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Big Moves On The Way?

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Discussion that two franchises could move from the California League to the Carolina League as soon as next season is one of the most interesting developments in the minor leagues in years.

Minors | #2008#Column

Swap Meet

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Activity at the trading deadline usually resembles the annoying cast of "The Hills." Lots of rumors, little substance. This summer was different, however. Future first-ballot Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez and Pudge Rodriguez switched teams. So did a reigning Cy Young Award winner (C.C. Sabathia), one of the most devastating switch-hitters in the game (Mark Teixeira) and a pitcher whose pure stuff matches up with anyone's (Rich Harden).

Minors | #2008#Column

Big Leaguers Galore

Jim Callis -Premium Content

After the Beijing Games, baseball will disappear from the Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has made no secret that it wants the best athletes, and MLB's unwillingness to deliver big leaguers led to a surprise 2005 vote that knocked baseball out of at least the 2012 London Games.

Minors | #2008#Column

Struggling For Attention

Will Lingo -Premium Content

So maybe it's time for us to acknowledge that the American public likes B-list celebrities more than baseball's future stars. Baseball America has covered 10 Futures Games, and we're always amazed that local fans pass up the opportunity to see bona fide, soon-to-be major leaguers up close but then stream in when the stars from television shows we've never heard of take the field for a game of softball.

Minors | #2008#Column

Recession-Proof?

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Is minor league baseball recession-proof? While gloomy economic news comes from seemingly every direction these days, it's still sunshine and happiness in the minor leagues. Stuff costs more these days, and people have less money to spend, but minor league attendance continues to rise.

Minors | #2008#Column

A Decade Of Stars

Will Lingo -

To mark the 10th game in New York, let's take a quick look back at the first nine Futures Games and note the players who really stand out in our memories from each year.

Minors | #2008#Column

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