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2017 MLB Futures Game Rosters

Today the MLB Futures Game takes place as part of All-Star Weekend in Miami. Over the course of the event’s history the US team leads the series going 11-7, including a 6 game winning streak between 2010-2016. The World team is the defending champion winning last year in San Diego 11-3.

Yoan Moncada returns after winning the MVP award last year. He is currently having a nice season in AAA-Charlotte. He will be joined by a stout team from players all around the world. Players hail from Canada, Brazil, Honduras, Haiti, Bahamas, and other major baseball havens like Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

2017 MLB Futures Game Rosters

U.S. Team

Pitchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Beau Burrows DET AA R R 6-2 200 9/18/1996 Fort Worth, TX
Jon Duplantier ARI A+ L R 6-4 225 7/11/1994 Newark, DE
Jack Flaherty STL AAA R R 6-4 205 10/15/1995 Burbank, CA
Foster Griffin KC AA R L 6-3 200 7/27/1995 Orlando, FL
Jimmy Herget CIN AAA R R 6-3 170 9/9/1993 Tampa, FL
Brett Honeywell TB AAA R R 6-2 180 3/31/1995 Carnesville, GA
Michael Kopech CWS AA R R 6-3 205 4/30/1996 Mount Pleasant, TX
Triston McKenzie CLE A+ R R 6-5 165 8/2/1997 Brooklyn, NY
A.J. Puk OAK AA L L 6-7 220 4/25/1995 Cedar Rapids, IA
Tanner Scott BAL AA R L 6-2 220 7/22/1994 Mogadore, OH

Catchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Zack Collins CWS A L R 6-3 220 2/6/1995 Pembroke Pines, FL
Chance Sisco BAL AAA L R 6-2 195 2/24/1995 Corona, CA

Infielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Brian Anderson MIA AA R R 6-3 185 5/19/1993 Edmond, OK
Bo Bichette TOR A+ R R 6-0 200 3/5/1998 Orlando, FL
Nick Gordon MIN AA L R 6-0 160 10/24/1995 Avon Park, FL
Rhys Hoskins PHI AAA R R 6-4 225 3/17/1993 Sacramento, CA
Scott Kingery PHI AAA R R 5-10 180 4/29/1994 Phoenix, AZ
Ryan McMahon COL AAA L R 6-2 185 12/14/1994 Yorba Linda, CA
Brendan Rodgers COL AA R R 6-0 180 8/9/1996 Winter Park, FL
Nick Senzel CIN AA R R 6-1 205 6/29/1995 Atlanta, GA

Outfielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Lewis Brinson MIL AAA R R 6-3 195 5/8/1994 Fort Lauderdale, FL
Derek Fisher HOU AAA L R 6-3 205 8/21/1993 Lebanon, PA
Corey Ray MIL AA L L 5-11 185 9/22/1994 Chicago, IL
Bryan Reynolds SF A+ S R 6-3 205 1/27/1995 Baltimore, MD
Kyle Tucker HOU AAA L R 6-4 190 1/17/1997 Tampa, FL

World Team

Pitchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Domingo Acevedo NYY AA R R 6-7 240 3/6/1994 Villa Los Almacigos, D.R.
Yadier Alvarez LA A+ R R 6-3 175 3/7/1996 Matanzas, Cuba
Jaime Barria LAA AA R R 6-1 210 7/18/1996 Panama City, Panama
Luis Escobar PIT A R R 6-1 155 5/30/1996 Cartagena, Colombia
Tayron Guerrero MIA AA R R 6-8 210 1/9/1991 Bocachica, Colombia
Jonathan Hernandez TEX A+ R R 6-2 175 7/6/1996 Santiago, D.R.
Jairo Labourt DET AA L L 6-4 205 3/7/1994 Azua, D.R.
Cal Quantrill SD A+ L R 6-2 165 2/10/1995 Port Hope, ON, Canada
Mike Soroka ATL A+ R R 6-5 225 8/4/1997 Calgary, AB, Canada
Thyago Vieira SEA AA R R 6-2 210 7/1/1993 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Catchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Francisco Mejia CLE AA S R 5-10 180 10/27/1995 Bani, D.R.
Tomas Nido NYM AA R R 6-0 205 4/12/1994 Oviedo, FL (Puerto Rico)

Infielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Yordan Alvarez HOU A+ L L 6-5 225 6/27/1997 Las Tunas, Cuba
Rafael Devers BOS AA L R 6-0 195 10/24/1996 Sanchez, D.R.
Mauricio Dubon MIL AA R R 6-0 160 7/19/1994 San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Lucius Fox TB A S R 6-1 175 7/2/1997 Nassau, Bahamas
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR A R R 6-1 200 3/16/1999 Montreal, QC, Canada
Yoan Moncada CWS AAA S R 6-2 205 5/27/1995 Abreus, Cuba
Josh Naylor SD A L L 6-0 225 6/22/1997 Mississauga, ON, Canada
Amed Rosario NYM AAA R R 6-2 190 11/20/1995 Santo Domingo Centro, D.R.

Outfielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Ronald Acuna ATL AA R R 6-0 180 12/18/1997 La Guaira, Venezuela
Estevan Florial NYY A L R 6-1 185 11/25/1997 Port Au Prince, Haiti
Eloy Jimenez CHC A R R 6-4 205 11/27/1996 Santo Domingo Centro, D.R.
Victor Robles WAS AA R R 6-0 185 5/19/1997 Santo Domingo Este, D.R.
Alex Verdugo LA AAA L L 6-0 205 5/15/1996 Tucson, AZ (Mexico)

 

For more BaseballdeWorld posts on the All-Star Game, click here.

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Wild Finish with Cuba Coaching Staff Ejected

Cuba Coaching Staff EjectedA Cuban national team and the Can-Am League Rockland Boulders were mixed up in quite a finish the other night. The Cuban team is on a tour with several Can-Am League teams which they have done since 2016. Last year Cuba went 11-9 on its tour. But this year the most memorable thing will be the game with Rockland a few nights ago when its entire coaching staff got tossed.

It all started in the top of the 9th inning with Cuba trailing 6-5. There was 1 out and a runner on first. Victor Mesa hit a grounder to Rockland shortstop Mike Fransoso who flipped the ball to second baseman Dylan Tice. Yoeklis Cespedes running from first appeared to have beaten the throw, but he did not slide and bumped into Tice as he was trying to field and throw. Cespedes was called safe and Rockland manager Jamie Keefe quickly came out to argue interference.

All Hell Breaks Loose

After a brief meeting between the umpires, Cespedes was called out for interference. That’s when the chaos began. Cuba manager Roger Machado argued the call as well as coach Victor Mesa Sr. And before you know it there was dirt kicking, chest bumping, and the entire Cuba coaching staff being ejected from the game. Eventually you can see the umpires being chased into right field by the Cuban staff, and the umpires had to seek refuge leaving the field through the stands.

The game would end after 8.2 innings with a 6-5 Rockland win. Cuba began its tour in early June finishing it off with a series against Rockland which the Boulders won 2-games-to-1. It remains to be seen if the series will continue next season after the incident. Cuba was joined on tour by an independent minor league team from South Korea, the Yeoncheon Miracle.

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Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field #BaseballJourneyman

I had the chance to check out Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas last night to see the Sugar Land Skeeters play the Long Island Ducks. Both teams are members of the top independent league, the Atlantic League.

The Atlantic League has been around since 1998 and employs the top talent on the independent circuit. With eight teams spread out around the country, Sugar Land is the one team not in the east, and the only one nowhere near the rest of the league. However, they are the defending league champions defeating none other than Long Island in last years championship series. It was their first title in the league since joining in 2012. Long Island has won 3 league titles.

Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston, so there is potential for huge crowds. But on the night I was able to get down for a game only 3,498 showed up. The stadium holds 7,500 and it felt pretty empty, but it is a really nice stadium. So here is my short review of the stadium and my seats. Forgive the not so great photos. I did not take my camera in and just used my phone.

Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field

I chose to sit in the club level which is called the Insperity Club. The tickets, which I purchased for $55, included an all-you-can eat buffet for the first 2 hours after the gates open.

What’s on the buffet?

From what I understand the menu changes from game to game, but on this night it included some decent food. The buffet included baked ham, pulled pork quesadillas, hot dogs, sausages, nachos, a salad bar, and some sort of pasta. I wasn’t interested in eating pasta so I did not get a close look. There was also a station with popcorn and peanuts plus two soda machines.

I tried a few of the different items on the menu. The pork quesadillas were very good. They had sour cream and guacamole too if you like that sort of thing. I opted for just a little bit of barbecue sauce which was really good. I also tried the hot dogs which were big a very good. However, I do have one recommendation. Do not get the hot dogs when you first arrive. I got one right away and it did not have time to fully cook and was cold. Later on I went back and got one during the game, and it was great.

An hour after the game starts, or two hours after the gates open, the buffet shuts down. But that does not mean it just ends. Around the top of the 5th inning they pull out the ice cream cart, Blue Bell. There were about 4 different flavors to choose from. To top it off you could choose a number of topics, but I just went with good old cookies and cream. It was a nice touch. They also had baked cookies and what looked like peach cobbler, but I opted for just the ice cream.

The Insperity Club is very nice too. It is air conditioned so if it is too hot outside, or too humid given where the stadium is, you can watch the game inside. There are some comfortable seats, including a few couches as well. Tables are abundant and several of them line the windows where you could sit and watch the game. Here is the view before the game where I had dinner.

 

Insperity Club Sugar Land Skeeters

There were two televisions in the club. One was showing the Astros game and the other the Skeeters game. There was also a pool table and a shuffle board table.

There is also a bar. The bar seemed fully stocked and had a good selection of draft beer. I did not look too closely at all it had to offer, but I did grab a beer at the start of the game. There were about 6 or so draft options including a few from Karbach Brewery in nearby Houston. This was a nice touch and I was glad to see they had some craft beer options and not just your normal Bud Light. The cost wasn’t too bad but still a bit high. A Karbach draft was $7.50.

The seats in the Insperity Club were nice. They were wider than normal, cushioned, and had a nice rail in front for drinks and food. The club sits above the press box right behind home plate and has the best views in the house. Is it worth the money? It might be. It would definitely be worth it if the weather was horrendously hot and humid. I was lucky that the night I was there it was very nice out.

Overall the stadium is very nice. There is a pool in left field, a playground with rides in center field, and a Pavilion in right. You can also bring a blanket and sit out on the berm in right field. There is a lot to offer families at the park, and there is so much for kids to do.

I enjoyed my trip to Constellation Field in Sugar Land. The level of play was good and included several former Major Leaguers including Lew Ford, Rafael Perez, David Aardsma, and Scott Maine. Not to mention that the manager for the Skeeters was Gary Gaetti. The stadium made the game though. It has a lot to offer and a regular seat is a great value. I’d highly recommend the trip if you are in the area.

You can get tickets by visiting SugarLandSkeeters.com or check out the team on Twitter @SL_Skeeters.

Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field

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International Players – MLB Top 100 Prospects List, Nos 1-10

We have reached the final part of our 10 part segments on breaking down the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. We have seen a lot of talent so far, but these guys are at the top of the heap and will be interesting to watch for years to come. So without further ado.

No. 10 Ozzie Albies, 2B/Atlanta Braves – Albies is one prospect that many Braves fans are both high on and will defend at every move. The speedy infielder who could play short or second will most likely end up paired with another Top 10 prospect in Dansby Swanson up the middle for Atlanta. He just turned 20 where he will most likely spend the season at AAA Gwinnett where he struggled a bit last year. He tore up AA at only 19. While the Braves traded for Brandon Phillips to hold down second base, the veteran is really holding down the spot until Albies is ready for the big leagues, so there is no need to rush him this season. Albies ranked no. 12 in 2016.

No. 7 Victor Robles, OF/Washington Nationals – Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Robles spent the 2016 season split between the South Atlantic League and the Carolina League. He possesses great speed and even stole 37 bases last season but is still learning the art of the stolen base after getting caught 14 times. He might be a few years away from the big leagues, but he could be a franchise type player. However, he won’t turn 20 until May, so he has to be given time to learn. Robles ranked no. 10 in 2016.

No. 5 Amed Rosario, SS/New York Mets – The Top 10 of the list is full of shortstops with Dominican Rosario being one of the brightest. He will play this season at just 21, and he is the future of the Mets at short, but there is no need to rush him to the big leagues. However, if he continues to impress he may force their hands. He spent half of last season at AA Binghamton impressing big time. He hit .341 with a .392 OBP in 54 games. While he might not turn out to be a 30+ home run hitter at the big league level, he plays above average defense and hits with contact and extra-base power. Rosario ranked no. 11 in 2016.

No. 3 Gleyber Torres, SS/New York Yankees – Torres is the top rated shortstop prospect in the game, and he will play the 2017 season at just 20-years old. Signed out of Venezuela in 2013, Torres was the biggest prize for the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal. He is advanced at the plate and could turn into a 20+ homer type shortstop. There is no need to rush him to the big leagues with Didi Gregorius holding down the spot in New York. Torres looks to be the centerpiece of the Yankees for years to come though when he is ready. Torres ranked no. 17 in 2016.

No. 2 Yoan Moncada, 2B/Chicago White Sox – Last season’s no. 1, Moncada is just 21-years old. The switch-hitting infielder out of Cuba has lived up to his big price tag to sign, $63 million by Boston. The big piece for the White Sox in the Chris Sale deal, Moncada could pair quite well with fellow youngster Tim Anderson up the middle in Chicago. He has the tools to be an impact player at the big league level with speed, power, and the ability to hit for average. He may not start off in Chicago to begin the season, but look for him to be there at some point this summer.

If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 11-20
International Players – No. 21-30
International Players – No. 31-40
International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

International Players - MLB Top 100 Prospects List

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MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players – Nos. 11-20

Today we have the penultimate step on our list of international players in the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. So here we go with nos. 11-20.

If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 21-30
International Players – No. 31-40
International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 20 Francis Martes, RHP/Houston Astros – Martes, out of the Dominican Republic, is a hard throwing righty who had a solid year in 2016 at Double-A Corpus Christi. he threw 125.1 innings allowing just 104 hits and striking out 9.4 per 9. He has a plus fastball that sits between 93-96, touching 98 at times. It is his secondary pitches that still need polishing, and he will need to work on his command. While he struck out more than one hitter per inning, he also walked 3.4 per 9 which is way too high to be an effective front line starter at the big league level.

No. 17 Rafael Devers, 3B/Boston Red Sox – Devers, out of the Dominican Republic, is just a 20-year old with power to all fields. Last season he played for Salem in High-A ball where he showed some power (32 doubles and 11 home runs) but more than anything he bounced back after a slow start to finish strong. Whether or not he stays at third will remain to be seen as he continues to grow as a player with a possible shift across the diamond to first.

No. 13 Eloy Jimenez, OF/Chicago Cubs – Jimenez, who hails from the Dominican Republic, will be just 20 this season. Last year he spent the entire season in Single-A ball with South Bend in the Midwest League. There he hit .329 with 14 home runs winning the leagues MVP award. He has plus power, even drawing comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton by some. He spent most of his time in left last season, but has the arm for right as he continues to improve his defense.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players

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MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players – Nos. 21-30

We move another step closer to the Top 10 in the MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players. Today we look at nos. 21-30

If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 31-40
International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 25 Anderson Espinoza, RHP/San Diego Padres – Espinoza signed for just under $2 million. This was a new record for a prospect out of Venezuela. He impressed last season, which was his first full season in A-ball. He split time between two leagues after being apart of the trade that sent Drew Pomeranz to Boston, where Espinoza was drafted. A power right arm that sits between 94-97, Espinoza has to improve on his secondary pitches though he will pitch this upcoming season at just 19-years old.

No. 23 Manuel Margot, OF/San Diego Padres – Margot is another former Red Sox farmhand to be traded to San Diego. This time it was for Craig Kimbrel. Margot is out of the Dominican Republic and was named a Pacific Coast League All-Star in 2016 before making his MLB debut in San Diego in September. He has shown great speed. Last year he stole 30 bases and hit 12 triples in AAA. With that speed he will be able to patrol centerfield in San Diego with the possibility of that coming as soon as 2017.

No. 21 Willy Adames, SS/Tampa Bay Rays – Adames worked his way to Double-A ball at just the age of 20. The Dominican prospect was named a Southern League All-Star in 2016 and played in the annual All-Star Futures Game for the World Team.  Last season in Montgomery Adames showed a little pop with 11 home runs, 31 doubles, and 6 triples. Many feel he has the makeup for a middle of the order shortstop at an All-Star-caliber. He looks to contribute to the big league club in 2018.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players

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MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players – Nos. 31-40

Today we move closer to the top 10 of the MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players. Last time we took a look at nos. 41-50, and today go through 31-40.

If you missed the first six segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 40 Francisco Mejia, C/Cleveland Indians – The 21-year old out of the Dominican Republic has a bright future ahead of him. Last season he split time between the Single-A Midwest League and the High-A Carolina League. He hit well in both leagues. He had a 50-game hitting streak that stretched over two leagues. The switch-hitting catcher has a strong arm from behind the plate. While he might need another year of seasoning in the minors, he could compete for a spot in the big leagues as early as 2018. He ranked no. 85 on the 2016 list.

No. 34 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B/Toronto Blue Jays – Born in Canada to future hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is only 17-years old and already ranks at the no. 3 third base prospect in the game. Guerrero posses speed (stole 15 bases in 62 games in 2016), power (hit 8 home runs and 12 doubles), and shows plate discipline having almost as many walks (33) as strikeouts (35). He spent all of the 2016 season with Bluefield in the Appalachian League. It will remain to be seen if he can stay at third base or possibly move to first or the outfield.

No. 33 Jose De Leon, RHP/Tampa Bay Rays – The 24th Round pick in 2013 struggled a bit in his pro debut, but the Puerto Rico native found his strike in 2014 in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He tore up AAA last season before getting the call from the Los Angeles Dodgers making his MLB debut. In AAA he struck out 11.6 per 9. That did not translate over to his MLB debut, but the righty has a plus fastball that can top out at 96. He projects to be a mid-rotation starter which is why the Rays traded for him in January where he might get a shot at the rotation this spring. He will also be part of the designated pitcher pool for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

No. 32 Kevin Maitan, SS/Atlanta Braves – The 17-year old from Venezuela has not played a game yet in the Braves farm system, but he is already being heralded as the next big thing bout of Venezuela. With a plus arm, the switch-hitter is already being compared to Miguel Sano. He has pop from both sides of the plate and excellent range. Some think he might move off shortstop eventually with a move to third base. If that does happen, he should make the transition easily when it comes to defense.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 41-50

We are halfway through our list of the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List. Today we start the final 50 by taking a look at nos. 41-50.

If you missed the first five  segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 50 Yadier Alvarez, RHP/Los Angeles Dodgers – Alvarez, who hails from Cuba, signed for a $16 million bonus in 2015. The hard throwing righty peaks in triple digits with his fastball while sitting between 94-97. Last season, his first in the US, he struck out 12.3 per 9 innings. He pitched well in his call up to A-ball in the Midwest League. He is still only 20 but is working on commanding his great fastball. While he may still be a few years away from the Dodgers rotation, he is one to really keep an eye on because he may be electric when he arrives.

No. 47 Jorge Mateo, SS, 2B/New York Yankees – Mateo comes out of the Dominican Republic and will be just 21 for half of this season. Last season he played 113 games in the Florida State League (A+) and showed some of his tools. He stole 36 bases, a year after swiping 82. He has the speed, although he might still need to learn the art of stealing. With his raw power, which might project out to about 15 home runs a year, he has enough tools to make him an exciting player to watch. With the arrival of Gleyber Torres from the Aroldis Chapman trade, Mateo might be forced into a second base only role.

No. 46 Reynaldo Lopez, RHP/Chicago Whitesox – Lopez comes out of the Dominican Republic and since 2014 has really proven himself in the Washington Nationals system before moving to Chicago in the Adam Eaton deal this winter. Lopez made his MLB debut his past season getting into 11 games at the big league level, including 6 starts. The hard thrower posted a 4.91 ERA over 44.0 innings and struck out 8.6 per 9. He has a power fastball, a solid curve, and a workable change but at times can struggle with control.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 51-60

Today we continue our look at the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List for 2017. We have gone through segments look at nos. 61-100 and today we look at 51-60.

If you missed the first four segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 56 Yohander Mendez, LHP/Texas Rangers – Mendez hails from Venezuela where he was signed as a free agent in 2011. The 22-year old is one of the Rangers top prospects and even made his Major League debut last September pitching in 2 games out of the bullpen. Last season was a year of moves for Mendez. He started out in High-A ball and moved his way through AA, AAA, and then to the big league club. While he might not have the breaking stuff of some, his change up is quite good. Add that to his sinking low to mid-90s fastball and he could be a solid starter for years to come. Maybe not ace material, but could be a solid no. 3 starter for a long time. It remains to be seen where he will start the 2017 season, but he should contribute to the big league club very soon. This is his second straight year at no. 56 on the list.

No. 55 Leody Taveras, OF/Texas Rangers – Taveras is just 18 having played his first season at 17 last year. A legitimate 5-tool center fielder, he showed his speed last season in the Arizona League (Rookie) stealing 11 bases in just 33 games. He played at 3 different levels last year but struggled a bit at Spokane. He still has some things to learn and he is still filling out since he is still so young, but he could be a force to reckon with in the coming years if he lives up to his potential. He will definitely be one to watch as the years progress. On a side note, he is the cousin of former big league Willy Taveras.

No. 54 David Paulino, RHP/Houston Astros – The Astros took Paulino in a trade even though he was going to miss the entire next season with Tommy John surgery. It might turn out to be a great move. Paulino comes out of the Dominican Republic and at 6’7″ he has the power (tops out at 98) to go with a power curveball. He spent most of his 2016 season at AA Corpus Christi, but threw a few starts at AA Fresno before getting the call to the big leagues. He has started and finished games in the same season, but has never pitched 100 innings in a season. Last year was his high at 97 innings pitched, so health is a concern moving forward. Last season Paulino checked in at no. 70 on the list.

No. 52 Franklin Barreto, SS,2B/Oakland Athletics – Barreto was one of the key pieces in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson from Oakland to Toronto. The 20-year old middle infielder out of Venezuela has impressed at every level. He spent most of 2016 at AA Midland for Oakland where he played 119 games hitting .281 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs, and 30 stolen bases. The tools are there, but Barreto would benefit from more time in the minors to hone in on some skills like basestealing. He was thrown out 15 times last year at AA. He had a brief, but impressive, stint at AAA Nashville last year. And with him being blocked at the big league level by both Marcus Semien and Chand Pinder, look for him to gain some more experience at AAA next year. In 2016, Barreto was no. 43 on the list.

MLB Top 100 Prospects

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 61-70

Continuing our look at the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List, today we will look at nos. 61-70 as we get closer to the top 10 on the list.

f you missed the first three segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 65 Isan Diaz, SS,2B/Milwaukee Brewers – Diaz, who hails from Puerto Rico, is a middle infielder who played in the Midwest League in 2016 (A-ball). He was the MVP of the Pioneer League in 2015 as a 19-year old after being lured away from Vanderbilt. He was drafted by Arizona in the 2nd Round of the MLB Draft in 2014 then traded to Milwaukee in the deal that sent Juan Segura to Arizona. Diaz possesses raw power showing that off last year by hitting 20 home runs. Many scouts profile him as a second baseman at the big league level where he could be a power hitting middle infielder. However, he is a few years away from having any impact for the big league club. He clocked in at no. 97 on the list in 2016.

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 71-80

Lately we have taken a look at the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List that recently came out. We have taken a look at nos. 81-100 and today we will look at 71-80.

If you missed the first two segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 73 German Marquez, RHP/Colorado Rockies – Marquez, originally from Venezuela, will turn 22 later this month before heading into season number 5 for the hard throwing righty. He was apart of a trade that brought prospect Jake McGee to the Rockies. He was a bit overlooked but quickly made a name for himself. He won the Eastern League (AA) pitcher of the year award last season after posting a 2.85 ERA over 21 starts. After a short stint in AAA, Marquez made his MLB debut last year pitching in 6 games with 3 starts. While he may not continue his 12.2 K/9 that he had over 20.2 innings in Colorado, he has a shot to be an impact starter for the big league club for years to come.

No. 72 Jorge Alfaro, C/Philadelphia Phillies – Alfaro was once a highly thought of prospect in the Texas Rangers farm system out of Colombia. Now after a trade that brought Cole Hamels to Texas in 2015, Alfaro went east to join Philly’s farm system. Last year marked Alfaro’s rise to the big leagues after a great season in AA. In Reading Alfaro showed off his power (21 doubles and 15 home runs) and showed he can be more consistent at the plate as he hit .285. While his strikeouts are still a bit high, he is still only 23. He has the defense to play at the big league level to the point that the talk of moving him out from behind the plate has slowed down. He has a high upside and might just earn a few more at bats sometime this season with the big league club. Alfaro ranked no. 59 on the 2016 Top 100 List.

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The Independent San Rafael Pacifics Will Have First Woman Manager

The San Rafael Pacifics will make history this summer when Justine Siegal manages two games this June. It will be the first time a woman has managed a game in professional baseball.  San Rafael plays in the Pacific Association.

Siegal created the national organization “Baseball for All” and has done many other things in the past including being the first woman coach in a Major League organization when she became a guest instructor with the Oakland A’s.

You can read more about the games and about Siegal through the Pacifics official press release.

Pacifics Will Make History This Summer

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2016 Independent Leagues

With the Major League Baseball season underway and the minor leagues already going strong, I thought we’d take a look at the independent leagues that will get going soon. Every year there seem to be new players and old ones going by the wayside. This year there are still a few strong leagues poised to have strong seasons.

Atlantic League

Easily the most successful league, the Atlantic League has been strong for years featuring many former MLB players. The eight team league has already kicked off the season with the league’s defending champion off to a 14-4 start as the Somerset Patriots continue to field a strong team. The league has also conditionally approved a 9th franchise for 2017 in the Virginia Beach Neptunes.

Frontier League

This coming week the longest running independent league will kick off its 2016 season. The league will feature 12 teams located around the mid-west all the way from Missouri to Pennsylvania. The Traverse City Beach Bums look to defend the franchise’s third title, but the first since the team moved from Richmond in 2006. The league has been going since 1993.

Empire Professional Baseball League

The newest entry into the independent game is the Empire League with four teams from the Northeastern US. The league is a replacement for the North Country Baseball League that lasted a single season. Three of the teams from the NCBL will play in the Empire League this summer starting in June.

Pecos League

The Pecos League is back for its 6th season with teams in the Southwestern USA.  The league will feature 10 teams with the Roswell Invaders looking to defend their 2015 title and third overall.  The league will kick off its season this coming week.

Pacific Association

The Pacific Association is back for its 4th season. The league has four teams around California. The season will begin in just under a month with the San Rafael Pacifics look to defend their 2015 title. The Pacifics are the two-time defending champs.

Canadian American Association

The Can-Am League kicks off its 12th season in just under two weeks time. The six team league looks to build on its experience and the support it has built up in Canada and in places like New York and New Jersey. The Trois-Rivieres Aigles look to defend their 2015 title and first in franchise history. The New Jersey Jackals will look to break through into the championship column after finishing runner-up for the past five seasons. The Jackals have won four championships in franchise history back in the old Northeast League Days of the last 90s early 00s.

American Association

The AA is back as well for its 11th season as the Laredo Lemurs look to defend their title from a year ago. The 12 team league has had some strong teams in recent years and has former MLB talent running several teams including last years champion Laredo with Pete Incaviglia. The league will kick off its 2016 season later this month.

We hope to bring you some updates on the leagues as the season progresses. We intend to take another look at the managers in the different leagues and highlight some of the up and coming stars there. We also hope to bring you some interviews and photos from some of the stadiums as we travel and take in a few games.

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Pecos League to Partner with Amtrak for 2015 Season

Joe Anton, who writes quite a bit about independent baseball over at Baseball Essential, has reported that the Pecos League will be sending its players to games this season via Amtrak.

The Southwest Chief train of Amtrak runs from Chicago to Los Angeles passing through several stops for the Pecos League teams including Lamy, NM; Las Vegas, NM; Trinidad, CO; and Garden City, KS.

The Pecos League has taken a lot of flack over the low pay, and sometimes no pay, of its players over the course of its four year existence. Some immediate feedback was that the players would have to pay their own way. However, that was quickly put to rest by a member of the league. There were many players who have openly complained about not getting gas money to travel in their own cars to games in the past.

If done correctly, this could be a win-win for both the league and Amtrak. But we have all seen how independent leagues have ruined good things in the past. Hopefully, the Pecos League will not follow suit here.

You can read Anton’s article here.

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Manic Monday – Great Fight from the Past

This is an older fight, but one that most of us remember seeing on ESPN or the news. In this crazy world of baseball fights it seems nothing is off limits. Just look at what happened to Don Zimmer, but that’s a story for another day.

This took place back in July of 2001. Feeling he had been thrown at twice, Pawtucket Red Sox player “Izzy” Israel Alcantara takes matters into his own hands. From his reaction, I get the feeling he felt the catcher was in on it.

Alcantara would go on to play overseas as well playing in Korea (LG Twins and Doosan Bears) and in Taiwan (Uni-President Lions).

Take a look at this beauty from ’01.

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Where Are They Now? Our 2012 Top 10 Independent Baseball League Managers

In 2012 we named what we thought was the Top 10 Independent Baseball Managers. We thought this year we would take a look at where they are now. Who moved up? Who moved down? And who retired?

#10 Steve Brook

Starting with our #10 we take a look at Steve Brook of the River City Rascals. Brook took over in River City in 2010 and immediately led the Rascals to its first Frontier League title. In 2011 he led the Rascals to the most wins in franchise history (68) and a return to the championship where they would fall. Since we profiled Brook before the 2012 season the Rascals fell to 4th place in the division. A third place finish in 2013 was followed by a division title in 2014. Brook led the team back to the championship series after winning 61 games. Brook returns in 2015 for his sixth season.

#9 Chris Paterson

Paterson was named the #9 manager in independent baseball in 2012, but he might be rising even higher. He was just named the manager of the American Association Sioux Falls Canaries. Since 2012 Paterson has added a new league and title to his resume. After managing the White Sands Pupfish in 2012, Paterson moved up to the United League Baseball managing the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings where he won the league title in 2014. Paterson faces a huge task of rebuilding the Canaries after their worst season in franchise history, but he has shown he is capable of doing just that.

#8 Phil Warren

Warren has been at the helm of the Gateway Grizzlies for the past eight seasons. Immediately after we ranked Warren #8 he led the Grizzlies to a Frontier League West Division crown. They would lose in the first round of the playoffs, but the 57 wins were the second best in franchise history. The winning has continued in 2013 and 2014 with a second and third place finish in the West Division. Both seasons the team won 50 or more games.

#7 Eddie Dennis

Dennis was the manager of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in 2012, his last season as a manager. He led the WhiteWings to a 51-44 record and a third place finish in the North American League. After being out of baseball in 2013, Dennis became the hitting coach for the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York Penn League. The Crosscutters are the Class A short season team of the Philadelphia Phillies.

#6 Andy Etchebarren

Echebarren retired after the 2012 season after leading the York Revolution to the playoffs for the third straight season. The former MLB’er changed the culture to a winning one in York taking a last place team to two straight titles in 2010 and 2011.

#5 Doug Simunic

Simunic has won over 1,000 games in independent baseball, mostly with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. In 21 years at the helm, he has had only two losing seasons but both have come in the past four seasons including 2014. Last summer the two-year extension on his contract was exercised keeping him in Fargo through 2017. Simunic has been the only manager that the Redhawks have known winning thirteen division and five league titles over that time.

#4 Patrick Scalabrini

Scalabrini entered the 2012 season after winning titles in his first two seasons in Quebec. He has since guided the Capitales to two more titles winning four in a row (in his first four seasons) in the Can-Am League. The team fell off a bit in 2014 finishing with its first losing season under Scalabrini and failing to make the playoffs. He will look to right the ship and return the Capiales to their winning tradition.

#3 Sparky Lyle

Entering the 2012 season Lyle led the Somerset Patriots to a winning record in 12 of his 14 years. Unfortunately year number fifteen, which would be his last, finished with a losing record as well. Overall Lyle finished his managing career (all with Somerset) with a record of 1024-913 for a .529 winning percentage. Lyle led the franchise to eight division and five league titles.

#2 Doc Edwards

Edwards has been in professional baseball nearly 60 years. He has managed at the Major League level, in the affiliated minor leagues, and for the past nine years with the San Angelo Colts. The Colts have suffered in recent years finishing under .500 the past two seasons. It remains to be seen if Edwards will manage in 2015. Not because he isn’t wanting to, but the entire San Angelo Colts and ULB are in jeopardy of being extinct next season. The Colts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last season in hopes of saving the stadium.

#1 Ricky VanAsselberg

Vanasselberg has been winning wherever he has wound up. Prior to 2012 he won the American Association championship with Grand Prairie in 2011 and another AA championship in 2010 with the Shreveport-Bossier Captains. These weren’t his only wins though. In 2006 and 2007 he won back-to-back United League championships with the Alexandria Aces.

Since 2011 Vanasselberg has qualified for the playoffs only once with the Air Hogs losing in the first round in 2013. However, in December he was named as the new manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. Definitely a jump up in competition but it will put Vanasselberg in his most challenging position, rebuilding. The Bluefish have finished with three straight losing seasons including a 47-93 season a year ago.

So in review, two managers have retired, one might be on his way out if his team folds, two moved up in the ranks of independent baseball, one moved to an affiliated team as a hitting coach, and four are still at it with the same teams.

You can go back and view our Top 10 from 2012 here:

Independent Baseball League Managers Top 10 – 1-5

Independent Baseball League Managers Top 10 – 6-10

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Independent: Sioux Falls Canaries Name Chris Paterson Manager for 2015

The Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association have made Chris Paterson their new manager for the 2015 season. Paterson is coming off a championship with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings from the United League Baseball in 2014. This was not his first championship. He also won the inaugural Pecos League championship with the Roswell Invaders in 2011.

Paterson began his coaching career in 2010 with the Desert Valley Mountain Lions of the defunct Continental Baseball League where he was named manager of the year. He has also managed in the California Winter League, Arizona Winter League, Pecos Spring League, and the Texas Winter League. He also serves as a scout for the Miami Marlins. In 2012, we named Paterson the #9 manager on our top 10 list of independent managers.

The Canaries are coming off a rough season in which they finished the year with a 33-67 record. The Canaries had the worst record in the league finishing 30 games behind first place Winnipeg in the North Division.

Paterson was nice enough to stop and take a moment to let us know how he feels about the new challenge of the step up in competition and the rebuilding effort he faces in Sioux Falls:

I am very excited to get this opportunity to manage in the American Association with Sioux falls. I’ve always regarded the AA as the top Indy league and best run one. I look forward to the challenges that it comes with and hope some of my prior successes in baseball can translate in the association. I’m very grateful to the general manager and assistant general managers in Sioux Falls as well as the ownership for putting their faith in me to lead this rebuilding process for the Canaries. We are in probably what is the toughest division in all of Indy ball with three well respected clubs and very successful managers. I look forward to working hard and making this transition

The three teams Paterson mentioned are the Winnipeg Goldeyes (nine division and two league championships), the St. Paul Saints (four division and league championships), and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (thirteen division and five league championships). These three teams are also three of the top four teams in attendance in 2014 in the American Association while Sioux Falls ranked eighth.

The Canaries decided not to renew former manager Steve Shirley shortly after the end of the 2014 season. Shirley was the longest tenured manager in team history, but the team has failed to reach the playoffs since 2010. Paterson will look to bring the Canaries back to their former days. The franchise has one AA title in 2008.

Paterson with the WhiteWings

Paterson with the WhiteWings

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Minors: Will the Osos be back in Raton in 2015

The Pecos League has been in existence since 2011 and some teams have bounced around from city to city. The Raton Osos started out as the Ruidoso Osos in the league’s inaugural season of 2011.  A year later the Ruidoso team was gone. The Osos were reborn in 2013 in Raton. Over the next two seasons they went a combined  36-92. Earlier this year an interesting article was posted to the website of KRTN Radio out of Raton and included parts from the city’s parks and recreation director.

This article gives a little insight into how some independent league teams are run and the hardships that they can come across. It does not appear, and it is still up in the air, that the Osos will return to Raton. It will be interesting to see where the team moves next or if some sort of agreement can be made to keep the team in Raton.

You can read the article by clicking the link below.

Osos Saga Continues

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Minors: United League Announces Awards for 2014

The regular season awards for the United League were recently announced.

The 2014 Silver Slugger Awards went to the Fort Worth Cats Ryan Lashey and the San Angelo Colts Chris Grossman. Lashey started the season with the Normal Cornbelters of the Frontier League. He played with Normal for 49 games before coming to Fort Worth where his season really took off. After hitting just .241 with Normal, Lashey hit .369 for Fort Worth in 53 games. With 79 hits over the last half of the season Lashey was a force in the Cats lineup. He finished the year with Fort Worth with six home runs and 45 RBI while posting a .369/.404/.556 line.

Joining Lashey with a Silver Slugger was the Colts Chris Grossman. The Colts’ Grossman led the league with 95 hits and 48 RBI. He posted an impressive .339/.403/.471 line over 70 games with San Angelo. The veteran also blasted five home runs and 20 doubles.

This years Fireman Award went to the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings Byron Minnich. Minnich was dominate for the 2014 champion WhiteWings saving 23 games, a new league record. After starting the year with Laredo in the American Association and saving one game, Minnich came over to Rio Grande Valley and posted a 1.21 ERA striking out 44 in 37.0 innings.

On the defensive side of the ball, Gold Glove Awards were given out to Justin Reed of the Colts, Oscar Garcia of the Cats, and Roger Bernal of the WhiteWings. Reed finished the year with a .987 fielding percentage.

The 2014 Cy Young Award went to the WhiteWings Celson Polanco. The veteran from the Dominican Republic went 6-2 for the WhiteWings posting an ERA of 2.11. He struck out 81 batters in 85.0 innings allowing only 74 hits.

The Manager of the Year Award went to the WhiteWings Chris Paterson. Leading the WhiteWings to the 2014 title and a 51-27 record. This was Paterson’s third championship as a manager and third manager of the year award.

The 2014 MVP went to the WhiteWings shortstop Roger Bernal. Bernal did it all with Rio Grande Valley. He anchored the defense and offense. Hitting .301, Bernal was second in the league with 94 hits including 11 doubles and 4 triples. He also stole 26 bases for the champion WhiteWings.

Silver Slugger: Chris Grossman, Ryan Lashley

Fireman Award: Byron Minnich

Cy Young: Celson Polanco

Gold Glove: Oscar Garcia, Justin Reed, Roger Bernal

M.V.P: Roger Bernal

Manager of the Year: Chris Paterson

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Minors: United League Announces All ULB Team for 2014

The United League Baseball recently announced the All ULB Team for the 2014 season. The 2014 ULB Champion Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings led the team with 10 selections.

 

 

 

 

Position Players

Position          Player                     Team                                BA     HR      RBI

Catcher           Mario Mercedes     Brownsville Charros       .315      4         26

1st Base           Matt Chavez           San Angelo Colts            .369      5         30

2nd Base          Jason Merjano        RGV Whitewings            .283      0         19

Short Stop       Roger Bernal          Rio Grande Valley          .301      1         35

3rd Base           Ryan Lashley         Ft. Worth Cats                 .369      6         45

Designated      Chris Grossman     San Angelo Colts            .339       5         48

Outfielder        Jacob Fabry           Rio Grande Valley          .322       0         28

Outfielder        Oscar Garcia          Ft. Worth Cats               .290        2         41

Outfielder        Justin Reed             San Angelo Colts          .292        2         37

UTILITY:

Outfield           JJ Muse                   San Angelo Colts         .305         3         36

Catcher           Dan Coury               Brownsville Charros    .268         11       38

Infield             Chad Kruse              Ft. Worth Cats             .333         0         28

Starting Rotation:

Player                      Team                      Win  Loss  ERA

Ryan Bonnot           RGV Whitewings    5       3        4.48

Celson Polanco       RGV Whitewings    6       2        2.12

Brad Orosey            Rio Grande Valley  6       4        2.05

Trent Montgomery  Ft. Worth Cats        6       5        4.81

Jeremy Gooding      Ft. Worth Cats        2       2        1.64

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Independent Baseball: Niagara New Team for Can-Am League in 2015

The Niagara Professional Baseball Group has been given provisional approval to field a team in the Can-Am League for the 2015 season. They will join the current four team league giving them another Canadian team to go with Quebec and Trois-Rivieres. The league will be six teams as Niagara and Ottawa will both be joining the league next season. Niagara has announced they are also looking for a team name and are looking for help from the public. A name the team contest has been announced via the club’s website. If you have an idea on what the team could be called for its inaugural season you can email or tweet your ideas to the team. The winner will receive some great prizes including a pair of season tickets. Contest ends August 1st. The club has also announced tryouts for September 20th. The tryout is open to anyone interested. It will take place from 2-6pm with pitchers and catchers reporting from 2-4pm and positional players from 4-6pm. Cost of the tryout is $60 per player. You can find the player tryout form and a link for payment here on their website. The club will play its home games at Welland Sports Complex which was built in 1989. The Welland Pirates played there from 1989 to 1994 as apart of the New York-Penn League. For more information on the tryout you can contact Colin at 647-608-8163 or via email at ccumminsATniagaraprobaseball.com

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Is the IBL Shutting Down the Season Already?

It is not an easy task to run a start up business. We see it everyday when different businesses in every town in America go under. It’s even harder to start a professional baseball league. Without the backing of Major League Baseball teams fight for fans on budgets that are razor thin. There have been more unsuccessful leagues over the years than successful ones. However, that doesn’t mean it is not possible to build a product that the fans will enjoy and keep coming back to. There are a few leagues that do just that and this year there was one more taking the plunge to try and add their name to that list, the Independent Baseball League. The IBL is a bit different in many regards. First of all, they play in small towns in Ohio and Michigan. We wrote about it kicking off its inaugural season just two months ago with this post. Secondly, the league does not play every day like many others. Instead the league, of only four teams, plays weekend games similar to how the leagues are set up in many places in Europe. The teams typically play single games Friday, a double header on Saturday, and a single game Sunday. That is all. However, today there was some news that the IBL would be closing up shop after just 12 games for each team. Then the post was removed from the league’s Facebook feed shortly after. You can see a screenshot below. IBL Post

I contacted someone within the IBL but was given no indication of the league shutting its doors or continuing to play. So this may be something that they are teetering on the edge with and have not fully decided. Most of the team websites are fairly up to date. However, the league website itself is not and appears to have some sort of error on it, although that has been there for as long as I can remember.

(H/T to Dan Malley for the screenshot)

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Independent Baseball League Teams with the Most Titles

In my continuing infatuation with independent baseball, I decided to take a look at the most successful teams in independent baseball. There are many ways in which you can determine success, but here I am looking at success in terms of championships.

Now you can argue that some championships are bigger than others, but a championship is a championship. All of these teams won their league title and a few even won in several different leagues over the years. There have been so many different leagues over the years and teams come and go. With that in mind I am only looking at teams that won more than two titles. There are quite a few with a single title, including many teams that no longer exist. There are even many teams with two titles, but over two really seems to limit the teams almost to a top 10.

So let’s take a look at the teams with three titles.

Teams with Three Titles

Fort Worth Cats – The Cats have a long history of baseball in Fort Worth dating back to the first half of the 20th century. The team was revived in 2001 in the independent All-American Association. The league folded after a year and the Cat joined the Central Baseball League winning their first championship in 2005. A year later the team joined the American Association where it would continue its dominance winning the title in its first two years in the league, 2006 and 2007. The Cats have not won a title since, but did reach the championship series of the United League Baseball, their current league, in 2013.

Gary SouthShore RailCats – The RailCats started play in the Northern League in 2002. The RailCats quickly built themselves into a powerhouse reaching the Northern League championship five straight seasons (2005-2009). They would win only two of those five (2005, 2007). After the Northern League folded after the 2010 season, the RailCats joined the American Association where they continue to play today. The RailCats are the current defending American Association champions after having defeated the Wichita Wingnuts in four games in 2013.

Long Island Ducks – The Ducks are one of independent baseball’s most famous teams and with it they have three titles. They are the two-time defending champions of the Atlantic League after defeating the Somerset Patriots in five games in 2013. Added to their titles in 2012 and 2013, the Ducks won their first title in 2004.

Windy City Thunderbolts – The Thunderbolts have played in the Frontier League since 1999. The team won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008 in the Frontier League. The first title in franchise history came under another name, the Cook County Cheetahs. The Cheetahs played in the Heartland League where they defeated the Tennessee Tomahawks in the championship.

Teams with Four Titles

St. Paul Saints – Arguably the most popular independent baseball team of all-time, the Saints helped build the Northern League. The Saints won the first Northern League title in 1993 and then came back in 1995 and 1996 to claim two more titles. The team didn’t win another one until 2004 just a couple of years before they would jump ship to the American Association where they continue playing today.

New Jersey Jackals – The Jackals began play in 1998 and quickly won the Northeast League title. The following season the Northeast League and the Northern League combined. The Jackals claimed their second title in 2001 defeating the Winnipeg Goldeyes to win their first Northern League title. They would repeat again defeating Winnipeg in 2002. The Northeast League decided to split from the Northern League in 2003. The following year the Jackals would win their fourth and final title claiming the 2004 Northeast League title. Today the Jackals play in the Can-Am League.

Amarillo Dillas – The Dillas existed as a team from 1994 to 2010 playing in different leagues. In 1999 as a part of the defunct Texas-Louisiana League, the Dillas win their first title. After a few league changes the Dillas would put together a powerhouse in the United League Baseball winning three titles in a row from 2008-2010. The team, due to financial difficulties, would disband after the 2010 season.

Teams with Five Titles

Somerset Patriots – Arguably the most successful team due to the league they play in, the Patriots are the five-time champions of the Atlantic League. The Patriots started play in 1998 winning their first title in the leagues fourth years of existence in 2001. This was after losing in the championship the previous two seasons. The Patriots would win again in 2003, 2005, and back-to-back titles in 2008-2009. The team has made the championship nine times, including 2013.

Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks – The Redhawks could also be argued as the most successful team having won five Northern League titles. Their first title came in 1998 just a few years after the Northern League began. A few years later they would pick up their second title in 2003, then again in 2006. The Redhawks would finish out the Northern League (folded after 2010) strong winning the last two titles in 2009 and 2010. They have won 13 division titles including the last two in the American Association where they play today. In their 18 years of existence, the Redhawks have failed to make the playoffs only two times.

Alexandria Aces – The Aces are the franchise with the most titles that no longer exists. The Aces played from 1994-2013. In that span they played in five different leagues including a few seasons in a collegiate league. Their first title came in 1997 in the Texas-Louisiana League. They would win again in 1998 and then turned their sites to the United League Baseball. They would win two straight ULB titles in 2006 and 2007. The final franchise title came in 2009 as a member of the Continental Baseball League.

Teams with Six Titles

Quebec Capitales – The Capitales play in the Canadian-American League where they have dominated. The Northeast League was renamed in 2004 creating the Can-Am League where the Capitales have won six titles since. The team began play in 1999 as a part of the Northern League. Since 2000 the Capitales have made the playoffs 12 times winning 6 titles. They are the five-time defending Can-Am League champions having defeated the New Jersey Jackals in the last three Can-Am League championships.

Perhaps these numbers will change after the 2014 season with nine of the eleven teams still playing.

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Independent Baseball League Stadium Ratings Part 2

We are back with Part 2 of our ratings. This time we take a look at the American Association, United League Baseball, and Pecos League. Not all of the stadiums for these leagues are available via StadiumJourney.com, so we are basing it on what we do have.

There are a few other leagues we did not factor into our ratings. First of all, the Freedom Pro League plays at some of the Arizona Spring Training fields so we did not rank them. The newly formed Independent Baseball League had no stadiums rated via Stadium Journey. It looks as thought they are playing at municipal and local high school fields and if they were in the rankings, they would probably be last based on some of the photos I have seen.

All of the ratings come from StadiumJourney.com. The ratings take into account different aspects including atmosphere, food, and even bang for your buck. Click on any team name to view the Stadium Journey rating for each one, see some stadium photos, and see why each has the rating it does.

American Association – The AA is located throughout the US from Texas to Minnesota. It is one of the more established leauges, but there are rumors a few teams may bolt next year due to travel costs.

Amarillo Sox (3.6) – The Sox play at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. The stadium is old (opened in 1949) and has featured teams in many different leagues over the years. It seems the stadium gets a higher score due to some great fans and good value.

Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (3.3) – The Redhawks play at Newman Outdoor Field which is also home to the North Dakota State Bison. The stadium opened in 1996 and is better known as “The Nest”.

Gary SouthShore RailCats (3.1) – The RailCats play at U.S. Steel Yard. It holds 6,000 people and opened in 2002.

Grand Prairie AirHogs (3.0) – The AirHogs play at Quick Trip Park which opened in 2008. With a capacity of just over 5,400, this is a nice place to catch a game. Afterwards you can walk on over to Lone Star Park and bet on the horses if you wish.

Kansas City T-Bones (3.7) – The T-Bones play at Community America Park which opened in 2003. With a capacity of over 6,500 it is one of the bigger stadiums in the league but not the biggest.

Lincoln Saltdogs (4.0) – The Saltdogs play at Haymarket Park which is also home to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The park was built in 2001 and holds 8,500 fans which is the biggest stadium in the AA.

Sioux City Explorers (3.3) – The Explorers play at Lewis & Clark Park which opened in 1993. The Explorers were one of the Northern League teams when the league was reborn in 1993. The stadium has a capacity of over 3,600.

Sioux Falls Canaries (2.9) – The Canaries, formerly known as the Pheasants, play at Sioux Falls Stadium. The stadium was built in 1941 but was renovated as recently as 2000. It holds 4,500 people and is known as the “Birdcage”.

St. Paul Saints (4.0) – The Saints play at Midway Stadium which was built in 1982. It holds a little over 6,300 and is known more for what goes on on the field than the actual stadium.

Winnipeg Goldeyes (4.0) – The Goldeyes play at Shaw Park and is the only team in the AA from Canada. The team has played in Winnipeg since 1994 but only at Shaw Park since 1999. The stadium holds almost 7,500

Average score (two stadiums have not been reviewed) 3.49

Can-Am League – The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball sits now as just a four team league. The league has two teams in each the US and Canada.

New Jersey Jackals (3.1) – The Jackals play at Yogi Berra Stadium which was built in 1998. With a capacity of just over 3,700, the stadium has seen the Jackals compete in three different leagues.

Rockland Boulders (3.3) – The Boulders play at Provident Bank Park which was built in 2011. The new stadium holds 4,500 people.

Average score (two stadiums have not been reviewed) 3.2

United League Baseball – The ULB is located in Texas with four teams and three stadiums (one travel team). A few of the teams are well established including one that plays on historic grounds.

Ft. Worth Cats (3.0) – The Cats play at historic La Grave Field. It has been rebuilt but on the same spot where many historic figures have played in the past. The stadium is nice, but nothing spectacular, sitting just outside of downtown Ft. Worth.

San Angelo Colts (3.0) – The Colts play at Foster Field which is also home to the Angelo State Rams. Built in 2000 it seats 4,200 and features Triple-A lighting. It is a bit more state of the art than some of the other ULB stadiums.

Rio Grande Valley White Wings (2.3) – The White Wings play at Harlingen Field. It is an older park that has undergone numerous renovations but doesn’t really add anything extra to the equation.

Edinburg Roadrunners (2.4) – This stadium is no longer used in the ULB but was in the past when the Roadrunners played at Edinburg Stadium.

Average score (without defunct stadium/team) 2.76

Pecos League – The Pecos League started in 2010 and features teams in the Southwest of the US in parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Most of the parks are city fields and not built specifically for professional baseball.

Trinidad Triggers (2.6) – The Triggers might be most famous for their show on Fox Sports 1 that shows the team in the low minors. They play at Central Park that was built in 1960 and holds 887.

Las Cruces Vaqueros (2.3) – The team and field are no longer used by the Pecos League.

Average score (without defunct stadium/team) 2.6

Final Rankings:

1. Atlantic League 3.65
2. Frontier League 3.53
3. American Association 3.49
4. Can-Am League 3.2
5. United League Baseball 2.76
6. Pecos League 2.6
*Independent Baseball League and Freedom Pro League not rated

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the ratings?

Posted in N. America, Minors2 Comments

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