Day Four of AFL Aneurysm Awareness Week

It was a quiet day on the strikeout front for the Joe Niekro Foundation in the Arizona Fall League on Thursday. Only four strikeouts were recorded for the effort:

Yankees — 3 (Thank you Manny Banuelos)
Tigers — 1

So that’s $328 total ($144 from Natalie Niekro, $144 from the teams participating and $40 from Linda Inglett). That brings the week’s total to: $2136

The overall standings:

Twins — 9
Yankees — 6
Astros — 6
Tigers — 5
Cubs — 3
Padres — 1

As a reminder, the Joe Niekro Foundation
and the Arizona Fall League are working together again this year to
raise awareness and funds for research on brain aneurysms. As part of
that, we’re counting strikeouts from the pitchers in each of the seven
organizations Joe Niekro pitched for over the course of his Major League
career. Natalie Niekro, Joe’s daughter and founder of the foundation is
donating $36 per strikeout for all K’s from those organizations this
week. In addition, the Cubs, Tigers, Twins and Yankees have agreed to
make a similar donation for their pitchers’ strikeouts as well. And Linda Inglett (find out about her at is chipping in with $10 per K as well.

You can always text STRIKEOUT to 20222 to donate $10 to the Joe Niekro Foundation  any time you want.

The Joe Niekro Foundation is having their annual big shindig in Houston on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Minute Maid Park. It’s called the Knuckle Ball (get it?). It’s a fantastic, fancy-shmancy dinner/fund-raiser that brings in a lot of money to help the Foundation do its very important work. I’ll be there (hope the ol’ tux still fits). You can be to, hobnobbing with some of the greats of baseball, bidding on fantastic auction items, seeing outstanding live entertainment, all while helping a fantastic charity.
While certain hitters keep raking (Johnny Giavotella had two more hits and his hitting .441; Ben Revere‘s three hits brought his average up to .411) and others had huge games on Wednesday (Derek Norris homered and drove in five runs; Conor Gillaspie went 4-for-4 with a pair of solo shots), I’m going to stay on the mound again for Wednesday’s Star of the Day. Any time a pitcher goes six innings in the AFL, it’s worth noting. That’s exactly what Blue Jays lefty Marc Rzepczynski did on Thursday. The 25-year-old has some considerable big-league time over the past two years and he’s pitched well now in three AFL outings, allowing just two earned runs in 14 innings. Hitters have hit him to the tune of a .291 average, but he’s also been an extreme ground-ball pitcher, with a 4.00 GO/AO rate. On Wednesday, he became the first AFL hurler this season to go six innings, allowing one run on six hits and picking up the win for the Javelinas.

In case you missed it, I had a story run the other day on the impact the Giants’ and Rangers’ farm systems have had on the current World Series rosters. I want to go back a little further in time, mostly because it’s rare I get the opportunity to show how smart we can be around here.

Back in March of 2009, then-colleague Lisa Winston (you can now read her coverage of the indy Atlantic League scene on Queen of Diamonds) and I wrote a kind of point-counterpoint piece on the top farm systems in baseball. The idea then was to focus more on which team’s system would have the biggest impact in 2009, but with an eye to what might happen beyond that. Well, wouldn’t you know it. I wrote about the Texas Rangers and Lisa wrote about… yep, you guessed it, the San Francisco Giants. Guess we were just a tiny bit ahead of our time…

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