strong suit. Where there’s (Justin) Smoak, there’s fire. Sorry, had to be done. Red Sox prospect Che-Hsuan Lin had a long six-game hitless streak recently, but is starting to come back, having hit .667 over the past two games in Salem.
gac
And, finally, look at the official photo of Ian Gac here on the right. I thought the poor guy had some rare syndrome that caused him to look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I finally realized that he was unfortunately placed in front of some sort of logo on the wall that made him look like his earlobes hung down to his shoulders. The uniform line through the cinder blocks eventually tipped me off to the reality of the situation. I’m sure if gills and flippers helped a guy break out of a hitting slump, Ian would seriously consider getting a little genetic modification done.


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): .261 AVG – 18 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 6 BB – 4 SB – .466 SLG – .774 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 5 Games – 3W – 0L – 3.09 ERA – 14 BB – 17 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .224 – 16 R – 3 HR – 11 RBI – 24 BB – 0 SB – .448 SLG – .867 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .385 AVG – 18 R – 7 HR – 27 RBI – 15 BB – 0 SB – .756 SLG – 1.231 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .269 – 15 R – 2 HR – 7 RBI – 6 BB – 11 SB – .387 SLG – .707 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 5 Starts – 0 W – 2 L – 4.50 ERA – 4 BB – 31 K

Ramiro Pena, SS – Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees: .313 – 2 R – 0 HR – 4 RBI – 3 BB – 1 SB – .344 SLG – .715 OPS

Matt Wieters, C – Norfolk Tides (Orioles): .270 AVG – 7 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 11 BB – 0 SB – .365 SLG – .738 OPS

Fernando Martinez, CF – Buffalo Bisons (Mets): .287 AVG – 9 R – 3 HR – 13 RBI – 5 BB – 0 SB – .529 SLG – .859 OPS

Daniel Bard, RHP – Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox): 9 Games – 1W – 0L – 4 SV – 1.32 ERA – 4 BB – 23 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .389 – 17 R – 0 HR – 12 RBI – 9 BB – 7 SB – .486 SLG – .950 OPS


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

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 6 Games – 2 Starts – 1 W – 1 L – 2 SV – 2.20 ERA – 3 BB – 15 K

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .277 AVG – 11 R – 2 HR – 14 RBI – 7 BB – 0 SB – .434 SLG – .763 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 5 Starts – 2 W – 3 L – 4.15 ERA – 9 BB – 19 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .250 AVG – 16 R – 6 HR – 19 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .574 SLG – .978 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .358 AVG – 12 R – 4 HR – 16 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .580 SLG – 1.055 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): .200 AVG – 4 R – 1 HR – 11 RBI – 5 BB – 0 SB – .308 SLG – .561 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .275 AVG – 18 R – 4 HR – 18 RBI – 6 BB – 1 SB – .500 SLG – .822 OPS

Madison Bumgarner, LHP – San Jose Giants (Giants): 4 Starts – 3 W – 0 L – 1.40 ERA – 3 BB – 19 K

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .212 AVG – 13 R – 5 HR – 21 RBI – 16 BB – 0 SB – .412 SLG – .739 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .176 AVG – 9 R – 0 HR – 5 RBI – 8 BB – 3 SB – .221 SLG – .486 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .316 AVG – 10 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 2 BB – 0 SB – .421 SLG – .775 OPS

Shooter Hunt, RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 5 Start – 0 W – 1 L – 10.43 ERA – 29 BB – 14 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .310 AVG – 21 R – 4 HR – 18 RBI – 12 BB – 3 SB – .583 SLG – .993 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 5 Starts – 2 W – 1 L – 3.04 ERA – 9 BB – 40 K


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

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 10 Starts – 10W – 0L – 1.38 ERA – 15 BB – 147 K

Visit SDSU’s Strasburg Central for more.


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

Now Batting For The Cleveland Indians…

Highly touted prospect Matt LaPorta was called up by the Indians on Friday.  He made his major league debut on Sunday, batting eighth and playing rightfield in Cleveland’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers.

It did not go exceptionally well.  LaPorta, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Justin Verlander.  He stranded four runners, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh, and popped out to end the game.

LaPorta struggled after coming to the Indians organization in the C.C. Sabathia trade last season, but was off to an excellent start with AAA Columbus in 2009, hitting .333 with 5 homeruns, 14 RBI, and a 1.054 OPS in 21 games for the Clippers.  According to Baseball America, scouts graded his power at a 70 on a scale of 20-80.

As luck would have it, two of the E-migos with whom I correspond most often are Andrew of The Grand National Championships and Myth of the Next and Jacob of Vegas Watch and FanHouse.  They are fans of the Brewers and Indians, respectively, so naturally I asked their opinions on him.

Though both noted that LaPorta was the centerpiece of the Sabathia deal, they arrived at different conclusions about his longterm impact.  Jacob noted that he is a “good hit, no field” type of player who will probably see time at first base and leftfield and whose minor league success this year has probably caused expectations to be unreasonably high.  Andrew, on the other hand, pointed out that LaPorta is replacing the 2009 version of Travis Hafner and thinks he will soon prove that long-term, the Brewers were on the losing end of the Sabathia deal.  He figures LaPorta will “get out of bed and go .285/30/100.”

As always, it will be interesting to see who comes closer to the truth: is LaPorta overhyped, or will he make Tribe fans forget about Pronk?

Your Olympic Baseball Update

Man, now that Michael Phelps is out of the water and into the record books, these Olympics just seem to be flying by, don’t they?  It feels like baseball just started a couple of days ago…now we’re nearing the end of preliminary play and getting ready to move on to the medal rounds.  By Saturday, it’ll be all over.

The good news is that with a 4-2 record entering Wednesday’s 7:00 AM (EST) game against Japan, the United States will be one of the four teams that advances to the next round.  The bad news?  Their draw is still uncertain, and will be for another twelve hours or so.  Cuba, currently in second place with a 5-1 record, is finishing its preliminary schedule right now against China (1-5); they are scoreless in the first inning.  South Korea (6-0) plays The Netherlands (1-5) at 11:30 EST.  Win or lose, the South Koreans should be guaranteed the top spot (they beat Cuba head-to-head), but the articles I’ve perused seem to indicate that Cuba has a chance at being the top seed.  Maybe if the team they lost to comes into play – Cuba’s lone defeat would have been to a team with a better record than South Korea’s.  Anyway, we’ll know the answer to that question in just a few short hours.

The three and four seeds are actually easier to figure out.  The United States and Japan are both 4-2.  As noted above, they play each other tomorrow morning.  The winner gets the third seed, the loser gets the fourth.  Thursday is an off day, with the medal round starting on Friday

The 1-4 game will be played at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, and 2-3 will be at 6 p.m. that night. The losers of those two games will play for the bronze medal starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the two winners of those semifinals will meet at 6 p.m. to decide who gets the gold and who gets the silver. It’s all getting much clearer now.

Win or lose, the United States has three games left: tomorrow against Japan, the first elimination game against Cuba or South Korea, and the medal round game.  On the bright side, they will have San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg, who allowed one hit in seven innings in his only appearance thus far, on the hill for at least one of those contests – it’s just a question of throwing him on Friday or holding him back for the medal game on Saturday.  Trevor Cahill – 5 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 3 K in his only start – is scheduled to go against Japan, leaving Brandon Knight, Brett Anderson or Jake Arrieta as the likely candidates to get the call in the remaining game.  Knight started on Tuesday against Chinese Taipei and is probably out.  

On the gloomy side, the American offense is nicked up: second baseman Jayson Nix fouled a bunt attempt off his eye in a loss to Cuba and is expected to miss the rest of the tournament, Matt LaPorta has a mild concussion and is 1-for-15 overall (he also ran over China’s catcher, a minor leaguer in the Mariners’ system, and tore the guy’s ACL – just an overall awesome week), and Mike Hessman doesn’t seem to have recovered from a heel injury.  Still, our guys have to win just one of their remaining games to take home a medal, and they’ve played every opponent tough so far.  If they can get past that Cuba/South Korea road block on Friday, the gold is certainly not out of the question.

(Random question here: Jayson Nix is Laynce Nix’s brother.  Why did their parents feel the need to drop random Ys into their names?  This has me very confused.)

UPDATE: Cuba is beating the crap out of China, 10-0, in the third inning.  South Korea and The Netherlands are just underway, with the South Koreans taking an early 2-0 lead.

MORE UPDATE: Make that 14-0 and 2-0.  I’m gonna go all Brokaw on this and call it South Korea #1, Cuba #2.

FINAL UPDATE: 17-1 and 10-0, respectively.  South Korea gets the top seed and will play the loser of the USA-Japan game that starts in about 3 1/2 hours.  Cuba is the second seed and will, of course, play the winner.

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.

The Z-Meter: 7/23/2008

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:

Evan Longoria, 3B, Durham (AAA) to Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
Luke Hochevar, RHP, Omaha (AAA) to Kansas City Royals (MLB)

Max Scherzer, RHP, Tucson (AAA) to Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Jacksonville (AA) to Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Jay Bruce, OF, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Homer Bailey, RHP, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Springs (AAA) to Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Sacramento (AAA) to Oakland (MLB)
Chase Headley, 3B, Portland (AAA) to San Diego (MLB)
Eulogio De La Cruz, RHP, Albuquerque (AAA) to Marlins (MLB)
Joe Koshansky, 1B, Colorado Springs (AAA) to Rockies (MLB)

Justin Masterson, RHP, Portland (AA) to Boston (MLB)

Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Tennessee (AA) to Iowa (AAA)
Luke Montz, C, Harrisburg (AA) to Columbus (AAA)
Wade Davis, RHP, Montgomery (AA) to Durham (AAA)

Antonio Bastardo, LHP, Clearwater (A) to Reading Phillies (AA)
David Price, LHP, Vero Beach (A) to Montgomery (AA)
Matt Weiters, C, Frederick Keys (A) to Bowie Baysox (AA)
Lars Anderson, 1B, Lancaster JetHawks (A) to Portland SeaDogs (AA)

Travis Snider, OF, Dunedin (A-Advanced) to New Hampshire (AA)

Ian Gac, 1B, Clinton (A) to Bakersfield (Advanced A)
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Asheville (A) to Modesto (Advanced A)

Josh Vitters, 3B, Boise (Short A) to Peoria (A)

No more call-ups this week, though we had one near miss. Several news outlets reported that Jhoulys Chacin was getting the hee-yuge call up from High-A Modesto to the parent club in Denver. Rumors that proved to be false. The Rockies had, instead, called up Juan Morillo. Chacin still rocks the party, though. He’s 5-0 in his latest gig.

We did have one promotion, however. Rays prospect Wade Davis made the move from Montgomery to Durham, and promptly won his first game there. His ERA still has that new-car smell, at 0.00, for now.

The only other news is that the trade that broke up the Huntsville Stars dynasty is finally starting to show some negative effects. LaPorta, Gamel, and Escobar all had sub-par weeks, though their overall numbers are still high. I’m off to Altoona tomorrow to see the Curve take on the Aeros, so maybe I’ll have some LaPorta photos and eyewitness news for you when I get back.

Let’s see who else is hot this week:


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, and ready for the call that will change their lives.

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .282 – 54R – 9HR – 37RBI – 25SB – 48BB – .417 SLG – .787 OPS

Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B – Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners): .265 – 54R – 5HR – 47RBI – 36BB – 2SB – .408 SLG – .761 OPS

Colby Rasmus, LF – Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals): .249 – 56R – 11HR – 36RBI – 15SB – 49BB – .395 SLG – .741 OPS

Nelson Cruz, RF – Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers): .341 – 84R – 32HR – 83RBI – 21SB – 56BB – .709 SLG – 1.151 OPS

Jeff Samardzija, RHP – Iowa Cubs (Cubs): 6GS – 4W – 1L – 3.13 – 16BB – 40K

Luke Montz, C – Columbus Clippers (Nationals): .175 – 4R – 0HR – 7RBI – 3BB – 0SB – .246 SLG – .462 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 1GS – 1W – 0L – 0.00 ERA – 3BB – 6K


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

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals): .307 – 59R – 24HR – 67RBI – 78BB – 3SB – .614 SLG – 1.080 OPS

Austin Jackson, OF – Trenton Thunder (Yankees): .297 – 61R – 9HR – 57RBI – 51BB – 15SB – .456 SLG – .832 OPS

Jacob McGee, LHP (injured) – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 15GS – 6W – 4L – 3.94 ERA – 37BB – 65K

Cameron Maybin, CF (injured) – Carolina Mudcats (Marlins): .265 – 55R – 12HR – 38RBI – 43BB – 17SB – .461 SLG – .818 OPS

Elvis Andrus, SS – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .286 – 57R – 1HR – 42RBI – 25BB – 38SB – .342 SLG – .685 OPS

Travis Snider, RF – New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays): .265 – 52R – 15HR – 60RBI – 38BB – 1SB – .463 SLG – .811 OPS

Antonio Bastardo, LHP (injured) – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 9GS – 2W – 3L – 3.11 ERA – 29BB – 39K

Matt Wieters, C – Bowie Baysox (Orioles): .333 – 13R – 3HR – 11RBI – 12BB – 0SB – .519 SLG – .938 OPS

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .214 – 1R – 0HR – 0RBI – 1BB – 0SB – .286 SLG – .552 OPS

Matt LaPorta, CF – Akron Aeros (Indians): .283 – 58R – 21HR – 72RBI – 46BB – 2SB – .551 SLG – .939 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .362 – 80R – 15HR – 81RBI – 40BB – 5SB – .586 SLG – 1.007 OPS

David Price, LHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 5GS – 4W – 0L – 2.03 ERA – 10BB – 25K

Fernando Martinez, CF – Binghamton Mets (Mets): .290 – 36R – 5HR – 25RBI – 14BB – 5SB – .421 SLG – .752 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .335 – 75R – 7HR – 61RBI – 22BB – 25SB – .438 SLG – .803 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): .309 – 13R – 4HR – 18RBI – 8BB – 0SB – .485 SLG – .857 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Modesto Nuts (Rockies): 5GS – 5W – 0L – 1.69 ERA – 4BB – 32K

Rick Porcello, RHP – Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit): 19GS – 6W – 6L – 2.91 ERA – 28BB – 54K

Mike Moustakas, SS – Burlington Bees (Royals): .246 – 44R – 12HR – 43RBI – 27BB – 5SB – .403 SLG – .710 OPS


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

The Z-Meter: 7/10/2008

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:

Evan Longoria, 3B, Durham (AAA) to Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
Luke Hochevar, RHP, Omaha (AAA) to Kansas City Royals (MLB)

Max Scherzer, RHP, Tucson (AAA) to Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Jacksonville (AA) to Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Jay Bruce, OF, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Homer Bailey, RHP, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Springs (AAA) to Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Sacramento (AAA) to Oakland (MLB)
Chase Headley, 3B, Portland (AAA) to San Diego (MLB)
Eulogio De La Cruz, RHP, Albuquerque (AAA) to Marlins (MLB)
Joe Koshansky, 1B, Colorado Springs (AAA) to Rockies (MLB)

Justin Masterson, RHP, Portland (AA) to Boston (MLB)

Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Tennessee (AA) to Iowa (AAA)
Luke Montz, C, Harrisburg (AA) to Columbus (AAA)

Antonio Bastardo, LHP, Clearwater (A) to Reading (AA)
David Price, LHP, Vero Beach (A) to Montgomery (AA)
Matt Weiters, C, Frederick Keys (A) to Bowie Baysox (AA)

Travis Snider, OF, Dunedin (A-Advanced) to New Hampshire (AA)

Ian Gac, 1B, Clinton (A) to Bakersfield (Advanced A)
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Asheville (A) to Modesto (Advanced A)

Josh Vitters, 3B, Boise (Short A) to Peoria (A)

Trading season officially began this week, as Huntsville Stars star Matt LaPorta was shipped out in a trade that landed C.C. Sabathia in Milwaukee. Fortunately, my man Joe Koshansky moved up to the bigs and is taking the place of an injured Todd Helton, which made room for another Huntsville hitter, shortstop Alcides “Matt” Escobar. As you can see, Alcides is super-hot as well, and belongs here.

On the other hand, as of this writing, Matt LaPorta had yet to take any cuts as an Akron Aero, as a thunderstorm swept through on the night of his expected debut. We’ll keep an eye out for his Cleveland-era stats.

Let’s see who else is hot this week:


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, and ready for the call that will change their lives.

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .286 – 51R – 8HR – 33RBI – 24SB – 42BB – .413 SLG – .785 OPS

Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B – Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners): .251 – 45R – 5HR – 40 RBI – 32BB – 1SB – .393 SLG – .735 OPS

Colby Rasmus, LF – Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals): .249 – 55R – 11HR – 36RBI – 13SB – 49BB – .401 SLG – .752 OPS

Nelson Cruz, RF – Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers): .343 – 76R – 26HR – 73RBI – 18SB – 51BB – .689 SLG – 1.132 OPS

Jeff Samardzija, RHP – Iowa Cubs (Cubs): 3GS – 2W – 1L – 3.93 – 11BB – 15K

Luke Montz, C – Columbus Clippers (Nationals): .286 – 2R – 0HR – 7RBI – 2BB – 0SB – .429 SLG – .776 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but are more likely to get promoted to the top of this meter first.

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals): .305 – 46R – 22HR – 58RBI – 60BB – 3SB – .622 SLG – 1.070 OPS

Austin Jackson, OF – Trenton Thunder (Yankees): .274 – 54R – 8HR – 52RBI – 44BB – 14SB – .433 SLG – .785 OPS

Jacob McGee, LHP (injured) – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 15GS – 6W – 4L – 3.94 ERA – 37BB – 65K

Cameron Maybin, CF – Carolina Mudcats (Marlins): .265 – 55R – 12HR – 38RBI – 43BB – 17SB – .461 SLG – .818 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 18GS – 8W – 6L – 3.98 ERA – 40BB – 75K

Elvis Andrus, SS – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .295 – 50R – 1HR – 37RBI – 22BB – 31SB – .351 SLG – .706 OPS

Travis Snider, RF – New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays): .272 – 44R – 13HR – 50RBI – 30BB – 1SB – .463 SLG – .811 OPS

Antonio Bastardo, LHP (injured) – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 9GS – 2W – 3L – 3.11 ERA – 29BB – 39K

Matt Wieters, C – Bowie Baysox (Orioles): .342 – 8R – 2HR – 4RBI – 7BB – 0SB – .579 SLG – 1.023 OPS

Matt LaPorta, CF – Akron Aeros (Indians): .288 – 56R – 20HR – 66RBI – 45BB – 2SB – .576 SLG – .978 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Hunts ville Stars (Brewers): .372 – 71R – 15HR – 76RBI – 38BB – 5SB – .612 SLG – 1.044 OPS

David Price, LHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 3GS – 3W – 0L – 1.42 ERA – 7BB – 18K

Fernando Martinez, CF – Binghamton Mets (Mets): .299 – 30R – 4HR – 21RBI – 10BB – 3SB – .431 SLG – .766 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .327 – 64R – 7HR – 55RBI – 20BB – 22SB – .440 SLG – .797 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): .320 – 5R – 1HR – 9RBI – 1BB – 0SB – .440 SLG – .773 OPS

Lars Anderson, 1B – Lancaster JetHawks (Red Sox): .319 – 54R – 12HR – 46RBI – 45BB – 0SB – .516 SLG – .928 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Modesto Nuts (Rockies): 2GS – 2W – 0L – 0.64 ERA – 1BB – 11K

Rick Porcello, RHP – Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit): 17GS – 5W – 6L – 2.60 ERA – 24BB – 49K

Mike Moustakas, SS – Burlington Bees (Royals): .244 – 40R – 12HR – 42RBI – 26BB – 5SB – .405 SLG – .711 OPS


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

Mother Nature Delays LaPorta’s Akron Debut

We’re still waiting for Matt LaPorta’s debut as a Cleveland subsidiary following the big Sabathia trade. The big fella was scheduled to make his first start for the Akron Aeros this evening, but a massive thunderstorm blew through Ohio and put that on hold.

Matt LaPorta’s debut as an Indians farmhand was postponed after a thunderstorm blew through downtown Akron before game time tonight.

Tonight’s game between the Aeros and the Bowie Baysox will be made up Wednesday at Canal Park as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6:05 p.m.

Two seven-inning games will be played.

[Ohio.com]

Akronites. Akronians. Check this guy out on Wednesday. You get a double dose. I’m not tryin’ to say he’s, like, Jay Bruce or nuthin’, but he’s GOT to be good, right?

Captain Cheeseburger Breaks Up the Wonder Mat(t)s

Yeah, it’s a rumor, but I’m convinced it’s happening.

The incredible Huntsville duo of Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta will no longer have one another to kick around. LaPorta and his 66 ribbies will reportedly be infused into the Cleveland system as part of a trade for C.C. Sabathia.

The presence of the Wonder Mat(t)s has long fueled rumors that the Brewers’ trade bait would attract MLB sharks. LaPorta was always first on the list, but his equally talented teammates Mat Gamel and Alcides “Matt” Escobar have been mentioned as well. According to ESPN.com, neither of those Huntsville Stars will be included in the multi-player deal.

This could be just the beginning of the MiLB/MLB trade dance. It’s that time of the year. Check out this week’s Z-meter to see who ends up where.

The Huntsville Eight

(Earlier this week, one of our readers, a friend and fellow blogger, contacted me to ask about doing a guest post about one of the minor league affiliates of his beloved Milwaukee Brewers.  Since Huntsville clearly falls under the Bus Leagues umbrella, and Andrew is already a friend of the blog, saying “yes” was easy.

Reader contributions are always welcome.  To inquire about the possibility of doing a guest post, contact us at busleagues@gmail.com or onemoredyingquail@gmail.com.)

Hi, I’m Andrew. I was the one who brought you fine folks at Bus Leagues Baseball to the attention of the Wonder Mat(t)’s. But did you know that’s not all? It’s true!

For one thing, I’m one of the dudes at The Grand National Championships. But that’s neither here nor there, I’m just saying it to stroke my ego. Did you know that the Huntsville Stars have 8 prospects with Major League capability? And why I’m here is to bring them to you.

(Stats as of 6/20)

1. Mat Gamel (3B)
.367 14 HR 62 RBI .431 OBP .622 SLG

You know it’s rare to have a dude hitting .370 and not be within sniffing distance of a AAA promotion.* But Mat Gamel is just that man. His defense was so shaky last season that he seriously thought of quitting. Not to say that a .906 Fielding percentage is something that engenders confidence in his long term ability to third base? But it is a marked improvement over his 2007 at the hot corner. At 22, his bat is ready now, he just needs to consolidate his defensive gains. We’ll see him in September.

2. Matt LaPorta (RF)
.297 19 HR 58 RBI .411 OBP .610 SLG

Gamel may be the more complete hitter, but LaPorta has the power bat. His college experience has been able to get him from Gator Nation to the dominating Double-A level in 12 months. He is still raw on defense, but he’s improving rapidly. He’ll end up moving from right field, but he’s been more than worthy of his First Round hype. He’ll be in Milwaukee in September. 

3. Alcides Escobar (SS)
.333 6 HR 43 RBI .368 OBP .448 SLG 19 SB

Here’s where some intrigue is developing. Escobar is a vacuum-cleaner at shortstop, and his 19 steals come with 79% success rate. But he is developing power to the gaps (18 XBH compared to 21 last season)and nascent plate discipline (18 walks in comparison to 21). As a 21 year-old in AA? That’s just awesome. If he keeps improving on his plate discipline, he’ll be in Milwaukee sometime in 2009.

4. Angel Salome (C)
.349 7 HR 46 RBI .405 OBP .548 SLG

Coming off a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, the power of the 5’7″ Salome was called into question. But as his 2008 statistics show? His gap power is legitimate. His defense is good in terms of the fundamentals, but he needs to improve the technical aspects on defense and he will never walk or strike out very often. He’ll displace Kendall sometime in 2009, but he’s engaged now. Sorry ladies.

5. Michael Brantley (CF)
.319 4 HR 32 RBI .400 OBP .409 SLG 19 SB

He 21-year old Florida native posesses the best plate discipline in the Brewers organization and is just a touch below Escobar in the wheels department. He has no power, and he is a tweener. (Defensively, he is best suited for left field or first base.) He’s got a Juan Pierre game with plate disipline.

6. Cole Gillespie (LF)
.272 9 HR 45 RBI .375 OBP .484 SLG

The Oregon State alumnus is somebody who plays above his tools. He has doubles power, excellent plate discipline, and excellent baserunning judgement for someone with average speed. His defense is solid and his arm is accurate as well. But with Braun locked up, the Kentucky Ninja Corey Hart being awesome, and LaPorta as the heir apparent? The 24 year-old Gillespie may be more trade bait than anything. 

7. Steven Hammond (LHSP)
7-4, 3.45 ERA, 88 2/3 IP, 33 BB, 78 SO

For a 26 year-old Long Beach State alumnus who is repeating a level for the second time, the veracity of his prospectdom may not be exactly the most sound. He has a deceptive devilvery which enhances an average fastball that touches 91. He’ll challenge hitters and keep the ball down, but as the walk total shows? He does lose his command. He may never be one of the top Brewer prospects, but he will get starts.

8. Omar Aguilar (Closer)
0-1 4.00 ERA 3 SV 9 IP 6 BB 7 SO

A recent promotion to AA has many in the Brewers organization excited. Aguilar was destroying Brevard County to the tune of 13 hits and 1 earned run allowed in 25 and 2/3 IP, and he can generate excellent velocity on his fastball, though his command is shaky. The stocky (5’11”, 227) native of Merced, California is currently off to a slow start, but the Brewers want a Joakim Soria for their very own.

Honorable Mention: Chris Errecart (1B)
.271 11 HR 28 RBI .343 OBP .510 SLG

An excellent power hitter, Errecart can play tag with the leftfield fence when he makes contact. But his plate discipline is marginal, and 64 strikeouts in 210 at bats is a scary proposition for the 23 year-old. Though I would not count him out, he has overcome back problems, and his power is real. Nevertheless, of all those who could be inflated from the awesome that is Hunstville?  Errecart would be the most logical choice.

I give you nine prospects, from the top of the pops to the next Ryan Garko. But that’s not the amazing thing. The amazing thing is that with all this talent? All the stars and studs in Huntsville?

They didn’t win the Division.

Yay.

A Tale of Two Mat(t)s

You may have noticed that last week I kind of skipped the whole “Spotlight on” series. I realized that doing a link dump every other day was overkill, and also noticed that nobody was clicking on the links. So, instead, I’ll be doing something a little more fun – looking at specific teams and prospects that grab my interest.

Today, I’m checking out the Huntsville Stars (Brewers) as suggested by reader Andrew. They have two slugging geniuses who go by variations of the name Matthew, and some pretty cool promotions and such as well. So let’s check them out.

First up, the Mat(t)s. Here’s the 411 from Andrew’s comment:

The Brewers have the Wonder Mat(t)’s!

Mat Gamel .375/8/33/.438/.681/1.119
Matt LaPorta .336/10/38/.433/.688/1.121

I may be a homer, but these guys are raking in Hunstville. And they’re both named Matt! ESPN can do things with this!

We may have to wait a while for these guys to get to ESPN’s radar, but right now, they’re on ours.

Mat Gamel is a sweet-swinging lefty from Jacksonville, FL who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 amateur draft out of Chipola College, which has produced a handful of players who made it to the show. Gamel is a third baseman, and Brewers pundits claim he fields his position well. He worked his way up from Rookie ball to his current perch in double-A. The boy can hit.

Matt LaPorta is another Floridian. He put in four years of SEC baseball with the Gators, before the Brewers made him the 7th pick last year. With his NCAA experience backing him up, LaPorta has made a much faster rise to the Stars, where he is playing in the outfield and doing much damage in the batter’s box.

The Brewers are a young team, so no telling when these two Sunshine Staters will get their shots at the big time. We’ll be keeping an eye on them, though.

Other Huntsville Stars News:

The Stars are 26-11, which is good for the lead in the Northern division of the Southern League. I don’t know what kind of compass they’re using out there…

May 24th is Meatloaf Night Joe Davis stadium. You can register for the contest to determine the best brick of ground meat, or just taste-test and vote. If I lived in Huntsville, I’d probably indulge in the latter.

And, finally, here’s what the official Huntsville hat looks like.

Let us know about your favorite players at your Bus League outpost, and we’ll give their club the same treatment!