Matt Meyers

Bringing Diamond Back

Matt Meyers -

TUCSON—With a big league roster teeming with homegrown position player talent, the Diamondbacks appear set pretty much everywhere on the diamond. Like most clubs, however, developing pitching has proven a bit tougher.Though their rotation possesses reigning Cy Young winner and system product Brandon Webb, they lack pitching at the minor league level that is ready to step in and contribute. With the exception of nabbing Justin Upton with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, it’s evident the organization has tried to address the shortage.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Los Rockies

Matt Meyers -

TUCSON—No team has increased their presence in Latin America over the last few years more than the Colorado Rockies. General manager Dan O’Dowd has given Rolando Fernandez and his international scouting department more discretion on the Latin American market, and the Rockies system is seeing the results.The Rockies are flush with young talent at the big league level, but most of their newfound depth courtesy of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela is not there yet. A visit to their minor league spring training complex makes it obvious that this influx of foreign talent is not far away.One of the fruits of the international scouting department’s labor that is generating buzz in camp is shortstop Hector Gomez.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Culture Shock For Jung

Matt Meyers -

TEMPE, Ariz.—For those who follow prospects, no player offers more mystery than the big money international free agent. Obviously the club that signs them believes in their ability or they would not give them big dollars, but we have no context to compare their previous level of competition to.The Angels gave Korean righthander Young-Il Jung a cool million last August based on the recommendation of part-time scout Charlie Kim and international scouting supervisor Clay Daniel. The size of the investment is a clear indication of the Angels belief in his ability and Jung did enough in instructional league last fall that he was rated as the Angels’ No. 4 prospect in our Prospect Handbook. Now in his first spring training, the 18-year-old is doing his best to acclimate himself to American culture. While most big money amateur free agents are from Latin America and have a number of Spanish speaking teammates to communicate with, Jung does not have that luxury. Fortunately, he has Hank Conger.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Matt Meyers -

SURPRISE, Ariz.—Believe or not, Royals fans have hope. At least they are acting like it in Arizona. Though it is unlikely they can compete in 2007 in the vicious American League Central, the Dayton Moore regime has fans dreaming of the franchises glory years. In turn, the franchise is trying to make sure their young players are aware of those years.“One of our themes this spring is to educate our players on the history of the Royals,” farm director J.J. Picollo said. “They need to know there is a tradition here.”

Minors | #Daily Dish

More Surprises

Matt Meyers -

SURPRISE, Ariz.--Though Surprise is a pain to get to, at least you get two teams to for the price of one drive on as the Royals share the complex with the Rangers. Texas ranked No. 28 in our recent organizational rankings, but farm director Scott Servais is confident that a lot of players who seemed overmatched last year will emerge in 2007.Servais explained that the Rangers purposely tested their players with aggressive assignments at Class A, with many of them young for their levels. It showed in their records as high Class A Bakersfield and low Class A Clinton combined to go 103-176.“We had the youngest team in (low Class A) ball,” Servais said. “This year we are going to have a lot of those guys repeat those levels and put a much greater emphasis on winning.”

Minors | #Daily Dish

Barry Being Barry

Matt Meyers -

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--Taking a flight from Raleigh to Phoenix in early March is a journey from one sports-obsessed culture to another. In Raleigh, all you see are hats and t-shirts representing the local college basketball teams knee deep in the ACC tournament. The Phoenix airport is cure for what ails any baseball fan; a sea of supporters that have flown in for the weekend to take in some Cactus League action.Everywhere you look is pockets of people sporting gear of the teams that train in the Phoenix area, with the Cubs, Angels and Athletics being the most prominent. There is no other sport where you find fans so enthusiastic for preseason games and it is contagious.I drove into Phoenix high on the proximity of a new baseball season and had an enjoyable day at Giants camp though one prominent player did his best to temper my Arizona enthusiasm.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Sogard Goes So-Yard

Matt Meyers -

TEMPE, Ariz--How does a baseball junkie kill time on a Friday night in Phoenix? Simple, go check out some college baseball. My trip to Arizona fortuitously collided with an Arizona State-Long Beach State matchup, so at trip to Tempe was in order.I was not the only one with a jonesing for some Friday night lights as Long Beach State alums Troy Tulowitzki and Cesar Ramos jetted over from Rockies and Padres camp to check out the action.

College

High Heat

Matt Meyers -

Tampa's Hillsborough High has produced big talent, and occasionally, big trouble. Doc Gooden, Gary Sheffield, Carl Everett and Elijiah Dukes are among Hillsborough alumni, and senior outfielder Mike Burgess is the next in the pipeline. But Burgess' relationship with his grandfather has helped him handle the pressure.

High School | #2007

High Heat: March 12

Matt Meyers -Premium Content

Tampa's Hillsborough High has produced big talent, and occasionally, big trouble. Doc Gooden, Gary Sheffield, Carl Everett and Elijiah Dukes are among Hillsborough alumni, and senior outfielder Mike Burgess is the next in the pipeline. But Burgess' relationship with his grandfather has helped him handle the pressure.

High School | #2007#High Heat

Step Back From The Ledge Mets Fans

Matt Meyers -

Based on an apparent error in the minor league baseball database, Mets prospect Fernando Martinez was listed as having a birthday of December 10, 1986 on his player page at minor league baseball's website. Obviously, this would mean he is 20 years old and not the 18-year-old phenom that he was believed to be.If this were true, it would certainly dim his prospect status. You can breathe out Mets fans, because it is not true.

Minors | #Daily Dish