That’s right, folks, there are plenty of ’em still in action as teams move closer to winning (and losing) titles.
A brief overview:
- Game 3 of the Texas League championship series between Northwest Arkansas (Royals) and Midland (A’s) has lefty John Lamb on the hill for NW Arkansas. (I wrote about Lamb in this playoff preview feature). His teammate, Eric Hosmer, is hitting .276, but with five homers in seven playoff games to date (that’s an .862 SLG if you’re scoring at home).
- The Eastern League championship, like the Texas League, is tied at one game apiece. Altoona (Pirates) 2B Chase d’Arnaud has hit .348 with a 1.247 OPS in the postseason. Trenton (Yankees) is sending fairly under-appreciated pitching prospect Adam Warren to the mound for Game 3. Warren, who had a 2.59 ERA for the season split between Tampa and Trenton, tossed six innings of shutout ball with 10 K’s in his previous playoff start.
- Pitcher of the year candidate Trey McNutt, who also won his previous postseason starts, gets the ball for Tennessee (Cubs) in Game 3 of the Southern League championship. That one is also tied 1-1, with Marlins former first-round pick Matt Dominguez driving in three runs in Game 2 to even up the series. The third baseman is hitting .364 with three homers and eight RBIs in the postseason.
- With the South Atlantic League championship knotted at a game a piece, the defending champion Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies) send pitching prospect Brody Colvin to the mound. He tossed five shutout innings in a first-round no-decision.
Hey all. It’s playoff time in the Minors as most of the leagues get their postseason underway (or have in the last day or two). With that in mind, we’ve efforted to provide some features on key players who are getting the chance to play for a ring. And you can ask anyone, playing for a ring is huge, no matter what level it’s at.
Some of the stories have gone up already, others will arrive in the coming days. But here are links to each of the features currently up on MLB.com. Some were written by yours truly, some by MLB.com reporter Bailey Stephens. I’ve also linked to the playoff previews done by the fine MiLB.com staff.
Still to come:
Texas League: Royals lefty John Lamb joins elite staff in NW Arkansas
And hopefully a couple more when all is said and done.
With the Minor League regular season winding down and the playoffs starting next week (congrats to the Brewers for winning the rookie-level Arizona League crown — Reds 2010 first-rounder Yasmani Grandal caught for the Reds in that title game), some players are putting on the finishing touches of some fine statistical performances. What they mean or how impressive they are might be in the eye of the beholder, but maybe some context will help.
Let’s start with Matt Moore, the Rays left-handed pitching prospect. With 11 strikeouts on Wednesday, he surpassed the 200-strikeout plateau for the season and is up to 208. That hasn’t happened since 2005, when Francisco Liriano did it (204). It’s the most K’s by a Minor League pitcher since Clint Nageotte piled up 214 back in 2002 (that turned out well). Moore would potentially have one more start to eclipse that number, but with his Charlotte Stone Crabs playoff-bound, they’re going to save him for the opener of the postseason.
It sound fairly impressive and rare… until you dig a little deeper. In 2001, for example, two pitchers topped 200 K’s, Josh Beckett and Brandon Claussen. David Williams did it in 2000, John Stephens hit the mark in 1999 and, get this, there were six at 200 or above in 1998. So it’s more that it hasn’t happened so much recently, perhaps because teams have gotten so much more cautious with innings and pitch counts.
Perhaps more intriguing is that Moore will end up leading all of Minor League Baseball in strikeouts for the second consecutive year. He topped MiLB with 176 K’s in his first taste of full-season ball in 2009. He’s got a 12.9 K/9 rate over the last two seasons and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a full-time starter with a better rate than that in the same time frame. I went back as far as 1990 and didn’t find a single instance of a pitcher winning back-to-back strikeout titles in the Minors. How significant is that? You decide, but it’s at the very least an interesting factoid.
On to the other bit of statistical fun. I read recently how Giants prospect Brandon Belt joined a small and elite group of Minor Leaguers to go 20-20-20 — 20 doubles, homers and steals. Right now he’s got 40 doubles, 22 homers and 22 steals, numbers that make him a definite candidate for MiLB Hitter of the Year. The only other player to pull off this feat so far is the Mariners’ Nick Franklin, who in his first full season is at 22-22-25.
How special is this triple play? I’m not sure. There are several players who are close to reaching the plateau: Melky Mesa (21-19-31), Jerry Sands (28-34-18), Danny Espinosa (18-22-25), Domonic Brown (22-20-17) and Brad Snyder (33-23-17). Brown might be the most impressive since he’s spent 25 games in the big leagues. Snyder is up now with the Cubs, so he won’t get any further.
I think it’s a nice feather in the cap, but keep in mind that 14 players did it in the big leagues in 2009, albeit in a longer season. On the flip side, only two have gotten there so far this year.
I’ve just learned the Yankees signed 4th rounder, high school outfielder Mason Williams. As they have with several later-round picks, they’ve one over slot, signing Williams for $1.45 million.
No, it’s not first-rounder Barret Loux. Looks like he’s not going to sign.
They did, however, sign toolsy high school outfielder Ty Linton (check out his Draft Report), their 14th round pick. The two-sport standout was signed away from going to the University of North Carolina for a $1.25 million bonus, which will be spread out over five years.
So while they may not be signing Loux, they have had some success today, with the Linton deal adding to Blake Perry and Tyler Green.
In case you wanted to take a look-see, here are the Draft Reports we did pre-draft on the top players who have recently signed that I didn’t post earlier:
Just something to catch up on as we await more signings.
It’s not quite official yet, but MLB.com has learned that the Reds will sign their top pick, N0. 12 overall Yasmani Grandal. Things should be finished up in the next half-hour or so, but it’s believed the University of Miami catcher will get $2.99 million and a Major League deal.
That means Grandal will get a spot on the 40-man roster. The Reds’ roster is full right now, so the organization will have to make a move to make room for their new backstop.
As of this writing, Grandal is the first draftee to receive a Major League contract as part of his deal.
The Nationals have officially signed second round pick Sammy Solis. The San Diego lefty got $1 million to sign. Here’s his Draft Report.
Both came after the first round, but both got over-slot deals that fit into late-first round or supplemental round type money. The Mariners were able to sign second-round pick Marcus Littlewood and 16th rounder Jordan Shipers on Monday. You can check out Littlewood’s Draft Report here.
Littlewood, a shortstop from the Utah high school ranks, got $900,000 to sign. Shipers, a prep lefty from Missouri, got $800,000. Littlewood had been committed to the University of San Diego. Shipers was set to go to Missouri State. Instead, both are now Mariners.
The Mariners can now turn their attention to signing third-rounder Ryne Stanek, the Kansas high school product with a commitment to Universiy of Arkansas. They also have James Paxton, the fourth-round pick, but because he was not in school last year, they can negotiate with him past the deadline (like the Royals did with Aaron Crow recently).
Just got the release via email — the Rockies have signed high school right-hander Peter Tago, the No. 47 overall pick in the Draft, taken in the supplemental first round. No word yet on the bonus, but it’s likely to be over-slot. Here’s his Draft Report.
The Indians did have to go well over-slot to sign local high school catcher Alex Lavisky, their eighth rounder. It’s confirmed that he received a $1 million bonus. Hopefully, they got a little bit of a hometown discount, as Lavisky is a St. Edward High School product from nearby Lakewood, Ohio.
The reports that the Dodgers had signed 11th-rounder Joc Pederson aren’t quite, 100 percent right. It’s not official until the NoCal product passes his physical. Assuming that goes well, the reports are accurate that he’ll sign for $600,000.
More info as it continues to pour in…