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Prospect Handbook Is A Labor Of Love

Will Lingo -Premium Content

This is the sixth edition of the Prospect Handbook, and in many ways it's our most ambitious undertaking. We figure assembling the top 30 prospects for an organization—from research to interviews and writing—takes about a work week. Then there's editing, adding statistics, laying out, cutting text, proofreading . . . There's a reason it's the best book of its kind: because a lot of people care passionately about what goes into it. Getting the best baseball information, using just the right word, making sure it all looks nice and is fun to read. Everyone plays a part in making sure this happens on page after page.

Minors | #2006#Column

Phils Move Could Start Scramble

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The instability surrounding the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, which we've written about several times in the past couple of years, looks like it will finally cost the club its most valuable asset after the 2006 season: the affiliation with the Phillies.

Minors | #2006#Column

Minor League Markets In Short Supply

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The name of the game for minor league owners these days is revenue, especially those who have entered the business in the last decade and have laid out millions of dollars for their franchises. That's why the trend of recent years has been to leave behind smaller cities—and even those larger cities that aren't willing to build new ballparks—for greener pastures, sweeter ballpark deals and bigger crowds. The scarcity of viable markets has become evident in the last year or two, though, raising questions about when the attendance boom might level off. It sure hasn't stopped yet, with overall minor league attendance breaking the all-time record in each of the last two years.

Minors | #2006#Column

There’s Nothing Like The Winter Meetings

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Winter Meetings are a great event for anyone who enjoys baseball, what with most of the significant decision-makers in the game gathering in one place. Walking through the hotel lobby, you never know who you might run into. But the meetings are particularly enjoyable for us in the BA world because it's a chance for us to shine and see the industry on so many different levels.

Minors | #2005#Column

BA’s Work Heats Up During Offseason

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Among the games most people care about—those in the major and minor leagues in North America—you have game action for seven months out of the year. What in the heck do we do for those other five months? We crank out even more baseball information than we do the rest of the year.

Minors | #2005#Column

Ripken Machine Picks Up Steam

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Nothing Cal Ripken Jr. does off the baseball field will ever reach the stature of what he accomplished on the field, but his off-field endeavors have been much more than a retirement hobby. Ripken Baseball is the company Ripken put together after his retirement, and he has surrounded himself with capable people. Now Ripken Baseball is growing into a significant force in minor league and youth baseball, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Minors | #2005#Column

Indy Movement Harkens Back To Crazy Early Days

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Is it any wonder that so many minor league executives find independent baseball more fun than the affiliated minor leagues? Over the last couple of months, we've watched and waited—and waited and waited—as Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball try to figure out if they're going to make changes to their player-development and scouting system. Meanwhile in independent baseball, a couple of weeks ago everything was quietly moving ahead toward next season. Then the new United League suddenly started grabbing franchises away from the established Central League in Texas. And then the real indy story broke. Three longtime members of the Northern League, including the flagship St. Paul Saints franchise, announced they were leaving, for destinations unknown. Now that's what I call action.

Minors | #2005#Column

Minor League Stats Take Leap Forward

Will Lingo -Premium Content

We've been to the source and have seen the way stats were collected this season. And we were impressed. For those of you who haven't followed the minor league stat soap opera day by day, we had our third official statistician in three years this season. After Howe Sportsdata (now Sportsticker) had the contract for years, Minor League Baseball awarded it to the Sports Network for the 2004 season.

Minors | #2005#Column

Changes Should Spur Creative Ideas

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The player-development changes being pushed through by Major League Baseball have stimulated hours of discussion and debate in the halls of Baseball America. Imagine the possibilities. A scouting combine? A revamped short-season schedule? Instructional league for every team? It will change the way we cover the game, and the way you follow it. The inevitable questions we come to, though, are: Are these changes going to do what they're designed to do? Are there more ideas or different ideas that could do more? And in the end, are teams going to go for it?

Minors | #2005#Column

Major Shakeup In Minors Looks Likely

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Since we first heard rumors about possible changes to the draft and the structure of the short-season level of the minor leagues, Baseball America reporters have called more than 20 people who work in the game, from agents to general managers to scouting and farm directors to minor league presidents to Major League Baseball officials. So while a lot of details remain unclear, one thing seems unmistakable—changes are afoot.

Minors | #2005#Column

Eleven Suspended For Steroids

Kevin Goldstein -

Major League Baseball announced 11 more minor leaguers from four organizations have been suspended after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances, headlined by three players with major league experience, a highly-regarded White Sox prospect, and a former Japanese League player. All 11 are first-time offenders and received 15 game suspensions.

Minors | #2005#Prospect Bulletin

Rickey Henderson Signs Indy League Contract

Kirk Kenney -

SAN DIEGO—The San Diego Surf Dawgs begin spring training Monday in Arizona as they prepare for the inaugural season of the Golden Baseball League. Manager Terry Kennedy has 32 players in camp competing for 24 spots on the independent team's roster, but Kennedy already has found a good candidate to bat leadoff: Rickey Henderson.

Minors | #2005#Independent Audit