April 2005

ATM Blog Prospect of the Month

I’ve got several nominees on who could be the first ATMBPOTM (which, ironically, translates to "white-hot Minor League player" in Martian). Need your help, though. Those who come across this, please vote via the comments. And I only deal in real prospects. The old guys down on the farm don’t do it for me. And if you think I missed someone, then go start your own Blog.

The nominees are (and remember, everyone is a winner in ATMBPOTM):

Matt Cain, RHP, Fresno. Dude pitched a one-hitter and carried a no-no into the 8th in his last start. Finished with 10 K’s in 7.1 IP. He’s allowed just 10 hits and whiffed 29 in 25 innings and change this year.

Justin Verlander, RHP, Lakeland. So much for the command problems. He’s got 30 K’s and 5 walks in 23 IP. The FSL is hitting a buck 79 against him. He’s hit double-digits in strikeouts in his last two starts. A trip to Erie by the end of May sounds about right.

Brian Bannister, RHP, Binghamton. Not the overpowering strikeout guy like the other two, but he’s got a 0.33 ERA and four wins. He just was voted "most likely to get traded" by the Yearbook Committee.

Matt Murton, OF, West Tennessee. His .442 average leads the Minors. And he was the "throw-in" to the Cubs with that Nomar guy. Anybody who starts off the year with a 15-game hitting streak deserves some attention.

Howie Kendrick, 2B, Rancho Cucamonga. I didn’t nominate him just so I could say Cucamonga. He’s hitting .402 and had a 15-game hit streak of his own and he leads the minors in hits and runs scored.

Brett Harper, 1B, St. Lucie. Anyone can hit homers in the California League or the PCL (think Colorado Springs, Las Vegas). But in the FSL? That’s a pitcher’s haven, right? Harper doesn’t think so. He’s gone yard 9 times this month while driving in 22 runs.

Minors hit the big-time

So I’m glancing at the Sunday New York Times…with two small children, glancing is all I get to every week these days. I like to look at the Times Magazine cover story and think, "Oh, here’s a thought-provoking story I won’t get a chance to read." And what do I see? A picture of the A’s Steve Stanley and the Royals’ Mark Teahen!

What are they doing there? Michael Lewis, he of "Moneyball" fame, penned an outstanding article on the pressures of Minor Leaguers to become power hitters, even when it doesn’t suit their game. And pressure comes in many forms, from changing hitting approaches and stances to taking steroids. It’s a must read for anyone into the Minors.

I followed up by having Teahen on Around the Minors on MLB Radio on Tuesday. In case you  missed it, you can listen to it right here.

Early draft talk

Had high school phenom Cameron Maybin on the radio show on Tuesday. Man, was he impressive. Very thoughtful, articulate, confident. And I hear he can play the game a little bit. Most rankings have him rated at the second-best high school player behind Justin Upton, B.J.’s younger brother. Look for Maybin to go in the top five picks in June (and look for our draft section to launch some time in May). If you missed my chat with Cameron, you can listen to it right now.


Hey everybody, and welcome to the MLBlog that takes you down on the farm, scouring the Minor Leagues for all the information you’ll want about your favorite prospects, Minor League cities, ballparks, mascots, you name it.

I just got back from a trip to beautiful Dayton, Ohio. OK, I didn’t see much of Dayton itself, so I can’t testify to it’s beauty. But the ballpark that the Midwest League Dayton Dragons call home is perhaps the most incredible Minor League park I’ve ever seen. Heck, it even rivals some big league stadiums.

The facilities are immaculately kept, the entire right-field fence is a huge video screen, the in-game entertainment is original and, well, entertaining, and the Dragons have sold out every home game since opening up there in 2005. If you’re ever in the area, go check it out. If you can, try to pick a time to watch Reds’ 2004 top draft pick Homer Bailey take the mound. It’s well worth it, trust me.

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