Monday, August 17, 2009


We sign Tate, Williams, Sampson, and Reyes, Headley hits a two-out rbi double in the 9th, and Blanks with a walkoff...

That makes for a great day.

Signing Update

And we signed Jorge Reyes from Oregon State just under the wire also...


We just announced the signings of first-rounder Donavan Tate, second-rounder Everett Williams, and fourth-rounder Keyvius Sampson.

Still two hours to go!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quick Hits - Minor League Version

Some notes from our affiliates:

AAA Portland
  • After coming back from Tommy John surgery last season to pitch in Lake Elsinore and the Arizona Fall League, Cesar Carrillo began the year with AA San Antonio. After his first seven starts he had a 6.52 ERA in 38.2 innings. Since that time, however, he has looked more like the Carrillo of old, posting a 3.17 ERA over 82.1 innings while both his fastball (up to 95mph at times) and command (walks from 4.0 per nine down to 2.2 per nine) returned. He has since been moved up to AAA Portland where he has a 4.09 after his first two starts.
  • Eulogio DeLaCruz made a handful of starts for AAA Portland after being sent down, but then we moved him to the bullpen where he has thrived. In 34.2 innings he has six saves to go along with his 2.60 ERA. Routinely touching 97 and 98 mph and having allowed just two homers in 51 innings in the hitter-friendly PCL, Eulogio is a power back-end bullpen prospect.
AA San Antonio
  • While Carrillo was turning the corner from TJ surgery, Ernesto Frieri was busy being the most consistent starter on his staff for the second consecutive season. A 40-man roster member, Ernesto is currently 10th in the Texas League in ERA (3.52) while also holding down the 4th spot in strikeouts (86).
  • Toward the end of June we promoted former compensation round pick Cory Luebke to AA since he was leading the Cal League in ERA (2.34). Since his promotion he's had to battle a hamstring injury, but that hasn't stopped him. The left-hander has a 1.10 ERA after his first four starts.
A+ Lake Elsinore
  • 2008 2nd round pick James Darnell tore up the Midwest League to the tune of .329/.468/.518 before joining A+ Lake Elsinore. After a short adjustment period, James is now hitting .305/.384/.603 for the Storm. For the year he now has 17 homers, 47 extra base hits, and 75 walks in just 363 at-bats.
  • Signed out of Garden City JC, Aaron Breit began the year in the Lake Elsinore pen after splitting time in the rotation and the pen in Fort Wayne in 2008. After posting a 3.15 ERA out of the pen, the 6'4" right-hander moved into the rotation and didn't miss a beat with a 3.07 ERA in seven starts. For the year he now has a 3.11 ERA in 75.1 innings with 67 hits, 30 walks, and an impressive 94 strikeouts.
A Fort Wayne (best record in baseball at 75-34)
  • Trying to hit against Simon Castro may be hazardous to your health. The hard thrower is currently leading the league in strikeouts with 125 in 108.2 innings and just 30 walks, but what's particularly impressive is that he just keeps getting better. His ERA's by month: 4.32, 4.11, 3.12, 2.67, 1.80. Over his past seven starts he has a 2.55 ERA in 35.1 innings with 50 strikeouts and just 31 baserunners allowed.
  • Alexis Lara had a rough start to the season pitching out of the Ft Wayne pen. When the weather began to turn, however, so did Alexis. Since June 1 he has a 1.41 ERA with 48 strikeouts and just 24 baserunners allowed in 32 innings pitched. Both Castro and Lara routinely throw from 92-95mph.
SA Eugene
  • Left-hander starter Nick Greenwood currently leads the Northwest League in ERA with a 1.66 in 48.2 innings. In his nine professional starts, he has allowed more than one earned run just twice, and he has yet to allow a homer. Lefties, in particular, are miserable in the box against Nick, as they've gone just 6 for 58.
  • Signed out of the Dominican in 2007, Edinson Rincon was the rare player who made his US debut at just 16 years of age. Now 18, Edinson is playing in short-A with mostly college draftees. He must not have noticed, because he's hitting an astonishing .331/.430/.536 and is in the top five in the league in average, on-base, and slugging.
  • I'm breaking the mold and going with three highlights from Eugene, because I can't leave out middle infielder Vince Belnome. Hitting .319/.444/.550, Vince leads the Northwest League in homers, rbi, and runs, is 2nd in extra base hits, and 3rd in on-base and slugging. A left-handed hitter, Vince has also hit lefties at a .964 ops clip.
Rookie Arizona
  • First baseman Cody Decker went on an absolute rampage in July slugging .778 en route to a season line of .343/.417/.694. The UCLA product is currently leading the AZL in homers, extra base hits, slugging, and rbi, and he's also third in both runs and hits.
  • One of our major Latin American signings in 2008, Adys Portillo skipped the Dominican Summer League and began his pro career here in the US at the age of 17. Adjusting to the competition wasn't easy, and after his first four starts he had a 6.92 ERA in just 13 innings. Since then, however, Adys has shown why he belongs with a 3.20 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.
Dominican Summer League
  • Another one of our prominent signings in 2008, Luis Domoromo has had a solid start to his career with a .387 obp, 37 walks, and six triples. The left-handed hitting 17 year old has also posted a .765 ops against RHP. Remember, the offensive stats in the Dominican are similar to the Cape Cod Leauge in the US - pitching generally rules.
  • Keeping the nature of the Dominican offensive statistics in mind makes the performance of Yair Lopez even more impressive. The 6'3", 17 year old outfielder had a .900 ops in July to bring his season totals to .293/.419/.420 with 15 extra base hits, 14 stolen bases, and 38 walks in just 181 at-bats.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Quick Hits

Here are a few notes about some young players on our big league club:
  • Many of you may have seen Kyle Blanks hit majestic home runs to leftfield in Cincinnati and again the other night in Petco, but going out to the beach in right-center like he did last night? Not many right-handed hitters have done that (Manny Ramirez is one). As one person gleefully said last night, "This is like having a brand new toy!" As a starter, Kyle is hitting .250/.375/.525 with 10 extra base hits and 13 walks in 96 plate appearances.
  • In the last month (since July 5) Will Venable is hitting .312/.354/.506, which includes a handful of appearances as a pinch hitter.
  • Knock on wood... Mat Latos and Tim Stauffer have combined for a 2.62 ERA over 44.2 innings with a WHIP under 1.00. Furthermore, in their seven full starts (Tim had a 1-inning start in Washington that ended with a rain delay) neither one has yielded more than two runs in an outing.
  • In the last month (since July 5) Joe Thatcher has faced 27 hitters and has struck out 13 of them. Thirteen. Meanwhile, just five have reached base. On the year he is holding left-handed hitters to a .212/.289/.333 line.
  • In the last month (since July 5) Kevin Kouzmanoff has hit .309/.324/.557, banging out 16 extra base hits in 105 plate appearances. Furthermore, his OPS by month so far this season is: .603 in April, .652 in May, .737 in June, .795 in July, and .833 in August (ok, so it's only three games, but it fits the trend so I couldn't resist).
Tomorrow I'll provide similar notes on some of our minor leaguers, but I have one just for zino since he doesn't like any of our bats. :-) All of our minor league teams combined had the following rankings against the other 29 organizations as of late July, despite not playing in any ballparks that are particularly friendly to hitters:
  • Batting Average: 3rd
  • On-Base: 1st
  • Slugging: 5th
  • OPS: 2nd
  • Runs/Game: 4th
There are other categories, but as you can see, our organization is in the top five in all of the major ones. Just in case anybody thinks we have a bunch of slow-pitch softball players, we're also 1st in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Our system has accomplished this while many of the high performers were moved to more difficult levels mid-season and guys like Blanks and Venable were promoted out of the ranks.

As I wrote last time, this is going to be fun to watch.