Tag Archive | "Minor Leagues"

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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Looking Forward to 2015 at Baseball de World


With 2014 coming to a close, we thought this would be a good time to look back at the world of baseball and discuss some of the major events and championships that took place. Over the next week or two we will be recapping all of the major leagues from around the world. So in case you missed it, and we did as well for some because of how busy 2014 was, stay tuned and check out what happened around the world.

In 2015 we hope to bring a few more things to the site including more writing on independent baseball leagues throughout the USA. These leagues have garnered my attention more and more over the past few years. They not only interest me in the ways they handle themselves on the field (see article on Pecos League commissioner charging field with chair) but off the field and how the leagues actually survive is very interesting to say the least.

In addition to covering some of the independent leagues, we hope to bring you some new and interesting ideas like the top independent managing prospects. With managers being picked up from independent leagues into affiliated ball, we thought we would look at a few of the manager prospects in the game right now. So stay tuned for that and other new ideas on independent ball.

In addition we plan to bring you more reviews on books, documentaries, movies, and other sites as well. We are apart of a huge baseball blogosphere and we want to help spread some of the great writing that is going on. For one, Dan Glickman over at the Hall of Very Good wrote about the best baseball links of 2014. There is a lot of great writing here from some of the top writers in the sport. I have read many of the articles throughout the year but some of the I missed so I will be going back through them in the next week and I recommend you do the same.

I dropped the ball in 2014 due to my schedule becoming so crazy but most of that is behind me now and I hope to continue bringing you updates from around the world in 2015.

I would also like to have your opinions and ideas on what you would like to see. I have tossed around the idea of a podcast with others joining me to discuss baseball from around the world. I’ve also tossed around the idea of starting a vlog and doing some video. Those are on hold right now until I can get back into the swing of regular updates. I am putting together a schedule of when I will update what leagues in order to bring some regularity to the site and hopefully more interaction with you the readers.

With all of that being said, Happy New Year! Here is hoping your favorite teams continue, or start, a winning tradition in 2015!

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Pro Baseball Tryout April 28 in Riverside, California


Pro Baseball tryout April 28 10 am La Sierra University Riverside, CA

Their will be a professional baseball tryout on Monday April 28 at 10 am at La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. The address to the school is 4500 Riverwalk Pkwy, Riverside, CA 92505 and Regestraion will begin at 9am.

Tryout will be on the baseball field of LA Sierra U. Players will be expected to fill out a tryout waiver and questionnaire at the time of registration as well as a tryout fee of $60 which can be payed check or cash at the time of registration. This helps with the cost and field rental, league fees etc.

This tryout is for all players 18 and older that are looking to play professional baseball for the summer of 2014. The tryout is open to graduating seniors of the 2014 season. If you are worried about your schedule the reason we are hosting the tryout on a Monday morning is because that way we can have the seniors attend as nobody is playing that day.

The Players will be expected to bring their own equipment out to the tryout and dress accordingly in baseball attire. All college coaches are free to join and observe if they would like. Multiple professional Independent teams as well as MLB scouts and Mexico pro baseball scouts have been invited and are looking forward to attending the work out. The tryout will consist of 60yd dash, fielding and throwing from their positions, batting practice, and a live game.

For more information you can contact Chris Paterson at chrispaterson12@usa.com.

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The IBL is the New Independent Baseball League in Town


There is a new league in town, independent league that is. The newly formed Independent Baseball League or IBL for short. Play starts this summer with teams located in Ohio and Michigan.

The IBL kicks off the 2014 season joining a laundry list of other independent leagues throughout the country. The IBL will start with four teams. The locations include Tiffin, Ohio; Marion, Ohio; Adrian, Michigan, and a traveling Ohio team. The league hopes to expand in 2015 into three divisions, but we will have to wait and see how successful it can be.

The area is no stranger to professional baseball. Marion, Ohio was once the home of the Marion Red Sox of the old Ohio-Indiana League in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Baseball extends back to the turn of the century with teams playing in the Ohio State League and other leagues dating back to 1900.

The innagural teams in the IBL will be the Tiffin Saints, Shovel City Crawlers (based in Marion), and two other teams to be named. The league will start play in June with each team playing a 36 game season.

It should be interesting to see if the league can survive like other recent start ups including the Pecos League, which is in its fourth season in the southeast.

For more information about the IBL or its teams, visit the league website at IBL-Baseball.com or check them out on Facebook.

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Nashville Mayor Proposes Plan to Build New Baseball Stadium at Historic Sulphur Dell


The Nashville Sounds could have a new home in 2015. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has proposed a plan to build an $80 million development on the old Sulphur Dell site. Included in the project is $30 million for a new Sounds stadium.

The development would also include a parking garage and a residential development. However, the team is cautiously optimistic.

Plans in the past, including one in 2007 to build a ballpark on the river downtown, blew up. However, under new ownership and with a new mayor perhaps the plan to bring baseball back to the historic site will come through.

Sulphur Dell is the original home of baseball in Nashville. Baseball was played on the site shortly after the Civil War. A field, called Athletic Park, was built in 1870 and a grandstand added in 1885 when the Nashville Americans of the Southern League called it home.

It wasn’t until legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice referred to the park as Sulpher Spring Dell that the name began to change. Eventually it was shortened to just Sulpher Dell.

The field was known for its sloping outfield that had a steep incline all along the outfield wall.

Minor league teams played at Sulpher Dell for years through 1963. The last team to play were the Nashville Vols who played in the Atlantic League in 1963. However, due to poor attendance and financial problems the team was forced to leave.

The stadium sat vacant without a minor league team until it was torn down in 1969. And Nashville was without a team from 1964 to 1977 until the Nashville Sounds came to town.

The talks for the new ballpark are still in the early stages, but the Sounds are in dire need of an upgraded facility who play in the outdated Herschel Greer Stadium.

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Minors: United League Holds League Wide Tryouts May 11th and 12th


The United League will kick off its season at the end of the month, however there is still time to find a spot on a roster.

There will be a league wide tryout this weekend on Saturday May 11 and Sunday May 12. It will take place at La Grave Field in Ft. Worth, Texas, home of the Ft. Worth Cats.

All league managers will be present with roster sports available for all teams. This is a great way to get exposure and find a spot on one of the teams final roster.

Included in the managers will be the Ft. Worth Cats Jim Essian, a former manager in the Chicago Cubs organization. Ozzie Canseco will also be in attendance as the manager of the Edinburg Roadrunners, and Chris Paterson, who was named to our Top 10 Independent League Managers in 2012, will manage the Rio Grande Valley White Wings.

The registration fee is $150 per player. Registration will start at 8am with the tryouts getting going at 9am.

The 2013 United League season will start May 23rd as Ft. Worth, Rio Grande Valley, and the newest team Alexandria will host their season opener.

For more information, please contact Ron Mondragon at (817) 726-0248 and via Email at rod.mondragon@fwcats.com

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 41-50


We have finished looking at the international players on the bottom half of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List. Today we start in on the Top 50.

In case you missed one of the other posts, there are here:

#51-60 International Players

#61-70 International Players

#71-80 International Players

#81-90 International Players

#91-100 International Players

Yasiel Puig, of, LAD – #47

Yasiel Puig hails from Cienfuegos, Cuba having defected in 2012. He is still young, 22, and has a lot of upside yet a lot to prove.

He missed the entire 2011-2012 season in Cuba (it runs during the winter months) after being suspended for trying to defect after playing at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. He didn’t sign until late June of last year so he has only a little time in the minors here.

However, this year he started out at Double-A Chattanooga where he has done quite well in just 14 games. So far this year he has hit four home runs and posted a line of .333/379/.648 so far.

He has good speed and shows good instincts but needs to work on his route running a bit. He is still young and learning while becoming acclimated to the US. He has a strong arm and has even drawn comparisons to the likes of Matt Kemp on his athletic ability.

Julio Teheran, p, ATL – #44

Julio Teheran, from Cartagena, Colombia, is no stranger to the Baseball America Top 100. This is his fourth year on the list dropping considerably after a poor 2012 season. After both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, he was ranked as the #5 prospect in all of baseball.

Teheran had a break out year in 2011 posting a 15-3 mark with an ERA of just 2.55 at Triple-A. He got his first taste of the big leagues that year but struggled a bit. His ERA ballooned to over five in 2012 in Triple-A, but has shown flashes of brilliance.

In 2013, Teheran has started the year as the Braves 5th starter and has had an up and down season already. He has the stuff to be a top of the line starter, but hasn’t shown the consistency at the MLB level so far.

Hyun-jin Ryu, p, LAD – #42

Ryu comes from Incheon, South Korea and has been pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization for the past few years where he has been a star. In 2010, he posted a 16-4 record with a 1.82 ERA for one of the worst teams in the KBO, the Hanwha Eagles.

The Dodgers won the bidding for Ryu this past offseason and have already put him into the starting rotation where he hasn’t disappointed. So far in 2013, he is 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five starts.

Ryu won’t overpower you with a 95+ mph fastball, but he knows how to pitch and has a good assortment of pitches that he can control. Look for him to be a solid #3 or #4 for years to come with the possibility that he could even become a #2 starter down the line with some more experience.

He is just 26-years old and signed a six-year contract, so the Dodger will control him during his most formidable years.

Oswaldo Arcia, of, MIN – #41

Oswaldo Arcia signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2007 out of Anaco, Venezuela. He has since worked his way up to a call up from the big league club earlier this season.

He started 2013 in Triple-A and simply dominated in the short time he was there hitting .394 with three home runs in ten games. Since being called up, Arcia has hit a pair of home runs in ten games.

Scouts love his bat and see him evolving into a 30-doubles and 20-homer guy down the line.

It’s unclear how long he will remain in the big leagues, but it appears clear that while he is there, he will play.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 51-60


I know we are a month into the season, but that doesn’t change the fact that these guys are still prospects. So we continue our look at the international players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List.

We have looked at the following already:

#61-70 International Players

#71-80 International Players

#81-90 International Players

#91-100 International Players

Now we take a look at #51-60

Gary Sanchez, c, NYY – #57

Gary Sanchez hails from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is high on the prospect list for the New York Yankees ranking #3 after the 2012 season. The 20-year old catcher has drawn a lot of praise for his defensive abilities behind the plate.

Sanchez has shown some power hitting 18 home runs a year ago splitting time between Low and High-A ball. He has had a good start to the year so far in Single-A Tampa in the Florida State League getting on base at a .356 clip and smashing four home runs in the first 17 games.

Over his career he has thrown out 30% of would be base stealers. Look for him to make the move to Double-A at some point this season, and he could make his MLB debut in 2014 or 2015 if he continues to develop.

Gregory Polanco, of, PIT – #51

Polanco is also out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The  21-year old outfielder had a breakout year in 2012 posting a line of .325/.380/.455 while hitting 16 home runs and stealing 40 bases.

He finished the 2012 season in Low-A ball and was moved up to High-A this season where he is still hitting. So far through 23 games, Polanco is hitting at a .318 clip and has stolen nine bases.

If he continues this pace, he might earn a promotion to Double-A Altoona later in the year. After the 2012 season, Baseball America rated him as the best athlete, best defensive outfielder, and the best hitter for average in the Pittsburgh system.

Coming up tomorrow, players #41-50

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Texas Summer League Announced


With the success of the Texas Winter League, the United League has decided to start the Texas Summer League this July.

The league will give players an opportunity to develop their skills and get instruction from professional independent managers and coaches. So if you are looking to break into the professional ranks and maybe you were overlooked or you just graduated from college, this could be the perfect place for you to get noticed.

The league will run from July 15 to August 7 and at the end of the league the top 5 or 10 players will be selected and placed on a professional team for the final two weeks of the season. All games will take place in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

This is a great way to get started in professional baseball.

For more information visit Texas Summer League

The Texas Summer League is the only league-sponsored summer developmental baseball league. This allows the league to assure the players drafted that they will be added to one of the United League rosters.

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Minors: Rio Grande Valley White Wings Announce New Manager


The Rio Grande Valley White Wings have announced the hiring of manager Chris Paterson for the 2013 United League season.

Paterson has spent the past three seasons managing in the Pecos and Continental Baseball Leagues garnering a pair of manager of the year awards in two different leagues. In 2011, Paterson led the Roswell Invaders to the inaugural Pecos League title. He has also managed in the Arizona Winter League, the California Winter League, the Pecos Spring League, and recently the Texas Winter League.

Paterson played his collegiate years at North Dakota State University where he threw five innings of a combined no-hitter against Creighton in 2008. After graduating, Chris played in several independent leagues before taking his talents overseas.

Overseas Chris played in professional leagues in Germany, Italy, France, and Australia where he maintains many contacts.

While managing, Paterson has also served as a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays and now the Miami Marlins.

Last year, we named Chris to our Top 10 Independent League Managers. He came in at #9 and was one of the youngest managers in the game.

Paterson and the White Wings kick off the season on May 23rd at home against the San Angelo Colts.

White Wings Press Release

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Minors: Ozzie Canseco to Manage Edinburg Roadrunners of ULB


The Edinburg Roadrunners of the United League Baseball have announced its manager for the 2013 season in Ozzie Canseco.

Ozzie Canseco is a former Major League Baseball player with the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. In addition, he has played professional in Japan and Korea.

Canseco was drafted in 1983 in the second round by the New York Yankees as a pitcher. He would transition to a fielder and make it to the big league in 1990 with Oakland.

In 2000, at age 35, Canseco set the Atlantic League home run record when he clubbed 48 for the Newark Bears.

The Roadrunners will look to defend their 2012 championship starting May 23rd against the Ft. Worth Cats. Edinburg will play an 80-game schedule against five other ULB teams including the Cats, Rio Grand Valley White Wings, San Angelo Colts, Alexandria Aces, and Texas Thunder.

You can find more information about the Roadrunners by visiting www.RoadRunnerBall.com.

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Minors: Rio Grand Valley White Wings Holding Tryout in California


Want to play professional baseball? Here is your chance.

The Rio Grand Valley White Wings of the United Baseball League (formally the North American League) will be hosting a tryout.

The tryout will take place in San Bernardino, California on Sunday April 28th at 10 am. Players can check in at 9 am.

Professional coaches, along with MLB and independent leagues scouts, will be on hand looking to sign players for the 2013 season.

Players will run the 60, take batting practice, throw from the field, and take ground balls and fly balls. Pitchers will throw live and be put on the radar gun.

Selected players may be asked to stay for additional stuff. Players should also bring their own equipment.

Cost is $60 and can be paid at the time of registration. Players will also be asked to sign a liability waiver.

Location:
La Sierra University
4500 Riverwalk Pkwy, Riverside, CA 92505

The United Baseball League will feature six teams in the 2013 season playing in Texas and Louisiana. You can find out more information about the tryouts on Facebook where you can ask questions if needed.

Or you can email the White Wings manager Chris Paterson at ChrisPaterson12@usa.com

Updated: Date and Location changed

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 61-70


Yesterday we looked at the international players ranking 71-80 on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects List. Today we look at the next 10 spots.

In case you missed the others you can find them here:

#’s 71-80

#’s 81-90

#’s 91-100

Wily Peralta, rhp, MIL – #69

Peralta hails from Samana, Dominican Republic and is slated to be the Milwaukee Brewers 5th starter to open the 2013 season. He got a taste of the Bigs last season pitching in six games with five starts. In those six games, Peralta went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA over 29.0 innings.

He spent most of the 2012 season in Triple-A Nashville before getting the call. He has had some flashes of brilliance over his short minor league career, but he will go through some growing pains in his first season as a full-time MLB starter. He has struggled at times with his control walking too many hitters and will need to work on that to be an effective pitcher at the big league level.

He is a big guy at 6’1″, 245 lbs and throws hard. He has a career 8.54 SO/9 so he will get his fair share of strikeouts. He also has a good slider and had the top rated slider in the Brewers system in 2012.

Alen Hanson, ss, PIT – #61

Hanson is a young, 20-years old, shortstop out of La Romana, Dominican Republic. He spent 2012 with Low-A West Virginia last season and had a good year. In 124 games he posted a .309/.374/.482 line with 16 home runs and 35 stolen bases.

He has a slim frame at 5’11″/165 but he has shown power and speed which could prove to be a great asset down the line. He was rated at the fastest baserunner  in the Pirates system after the 2011 season by Baseball America and was named the Most Exciting Player in the South Atlantic League in 2012.

Look for him to move up to the Florida State League in 2013. He still has a few things to iron out including cutting down on his 105 strikeouts from 2012 along with learning the art of stealing a base better as he got thrown out 19 times last season.

He is a toolsy player that is exciting and young. Look for him to stay at shortstop until he proves he can’t play there.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #51-60.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects List – Numbers 71-80


Before the World Baseball Classic we took a look at some of the international players on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect List. If you missed those, you can find #’s 91-100 here and #’s 81-90 here. Today we pick up where we left off with #’s 71-80.

Didi Gregorius, ss, ARI – #80

Hailing from Amsterdam, Gregorius was signed out of the Netherlands in 2007 as a free agent by the Cincinnati Reds. At age 18 in the Gulf Coast League, he hit just .155 in 97 at bats, but he didn’t give up there and last season got a taste of the Major Leagues.

He is a defensive middle infielder who was ranked at the #5 prospect in the Diamondbacks organization after the 2012 season. He was a part of the three team deal that saw the Reds, Indians, and Diamondbacks swapping players in December 2012. He is considered one of the top shortstop prospects in the game. It looks as though he will start the year at Triple-A Reno, but look for him to make an impact very soon at the big league level.

Luis Heredia, rhp, PIT – #78

Heredia, who was born in Mexico, is only 18 years old. He pitched the 2012 season in short-season A ball in the New York-Penn League for State College. In 14 starts Heredia was 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA.

Heredia signed in 2006 as a non-drafted free agent receiving a huge $2.6 million bonus from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has a huge frame at 6′ 6″ and 205 lbs, but he is still growing physically at only 18 years old.

He throws hard reaching 96 on the gun, but usually sits in the low 90s. He has good control so far, but he is still young and working on improving not only his fastball but his secondary pitches as well. He has huge upside, but only time will tell.

Look for him to start the year in Low-A ball with the possibility of moving up depending on his results.

Marcell Ozuna, of, MIA – #75

Ozuna, a power hitting outfielder from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, blasted 24 long balls in 2012 in High-A Jupiter in the Florida State League. He also exhibits another sought after trait for an outfielder, speed. He stole 17 bases in 2011 and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. Another tool he has is a strong arm. He has been rated with the best outfield arm in the Marlins system the past three seasons.

However, Ozuna will need to identify pitches better if he wants to continue up the ladder. He has strikeout totals of 116 and 121 the last two seasons, but he is still learning. One thing is for sure, when he hits the ball he hits it with authority.

Look for the 22-year old to spend most of the season in Double-A Jacksonville for the Marlins. He is the Marlins #5 prospect.

Avisail Garcia, of, DET – #74

The 21-year old outfielder from Venezuela got a taste of the big leagues last season with Detroit making the jump from Double-A Erie. And when he got the call, he excelled. In 23 games, he hit .319 in 47 at bats.

He is a solid defensive outfielder with a good arm. Baseball America rated him as the best outfield arm in the Tigers farm system the past two seasons. He has some power and speed and could turn into quite a threat in the Tigers lineup.

Look for Garcia to start the year in Triple-A. A heel contusion put him on the DL a few days ago, so he is a long shot to make the Opening Day roster.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #61-70.

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The Miguel Sano Story; The Ballplayer: Pelotero Sequal


Last July we reviewed the movie, and even gave a way a copy to one lucky reader, Ballplayer: PeloteroIf you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s an excellent film that follows two ballplayers in the Dominican as they prepare for signing day.

Well if you liked the first one, get prepared for more.

The film company, Guagua Productions, hasn’t stopped filming Miguel Sano since he was back in the Dominican Republic, and now he is one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

That’s three years of filming. This could be the most in-depth story of of a player’s rise to stardom. But they need your help.

They are trying to get together $25,000 in order to help finish the film. There is a Kickstarter campaign going where with a small donation there are some great rewards ranging from a digital download to DVDs to autographed items from Sano.

I’m really looking forward to this film coming out. So much so that I donated as well. I don’t get any sort of commission for this. I’m just really looking forward to seeing the film and invite you to donate as well.

You can find the Kickstarter page here where you can find out more about the film and donate if you like.

You can find more about the movie and Guagua Productions on:

Twitter

Facebook

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 81-90


Last time we took a look at #91-100 on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List which featured three international players. Today we take the next step down the list with #81-90.

Hak-Ju Lee, ss, TB – #90

Born in South Korea, Lee was signed as a free agent by the Cubs in 2008. He was later traded to Tampa Bay in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs.

Lee spent the 2012 season in Double-A Montgomery where he put up solid numbers, but the slipped a bit as he moved up against tougher competition. This is his third time on the Top 100 List starting at #92 in 2011. He then jumped up a lot after a nice 2011 season to #44 before falling back to #90 this year.

Lee has a lot of speed stealing 37 bases in 2012 in Double-A and hitting 10 triples. His on-base-percentage fell quite a bit this past season as his strikeout numbers jumped to over 100, but look for him to settle in with more at-bats against the higher competition. He is a plus defender at shortstop and has consistently been ranked among the top Rays prospects for the past couple seasons.

James Paxton, lhp, SEA – #87

Paxton hails from Canada but played his college ball at the University of Kentucky. He is a hard throwing lefty who has averaged more than a strikeout per inning over his brief career. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009, Paxton didn’t sign and elected to return to school. However, the NCAA deemed him ineligible due to his contract with agent Scott Boras. Instead, he signed with the independent Grand Prairie Airhogs before being drafted again in 2010. This time he was drafted in the 4th round by Seattle and signed.

In his first season of affiliated ball, Paxton struck out 131 batters in 95 innings. He spent all of the 2012 season at Double-A Jackson where he posted a line of 9-4/3.05 in 21 starts. He throws hard and has a good breaking ball, but like many young pitchers can struggle with his control at times. In 2012, he walked 54 batters in 106 innings. Look for him to get a little more seasoning in the minor leagues this upcoming season.

Yordano Ventura, rhp, KC – #85

This is the first appearance on the Top 100 for Ventura who hails from the Dominican Republic. While Ventura may be small in stature, 5’11” and 150 lbs, he has shown a live arm and the ability to get hitters out.

Ventura spent 2012 split mostly between Single-A and Double-A, but he posted good numbers at both. In 109.1 combined innings he struck out 130 batters. After his move up to the higher level he struggled a bit, but he is still only 21. For the past two seasons he has ranked #1 in the Kansas City Royals organization for the best fastball.

He will need more seasoning in the minors, but he could have a big future ahead of him, especially if he harnesses that fastball and learns to throw more strikes.

Arodys Vizcaino, rhp, CHC – #83

Vizcaino is no stranger to the Top 100 List as this is his fourth appearance on it. Out of the Dominican Republic, he was once a top prospect with the Yankees and then Atlanta.

He is still  young at only 22, but he has has injury problems. He had Tommy John surgery in March of 2012 and missed the entire season. He has a great fastball, once clocked at 101 mph, and has had a top rated curve ball in every minor league system he has been apart of.

In 2011, Vizcaino got a taste of the big leagues pitching in 17 games for the Atlanta Braves. While he struggled with his control at times (he walked 9 in 17 innings), he also showed how he can be overpowering striking out a batter per inning.

He will look to come back from injury this season and reclaim the form that made him one of the top prospects. He has a strong arm, is still very young, and with some time already in the big leagues he will look to eventually help the Cubs at the big league level sometime in the near future.

Martin Perez, lhp, TEX – #81

Perez comes out of Venezuela and is a highly thought of pitching prospect for the Texas Rangers. At the age of 21, Perez got a taste of the big leagues making six starts in Texas and getting into six other games in relief.

Perez has been talked about for several years now within the Rangers organization. He is a left-handed pitcher with good off speed stuff having ranked at the top of the Rangers minor league system as having the best curve ball and change up and one point or another. His biggest problem it seems so far has been control. He has continually walked more than three batters per nine innings pretty much everywhere he has gone. He is not going to blow hitters away and rack up strikeouts, so he has to learn better control.

Perez has a shot at the Rangers rotation this year if he can come away with a big spring. The team is hurting for starters as a few of their regulars are on the DL with injuries to start the season. He could just make it in as the number five starter if he pitches well enough.If not, look for him to start the year in Triple-A Round Rock.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #71-80.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects List – Numbers 91-100


Today we start a series taking a look at the international players on the Baseball America 2013 Top 100 Prospects List. Today we will take a look at the bottom 10 of the list from 91-100 and see which players were born and raised internationally.

So here we go with the first few:

Leonys Martin, of, TEX – #97

Martin was born in Cuba and signed by the Texas Rangers in 2011 as a free agent. He has been a top prospect in the minors for a few years now appearing on the 2012 edition of the Top 100 the previous season at #79.

He has spent two seasons in the Rangers farm system and has had a little taste of the Major League level as well. In the minor leagues he has done quite well. In 124 games, at all levels, he has hit .323 with 16 home runs and 29 stolen bases. However, he has struggled in his short time at the MLB level. He has appeared in 32 games garnering 54 at-bats hitting just .204.

The upcoming season could be huge from Martin though. With the absence of Josh Hamilton in the Rangers outfield, Martin looks to get a lot of playing time perhaps in a platoon with Craig Gentry in center field. He will get a lot of playing time this spring as they will look for him to be a contributor at the big league level.

Bruce Rondon, rhp, DET – #95

Bruce Rondon is from Valencia, Venezuela and was signed by the Detroit Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in September 2007.

This is the first time Rondon has cracked the Top 100 List, but he is only 22. Last season he pitched at High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A doing quite well at all levels. He is a closer in the minor leagues already picking up 65 saves in five years in the minor leagues. In 2012, he picked up 29 saves in the minor leagues. He is a strikeout pitcher averaging more than one per inning in his career so far, but he has had control problems in the past walking 5.10 per 9 innings over his career.

He has a lot of upside and his future is now. The Tigers didn’t resign closer Jose Valverde and are looking for Rondon to open the season as the Detroit Tigers closer if the passes the audition this spring.

Daniel Corcino, rhp, CIN – #94

Corcino is from Azuna, Dominican Republic and enters the 2013 season at only 22 years of age. He was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a non-drafted free agent in January 2008.

After spending three seasons in Rookie ball or at the Low-A level, Corcino was moved to a starting pitcher and really took off. In 2011, he spent the year at the Low-A level and pitched well for Dayton going 11-7/3.42 in 26 starts. He made the jump to Double-A Pensacola last year and pitched just as well. In 26 starts, Corcino went 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA over 143.1 innings.

Like a lot of young pitchers he has struggled at times with his control. Over his minor league career he has averaged 3.48 walks per 9 innings. He can miss bats at time as well with his career 8.65 strikeouts per 9 innings.

He will once again get to face advanced hitters at either the Double-A or Triple-A level for 2013 to see if he can continue his success and move further toward a spot in the Cincinnati rotation.

Next up we will take a look at the prospects from 81-90.

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Minors: Pacific Association Announces New Franchise in Vallejo


The Indy League merry-go-round continues as the Pacific Association has announced a new franchise to replace the league’s travel team.

The Vallejo Admirals will take the place of the traveling Sonoma County Grapes. The new team will play at Wilson Park which will receive a facelift.

The team is owned by Redwood Sports and Entertainment, which also owns the San Rafael Pacifics and the Sonoma County Grapes. The group will look for a permanent home for the Grapes for the 2014 season in hopes of having a six team league.

The Pacific Association was formed this offseason after the North American Baseball League folded. The teams that make up the PA were the Northern Division of the NABL in 2012.

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Minor Leagues: Pecos League Drops to Eight Teams for 2013 Season


As we predicted in December, the Pecos League has dropped two teams prior to the start of the 2013 season.

The league had hoped to start the new season with 10 teams, but instead will be going with 8.

The Pecos Bills will be dropped from the league with the possibility of them coming back for the 2014 season. The league was relying on Reeves County to move forward with plans to move lights at Martinez Field, but they did not more forward on a motion for the lights.

The county might approve the motion in February, but that is too late for the league who will start their spring training in early May.

Another issue was that of the oil boom that is going on in the area that is taking up all of the housing. It was brought into question where the league would house players with the housing shortage that is occurring with the oilfield boom.

With Pecos dropping out for 2013, the league will also drop the Carlsbad Bats who were slated to be a travel team for the 2013 season.

Ryan Parent was slated to manage in Pecos. He has since accepted an open coaching position with the Trinidad Triggers. The Triggers and Bills will be merging rosters with 30 players from the two teams becoming free agents.

In addition, Taos will move to the Southern Division to even out the schedule with each division having four teams apiece.

Everyone involved is still hopeful that the Bills will be back for the 2014 season including Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn.

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Minors: Pecos League Adds Twist to All-Star Game


The Pecos League will try a new approach to their annual All-Star Game. Instead of dividing the teams up by divisions or geographically, it will divide them up by bat manufacturer.

Each team in the Pecos League is sponsored by one of two bat manufacturers, Max Bats and Rawlings. The teams will be named accordingly – Team Max Bat and Team Rawlings.

Splitting up the game this way will also have the leagues rivals pitted against one another.

The Santa Fe Fuego will host the All-Star Game at Fort Marcy Park on July 6th.

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Adam Greenberg Gets Another Shot; Signs Minor League Deal with Baltimore


Adam Greenberg, who finally got his one at bat in October, has signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

On July 9, 2005, Greenberg – then a prospect with the Chicago Cubs – was hit in the head on the first first pitch he saw. He never made it back to the big leagues until last October. The hit-by-pitch took its toll on Greenberg who suffered a concussion, vision problems, and headaches. It took him almost two years to regain his full health.

Earlier this year Greenberg, 31, played for Team Israel after sitting out the 2012 season. Previously, he had spent a few years in the Atlantic League with the Bridgeport Bluefish. His last season in organized ball was in 2007 with the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League the AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim.

The Orioles proved last year it doesn’t matter where you have been if you produce. Lew Ford, who played 25 games for Baltimore during the stretch drive, hadn’t been in the majors since 2007. He had bounced around in Japan, Mexico, and was with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League for parts of the last few years.

If Greenberg can produce, he did have 124 stolen bases his last 3 seasons, he might find himself in Buck Showalter’s lineup.

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Interview: London Majors Player Cleveland Brownlee


This week we bring you an interview with Cleveland Brownlee who has played baseball professionally for the past few years in London, Canada. Brownlee originally hails from Atlanta, but over the past few years has put up some very nice numbers in the Intercounty Baseball League for the London Majors.

He was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us.

First of all, can you give us a little background into your baseball career and how you wound up in Canada?

I started playing at the age of four. Played all the way through high school and college. Played varsity for three years in high school at Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga. thats about 15 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta.  I went to Clark Atlanta to play baseball. There I played four years and hold our College record for most home runs in the 4 Years. We did not have a great college team. I played division 2 baseball in the SIAC (Southern Intercollege Athelitic Conference.) I hit over .300 all four years with a total of 46 hrs in those four years. We had a struggle program that sometimes we only played 30 game seasons. I earned All Conferece first team player and school MVP. After graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 2007, I went to a few open workouts and that was where i signed my first pro independent contract . From that I was invited to spring training workout with the phillies in Clear Water, Fla. I have bounced around from indy leagues all over and ended up in Canada after Duane heard a few good things about me and decided to give me a chance.

You have been playing for the London Majors in the Intercounty Baseball League in Ontario, Canada for the past few years. What has the experience been like playing in Canada?

My experience playing in london canada has been like no other. It has been nothing but good to me. I call it my second home. The fans love me there and I have put up great numbers for the past few seasons. I’ve been nominated as fan favorite for the past three years. There is also great baseball being played there. I was under great ownership in the league. I couldnt have asked for a better team to play on. We had the best of facilities, uniforms and just overall great environment to play baseball in.

Have you played in any other foreign countries over the years?

No

You briefly played in the Continental Baseball League in Alexandria a few years back. Was this your only stop in independent ball in the US? What was that experience like and how is it different than playing in another country?

This was where I received my most at-bats in indy ball. I was traded to that team from the Laredo Broncos. I came into a bad situation only because they were alredy half way into there season. I came in not hitting too well and that’s when I got released.  It was a really good league but i dont think that a person can prove himself in only 20 at bats.

I read a short snip it that you were recommended to play for the Laredo Broncos of the United League in 2009 by former MLBer Cecil Fielder. How do you know Cecil and how has he helped you on the field in the past?

I met Cecil at a baseball work out in Atlanta . He saw me take batting paractice and came over and talked to me for awhile. Said that I reminded him of himself on how far the balls were leaving the field. He asked if I wanted to work out with a few more pro guys that he trained and I said yes. I went thru lessons 5 days a week with him not hitting less than 300 balls a day. Me and Cecil became great friends and he called around to help me get tryouts. He is a great teacher . I still call him to this day and mess with him or we talk about other talent around Atlanta that I send his way.

What was it like working with Teammates International and why should others looking to keep playing think about utilizing their services?

Working with Teammates International was a great experience for me. It opened up a door so that the world could really see what I could do. Duane was a straight up guy telling me that he was new to it and that I would be his first real client.  I think that it is a great option for young kids wanting to go furthur in baseball to try. He has multiple contacts now and lots of opportunty for you to go places.

You have had a great career with the London Majors. I understand you are retiring after this year. What are your plans after baseball? Will you enter coaching or get out of the game entirely? Will you stay in Canada or return home to the States?

I always say that I am done playing after every season but I only seem to get better every year. I was teaching high school and doing a lilttle coaching  so I might go into coaching when I’m done but not for sure yet. I would love to stay in canada and start a life there,  but Atlanta has always been my home.  So its still undecided on where I’ll live and start a family and career yet, all depeneds on how long I continue to play.

As a veteran of playing in another country, what is one bit of advice you could give someone who didn’t get drafted but wants to keep playing?

To me being drafted has alot to do with politics. I have played with alot of guys that have been drafed high and ended up playing indy ball or up in Canada. I have proven time after time that I was just as good but most of the time better than those guys. It all depends on how much you want to keep playing. I had something to prove and I worked hard on my craft to let the world know that yes I did deserve a a chance .. so I would tell any kid to keep playing, never give up, and sometimes it takes a little longer to get where you going..

Cleveland Brownlee has put up some great numbers in the IBL over the past few years. In 2012, he blasted 12 home runs and drove in 38 in only 32 games while hitting .326. His 12 home runs were 2nd in the league and he ranked 3rd in RBI. In 2011, he hit .387 and was named a First Team All-Star. You can follow Cleveland’s baseball pursuites on Facebook.

We’d like to thank Cleveland for taking the time to answer some questions for us, and we wish him luck in his future pursuits.

Photo courtesy Wayne Brown

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Minors: Pecos League Blasts Off into Second Season


The Pecos League kicked off its second season earlier this month. The league consists of six teams playing in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado.

So far the league has proven to be fairly evenly matched with 5 of the 6 teams at or over .500. The one exception so far has been newcomer Santa Fe Fuego who sit at the bottom with a 3-11 record.

The defending champion Roswell Invaders are sitting in second place at 8-6 trailing the league leading Las Cruces Vaqueros (9-4).

Positions three through five have the Alpine Cowboys sitting at 6-5, with the White Sands Pupfish, led by last season’s manager of the year Chris Paterson, at 8-8. In fifth place is the Trinidad Triggers, the lone Colorado team, sitting at .500 with a  7-7 record.

The hottest team in the league has to be the White Sands Pupfish. The Pupfish started the season 1-8. They were not losing close games either. In their first 9 games, the Pupfish offense averaged over 7 runs a game (67 total runs). However, the pitching staff gave up a total of 99 runs including 26 in one game to the Las Cruces Vaqueros.

It’s hard to win giving up 11 runs a game.

The have definitely turned the page. In their current 7 game winning streak, they have given up only 47 runs. Now that’s still not ideal for a team to give up almost 7 runs a game. However, if your offense is putting up almost 14 runs a game it’s easier to live with. The offense in the winning streak has put up game totals of 11, 13, 21, 18, and 16 in consecutive games. That’s an incredible total no matter what league you are in.

As the homepage of the league says, ” The league’s high power offenses are fueled by high altitudes and smaller ballparks.” I guess they mean it.

So far there have been some incredible offensive numbers put up.

Trevor Whyte (Las Cruces) leads the league in home runs (tied with 1 other at 5), batting average (.578), RBI (25), and is second in hits (26) and doubles (6). All of this coming in only 13 games.

Jordan Stouffer (White Sands) is having a quite the start as well hitting .453 (2nd), with 4 home runs (2nd), 20 RBI (2nd), and stealing 6 bases (3rd).

This would definitely be a fun league to watch, so if you are near a team head on over and check out the offensive explosion that is happening in the Pecos League.

For more information check out PecosLeague.com

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Pecos League to Hold West Coast Tryouts April 23rd


The Pecos League will host their west coast tryout on Monday April 23rd at 10 am in Compton at the MLB Youth Academy. 901 East Artesia Blvd, Compton, CA

Tryout is open to all players with professional, college or High school experience. Graduating college seniors are welcome to attend and participate as well.

The cost of the tryout is $50 and players can pay and register before the tryout at the field.

The Pecos League is a professional independent minor league that plays in the Southwest of the USA with teams in New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas for this season.

The Pecos league has sent over 70 players to higher leagues and affiliated MLB teams in their inaugural year.
players can can email Chris.Paterson@pecosleague.com for more info.

Last year the tryout saw over half the participants receive spring training invites.

Scouts and coaches from other Professional independent leagues will be invited as well as MLB scouts to attend the tryout.

PecosLeague.com

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