The week ahead in minor league baseball includes a five-game, prospect-laden series at Triple-A and a most-unusual promotion.
Series of the Week
Memphis at Iowa (July 25-27): To the untrained eye, this looks like a run-of-the-mill three-game series. Instead, the fans in Des Moines will get five games—one on Friday and then a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.
Because of the extra games, there will be extra chances to watch Kris Bryant (baseball’s home run leader), electric shortstop prospect Javier Baez, effective if not flashy hurler Kyle Hendricks and, of course, Manny Ramirez, the hitting savant and player/coach with the I-Cubs.
Among others, the visitors will bring with them stud lefthander Marco Gonzales, who made it the big leagues less than a year after signing his first professional contract. The 22-year-old Gonzaga alum got tagged in his MLB time and had the same happen to him in his first start with the Redbirds. Still, he’s been plenty impressive in his first full professional season.
Besides Gonzales, Memphis also brings outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk (the Cardinals’ Nos. 2 and 3 prospects, as per our Midseason Prospect Handbook, which you should buy here), as well as lefthander Tim Cooney (No. 8 on our list).
To recap, that’s six prospects from the combined top-10s of two of the best farm systems in baseball over the course of five games. And Manny Ramirez. If that won’t get you to the yard, nothing will.
MILB.tv Series of the Week
Mississippi Braves at Tennessee Smokies (July 21-25): Yes, we're doubling up on Cubs prospects this week, but how can we not? This series is also fascinating with shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Jorge Soler (plus righthander Pierce Johnson) vs. a Mississippi Braves roster that includes righthanders J.R. Graham and Jason Hursh, second baseman Jose Peraza and center fielder Kyle Wren. And its a five-game series, so there are plenty of opportunities to check it out.
Forget the bobbleheads, the appearances by wrestlers and former television stars. Forget the jersey retirement ceremonies for alumni made good. Forget even the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. We have ourselves the promotion of the year in the minor leagues.
Andy Milovich, the general manager of the high Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, has offered to get a prostate exam while singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch of Thursday’s game with the Frederick Keys to help raise awareness and funds to fight all types of cancer.
There’s a catch, however. Milovich will only go through with the exam, which fans will only see from the shoulders up, if Fallon Emery, a local 10-year-old undergoing treatment for brain cancer, gets 10,000 likes on her Facebook page.
So, fair reader, go to Fierce Fallon’s Facebook page. Click the “Like” button (she’s at 7,980 as of this writing), and do what you’ve always known you wanted to but didn’t know how: Give a minor league general manager a prostate exam.