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Dowd’s Move Shows Line Between Affiliated And Indy Ball Is Blurring

Will Lingo -Premium Content

With as much rhetoric as has been tossed around between the affiliated and independent minor leagues over the past decade, it has been a pleasant change to see the two parties settle into a quiet detente. It seems baseball executives have figured out there are enough baseball fans for everyone, and the groups might actually be able to learn from each other. Why, you might even see people from independent teams at the Winter Meetings in December. Just don't tell anyone.

Minors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Billy Beane

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

With all the hoopla surrounding Billy Beane and his management of the Athletics several years ago, I tended to be more reserved, saying, "The scouts gave him cheap stars like Hudson, Mulder and Tejada. Re-tooling the club will be the real trick." Now he's turned it. The A's just won 93 games and went deeper into the postseason than any Oakland club since the team went to the World Series in 1990, fueled mostly by the Danny Harens, FrankThomases and Mark Kotsays he acquired without the draft. I sat down with Beane a few days after the Tigers swept Oakland from the playoffs to talk about his evolving shopping lists, what he wants from his next manager and how—gasp!—his A's might one day lead the league in steals.

Majors | #2006#Column

2006 Independent Leagues Top Prospects

J.J. Cooper -

Readers of Baseball America know we are always looking to uncover prospects, wherever we can find them. So, naturally, we've extended that search to the independent leagues. The following is a list of players who stood out for their potential to make it to—or back to—affiliated ball, with the potential to raise some eyebrows if they get the chance. The opinions of independent league managers helped shape this effort.

Minors | #2006#Independent Audit