Tag Archive | "Affiliated Leagues"

Minor League Fantasy Baseball Game Launched

UNITED STATES – Box Baseball, the ultimate simulation fantasy baseball game, today announced the launch of a new Box Baseball Minors fantasy game. Box Baseball Minors is the first daily simulation fantasy baseball game using real-life minor league player statistics. Box Baseball Minors will be offered free for 2010 with the purchase of any team from the regular Box Baseball fantasy game.

Traditional online fantasy baseball games allow managers to draft minor league players who generally sit on their benches, unable to contribute unless called up to the Majors. With Box Baseball Minors, managers can draft any minor league player from Class A to Triple A and field a team and compete in a league dedicated to tomorrow’s stars. Results are based on how those minor league players do in real life. Box Baseball Minors plays approximately an 80 game schedule in step with real life.

Box Baseball is an online fantasy baseball game unlike anything on the market today. Box Baseball offers:

• Daily results based on previous games’ stats (predictive).
• The most realistic fantasy baseball simulation engine algorithm.
• Incorporation of many baseball stats including ballpark effects and zone performances for outs. and hits

Three affordable options are available for the 2010 season of Box Baseball. Users can play the 2010 season for only $8.97 per month for eight months, or save 40% and pay only $59 upfront (reduced from the regular price of $97). Entire fantasy leagues that come on board will only need to pay $25 per team. All Box managers will receive their Box Minors team free of charge.

Learn more about Box Baseball Minors and sign up today at www.boxbaseball.com.

About Box Baseball
Box Baseball is the final word in fantasy baseball. Launched in 2009, it combines true predictive simulation with daily results and a user-friendly web site. Box Baseball is unlike any other fantasy baseball game on the market, moving beyond simple Rotisserie and points-based games. Box Baseball offers both major league and minor league fantasy games. Break out of the box and learn more at www.boxbaseball.com.

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2009 Topps Triple-A All-Star Team

UNITED STATES – The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians both landed two prospects on the Topps Triple-A All-Star Team which was announced last Thursday.

The Topps Double-A All-Stars will be announced on Nov. 18, followed by Class A on Nov. 25 and short-season/rookie ball on Dec. 2.

Second baseman Kevin Russo and outfielder Shelley Duncan represented the newly-crowned World Series champion. The 25-year-old Russo had the fourth-highest batting average in Triple-A at .326 batting average, and smacked 18 doubles, five homers and 31 RBIs in 90 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Duncan, 30, swatted 30 home runs and tallied 99 RBIs to earn MVP honors in the International League.

The Indians were represented by corner infielder Andy Marte and outfielder Jordan Brown. Marte, a 26-year-old third baseman, hit .327 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs before finishing the 2009 season with the big league club.

Brown, 25, won the the International League batting title with a .336 batting average and his .532 slugging percentage was third-best in the league.


John Hester, Arizona Diamondbacks

Randy Ruiz, Toronto Blue Jays

Kevin Russo, New York Yankees

Alcides Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers

Andy Marte, Cleveland Indians

John Bowker, San Francisco Giants
Jordan Brown, Cleveland Indians
Shelley Duncan, New York Yankees

Mitch Jones, Los Angeles Dodgers

Lenny DiNardo, Kansas City Royals

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Cardinals Announce Top Minor Leaguers

UNITED STATES – November 2, 2009 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced today the club’s selections for 2009 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year honors, tabbing infielder/outfielder Allen Craig (8th round, 2006) and pitcher Lance Lynn (1st round supplemental, 2008) as this year’s top performers.

“For a player to get drafted last year, and then in his first full year accomplish this, is remarkable,” said Cardinals’ Vice President of Scouting & Player Development Jeff Luhnow about Lynn. “Lance helped our AA team reach the playoffs and his future is very bright.”

“Allen has been terrific every year since we drafted him and was a key part of the (Memphis) Redbirds championship run this year,” said Luhnow. “This recognition is overdue for him.”

Craig, 25, led Memphis in the Triple Crown categories batting.322 with 26 home runs and 83 RBI while slugging a team-leading.547. He finished fourth in the Pacific Coast League in batting, home runs, hits (152) and total bases (258); and played in 126 games splitting time between first base, third base and the outfield, only committing five errors for a.990 fielding percentage. In each of his three full seasons in the minors, Craig has batted over.300 with over 20 home runs and 80 RBI, and was selected to the mid-season and post-season All-Star teams in the Florida State League (MVP of game) and Texas League. Craig earned Cardinals organizational Player-of-the-Month honors this past July, batting.392 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI.

The right-handed hitting Craig was drafted by the Cardinals in the 8th round (256th player overall) of the June, 2006, draft out of the University of California-Berkeley and is the first player to win the award spending his entire season in AAA since Adam Kennedy accomplished the feat with Memphis in 1999.

Lynn (pictured), 22, climbed three levels in his second professional season joining the previous two winners, Jess Todd (2008) and P.J. Walters (2007) as the only Cardinals Pitcher-of-the-Year honorees to accomplish that feat.

The right-hander combined for an 11-4 record with a 2.85 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 148.2 innings (28 games) between Palm Beach (A), Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA).

The 6-5, 250-pound Lynn finished third in the Texas League in ERA (2.92) and tied for third with 11 wins. Lynn earned the Cardinals Pitcher-of-the-Month honors for May, going 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA in 28.1 innings with 23 strikeouts, helping Springfield to a first half championship and a Texas League playoff berth. He was named to the mid-season and post-season Texas League All-Star teams.

Photo courtesy of redbirdchatter.mlblogs.com

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Arizona Winter League Set For January

UNITED STATES – The Arizona Winter League (AWL), the premier instructional showcase league for professional level baseball players in the U.S. has announced the 8 team slate for the upcoming season which begins with players reporting on January 24, 2010. Also as part of the announcement is the list of managers and instructors and pro leagues that are sending coaches and scouts.

For 2010 the returning list of teams includes the champion Yuma Scorpions, Blythe Heat, San Diego Surf Dawgs, and San Luis Atleticos in the U.S. Division and the Western Canada Miners, Team Canada, and Saskatchewan Silver Sox in the Canadian Division.

The Palm Springs Chill have been dropped from the league and replaced with 2009 Golden Baseball League Champion Calgary Vipers who will round out the Canadian Division and be managed by former Montreal Expo legend Boots Day.

Managers and Instructors for the 2010 Arizona Winter League include the following (more may be added as the season approaches):

Garry Templeton (pictured), former major league all-star and currently manager of the Long Beach Armada in the independent Golden Baseball League.

Brent Bowers, former major leaguer with Baltimore and currently manager of the Edmonton Capitals of the independent Golden Baseball League

Boots Day, former major leaguer and currently bench coach with the Calgary Vipers of the independent Golden Baseball League.

Cory Snyder, former major leaguer and currently manager of the St. George Roadrunners of the independent Golden Baseball League

Tim Johnson, former major league player and major league manager and currently manager of the Tucson Toros of the independent Golden Baseball League

Mike Marshall, former major league all-star and currently manager of the Yuma Scorpions of the independent Golden Baseball League

Les Lancaster, former major leaguer with the Cubs and currently manager of the Sioux City Explorers of the independent American Association

Brooks Carey, former major leaguer and currently pitching coach with the Sussex Skyhawks of the independent Can-Am League and manager of the San Luis Algodoneros of the Liga Del Norte in Mexico.

James Frisbie, currently pitching coach with the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association

Toby Rumfield, 13-year minor leaguer and currently manager of the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League

Nick Belmonte, legendary independent leagues scout and currently scout for the Boston Red Sox.

Dave Marcon, award winning minor league playing career and currently instructor for the Detroit Tigers

Major league organizations that have confirmed that they are sending scouts include the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, and Colorado Rockies so far.

“It’s great to see the Arizona Winter League continue to grow and be recognized by players as the best showcase and development opportunity available in the winter in the U.S. and this list of managers and instructors is incredible,” said Arizona Winter League Commissioner Kevin Outcalt.

“In three years there have been over 100 AWL players signed and playing in professional leagues in the U.S. and abroad. Two have already made the major leagues and I’m looking forward to seeing the extraordinary players that arrive this year, as are the many teams and leagues that are sending instructors, managers, and scouts.”

Photo courtesy of Long Beach Armada

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Tom Nieto To Coach Rochester Red Wings

UNITED STATES – The Minnesota Twins today named Tom Nieto manager of the Rochester Red Wings. The 49-year-old Nieto was the manager for Double-A New Britain in 2009.

Nieto will enter his 10th year as a minor league manager, his second in the Twins organization and his first season in Triple-A. The 2010 season will mark his 19th year as a Major League coach, or minor league manager/instructor.

A catcher, Nieto put together a seven-year Major League career (1984-1990), including two seasons with the Twins (1987 & 1988).

A 3rd round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1981, Nieto spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals (1984 & 1985), Montreal Expos (1986), Minnesota Twins (1987 & 1988) and Philadelphia Phillies (1989 & 1990), batting .205 with five home runs and 69 RBI in 251 Major League games.

Joining Nieto in the dugout will be Pitching Coach Bobby Cuellar and Hitting Coach Floyd Rayford .

Cuellar, 57, will return for his fifth season as the Red Wings pitching coach and 25th year of instruction. He played nine years of pro ball, appearing briefly in the majors with Texas in 1977, going 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA in four games. This is Cuellar’s sixth season as the Twins Triple-A pitching coach. Cuellar was the Major League pitching coach for Seattle (1995-1996), Montreal (1997-2000), and Texas (2001). A

Rayford, 52, will begin his first season as the Red Wings hitting coach and his 11th year in the Minnesota Twins organization. A long time Rochester fan favorite and better known as “Sugar Bear”, played for Rochester from 1980-1984, 1986 & 1987.

Tony Leo will return for his sixth season as the Red Wings trainer. Leo will be entering his 13th season in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Photo courtesy of rockcats.com

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Florida Marlins Announce Top Prospects

UNITED STATES – The Florida Marlins announced recently that Pitcher Cristhian Martinez and outfielder Michael Stanton (pictured) have been named the organization’s Minor League Players of the Year.

Martinez, who was selected as the Minor League Pitcher of the Year, went 9-3 with a 2.94 ERA at Jacksonville (Double-A).

The 27-year-old tallied 17 appearances with the Suns and was promoted to the big league club on four occasions where he posted a 1-1 record and 5.13 ERA in 15 games.

Stanton was chosen as the Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .255 and leading the organization with 28 homers and 92 RBIs.

The 19-year-old slugger, regarded as one of the top overall prospects in the minor leagues, started the year at Class A Jupiter before being promoted to Double-A.

Both prospects helped Jacksonville to finish the season strong and capture the Southern League championship.

Photo courtesy of www.keeperleaguegm.com

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Revere, Bromberg Named Twins Top Prospects

UNITED STATES – The Minnesota Twins announced recently that outfielder Ben Revere (pictured) and right-handed pitcher David Bromberg have been named Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Revere was named the Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins’ Minor League Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. The first Twins prospect to earn back-to-back awards since LaTroy Hawkins (1993 and 1994), Revere batted .311 with 13 doubles and 75 runs scored in 121 games for Class A Fort Myers.

The 21-year-old, who was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, was selected to both the midseason and postseason Florida State League All-Star rosters. He was ranked as the eighth best prospect in the Florida State League by Baseball America after registering a league-high 145 hits and a team-best 45 stolen bases.

Bromberg claimed the 2009 Jim Rantz Award winner as the Twins’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The 22-year-old went 13-4 with a 3.70 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 153 1/3 innings for Fort Myers. He also limited opponents to a .224 batting average in 26 starts, and issued only 63 walks the entire season.

The The 6-foot-5 right-hander, who established career highs in wins and innings pitched while leading the league in strikeouts, started the Florida State League All-Star Game. Bromberg was selected as the Florida State League’s Most Valuable Pitcher, and was chosen as the 15th best prospect in the Florida State League. He has posted 34-17 record over four years in the Twins’ farm system since being drafted in the 32nd round of the 2005 First-Year Player draft.

Revere and Bromberg will be recognized with the rest of the Twins’ 2009 Award winners at the fifth annual Diamond Awards dinner, which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 at the Hilton Minneapolis.

Photo courtesy of fieldsnotes.wordpress.com

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Purchase Game Worn Arkansas Travelers Jerseys

UNITED STATES – The Arkansas Travelers are placing all game worn road jerseys from the 2007 through 2009 seasons on sale! Fans have the chance to purchase these authentic jerseys worn by Travs players and coaches by contacting the Travelers Crossing merchandise shop at Dickey-Stephens Park.

Most game-worn road Travs jerseys sell for $150, but some are priced higher due to the player who wore it.

All game worn jersey purchases include a Certificate of Authenticity detailing the players who donned it during games and their achievements. All jersey purchases will be handled on a first-come, first-serve basis so fans are encouraged to act fast.

Call (501) 664-1555 to purchase a game-worn road jersey or come to the main office inside Dickey-Stephens Park during regular business hours.

Photo courtesy of travelerocity.blogs.com

Source: Arkansas Travelers

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2009 Minor League Baseball Promotional Awards

UNITED STATES – The Mobile BayBears, Great Lakes Loons, Lake Elsinore Storm and State College Spikes are the winners in Minor League Baseball’s inaugural Best of Promotional Awards. The honorees were chosen by their peers from over 200 promotions in four different categories at the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar in New Orleans which ended Saturday. The overall winner was then chosen from the category honorees.

The BayBears, received the Best Overall Promotional Award and the Best Non-Game Day Promotion Award for relocating Hank Aaron’s childhood home to GasLight Park at Hank Aaron Stadium and converting it to the Hank Aaron Childhood Home Museum. The museum features a unique and personal look at the Aaron family, their values and how this formed the foundation and guided the life, historic Hall of Fame Baseball career and post-baseball accomplishments of the Mobile native.

The Loons and their Funky Feather captured the Best In-Game Promotion. The premise of The Funky Feather is when Great Lakes scored a run, the song sandstorm plays and fans, staff members and game day employees start doing “The Funky Feather,” punching alternate arms in the air to the beat of the music. The promotion was supported through use of the Loons’ video board. The club also had Funky Feather t-shirts available for purchase.

The Best Theme Night was awarded to the Storm for their Fat Tuesday promotion, sponsored by Subtle Butt, of an all-you-can-eat ticket for $13. Subtle Butt is a small carbon filter that basically masks flatulent odor, a self-adhesive comfort strip that fits inside your undergarment and reduces gas emissions.

The Spikes were voted as having the Best Green Promotion. During every home game, “Gang Green,” a group of three interns dressed as “Jolly Green Giant” looking characters, ran onto the field and danced or performed a skit. The trio would then enter the stands, collecting recyclables from fans.

Photo courtesy of deadspin.com

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Gambling Debts Chasing Shawn Chacon

UNITED STATES – An arrest warrant is out for right-hander Shawn Chacon after he allegedly failed to pay $150,000 in gambling markers to the Las Vegas hotel Caesars Palace, The Las Vegas Sun reported recently.

Chacon faces a felony charge of passing three bad $50,000 checks in March, and the district attorney’s bad check unit is seeking a total of $165,125 in bail on the charge, The Sun added.

Gambling debts are prosecuted as bad checks in Nevada.

Chacon pitched eight seasons in the Major Leagues, with his first 4 1/2 years coming with the Rockies. The 31-year-old right-hander, who played for four different teams and was an All-Star in 2003, compiled a career 45-61 record and a 4.99 ERA.

The third-round Draft pick in 1996 last pitched in the big leagues for the Astros in 2008, before being released last June 26 because of an alleged physical confrontation with general manager Ed Wade.

Chacon spent the 2009 season pitching for the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, with whom he went 8-4 with a 6.29 ERA in 14 games (12 starts).

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Pedro Alvarez Named Player Of The Year

UNITED STATES – The Pittsburgh Pirates have named third baseman Pedro Alvarez their minor league Player of the Year, and Rudy Owens their minor league Pitcher of the Year for the 2009 season.


Alvarez hit a combined .288 (134-for-465) with 32 doubles, 27 home runs, 95 RBI and 80 runs scored in 126 games between Single-A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona. Alvarez, who was Pittsburgh’s 2008 First-Round Draft selection, finished first among all Pirates minor leaguers this year with 27 home runs and 95 RBI.

The 22-year-old Alvarez was named to the All-Star Futures Game this year in his first professional season. He also played for Team USA in the World Cup, where he established a new IBAF World Cuprecord by hitting three home runs in one game on September 17 against Chinese Taipei (Taiwan).

Alvarez started the year at Single-Lynchburg, where he hit 14 doubles, 14 home runs and 55 RBI in 66 games. After being promoted to Double-A Altoona, he hit .333 with 18 doubles, 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 60 games.

“Pedro performed up to the lofty expectations placed upon him, showing a quality combination of
power and patience plus improving defense,” said Stark. “He performed across two levels, raising his level of play as he faced tougher competition at Double-A.”


Owens posted a combined record of 11-2 with a 2.10 ERA (124ip/29er) and 113 strikeouts in 25 starts with West Virginia and Lynchburg. He began the year with Low-A West Virginia, where he went 10-1 with a 1.70 ERA (100.2ip/19er) and 91 strikeouts in 19 starts while being named to the South Atlantic League midseason All-Star team.

After being promoted to Lynchburg, Pittsburgh’s 28th round selection in the 2006 Draft went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA (23.1ip/10er) and 22 strikeouts in six starts for the Carolina League Champion Hillcats. For the season, the 21-year-old Owens finished first among Pirates farmhands in ERA and strikeouts andtied for third in wins.

“Rudy Owens made significant strides this year, showing consistent fastball command and improving secondary pitches,” said Stark. “He obviously performed across two levels, capped off by a couple quality starts in the postseason for Lynchburg.”

For more information, contact the Pirates Media Relations office at (412) 325-4728 or (412) 325-4976.

Photo courtesy of consuelocity.com

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Trevor Reckling Named Pitcher Of The Year

UNITED STATES – The Los Angeles Angels announced recently their minor league organizational awards for the 2009 season, naming infielder Alexi Amarista as Player of the Year, left-handed pitcher Trevor Reckling as Pitcher of the Year, and outfielder Peter Bourjos as Defensive Player of the Year.


Amarista, 20, spent the 2009 season at single-A Cedar Rapids where he batted .319 (152/477) with 84 runs scored, 39 doubles, 10 triples, four home runs, 49 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 125 games. He led the Midwest League in batting average and ranked second in doubles (39) and triples (10) and third in hits. Amarista was selected to participate in the Midwest League mid-season All-Star Game and was named as an infielder on the Postseason All-Star Team. He received Organizational Player of the Month honors in July and Defensive Player of the Month accolades in April.

A native of Venezuela, Amarista was signed by the Angels as a free agent, Jan. 25, 2007. Overall, he has a .326 (301/922) batting average in three professional seasons.


Reckling, 20, began the 2008 season at single-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he posted a 1-2 mark with a 0.95 ERA (2 ER – 19 IP) and allowed nine hits and three walks with 19 strikeouts in three starts. He was then promoted to double-A Arkansas, where he compiled an 8-7 record with one complete game and a 2.93 ERA (44 ER -135.1 IP) in 23 starts. Reckling, who finished fourth in the league in ERA, also led the Travelers in wins, innings and strikeouts (106).

Overall in 2009, Reckling was 9-9 with a 2.68 ERA (46 ER – 154.1 IP) with one complete game in 26 starts. He allowed 127 hits and 78 walks while striking out 122 batters. Reckling was selected to participate in the Texas League mid-season All-Star Game and was also named to the Postseason All-Star Team. He was the Angels’ Organizational Pitcher of the Month for April, and also played for the USA Team at the 2009 Futures Game and the 2009 World Cup.

Reckling graduated from St. Benedicts Prep School in Newark, NJ, and was selected by the Angels in the eighth round of the 2007 free agent draft.


Bourjos, 22, spent the 2009 season at double-A Arkansas. Defensively, he compiled a .997 fielding percentage with 294 putouts and seven assists in 302 total chances, committing just one error and taking part in five double plays in 109 games as an outfielder. Bourjos also batted .281 (123/437) with 72 runs scored, 16 doubles, 14 triples, six home runs on 51 RBI in 110 games. He led the Texas League in triples and also led the Travelers in runs. Bourjos was honored as the Angels’ Defensive Player of the Month for May and was selected to play in the Texas League All-Star Game.

A native of Scottsdale, AZ, Bourjos attended Notre Dame High and was selected by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2005 free agent draft (signing on Aug. 18, 2005).

Source: Los Angeles Angels

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Santana, Weglarz Win On-Base Program Awards

UNITED STATES – The Cleveland Indians today announced the year-end organizational winners of their Minor League On-Base Program “On-Base-Where Careers Take Off”, sponsored by Continental Airlines. The on-base program stresses pitch recognition and patience at the plate for all position players within the organization’s Player Development System.

Players are rewarded with a cash recognition for their performances based on three different non-traditional hitting categories at each of the six Indians Minor League affiliates (AAA Buffalo, AA Akron, A Kinston, A Lake County, A Mahoning Valley, Rookie AZL Indians). The three hitting categories are: on-base percentage, percentage of hard hit at-bats and walk percentage based on total plate appearances. These categories represent the ability to make solid contact, the best approach to hitting and the best overall ability to hit.

The following are the list of organizational winners in each of the three categories. For their efforts, the winners will receive a round trip voucher for anywhere in the continental United States from Continental Airlines.

Carlos Santana – 51 %

Nick Weglarz – 17.6%

Carlos Santana – .413

Carlos Santana led the entire Indians Minor League system in both hard hit percentage and on-base percentage during the 2009 season. Santana hit the ball hard in 51 percent of his at-bats, and his on-base percentage of .413 led the Indians Player Development System and was 2nd best in the Eastern League.

On the year he hit .290 (124-428) with 88 runs scored, 30 doubles, 2 triples, 21HR and 94RBI in 130 games at AA Akron and was named the Eastern League Most Valuable Player. It marked the 2nd consecutive season he has been named a league MVP as last year he was named the Carolina Legaue MVP.

Santana also led the league in slugging percentage (.530) OPS (.943) and walks (90) while ranking 2nd in home runs (23), RBI (97) and on-base percentage (.313) and 3rd in runs scored (91). His 90 walks set a new Aeros club record. Santana was selected to the Eastern League All-Star game and played for the World Team at the Futures Game in St. Louis. Santana was acquired along with RHP John Meloan from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 26, 2008 in exchange for INF Casey Blake and cash. In five professional seasons he owns a .287 (456-1591) with 306 runs scored, 108 doubles, 12 triples, 60 HR and 309 RBIs in 469 games.

Nick Weglarz led the entire Indians Minor League system in walk percentage as he walked in 17.6 percent of his plate appearances (75BB/427 PA) as his 75 walks ranked 2nd most in the Eastern League.

In 2009, Weglarz hit .227 (77-339) with 69 runs scored, 17 doubles, 3 triples, 16HR and 65RBI in 105 games at AA Akron as his season was cut short in mid-August due to shin splints. He drew four (4) walks in two different games which set an Aeros club record for walks in a game.

Weglarz was the Indians 3rd round selection in the 2005 draft. In five professional seasons he owns a .256 (335-1309) average with 235 runs scored, 76 doubles, 8 triples, 52HR and 202 RBI in 380 games.

Source: Cleveland Indians

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Arizona Fall League To Showcase Top Prospects

UNITED STATES – Washington Nationals highly-touted pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg will join a long list of top MLB All-Stars who played in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) when the 2009 season begins on October 13.

Over 1,700 former Fall Leaguers have reached the major leagues, and 18 AFL alumni have been named MLB Rookies-of-the-Year. The 2008 class featured Tommy Hanson (Atlanta Braves), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox) and Brian Matusz (Baltimore Orioles).

Strasburg, the top pick of the Draft who inked a record-setting contract with the Nationals in the 11th hour, will make his unofficial professional debut as a member of the AFL’s Phoenix Desert Dogs.

Another top pick from the most recent MLB Draft joining Strasburg in the AFL this month will be University of North Carolina outfielder/first baseman Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 selection of the Seattle Mariners, who will be a member of the Peoria Javelinas..

Braves’ top pick Mike Minor, who’s made two appearances with Class A Rome in the South Atlantic League to date, and the Reds’ No. 8 overall draftee Mike Leake will both continue throwing in the AFL with the Peoria Saguaros.

A whopping 141 AFL alumni have went on to become MLB All-Stars, including 38 this past season. Also, six former Fall Leaguers – Jason Giambi, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins – have captured MLB Most Valuable Player honors.

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Connecticut Defenders Relocate To Richmond

UNITED STATES – The Connecticut Defenders ownership group, Navigators Baseball LLP has announced that the team will be leaving Norwich, CT to play the 2010 season in Richmond, VA at the Diamond.

“On behalf of the Defenders organization we want to thank our friends and fans in the region for their loyal support over the years, especially this past season,” said Team President and Managing Partner Lou DiBella. “It was a fantastic year on and off the field. I’m going to do everything in my power to facilitate and encourage the return of baseball to Dodd Stadium. I look forward to seeing all my friends in Norwich and the Southeastern Connecticut region at an affiliated game at Dodd Stadium in the near future.”

The Defenders celebrated fifteen years of Double-A baseball at Dodd Stadium this past 2009 season and did it with class. The Class AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants tied a single season franchise record in wins (83) leading to a Northern Division Title, saw a new franchise record set by 1B-Brett Pill with 109 RBI’s, a handful of Eastern League accolades and more importantly a post-season run for the first time in seven years.

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Durham Wins Triple-A National Championship Game

UNITED STATES – The Memphis Redbirds wild season came to a wild end Tuesday night at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark with a 5-4 loss to the Durham Bulls in the Triple-A National Championship Game.

With nobody out and runners on the corners Memphis pitcher Oneli Perez’s first pitch bounced to the backstop allowing pinch runner Rashad Eldridge to score from third base for a wild walk-off win for the Bulls. Former Redbirds Michel Hernandez’s leadoff double into the left-center field gap started the rally for the Bulls.

Durham drew first blood in the third inning scoring on back-to-back doubles with Desmond Jennings driving in Ray Olmedo. The Bulls struck again in the fourth for three runs before the Redbirds rallied in the sixth to claw back into the game. Jon Jay’s solo blast put the ‘Birds on the board and Allen Craig’s two-run shot brought the club within a run. Memphis finally tied the game in the seventh on David Freese’s sacrifice fly. Both teams struggled offensively combining to strand 21 batters and go 4-for-20 with runners in scoring position. The Redbirds left 11 men on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Perez took the loss for the ‘Birds throwing only one pitch in the game. Mitch Talbot picked up the win tossing a perfect inning of relief. Durham starter Jeremy Hellickson (pictured) was sharp turning in five scoreless innings before being named MVP. Redbirds starter P.J. Walters allowed four runs on seven hits across four innings.

The defending Pacific Coast League champion Redbirds open play next April at Omaha. For season ticket information call 901.721.6000 or visit memphisredbirds.com.

Photo courtesy of tmsaunders.com

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Jacksonville Suns Capture Southern League Title

UNITED STATES – The Jacksonville Suns capped a dominant postseason run by closing out the Tennessee Smokies in Game 4 of the Southern League Championship Series, clinching their first league title since 2005 with a 7-3 win Saturday night at Smokies Park.

Jacksonville won six of seven postseason games and swept the Birmingham Barons, who posted the third-best record in professional baseball this season, in the Southern League Division Series. It is the fourth league title for Jacksonville and first as a Marlins affiliate. The Suns also hold league records for most division titles (12) and most postseason appearances (17).

Suns outfielder and leadoff man Bryan Petersen was named Most Valuable Player of the Southern League Championship Series, batting .421 (8-19) at the plate. Petersen launched a game-tying two-run homer in the second inning of Game 3. He also led the league in postseason batting with a .400 average (14-35) through seven games.

Jacksonville’s pitching staff also deserves some credit, as the Suns led all playoff teams with a 2.56 ERA. In particular, Game 4 starter Elih Villanueva provided a big spark. In his first postseason start, Villanueva allowed three runs on five hits through five innings and belted a three-run homer that gave the Suns a lead they would never relinquish in the series-clinching game.

Photo courtesy of jpshadrick.com

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Lynchburg Hillcats Win Carolina League Crown

UNITED STATES – The 2009 Lynchburg Hillcats enjoyed a banner season highlighted by a Carolina League championship, record-setting attendance and the arrival of a plethora of prospects, including Pedro Alvarez, Chase d’Arnaud, Miles Durham, Rudy Owens and Tony Sanchez.

Lynchburg opened the season with a bang as Pedro Alvarez, the top prospect in Pittsburgh’s farm system and the second overall pick in the 2008 draft, went 3-for-4 with a home run and a double in the Hillcats 6-5 comeback win over Potomac. The opening night victory set the tone for a successful first half as Alvarez, Miles Durham, Michael Dubee and Dustin Molleken led Lynchburg to a 45-24 record, which was easily the best first half mark in the Carolina League. The Comeback Cats tallied 23 come from behind victories in the first half. Additionally, Lynchburg compiled a 23-9 record at City Stadium and went 22-15 in road games en route to capturing the Carolina League’s Northern Division title in the first half.

Alvarez smacked a team-high 14 home runs and amassed 55 RBIs, which led the league at the All-Star break, and Durham batted .296 with seven home runs, 39 RBI, 19 doubles and four triples. Alvarez and Durham were promoted to Double-A Altoona at the All-Star break along with Dubee, who went 2-0 with six saves and a 1.05 ERA in 23 appearances with Lynchburg, and Molleken who was 3-1 with one save and a 3.48 ERA in 18 appearances. Ray Chang posted a .303 batting average with nine doubles and 28 RBI in 36 games with the Hillcats before his promotion to Altoona on July 4. Chang recorded a team-high 15-game hitting streak with Lynchburg.

Roster turnover became a constant for Lynchburg in the second half of the 2009 campaign. A total of 15 players joined the Hillcats in the second half, including several significant contributors to the team’s Mills Cup Championship. After earning a spot on the South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star Team, d’Arnaud was promoted from Low-A West Virginia to Lynchburg. The former Pepperdine University star batted .295 with four home runs, 19 doubles, four triples and 26 RBI in 54 games with the Hillcats.

In addition to d’Arnaud, the Hillcats also added catcher Eric Fryer, infielder Josh Harrison and RHP Nate Adcock, each of whom were acquired through trades made by the Pirates. Several players were promoted from West Virginia, including RHP Ramon Aguero, outfielder Erik Huber, RHP Noah Krol, outfielder Starling Marte, LHP Rudy Owens and catcher Tony Sanchez.

The addition of Sanchez, Pittsburgh’s top selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, gave Lynchburg each of the Pirates’ first round selections from the past two drafts. Sanchez, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, became the fourth player chosen among the top four choices to play for the Hillcats in the past two seasons, joining Alvarez (No. 2 overall in 2008), RHP Brad Lincoln (No. 4 overall in 2006) and LHP Daniel Moskos (No. 4 overall in 2007).

Although Lynchburg struggled on the field throughout the second half of the season, the Hillcats recovered with a scintillating post-season. Lynchburg squared off against Wilmington in the Northern Division Championship Series. Despite the fact that the Blue Rocks had won 15 of the 20 meetings between the two teams during the regular season, Lynchburg managed to overcome two one-game deficits in the series and force a decisive fifth game in the Hill City. The Hillcats topped Wilmington 5-2 and claimed its first Northern Division championship since 2003.

Lynchburg’s NDCS victory set the stage for the first 460 series in the Mills Cup Championship Series in Carolina League history as the Hillcats met the Salem Red Sox for the league crown.

Following a 9-2 victory in the series opener, Lynchburg won game two 5-4 on a walk-off solo home run from Jose De Los Santos (pictured) in the bottom of the ninth. It was De Los Santos’ first home run since 2005, when he hit two homers with Pittsburgh’s Dominican Summer League affiliate. Lynchburg completed the series sweep with an 8-7 triumph at Salem Memorial Ballpark and captured the third Mills Cup crown in franchise history and the first since 2002. After compiling a .308 average (4-for-13) with seven RBI, three doubles and two runs scored, d’Arnaud was named MVP of the Mills Cup Series.

In addition to Lynchburg’s on-field success, the Hillcats managed to break the franchise record for attendance in 2009. 167,090 fans passed through City Stadium’s turnstiles in 2009, which tops the previous franchise record of 164,413 that was set in 2007. Lynchburg has drawn more than 148,000 fans every season since the renovation of City Stadium was completed in 2004. Prior to the 2002 season, Lynchburg’s attendance record of 127,883 fans, which was set in 1948, stood for 53 seasons.

Several Hillcats players earned a variety of honors and accolades for their on-field accomplishments in 2009. Durham was named the Carolina League Player-of-the-Month for May and was one of three Lynchburg players chosen to the league’s mid-season All-Star team, along with catcher Kris Watts and closer R. J. Rodriguez. In addition to being selected as a mid-season All-Star, Rodriguez was named to the league’s post-season All-Star team. Owens and Matt McSwain both earned Carolina League Player-of-the-Week honors in August.

Additionally, Watts, McSwain and Rodriguez earned team awards from the Lynchburg Hillcats Booster Club. Watts, who finished fourth in the league in batting with a .291 average and led the circuit in on-base percentage with a .405 obp, was selected as the Hillcats MVP. McSwain, who went 11-8 with a save and a 3.43 ERA, was chosen as the team’s Pitcher-of-the-Year. He finished tied for second in the league in wins (11), third in innings pitched (144.1) and sixth in ERA (3.43). Rodriguez, who posted a 6-3 record with a 3.08 ERA and league-leading 27 saves in 47 appearances, was named Lynchburg’s Reliever-of-the-Year. Rodriguez’ 27 saves rank second on Lynchburg’s single-season saves list behind current Chicago White Sox reliever D. J. Carrasco, who saved a franchise-record 29 games in 2002.

Hillcats outfielder Jared Keel was honored for his community service efforts by the Carolina League, which presented Keel with the Matt Minker Award. The award, which was established in 2008, recognizes the player who demonstrates outstanding community service over the course of each season. The Pirates also honored Keel for the second straight season for his community service work.

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Brandon Waring Named Carolina League MVP

UNITED STATES – The Carolina League has announced Frederick Keys infielder Brandon Waring has been named Most Valuable Player for the 2009 season, the first Frederick Key in franchise history to earn the honor.

Left-handed Pitcher Zach Britton has earned Pitcher of the Year in the Carolina league, just the third Frederick Key ever to earn the honor.

Along with top billing, Matt Angle, Caleb Joseph, Britton and Waring were tabbed on the Post-Season Carolina League All-Star Team. Angle was one of four outfielders honored. Joseph earned honors as the league’s top catcher. Waring was given top billing at first base while Britton was the league’s top starting pitcher.

Waring hit 26 home runs while with Frederick, the second most in a season in Keys history. He also drove home 90 runs, just the fourth Key to ever do so and the first since 1997. His 63 extra base hits were a team record.

Acquired from the Cincinnati Reds via a trade that included big league catcher Ramon Hernandez, Waring was the starting first baseman on the Mid-Season Carolina League All Star Team. He hit a season-high nine home runs in August with Frederick, driving home 25 runs in 27 games, and was promoted to Double-A Bowie for last night’s contest and drove home a season-high five runs in his Eastern League debut.

Waring joins the likes of Carl Yastremski (Raleigh, 1959), Dave Parker (Salem, 1972), Julio Franco (Peninsula, 1980), Lenny Dykstra (Lynchburg, 1983), Richie Sexson (Kinston, 1995) Jose Guillen (Lynchburg, 1996) Aramis Ramirez (Lynchburg, 1997), Joe Crede (Winston-Salem, 1998), Marcus Giles (Myrtle Beach, 1999), Victor Martinez (Kinston, 2001) and Brad Hawpe (Salem, 2002)to earn the Most Valuable Player Award

Photo courtesy of fredericknewspost.com

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Randy Ruiz Named Pacific Coast League MVP

UNITED STATES – The Pacific Coast League today announced Randy Ruiz of the Las Vegas 51s the 2009 PCL Most Valuable Player, an honor annually chosen by the League’s managers and media representatives.

Ruiz currently leads the league in RBI (106), doubles (43) and extra base hits (70). His (.320) batting average is eighth in the league, and is sixth in the league in runs scored (81). The first baseman is fourth in the PCL in slugging percentage (.584) and in home runs (25).

This season, he was selected as the starting first baseman for the PCL in the Triple-A All-Star Game held in Portland, OR. In 2008 with the Rochester Red Wings, he won the International League batting title with a .320 average and was named the IL Rookie of the Year

On August 11th , Ruiz had his contract purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays and is hitting .292 with five home runs and eight RBI in 18 games for the Jays.

Ruiz is the first Las Vegas player to win the PCL MVP since Phil Hiatt in 2001. He is in his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays organization and eleventh overall in professional baseball. The Bronx, New York native was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a non-drafted free agent out of Bellevue (NE) University in 1998.

Past PCL MVP’s include players Paul Konerko in 1997, Bobby Valentine in 1970, Tony Perez in 1964, three time winner Steve Bilko, 1955-1957, Joe DiMaggio in 1935, and last year’s winner Nelson Cruz of Oklahoma.

For more information on Ruiz and other 2009 PCL award-winners, please visit the League’s official website at www.pclbaseball.com. There you can also find information on the 2009 PCL playoffs, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 9th.

This article is a press release. BaseballdeWorld offers baseball-related outlets the chance to reach a targeted market of baseball enthusiasts by submitting press releases at news@baseballdeworld.com. However, BaseballdeWorld reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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Carlos Santana Named Eastern League MVP

UNITED STATES – The Eastern League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce that Akron Aeros catcher Carlos Santana has been selected as the winner of the 2009 Eastern League Most Valuable Player Award. This marks the second consecutive season that Santana has been selected the MVP of a league, as he was named the 2008 California League MVP after hitting .323 with 34 doubles, 14 homers, 96 RBI and 88 runs scored in 99 games with the Inland Empire 66ers last year.

The 23-year old has been outstanding for the Aeros this season, batting .289 (120-for-415) with 29 doubles, 21 home runs, 94 RBI and 88 runs scored in 126 games while leading his team to a first place finish in the Southern Division standings.

Santana, who entered the season rated by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Cleveland organization, currently leads the league in slugging percentage (.518), OPS (.930) and walks (89). He is also currently among the league leaders in home runs (21-2nd), RBI (94-2nd), on-base percentage (.412-2nd), runs scored (89-3rd), extra-base hits (52-4th), total bases (217-4th) and doubles (29-tied 10th).

The 5’11”, 190 lb. slugger has also played well behind the plate for the Aeros, throwing out 30 percent of would be base stealers this season, which ranks fifth in the league among all catchers.

Santana, who is a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was selected as the catcher on the recently announced 2009 Eastern League All-Star Team. He was also the starting catcher for the Southern Division at the 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, and was selected as a member of the World Team for the 2009 Futures Game in St. Louis and went 0-for-1 with one walk in the game.

Carlos started his career in professional baseball after being signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent on August 13, 2004. He moved on to the Cleveland Indians organization last year when he was acquired in the trade last summer that sent Casey Blake to the Dodgers on July 26, 2008.

Reading outfielder Michael Taylor finished as the runner up in the voting for the award and Connecticut first baseman Brett Pill finished in third place. This award was voted on by Eastern League team managers and coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.

Photo courtesy of waitingfornextyear.com

This article is a press release. BaseballdeWorld offers baseball-related outlets the chance to reach a targeted market of baseball enthusiasts by submitting press releases at news@baseballdeworld.com. However, BaseballdeWorld reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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Tim Wallach Named PCL Manager Of The Year

UNITED STATES – Thanks in part to leading the Albuquerque Isotopes to their first playoff berth since 2003, Tim Wallach has been named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year by vote of his fellow managers, league General Managers, and media personnel, the PCL announced today.

Wallach has dazzled in his Triple-A debut, guiding the Isotopes to a 76-63 record, second best in the PCL. Albuquerque is also just two wins away from tying a franchise mark for victories in a season and has spent a team-record 73 straight days alone atop the PCL’s American Southern Division. Wallach’s steady leadership helped the ‘Topes reach these unprecedented heights despite undergoing over 150 separate roster moves since the season began.

The Isotopes skipper was also instrumental in grooming players to help the Los Angeles Dodgers, as 21 separate players spent time in Albuquerque and L.A. this year. Thanks in part to the contributions of Wallach’s former charges, the Dodgers have consistently been one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.

Two weeks ago, Wallach was named the “Best Manager Prospect” by Baseball America.

A veteran of 17 Major League seasons as a player, Wallach was a five-time National League All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Winner, and twice won the Silver Slugger Award.

Wallach is the third man in Albuquerque baseball history to earn PCL Manager of the Year honors, joining Terry Collins and Kevin Kennedy, who won the accolade while managing the Dukes in 1988 and 1990, respectively.

The Isotopes wrap up their epic 13-game homestand tonight with a final game with Round Rock before the team heads to Iowa to wrap up the regular season with a set against the I-Cubs. After their trip to Des Moines, the ‘Topes return home to kick off the 2009 PCL Playoffs at Isotopes Park on Wednesday, September 9. Tickets for Isotopes playoff games may be purchased at the Isotopes Park Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or on-line at www.albuquerquebaseball.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Photo courtesy of topesblog.mlblogs.com

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Mariners Capture Arizona League Title

UNITED STATES – Kevin Mailloux homered and Chris Kessinger turned in a clutch outing to help the Mariners slip past the Giants, 3-2, Monday to capture their second Arizona League title in three years.

The Mariners struck first on an RBI sacrifice fly by Jetsy Extrano in the second to gain the early advantage, and Mailloux jacked a pitch over the right-field wall an inning later for a 2-0 lead. Mario Yepez stretched the lead to 3-0 with a run-scoring single in the sixth.

The Giants finally got on the board in the sixth on a one-out RBI single by Jesse Shriner, and the defending champion pulled within a lone run the next inning on an RBI triple off the bat of Leonardo Ochoa.

But, Kessinger fanned Jake Fanning before getting pinch-hitter Jonathan White to flyout to left field that turned into a key double play when Ochoa was caught too far off third base.

Mariners closer Jeff Breedlove, who allowed four hits and one walk with three strikeouts, worked in and out of trouble over the final two innings to notch the save.

Kessinger (1-0), Seattle’s 37th-round pick in this year’s Draft, struck out six over seven solid innings. The South Dakota native went 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA this past season.

Giants starter Ben Wilshire (0-1) surrendered a pair of scores on three hits with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.

Photo courtesy of Bill Mitchell/Four Seam Images

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Bud Norris Named PCL Pitcher Of The Year

UNITED STATES – Bud Norris, who went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his first three starts for the Houston Astros, has been named Triple-A Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year.

Norris, who’s 3-3 with a 6.61 ERA in seven games (six starts) since being called up by the Astros, went 4-9 with a 2.63 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Round Rock. He led the league in ERA before he was promoted to the Astros on July 29.

The PCL Pitcher of the Year is an honor annually chosen by the league’s managers and media representatives in recognition of a pitcher’s outstanding achievements on the mound.

Photo courtesy of baseball.blogdig.net

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