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Cool Rays

Ben Badler -Premium Content

If all goes according to plan—though that rarely happens in baseball—Tampa Bay's 2004 draft could go down as one of the best drafts of the decade. The Rays used the fourth overall pick that year on Jeff Niemann, a 6-foot-9 righthander from Rice with a mid-90s fastball and a power curve. Niemann made his debut on April 13 for the Rays, allowing one run in six innings on five strikeouts and one walk. In the second round, the Rays grabbed Louisiana high school shortstop Reid Brignac, who was No. 39 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list coming into the season.

Minors | #2008#Classification Reports#Double-A

Worth Staying

Ron Leonardi -Premium Content

Danny Worth's nine-game stay with Double-A Erie late last season produced the highlight of his baseball career. It came on the final day of the regular season after the SeaWolves clinched the Eastern League Southern Division regular season championship, the club's first since 2001.

Minors | #2008#Classification Reports#Double-A

Hello Springdale

Alan Eskew -Premium Content

Wichita will no longer be stomping grounds for Royals farmhands. Springdale, Ark., which in July 2006 passed a referendum by 13 votes to fund a minor league stadium, will be the new home of the Royals' Double-A affiliate, which will call itself the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Minors | #2008#Classification Reports#Double-A

Double-A Report

Josh Cooper -Premium Content

Double-A Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman has an interesting way to describe Braves' lefthanded-hitting outfielder Brandon Jones' swing. "It's like when you look at a piece of art and it is beautiful and you can't understand why," Wellman said. "That is how his swing is. You can't pinpoint why it is more beautiful than others, but you can tell that it is."

Minors | #2007#Classification Reports#Double-A