Hot At The Hot Corner
Profiling the top third basemen in the minors.
Profiling the top third basemen in the minors.
In 1967, two minor league teams broke camp to begin their respective seasons. The Reading Phillies left Clearwater, Fla., for their home in Pennsylvania, a red brick stadium nestled against sloping hills. The Lakeland Tigers stayed right where they were: in the stadium where the parent club had just left spring training. This April the scene will repeat itself, as the Phillies' Double-A squad heads to its Eastern League home, while the Tigers' high Class A team stays in Lakeland as a member of the Florida State League for the 40th time.
Minor leaguers are headed to spring training, and still minor league umpires have no labor agreement.
At the Syracuse SkyChiefs' (International) annual stockholders meeting in November, SkyChiefs board chairman Charlie Rich said one of the team's main priorities was ending its long-running feud with Onondaga County over the team's lease at Alliance Bank Stadium.
For years, Battle Creek's Midwest League franchise has been dogged by rumors of relocation. This time, it's not a rumor.
Tim Bennett spent five years trying to bring affiliated baseball to the Jackson, Miss., area, an effort that eventually paid off with the arrival of the Mississippi Braves last season. Now, he'll see what he can do in Jackson, Tenn.
Deadlines came and went, but in the end the opportunity to place a team in Skylands Park was enough of a prize to the Can-Am League to be worth shuffling their schedule. The league added a Sussex County team, which hasn't been named yet, in early January. A week later, the Elmira Pioneers, who finished last in the league in attendance in 2005 (1,207 fans a game), shut down for 2006, handing their schedule over to the new team.
For as humdrum as the Rule 5 draft was this year, there were a few interesting players who now find themselves under the pressure of staying on the big league roster all season. Only 12 players were chosen in the major league phase, with the Marlins taking advantage to further add pieces to their rebuilding process.
Wheaton College is hardly a baseball factory. The former all-women's school only went co-ed 16 years ago, didn't field a varsity baseball team until 1998 and is presently a Division III program competing in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference. Yet the minute Chris Denorfia set foot on this bucolic campus located in the woods of Norton, Mass., he never doubted he could make his major league dreams come true.
The Kane County Cougars have established a long track record of success both on and off the field since their debut in 1991. With Elfstrom Stadium being located in the western suburbs of Chicago, less than 45 miles from the homes of both the Cubs and White Sox, the Cougars have been one of the better success stories in the low Class A Midwest League, drawing more than 500,000 paying customers in each of the last five years.
John Manuel takes questions about his prospect rankings.
While we rank a lot of things, what we're known best for ranking is minor league players. With our Top 10 Prospects completed on the web, and with our Prospect Handbook already out (its earliest release date ever), our Top 100 Prospects rankings can't be far behind. To help sate the need for rankings, here's my take at the top prospects broken down by position, after digesting the work of our staff and correspondents in the Handbook. The deeper the position, the more players I ranked.
Surpluses of talent at certain positions will lead to some interesting battles during spring training.
The Devil Rays have started to build pitching depth, after years of struggling to find pitchers.
Baseball America's 17th annual Top 100 Prospects list is based on each player's long-term major league value, a combination of his upside and his likelihood of reaching that ceiling.
This year's edition of the Prospect Handbook contained a record 902 scouting reports—we crammed 2005 first-round picks Justin Upton and Mike Pelfrey into the appendix after they signed late—but there still were plenty more where those came from. Every year, a few reports end up on the cutting-room floor. Players get bumped out of the book for a variety of reasons, such as trades or injuries. Then there's a case like the Marlins, who spent the offseason trading veterans for prospects, leading us to revise their top 30 list several times. Below are 42 players, listed alphabetically, who were in the Handbook at one point but didn't make the final cut. We like to call them "The 31st Team."
Jim Callis took your questions about the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list.
Where did the top 100 prospects come from? We mined the data and have the answers for you.
A year ago, it was Jeff Fiorentino and not No. 1 prospect Nick Markakis who got the call to the big leagues for three weeks when Sammy Sosa went down with an injury. How times have changed during this year's big league camp.
High Class A Wilmington has always been known as a perennial playoff contender since joining the Carolina League in 1993 as a Royals affiliate. With the likes of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and Zack Greinke, the Blue Rocks won the Northern Division eight times, and advanced to the Mills Cup finals four times. But the Rocks struggled in 2005 in their first season as an affiliate of the Red Sox, though that is likely to change this season with a pair of 2005 first-round picks and the return of first baseman Ian Bladergroen.