Here we present official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period Sept. 18-24.
Signed: RHP Chaz Roe (Laredo (American Association)), RHP Kyle Schepel (Rockford (Frontier))
Recalled: OF A.J. Pollock
Added to 40-man roster: 1B Mike Jacobs
Designated for assignment: OF Cole Gillespie
Reinstated from DL: RHP Robbie Buller, RHP Teofilo Gutierrez, RHP D.J. Johnson, RHP Juan Valdez, LHP John Pedrotty, C Fidel Pena, 2B Matt Jensen, SS Wladimir Sutil, OF Marc Bourgeois, OF Ollie Linton
A.J. Pollock won MVP honors for both the Pacific Coast League playoffs (.333 with six extra-base hits, six runs and six RBIs in nine games) and the Triple-A National Championship Game (2-for-5, triple, double, two runs). The 24-year-old batted .318/.369/.411 in 428 at-bats with three homers, 25 doubles and 21 steals for Reno this season.
Signed: RHP Osman Manzanares, RHP Evertz Orozco
Reinstated from DL: RHP Brett Cammons, RHP Cody Martin, RHP Jarett Miller, RHP Benino Pruneda, RHP Jason Rice, RHP Andrew Wilson, LHP Oriel Caicedo, LHP Yean Carlos Gil, LHP Alex Wood, C Christian Bethancourt, 3B Barrett Kleinknecht, OF Collin DeLome, OF Matt Lipka, OF Jordan Parraz
Recalled: RHP Dylan Bundy
Assigned to Arizona Fall League: RHP Clay Schrader, RHP Mike Wright, LHP Mike Belfiore, LHP Chris Petrini, C Brian Ward, 2B Jonathan Schoop, OF L.J. Hoes [...] Continue Reading »
With two qualifiers in the books, the World Baseball Classic has two more qualifying tournaments to play in November before setting its final 16-team field. Where those 16 clubs will play also has been finalized.
In a press release Tuesday, World Baseball Classic Inc., announced WBC first-round four-team pools will be held in Japan, Puerto Rico and Taiwan in addition to Phoenix. The second round of the tournament will be held at Marlins Park in Miami and in Tokyo, while the finals will be held in San Francisco's AT&T Park.
By Josh Chetwynd
REGENSBURG, GERMANY—Team Canada left no doubt that it deserved a return trip to the main draw of the World Baseball Classic, roughing up Germany 11-1 in the final of this World Baseball Classic qualifier.
Canada needed just eight innings to earn the victory as the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule. The victory capped a remarkable three-game run for Canada, which outscored opponents 38-9 and slammed nine home runs.
The top four hitters in Canada’s lineup came through for the third straight game. All four crossed the plate In the bottom of the first, with the key blow coming from two-hole hitter Chris Robinson (Orioles), who smacked a two-run home run to left field. The following inning, back-to-back doubles by No. 3 hitter Tim Smith (Braves) and cleanup hitter Jimmy Van Ostrand (Nationals), and a two-run home run from Adam Loewen (Mets) ran the score to 7-0 and left little hope for a Germany comeback.
Andrew Albers (Twins), whose past Team Canada heroics include a win in the gold medal contest at the 2011 Pan American Games, delivered a stellar performance against Germany. The lefthander worked both sides of the plate all evening, mixing in a high-80s fastball with a biting slider to dominate German hitters. Albers went six innings and allowed only one run on two hits. He walked three and struck out nine.
"We came here knowing that we had to win three games and we accomplished our goal," Canadian manager Ernie Whitt said. "I can't say enough about this team—they're gamers, they're guys that play hard with pride and passion.
"It makes my job easy as a manager and we're just happy that we're moving on."
The only damage Germany could muster was a solo home run from Aaron Altherr (Phillies) in the fifth inning.
For Canada, the result means a large group of Canadian major leaguers will be returning to the WBC. That list likely includes Justin Morneau, who contacted some members of Team Canada to wish encouragement in the run-up to this tournament, along with Joey Votto, Ryan Dempster, John Axford, Brett Lawrie and Russell Martin. Several members of the current squad will also be included in the final WBC roster, Whitt said.
One player who made an argument for inclusion was Van Ostrand, who went 7-for-13 with four home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs. Other standouts included Robinson, who went 5-for-11; Tyson Gillies (Phillies) and Loewen each went 7-for-14.
The final result was a disappointment for host country Germany, as coach Greg Frady wound up making a choice that didn't work out at all. His starter, 27-year-old German league lefthander Andre Hughes, lasted just 1 1/3 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on four hits and three walks. One bright spot on the mound was Will Ohman (White Sox), who threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
By Josh Chetwynd
REGENSBURG, GERMANY—Team Germany earned a rematch with Canada in the finals of this World Cup Qualifier and almost did it in historic style, beating Great Britain on Sunday 16-1 in a mercy rule-shortened seven-inning elimination contest.
German pitcher Enorbel Marquez Ramirez, who pitches in the Italian League in Rimini, took a no-hitter into the final inning, but lost it when Albert Cartwright (Phillies) chopped a single to left field to lead off the last frame. It would have been just the second no-hitter in World Baseball Classic history (the first coming from Shairon Martis for the Netherlands against Panama in the 2006 edition).
The host Germans play Canada at 1 p.m. ET with a spot in the 16-team field of the March 2013 WBC on the line.
By the time that drama unfolded, the game was already far out of reach. Germany struck immediately in the top of the first thanks to their first four hitters, who all reached base. A single by Donald Lutz (Reds) and sacrifice flies by Aaron Altherr (Phillies) and Jake Shaffer (Cardinals) scored a run apiece.
From that 3-0 lead, the game was never in doubt. Marquez Ramirez, whose fastball sat consistently around 88 mph, mixed in an array of breaking pitches that kept the British hitters off balance. In seven innings of work, the lefthander conceded just two hits and one unearned run, while striking out eight batters. [...] Continue Reading »
After losing to Spain on Saturday, South Africa manager and Athletics scout Rick Magnante said that Israel was the favorite in Sunday's championship game of the Jupiter World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament "hands down." He added, “That’s not to be disparaging to Spain, and anything can happen in one game. But Israel is the better team and has better pitching. They are like a Double-A or Triple-A All-Star team.”
But Spain manager Mauro Mazzotti took offense when Magnante's comments were relayed to him, saying, “He better think about beating Spain before he talks. He better mind his business.”
Mazzotti's team then backed up his tough words. Spain battled back from a first-inning 2-0 deficit against Israel and didn't fold after giving back a late lead. Then Spain rallied in the 10th inning, getting a two-run, two-out single by shortstop Yunesky Sanchez and holding on to beat Israel 9-7 and win the tournament. Spain qualifies for the 16-team main World Baseball Classic field, which begins in March. [...] Continue Reading »
By Walter Villa
JUPITER, Fla.—It came as no shock that Spain routed a tired and relatively inexperienced South African team, 13-3, Saturday night. But what did come as a bit of a surprise was a post-game comment by South Africa manager Rick Magnante.
Asked who would win Sunday’s 5 p.m. World Baseball Classic qualifying championship game between Israel and Spain, Magnante refused to be politically correct.
“Israel, hands down,” he said. “That’s not to be disparaging to Spain, and anything can happen in one game. But Israel is the better team and has better pitching. They are like a Double-A or Triple-A All-Star team.”
Spain manager Mauro Mazzotti seemed to take offense at Magnante’s assessment.
“He better think about beating Spain before he talks,” Mazzotti said. “He better mind his business.” [...] Continue Reading »
By Walter Villa
JUPITER, Fla.—After six failed tries, South Africa won its first-ever World Baseball Classic game Saturday—but it wasn’t easy.
The game, which had been scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Friday, finally ended 21 hours and three rain delays later as South Africa defeated France, 5-2, in 11 innings. The actual time of the game, sans delays, was 3:57.
“This was a very large and memorable win for South Africa,” said manager Rick Magnante. “You never forget your first, whether it’s your first girlfriend, prom or fill in the blank.” [...] Continue Reading »
By Josh Chetwynd
REGENSBURG, GERMANY—Team Canada put on an offensive fireworks show, slamming five home runs en route to a 16-7 victory over Germany Saturday night in this World Baseball Classic Olympic Qualifier.
The win books Canada a spot in the finals and puts them tantalizing close to return to the WBC’s main draw, in which Major League Baseball stars such as Justin Morneau, Joey Votto, Ryan Dempster and Brett Lawrie are likely candidates to participate. [...] Continue Reading »
By Walter Villa
JUPITER, Fla.–France shortstop Max Lefevre, talking to the media during Saturday’s World Baseball Classic rain delay, said few people in his country know anything about baseball.
France manager Jim Stoeckel hopes this qualifier tournament at Roger Dean Stadium can help change that. "I've been going to Europe coaching and scouting for 30 years," said Steockel, the Reds' global scouting coordinator. "The French guys have never played in a tournament like this. The European championships are not quite like this. It doesn't have the build-up, the publicity.
“I think the greatest benefit for these guys is when they go back to where they’re from and they tell people about this.” [...] Continue Reading »
By Walter Villa
JUPITER, Fla.—Nothing was accomplished, the quality of play was less than stellar, but no one can say that Friday night’s World Baseball Classic qualifier between France and South Africa was uneventful.
The game, which was tied, 2-2, was suspended at 12:54 a.m. due to rain. Then the lights went out at Roger Dean Stadium—and in the press box—at 12:59 a.m.
That was after a two hour, 18-minute rain delay prior to the start of the game and a 26-minute interruption in the fifth inning. [...] Continue Reading »
JUPITER, Fla.—Former big league manager Tony La Russa, who sat behind home plate Friday afternoon, had to be impressed with Nate Freiman, who has now hit four homers in two games.
Freiman, a first baseman and a San Diego Padres’ Double-A prospect, hit a pair of two-run shots Friday to lead Israel to a 4-2 victory over Spain in a World Baseball Classic qualifier that drew 814 fans. Israel advanced to Sunday’s 5 p.m. title game and will play Spain, South Africa or France for the right to advance to the WBC main draw in March.
Righthander Justin Schumer (Giants) got the win, allowing just one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings. But he may not have gotten the victory had it not been for the tower of power that is 6-foot-7, 225-pound Freiman.
“If Nate keeps hitting, there will be no stopping him,” said Israel manager Brad Ausmus, a former big-league catcher who is now a special assistant for the Padres. “The organization is definitely watching Nate. I received a text after the first game from Josh Byrnes, the (Padres) general manager, and he said: ‘Tell Nate to keep raking.’ I’m guessing I’ll get a similar text tonight.”
With the game scoreless in the sixth, Israel’s Ben Guez reached on a three-base error by Spain center fielder Engel Beltre. Spain starter Richard Salazar struck out Joc Pederson before Freiman crushed a 2-1 pitch to left field. The one-out line drive left the park in a hurry.
Spain scored a run in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Paco Figueroa and Rafael Alvarez and an error by Israel center fielder Guez. But reliever David Kopp (Tigers) came in to end the two-on, two-out rally by striking out Gabriel Suarez looking.
Freiman padded Israel’s lead to 4-1 with a homer to center that had a lot more loft than his line-drive shot to left in the sixth.
Team Spain scored a run in the bottom of the ninth on a groundout—the key hit in the inning was a leadoff double to right-center by Adrian Nieto (Nationals)—but it wasn’t enough.
Spain, which will play the South Africa-France winner Saturday night at 7, is favored to get a rematch with Israel on Sunday. This time, though, it might be well advised to pitch around Freiman, who has remained humble about his power exploits.
Freiman, who turns 26 on New Year’s Eve, was asked about potentially making the jump from Double A to the majors this spring. “I’m confident that (the Padres) have an idea of what I can do,” he said. “I’ve played every day for them for four years and never had to share time. My goal is to come to spring training strong and healthy and let the organization decide.”
REGENSBURG, GERMANY—Germany made a statement Friday night in a 16-1 six-inning mercy rule victory over Czech Republic.
Perhaps highly favored Canada may have some competition to win this World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
Stocked with professional players Max Kepler (Twins), who signed with Minnesota for a European record $800,000 in 2009; Donald Lutz (Reds), Aaron Altherr (Phillies) and Matt Weaver (Braves), Germany’s lineup jumped on Czech starter Michal Sobotka in the first. Former Astros’ farmhand Eric Suttle (Gary, American Association) led off the game with a double and following a hit by pitch, Kepler laced a triple down the right-field line to plate two. He would later score to put the home team up 3-0.
But just like the night before, when Great Britain hung tough with Canada for a handful of innings before giving way, Sobotka, relying on movement from his high 70s fastball and his change-up in the 60s, held Germany hitters in check for the next three innings. At the same time, Germany got a stellar performance from Mike Bolsenbroek, a former Phillies minor leaguer who put up solid numbers in his three-year career (2-4, 2.55 ERA, four saves in 74 innings). The righthander would last 5 1/3 innings, giving up one unearned run on five hits and two walks. He’d also strike out five batters, often challenging them with a fastball that topped out at 90 mph.
The close contest was blown open in the fifth inning, when Germany hit around thanks to a combination of sloppy Czech pitching (three walks) and defense (an error) and a grand slam home run by Weaver, which combined to spark an eight-run frame. The following inning, Germany applied a conservative approach on the base paths, refusing to take extra bases on balls hit in the gap. Nevertheless, they easily tacked on five more runs to seal the shortened victory.
All told, nine different German batters connected for at least one hit with Suttle (2-for-4 with 2 runs) having the only multiple hit day. For the Czechs, both Mike Cervenak (Marlins) and Martin Drong went 2-2.
The result sets up an intriguing contest between Canada and Germany (7 p.m. local time) in the winner’s bracket. Both teams won with a mercy rule victory in their opener. Great Britain and Czech Republic will square off in the afternoon (1 p.m. local time) in an elimination game.
By Walter Villa
JUPITER, Fla.—The co-favorites at this week’s World Baseball Classic qualifier at Roger Dean Stadium—the ones with rosters loaded with imports—are set for a showdown on Friday afternoon.
That became official Thursday night, when Spain routed France, 8-0, getting 16 hits before 975 fans. Israel beat South Africa, 7-3, Wednesday night and will be well-rested against Spain.
Manager Mauro Mazzotti, who is a native of Italy and the Astros’ European scouting coordinator, showed how concerned he was with Spain’s quick turnaround by his first comments at the post-game press conference.
“The bus picks up at 9 a.m. tomorrow,” he said, “so, please, make your questions straight to the point.”
The winner of Friday’s 1 p.m. game automatically advances to Sunday’s 5 p.m. title game. The loser would play South Africa or France on Saturday night, with that winner advancing to the final.
“There is no second place in this tournament,” Israel manager Brad Ausmus said of his goal of making the WBC’s main draw in March. “We need to win.” [...] Continue Reading »
By Josh Chetwynd
REGENSBURG, Germany – For a while in Canada’s opening game against Great Britain at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, it looked like the British might throw a scare into its more established baseball foe. But by the time it was all over on Thursday order was restored as favored Canada ultimately cruised to an 11-1 mercy rule victory in seven innings.
Canada jumped out to a quick lead off Britain lefthander Chris Reed (Dodgers) in the first inning. Chris Robinson (Orioles) coaxed a one-out walk and Tim Smith (Braves) followed with a single to left field. Great Britain appeared to catch a break when Robinson tried for third base on the hit and the throw from left fielder B.J. Ropert-Hubbert beat the runner handily. But Robinson sidestepped the tag and ended up on the base with Britain’s third baseman Michael Johnson (Sonoma, North American League) being charged with an error. Robinson then came home on a Reed wild pitch, and Smith would later score to give Canada a 2-0 lead.
After that, both sides ran into some good pitching. Canada’s starter, former major league righthander Shawn Hill (Blue Jays), dominated. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and zero walks. His only mistake of the game was a hanging slider to Albert Cartwright (Phillies), who slammed a solo home run down the left-field line in the sixth. [...] Continue Reading »
By Walter Villa
JUPITER, Fla.—Israel made its World Baseball Classic debut Wednesday night with a 7-3 victory over South Africa, giving fans back home and Jewish people everywhere something additional to celebrate.
The game, played during the Jewish High Holy Days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, was attended by a mostly pro-Israel crowd. The Hebrew folk song “Hava Nagila” was played on the organ at Roger Dean Stadium almost every half-inning, delighting the crowd of 1,581.
But while Israel advanced to the winners’ bracket of the four-team, double-elimination WBC qualifier, South Africa can also claim a victory of sorts. South Africa has a team with 27 of its 28 players coming from its homeland. That’s in stark contrast to Israel, which brought 25 Americans to Jupiter in hopes of eventually growing the game back home. The lone native of Israel on the team, righthander Shlomo Lipetz, got one out and walked three in South Africa's three-run ninth.
Given the experience advantage held by Israel—ostensibly the tournament favorite—South Africa did fairly well, especially early. [...] Continue Reading »
Here we present official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period Sept. 11-17.
Placed on 7-day DL: SS Wladimir Sutil
Reinstated from DL: 3B Matt Mangini
Signed: RHP Evertz Alvarado, C Alvaro Maradiaga
Added to 40-man roster: OF Endy Chavez, OF L.J. Hoes
Removed from 40-man: 2B Ryan Adams (outrighted to Triple-A)
Reinstated from DL: RHP Bobby Bundy, RHP Eun Chul Choi, RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Ivan Hernandez, RHP Matt Hobgood, RHP Dan Klein, RHP Oscar Melendez, RHP Jose Mota, RHP Ryan O'Shea, RHP Joel Pineiro, RHP Jose Rivera, LHP Casey Lambert, LHP Rich Rundles, LHP Matt Taylor, LHP Ashur Tolliver, LHP Aaron Wirsch, C Zach Booker, C Kyle Moore, C Pedro Perez, C Joel Polanco, C Jason Stifler, C Scott Thomas, 1B Aaron Baker, 1B Nicky Delmonico, 1B Christian Walker, 2B Austin Knight, OF Scott Beerer, OF Trent Mummey, OF Mike Planeta, OF John Ruettiger
The Orioles selected 22-year-old center fielder L.J. Hoes as the organization's minor league player of the year and rewarded him with a September callup. He spent the season with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk and batted .287/.372/.388 in 513 at-bats with 35 extra-base hits and 20 steals in 133 games. [...] Continue Reading »
Less than six months after he threw his first pro pitch, Dylan Bundy is headed to the big leagues.
|In the early days of the draft it wasn't all that unusual for a high school pitcher to make his big league debut either the same year he was drafted or the next year. But Bundy will become the first pitcher in more than 20 years to make such a quick ascent to the majors.|
|1990||Todd Van Poppel|
The minors top pitching prospect was called just an hour after the Orioles finished a marathon 18-inning win over the Mariners. That extra-inning game required the Orioles to use its bullpen for 12 2/3 innings. Needing pitching help, the Orioles, who had previously said they wouldn't call up their prized prospect, decided that they needed the help. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Bundy's call to the big leagues.
The Orioles have limited Bundy's innings this year, especially early in the year with the idea that they would be allowed to pitch more extended innings later in the season. Bundy was limited to three innings an outing for his first three starts and didn't pitch into the sixth inning until August.
"We're very conservative on the front end," Orioles pitching coordinator Rick Peterson told Baseball America in April . "At the back end (of the season), he'll be a normal pitcher."
Of course it's not normal for a 19-year-old to get to the big leagues, but Bundy would appear to be the Orioles' best option for pitching help. He went 9-3, 2.08 in 103.2 innings between three levels, striking out 119 and walking just 23. He also won a Sept. 5 start against Akron in the Eastern League playoffs while pitching for Double-A Bowie.
Bundy has the best stuff in the organization, including the big league staff, with a high 90s mph fastball, a plus curveball and a changeup that went from an afterthought in spring training to a weapon by midseason. He also showed an excellent cutter in high school, one that some scouts project as a plus pitch, but the Orioles have not yet allowed him to throw it as a pro.
Rays minor league lefthander Brett Blaise will sit out the first 50 games of 2013 without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance. Tampa Bay signed the 22-year-old as a nondrafted free agent from Belhaven (Miss.) in June, and he made eight relief appearances in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, striking out 16, walking 12 and running up an 8.36 ERA in 14 innings.
Italy and the Netherlands traditionally have the top baseball programs in Europe. The Dutch won the 2011 World Cup, becoming the first European nation to win a senior-level tournament in the professional era of international baseball (since 1998).
Italy entered the 2012 European Championships as the defending champion, and repeated this year by beating the Netherlands 8-3 in Sunday's championship in Rotterdam. The Italians pounded 12 hits off three Dutch pitchers of note—ex-big leaguer Shairon Martis, Reds prospect J.C. Sulbaran and Twins righty Tom Stuifbergen.
Italy got three RBIs from national team stalwart Mario Chiarini and four hits from fellow veteran outfielder Lorenzo Avagnina in the clincher. Giants farmhand Tyler LaTorre had a pair of RBIs as well to back former Coastal Carolina righty and ex-Orioles farmhand John Mariotti, who went six innings and gave up three hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out six.
The Italians went 5-0 in pool play, outscoring opponents 45-4, then went 5-0 in the medal round. LaTorre went 8-for-12 in the tournament overall. He told the Santa Cruz (Calif.) Sentinel, "We had one goal and that was to repeat as European champs." He added that he hoped to be part of Italy's next club, the March 2013 WBC team.
WBC qualifier nations Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Great Britain and France all participated in the Euros before heading off to the WBCs. Spain finished third, ahead of Germany (fourth) and the Czechs (fifth). Sweden, which was not invited to the WBC, finished sixth—ahead of Great Britain and France, which went 2-4 apiece in pool play and did not qualify for the medal round.
J.J. Cooper filled you in on the Astros' dramatic turnaround in terms of minor league winning percentage. In this post, we'll take things a step further and call attention to the various minor league champions and the most successful parent organizations.
The standings table below ranks all 30 organizations by the cumulative winning percentage of their domestic farm clubs. The +/- category indicates the difference between wins and losses—games above or below .500. A + indicates an organization with seven affiliates instead of six.
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