Tag Archive | "Prospects"

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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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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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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WBC: Top Prospect Profar Opts Out of Classic


The #1 prospect in baseball has opted out of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Jurikson Profar has decided against playing for the Netherlands in the WBC and will concentrate on making the Texas Rangers 25 man roster.

Profar, a native of Curacao, was named to the Netherlands’ provisional roster. He will be in a tough battle to make the Rangers as a middle infielder. He will be competing with the likes of Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Ian Kinsler at second base.

The Rangers have said they would rather Profar playing everyday at AAA Round Rock over having him play a limited role at the big league level.

During big league camp Profar should get a lot of playing time since Andrus has committed to playing in the WBC for Venezuela.

Profar, who will turn 20 at the end of February, spent the 2012 season with AA Frisco. In 126 games, Profar hit 14 home runs, batted .281, and stole 16 bases. He was called up in September and went 3-for-17 with a home run in 9 games.

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WBC: Provisional Rosters Announced


The 16 teams participating in the 2013 World Baseball Classic announced their provisional rosters on Thursday.

The USA Roster is full of stars including former MVPs and last year’s NL Cy Young winner in R.A. Dickey. However, despite their talent each time, the USA has never reached the finals.

Canada released 27 names saving the last roster spot for Joey Votto who first has to pass a physical for insurance purposes since he missed part of last season. Its roster features 12 players who played in the Major Leagues in 2012 including first baseman Justin Morneau (Twins), catcher Russell Martin (Pirates), Jessie Crain (White Sox), and third baseman Brett Lawrie (Blue Jays).

The Dominican Republic has a roster also chocked full of stars from the big leagues. Its roster is complete with Major Leaguers except for one free agent. It includes stars such as Jose Reyes (Blue Jays), Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers), Nelson Cruz (Rangers), and Melkey Cabrera (Blue Jays). The only non MLB roster player is catcher Miguel Olivo.

Other big names that will be playing with their countries are Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela), Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico), Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico), and Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico).

The two teams from the ’09 final, Japan and South Korea, are both without a single MLB player on their roster this time around. However, don’t ever count them out. Both teams will be well prepared and have a lot of talent and will still be one of the favorites in the tournament.

Some of the games top prospects, including who many feel is the No. 1 prospect, will be playing as well. Jurickson Profar (Rangers/Netherlands), Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox/Netherlands), Jonathan Schoop (Orioles/Netherlands), Eddie Rosario (Twins/Puerto Rico), and Phillippe Aumont (Phillies/Canada) among others will compete on the international stage.

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Steroids Hurting Dominican Prospects


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – The international signing period opened on July 2 amidst a cloud of controversy in the Dominican Republic, where numerous top prospects allegedly tested positive for steroids. But while MLB scouts and officials were treading cautiously in Santo Domingo, several prospects in Venezuela were reaping seven-figure bonuses to develop their skills in the U.S. minor leagues.

Adonis Cardona, a powerful 16-year-old right-hander, reportedly set a record for a Venezuelan prospect when the Toronto Blue Jays gave the hard-throwing, front-of-the-rotation pitcher a $2.8 million bonus. Oakland doled out a $2.2 million bonus to third baseman Renato Nunez, while another Venezuelan, outfielder Danry Vasquez, got a $1 million bonus to sign with Detroit.

While the number of signings in the Dominican Republic has definitely been affected by the stain of steroids, the Latin American “hotbed” of future Major Leaguers still managed more than a few noteworthy deals. Houston completed one of the biggest deals when the National League franchise inked 16-year-old outfielder Ariel Ovando for a bonus in the range of $2.6-$2.8 million. Ovando has also cleared the rigorous background checks done by MLB.

Below is a partial list of the Latin American prospects signed recently by MLB clubs.

COLOMBIA:
Jose Torres, RHP, Seattle Mariners ($851,000)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:
Phillips Castillo, OF, Seattle Mariners ($2.2 million)
Hector Veloz, 3B, Baltimore Orioles ($300,000)
Ariel Ovando, OF, Houston Astros ($2.6-$2.8 million)
Mauricio Cabrera, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Yoel Araujo, OF, Tampa Bay Rays ($800,000)
Reyson Zoquier, LHP, Minnesota Twins
Daniel Sanchez, SS, Chicago Cubs

VENEZUELA:
Yordyn Calderon, 3B, Seattle Mariners ($477,500)
Ronny Mejias, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks ($300,000)
Yorman Garcia, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Vicente Lupo, OF, New York Mets
Gabriel Ceñas, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays ($700,000)
Adonis Cardona, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays ($2.8 million)
Jose Tovar, LHP, Colorado Rockies ($350,000)
Danry Vasquez, OF, Detroit Tigers ($1 million)
Francisco Silva, SS, Philadelphia Phillies ($200,000)
Renato Nunez, 3B, Oakland Athletics ($2.2 million)
Anderson Mata, LHP, Oakland Athletics
Jose Torres, LHP, Oakland Athletics

Source: Baseball America

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Italian Tops 2010 European Prospects


UNITED STATES – Italian infielder Alex Liddi (Seattle Mariners) and German catcher Kai Gronauer (New York Mets) continue to set the standard for European baseball prospects toiling in the United States minor leagues. Liddi remains one of the top offensive threats from the old continent, while Gronauer is also enjoying success inside the batter’s box in 2010.

The 21-year-old Liddi (pictured), who is the first Italian-born position player to play professional baseball in the United States, enjoyed a break-out season in 2009 with a league-leading .345 batting average with 23 home runs and 104 RBIs with the Class-A High Desert Mavericks. He was named the California League Most Valuable Player as well as the Mariners’ Minor League Player of the Year.

The San Remo native went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs in a 12-7 win against Birmingham on July 14, and is hitting .265 with six homers, 22 doubles and 55 RBIs in 86 games for Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. He also earned Southern League Player of the Week honors on June 14.

Gronauer has been red-hot since getting promoted to the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League (Class A Advanced). The Solingen native is 19-for-58 (.328) with a home run and eight RBIs in 16 games.

The 23-year-old backstop entered Friday night’s contest on a 11-for-36 (.306) streak with four RBIs and a stolen base.

Other notable European prospects includes the following:

Gregory Halman (Tacoma Rainers – AAA)
22-year-old Dutch outfielder is batting .261 (58-for-222) with 20 homers and 45 RBIs in 61 games for Mariners Triple A club.

Rick van den Hurk (New Orleans Zephyrs – AAA)
25-year-old Dutch right-hander has posted a 5-4 record with a 5.68 ERA in 16 starts with the Marlins Triple A affiliate team.

Donald Lutz (Billings Mustangs – Rookie)
21-year-old German first baseman is hitting .286 (18-for-63) with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 17 games for Reds Rookie level club.

Alex Maestri (Daytona Cubs – A)
25-year-old Italian right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.02 ERA and 39 K’s in 49.1 innings in 2010 with a pair of Cubs affiliates teams.

Andrei Lobanov (Beloit Snappers – A)
20-year-old Russian left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA with 31 K’s in 38 innings this season with a trio of Twins affiliate squads.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Pirates Ink Belarusian Pitching Prospect


BELARUS – Aleksey Lukashevich of the Baseball and Softball Club Brest Zubrs became the first player from Belarus to join a MLB organization when he signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The pro career of the 16-year-old Belarusian pitcher, who is currently training in the United States, will begin in the minor leagues.

Alex began to engage in baseball at the age of 6 years under the guidance of his father – the head coach of Brest Zubrs, Igor Lukashevich. In 2003 at the age of nine Alexei took part in the European Juvenile Championship in Moscow (Russia). In 2005 he participated in the European Championship in Moldova, where he was recognized as MVP of tournament.

From 2005 to 2007 he participated in the European regional baseball Little League and played in the European regional baseball tournament junior league in Kutno (Poland) in 2008 and 2009. In June, 2010, he was a member of Brest Zubrs at the European Cup Qualifier.

Alex helped the Brest Zubrs become the winner of the international tournament for the Cup of the President of Poland twice, where he was one of the best players in the competition. Last year, he was selected as one of 50 baseball players in Europe to train in the MLB European Academy in Tirrenia (Italy).

After the completion of MLB training camp, six Major League teams showed interest in the Belarusian Baseball player, and Alex accepted an offer by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Source: Brest Zubrs

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2010 Aflac All-American Baseball Classic


UNITED STATES – The nation’s top high school baseball players will travel to San Diego on August 15 to play in the 2010 Aflac All-American Baseball Classic. The eighth annual baseball showcase, featuring an East vs West matchup of the nation’s top high school players, will be held at PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and will be nationally televised live on FOX Sports Net.

Andre “The Hawk” Dawson, eight-time MLB Gold Glove outfielder and four-time MLB Silver Slugger, will serve as honorary chairman for the 2010 showcase. Dawson will be inducted into the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame on July 25, 2010.

In addition to helping promote the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic, Dawson will be on-site in San Diego for game week activities, including player practice sessions and the annual awards banquet. This will be Dawson’s first time serving as honorary chairman. Past honorary chairmen have included Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith (2007, 2008, 2009), Reggie Jackson (2006), Cal Ripken Jr. (2004, 2005) and Stan Musial (2003).

The Aflac All-American Baseball Classic is more than just a game. It is part of Aflac’s ongoing commitment to the fight against childhood cancer, with ticket proceeds benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since 2003, the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic has generated nearly $805,000 for charity.

The Aflac All-American players will be led by a stellar coaching staff for the 2010 showcase. Larry Knight of Sumrall High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., will manage the East team. Knight is in his fourth season as head coach at Sumrall and was recently honored as USA Today’s 2010 High School Coach of the Year. This year, he led his team to a third consecutive Class 3A State Championship finishing as the No. 1 ranked team with a 35-1 record.

Managing the West squad will be Bill Hutton of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. Hutton is in his 28th season as head coach at Archibishop Mitty, where his team has secured four West Catholic Athletic League Championship titles and four Central Coast Section Championship titles. His team finished the past season ranked No. 1 in California with a 31-3 record.

Aflac All-American Baseball Classic alumni have had a significant presence in Major League Baseball’s first-year player drafts. Since the game’s inception in 2003, 80 alumni have been selected in the first round, including four No. 1 overall selections like, Justin Upton (2005, Arizona), Tim Beckham (2008, Tampa) and this year’s overall top pick, Bryce Harper (2010, Washington). Fifteen Aflac All-Americans were taken in the first round of the 2010 draft, including the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, Harper by the Nationals and Jameson Taillon by Pittsburgh, respectively. San Diego also drafted 2009 Aflac All-Americans Karsten Whitson and A.J. Vanegas.

The Aflac All-American Baseball Classic is considered the nation’s marquee prep event. Participants must have just completed their junior year of high school, be in good academic standing and display qualities off the field that embody baseball’s ideals, including discipline, determination and hard work.

2010 East Team All-Stars:

CATCHER
Cameron Gallagher (Lancaster, Pa.); Tyler Marlette (Oviedo, Fla.); Brandon Sedell (Davie, Fla.)

INFIELDERS
Javier Baez (Jacksonville, Fla.); Francisco Lindor (Clermont, Fla.); Austin Slater (Jacksonville, Fla.); Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.);

OUTFIELDERS
Jake Cave (Hampton, Va.); Larry Greene (Nashville, Ga.); Sean Trent (Maitland, Fla.)

PITCHERS
Tyler Beede (Auburn, Mass.); Jose Fernandez (Tampa, Fla.); Michael Kelly (Boynton Beach, Fla.); Deshorn Lake (Newport News, Va.); John Magliozzi (Milton, Mass.); Dillon Maples (West End, N.C.); Daniel Norris (Johnson City, Tenn.); Philip Pfeifer (Knoxville, Tenn.); Andrew Suarez (Miami, Fla.)

Head Coach: Larry Knight
Assistant Coaches: Kevin Maris, Omar Washington

2010 West Team All-Stars:

CATCHERS
Austin Hedges (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.); Daniel Mengden (Houston, Texas); Blake Swihart (Rio Rancho, N.M)

INFIELDERS
Christian Lopes (Huntington Beach, Calif.); Ricky Jacquez (El Paso, Texas); Travis Harrison (Aliso Viejo, Calif.); Phillip Evans (Carlsbad, Calif.); Matthew Dean (Highland Village, Texas)

OUTFIELDERS
Daniel Camarena (Bonita, Calif.); Shawon Dunston, Jr. (Fremont, Calif.); William Flamion (Modesto, Calif.);

PITCHERS
Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow, Okla.); Dylan Bundy (Owasso, Okla.); Dylan Davis (Redmond, Wash.); Dillon Howard (Searcy, Ark.); Christian Montgomery (Indianapolis, Ind.); Henry Owens (Huntington Beach, Calif.); Joe Ross (Oakland, Calif.); Robert Stephenson (Martinez, Calif.)

Head Coach: Bill Hutton
Assistant Coaches: Cecil Espy, Manny Hermosillo

Source: Aflac All-American Baseball Classic

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MLB Teams Eyeing Taiwanese Southpaw


TAIWAN – Kaohsiung county left-hander Wei-Chung Wang is attracting interest from several Major League clubs, according to the Taiwan Baseball blog. Wang is the younger brother of Chicago Cubs prospect Yao-Lin Wang.

The 18-year-old, who stands six-foot-one, reportedly has a smooth delivery with a clean arm action. The souting report at the Taiwanese baseball web site listed the following analysis:

“Although his arm speed is just average, he is very projectable. Earlier this year, his fastball was in the low 80’s but he has hit 88 mph quite a few times in the current Yu-Shan Cup. He has also flashed an above average changeup that he throws for a strike.”

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Baseball

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Boras Corp. Signs Top Korean Prospect


SOUTH KOREA – The Boras Corporation has inked one of South Korea’s top pitching prospects, Han Sung-hyuk, according to a report by The Korea Times. The Duksoo High School senior will complete his prep studies early in 2011.

The 17-year-old right-hander, who reportedly possesses a triple digit fastball, compiled a 0.69 ERA at last year’s President’s Cup National High School Baseball Championship. One of his teammates, Kim Jin-young, signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs this past March.

The Boras Corporation is led by super agent Scott Boras.

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Top Latin American Baseball Prospects


EL SALVADOR – The My World Of Baseball website has listed the Top 10 prospects for Central and South America. The Braves dominant the list, and Panama is a country that has most of the players.

It’s possible that next year, Panama will develop enough prospects to get their own list. Baseball America gets most of the credit for the scouting reports.

1. Julio Teheran RHP (Colombia) Braves – Julio has gotten his 2010 season started out quickly, with a 1.03 record in five starts. His 1-2 record is more the result of limited pitch counts that have seen him work over five innings in just three of his five starts.

2. Christian Bethancourt C (Panama) Braves – Christian played for the 2004 Panama Little League team. The Braves signed him four years later for $600,000. Now he catches for a talented Rome pitching staff that includes Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino.

3. Ruben Tejeda SS (Panama) Mets – With the injury to Jose Reyes this year he had an opportunity to make his major league debut. If he had started like Wilson Ramos (.733) instead of hitting .167 he may have had the opportunity to play more.

4. Randall Delgado RHP (Panama) Braves – The second Panamanian on this list for the Braves. He’s been promoted one level at a time his first three years, but with each promotion his ERA has also gone up by over a run. At some point that has to stop.

5. Dimasther Delgado LHP (Panama) Braves – Dimasther appears to be out for the season as a result of a car accident that left him with hand and leg injuries. The Braves expect a full recovery by next year where he can then join Teheran and Vizcaino in the rotation.

6. Cheslor Cuthbert 3B (Nicaragua) Royals – Cheslor signed in 2009 with the Royals for a Nicaragua record $1.35 million. 2010 will be his first exposure to the minor leagues and at 18 he will start in a midseason rookie league.

7. Heitor Correa RHP (Brazil) Phillies – While Brazil is noted for their soccer, there is a little niche where baseball is popular. The majority of the players are Japanese who settled into Brazil and brought their baseball with them. Heitor signed in 2006, but had some issues in 2008 and the Phillies sent him home for disciplinary reasons, forcing him to miss the season. He returned in 2009 and pitched decently, going 7-8, 4.13.

8. J.C. Ramirez RHP (Nicaragua) Mariners – There doesn’t appear to be a country in the Mariners organization that plays baseball that doesn’t have at least one prospect. J.C. is the Mariners Nicaraguan token. J.C. signed in 2005 and has percolated up through the system. Last year was an off year for him as he finished with a 5.12 ERA.

9. Luis Durango OF (Panama) Padres – Luis signed in 2003, but made his major league debut just last year, hitting .545 in just 11 at bats. Speed will be his game. If he can get on base consistently he could be a pitcher’s nightmare with 40 stolen base capability.

10. Wilton Lopez RHP (Nicaragua) Astros – Wilton was originally signed by the Yankees in 2002 but after his first season in 2004 retired. He wasn’t seen again until the Padres signed him in 2007. The Astros claimed him off waivers last year, where he made his major league debut.

Click HERE for complete scouting profiles.

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2010 Top Asian/Australian Prospects


UNITED STATES – Chicago Cubs minor league shortstop Hak-Ju Lee has been tabbed as the best Asian prospect in the U.S. minor leagues, according to the international baseball website My World Of Baseball.

With the Asian teams excellent showings at international competetion in recent years, the major leagues are reaping the benefits of signing Asian prospects and bringing them to the United States to provide them instruction. Also, Australian prospects have been lumped in with the Asian players.

2010 Top Asian/Australian Prospects

1. Hak-Ju Lee SS (Cubs)
2. Dae-Eun Rhee RHP (Cubs)
3. Che-Hsuan Lin OF (Red Sox)
4. Junichi Tazawa RHP (Red Sox)
5. Chia-Jen Lo RHP (Astros)
6. Shane Lindsay RHP (Rockies)
7. Chen-Chang Lee RHP (Indians)
8. James Beresford SS (Twins)
9. Luke Hughes 3B (Twins)
10.Tzu-an Wang RHP (Cubs)

Click here for individual player scouting analysis

2009 Top Australian Prospects

2009 Top Asian Prospects

Photo courtesy of taiwan.blogspot.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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Top Prospect Forced To Play In Japan


JAPAN – Top Japanese pitching prospect Yusei Kikuchi announced on Sunday that he will bypass an opportunity to play professional baseball in the United States and sign with a Japanese team. The 18-year-old left-hander is expected to be selected by a number of teams at this week’s Japanese draft.

Speculation that the decision by the Hanamaki Higashi High School pitcher was largely driven by advisers, especially his prep coach Hiroshi Sasaki, has bought to the surface once again the problems facing Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Sources close to Kikuchi expressed concern that his former high school might come under fire if he signed with a major league club. Last year, Nippon Oil manager Hideaki Okubo was criticized by Japanese baseball officials for his role in the decision of right-hander Junichi Tazawa to pursue a career in the U.S. big leagues.

With more than a few NPB clubs operating in the red, and with salaries that pale in comparison with the Major Leagues, the old guard in Japanese baseball have resorted to pressuring top prospects to play in their domestic league out of to loyalty to their country.

Kikuchi, who announced in September he wanted to pitch in the United States as soon as possible, was in tears at the end of Sunday’s press conference. And, New York Mets scout Isao Ojimi had no doubt as to why the teenage hurler was sad.

“That’s because he can’t make his dream come true and he feels sorry for us – major league people,” Ojimi said. “Kikuchi is a talented young man. I don’t understand why the adults didn’t encourage a man like him to try to pursue his dream.”

From comments by Sasaki, it was evident that the young pitcher was being advised to play in Japan’s domestic league before pursuing his dream of playing on the U.S. circuit.

“I’d like to continue to support Kikuchi as he moves into professional baseball,” his high school coach said. “Kikuchi is going to the majors after he proves his worth in Japan, where he was raised.”

Photo courtesy of japanbaseball.com

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Florida Winter Baseball League To Debut


UNITED STATES – This year there will be no such things as an offseason for a couple of Florence Freedom players as Billy Mottram and Justin Pickett are planning on spending their fall and winter months in Florida playing in the Florida Winter Baseball League.

The FWBL, set to kick off its inaugural season in a week, promotes itself as a developmental league ‘Where Tomorrow’s Stars Play Today’ and is composed of players from eight different Independent Leagues and some affiliated systems, including the Frontier League in which the Freedom compete.

Mottram hit .281 this past summer with the Freedom while finishing second on the team in home runs with 23 and first in RBIs with 79. Pickett tied a Freedom single season record for home runs with 26 and also drove in 78 RBIs, good for second on this year’s Freedom.

Adding to the local flavor, Mottram’s FWBL Lake County Bears will be managed by former Cincinnati Red George Foster (pictured). Another Cincinnati tie-in comes from the very top of the league, as Ken Griffey Sr. will serve as the league’s commissioner.

The FWBL is set to open up its 60 game schedule next Friday, October 30. Fans can follow Mottram’s Bears and Justin Pickett’s Miami Diamantes on www.FWBL.com.

Photo courtesy of online.wsj.com

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Cuban Pitcher In USA For MLB Auditions


UNITED STATES – Highly-touted Cuban flame-throwing southpaw Aroldis Chapman arrived in New York on Wednesday to begin showcasing his skills for numerous potential Major League suitors. Chapman defected from the Cuban National Team this summer at a tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The 21-year-old, who established residency in Andorra to gain eligibility status as a free agent, has a fastball that has reportedly been clocked at 102 mph.

The Big Apple is expected to be the first of several stops for Chapman who will be seeking a deal similar to fellow countryman Jose Contreras’ four-year, $32 million contract with the New York Yankees in 2002.

“Until now, everything has come out fine,” Chapman told the Web site cubaencuentro.com recently. “This is the plan that I had and this was a decision I took. I wanted to test myself in the highest levels of baseball.”

Although gifted with unquestionable abilities, Chapman is considered a less-polished pitcher than San Diego State hard-throwing right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Chapman flashed his huge upside in the World Baseball Classic this past spring, but posted a not-too impressive 5.68 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. The tall, lanky hurler posted a 4.03 ERA in 118 1/3 innings in the 2008 Cuban National Series.

Both of the deep-pocketed Yankees and Boston Red Sox have an interest in the Cuban left-hander and are the front-runners to ink the intriguing prospect. However, the Chicago White Sox have enjoyed success in recent years signing Cuban defectors and could be a darkhorse to land Chapman.

Photo courtesy of BaseballdeCuba.com

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Top Dominican Prospect Issued USA Visa


DOMINICAN EPUBLIC – Top Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano has been issued a work visa by the United States government clearing the way for the Minnesota Twins signee to begin his journey to the major leagues.

The Minnesota Twins signed Sano, who according to some scouts is blessed with the best tools for a prospect in at least a decade, in September to a club-record $3.15 million signing bonus.

Although Sano’s talent was unquestioned, this was not the case about his age and identity. His 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and precocious skills on the field sparked questions about whether Sano was really the 16-year-old he claimed to be.

Major League Baseball, which conducts extensive investigations to help prevent teams from being defrauded, issued a report concluding that Sano’s identity was verified but that his age was “undetermined.”

The questions concerning his age led many teams to withdraw from negotiations. “He lost over $1 million,” said Rob Plummer, Sano’s agent. But the Twins remained confident that Sano would be eligible for a work visa.

“Because of all the speculation, everyone had some doubt (whether he’d get his visa),” said Mike Radcliff, Minnesota’s vice president of player personnel. “I guess we just had fewer doubts.”

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com

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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.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

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.”

PITCHER OF THE YEAR

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.

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.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR

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.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

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.

HARD HIT PERCENTAGE:
Carlos Santana – 51 %

WALK PERCENTAGE:
Nick Weglarz – 17.6%

ON-BASE PERCENTAGE:
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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