Notes and Links on a Tuesday (9/25/12)

One more step in the affiliation shuffle was taken Monday afternoon.

The Quad Cities River Bandits are now partners with the Houston Astros.

The deal not only renews a previous relationship — the River Bandits were a Houston affiliate from 1993-98 — but it also marks a return to the Midwest League for the Astros, whose low Class A affiliate for the past 10 seasons has been Lexington, Ky., in the South Atlantic League.

The Astros were last in the Midwest League as the parent club of the Michigan Battle Cats in 2002.

The Bandits may be tough next season.

In the past year, the Astros’ minor-league staff and players engineered a turnaround of 205 wins among its minor-league affiliates. The organization went from ranking last in win percentage among baseball’s 30 organizations in 2011 to ranking first this season with a .546 winning percentage.

Three Houston clubs reached postseason play, including the short-season Tri-City team which will feed the 2013 Quad-Cities roster with talent after finishing 51-25 and winning its division in the New York-Penn League.

“We’ve had not only an influx of talent, but a change of mindset,’’ Nelson said. “Jeff Luhnow has a proven track record of successful drafts, successful teams and there is an idea that winning and development go hand in hand.’’

Other moves that have been made:
The Cubs left Peoria for Kane County. (Game Changer apparently)
The Royals have left the Midwest League for Lexington in the South Atlantic League through at least 2016.
The Cardinals left Quad Cities for Peoria
The Twins left Beloit for Cedar Rapids
The Padres and TinCaps renewed for another two seasons

As of this morning the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are still without affiliates. Beloit and Burlington as still without parent clubs.

Will the A’s wind up back in Burlington after letting the Bees know that they wanted to take a look around and see what else was out there?

Will the Angels head to Beloit?

TUNE IN TOMORROW! <organ music plays>

Beloit has had Midwest League baseball since 1982.  This article from last Thursday after they lost the Twins to Cedar Rapids is filled with hope and realism.

The ever-optimistic [team chairman Dennis] Conerton sees the affiliation change as an opportunity for development, and something that could potentially spur activity down the road.

“One thing where this could be beneficial is that maybe now some people will see that what the Snappers have been trying to do for the last eight years or so is something that we need to pay a little more attention to,” he said. “But when you see an affiliate leave for facilities that are better, you do start to wonder when the Player Development Agreement is up in 2020 will the standards change at all, and if we were to continue with Minor League Baseball in the Beloit community.”

Jumping back to the Royals for a moment, former Rattler Jake Odorizzi made his MLB debut on Sunday in Kansas City’s 15-4 loss to the Indians.  Jake allowed three of those runs in 5-1/3 innings.

Consider Jake Odorizzi’s Major League debut a success.

He didn’t win the game — the Cleveland Indians wound up with a 15-4 victory over Kansas City on a lovely Sunday afternoon — but the 22-year-old Royals right-hander pitched superbly for five innings before giving up three runs in the sixth.

“I think he did an outstanding job for his first start,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

As the Royals’ top-ranked pitching prospect according to MLB.com, Odorizzi gave the 22,960 fans at Kauffman Stadium reason to anticipate the good that he might do for the club in the future. When he left the mound during the sixth inning, they gave him a standing ovation.

“It was pretty moving, just to hear the cheers,” Odorizzi said. “They were very accepting of me and it was great to get that on the way out. Especially on the first day, it made it just that much more special.”

Former Rattler Adam Moore (’06) hit a homer in that game.  He caught Odorizzi in AAA at Omaha.

Odorizzi’s start on Sunday ran the total of former Rattlers to make their MLB debuts in 2012 to eight.

Phillippe Aumont – August 23
Juan Diaz – May 25
Jim Henderson – July 26
Erik Komatsu – April 6
Jake Odorizzi – September 23
Wily Peralta – April 22
Tyler Thornburg – June 19
Carlos Triunfel – September 7

In the Timber Rattlers Era – aka. Since 1995 – that would make 83 former Timber Rattlers who have made it to the major leagues.

A possible future Rattler is Clint Coulter.  The Brewers took the high school catcher with the 27th pick of the 2012 draft.  Baseball America has begun publishing their list of Top 20 prospects in each minor league. BA placed Coulter at #10 on their list of prospects in the Arizona League.

His scouting report is behind the subscriber wall. Long story short: Offense good. Defense needs work.

Want to work with me?

Well, that’s not completely true.  Want to work where I do and not deal with me in any possible way?
Here are a few opportunities.

The Rattlers are taking applications for interns for the 2013 season.  I am told that the ability to start in January would be much appreciated.

Also, construction is underway on the renovations to Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium.  One of the pieces of that renovation is the club level with the banquet facility.  The team is looking for a Banquet Facility Sales Manager and an Executive Chef.  Follow this link for details on those positions.

Speaking of construction, I will leave you with a few photos from last Wednesday when I took a brief tour stadium.

 

There used to be a team store here.

The net is down. The bleachers are out.

Empty front office.


We shot a video tour on the day I took those pictures.  The video hould be up tomorrow – with a cool PROG ROCK SUPERGROUP soundtrack!!  YES!  The plan is to post a construction video every week.

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