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The 32nd Team

Jim Callis -

Starting in 2003, it has been an annual tradition to present what we like to call The 31st Team, a collection of all the scouting reports that are written for but don't quite make it into the Prospect Handbook. This year, as a premium for those who bought the Handbook directly from us, we included a No. 31 prospect to accompany the Top 30 lists we put together for every team. But we still have more bonus material to offer. There are 17 extra reports that didn't make it into the Handbook or the premium, so we present the first edition of . . . The 32nd Team.

Minors | #2009#Column

Storm Clouds On The Horizon

Will Lingo -Premium Content

In spite of the Las Vegas locale, the mood at this year's Winter Meetings was not one of celebration. And as 2009 gets under way, minor league baseball (and the entire baseball industry, for that matter), is looking ahead with a wary eye.

Minors | #2009#Column

The Longest Of Longshots

Jim Callis -Premium Content

It requires scouting to unearth a hidden gem and patience to give up a big league roster spot for a year, but teams can find talent in the major league Rule 5 draft. But as Jim Callis shows, it's also possible to find talent in the minor league Rule 5 draft, even if the hits are few and far between.

Minors | #2009#Column

The Best Of The Rest

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Nothing we do at Baseball America sparks as much debate as our organization Top 10 Prospects lists. It's a given that fans (and sometimes the teams themselves) will get outraged by where guys rank—go look for some Nick Hagadone discussion on any Red Sox message board—or by the fact that they missed out altogether. We have the same arguments within the walls of BA, and we can get just as spirited. Even with the thinnest of farm systems, our writers usually agonize over not having enough room on the Top 10 to include everyone they want. So for the sixth straight year, we present our American League all-non-Top 10 team.

Minors | #2008#Column

Don’t Stop Believing

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Boston and New York are the two most demanding places to play baseball. Red Sox and Yankees fans expected—or demanded—that Clay Buchholz and Phil Hughes would help lead their teams to postseason glory in 2008. The teams, while more realistic and less emotional, expected Buchholz and Hughes would nail down rotation spots for playoff clubs.

Minors | #2008#Column

Not Just America’s Game

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Baseball America Almanac has plenty of great features to recommend it, but one of the most underappreciated corners of it is the section that wraps up the professional baseball leagues across the world. Baseball America has long prided itself on covering baseball wherever it's played, and while space considerations have forced us to limit our coverage of international leagues in the issue, we still wrap up every significant professional league in the Almanac.

Minors | #2008#Column

Mariners Make Wise Pick

Jim Callis -Premium Content

If I ever get a few hundred million dollars together and buy a baseball team, I'll want the general manager running my team to have a keen eye for talent. I'd want to do what the Mariners just did and hire someone like Jack Zduriencik.

Minors | #2008#Column

Always Innovating

Will Lingo -Premium Content

You'd be hard-pressed to find an industry that's any better at innovating than minor league baseball. While major league franchises sometimes seem burdened by their history and tradition, minor league franchises show no hesitation to reinvent themselves when necessary.

Minors | #2008#Column

It’s Never Too Early . . .

Jim Callis -Premium Content

The vast majority of baseball fans may be getting geeked up over the playoffs, but at Baseball America, we always keep one eye on the draft, even if it's eight months away. A lot can change between now and June, but that can't deter us from offering our first mock 2009 draft.

Minors | #2008#Column

How The West Will Be Won

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Los Angeles has taken four of the last five division titles and made a mockery of the West this year. It never trailed by more than two games (and that was for one day), took first place for good on May 13 and wrapped up the West on Sept. 10. But there's good news for fans who want more suspense in their division races. No teams have added more talent than the Rangers and Athletics in the last two years, and they now have the two best farm systems in baseball. The West should be a three-team battle soon.

Minors | #2008#Column

Hard To Predict

Jim Callis -Premium Content

As with any good argument, there are two sides to the Players Association's grievance that the commissioner's office unilaterally extended the signing deadline past midnight on Aug. 15, allowing the Pirates and No. 2 overall pick Pedro Alvarez to agree on a $6 million deal.

Minors | #2008#Column