Posts Tagged ‘Pedro Alvarez’

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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In Pedro They Trust

Pirates fans have plenty of reason to look at their franchise and feel a sense of doom.  It’s bound to happen when the team hasn’t had a winning season in seventeen years and call for its contraction on an almost monthly basis.

There is, however, some good stuff mixed in with the crap.  Andrew McCutchen is going to be a perennial All-Star (assuming they don’t trade him).  First round draft pick Tony Sanchez saw action with the team’s short-season, High-A and Low-A affiliates, finishing with a combined .949 OPS; I’ll bet he’s in the majors by the end of next season (assuming they don’t trade him).  Neil Walker might finally be ready to make good on his prospect status (assuming they don–you get the point).

Oh, and Pedro Alvarez is announcing his presence with authority.

Alvarez hit .288 with 27 homeruns and 95 RBI in the Carolina and Eastern Leagues this season, earning a spot on the United States World Cup team.  On Thursday, he showed why Pirates fans have reason to be optimistic:

Alvarez hit three of Team USA’s six home runs, as the Americans won their sixth straight game, beating Taiwan 14-3 in Torino, Italy. Team USA put up seven runs in the first inning, with Alvarez blasting a three-run homer as part of the rally.

Three at-bats, three homeruns, six RBI – all to different fields, all in the first four innings (he grounded out to first in his last at-bat).  That’s quite a day.

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.

Promoted:

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.

The Z-Meter: 4/28/2009

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)

It hasn’t been very long since the last time I looked at the numbers, but I decided that this year, I’m going to update whenever I feel like it. Last year it was once a week, this year it might be twice. I’ll definitely update any time someone gets called up. It’s just more fun that way.

This week, I finally decided to take Michel Inoa off the meter until he starts putting up stats somewhere. There seems to be no rush to get him in a uniform in the A’s organization, so I replaced him with the Pirates’ top prospect, Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez is missing a lot of balls, but the ones he hits tend to be unplayable, so I can respect that.

Some of my prized pitching prospects are struggling early. Shooter Hunt is by far the worst, but he still has a cool name, so he stays. Jhoulys Chacin, who lit up A-ball last season, is struggling to find his way in Tulsa. Madison Bumgarner continues to rock it, however. So it’s not all bad news from the mound.

As hitters go, Lars Anderson had a boom week, jumping all of his decimal-pointy stats in impressive fashion. Former teammates Gamel and LaPorta are wrecking Triple-A, and I’d be shocked if they don’t both get the call soon. Justin Smoak at Frisco has also been red-hot over the weekend.

It’s interesting to me that I’m not using many black pixels. Most everyone on the meter is playing very well, or lousy. Only a small handful of prospects are in the average range.


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): .301 AVG – 17 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 5 BB – 4 SB – .548 SLG – .894 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 3 Games – 1W – 0L – 2.08 ERA – 8 BB – 11 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .192 – 11 R – 3 HR – 11 RBI – 17 BB – 0 SB – .423 SLG – .803 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .403 AVG – 17 R – 6 HR – 24 RBI – 11 BB – 0 SB – .806 SLG – 1.287 OPS

Matt LaPorta, CF – Columbus Clippers (Indians): .400 – 19 R – 5 HR – 13 RBI – 7 BB – 0 SB – .767 SLG – 1.245 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .257 – 11 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 6 BB – 8 SB – .324 SLG – .645 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 4 Starts – 0 W – 2 L – 4.57 ERA – 3 BB – 23 K

Ramiro Pena, SS – Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees: .154 – 1 R – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 2 BB – 0 SB – .154 SLG – .421 OPS

Matt Wieters, C – Norfolk Tides (Orioles): .270 AVG – 5 R – 1 HR – 2 RBI – 8 BB – 0 SB – .405 SLG – .805 OPS

Fernando Martinez, CF – Buffalo Bisons (Mets): .254 AVG – 5 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 3 BB – 0 SB – .448 SLG – .739 OPS

Daniel Bard, RHP – Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox): 7 Games – 1W – 0L  – 3 SV – 1.69 ERA – 3 BB – 18 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .354 – 9 R – 0 HR – 10 RBI – 6 BB – 4 SB – .458 SLG – .887 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): 1 Start – 1 W – 0 L – 2 SV – 0.73 ERA – 1 BB – 11 K

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .306 AVG – 9 R – 2 HR – 13 RBI – 5 BB – 0 SB – .484 SLG – .837 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 4 Starts – 1 W – 3 L – 4.87 ERA – 4 BB – 12 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .226 AVG – 11 R – 5 HR – 15 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .547 SLG – .905 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .323 AVG – 8 R – 3 HR – 12 RBI – 11 BB – 0 SB – .516 SLG – .943 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): .191 AVG – 3 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 4 BB – 0 SB – .319 SLG – .569 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .292 AVG – 17 R – 4 HR – 15 RBI – 5 BB – 1 SB – .554 SLG – .897 OPS

Madison Bumgarner, LHP – San Jose Giants (Giants): 3 Starts – 3 W – 0 L – 0.56 ERA – 2 BB – 14 K

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .217 AVG – 8 R – 3 HR – 17 RBI – 13 BB – 0 SB – .383 SLG – .725 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .170 AVG – 6 R – 0 HR – 4 RBI – 4 BB – 2 SB – .213 SLG – .458 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .327 AVG – 7 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 2 BB – 0 SB – .449 SLG – .826 OPS

Shooter Hunt, RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 1 Start – 0 W – 1 L – 10.8 ERA – 23 BB – 10 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .318 AVG – 16 R – 4 HR – 17 RBI – 12 BB – 3 SB – .652 SLG – 1.096 OPS


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

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 9 Starts – 9W – 0L – 1.54 ERA – 13 BB – 135 K


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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.