Results tagged ‘ Minor League Baseball ’

A B3 Family Thanksgiving Adventure

You’ll have to forgive me over the next few days, as I take a quick break from the usual prospect fodder and share with anyone who might be interested in what most of the B3 clan is doing over the upcoming holiday.

After watching the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, we wanted to do something. So we packed up the van and drove to New Jersey.

No, that’s not all. First, the van was packed with can goods collected at the B3 offspring’s school (and synagogue). It was a pretty good haul.

 

After that was all organized, it was time for the fam to get going. In tow was yours truly, the two B3 kids and B3’s mom. (Mrs. B3 is getting a well-deserved break).

We made it to Jersey safely, where B3 headquarters will be until Friday, when we drive back to Pittsburgh. Here’s what’s on tap and I’ll try to get on here to update with photos, even video, getting the kids into the act, as time permits.

Wednesday:

  • Travel to the MLB.com studios for an interview with John Franco and all the work the New Yorker (and former closer) is doing to help in the region.
  • Drive the canned goods to Staten Island, dropping them off at the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation distribution center.
  • Tour some areas in Staten Island hit by the storm.
  • Accompany the Siller Foundation as they facilitate three different Thanksgiving Dinners for folks impacted by the hurricane. There should be some players, current and former, joining us (more on that tomorrow)

Thursday:

  • Head to Coney Island and help the efforts staged by ConeyRecovers. They need volunteers Wednesday and Thursday in the lot by the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones (a huge tip of the cap to the Cyclones’ Gary Perone, who’s been working tirelessly to help people in Brooklyn and Staten Island while helping to initiate the idea for these dinners). So if you’re in the area, head out and help out. The B3 will be there on Thursday to help organize and distribute food. ConeyRecovers has a big Thanksgiving Day meal planned as well.

B3 and Geeking announce merger

PITTSBURGH — In a move sure to shock the baseball world, two extremely influential blogs — at least according to their author — have announced they will merge into one super-blog.

From this point forward, B3: Big, Bald and Beautiful will be THE place to come for coverage of the Minor Leagues AND the draft. Geeking on the Draft will cease operations immediately, making it easier for fans to have one-stop shopping for the future stars of the game.

“It took some intense negotiations, and it got ugly at times, but we got a deal done,” a relieved B3 operator Jonathan Mayo said. “We hope this merger makes B3 the biggest MLBlog out there and at the very least lets people have to come to only one place for the best inside info on the Minor Leagues and the draft.”

There were few immediate changes to announce, other than a change in B3’s subhead to include its new dual focus. As the season approaches — the draft season, in many ways, kicks off in earnest in early February with a high school showcase at the Urban Youth Academy — B3 will post frequently on both subjects. While having separate blogs for each subject seemed ideal in the past, the recent economic downturn made the merger a necessity. While Geeking owner Jonathan Mayo was reluctant to give up creative control of the draft blog, he didn’t see any other choice.

“I really don’t like that Mayo character, but what can you do?” said Mayo, who will still be a consultant on B3. “I’ll just have to hold my nose and do what I can to ensure he doesn’t mess up the draft coverage on the new blog. I’m trying to see the silver lining. By combining forces, we should be able to move up the MLBlogs Top 100 list.”

In 2008, B3 finished No. 24 on the MLB Pro Blogs Top 100, while Geeking came in at No. 26.

Last-minute holiday gift ideas

That’s right, it’s time for B3 to become a bit of a Home Shopping Network for the Minor League fans out there. I know there are those of you who haven’t gotten the perfect gift for the prospect geek in your life. So here are some last-minute suggestions and using B3’s contacts, we were able to russle up some discounts for you along the way:

Minor League Baseball Analyst 2009
analyst.jpgBy Deric McKamey
Description: Deric McKamey’s Minor League Baseball Analyst is the first book to
fully integrate sabermetrics and scouting. A long-term Bill James
disciple and graduate of Major League Baseball’s scout school, Deric
provides his unique brand of analysis for over 1000 minor leaguers.
Price: $19.95
B3 Discount: At the end of the ordering process, type in mlba57 into the coupon code field and get $1 off.

Baseball America 2009 Prospect Handbook

BA_handbook.JPGBy Baseball America writers
Description:

The 2009 Baseball America Prospect Handbook is
the definitive annual reference title on prospects. This book profiles the top
30 prospects in each organization–900 prospect reviews in all! Also, the
handbook ranks each organization’s talent and provides in-depth analysis of
every team’s draft. Whether you want to win your fantasy league or just study
your team’s future stars, the Baseball America 2009 Prospect Handbook is your
guide to success.
Price: $30.95

Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook — 2009

sethspeaks.jpgBy Seth Stohs, SethSpeaks.net
Description: The author of the the fine Twins blog, SethSpeaks.net offers this in-depth look at the Twins system. In an organization that values scouting and player development as much as any, Stohs offers up over 175 profiles of Minor Leaguers who could make a contribution in the Twin Cities in the future.
Price: Normally $12.95 for the paperback and $8.00 for the download, the price has been dropped by $1 for B3 readers for this week.

The Newberg Report — 2009 bound edition
newberg.jpgBy Jamey Newberg
Description:
Newberg’s tenth annual book on the Texas Rangers. It’s approximately 300 pages
commemorating the 2008 season. …  includes the recognition of a farm system that had risen in one
year from one of baseball’s worst to one of its best and was poised to
start supplying the big club with the first of several waves of
high-end talent.Included are rankings and analysis of more than 70 Rangers prospects, broken down by position.
Price: $25.00
B3 Discount: When you pay via PayPal, write that you came from B3 to order the book in the comments section and Newberg will refund $1.

Enjoy — if people out there know of other good prospect books, let me know and I can add them in future posts.

 

  


Looking back at the Rule 5ers, Part 3

I love a good series, don’t you? Here’s the next installment of what we’ve had to say about those taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft.

darren_oday.jpg15. Darren O’Day (Taken by Mets from Angels)
2007 review (Climbed the Ladder):

The University of Florida product split the season between Rancho Cucamonga and Arkansas and was strong at both stops. He finished 7-4 with an organization-best 21 saves and held opponents to a .195 average. He went on to post a 2.38 ERA and two saves over 11 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League. O’Day has some size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) but isn’t overwhelming, striking out 48 over 53 1/3 innings during the regular season.

2008 preview (Under the Radar):

A non-drafted free agent signed in 2006 after his senior year at the University of Florida, O’Day has in many ways already exceeded expectations. The submariner reached Double-A in his first full season and led the Angels organization with 21 saves. He complements a 90-mph fastball with an excellent slider that moves down in the zone. He has excellent command and has proven to be unflappable in tough situations. He’s working to improve on getting lefties out by sinking his breaking ball away from them or back-dooring his slider. He may not close at the next level, but it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll be able to help a big-league ‘pen soon.

eduardo_morlan.jpg16. Eduardo Morlan (Taken by Brewers from Rays)
2007 preview (Climbing the Ladder/Others to Watch):

RHP Eduardo Morlan, a 2004 third-rounder out of high school in Miami, has seen time both starting and relieving. Just 21 years old, he has a fine fastball and good breaking stuff. At Beloit last year he posted a 2.29 ERA in 28 games, 18 starts, striking out 125 in 106 innings.

2007 review (Climbed the Ladder):
Note: Morlan was traded from the Twins to the Rays following the 2007 season in the Matt Garza-for-Delmon Young swap.

The club’s third-round pick in 2004 out of high school, the Cuban-born Morlan had seen time starting and relieving, but was moved to the back of the bullpen in 2007. He combined for 18 saves between Fort Myers and New Britain, striking out 92 and walking just 17 in 65 2/3 innings while posting a 3.15 ERA. Morlan added 12 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in the Arizona Fall League.

robert_mosebach.jpg17. Robert Mosebach (Taken by Phillies from Angels)
2006 preview (2005 Draft Recap/Best of the rest):

RHP Bobby Mosebach (9) was 3-3 with 4.57 ERA at Orem, striking out 52 batters in 65 innings.
(I know, not exactly insightful, but wanted to let you know he had been mentioned the spring following his draft)

derek_rodriguez.jpg18. Derek Rodriguez (Taken by Rays from White Sox)
2006 preview (2005 Draft Recap/Best of the rest):

RHP Derek Rodriguez (13) had a 3.82 ERA, 36 K’s and just seven walks in 35 1/3 IP for Bristol.
(Rodriguez was actually a 14th round pick. Hey, we all make mistakes sometimes)

That’s it for the Major League phase. I’ll do some digging on those Minor League phasers (set the phasers to stun?) and report  back tomorrow.

Looking back at the Rule 5ers, Part 2

We got through three picks from the Major League phase yesterday. Let’s tackle a few more:

ben_copeland.jpg10. Ben Copeland (Taken by A’s from Giants)
2005 Review (Draft Recap):

Copeland was the 132nd player taken in the draft — but the first taken by the Giants, who lost their first three choices as compensation for signing free agents Armando Benitez, Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel. The 21-year-old outfielder from the University of Pittsburgh clocked a successful month in the Arizona League, hitting .436 in his last 10 games there to give him a .333 average. He carried that hot hitting into the Northwest League, where left-handed swinger batted .306 with 13 extra-base hits (five doubles, four triples and four home runs) and 23 RBIs in 29 games. Overall, the fourth-round pick hit .315 with five homers, 37 RBIs and four stolen bases in five attempts.

2006 Preview (2005 Draft Recap):

The Giants’ first selection in the draft didn’t come until the 132nd pick in the fourth round but that didn’t seem to stop them from landing a productive player. Copeland led the Big East — not traditionally a college baseball powerhouse conference — in many offensive categories and set several school records at Pittsburgh. He hit five homers and drove in 37 runs in 181 at-bats last season, splitting time between the Arizona and Northwest Leagues. He’s a slightly better than average outfielder, committing two errors in 67 chances overall, having played mostly center field in the Arizona League before spending the bulk of his time in left upon his promotion. “He did an excellent job for us last year and he knows how to hit,” Jack Hiatt said. “In fact, recently in an intra-squad game [Noah] Lowry came over to pitch from the Major League team and Ben got the only two hits off him. He’s a good-looking kid.”

2006 review:

Copeland had a productive sophomore season in the pros, hitting .281
with five homers and 71 RBIs for Augusta of the South Atlantic League.
The Giants didn’t have a pick until the 132nd selection in ’05, and
they seemed to have made a wise one in Copeland, who was a dominating
force at The University of Pittsburgh.

2007 preview (Climbing the Ladder — Others to Watch):

Finally, on this loaded San Jose team, look for what Hiatt calls “the trifecta” of outfield prospects who move up together from Augusta: Ben Copeland, Michael Mooney and Antoan Richardson. That trio really defines the depth Hiatt talks about. Copeland, the club’s first pick in 2005 (fourth round), hit .281 with 71 RBIs for the GreenJackets in 2006, Mooney batted .287 with 74 RBIs and the speedy Richardson .292 with 66 steals and was caught just nine times.

james_skelton.jpg11. James Skelton (Taken by Diamondbacks from Tigers)
2008 preview (10 Spot):

Ivan Rodriguez will be 37 this year, while Vance Wilson turns 35. That both of Detroit’s catchers are getting a bit long in the tooth can only help Skelton, who is the best of a thin crop of catching prospects. Skelton was a 14th-round selection in 2004 and has snaked his way through the Tigers’ system, hitting .309 last year with seven homers and 52 RBIs at West Michigan. He hit .306 over the past two seasons (he spent 2006 in the New York-Penn League).

His seven errors put him in the middle of the pack among Midwest League catchers, but Skelton did throw out 43 percent of those attempting to steal, the third-highest percentage on the circuit. He worked well with the young pitchers the Whitecaps had last season and should continue to grow with them this year at Lakeland.

2008 Review (Kept Their Footing):

Skelton missed time with a hand injury in June but still managed to hit .303 in 87 games between Lakeland and Erie. He had a wonderful strikeout-to-walk ratio (73-to-83) that contributed to a .456 OBP. He doesn’t have much pop — he had five homers and 34 RBIs — but if he gets on base and scores runs (65 this season), he’ll stick around.)

zachary_kroenke.jpg12. Zachary Kroenke (Taken by Marlins from Yankees)
2005 review (Draft Recap):

After a wild ride with the University of Nebraska in the College World Series, Kroenke joined the Baby Bombers and went 1-1 with a pair of saves and a 2.54 ERA. While he helped Staten Island reach the postseason, he was shut down, as well, because of an injury to his glove hand.   

2006 preview (2005 Draft Recap):

The University of Nebraska product is a lefty with a good arm, and that’s always something worth working with. He’s got some pitch-development work to do and he struggled with command in his brief debut. But the Yankees think there’s a good core there and they’ll try to polish him at either Charleston or Tampa.

Looking back at the Rule 5ers

Got this idea when my esteemed colleague Jason Ratliff found info about Minor League phase selectee Anthony Hatch in an old Blue Jays organization preview. Hmm, I thought, I wonder how many of these guys we’ve written about over the past couple of years in our previews and reviews. Those things are fairly exhaustive, so I figured there was a good chance we’d written about several of these guys over the years. Lisa Winston mentioned one in her recent discussion of Terrell Young over on Got MiLB? It’ll get repeated here. I’ll start with the Major League phase guys and move on from there. It’s interesting (at least to me) to go back and see what we were saying about these guys in years past (Many thanks to another fantastic co-worker, Kristen Zimmerman, for locating the archived previews and reviews).

1. Terrell Young
(Taken by Nationals from the Reds)
terrell_young.jpg2007 preview (Under the Radar section):

The 21-year-old was the Reds’ 10th-round pick in 2004 out of high school in Mississippi. The club has taken things slowly with him and consider him very much a work-in-progress but love his upside. He finished ’06 as a closer at Billings, limiting opponents to a .145 average in 23 1/3 innings as he posted a 2.70 ERA and struck out 32, though his command was an issue with 20 walks. He should start the year in the Dayton bullpen.

“He may have the best arm of the bunch at Dayton,” Terry Reynolds said. “He’s got a real power arm and he can develop a second pitch (either a curve or a slider to be determined) he could really be a guy to watch. He was so overpowering in the closer role that it didn’t matter that he didn’t have a second pitch.”

3. Everth Cabrera (Taken by Padres from Rockies)
everth_cabrera.jpg2008 review (On the Radar):

The switch-hitting middle infielder, who saw 84 games at second and 34 at shortstop at Asheville, led the Minors with 73 steals, the second time in three years a Tourists player has achieved that feat (Eric Young Jr. did it in 2006). He batted .284 in that span.

4. Donnie Veal (Taken by Pirates from Cubs)
2006 preview (2005 draft recap):

Veal is probably used to lofty expectations, as he’s been compared to
Dontrelle Willis sincedonnie_veal.jpg he was in high school. Veal, like Willis, is
very aggressive and has a very extroverted personality. He pitches with
that passion and is very polished for a young hurler coming from a
junior college (Pima Community College). He could join Pawelek as a
nice 1-2 combination in Peoria, though there is a chance the
21-year-old will be pushed up to Daytona.

2007 preview (Climbing the Ladder):

In his first full season, the second-round selection in 2005 has emerged as perhaps the top starting pitching prospect in the organization. Just 22, Veal led the organization in ERA (2.16) and strikeouts (174) between two Class A stops at Peoria and Daytona and limited hitters to a .175 average, best in the Minors.

He throws the best curveball in the system, a fastball in the low 90s, and he is working on a change-up. With an aggressive delivery and personality, he is fun to watch and his numbers improved following a midseason promotion. The Cubs hope to see the same development when they bump him up to the Southern League to start 2007.

“He’s probably the best pitching prospect in the system,” said Oneri Fleita. “All he needs to do is tweak his command. That will come with time, and then you’ll see him quickly. He’s a young lefty with tremendous stuff.”

2007 review:

The young southpaw led all starters in 2006 with a .175 batting average against and posted a 2.16 ERA and 174 strikeouts between two Class A stops. He struggled with consistency in Double-A, going 8-10 with a 4.97 ERA at Tennessee, though his 131 strikeouts was good for a share of the organization lead. With his outstanding curveball and low 90s fastball, the 21-year-old will probably start ’08 back at Double-A but could move up as soon as he shows his stuff again. That shouldn’t take long.

2008 preview (10 Spot):

It was an extremely tough offseason for Veal, who just a few years after losing his mother, lost his father as well. That puts his struggles on the mound during the 2007 season in proper perspective.

Veal had difficulty commanding his pitches for much of the season, walking 73 in 130 1/3 innings. He did strike out 131, showing that the stuff was still very much there. The Cubs don’t want to make this comparison for obvious reasons, but Randy Johnson walked 128 in 140 Double-A innings back in 1987. The Cubs feel that Veal’s stuff — a mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup — combined with a tremendous work ethic should help him overcome his disappointing 2007 season. Time often sorts things out when you’re left-handed and have that kind of an arm. The Cubs didn’t want to add stress to Veal’s spring by bringing him to big-league camp and they’ll likely ease him back with another go-round at Double-A to find out where he is both physically and mentally.

2008 review (Kept Their Footing):

It was Veal’s second go-round in Tennessee, and while the numbers didn’t get appreciably better, he deserves credit for persevering following his father’s death. The southpaw still has outstanding stuff and if he can harness it with better command, he’ll have a very bright future. At age 24, there’s still plenty of time for him to figure it out.

Come back for more Rule 5 stuff tomorrow…

 

Rays for Rays

It’s a good time to be a Rays fan.

Honestly, how often, before now, could you say something like that and mean it sincerely? But it’s true, from the bottom up.

At the top rung, obviously, the Rays are playing great baseball. After their win this afternoon, they’re just a half-game behind the Red Sox atop the AL East. Matt Garza threw a dandy and Evan Longoria is white hot. In his last four games, he’s gone 8-for-19 (6-for-11 in the last two) with three homers, four doubles and 8 RBIs.

Down in Double-A, 2007 No. 1 overall pick David Price makes his Southern League debut, starting for Montgomery tonight in Mobile at 8 p.m. ET. You can listen on MiLB.com Gameday Audio.

But wait, that’s not all. I’m in Princeton, West Virginia because Tim Beckham is making his professional debut tonight. He’ll DH and bat second in the P-Rays lineup against the Burlington Royals. You can listen to that game as well at 7 p.m. ET. There was a little nasty weather here a bit ago, and the radar looks like it might have one more bit of rain, so batting practice was banged, but it’s looking like all systems are go for the No. 1 pick in this most recent draft to get his first taste of pro ball. I’ll be writing a story off of it and we’ll (myself and Joe Cronin) provide a video interview and a little later, a feature, from the game. Wireless access permitting, I’ll try to blog after each of his at-bats tonight.

Flood relief efforts continue: Changing the topic for a minute, I just wanted to update you on a few on-going efforts regarding helping out those impacted by the flooding in the Midwest. A couple of days ago, I wrote about Trevor Bell and how he was donating $100 for every strikeout in a recent start, which meant a total of $700 when all is said and done. Well, after surveying the area a bit, Bell wrote a check for $2500 before being moved back up to Rancho Cucamonga. It’s reported in that city that Angels GM Tony Reagins promised the Angels will make a donation to the city as well.  Stephen Smith, over at FutureAngels.com, passed along some information on his blog. The Cedar Rapids Kernels now have a local relief fund up and running. Send dontations to:

Kernels Foundation Flood Relief
PO Box 2001
Cedar Rapids, IA  52404

I also just got a release from Minor League Baseball announcing the formation of MiLB Charities and that $50,000 will be donated to Iowa flood victims as the charitable arm’s first act.

More to come from Princeton as action unfolds…

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