As a supplement to yesterday's Best And Worst Minor League Teams post, here's a look at which of the 120 full-season minor league clubs have been putting forth the most productive offenses. Naturally, these comparisons will favor clubs in hitter's leagues like the California and Pacific Coast over clubs in pitching oriented leagues like the Florida State and Midwest, factors which should be illustrated here. We'll revisit this with the best and worst pitching staffs later on.
We'll start with straightforward team average and move on from there.
Statistics are through Monday's games. Bold denotes category leaders.
|TOP 10 MINOR LEAGUE OFFENSES BY AVERAGE
|Rank. Team (Org)||Level||League||AVG||G||R/G||HR||OBP||SLG|
|1. Albuquerque (Dodgers)||AAA||PCL||.303||76||6.16||86||.350||.476|
|2. Las Vegas (Blue Jays)||AAA||PCL||.298||79||5.53||95||.351||.482|
|3. High Desert (Mariners)||HiA||CAL||.297||75||5.89||83||.361||.460|
|4. Winston-Salem (White Sox)||HiA||CAR||.294||75||5.65||68||.357||.453|
|5. Colorado Springs (Rockies)||AAA||PCL||.289||78||5.46||64||.356||.446|
|7. Northwest Arkansas (Royals)||AA||TL||.288||76||5.54||62||.367||.438|
|8. San Jose (Giants)||HiA||CAL||.286||75||5.37||54||.354||.429|
|9. Columbus (Indians)||AAA||IL||.285||79||5.37||76||.359||.444|
No surprise to see three clubs at the top of the list that play in three of the minors' most hitter-friendly ballparks, with another, Colorado Springs, at No. 5. And now for the bottom 10. [...] Continue Reading »
Normally when a major leaguer makes a rehab appearance in the minors, his presence swallows up all the fans attention.
On Tuesday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Edinson Volquez had to share the spotlight. Volquez may have been making a possible final tuneup before joining the Reds' rotation, but he was followed up by Aroldis Chapman. And as hard as Volquez may throw, and as tough as his changeup can be to hit, the real buzz came when Chapman came in and started generating triple digits on the stadium radar gun (and the BA Stalker gun as well).
In some ways, it was fitting that Volquez and Chapman pitched on the same night. For Volquez, this was likely a last or second-to-last tune-up before he joins the Reds' big league rotation as he returns from Tommy John surgery. For Chapman, the recent move to the bullpen (this was his third outing as a reliever) likely means he'll moving up before long to help bolster a bullpen that has been the team's biggest weakness.
"This guy could change the pennant race," a scout said before quickly adding, "if he can throw strikes." [...] Continue Reading »
As a first-round pick out of college pitching in the low Class A Midwest League, righthander Chad Jenkins ought to have been able to dominate his younger competition. Instead, Jenkins was good but not great for Lansing, going 5-4, 3.63 in 79 innings. His control was excellent, as he walked just 13 hitters in 13 starts. But his other numbers were fairly ordinary. He gave up 87 hits for a .277 opponent average and struck out just 7.26 batters per nine innings. Again, good numbers, but a little less than you'd expect from a 22-year-old with a low 90s fastball and the makings of a plus slider pitching in the Midwest League.
The Blue Jays promoted Jenkins to high Class A Dunedin for the second half, and he debuted there last Thursday, giving up six runs (three earned) on seven hits in six innings in a loss to Daytona. Back on the mound last night against Clearwater, Jenkins turned in one of his best starts of the season. He tossed seven innings and gave up just a run on five hits to pick up his first FSL win. It'll go in the books as a complete game, as well, since the contest was shortened to seven innings by rain. Jenkins fanned five and induced 13 groundouts, another thing he's been doing well—he put up a 1.72 groundout-to-flyout ratio with Lansing. [...] Continue Reading »
Seven Up, Seven Down: The Best And Worst Minor League Teams
Lake Elsinore leads the California League in run prevention and ranks second to High Desert in run scoring, so it's little wonder that they have rolled to that circuit's best record. They hold a slim advantage on Altoona and Lake County for overall minor league supremacy.
The PACE category here is simply each team's win (or loss, below) total extrapolated over the 140-game season. But since most of the teams here will not maintain their present winning percentages, don't take the win and loss totals too seriously.
|TOP SEVEN MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS • THROUGH JUNE 28
|1||Lake Elsinore Storm||49||26||.653||California||HiA||Padres||91|
|3||Lake County Captains||47||26||.644||Midwest||LoA||Indians||90|
|4||Cedar Rapids Kernels||45||27||.625||Midwest||LoA||Angels||88|
|Great Lakes Loons||45||27||.625||Midwest||LoA||Dodgers||88|
|6||San Jose Giants||46||29||.613||California||HiA||Giants||86|
For perspective, follow this link to last year's full-season bests and worsts.
High Class A Clearwater's Harold Garcia began the season on the disabled list and did not get going until May 16. But the 23-year-old second baseman from Venezuela sure has made up for lost time. Garcia is batting .340 for the season, which would rank him third in the Florida State League batting race if he qualified, and yesterday he extended his hitting streak to 31 games. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple in the Threshers' 7-3 win against Dunedin.
During his hit streak, Garcia has batted .355/.396/.524 (44-for-124) with two homers, 11 doubles and two triples. He's taken a swing-first mentality throughout, drawing just six walks compared with 29 strikeouts.
Garcia might be on to something, though, seeing as the FSL hitting-streak record appears to be well within his grasp. The notorious pitcher's circuit has nipped many rallies in the bud, and the standard for consecutive games with a hit remains 36, attained by Daytona Beach's Joe Altobelli in 1951. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: June 14-21
Signed: RHP Robbie Andrews (NDFA—Virginia Commonwealth), RHP Trey Watt (NDFA—Pacific Lutheran (Wash.)), C Richie Rowland (NDFA—Campbellsville (Ky.))
Draft picks signed: RHP Victor Lara (34), 2B Michael Weber (28), SS Zach Walters (9)
Released: RHP Abe Woody
Traded: OF Conor Jackson to Athletics for RHP Sam Demel
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Sam Demel
Recalled: OF Cole Gillespie
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cesar Valdez, 2B Ryan Roberts
Option transferred: RHP Daniel Stange (Triple-A to Double-A)
Placed on 7-day DL: 2B Victor Estevez, OF Byron Wiley
The Rowland brothers will reunite as teammates this summer for the first time since their days at Cloverdale (Calif.) High three years ago. Arizona drafted (and signed) Robby in the third round this year, taking the righthander out of high school. Now, Richie, a catcher, joins the fold after signing as a nondrafted college senior from Campbellsville (Ky.) University. The D-backs assigned both members of the Rowlands battery to Rookie-level Missoula.
Signed: OF Josh Anderson
Draft picks signed: RHP Dan Jurik (25), RHP Kyle Mertins (28), LHP Matt Fouch (34), C Cory Brownsten (15), 1B William Beckwith (21), 2B Jarred Frierson (36), 2B Phil Gosselin (5), 3B Joey Terdoslavich (6)
Placed on restricted list: SS Luis Ramirez
Recalled: RHP Jesse Chavez
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Chris Resop
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jesse Chavez
Placed on 7-day DL: C Orlando Mercado
Placed on 60-day DL: RHP Wei Huang, RHP Daniel Lopez
Reinstated from DL: LHP Chris Masters
The Braves opted to reward Chris Resop with a 40-man roster spot rather than lose him to an opt-out clause, which he could have exercised on June 15. For full details on Resop’s development, both here and abroad, please see our recent Prospect Bulletin. With Triple-A Gwinnett, he went 5-2, 1.84 in 13 starts, while recording 81 whiffs and 27 walks in 73 innings. The 27-year-old Resop had made just six career starts entering the season. [...] Continue Reading »
With the all-star games now in the books for all of the Class A leagues, there were a whole lot more games to watch this weekend then there were last week. Here's a look at some of the stars of the weekend.
Jake McGee, lhp, Double-A Mongtomery (Rays): McGee's recovery from Tommy John surgery has included a lot of highlights and a few starts that he would rather forget. McGee's June 19 start was one of the forgettable ones. He allowed eight hits and seven runs (five earned) in only 3 1/3 innings for one of his worst starts of the year.
He bounced back pretty well. McGee wasn't particularly efficient with his pitches, but he was dominating on Friday. McGee struck out 10 batters in only four innings—he only faced 17 batters total, so he struck out nearly 60 percent of them. He was pulled after four innings because he had already thrown 81 pitches and the Rays are keeping McGee on a tight pitch count.
But those four innings included a whole lot of pitches with purpose, as Montgomery manager Billy Gardner told the Montgomery Advertiser.
"He ate up a bunch of pitches," said Gardner, who said McGee's fastball was so active "it looked like it was disappearing" and gave McGee's slider a sterling review. "With that pitch, he really took a step forward." [...] Continue Reading »
By Mike Lemaire
What started on May 26 when high Class A Charlotte reliever Sergio Espinosa got Palm Beach’s Tony Cruz to ground into a seemingly innocent inning-ending 4-6 force out quickly became one of the most impressive pitching streaks in the history of the Florida State League.
When Charlotte reliever Chris Andujar allowed an RBI triple in the seventh inning of the June 16 meeting between the Stone Crabs and Jupiter, it was the first run yielded by the Charlotte bullpen in three weeks—a streak of 18 games and 481/3 innings.
“For as long as I have been playing baseball, I have never seen anything even close to a streak like that,” said closer Zach Quate, who contributed nine scoreless innings and six saves during the streak. “To tell you the truth, most of us didn’t even know about the streak until someone brought it up the other day. Our bullpen has been so good it’s almost like it’s expected. We didn’t really think about it.”
The Charlotte media relations staff unsuccessfully scoured league record books for any precedent of such a streak, only finding a 48 1/3 scoreless streak set by Paul Gilliford in 1966. Gilliford didn’t need any help in accomplishing his record-setting performance. But the Stone Crabs used eight different pitchers, a feat that pitching coach Neil Allen thought was even more staggering.
“When you get a guy who gets hot like that, they are able to see the same batters and start to learn their tendencies,” Allen said. “These guys in the bullpen, they all pitch differently, see different hitters, and have different game plans. So I think when you see a group of individuals answering the call every night, it’s that much more amazing.”
The Stone Crabs roster is loaded with talent, including shortstop Tim Beckham (the 2008 No. 1 overall pick) and touted righthander Nick Barnese. But none of the relievers involved in the streak are among the Rays’ top prospects. Instead, Allen says, the close-knit group has helped each other improve.
“A lot of the times in the minor leagues kids are selfish because they are trying to succeed themselves,” he said. “These guys all talk about how they get different people out, they talk about pitch location. It has been a long time since I have seen a bullpen that is this close.”
Quate admits that he and his teammates hated to see the streak end. But he also left the door open for the beginning of another.
“Once we knew about it, there was definitely more pressure,” Quate said. “But now that it’s over we can just go back to concentrating on getting guys out and working to improve each day. And of course we can always start another one tomorrow.”
Albuquerque outfielder Prentice Redman turns 31 at the end of August, and he quietly has assembled a quality Triple-A résumé. But following a 50-game suspension he incurred for testing positive for an amphetamine, Redman has attracted more notoriety than perhaps is comfortable.
This season, Redman batted .332/.402/.551 with 10 homers and 41 RBIs in 214 at-bats for Albuquerque. Now, he'll have to put his assault on Isotopes Park on hold for about two months.
Redman has made the most of favorable hitting conditions at home this season, batting .351/.421/.606 in 94 at-bats in Albuquerque. But in fact, he's enjoyed a fine run of success in the Pacific Coast League over the past four seasons, with OPS figures, going backward, that read .954, .900, .959 and .832.
Like his brother Tike, Prentice graduated from the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Academy. The Mets tabbed him in the 10th round of 1999 draft out of Bevill State (Ala.) CC, and he climbed steadily through the system, reaching the big leagues for 15 games in ’03. Granted minor league free agency for the first time following the ’05 season, Redman in the past five seasons has bounced from the Cardinals to the Nationals to the Mariners and, finally, to the Dodgers, with whom he signed last December.
Three Indians farmhands—Beau Mills, Jerad Head and Josh Tomlin—have been charged with felonious assault stemming from a June 3 incident at a nightclub in Akron, Ohio, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Mills, Head and Tomlin were scheduled to appear in court this morning. Mills, a 23-year-old first baseman and the team's first-round pick in 2007, has spent the entire season with Double-A Akron. The organization's No. 24 prospect coming into the year, Mills has been on the disabled list since June 10 with an intercostal strain.
Head, a 27-year-old outfielder, is also with Akron, while Tomlin, a 25-year-old righthander, is on the Triple-A Columbus roster.
Edinson Volquez pitched five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville yesterday, but the more interesting development is the man who came in to pitch two innings of relief: Aroldis Chapman. The Reds lefthander had made 13 starts for the Bats before making his first appearance out of the bullpen yesterday, allowing one run, one walk and striking out three.
Chapman has come as advertised, a power-armed 22-year-old with a fastball that can sit in the mid-to-high 90s and climb over 100 mph on occasion. He's struck out 79 in 67 2/3 innings, though scouts' concerns about his command and have proven to be valid, as Chapman is averaging 5.5 walks per nine innings due to some difficulties repeating his mechanics.
There is talk within the organization that Chapman's best chance to contribute at the big league level this year is as a reliever. That doesn't rule out Chapman returning to the rotation at some point—and for roughly $30 million, the Reds presumably don't see him as a permanent reliever—but he figures to spend more time in the bullpen for the near future.
At the big league level, players beg out of the home run derby because they are worried about screwing up their swing. But Carolina-California League all-star home run derby champion Jon Gilmore has no such worries.
"We take thousands of swings during the year, so I don't think 20 swings is going to hurt much," Gilmore said. "It's not your game swing. It's kind of like separating your golf swing from your baseball swing."
Gilmore had to go to a tie-breaking swing off in the first round after he and teammate Justin Greene each finished second in the Carolina League with three home runs. Gilmore advanced to the finals by beating Ronnie Welty two home runs to one, then topped California League derby champion Rich Poythress by hitting four home runs (to Poythress' three) in the finals. [...] Continue Reading »
A trio of minor league all-star games took center stage Tuesday night. BA's J.J. Cooper was in attendance at the California-Carolina League all-star game in Myrtle Beach, S.C. You can find all the details from there in his post here. The other two all-star contests were held by the low Class A leagues, the Midwest and South Atlantic.
Midwest League All-Star Game
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Eastern Division 6, Western Division 2
The East opened up a 5-0 lead through two innings and cruised from there. West starter Trey McNutt (Cubs) can still say that, officially, he hasn't given up a home run all season. But MWL home run leader Jerry Sands (Dodgers) took him deep in the first inning of the all-star game, clubbing a two-run shot that capped off the East's three-run first inning. That outburst represented more runs than McNutt had allowed in all but two of his 13 starts for Peoria.
“I had faced (McNutt) a few weeks ago and he had a pretty good slider,” Sands told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. “I didn’t want to see it, so I was looking for a fastball early, and I got it. And luckily I put a good swing on it. I hit that one a little better than I did some (in Monday's home run derby).” [...] Continue Reading »
Getting a spot on a minor league all-star roster leads to mixed feelings for a lot of minor leaguers. It's a big honor, but it also means that the only three-day break of the entire season turns into a working holiday.
Juan Perez didn't mind. It may be a long trip from San Jose to Myrtle Beach, but the Giants' center fielder has a memory to remember forever.
Playing in front of his mother for the first time as a pro, Perez went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, two runs scored and two RBIs as the California League defeated the Carolina League 4-3 in the league's annual all-star game.
While Perez was the MVP, pitching dominated the night. Multiple pitchers, led by Braves' top pitching prospect Teheran, topped 95 mph on the stadium radar gun. Tehran hit a game-high 98 mph on the gun while striking out two in two innings of work. California League starter Craig Westcott (Giants) struck out the side in the first. [...] Continue Reading »
If you want to keep up with what's happening at the Carolina-California League all-star game, I'm tweeting about the game @jjcoop36.
This time: June 8-14
Many thanks to John Manuel and Jim Callis for pinch-hitting with transactions last week. John tracked down the draft pick signings, while Jim concentrated on finding schools for nondrafted college free agents. It's a lot of work, and they did an excellent job. Or as Aaron Fitt would say: Great job, boss!
At any rate, draft signing season has begun. I decided to fold in the draft and NDFA info from the John & Jim report in order to preserve Minor League Transactions blog continuity.
The numbers in parentheses denote draft round, of course, and I encourage one and all to check out our Draft Database. It's the easiest place on the Web to find out, 1) who drafted whom, and from which school and which state, and 2) which players have signed. That's all free. Subscribers can visit the Advanced Draft Database, which has scouting reports and bonus information for all the top picks. The ADD also lets the reader sort by school, state and position.
Draft picks signed: RHP Derek Eitel (17), RHP Greg Robinson (32), C Kawika Emsley-Pai (10), C Andrew Whittington (33), 1B Yazy Arbelo (26), 1B Jimmy Comerota (18), 3B Eric Groff (44), OF Adam Eaton (19), OF Justin Hilt (36), OF Michael Hur (20), OF Chris Jarrett (42), OF Westley Moss (16)
Released: OF Tim Sherlock
Placed on suspended list: RHP Cristian Beltre, OF Alfredo Marte
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Blaine Boyer
Removed from 40-man: RHP Saul Rivera (Triple-A)
Optioned to Triple-A: C John Hester
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Cristian Beltre, RHP Billy Spottiswood, C Chris Davis, OF Alfredo Marte
Draft picks signed: RHP Jonathan Burns (26), RHP Dave Filak (4), RHP Tyler Hess (19), RHP Willie Kempf (27), RHP Matt Lewis (10), RHP Ian Marshall (40), RHP Matt Suschak (7), RHP Richard Tate (14), RHP Dan Winnie (16), LHP Stephen Foster (39), LHP Chase Shreve (11), C Ryan Delgado (32), C Evan Gattis (23), 1B David Rohm (9), 3B Todd Cunningham (2), SS Brandon Drury (13), SS Barrett Kleinknecht (12), SS Matt Lipka (1.5), SS Andrelton Simmons (2), OF Kenny Fleming (30), OF Kurt Fleming (8), OF Jason Mowry (20)
Released: 1B Derek Wiley, SS Ryan Barba, OF Layton Hiller
Recalled: SS Brandon Hicks
Placed on 7-day DL: LHP Chris Masters, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, 3B Eric Duncan
Reinstated from DL: RHP Ty'Relle Harris, LHP Steven Kent, OF Willie Cabrera
Second-rounder Todd Cunningham signed quickly but was stuck in limbo for 10 days while waiting for MLB to approve his contract with the Braves, a deal that included a $674,100 bonus. The former Jacksonville State standout won the Cape Cod League batting title last year and went 1-for-3 in his pro debut with low Class A Rome on Sunday. [...] Continue Reading »
Not often do we lead Daily Dish with a pitcher who lasted just three innings and a batter who went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts. But in this case we must make an exception, given how long we've waited to see these two prospects in action.
The pitcher is none other than Athletics righthander Michael Ynoa, the Dominican bonus baby who signed for a Latin American amateur record $4.25 million in July 2008. He missed all of the ’09 season with an elbow injury described by the A's as tendinitis. Ynoa then missed time in extended spring training this year after having surgery to remove his wisdom teeth. But seeing as he's still just 18, he remains on target as he pitches in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Ynoa struck out four batters in three scoreless innings yesterday, yielding only one hit while hitting another batter.
The batter is Padres center fielder Donavan Tate, who signed for a high school-record bonus of $6.25 million last August, before a series of injuries delayed the pro debut of the ’09 draft's third overall pick until this summer. From the May 12 edition of the Prospect Bulletin: [...] Continue Reading »
Monday's Dish is our wrap-up of the stars of the weekend, which included a cycle and Trayvon Robinson using his speed (and defensive miscues) to turn a single into a wild run scored.
Dexter Fowler, cf, Triple-A Colorado Springs (Rockies): Fowler may have been demoted for his struggles at the plate, but he's had no such problem in the Pacific Coast League. Fowler hit for the cycle on Sunday as part of a 5-for-6 game. He also had a pair of three-hit games on Thursday and Friday and is now hitting .373/.458/.639 in 20 games since being sent down.
Mike Moustakas, 3b, Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Royals): At the midway point of the 2010 season, Moustakas doesn't really have much competition for the Texas League MVP award. Moustakas hit his 16th and 17th home runs of the season on Friday to regain the Texas League home run lead from Koby Clemens. Moustakas also leads the league in batting average (.347, 27 points better then anyone else in the league), slugging percentage (.710, .169 better than anyone else), RBIs (62, 12 better than anyone else), extra base hits (36) and total bases (137). [...] Continue Reading »
This time: June 8-14
John Manuel pinch-hitting for Matt Eddy with a special edition noting just Draft Picks Signed as well as Non-Drafted Free Agents who signed. Check out the Transactions Glossary for the key to deciphering the various inactive lists presented here.
An asterisk (*) denotes an instance of a player agreeing to terms on a minor league contract with an organization with which he already had a major league agreement.
Draft Picks Signed: RHP Derek Eitel (17); Cs Kawika Emsley-Pai (10), Andrew Whittington (33); 1B Yazy Arbelo (26); 2B Jimmy Comerota (18); 3B Eric Groff (44); OFs Adam Eaton (19); Justin Hilt (36), Michael Hur (20), Chris Jarrett (42), Westley Moss (16)
Draft Picks Signed: RHPs Jonathan Burns (26), Dave Filak (4), Tyler Hess (19), Willie Kempf (27), Matt Lewis (10), Ian Marshall (40), Andrew Suschak (7), Richie Tate (14), Dan Winnie (16); LHPs Stephen Foster (39), Chasen Shreve (11); Cs Ryan Delgado (32), Evan Gattis (23); OF/3B Todd Cunningham (2); SS Brandon Drury (13), Barrett Kleinknecht (12), Matt Lipka (1s), Andrelton Simmons (2); OF Kenny Fleming (30), Kurt Fleming (8), Jason Mowry (20), David Rohm (9).
Major League Baseball has suspended righthander Jose Mendoza of the Mariners organization for 50 games for testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancer, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Mendoza, 17, was pitching in the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League at the time of the suspension.
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