This time: Sept. 15-26
It's the time of year that all 30 organizations begin getting their houses in order for the offseason. So much of what you see here will be mere formality—players being recalled to the big leagues, players being re-signed on minor league deals, players being reinstated from the disabled list, etc.
Released: RHP Robbie Andrews
Removed from 40-man: RHP Cesar Valdez (Triple-A)
Recalled: SS Brandon Hicks
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Brandon Beachy
Reinstated from DL: SS Brandon Hicks
Desperate for a starter to replace the injured Jair Jurrjens, the Braves turned to 24-year-old Brandon Beachy, the minor league ERA champ, to start a crucial game in Philadelphia on Sept. 20. But Beachy hadn't started a game since Sept. 3, when he pitched six shutout innings for Triple-A Gwinnett. He was understandably rusty in pitching 4 1/3 innings against the stout Phillies and allowing three runs (but only one earned). Beachy struck out nine Nationals in start No. 2, but he remains winless despite his 2.89 ERA over 9 1/3 innings. [...] Continue Reading »
The Astros signed Dominican lefthander Geronimo Franzua for $250,000.
Franzua, who is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, was one of the more prominent 16-year-old lefthanders in the Dominican Republic and pitched in the inaugural season of the Dominican Prospect League. BA subscribers can read more about Franzua here and access complete scouting reports for more than 30 of the top international amateur prospects.
Andrew Romine, slated to compete for the starting shortstop job with USA Baseball's Pan Am Qualifying team, instead got his first promotion to the major leagues Sunday. To replace him, USA Baseball added Pirates farmhand Chase d'Arnaud, The 23-year-old out of Pepperdine hit .247/.331/.377 at Double-A Altoona while helping the Curve win the Eastern League championship. He hit .290 with three homers in eight playoff games for Altoona.
Coincidentally, both shortstops have younger brothers (Austin Romine and Travis d'Arnaud) who are catchers and were drafted out of Southern California high schools in 2007.
Rain washed away Monday's scheduled six-inning exhibition between the U.S. and Canada, and another game is scheduled for noon Tuesday. Team USA won a pair of exhibitions Sunday before the rain arrived, beating Canada 3-1 and Puerto Rico 6-0. Catcher Erik Kratz (Pirates) hit a three-run homer to beat Canada while Todd Redmond (Braves) threw three scoreless innings, and Eric Hosmer (Royals) had a three-run triple in the victory against Puerto Rico.
All three teams leave this week for the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament, which functions as a qualifier for both the 2011 Pan Am Games and a future Baseball World Cup.
Astros righthander Vincent Velasquez, a second-round pick in June, had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 22 and will miss most or all of the 2011 season. Velasquez ranked just outside the top 10 in our recently-published prospect ranking for the Rookie-level Appalachian League.
The 18-year-old Velasquez, a product of Garey (Calif.) High, went 2-2, 3.07 in six starts and two relief appearances for Greeneville, showing fine control (1.5 walks per nine innings) of quality stuff (7.7 strikeouts per nine). He missed his final Appy League start when scar tissue broke loose from his previous elbow injury and caused discomfort.
Astros team physician Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff performed the surgery, and the club expects Velasquez to make a full recovery.
USA Baseball's 2010 Pan Am Qualifier roster got three new players Thursday, two days before it starts practicing in anticipation for the Oct. 1-10 tournament in Puerto Rico.
Team USA lost three players in shortstop Brian Bocock, catcher Brian Jeroloman and lefthander Royce Ring. Replacing them are shortstop Andrew Romine (Angels), veteran catcher Erik Kratz (Pirates) and lefthander Nick Hill (Mariners). Romine and Kratz will be making their first appearance in a Team USA uniform, while Hill, who pitched at the U.S. Military Academy, is a veteran of the 2006 Collegiate National Team.
Kratz, 30, made his major league debut this season and has spent parts of the last six seasons in Triple-A. Romine, 24, brings a similar-caliber glove as Bocock and is more of a prospect, despite his modest bat. He hit .282/.370/.366 at Double-A Arkansas. Hill, 25, is a lefty reliever who pitched just 42.2 innings at Double-A West Tenn this season due in part to a knee injury. He posted a 4.22 ERA and struck out 37 while walking 18.
The Pacific Coast League-champion Tacoma Rainiers scored three times in the top of the third inning, tying the score and giving the impression that the Triple-A National Championship Game might be a competitive affair. It wasn't.
The Columbus Clippers, International League winners and top Indians farm club since 2009, scored four runs in the fourth inning and five in the fifth as part of a 12-run, 19-hit barrage. Final score: Columbus 12, Tacoma 6 (box score). But the Rainiers can take solace in the fact that they scored six runs, a tally that the parent Mariners have matched or exceeded just twice in the past month.
This year's Triple-A winner-take-all contest, which has been held annually in Oklahoma City since ’06, featured none of the drama of last season's event, during which Durham, the IL champs, knocked off Memphis in 11 innings.
With the victory, Columbus helped the IL take another step toward evening the score. The PCL still leads the series 3-2 after Tucson (’06) and Sacramento (’07 and ’08) won the first three showdowns. [...] Continue Reading »
Jason Kipnis hit for the cycle Friday night to lead Columbus to an easy 13-2 win that wrapped up the IL title for the Clippers. Jerad Head (four hits), Jared Goedert (three hits) and Cord Phelps (three hits) contributed to the Clippers' deluge of runs.
Pacific Coast League
Tacoma finished off a three-game sweep of Memphis for the PCL title with a 10-6 win in 10 innings on Friday night. Dustin Ackley homered and scored the go-ahead run in the 11th with a rally-starting walk. Matt Mangini went 3-for-5 with two runs scored for Tacoma and Justin Smoak added a two-run single in the 11th. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: Sept. 7-15
Acquired: RHP Matt Gorgen from Rays as player to be named for RHP Chad Qualls
Added to 40-man roster: C Konrad Schmidt
Designated for assignment: RHP Cesar Valdez
The Diamondbacks rewarded Konrad Schmidt for his fine season with Double-A Mobile, in which he batted .315/.373/.490 with 11 homers over 394 at-bats to finish third in the Southern League batting and slugging races. The 26-year-old lost out to Tennessee's Robinson Chirinos on the postseason SL all-star team, but he's come a long way since being a Diamondbacks' nondrafted free agent sign out of Nevada in May ’07. Schmidt's got some pop and threw out a league-average 26 percent of basestealers this season with average arm strength. For now, he complements Miguel Montero and John Hester as Arizona's third catcher.
Boston Red Sox
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Rich Hill
Reinstated from DL: SS Derrik Gibson
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Pedro Perez, RHP Kendal Volz [...] Continue Reading »
Durham remained alive thanks to a ninth-inning walk-off sacrifice fly. Leslie Anderson's fly ball to center field scored Elliot Johnson with the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth for Durham's 3-2 win over Columbus. The Clippers lead the best-of-5 series two games to one. Durham managed to win the game despite being held to three hits for eight innings by Columbus starter Yohan Pino. Durham starter Alex Cobb pitched effectively, but he lasted only four scoreless innings. Three Durham relievers kept the Bulls in the game, allowing Johnson and Anderson's heroics. Johnson walked to start the ninth and advanced to third on a Justin Ruggiano single to set up the sacrifice fly. [...] Continue Reading »
Puerto Rico's roster for the host country's Pan Am Qualifier tournament has an interesting mix of prospects, such as 21-year-old Neftali Soto and 20-year-old Angel Morales, and ex-big league veterans, headed by Juan Gonzalez.
The 40-year-old Gonzalez hasn't played in the major leagues since 2005 but did play this summer in an amateur league in Puerto Rico. Gonzalez has yet to report to practice with the team, which is having voluntary workouts in Puerto Rico while manager Eduardo Perez is still in Connecticut, where he works as an ESPN analyst. Puerto Rico will join Teams Canada and USA in Cary, N.C., for scrimmages Sept. 25-28.
The prospects for Puerto Rico include Morales (Twins), who hit .280/.362/.405 between low Class A Beloit and high Class A Fort Myers while stealing 29 bases; Soto (Reds), who hit 21 homers at high Class A Lynchburg while batting .268/.319/.460; and outfielder Miguel Velazquez (Rangers), 22, who hit .272/.340/.428 between low Class A Hickory and high Class A Bakersfield with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases. [...] Continue Reading »
Columbus is one win away from claiming the Governor's Cup after a 4-0 win over Durham on Wednesday night. Zach McAllister threw seven scoreless innings to pick up the win while Jerad Head and Jared Goedert provided all the offense the Clippers needed. Head, who had homered and picked up six RBIs in the Clippers' series opening win, followed up Goedert's home run on Wednesday with one of his own. [...] Continue Reading »
Canada announced its 24-man roster for the 2010 Pan Am Qualifier in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and will send a club of national-team veterans to the island for the Oct. 1-10 tournament.
Phillies prospect Phillippe Aumont is the top prospect on the club that also includes Blue Jays righthanded reliever Trystan Magnuson, who pitched in this year's Futures Game, and Brewers infielder Taylor Green, who hit 13 home runs at Double-A Huntsville this season. The Jays contribute two other veterans of Canadian national teams who also were Magnuson's teammates at Double-A New Hampshire this year in pitcher-turned-outfielder Adam Loewen and third baseman Shawn Bowman. Lefthander Scott Diamond (Braves), who finished the season in Triple-A, and righthanded reliever Tom Boleska (Pirates) are among the team's other prospects. [...] Continue Reading »
Leonys Martin has become the latest high-profile player from Cuba to leave his family and country behind to chase a major league career. If recent history is any guide, Martin figures to garner a seven-figure signing bonus once he establishes residency and becomes a free agent.
Martin, whose age is listed as 22, left Cuba after playing for the country's national team in Taiwan during the FISU World University Championships. He batted leadoff frequently for Cuba in that tournament, which is limited to players age 27 and under. He was on the 18U junior-national team in 2006 as well, so his age appears to be quite believable. As a 21-year-old, Martin was a reserve on the 2009 World Baseball Classic team. [...] Continue Reading »
Northwest Arkansas earned a spot in the championship series with a 8-4 win in the deciding Game Five. Designated hitter Clint Robinson went 4-for-5 with three doubles and 4 RBIs to lead the Naturals at the plate. Starter Mike Montgomery went 6 1/3 innings allowing four runs, three of them earned, to pick up the win. He sat between 93-95 mph and touched 97 while also utilizing an excellent changeup. On the other hand, Springfield starter Trey Hearne was knocked out of the game before recording an out. [...] Continue Reading »
Durham defeated Louisville 3-2 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Durham, which on the South Division in the regular season and had the league's best record at 88-55, advanced. The Bats scored just seven runs in the final four games of the series and five in the three games in Durham. Friday, they beat righthander Alex Cobb, who struck out 10 in his Triple-A debut but yielded a two-run homer to Todd Frazier that was enough for Matt Klinker and the Bats bullpen. Saturday, the Bulls got five scoreless innings from reliever-turned-starter Paul Phillips and put away an 8-1 victory with Chris Richard's fourth-inning grand slam off Ben Jukich. In Sunday's finale, J.J. Furmaniak broke up a 2-2 tie with a solo homer in the fifth, and 30-year-old veteran relievers Joe Bateman and Winston Abreu combined for four scoreless innings. Durham advances to its fourth straight Governor's Cup finals, which no team has done since Columbus did in from 1967-70.
Columbus defeated Scranton/Wilkes Barre 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Righthander Yohan Pino provided the pivotal effort in Game Three, tossing seven one-hit, scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory. He out-dueled lefty Kei Igawa, Scranton's career wins leader, who had retired 18 straight batters from the first inning through the seventh. Catcher Luke Carlin, who went 5-for-10 with three doubles and a homer in the series, doubled and scored on a single by Jose Constanza for the game's only run. In the Game Four clincher, the Clippers sent 12 men to the plate in the fourth inning and scored seven runs to turn a 3-2 game into a 10-2 rout and eventual 11-5 victory. Scranton hit six homers in the series but batted just .187 while playing without catcher Jesus Montero, who missed the series after having surgery to treat an infection in his leg. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: Aug. 31-Sept. 7
Placed on suspended list: RHP Wes Roemer
Recalled: RHP Carlos Rosa, LHP Zach Kroenke, 1B Brandon Allen, 2B Tony Abreu, OF Cole Gillespie
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Mike Hampton
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Cristian Beltre, RHP Justin Mace, LHP Ryan Robowski
Reinstated from DL: RHP T.J. Beam, RHP Brett Moorhouse, OF Byron Wiley
Recalled: RHP Kenshin Kawakami, RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Cristhian Martinez, LHP Mike Dunn, LHP Mike Minor
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Scott Proctor, C J.C. Boscan, 1B Freddie Freeman
Removed from 40-man: OF Wilkin Ramirez (Triple-A)
The Braves took a chance on toolsy 24-year-old Wilkin Ramirez at the trade deadline after the Tigers had designated him for assignment. He batted .253/.351/.458 in 83 at-bats for Triple-A Gwinnett after the trade, but the Braves, like the Tigers before them, chose to remove him from the 40-man roster. Ramirez will qualify for minor league free agency in November. [...] Continue Reading »
A team bursting with impact prospects will represent the United States at the 2010 Pan American Qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The team will scrimmage Sept. 25-28 at USA Baseball's National Training Center against teams from Puerto Rico and Canada, then plays in the tournament Oct. 1-10. The event serves as a qualifier for the 2011 Pan Am Games, with the top eight teams earning entry, and the top six teams also qualify for the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup.
The roster includes some of the best prospects in the minor leagues who are not on 40-man rosters, with the Royals contributing six players. Manager Ernie Young (White Sox) can run out a lineup with speedy outfielders Brett Jackson (Cubs) and Mike Trout (Angels), as well as hard-hitting infielders in first baseman Eric Hosmer (Royals), third baseman Mike Moustakas (Royals) and second baseman Cord Phelps (Indians); and ersatile USA Baseball veteran Todd Frazier (Reds), who is listed on the roster as an outfielder and who played for the college national team in 2006. [...] Continue Reading »
Does anyone follow minor league pennant races? Only a noble few. The same seems to go for minor league category leaders, which featured some drama this weekend as the batting, ERA and home run titles came down to the wire. Here's how they finished:
Top 5 finishers:
John Lindsey, 1b, Albuquerque (Dodgers), .353
Brandon Belt, 1b/of, San Jose/Richmond/Fresno (Giants), .352
Stephen Vogt, c/1b, Charlotte (Rays), .345
Kyle Seager, 2b/3b, High Desert (Mariners), .345
Brandon Guyer, of, Tennessee (Cubs), .344
Lindsey was drafted in the 13th round out of a Mississippi high school in 1995—the same year the Rockies drafted another first baseman, Todd Helton. He didn't get out of Class A in that organization and spent a couple of seasons in independent leagues, and until 2007, the only times he had hit .300 were in indy ball and at Triple-A Las Vegas. Last season, Lindsey hit .251/.331/.433 at Triple-A New Orleans. In other words, nothing indicated the 33-year-old was set for a year like he had, even if he did play half his games in Albuquerque's launching pad. Lindsey hit .353/.400/.657 and earned his first big league promotion over the weekend, so he missed the last two games of the Pacific Coast League season, unlike his chief rival in the batting chase, Giants farmhand Brandon Belt. In his first full pro season, Belt couldn't be more different from Lindsey in terms of his resume and obviously is the bigger prospect, but he wasn't able to cap his season with the minor league batting title as he went 2-for-8 to fall to .352 in the season's final weekend. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: Aug. 25-31
We're in full postseason prospect ranking mode, so this installment will be short but sweet.
Recalled: RHP Kenshin Kawakami, RHP Craig Kimbrel, OF Nate McLouth
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Cristhian Martinez
Placed on 7-day DL: 1B Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg
Placed on temporarily inactive list: C Chris Anderson
Reinstated from DL: RHP Jaye Chapman, RHP Arodys Vizcaino, LHP Mariano Gomez, LHP Cole Rohrbough, 3B Wes Timmons
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Armando Gabino
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Cla Meredith, SS Bobby Henson, OF Kieron Pope
Transferred to 60-day DL: C Jordan Wolf
Placed on temporarily inactive list: RHP Josh Dowdy, LHP Nathan Moreau
Reinstated from DL: RHP Josh Perrault, 3B Tyler Stampone, OF Danny Figueroa
Boston Red Sox
Released: OF Jeremy Hermida
Traded: RHP Manny Delcarmen to Rockies for RHP Chris Balcom-Miller
Recalled: RHP Robert Manuel
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Michael Bowden
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Chris Court, 2B Ray Chang, OF Matt Sheely
Placed on temporarily inactive list: RHP Anthony Ranaudo, RHP Brandon Workman, LHP Chris Hernandez
Reinstated from DL: OF Che-Hsuan Lin [...] Continue Reading »
The full-season minor leagues concluded yesterday, so we can unveil our final ranking of the best and worst teams. While we don't have a 94-win juggernaut like last year's Fort Wayne club, it was another Midwest League team that finished with the best record. The Dodgers' low Class A Great Lakes club shot to the front of the line around the all-star break and never relinquished its advantage, finishing with a minors league-leading 90 wins.
DNP = Did Not Play (scheduled games that got canceled)
|TOP 10 FULL-SEASON TEAMS
|1||Great Lakes Loons||90||49||.647||Midwest||LoA||Dodgers||1|
|4||NW Arkansas Naturals||86||54||.614||Texas||AA||Royals||0|
|6||Lakewood BlueClaws||84||55||.604||South Atlantic||LoA||Phillies||1|
|7||Quad Cities River Bandits||83||55||.601||Midwest||LoA||Cardinals||2|
|8||Cedar Rapids Kernels||82||56||.594||Midwest||LoA||Angels||2|
|10||Winston-Salem Dash||81||58||.583||Carolina||HiA||White Sox||1|
Best Of The Best: Durham (AAA), Tennessee (AA), Winston-Salem (HiA) and Great Lakes (LoA)
Great Lakes powered its way to the top with the oldest group of position players in the Midwest League, thanks to a lineup overflowing with college players drafted in 2009. The Loons led the Midwest League in slugging (.431) and finished just eight homers shy of Clinton. They had slugger Jerry Sands long enough for him to hit 18 homers and drive in 46 runs in 69 games. [...] Continue Reading »
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