This time: Sept. 21-27
Previous installment: Sept. 14-20
A typically light week for transactions finds most clubs emptying the contents of their disabled lists. Elsewhere, a few organizations re-sign players to minor league deals, while in the background, players return from their month-long sojourn to Europe for the World Cup.
Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here.
Reinstated from DL: RHP Trevor Harden, RHP Bobby Korecky, RHP Jarrod Parker, LHP Jon Coutlangus, LHP Taylor Sinclair, C Ryan Babineau, C Sean Coughlin, C Josh Ford, C Jhoan Pimentel, SS Yunesky Sanchez, SS Antonio Sepulveda, OF Collin Cowgill, OF Marc Krauss, OF Joey Side
Reinstated from inactive list: 2B Ruben Gotay, 2B Guillermo Reyes
Recalled: RHP Stephen Marek, RHP James Parr, RHP Todd Redmond, RHP Luis Valdez, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, 1B Barbaro Canizares, SS Diory Hernandez, OF Gregor Blanco, OF Brandon Jones
Reinstated from DL: RHP Paul Clemens, RHP Dustin Evans, RHP Steven Figueroa, RHP Jerome Gamble, RHP Tyrelle Harris, RHP James Parr, LHP Brett DeVall, LHP Scott Diamond, LHP Steve Kent, 1B Freddie Freeman, 1B Ernesto Mejia, 2B J.C. Holt, 3B Adam Coe, 3B Stephen Shults, SS Chad Lundahl, OF Jhadiel Santamaria
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Todd Redmond, C Matt Kennelly, 1B Ryohei Shimabukuro
Perhaps the most unique aspect of minor league baseball is the wide array of offensive environments. The hitter-friendly California League stands in stark contrast with the Florida State League, where runs are scarce and pitchers generally thrive. Both leagues operate at the high Class A level, but the average Cal League team this year scored nearly a run more per nine innings (0.95) than their FSL counterpart. That works out to 133 runs over the course of a 140-game season.
To put that in further perspective, consider that the FSL’s most productive team, Dunedin, would have ranked dead last in the Cal League with their 610 runs. But if we bolster their attack by that 133-run exchange rate, the Blue Jays would surge to fourth in the Cal League with 743 runs. And that doesn’t even take into account that because of the FSL’s myriad rainouts, Dunedin completed six fewer games than High Desert, the Cal League’s most offensive outfit. Furthermore, that doesn’t take into account the number of seven-inning contests, brought about by doubleheaders, played by Dunedin. We do know that Mavericks pitchers completed more than 90 additional innings (92 2/3 to be exact) than Dunedin hurlers.
League context is crucial to the process of ranking prospects. So as you digest our various league Top 20 Prospects lists, you can consult the chart below to see how players compare with the league averages.
|Florida State||Hi A||.252||.322||.363||4.24||8.0||19.0||.111||.306||70||546|
|South Atlantic||Lo A||.254||.324||.368||4.51||7.7||20.7||.114||.317||73||601|
Nearly three months after becoming eligible to sign, Miguel Sano has agreed to terms for a $3.15 million bonus with the Twins. The deal will be officially signed tomorrow.
Sano, 16, is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound shortstop from the Dominican Republic. Excluding Cuban defectors, Sano’s bonus is the largest bonus given to a player this summer for an international amateur player. It’s the second-largest Latin American signing bonus ever behind Dominican righthander Michael Ynoa, who signed with the Athletics last year for $4.25 million, and the largest ever for a Latin American position player.
Dominican catcher Gary Sanchez, who signed with the Yankees for $3 million on July 2, held the previous record for a Latin American position player. The Cardinals had agreed to terms with Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo for $3.1 million on July 2, but voided the deal because the organization said he did not pass his physical.
Baseball America subscribers can access Sano’s full scouting report here.
As a switch-hitter, Orioles third baseman Josh Bell should have the platoon advantage whenever he steps into the batter’s box.
There’s just one problem: Bell has an alarming platoon split.
Consider the enormous gap in Bell’s left/right splits this season between Double-A Chattanooga and Bowie:
vs. RHPs: .339/.417/.626 in 362 PAs
vs. LHPs: .193/.282/.259 in 156 PAs
It could just be small sample size, but Bell has shown a pronounced platoon split his entire career. Since Bell made his full-season debut in 2007, he has hit 41 of his 43 home runs against righthanded pitchers. He has plus raw power, but it only shows up when he bats lefthanded.
It’s no statistical fluke. Scouts who have watched Bell repeatedly say that Bell’s swing is much better as a lefthanded hitter. He struggles to lift the ball as a righthanded batter, to the point where he might be better served giving up switch-hitting.
Once again, America’s top minor leaguers succeeded where its big leaguers have failed.
Team USA won its 14th consecutive game in Europe and second over Cuba in three games to win the 2009 World Cup gold medal, beating Cuba 10-5 Sunday in Nettuno, Italy. The victory gives the U.S. its second consecutive Cup championship, defending the title won in 2007. It’s also just the fourth World Cup ever won by the United States in baseball. [Box Score] [...] Continue Reading »
Aroldis Chapman is finally a free agent.
The agency for Chapman, a 21-year-old Cuban lefthander, sent out a release saying that Major League Baseball has declared Chapman a free agent. Chapman defected from Cuba at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands in July and declared provisional residency in the small European country of Andorra earlier this month.
I’ve written here a few times about just how confusing the World Cup format is, about how it needed its own page on a website to explain itself. But now the World Cup has out-done itself.
Thursday, the Cup’s press office reported that despite Cuba’s loss to Team USA, the Cubans had nonetheless clinched a spot in Sunday’s final when the Netherlands lost to Canada. That would have set up a U.S.-Cuba rematch on Sunday. However, last night the International Baseball Federation sent out another press release confirming that this was not the case. Cuba still has to beat Canada today to clinch a spot in Sunday’s final. It also can do so with a loss by the Netherlands, which plays Team USA, or Puerto Rico, which plays Australia.
We’ll know this afternoon what team Team USA plays in Sunday’s championship game.
Technically, Thursday’s game in the World Cup didn’t mean anything for Team USA. But every game between the U.S. and Cuba has meaning.
For the U.S., Thursday’s 5-3 victory means the Americans have a 12-game World Cup winning streak. Already having clinched a spot in Sunday’s championship game, Team USA also got a leg up on its probable opponent in that game by beating the Cubans, long an international power.
"We’ve had great chemistry, as our guys have persevered through a lot of irregular travel and the schedule," U.S. manager Eddie Rodriguez said in a postgame telephone interview from Nettuno, Italy. "But we’ve got a close-knit group, which is unusual for the length of time we’ve been together. We know what’s at stake. We know what our mission is."
Team USA is beating Cuba 3-0 in the bottom of the third of a third-round World Cup matchup. But the prospect news may already have been made, as U.S. starter Trevor Reckling—most likely the Angels’ top pitching prospect after reaching Double-A at age 20—left the mound while warming up for the second round.
While it’s unclear how serious Reckling’s injury is, he didn’t throw another warmup pitch and was removed from the game. Righthander Lucas Harrell (White Sox) replaced him as Team USA’s pitcher. Ike Davis (Mets) hit an RBI double in the first inning, and Terry Tiffee (Phillies) hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to chase Cuban starter Maikel Folch.
Today’s game is likely to be a preview of Sunday’s gold-medal game, unless Cuba loses this game and tomorrow against Canada and both the Netherlands and Puerto Rico win out.
This time: Sept. 14-20
Previous installment: Sept. 7-13
We’re knee-deep in postseason prospect rankings and book editing projects, so the transactions blog will continue in a truncated form for the time being. We’ll continue to publish all the transactions, of course, but expect sporadic commentary. And keep in mind as you’re reading these posts that the information comes straight from MLB. If you see something that defies easy explanation, then that transaction may be a paperwork move, a formality carried out by the clubs.
Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here.
Released: LHP John Halama
Released: RHP Ezequiel Astacio, LHP Ryan Sontag, C Juan Medina, 2B Jose Made, OF Glenn Cook, OF Jericho Jones, OF Jonathan Wyatt
Added to 40-man roster: OF So Taguchi
Reinstated from DL: RHP Jake Muyco, RHP Josh Whitlock, OF Brett Jackson
A 46th-rounder this year from Miami, Cook is notable because he’s (apparently) the first ’09 draft pick to hit the release wire. [...] Continue Reading »
Durham ousted Memphis in 11 innings on Tuesday night, winning the Triple-A championship game and drawing to a close the minor league season. To reflect on the season that was, we present the final organizational standings. You’ll find a ranking of all 30 organizations based on their cumulative regular-season records for all domestic clubs, both full-season and short.
As an added bonus, we’ve included cumulative games over/under .500 (DIF) as well as any league champions or runners-up in the organization. And for making you wait, you’ll find a bonus chart detailing the best and worst short-season clubs following this chart. Hey, the Pioneer League season didn’t end until Saturday night.
Cuba continued its winning ways Wednesday, and took a one-game lead on the Netherlands in its third-round pool. One of them will face the United States on Sunday in the gold-medal game of the 2009 World Cup tournament.
Cuba, which plays Team USA today at 2 p.m. ET (on MLB Network), beat Taiwan 8-0, getting two more home runs by outfielder Alfredo Despaigne. The 23-year-old lefthanded hitter tied Team USA’s Justin Smoak (Rangers) with nine homers in the Cup, and tied the Cuban World Cup record set in 1990 by one of Cuba’s all-time greats, Orestes Kindelan. Frederich Cepeda also homered for Cuba, a two-run shot in the first, while Miguel Gonzalez pitched seven shutout innings as Cuba improved to 11-1 overall, matching the U.S. for the Cup’s best record. [...] Continue Reading »
Team USA used a familiar formula—starting pitching and the long ball—to win its 11th straight World Cup game and clinch a spot in Sunday’s gold-medal game. Todd Redmond (Braves) pitched scoreless ball into the ninth inning, and Buck Coats (Blue Jays), Ike Davis (Mets) and Jon Weber (Rays) hit solo homers as the U.S. beat Puerto Rico 3-0.
The victory gives Team USA a 5-0 record in the third round—three wins carrying over from the second round, and two wins in this round. Because every other team in the pool has two losses, the Americans clinched a spot in the title game and will get a chance to defend the gold medal they won in 2007. MLB Network will carry the game, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27, at 9 a.m. Eastern. MLB Network also will carry tomorrow’s game between Cuba and the U.S. at 2 p.m. ET. [...] Continue Reading »
Team USA avenged its only loss of the 2009 World Cup by beating Venezuela 6-3 on Tuesday, the Americans’ 10th straight victory.
As usual, the Americans got a home run, with a solo shot in the fourth inning by Pedro Alvarez (Pirates). His fellow Pittsburgh farmhand, righthander Brad Lincoln, got the victory, pitching 6 2/3 innings in his second start against Venezuela during the tournament. The Americans had lost 13-9 to Venezuela in extra innings in the World Cup opener for both teams, back on Sept. 10.
Venezuela rallied to put the tying run on base in the ninth as U.S. reliever Nate Field (Marlins) walked the first two batters of the inning. However, Field got a pair of outs and Geno Espineli (Giants) retired Luis Landaeta on the liner to second baseman Tug Hulett (Royals) to end the game and pick up the save. [...] Continue Reading »
Wagner Mateo was the crown jewel of the Cardinals’ international signing efforts. The Cardinals celebrated the signing of the 16-year-old outfielder for $3.1 million with a press conference in the Dominican Republic when the international signing period began on July 2.
But now Mateo is a free agent, as the Cardinals voided his contract today (and thus do not have to pay him his bonus). The club issued a press release that cited "pre-existing injuries and physical defects," which both the Cardinals and Mateo’s camp acknowledge are related to his vision.
"Our doctors did not sign off on his physical," said Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals’ vice president of amateur scouting and player development. "There was a lot of focus on the eye, and that was a big issue. For us to sign a player, a player has to pass his physical, and our doctors would not pass him."
Edgar Mercedes, who runs the Born To Play Baseball academy where Mateo trained and represented him in negotiations, said that Mateo has 20/30 vision in his right eye, but that the eye has no nerve damage and there is no degenerative condition.
The Cardinals have voided outfielder Wagner Mateo’s contract, citing "pre-existing injuries and physical defects" in a statement.
Mateo signed with the Cardinals when the international signing period began on July 2 for $3.1 million, which was the top international bonus this summer for a 16-year-old amateur player and a record for a Dominican position player.
The Cardinals’ statement said the contract had been contingent upon his physical exam.
The last minor league game of the season takes place Tuesday in Oklahoma City, as the champions of the International and Pacific Coast leagues meet in the Triple-A National Championship.
Durham (83-61 regular season), champion of the IL, sends righthander Jeremy Hellickson to the mound against Memphis (77-67), the PCL champion. While one source has lefthander Jaime Garcia slated to start for the Redbirds, the Bulls’ game notes and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal have righthander P.J. Walters scheduled. Durham advanced by winning a five-game first-round series with Louisville before sweeping Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to win the Governor’s Cup, while Memphis swept Albuquerque and then Sacramento to claim the PCL title.
While Garcia and Walters are solid options, Hellickson gives the Bulls a distinct advantage, as the 22-year-old Iowan has been one of Triple-A’s best pitchers in the second half of the season. He has 18 strikeouts in 12 1/3 playoff innings, after going 6-1, 2.51 in nine starts for the Bulls. That stretch included 70 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 57 1/3 innings pitched. [...] Continue Reading »
Trevor Plouffe (Twins) homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Team USA its ninth straight victory in World Cup play, a 4-3 win against Australia that allowed the Americans to close the second round with a perfect 7-0 record.
Team USA now advances to the third round as the No. 1 seed from the Italian pool (officially Pool G). So in the third round, the U.S. will start by playing the fourth-place team from Pool F (the Netherlands pool), which happens to be Venezuela—which beat Team USA 13-9 in the World Cup opener for both clubs. [...] Continue Reading »
Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman has been "granted provisional passive residency in the country of Andorra pending the finalization of the process," according to a statement from his agency.
Andorra is a small European country bordered by Spain and France with a population of around 84,000.
Chapman, a 21-year-old lefthander, defected from Cuba while traveling with the Cuban national team in the Netherlands at the World Port Tournament in July. Chapman, according to the statement, has sent Major League Baseball his residency materials, which MLB must still investigate before declaring him a free agent.
Justin Smoak (Rangers) smoked two more home runs, giving him eight for the World Cup—a record for USA Baseball teams in World Cup play—to lead the U.S. to a 12-3 victory against the Italians, keeping the Americans undefeated in the second round.
Smoak’s homers were part of a four-homer game for the Americans, who also got home runs from Buck Coats (Blue Jays) and Trevor Plouffe (Twins). Team USA has hit 28 home runs in nine World Cup games and has won eight straight overall since losing its first-round opener in extra innings against Venezuela. Team USA dominated the Italian pool at 6-0, with a game left today against Australia, a makeup game. Both teams already have clinched third-round berths, and the third round teams are set: Australia, Canada, Cuba, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, United States and Venezuela. [...] Continue Reading »
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