Tigers righthander Sendy Vasquez was suspended for 50 games on Monday for violating Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, Vasquez ranked No. 12 in the Tigers system heading into this season. His suspension began on Friday, April 27. This season, Vasquez was 0-3, 8.20 in 19 innings at high Class A Lakeland.
Blue Jays righthander Matt Roney tested positive for what Major League Baseball deemed a drug of abuse. Roney, who was 2-0, 0.90 in 10 innings at Triple-A Syracuse this season, was also suspended 50 games by MLB.
Last week, high Class A Winston-Salem and Potomac got into an ugly brawl at Ernie Shore Field that local police wound up having to break up.
Tonight, the Warthogs and P-Nats begin a four-game series in Potomac. And you can bet tensions will be high. [...] Continue Reading »
Dodgers lefthander Scott Elbert has been sidelined with shoulder soreness ever since his last start . . . and that was two weeks ago.
This season, Elbert is 0-1, 3.86 with a 24-10 strikeout-walk ratio in 14 innings at Double-A Jacksonville. The Dodgers are being understandably cautious with their 2004 first-round pick, whom they signed for $1.575 million. [...] Continue Reading »
White Sox righthander Lance Broadway left his Sunday start against Durham after just two pitches due to lower back pain.
The 2005 first-round pick out of Texas Christian, who is 0-1, 3.04 in 24 innings at Triple-A Charlotte this season, was expected to see a doctor when the club arrived back in Charlotte today.
“We don’t think it’s anything serious and he was removed for precautionary reasons,” Sox farm director Alan Regier said. “He couldn’t get full extension on his pitches. It wasn’t bad while he was warming up, but once the game intensity picked up we decided to take him out and see what’s going on.”
There aren’t many outings that could make Justin Upton’s fifth straight game with a home run only the second biggest story of the day, but Tim Lincecum’s starts are starting to defy explanation. Lincecum continued to treat Triple-A like it’s rookie ball.
The way Tim Lincecum is pitching, it’s going to be hard for the Giants to keep him in Triple-A much longer. Lincecum struck out 14, walked no one and allowed only three hits in six innings to lower his ERA to a barely visible 0.29. The San Francisco Chronicle notes that a former Giants’ top prospect will be joining Lincecum in Fresno as Jesse Foppert has become a reclamation project for three Giants minor league pitching coaches. Lincecum has now struck out 104 batters and allowed only 26 hits in 63 innings as a pro.
HIGHS: Mariners catcher Jeff Clement homered and drove in six runs and right fielder Wladimir Balentien went 3-for-6 with another three RBIs as Tacoma pounded Las Vegas, 15-1. Clement, who is off to a slow start after hitting just .189/.204/.321 in Hawaii Winter Baseball last fall, is now batting .225/.311/.388 with a pair of home runs in 80 at-bats for the Rainiers . . . Athletics second baseman Kevin Melillo went 3-for-5 with a home run and drove in four and first baseman Daric Barton collected a pair of hits in Sacramentoâ€™s 10-0 shutout of Salt Lake . . . Pirates outfielder Rajai Davis homered, tripled and had three RBIs in Indianapolisâ€™ 10-0 shutout of Ottawa . . . And Devil Rays righthander Andy Sonnanstine had nearly flawless command in Durhamâ€™s 7-2 win against Charlotte. Sonnanstine allowed a run on three hits and struck out 11 over seven innings. On the season, the 2004 13th-round pick is now 2-2, 2.70 with a 37-6 strikeout ratio in 30 innings. [...] Continue Reading »
HIGHS: If Hunter Pence sticks in the big leaguesâ€”he was called up Friday nightâ€”at least he went out in style. Pence went 3-for-5 with a triple, double and stolen base in Round Rockâ€™s 8-7 loss to Albuquerque. In 85 at-bats for the Express, the 2004 second-round pick batted .341/.398/.588 with 10 doubles, three homers and 19 RBIs . . . Portland second baseman Craig Stansberry doubled three times in the Beaversâ€™ 11-5 loss to Tucson . . . In one of the best pitching matchups of the night, Rochester righthander Matt Garza squared off against Toledo righthander Virgil Vasquez, with the Mud Hens defeating the Red Wings, 6-2. Vasquez earned the win after allowing a pair of runs on seven hits and striking out seven in 7 1/3 innings. Garza meanwhile also allowed two runs on six hits and struck out six over six innings of work . . . Speaking of work, Indians righthander Adam Miller threw 97 pitchesâ€”66 for strikesâ€”in Buffaloâ€™s 5-1 loss to Pawtucket. Miller allowed two hits over seven shutout innings and struck out eight . . . Finally, good news for Pirates fans. First, righthander Bryan Bullington was clocked at 93 mph in his last start and now John Van Benschoten seems to be following that path. Van Benschotenâ€™s fastball was up to 92 mph in Indianapolisâ€™ 2-1 loss to Ottawa, and the righthander tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out seven. [...] Continue Reading »
Looking for answers at the major league level, the Astros turned their attention inward and called up outfielder Hunter Pence late Friday night.
It was only a matter of time for the 24-year-old, who proved his versatility by playing all three outfield positions in the Arizona Fall League, then got off to a .341/.398/.588 start at Triple-A Round Rock in 85 at-bats this season.
In the AFL last season, one scout referred to Pence as “a bigger, stronger version of Eric Byrnes,” for his frame and unconventional approach at the plate. Pence also has big power, hitting a combined 59 home runs over the last two seasons at low Class A Lexington, high Class A Salem and Double-A Corpus Christi.
Pence is expected to see playing time this weekend at home against Milwaukee.
A look at the early minor league leaderboards, through games of April 25. This time we highlight four important categories.
|* Cust, Jack||Portland||AAA||.823|
|* Tripp, Brandon||Delmarva||LoA||.789|
|* Perry, Jason||Midland||AA||.756|
|# Saltalamacchia, Jarrod||Mississippi||AA||.754|
|* Raglani, Anthony||Jacksonville||AA||.742|
|* Bell, Bubba||Lancaster||HiA||.738|
Braun’s power exploits have been well-documented in Prospect Hot Sheet, and his 15 extra-base hits lead the minors.
|* Appert, Luke||Stockton||HiA||.552|
|* Burnham, Gary||Ottawa||AAA||.528|
|* Tripp, Brandon||Delmarva||LoA||.506|
|# Doumit, Ryan||Indianapolis||AAA||.493|
|* Haynes, Nathan||Salt Lake||AAA||.486|
|* Ellsbury, Jacoby||Portland||AA||.483|
|* Paulk, Michael||Asheville||LoA||.481|
D’Antona’s 12 walks (against just seven strikeouts) and one hit by pitch are the foundation of his on-base percentage–but hitting .444 doesn’t hurt, either.
|STARTING PITCHER SO/9|
|* Richardson, Dustin||Greenville||LoA||14.21|
|* Braddock, Zach||West Virginia||LoA||14.06|
|* Kershaw, Clayton||Great Lakes||LoA||13.26|
|* Gonzalez, Gio||Birmingham||AA||12.66|
|* Wright, Chase||Trenton||AA||12.21|
Kershaw has 28 strikeouts in 19 innings, but also 12 walks. And though he struck out 12 in his last outing, he also surrendered his first pro home run.
|RELIEF PITCHER SO/9|
|Rojas, Jose A.||Dayton||LoA||19.89|
|* Kilby, Brad||Midland||AA||17.69|
|* Rodriguez, Noe||Kannapolis||LoA||16.62|
|Pichardo, Kelvin||San Jose||HiA||16.03|
|* White, Garrett||Great Lakes||LoA||15.95|
|* Soto, Edgar||Charleston||LoA||15.83|
Day has registered 21 strikeouts in just 8 2/3 relief innings, and he has retired the side on strikeouts in four of his eight outings.
The commissioner’s office has suspended Dodgers minor league lefthander Jonathan Figueroa for 50 games for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance in violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment Program. His suspension will take effect on June 19th, the date of the first scheduled game of the season for Rookie-level Ogden.
Figueroa once ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect (heading into the 2003 season–the Mark Teixeira cover Prospect Handbook, for BA fans) after he went 7-3, 1.42 with 105 strikeouts and 39 walks in 76 innings between the Pioneer and South Atlantic leagues. He threw in teh 89-94 mph range with his fastball, and his curveball was considered the organization’s best.
However, the Venezuela native, who signed for $500,000, never followed up with any success, and his career ERA was 5.26 entering the season. He’s never pitched 100 innings in a season due to injuries (shoulder) and ineffectiveness.
Just 23, Figueroa was in extended spring training and had not been assigned to a full-season roster, another sign his star had fallen significantly.
The Pirates signed righthanded Cuban defector Serguey Linares in early February, and now it looks like the 23-year-old is close to getting out of Pirate City and onto a full-season club.
Linares, who signed with Pittsburgh for $125,000, went 7-10, 5.59 with a 111-86 strikeout walk ratio in 163 innings in two seasons in Cuba. He hasnâ€™t pitched competitively since 2005 because of a lengthy process of getting unblocked–the approval process Cuban defectors have to go through to be cleared to sign with a major league club.
But apparently the Buccos are set to move Linares to low Class A Hickory within the next week. [...] Continue Reading »
Thursday’s action included two games that went more than 15 innings, a three-home run day for John Mayberry and Augusta’s amazing pitching.
Jason Botts drove in four runs to lead Oklahoma over New Orleans. New Orleans was playing without outfielder Lastings Milledge, who was placed on the disabled list with a sprained foot. There was some good news for New Orleans–Carlos Gomez extended his streak of reaching base in all 21 games this season. [...] Continue Reading »
Diamondbacks lefthander Brett Anderson has been impressive at low Class A South Bend this season . . . even more so when you consider he just turned 19 in February.
A second-round pick last year out of Stillwater (Okla.) High, Anderson is 2-2, 1.59 with a 26-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 23 innings in the Midwest League. Perhaps most impressive though, Anderson’s two wins were South Bend’s first two of the season. The Silver Hawks now stand at 5-11 in the MWL’s Eastern Division. [...] Continue Reading »
The number of second basemen on our Top 100 lists, going back five years: three, four, five, three and three. Any way you slice it, one is an astonishingly low numberâ€”even by past standards.
Has the quality of prospects at the position declined? Are organizations waiting longer to move shortstops and third basemen to second? Or are we acknowledging a bias against middle infielders who play on the right side of second base? Generally speaking, they need to be better hitters than their left-side counterparts because they are perceived as not being as athletic. [...] Continue Reading »
No one really expected Neil Walker to make the seamless transition from catcher to third base.
And he hasnâ€™t. Not exactly. [...] Continue Reading »
Both Daryl Jones and Colby Rasmus are off to slow starts in the Cardinals system this season, but thereâ€™s no reason to panic.
Not yet anyway. [...] Continue Reading »
After spending two years as the Angels’ No. 1 prospect, Brandon Wood will get a chance to end his streak.
The Angels promoted Wood to the major leagues for the first time after Wednesday night’s 9-1 victory against the Devil Rays, adding him to their 40-man roster while sending first baseman/DH Kendry Morales back to the minors. Wood, 22, was a first-round pick out of an Arizona high school in 2003, and has shifted from shortstop to third base this spring training. While a 2-for-17 slump had dropped his average to .278, Wood had three home runs and six doubles for Triple-A Salt Lake prior to the promotion. He also had 28 strikeouts in just 79 at-bats. [...] Continue Reading »
It was a light day around the minors on Wednesday as both the Pacific Coast League and Midwest League’s took the day off. But there were some highlights
In four of his five starts, Durham starter Jason Hammel has allowed one run or less. But thanks to the Bulls’ inept offense, he’s only 1-1. Wednesday was pretty routine for Hammel–he allowed two hits and one run in six innings, but picked up the loss when Columbus’ Felix Diaz, Chris Schroeder and Chris Booker combined on a shutout. Abraham Nunez became the second Columbus Clipper in two days to hit the bull on top of the left field fence. [...] Continue Reading »
Mike Costanzo hit his fourth home run of the season in Double-A Reading’s 4-1 win against Harrisburg, but there are some issues the 23-year-old is going through.
With seven errors through 17 games, Costanzo is the no-so proud owner of an .891 fielding percentage. The funny thing is, Costanzo’s fielding has gotten better. Those seven errors came in his first 11 games and included a stretch where he made five miscues total on back-to-back days.
The 2005 second-round pick out of Coastal Carolina lost 15 pounds in the offseason, and has been put under a rigorous stretching program by the Phillies’ trainers to become more flexible.
Basically, Costanzo is still learning how to play with what he refers to as his ‘new body.’ [...] Continue Reading »
Braves lefthander Dan Smith jumped on the radar last season when he went 3-6, 3.13 with 86 strikeouts in 60 innings at Double-A Mississippi.
Signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Cypress Lake (Fla.) High in 2003, Smith was used almost exclusively as a reliever over his first four seasons in the system.
Now that he’s been thrust into a full-time role in the rotation for the M-Braves, Smith is still holding his own.
The 23-year-old lefty allowed a run on four hits and struck out six over six innings in Mississippi’s 4-1 win against Birmingham. And he’s now 3-1, 1.64 with a 23-4 strikeout-walk ratio.
But there are signs Smith might not be the complete pitcher he appears to be. [...] Continue Reading »
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