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Tribe Shuts Down Top Prospect

Chris Kline -

Indians righthander Adam Miller will miss at least the first two months of the season after being shut down with a strained elbow. Miller, the Tribe's No. 1 prospect, felt discomfort after throwing a bullpen four days after arriving at the club's spring training complex in Winter Haven, Fla.

Minors | #2005#Prospect Bulletin

Minor Teams Always Make Do

Will Lingo -Premium Content

When it rains at a minor league ballpark, the entire staff usually gets out on the field to pull the tarp. If there's a bunch of pizza left over at the end of the night, many teams will send employees into the stands to sell it off at a bargain price. When one team is displaced from its park after a catastrophic event like a hurricane, other teams are happy to help out. Minor league adaptability is not a new phenomenon, of course.

Minors | #2005#Column

Second Surgery For L.A.’s Miller

John Manuel -

In 2003, the top lefthanders in the minor leagues were Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir and a late-bloomer in the Dodgers system, 18-year-old Greg Miller. While Hamels and Kazmir had lengthy amateur resumes, Miller was a relative unknown who was throwing in the mid-80s late in his high school career. A tweak here, some better conditioning there, and Miller started pumping mid-90s lightning while throwing three other pitches for strikes.

Minors | #2005#Prospect Bulletin

New Teams Keep Texas League Crowds Rolling In

Will Lingo -Premium Content

After last season, Texas League president Tom Kayser knew his league would have to move forward without its flagship franchise. The Round Rock Express, arguably the best Double-A franchise ever, would move up to the Pacific Coast League in 2005. The league might never find one franchise that's the equal of the Express, but its combination of two new franchises might mean the league is even better. The Corpus Christi Hooks have replaced the Express, and the former El Paso Diablos have moved to Springfield, Mo., and become the Cardinals. And while it's still early, both franchises were averaging better than 7,000 fans a night in April. Round Rock (9,846 a night) and El Paso (3,422) averaged a little over 13,000 fans combined last year.

Minors | #2005#Column

Nightmare In Portland Nearing An End

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Pacific Coast League may finally be ready to emerge from its Portland quagmire. The league has a buyer for the team lined up and has hired a new president/general manager for the operation. The process of closing the deal will still be complicated, but by the end of the season the Portland Beavers will be a healthy franchise again.

Minors | #2005#Column

Greenville Starts Over With Bombers

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Greenville, S.C., was without minor league baseball for about five months before it found a team to replace the Greenville Braves. Local fans will hardly notice because the new team will take the field at Municipal Stadium on Opening Day. The Southern League franchise has moved south and will take up residence in Pearl, Miss., as the Mississippi Braves this season. And after Minor League Baseball decided in February who could take over the Greenville territory, the former Capital City Bombers have driven the moving trucks up Interstate 26 from Columbia, S.C.

Minors | #2005#Column

Tulsa Celebrates A Century Of Baseball

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Texas League's Tulsa Drillers will celebrate the 100th anniversary of baseball in the city with a year's worth of promotions and remembrances in 2005. The Tulsa Oilers took the field in the Class C Missouri Valley League in 1905; Oklahoma became a state two years later. Baseball in Tulsa has been tied to the oil industry from the beginning, which is appropriate because the city is so intimately tied to oil as well. The city's team has been known as the Oilers and Drillers in all but one of its seasons—1914, when it was called the Producers, still another oil tie.

Minors | #2005#Column

Hamels Out Up To Three Months Following Altercation

John Manuel and Will Kimmey -

Going into 2004, Cole Hamels was the Phillies' top prospect and one of the top lefthanders in the minor leagues. But after missing most of 2004 with biceps tendintis, Hamels will have his 2005 comeback delayed. He broke the fifth metacarpal—the long bone in the palm of the hand that leads to the pinkie finger—in his left (throwing) hand during an altercation over the weekend in Clearwater, Fla.

Minors | #2005#Prospect Bulletin

Mayor Looks For Ballpark Tenants

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Ozark, Mo., a city with a practically new ballpark, has no team to play in it. This trend could grow in the coming years, as the ballpark arms race escalates and cities find out the park they just built won't cut it anymore.

Minors | #2005#Column