Posts Tagged ‘Travis Wood’

The Bus Leagues Baseball 2009 Pitcher of the Year

Click here to see the breakdown on the 2009 Bus Leagues Player of the Year.

Bus Leagues voters were given twelve pitchers to consider for Pitcher of the Year – eight starters and four relievers.  The presence of relievers on the ballot caused some early dissension within the ranks.  Some refused to consider them, others didn’t care.  In the end, we decided to leave things as they were because a) I had already done the work and wasn’t changing it up at that point and b) relievers are eligible for major league awards like the Cy Young, so why not include them here?

When the smoke cleared and all five voters had cast their ballots, only seven pitchers received votes (two of the relievers ended up missing the cut).  Those seven will get the full treatment seen in the Player of the Year post – pictures and everything.  Fancy stuff, coming from me.  The five who didn’t get no love…well, I’ll talk briefly about them below, but they don’t get pictures.  Consider it tough love.

(This seems like a good time to mention that all pictures in these two posts, with the exception of Koby Clemens and Craig Clark, were taken from player pages.  Clemens’ came from Google and Clark’s from the San Jose Giants web site.)

Brad Brach, Fort Wayne TinCaps: Of the four relievers on the original list, three had something special that made them worthy of inclusion and consideration.  All Brach had going for him was that he was really, really good.  The 6’6″, 210 lb. righty had 33 saves, a 1.27 ERA, and 82 strikeouts in 63.2 innings for the TinCaps.

Bradley Meyers, Potomac Nationals/Harrisburg Senators: Meyers made the list because his 11-3 record, 1.72 ERA, and 108 strikeouts were very similar to fellow finalists Brian Matusz and Madison Bumgarner and I didn’t want to be biased based on name recognition.  This worked not at all, as I suspect most of the voters looked at his name and said, “Who?” before voting for one or both of the other two.

Simon Castro, Fort Wayne TinCaps: Castro pitched a seven-inning no-hitter on August 18, which made his 10-6 record, 3.33 ERA, and 157 strikeouts just a little more impressive.  In fact, that no-no probably unfairly influenced my opinion of him.

Eric Surkamp, San Jose Giants: Surkamp finished 11-5 with a 3.30 ERA and 169 strikeouts.  No-hitter or not, I felt that if I included Castro, I had to include Surkamp.  In retrospect, both probably should have been left on the cutting room floor and we could’ve gone with ten finalists.

Miguel De Los Santos, DSL Rangers 2: Wanna know why De Los Santos made this list even though he only pitched 32 innings this season?  Because he had 70 strikeouts in those 32 innings.  Seventy.  If my calculations are correct, that works out to 19.69 strikeouts per nine innings.  It wasn’t enough to entice anyone to vote for him, but it certainly made him worthy of inclusion on our list.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the seven pitchers who received votes for Bus Leagues Pitcher of the Year.

travis woodTravis Wood, LHP
Carolina/Louisville (Cincinnati)
Southern/International League
Class AA/AAA
Total Points: 1 (t-6th)

One year after going 7-13 with a 5.47 ERA in the Florida State and Southern Leagues, Wood beat up Double- and Triple-A to the tune of 13-5, 1.77 ERA, 135 strikeouts. His ERA at Carolina was a ridiculous 1.21 in 119 innings.

What The Voters Said
“Solid amount of K’s and his ERA is solid; however, if you look at his previous years he’s just not at the same level and will probably be in the minors for another year or two and probably won’t be anything spectacular in the show (watch him win two Cy Young awards now).” – Chris

craig clarkCraig Clark, LHP
San Jose Giants (San Francisco)
California League
Class A+
Total Points: 1 (t-6th)

Clark was 16-2 with a 2.86 ERA and 135 strikeouts for San Jose. Good numbers, right? Right – especially since, as Andrew pointed out, they came in the freakin’ California League, where only six qualifying pitchers had an ERA under 4.00.

What The Voters Said
Clark’s lone vote came from Andrew, who didn’t include a rationale for his choice beyond the one mentioned above. It must be noted, however, that he only voted for Clark because I mentioned that I thought Brian Matusz’s last name rhymed with “lattice” and Andrew didn’t like that. Irrational sense of whimsy, indeed.

atahualpa severinoAtahualpa Severino, LHP
Potomac/Harrisburg (Washington)
Carolina/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 5 (5th)

Severino almost didn’t make the cut. I removed him at one point before deciding that the awesome name, perfect 10-0 record and 15 saves, and connections to our friend Darren Heitner were too good to leave on the table.

What The Voters Said
“He’s got it going on, really. Great name, perfect W-L record, and the ability to throw effective relief when called upon. I’d like to see him in person. However, I’d feel a lot better if his jersey could somehow read Atahualpa instead of Severino. Quintessential Bus Leagues type of player.” – Eric A.

brian matuszBrian Matusz, LHP
Frederick/Bowie (Baltimore)
Carolina/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 6 (4th)

If Matusz had spent the last month of the season with Bowie instead of Baltimore, he might’ve walked away with this award in a landslide. In the minors, he was 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA; add in his numbers with the Orioles and he was 16-4, 2.68 ERA, 159 strikeouts in 157.2 innings.

What The Voters Said
“Definitely a strong season down in the minors, the stats speak for themselves. Unfortunately I think his stats would be even better if the Orioles didn’t call him up for some starts in the majors. Wow, thanks a lot Orioles…you’ve taken away my Pitcher of the Year.” – Chris

pat vendittePat Venditte, BHP
Charleston/Tampa (Yankees)
South Atlantic/Florida State League
Class A/A+
Total Points: 8 (t-2nd)

One of life’s great mysteries: why does Venditte’s profile page on list him only as a righthanded pitcher? The 24-year-old out of Creighton is professional baseball’s only ambidextrous pitcher, a fact that might make him my favorite Bus Leaguer (which is weird because he’s a future Yankee). And it’s not just a gimmick – the guy can pitch: 4-2, 1.87 ERA, 22 saves, 87 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.

What The Voters Said
“I chose Venditte first because of the grand possibility of being groomed as the future closer once Mariano Rivera decides it’s time to retire. True he doesn’t quite have a blazer for a closer, but being ambidextrous (and equally effective at both) should prove to be a no-brainer.” – Eric M.

madison bumgarnerMadison Bumgarner, LHP
San Jose/Connecticut (San Francisco)
California/Eastern League
Class A+/AA
Total Points: 8 (t-2nd)

Over the past two seasons, Bumgarner is 27-5 with a 1.65 ERA and 256 strikeouts. A lefthanded pitcher with a great won-lost record, low ERA, and lots of strikeouts? Shades of Sandy Koufax (I’ll take ridiculous hyperbole for $1000, Alex). Bumgarner’s strikeouts decreased sharply this season, but if he can overcome that hiccup, teams will soon fear the 1-2 punch of Lincecum-Bumgarner in San Francisco.

What The Voters Said
“The kid seemed unflappable, so it’s no surprise he got called up so early in his career. The low number of strikeouts concern me quite a bit, but he’s a winner in the Bus Leagues.” – Eric A.

daniel hudsonDaniel Hudson, RHP
Kannapolis/Winston-Salem/Birmingham/Charlotte (White Sox)
South Atlantic/Carolina/Southern/International League
Class A/A+/AA/AAA
Total Points: 16 (1st)

Lots of players had good seasons in 2009. None of them, however, did it under quite the same conditions as Hudson, who started the year with Chicago’s A-level team in Kannapolis and ended it with the major league club. In a span of about five months, he stopped at every organizational level except Rookie and Short Season, pitching impressively en route to an overall minor league record of 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 147.1 innings. That’s why he ran away with this thing with three first place votes – because those numbers are very good, and to compile them while being pushed up the organizational ladder is amazing.

What The Voters Said
“Daniel Hudson is my pick. Yes, he pitched for four different teams. He has a 5 to 1 K to BB ratio, which is pretty good. His ability to move to all levels in the minors and even get a start with the White Sox is very impressive too. So there it is…. I’m voting for Daniel Hudson with his boring name and all to win Bus Leagues Pitcher of the Year.” – Chris

Southern League All-Stars Announced

The Southern League announced its postseason All-Stars earlier today:

Catcher: Tyler Flowers, Birmingham Barons
First Base: Blake Lalli, Tennessee Smokies
Second Base: C.J. Retherford, Birmingham Barons
Third Base: Juan Francisco, Carolina Mudcats
Shortstop: Pedro Ciriaco, Mobile Bay Bears
Outfield: David Cook, Birmingham Barons
Outfield: Steven Gartrell, Birmingham Barons
Outfield: Desmond Jennings, Montgomery Biscuits
Designated Hitter: Greg Halman, West Tenn Diamond Jaxx
Utility: Todd Frazier, Carolina Mudcats
Right-Handed Pitcher: John Ely, Birmingham Barons
Left-Handed Pitcher: Travis Wood, Carolina Mudcats
Relief Pitcher: Matt Peterson, Jacksonville Suns

Best Hustler: Matt Young, Mississippi Braves
Manager of the Year: Everardo Magallanes, Birmingham Barons
Most Outstanding Pitcher: Travis Wood, Carolina Mudcats
Most Valuable Player: Desmond Jennings, Montgomery Biscuits

Francisco and Frazier were both on my short list. Jennings was ineligible using my criteria because I only considered players currently in the league for the award.

The Z-Meter: 7/27/2009; Jhoulys Ascendant!

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)
Jhoulys Chacin: Tulsa Drillers (AA) to Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)
Justin Smoak: Frisco Rough Riders (AA) to Oklahoma City RedHawks (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+)
Josh Vitters: Peoria Chiefs (A) to Daytona Cubs (A+)

As Brian reported earlier, Jhoulys Chacin has been called up from AA Tulsa to the big club in Colorado. As happy as I am to see one of my favorite Bus Leaguers move up, I have to question the way it was done. The Rox have just taken a young guy from the smothering heat and humidity of Oklahoma directly to the dry altitude of Denver. Had Jhoulys been able to make a couple of starts in AAA Colorado Springs, he might be a little better prepared for the way his ball is going to move, or, as the case will most certainly be, not move.

But to hell with that stinkin’ thinkin’. Go get ’em, Jhoulys!

In other news, I’ve officially given up on Shooter Hunt. The balls-out amusing name was not enough to save him when his rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League turned into a further demonstration of how he just can’t pitch. 0-4 with an ERA over 9.00 is more than I can take. He’s gone.

So, welcome two new members. Eddy Martinez-Esteve, who has the triple-bonus of 1) a lengthy, hyphenated last name that stretches across his entire jersey like a rainbow 2) I saw him play in college when FSU won the ACC tournament in Salem, VA and 3) is actually pretty damn good. Also, Travis Wood, who maintained a 1.21 ERA with 103 Ks with the Carolina Mudcats, which earned him a post-break promotion to AAA Louisville. Travis, you’re our first L’ville Bat since “The Deal”, so be gentle with us.

Welcome aboard, fellas.

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): 20 Games – 8 W – 6 L – 3.22 ERA – 47 BB – 103 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .264 – 60 R – 13 HR – 41 RBI – 77 BB – 0 SB – .466 SLG – .869 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .304 – 67 R – 3 HR – 31 RBI – 26 BB – 35 SB – .418 SLG – .772 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 20 Starts – 6 W – 9 L – 5.18 ERA – 38 BB – 112 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .313 – 47 R – 4 HR – 39 RBI – 33 BB – 17 SB – .432 SLG – .807 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Oklahoma City RedHawks (Rangers): .171 AVG – 9 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 10 BB – 0 SB – .244 SLG – .510 OPS

Travis Wood, RHP – Louisville Bats (Reds): 1 Game – 0 W – 0 L – 1.35 ERA – 4 BB – 5 K

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): .259 AVG – 43 R – 8 HR – 47 RBI – 46 BB – 1 SB – .390 SLG – .739 OPS

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .272 AVG – 64 R – 19 HR – 69 RBI – 63 BB – 0 SB – .534 SLG – .930 OPS

Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .324 AVG – 58 R – 13 HR – 86 RBI – 34 BB – 1 SB – .489 SLG – .863 OPS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 12 Games – 7 W – 1 L – 1.74 ERA – 20 BB – 52 K
 Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 15 Starts – 7 W – 3 L – 3.54 ERA – 27 BB – 71 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): 9 Games – 6 W – 1 L – 3.12 ERA – 19 BB – 44 K
Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Altoona Curve (Pirates): .283 AVG – 18 R – 6 HR – 17 RBI – 7 BB – 0 SB – .525 SLG – .849 OPS
Eddy Martinez-Esteve, OF – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): .300 AVG – 43 R – 4 HR – 41 RBI – 32 BB – 1 SB – .418 SLG – .783 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): .234 AVG – 49 R – 16 HR – 43 RBI – 24 BB – 1 SB – .447 SLG – .738 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .247 AVG – 52 R – 11 HR – 61 RBI – 20 BB – 8 SB – .409 SLG – .693 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .266 AVG – 59 R – 6 HR – 45 RBI – 48 BB – 19 SB – .371 SLG – .727 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Daytona Cubs (Cubs): .227 AVG – 8 R – 0 HR – 10 RBI – 2 BB – 1 SB – .307 SLG – .560 OPS

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): 7 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 3.60 ERA – 14 BB – 40 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .278 AVG – 40 R – 5 HR – 54 RBI – 27 BB – 7 SB – .408 SLG – .744 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 18 Games – 8 W – 5 L – 1 SV – 3.06 ERA – 21 BB – 85 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 45 Games – 1.17 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 26 SV – 9 BB – 64 K

Jamie McOwen, RF – High Desert Mavericks (Mariners): .335 AVG – 54 R – 6 HR – 58 RBI – 30 BB – 7 SB – .485 SLG – .878 OPS

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. He remains here as an honorary member.

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