Results tagged ‘ Midwest League News ’

Baseball America’s Top 20 Midwest League Prospects

Drew Gagnon. Not considered? Really?

This post is to provide reasons why the MWL list turned out the way that it did.  Not to howl at the moon and go, “WE WUZ ROBBED!”  I plan to provide a little context and make at least one argument in favor of the inclusion of at least ONE Rattler.

What list?  Oh, read on!

The last paragraph of the article by Jim Callis that accompanies Baseball America’s Top 20 list of Midwest League Prospects that had no Timber Rattlers:

Wisconsin captured the championship with the oldest roster in the league and nary a prospect who received strong consideration for this list. The Timber Rattlers won the finals in four games over Fort Wayne, which led all clubs with five prospects among the Top 20.

I’m going to do some math….back in a second…an hour…head over to this page at Baseball Reference and let’s do math together! Add a the average age of the hitters for a team to the average age of the pitchers for a team and divide by two.  Right?

Okay. Back.
The average age of the 2012 Timber Rattlers was 22.4.  Take out the Major League rehabs to appear with the Rattlers this past season – Shaun Marcum (30), Jonathan Lucroy (26), and Carlos Gomez (26) – and the average drops to 22.3.  They are still the oldest team in the league…BUT by just over a month.

Five oldest teams in the Midwest League (2012):

  1. Wisconsin – 22.4 (adjusted at 22.3)
  2. Burlington – 22.2
  3. Beloit – 22.1
  4. Quad Cities – 22.0
  5. South Bend 21.9

Average age of a player in the Midwest League in 2012: 21.8 years.

Five Youngest teams in the Midwest League (2012):

  1. Lake County – 20.8
  2. Bowling Green – 21.3
  3. Peoria – 21.3
  4. Dayton – 21.5
  5. Fort Wayne – 21.6

It should be noted that I am not getting Dayton’s average age to figure correctly.  Their hitters have an average age of 21.3 even with rehab appearances by Drew Stubbs (27), Joey Votto (28), and Miguel Cairo (38).  Take those players out of the equation and … I get an average age for the hitters of 21.6.  That can’t be right.  So….number with a grain of salt please.

I am not going to argue that a Timber Rattlers player should have been included in the Top 5 prospects on the list.

  1. Javier Baez – ss, Peoria
  2. Miguel Sano – 3b, Beloit
  3. Francisco Lindor – ss, Lake County
  4. Archie Bradley – rhp, South Bend
  5. Noah Syndergaard – rhp, Lansing

The only thing to quibble with the Top 5 ton hat list is the order.  Instead, let’s take a look at the 16-20:

16. Kyle Smith – rhp, Kane County
17.  Travis Jankowski – of, Fort Wayne
18. Adys Portillo – rhp, Fort Wayne
19. Jace Peterson – ss, Fort Wayne
20. Stephen Piscotty – 3b, Quad Cities

Here are five 2012 Timber Rattlers who were placed on Baseball America’s Top 30 list of Brewers Prospects in the 2012 Prospect Handbook: RHP Santo Manzanillo, RHP David Goforth, RHP Drew Gagnon, SS Yadiel Rivera, and 1B Nick Ramirez.

Manzanillo wasn’t going to make the MWL List. He’s been in the league before, was still working his way back from his car accident, and didn’t have enough games with the Rattlers in 2012 to be eligible.

Rankings are not entirely based on stats in a particular year.  How a particular observer projects that player will do in the future is a big part of it

The point that Yadiel Rivera hit .247 with 12 homers, seven stolen bases and 22 errors while Peterson hit .286 and stole 51 bases with 28 errors may mean less than the data points that Rivera is 20 and was a 9th round pick in 2010 while Peterson is 22 and a 1st round pick in 2011.

Also, where a player was drafted – if he was drafted at all may have a lot to do with it.  Brandon Macias had an incredible 2012.  He was at or near the top of the list in a lot of offensive categories – OBP, runs, average, doubles, hits, hit by pitch. By any standard an outstanding season.  Except with the list makers.  Macias an non-drafted free agent in 2011 is not going to get consideration for a list like this while Stephen Piscotty, a supplemental first round pick in 2012, makes the list. Piscotty played well in 55 games for Quad Cities in 2012.  Project his numbers out over a full season and the numbers may be a bit similar with maybe a slight edge to Macias.

But the list makers will  give the edge to Piscotty every time.  It’s just the way the lists work.  After watching and getting to know Macias all of the 2012 season, he doesn’t care about lists and whether he makes them or not.  He’s just going to go out there are play hard and to the best of his ability every day.

Player vs. player comparisons may not be as big of a factor as some of the other criteria used to slot players on the list.  BUT, here is a player-to-player comparison:
Drew Gagnon was 6-1 in 14 starts with a 2.83ERA and 65 strikeouts in 82-2/3 innings with the Rattlers before being promoted to Brevard County in the Florida State League.  Gagnon is 22 and was a 3rd round pick in 2011.

Adys Portillo was 6-6 in 18 starts with a 1.87ERA and 81 strikeouts in 91-2/3 innings with Fort Wayne before being promoted to San Antonio in the Texas League.  Portillo is 20 and was signed out of Venezuela on July 2, 2008 when he was 16.

I’m not saying that Portillo should be taken off the list and Gagnon belongs in his spot.  But, to say that Gagnon – or any of the Rattlers who were eligible for the list that Baseball America considers prospects – didn’t receive strong consideration for the list is a little ridiculous.

Just for fun, Baseball America’s Top 20 list of Midwest League Prospects after the 2009 season.

 1. Aaron Hicks, of, Beloit (Twins)
2. Dee Gordon, ss, Great Lakes (Dodgers)
3. Josh Vitters, 3b, Peoria (Cubs)
4. Brett Lawrie, 2b, Wisconsin (Brewers)
5. Mike Montgomery, lhp, Burlington (Royals)
6. Casey Crosby, lhp, West Michigan (Tigers)
7. Simon Castro, rhp, Fort Wayne (Padres)
8. Jaff Decker, of, Fort Wayne (Padres)
9. Cody Scarpetta, rhp, Wisconsin (Brewers)
10. Ethan Martin, rhp, Great Lakes (Dodgers)
11. Tim Melville, rhp, Burlington (Royals)
12. Eric Hosmer, 1b, Burlington (Royals)
13. A.J. Pollock, of, South Bend (Diamondbacks)
14. Wily Peralta, rhp, Wisconsin (Brewers)
15. James Darnell, 3b, Fort Wayne (Padres)
16. Chris Archer, rhp, Peoria (Cubs)
17. Kyle Russell, of, Great Lakes (Dodgers)
18. Grant Desme, of, Kane County (Athletics)
19. Pedro Figueroa, lhp, Kane County (Athletics)
20. Chris Carpenter, rhp, Peoria (Cubs)

Also for fun, here is what Jim wrote about the MWL Champions that year:

Decker and third baseman James Darnell, a 2008 second-rounder, were part of a TinCaps team that won a minor league-high 94 games and both half-season titles in the MWL East, then swept Burlington in the playoff finals.

And the Champions in 2010:

Great Lakes led all minor league teams with 90 regular-season victories, but the Loons came up short of a championship. They dropped the last two games of their semifinal series to Lake County, which didn’t place a single player on this Top 20 Prospects list.

And the Champions in 2011:

Another righthander, Carlos Martinez, drew comparisons to Pedro Martinez (no relation) and would have given Walker a run for the top spot had he not been promoted after just eight starts for eventual champion Quad Cities.

At the end of the day, the 2012 list has done its job.  It gave us a starting point for the 2013 season and got us talking about Baseball America – and baseball – two weeks after our season ended.

Affiliation Shuffle comes to an end

The dance of the affiliation stopped about three hours after I posted yesterday.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the new parent club of the Burlington Bees.

“The Angels have long viewed scouting and player development as the backbone of our organization,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “We maintain an organizational commitment to building excellence at both the Major and minor league levels, while placing a high value on strong communities and affiliations in the process. With this in mind we are excited to welcome the good people of Burlington to the Angels family, while looking forward to a long and successful partnership.”

The Oakland Athletics are the new parent club are the new parent club of the Beloit Snappers.

“We are delighted to welcome Beloit to our minor league system with today’s announcement,” said A’s Vice President and General Manager Billy Beane.  “It is an established Single-A market with a strong baseball community and management team.  We look forward to a very successful partnership.”

The papers in the respective markets will – most likely – have updates later today.  That’s The Hawkeye for Burlington and The Beloit Daily News for, um, Beloit.

This is how the Midwest League/Parent Club alignment sets up for 2013:

WEST:
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Milwaukee Brewers
Beloit Snappers – Oakland Athletics
Burlington Bees – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Cedar Rapids Kernels – Minnesota Twins
Clinton LumberKings – Seattle Mariners
Kane County Cougars – Chicago Cubs
Peoria Chiefs – St. Louis Cardinals
Quad Cities River Bandits – Houston Astros

EAST:
Bowling Green Hot Rods – Tampa Bay Rays
Dayton Dragons – Cincinnati Reds
Fort Wayne TinCaps – San Diego Padres
Great Lakes Loons – Los Angeles Dodgers
Lake County Captains – Cleveland Indians
Lansing Lugnuts – Toronto Blue Jays
South Bend Silver Hawks – Arizona Diamondbacks
West Michigan Whitecaps – Detroit Tigers

The only teams the Rattlers do not face in at home next season are: Bowling Green, Dayton, Lansing, & Great Lakes.

To see the entire schedule for the 2013 season, head over to the PDF of the schedule on the Rattlers website.

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.

Beloit won’t be the same

A new chapter in The Neverending Story.

 Vohs leaves Snappers after 11 years

Jeff Vohs worked his way up from intern to general manager of the Beloit Snappers in just four years, then hung onto the job for seven more seasons.

Wednesday, however, came the news Vohs will step down and leave baseball for the world of banking.

“It’s been fun,” Vohs said. “It’s always been a challenge and that’s what I liked about the job. In terms of my family, however, it was time to move on. I’m glad I’m staying in the area. Beloit has definitely grown on me.”

The Snappers also announced Wednesday that Assistant GM Matthew Bosen has been named the organization’s 10th GM in its 30-year history.

“Over the last four years, I’ve learned a great deal about the proper way to run the Snappers from Jeff (Vohs), I appreciate all the knowledge that he’s passed on to me that he’s picked up throughout his 11 years,“ said Bosen. “I’d like to thank the Board of Directors for giving me this chance to run the organization.”

I’ve know Jeff for a long time and I wish him the best of luck.

New Stadium?  Stadium news?

“The Board keeps working on that project,” Vohs said. “I’ve always focused on what needs to be done here. Since we have a small front office, we can’t commit time to that project and make sure we stay viable in our current ballpark situation. I hope things get better in the economy and something gets done with a new stadium. But Matt will have to do the same thing I did — focus on Pohlman Field.”

In other news, I see that winter baseball has begun in Venezuela.

Ex-Rattlers in action so far are:

Lara:
Alex Liddi (’08)
Oswaldo Navarro (’05)
Michael Saunders (’06)
Luis Valbuena (’06)

Zulia:
Carlos Maldonado (’99)
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (’06)

Magallanes:
Lorenzo Cain (’09)
Bryan LaHair (’04)

Caribes:
Mike Wilson (’05)

Busy day in the IBAF World Cup on Thursday with doubleheaders all around.

Canada 7, Venezuela 0

Canada:
Brock Kjeldgaard (’09): 1-for-3, RUN, 2 RBI, HR

Brock Kjeldgaard is greeted at home plate after another homer in the World Cup

Canada 4, South Korea 0

Canada:
Kjeldgaard: 0-for-3

Netherlands 2, Australia 1

NED:
Kalian Sams (’07): 0-for-3

Netherlands 4, Cuba 1

NED:
Sams: 1-for-3, RUN, 2 RBI, HR

Kalian Sams (No. 35) is congratulated by his teammates after a home run against Cuba...HOME RUN...AGAINST CUBA!!

 

According to this, the Dutch are through to the Gold Medal game.  Either Canada or Cuba will face them for the Championship.  How big of a deal is that?  According to this…The Netherlands is the first team from Europe in 73 YEARS to compete for the Gold Medal at the IBAF World Cup…73 YEARS!

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE:

Surprise 6, Phoenix 2

SUR:
Nathan Adcock (’08): 3IP, H, 0R, BB, 7K

Mesa 6, Peoria Javelinas 3

PEO:
Scooter Gennett (’10): 0-for-4, RUN
Daniel Meadows (’09): IP, 2H, R, 2BB

The Cedar Rapids Marathon

Jeff Johnson is in the clubhouse with the early lead in the LEDE OF THE YEAR contest.

Here is his open after the Kernels beat Burlington 4-3 in 17 innings last night at Perfect Game Field in a snappy 4 hours and 57 minutes.

OK, so maybe Ryan Jones was out at first base. Hey, umpires want to go home after a few hours, too.

There was more to the story.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels pinch runner sure appeared to be picked off in the 17th inning Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. But base umpire Rich Gonzales gave him a reprieve, calling him safe and allowing him to score on Travis Witherspoon’s two-out line-drive single down the left-field line as the Kernels beat Burlington, 4-3.

“No comment,” Witherspoon said with a smile, when asked if Jones had been picked off.

And here is this little nugget:

The teams’ bullpens combined for 21 2/3 scoreless innings before Witherspoon’s hit. They allowed only 10 hits.

The starters for both teams had better not get in trouble tonight.

Benji

If you grew up in Wisconsin during the 70s and 80s and followed the Milwaukee Brewers, Benji means something to you that it does not mean to others.

Benji = Ben Oglivie, who is now the hitting coach for the West Michigan Whitecaps.  This Grand Rapids Press article catches up with the Brewers star.

Despite turning 62 in February, the former major league player and first-year West Michigan Whitecaps hitting coach shows no signs of winding down.

“The one thing I have found out is you stay with something you are passionate about,” Oglivie said. “When the passion goes, I will go home. When it becomes work, I’m going home. What has sustained me is the passion, and I don’t think I’ve lost that.

“I know, realistically, that I can’t play, so that’s gone, but there is a light that still allows me to come out here and not feel that this is labor.”

A-freaking-MEN!!  Click through and read it all.

Only one

There was just one game played in the Midwest League last night.

@Dayton 7, Bowling Green 2

But, the interesting story from the Dayton Daily News this morning is this one.

That he’s still surfing is perhaps what earns pitcher Chad Rogers the most respect from his Dayton Dragons teammates.

Then there are the scars on his right foot, including bite marks, which he shows upon request.

“Just hearing the story — he’s awesome,” infielder Frank Pfister decided. “He’s going to be successful because he’s got the right mentality. If you survived getting bit by a shark, you can handle the Midwest League, right?”

Rogers indeed joined the Dragons on Tuesday from extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., with quite a story to tell. A 28th-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds last June, the right-handed reliever missed what would have been his first pro season in 2010 because a 5-foot bull shark took a chunk out of his foot while he was surfing in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Galveston, Texas, his hometown.

“Wrong place, wrong time, man,” Rogers said before the Dragons beat Bowling Green 7-2 for their third straight win. “I got drafted and bit by a shark in the same month. What are the odds?

“I’m just fortunate to actually be here right now.”

Seated at his locker, Rogers pulled off his sock to reveal a wound on the side of his right foot that required 60 stitches and marks from the shark’s teeth on his toes that serve as gruesome reminders of a horrifying experience.

Read it all.

Coaching staff tracker

Owen Serey of the South Bend Silver Hawks has done the work so I don’t have to do it.

Head over to his post for the most up-to-date list of the coaching staffs in the Midwest League.

My new job is one Ive always wanted

Another manager in the Midwest League will not be back on the bench in 2011.

Joe DePastino’s days as manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps have come to an end after three seasons.

DePastino has accepted a position as roving catching coordinator for the Detroit Tigers.

“I love West Michigan, and I was very fortunate to start my coaching career there and be there for three years,” DePastino told The Press on Sunday. “To be able to go to West Michigan was amazing, and it was a great place to be. From the front office, to the fans, to the field — it was one of the best.

“My new job is one I’ve always wanted. I’ve been a catcher my whole life, and while I love managing, being with the catchers full time is a good gig.”

This is a little surprising due to this:

DePastino had a record of 215-201 in three seasons with the Whitecaps and joined Bruce Fields and Matt Walbeck as the only managers in franchise history to win more than 200 games.

He guided West Michigan to three consecutive playoff appearances, but lost in the first round each year.

The Whitecaps overcame their worst first half (26-43) in franchise history to finish 62-77 overall and earn a wild-card playoff spot this season.

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