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Swimming Upstream

Jim Callis -Premium Content

We don't get as many first-hand looks at players as the teams do, but we do spend hours upon hours talking to scouting directors, crosscheckers, area scouts and coaches, plus we have additional history (showcases, college performance, summer leagues) to go on. Our Top 200 reflects a consensus of opinion within the industry, and swimming against that tide has been dangerous.

Minors | #2008#Column

A Great Time Of The Year

Will Lingo -

I feel like I say this at every time of year, but this is an absolutely great time of year to be a Baseball American. Professional baseball is in full swing, with prospects and young players either stepping forward and stepping back, and it's the culmination of the year for two signature areas of BA coverage, with the draft and the College World Series. It's amazing how far we've come with the draft being televised, and Baseball America's Jim Callis being part of the broadcast, and national coverage of super regionals leading up to Omaha as well.

Minors | #2008#Column

Freidrich Catches Callis’ Eye

Jim Callis -Premium Content

I've been staging hypothetical 10-round drafts in this space since 2003, and last year my best pick ever fell right into my lap. I randomly drew the 11th selection in each round, and sitting there waiting for me was Georgia high school outfielder Jason Heyward. He's now tearing up the low Class A South Atlantic League for the Braves as an 18-year-old, quickly becoming one of the game's best prospects. Here's who I picked this year.

Minors | #2008#Column

One Shining Moment

John Manuel -Premium Content

Now Bucknell beating Florida State in baseball—that's an upset. And on the first day of the 2008 regionals, it happened, with Bucknell shutting out the host Seminoles, winning 7-0 at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida State was shut out for the first time all season.

College | #2008#Column

A War With No Point

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Minor League Baseball's war against independent baseball has claimed another victim. In case you missed the news, Mike Veeck has decided to divest himself of all his interests in affiliated minor league teams, so he can concentrate on indy ball instead.

Minors | #2008#Column

Falling Short

John Manuel -Premium Content

This wasn't a particularly pretty year for Baseball America's preseason Top 25, with three of our top four teams in the preseason—UCLA, Arizona and Mississippi—falling out of the rankings completely by April. Let's take a look at where we—and more importantly five of these teams—went wrong.

College | #2008#Column

UnACCeptable

John Manuel -Premium Content

The Atlantic Coast Conference ain't what it used to be. The league expanded this decade in two stages, from a nine-team league to a 12-team super-conference. Football drove the expansion, of course, as Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech joined the league. Since then, Wake Forest—one of the smallest Division I football programs in the country—has played in the Bowl Championship Series, while Miami and Florida State (added in 1992) have slipped from national powers to mediocrity.

College | #2008#Column

On The Move

Will Lingo -Premium Content

We recently celebrated another anniversary here at Baseball America. Now usually you just mark the big ones, like the 20th and 25th in issues of recent years, but the odd-numbered ones are no less important. For 27 years we've been doing exactly what founding editor Allan Simpson set out to do in the fall of 1980, when he decided he wanted to start a baseball publication that covered the game with a depth that no one had ever attempted. We always cite the de-emphasis of baseball at The Sporting News as an important factor in our birth—and it was—but the fact is that Allan's original vision outstripped TSN's coverage of baseball even at its most comprehensive

Minors | #2008#Column

Time For A Re-Do

Jim Callis -Premium Content

No club has anything less than unwavering support for its 2007 first-round pick. Yet if that draft were being held 11 months later, the top 10 choices would look radically different than they did last June. David Price clearly established himself as the best prospect in the 2007 draft—lefthanders with a plus-plus fastball/slider combination and outstanding feel and command tend to do that—and the Rays locked in on him early as the No. 1 overall pick. But as easy as that decision was at the time, he wouldn't go first if the draft was restaged.

Minors | #2008#Column

Schafer Can Bounce Back From Suspension

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Uncertainty swirls around Jordan Schafer after Major League Baseball handed him a 50-game suspension on April 8 for using human growth hormone, making him easily the best prospect ever caught using performance-enhancing drugs. It also leaves plenty of questions to be answered.

Minors | #2008#Column

Three To Watch

John Manuel -Premium Content

In honor of former BA columnist Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" show on MSNBC, here are the three stories from the first half of the college season that bear watching in the second half. Sorry, the NCAA already has wrapped up this year's "Worst Person in the World" award.

College | #2008#Column

Opening Days Are Always Special

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Opening Day is something special throughout baseball, and it's particularly interesting in the minor leagues, where it's a sprawling mass of games from coast to coast. Everyone gets jazzed for Opening Day, but for minor league general managers it's like a hammer that looms over them throughout the offseason. Particularly for the leaders of new franchises, there's a never-ending push to get things done before the first pitch is thrown out.

Minors | #2008#Column

Polk’s Softer Side

John Manuel -Premium Content

Ron Polk's career was so rich, it took two John Manuel columns to encapsulate it. This one focuses on Polk's career that has little to do with the NCAA—in other words, the part Polk won't talk about.

College | #2008#Column