Monday, June 29, 2009

High Desert

Lake Elsinore opened a three game series last night in High Desert, which is known for some high-scoring contests. Well, after eight innings last night Lake Elsinore was leading 28-14.

Guess how many home runs Elsinore hit in order to score 28 runs... go ahead, guess.

Exactly one. That's right - one homer, 28 runs. So how does a team score 28 runs with just one homer? 27 hits, 13 walks, and five High Desert errors. That is absolutely nuts. If you thought it wouldn't get crazier in the 9th inning, think again. How about this:

Sawyer Carroll - Home Run
James Darnell - Home Run
Matt Clark - Home Run
Felix Carrasco - 6-3
Danny Payne - Home Run

So, we score 28 runs with one homer over eight innings and then hit four homers in a span of five hitters.

I think Jayson Stark would have a field day with this one.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Going Too Fast?

Hector: I think that the strategy to promote too soon has backfired greatly with Antonelli, Headley and LeBlanc.

Careful with Blanks...


It's always a tough balance.

Antonelli blitzed through HA and AA before struggling last year at AAA. In hindsight it may have made sense to leave him at AA at the beginning of 2008, but he certainly appeared ready for the PCL.

Headley was a very different case. He had a full year in HA Lake Elsinore, a full year in AA San Antonio and nearly 300 pa's in AAA Portland. That's not really an accelerated progression. In fact, what was keeping him down in AAA more than anything was the fact that he was learning a new defensive position.

Leblanc pitched about 150 innings between HA and AA and now has almost 200 in AAA. That isn't terribly unusual for an advanced college starter, and he's still in the development process now.

The other thing, and possibly more importantly, is that sometimes guys need to be pushed in order to progress. For instance, had we left Leblanc at AA he could have continued to get everyone out with his changeup without needing to locate his fastball effectively. He needed to get to a level with more advanced hitters that would force him to make an adjustment to his game. Similarly, Chase had a .939 ops in AAA after having a 1.023 in AA, so he needed to start facing ML pitching in order to keep getting better.

Remember, regardless of the preparation they receive in the minors, young players will almost always struggle early on in the Majors, often for two or three seasons, before hitting their stride. Adrian Gonzalez hit .229/.272/.401 in 2004 and 2005 combined for the Texas Rangers, and there are countless other examples. Just like any other job, there's only so much you can do to prepare before actually doing the job.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Minor League Promotions

Here are some moves effective for tonight's games:

LHP Cory Luebke from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio
Cory is leading the Cal League in ERA and innings pitched, 3rd in K's, and was the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game.

3B Logan Forsythe from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio
Logan is leading the Cal League in OBP, 10th in average, and has a .976 ops with 61 walks (which I believe is the most in all of minor league baseball).

LHP Nick Schmidt from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore
Nick has a 2.79 ERA in 51.2 innings with 59 k's, and has allowed just one earned run in last his 31.1 innings.

3B James Darnell from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore
James is leading the Midwest League in OBP, 4th in SLG, 5th in average, and has a .329/.468/.518 line overall.

1B Matt Clark from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore
Matt is 2nd in the league in RBI and doubles and 3rd in extra-base hits. He will split time at 1B/DH with Felix Carrasco.

OF Sawyer Carroll from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore
Sawyer is 5th in the league in hits and 9th in average. He's turned it up since April, though, hitting .351 and slugging .524 since May 1.

OF Yefri Carvajal from Lake Elsinore to Fort Wayne
Yefri is just 20 years old (Carroll just turned 23), so this is more about pushing Carroll than anything else. Yefri was holding his own in the Cal League (actually hit .304/.333/.451 in May), but with Carroll coming the everyday at-bats are in Fort Wayne.

3B Justin Baum from Lake Elsinore to Fort Wayne
Justin only had 136 ab's in Elsinore, and with the other 3B moving, Fort Wayne offers a chance to play more regularly.

OF Chadd Hartman from Eugene to Fort Wayne
Chadd is moving up due to Carroll and Clark leaving and Decker going on the DL.

LHP Steve Garrison placed on rehab assignment with Peoria, AZ
Steve continues to progress with his rehab and should be facing hitters soon.

Sometimes it makes sense to leave a player at one level for the entire year to let them enjoy success. These players, however, were performing at such a high level that it was time to challenge them at the next level. There is a fine line between challenging players and rushing them, but we feel that all of these guys are ready.

Five posts in one week! Who's with me!

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Mark Twain

Kevin Kouzmanoff has had a good couple of weeks. Actually, his .327/.351/.636 in the last 14 games is better than "good". How did this happen? He didn't suddenly get bigger or stronger. Pitchers haven't suddenly pitched him differently. So what is it?

Back in 2007, Kouz's rookie year, he had a rough start. On May 14 he had an OPS of .424 with just one homer in 105 plate appearances. For the rest of the year he hit .308/.363/.510 for an OPS of .873 while hitting 17 homers (one every 25 pa's). Great things were on the horizon.

Then Kouz again stumbled a bit out of the gates in 2008 with an OPS of .682 on May 14 and one homer for every 59 plate appearanes. After May 14 he had an OPS of .751 with 20 homers (one every 25 pa's). That was more like it.

This year? Kouz had an OPS of .550 on May 14 with one homer in 133 plate appearances. Since that time he has an OPS of .811 with nine homers (one very 16 pa's).

So, to summarize his last three seasons:
  • Up to May 14: .221/.260/.316 with one homer every 83 pa's
  • Post May 14: .278/.325/.483 with one homer every 23 pa's
Is there something about May 14 that we should know? Any astrologers out there that can shed light on this? Is this a simple coincidence, or is it because as Mark Twain supposedly said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

Unfortunately, we don't have the answer (and I'd be leery of any hard causal theories), but we are happy that May 14th has passed and the post-May 14 Kouz, he of the .808 OPS, appears to be in the house.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Signing Updates

In the past few days we have come to agreements with:
  • 3rd round pick - Jerry Sullivan, RHP from Oral Roberts
  • 5th round pick - Jason Hagerty, C from the University of Miami
  • 7th round pick - Miles Mikolas, RHP from Nova Southeastern
Next week we'll try to work on the even numbered rounds.

Scoreboard Watching

It's not often that we scoreboard watch in June (yes - everyone scoreboard watches even if they don't admit it), but I found myself glued to milb's gameday app last night.

See, June is playoff time in the minor leagues, because from AA on down the first half winner earns a playoff spot. We were thrilled when Fort Wayne, our Midwest League affiliate, clinched the first half title back on Sunday, but we're greedy.

Two weeks ago San Antonio was five games behind Midland with 14 games to play in the first half. Pulling a Rockies, the Missions went on a tear, including taking three of four from Midland over the weekend to take a one game lead for the first half title. One series remained in Corpus Christi.

After three innings in Corpus the Missions trailed 5-1, while Midland was up 4-0 in their game in Frisco after four. It was looking like we might be tied at the end of the night, but then the Missions closed the gap to 5-3 with two in the fourth before taking the lead 7-5 in the 5th on Lance Zawadzki's grand slam. The excitement was short-lived, however, as Corpus scored four of their own in the bottom of the 5th to regain the lead 9-7. With Midland in control of Frisco, San Antonio had to handle matters themselves. The Missions chipped away at Corpus with one in the 7th and one in the 8th to send the game into extras where they scored three in the top of the 10th to pull out an unlikely victory. Still up by one game.

Enter Tuesday.

Into the 7th inning stretch Midland was tied with Frisco 1-1 and San Antonio trailed Corpus 2-1. High drama. Then, in a span of about 10 minutes Midland gave up two in the bottom of the 7th to go down 3-1, and San Antonio scored one in the top of the 8th to tie it up at two. In both the 8th and the 9th Midland got runners on base, while Mitch Canham led off the San Antonio 9th with a double. Thank goodness for gameday mini.

In the end, Midland couldn't push any runs across, so Frisco held on to the 3-1 lead: San Antonio wins the first half. For good measure, though, about 30 minutes later Mitch Canham led off the 11th with a solo homer and the bullpen finished off their 5.1 hitless innings to "earn" the win and the title. All it took was 12 wins in 15 games.

The end result is that two of our three full-season affiliates who play with this format, San Antonio and Fort Wayne, won their respective first half titles. Meanwhile, the third team, Lake Elsinore, had four pitchers in the All-Star Game last night (Luebke, McBryde, Pelzer, and Oland) combine for five innings, three hits, one run and six strikeouts. Though they didn't win the first half, they do currently hold a seven game lead in the Wild Card.

All of this attention begs the question: is winning really the goal of player development? After all, the primary objective of any minor league system is to develop quality Major League players, and you don't get any points for minor league victories. However, as Vince Lombardi said:
Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
That does not mean that we have our A-ball managers matching up left-on-left in the 6th inning or that we manipulate rosters to get wins. Skill development comes first. It does mean, however, that we want to win. We want our young players to learn how to win, and we want them to expect to win. In our minds, that is part of their development.

Congrats to both Fort Wayne and San Antonio as well as our entire player development staff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Year Later - Rounds 16+

Round 16 - Thomas Davis, Fort Wayne, 1.42 ERA, 19 ip

After starting this season with a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings out of the bullpen in Fort Wayne, Tom went on the DL in mid-May.

Round 17 - Derek Shunk, released

Derek, a senior infielder out of Villanova, had a .346 obp and a .341 slg in Eugene last summer. This spring we had to make some decisions among the utility infielders for both Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne, and Derek ended staying back in extended spring training. We released him toward the end of May.

Round 18 - Nick Vincent, Lake Elsinore, 2.97 ERA, 36.1 ip

A reliever at Long Beach State, Nick started nine games last summer (including one in Portland), because we thought he could handle the load. This year he has been a workhorse in the Elsinore pen, walking just 10 and striking out 38 en route to finishing 14 games (two saves).

Round 19 - Robert Lara, Fort Wayne, .214/.277/.306

Assigned to Arizona, Robert had a huge first summer, hitting .344/.490/.484. He hasn't gotten consistent playing time yet this season in Fort Wayne (just 28 games played out of 70). He has, however, helped out on the mound twice, pitching two shutout innings while striking out five.

Round 20 - Jason Codiroli, Eugene

Jason tied for 5th in the Arizona League in 2008 in hits (56) and was 4th in OBP (.422) while also leading the team in stolen bases (15). A centerfielder, Jason is off to a hot start in Eugene going 5 for 12 with two leadoff homers.

Round 21 - Joey Railey, Eugene

An infielder out of U. San Francisco, Joey split time last season between Arizona and Eugene. This year he opened the season on the Eugene roster and has played one game so far.

Round 22 - Chris Wilkes, Eugene

A 6'4", 250 lb right-hander, Chris was not a high-profile pitcher in high school, but he was a quarterback. Nevertheless, he adapted quickly to pro ball and had a fantastic rookie season - 1st in the Arizona League in wins (7), 4th in innings (61.2) and 8th in ERA (3.21). In 10 starts he was 5-1 with a 3.06 ERA and on the season he struck out 45 while walking just five. This season the 19-year old was targeted for Eugene, though he did make three appearances for Lake Elsinore due to some injuries on the staff.

Round 23 - Nick Conaway

Nick was the closer at Oklahoma during the 2007 season but had surgery during the winter of 2007/2008 and didn't pitch in the spring. We ended up not signing him last summer.

Round 24 - Eric Gonzalez, Lake Elsinore, 1.80 ERA, 5 ip

A pitcher for the Spanish National Team, Eric tore up the Arizona League in 2008 - 1.19 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 22 innings. That earned him a promotion to full season Fort Wayne to begin 2009, and after 38.2 ip with 38 k's, we recently promoted him to Lake Elsinore. So far he has made two appearances for the Storm with a 1.80 ERA covering five innings.

Round 25 - Logan Power

Logan decided to return to Ole Miss for another year. I believe he went undrafted this spring.

Round 26 - Dean Anna, Fort Wayne

An infielder from Ball St, Dean split the 2008 season between Eugene and Arizona hitting a combined .232/.341/.351 with 11 steals in 12 attemps. So far this season Dean has split time between extended spring training and Fort Wayne, where he has 44 ab's in 13 games covering 2B, SS, and 3B.

Round 27 - Aaron Murphree, released

A left-handed hitter out of the University of Arkansas, Aaron played the 2008 season in Arizona where he hit .250/.376/.421. Due to the plethora of outfielders we had scheduled to go to Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore, Aaron was released at the end of spring training.

Round 28 - Nick Schumacher, Fort Wayne, 1.23 ERA, 22 ip

A senior out of Wayne St in Michigan, Nick split the 2008 summer between Arizona and Eugene, compiling a 4.02 ERA in 40.1 innings. He began this season in extended spring training before getting the call to Fort Wayne where he has a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings. Over his career he now has 56 k's and just nine walks.

Round 29 - Omar Gutierrez, released

After just three appearances in Eugene (6 ip, 0 er, 9 k's) after the draft, Omar went to full-season Fort Wayne (he was 23 years old) to fill a role in the pen. He got caught in the numbers game for A-ball relievers this spring.

Round 30 - Bobby Verbick, retired
A right-handed hitting outfielder, Bobby had a nice debut in Eugene last summer, hitting .257/.402/.431. He decided to retire midway through spring training in March.

Round 31 - Sean Gilmartin

We knew Sean would be a tough sign, and he decided to enroll at Florida State. Though primarily an outfielder in high school, Sean had a strong freshman season on the mound for the Seminoles, going 12-3 with a team-leading 3.49 ERA.

Round 32 - Kyle Heyne, released

Kyle spent most of the 2008 season in Eugene, where he had a 4.19 ERA in 38.2 innings. Due to the competition for A-ball bullpen spots, he was released at the end of spring training.

Round 33 - Daniel Robertson, Fort Wayne, .321/.400/.462

Sometimes it just works out. Dan was the Northwest League MVP in 2008 while setting a league record with 114 hits and finishing first in the league in average (.377), runs (59), total bases (150), and obp (.443). Not a bad debut. Dan hasn't really missed a beat this season in Fort Wayne putting up an .862 ops while striking out just 18 times in more than 200 plate appearances.

Round 34 - Matt Gaski, released, signed by the New York Mets

An infielder out of UNC Greensboro, Matt played the 2008 season in Arizona. We released him at the end of spring training, and the Mets signed him a few days later.

Round 35 - Logan Gelbrich, Lake Elsinore

A solid receiver out of USD, Logan spent 2008 in Eugene hitting .240/.358/.310 while splitting time with Emmanuel Quiles behind the plate. Logan remained in extended spring training this year and recently joined the Storm where he's played in one game.

Round 36 - Jake Shadle

A right-handed pitcher, Jake didn't sign and enrolled in Green River Community College.

Round 37 - Matt Means, retired

Matt pitched 16 innings last summer and decided to retire prior to spring training.

Round 38 - Zach Herr, Fort Wayne, 4.22 ERA, 32 ip

A left-handed reliever out of Nebraska, we signed Zach later in the summer so he only made nine appearances for Eugene, posting a 3.12 ERA in 17.1 ip. This year his ERA doesn't tell the whole story, as he's given up just 28 hits and 10 walks while striking out 38 hitters in his 32 innings. Zach has a good breaking ball that is tough on lefties, and he's struck out 14 of the 37 he's faced so far this season.

Round 39 - Gary Poynter, Arizona

A right-hander with a quick arm, Gary split the 2008 season between Arizona and Eugene with a 4.18 ERA over 32.1 innings. Unfortunately, he broke his wrist early this spring, and it required surgery. He's now back on the mound and pitched one inning on Sunday for Arizona.

Round 40 - Colin Lynch, Fort Wayne, 1.35 ERA, 6.2 ip

After leading the Arizona League in appearances last summer, Colin stayed in extended spring training before getting activated in Fort Wayne in early June. So far he's made five appearances, yielding just one run.

Round 41 - Zach Dascenzo

Rather than signing, Zach decided to enroll at Ohio Dominican University.

Round 42 - Brad Brach, Fort Wayne, 1.69 ERA, 32 ip

Brad may have been the last player we signed out of the 2008 draft, but once guys step on the field that doesn't mean anything. The right-hander reliever out of Monmouth has dominated so far as a pro, compiling a 1.82 ERA over 54.1 innings. He's also struck out 76 while allowing just 54 baserunners. As Fort Wayne's closer, he already has 17 saves.

Round 43 - James Tunnell

Rather than signing, James decided to enroll at Lipscomb University.

These 2008 draft roundups certainly don't cover everyone in our system or even everyone at the A-ball level. There are players we've signed internationally and players for whom we've traded, so at some point I'll have to recap those as well. Nevertheless, it's always interesting and instructive to take a look back.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Roster Moves in Bulk

We've had a busy week with the Major League roster, and today is the denouement (more or less). Here goes:

Purchase the contract of Kyle Blanks
The big man is coming. Kyle has been playing some outfield (15 games) along with 1B in AAA Portland, and he's hit .283/.393/.485 with 12 homers. He won't be supplanting Adrian at 1B, but we believe there will be some ab's for him during interleague play next week.

Purchase the contract of Eliezer Alfonzo
Eliezer is leading the Beavers in both OPS (.887) and slugging (.565) while catching 41 games. With Nick Hundley going on the DL, Eliezer should get some time behind the plate with Henry Blanco.

Recall Wade LeBlanc

Wade was with the big Club a few days last week but didn't have the opportunity to pitch. Tonight, however, he'll be the starter against the A's. Wade has a 4.08 ERA in 57 innings in Portland, giving up 56 hits and 17 walks while striking out 47.

Reinstate Everth Cabrera from the 60-Day DL

After breaking a bone in his hand in Philadelphia, Everth had surgery and missed two months. In the last few weeks, though, he has made rehab stops at Lake Elsinore (.391/.500/.522) and Portland (.333/.379/.407). It certainly appears as though he's ready to go.

Place Chris Young on the 15-Day DL

This has been well-documented in the mainstream media, but Chris has been battling some shoulder soreness for the past three or four starts. We decided it was time to let the soreness settle down before the injury cascaded.

Place Nick Hundley on the 15-Day DL
Nick was hit on the wrist with a pitch a little more than a week ago, and it's been slow to respond to treatment. Rather than continuing to try to fight through it on a daily basis, it made sense to bring Eliezer and make sure that Nick didn't have to play with discomfort for an extended period.

Place Cliff Floyd on the 60-Day DL
Cliff's shoulder continues to be a burden for him. Surgery is an option.

Josh Wilson claimed on waivers by the Seattle Mariners
In order to create room on the roster (both 25-man and 40-man) for Everth Cabrera, we placed Josh Wilson on waivers. The Mariners claimed him, so we won't have the option of having him available to us in AAA. Josh had a prior outright, so even had he cleared waivers, he would have had the option to elect free agency. Josh doesn't have any options remaining, so the Mariners must keep him on their 25-man roster.

Arturo Lopez claimed on waivers by the New York Mets
We needed to create a few 40-man roster spots today - Kyle Blanks, Eliezer Alfonzo, and Everth Cabrera (60-Day DL doesn't count toward the 40-man) - so we had some tough choices to make. As I wrote in an earlier post, often times the decision comes down to which player has the best chance to get through waivers. We took a shot with Arturo, but the Mets claimed him. He still has options remaining, so the Mets can option him to the minors.

We now have a total of 10 players on the Major League DL: Cha Seung Baek, Cliff Floyd, Luke Gregerson, Scott Hairston (starting rehab in Lake Elsinore this weekend), Shawn Hill, Nick Hundley, Jake Peavy, Luis Perdomo, Chris Young, and Mark Worrell. As a team we've now amassed 507 DL days, and the season is only 76 days old. In fact, we've had six or more players on the DL on 61 of the 76 days. At some point any team's depth gets tested, and I'm afraid we're well beyond that point (especially since our projected #1, #2, and #3 starters are all on the DL). Nevertheless, this is a great opportunity for some of the younger guys to gain experience, prove they belong, and establish themselves.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One Year Later

As many of you know, I prefer to focus on process as opposed to outcomes since outcomes can often be misleading. Nevertheless, outcomes make the news (and determine who gets to play in the World Series), so we can't ignore them completely. With that in mind, following is a glance at the players selected in the top 15 rounds of the 2008 draft approximately one year later. I'll look at the later rounds in a future post.

Before I start, I just want to add a little perspective: the Midwest League has combined for a hitting line of approximately .254/.322/.376 so far this season. It's a very tough place to hit.

Round 1 - Allan Dykstra, Fort Wayne, .209/.389/.358
During spring training this year, our player development staff felt it was important to rework part of Allan's swing despite his solid performance at the conclusion of last season in the Cal League: .292/.469/.458 in about 30 pa's. As with any significant change, it was probably going to get worse before it got better, so they decided to start Allan in Fort Wayne. His eye continues to be excellent as evidenced by his 51 walks, and we're confident that he'll continue to see better and better results.

Round 1C - Jaff Decker, Fort Wayne, .283/.447/.510
19 years old, an ops greater than .950, 2nd in the league in OBP, more walks than strikeouts. Silly. Downright silly.

Round 1C - Logan Forsythe, Lake Elsinore, .323/.474/.516
The numbers speak for themselves again. Despite playing in one of the tougher hitting environments in the Cal League, especially for a right-handed hitter, Logan leads the Cal League in OBP, is 8th in average, and has 58 walks to just 45 strikeouts in about 300 pa's.

Round 2 - James Darnell, Fort Wayne, .330/.471/.526
Don't let yourself read these numbers without being astonished. All three of these guys are in rarefied air. James is leading the Midwest League in OBP, is 5th in slugging, and 6th in average. Like both Decker and Forsythe in front of him, he has more walks than strikeouts (56 to 49). These three guys are doing more than any of us could possibly have imagined.

Round 3 - Blake Tekotte, Fort Wayne, .236/.321/.339
This performance line has surprised me a bit, especially because Blake hit .285/.379/.456 in Eugene last summer. Nevertheless, I believe Blake could have a big 2nd half partly because he has hit .316/.437/.491 in June and seems to be warming up with the weather. Further, his 15 steals lead the Tin Caps, and he continues to play a very solid centerfield.

Round 3C - Sawyer Carroll, Fort Wayne, .311/.407/.450
Sawyer's already impressive line might be outrageous had he not hit .215/.342/.292 in April. His OPS marks have increased each month from .634 to .891 to 1.045, and he's also stolen 14 bags.

Round 4 - Jason Kipnis
Jason returned to Arizona State for his junior year, and the Cleveland Indians selected him in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft.

Round 5 - Anthony Bass, Fort Wayne, 2.17 ERA, 66 ip/58 h/23 bb/48 k
Not to be outdone by the hitters, Anthony ranks 2nd in the Midwest League in ERA. Used exclusively in the bullpen in Eugene where he compiled seven saves and a 2.10 ERA last summer, Anthony moved back into the rotation and has been a stalwart this year. He's allowed just two earned runs in his last 33.2 innings of work.

Round 6 - Cole Figueroa, Fort Wayne, .357/.500/.571
Bothered by a troublesome knee earlier in the season in Lake Elsinore and having to spend time rehabbing back in Arizona, Cole recently joined the Tin Caps and has played shortstop the last four games.

Round 7 - Adam Zornes, Fort Wayne, .142/.242/.319
Adam's had a tough season. He's only caught 30 games and has just over 100 ab's, so the numbers aren't necessarily indicative of his ability. A good defensive catcher with some power, Adam hasn't found his stroke quite yet.

Round 8 - Beamer Weems, Lake Elsinore, .300/.471/.393
An excellent defensive SS, Beamer has surprised some people with the bat. Playing in High-A and still just 21 years old, Beamer is 2nd in the Cal League in OBP right behind Logan Forsythe.

Round 9 - Kyle Thebeau
Kyle returned to Texas A&M for his senior season and went undrafted this year.

Round 10 - Andrew Albers, Arizona
Andrew, a left-handed pitcher, injured his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery this spring. He will miss the season.

Round 11 - Tyson Bagley, Eugene
6'8" and a hard thrower, Tyson threw 40 innings last year for Eugene with a 3.57 ERA. This spring he stayed in extended spring training and is expected to return to Eugene.

Round 12 - Matt Clark, Fort Wayne, .267/.356/.496
Like a few others in front of him, we had to overpay to get Matt away from LSU, but we've been rewarded so far. Matt leads the team in homers (11), RBI (50), and total bases (117), while also ranking 2nd in the Midwest League in extra-base hits (32) and doubles (21). He splits time with Allan Dykstra at 1B and DH.

Round 13 - Erik Davis, Fort Wayne, 3.43 ERA, 42 ip/38 h/18 bb/40 k
Pitching in both the rotation and the pen as he did last summer in Eugene where he posted a 2.70 ERA in 26.2 innings, Erik has been very steady. So far he has a 3.57 ERA as a reliever and a 3.26 as a starter.

Round 14 - Robert Musgrave, Fort Wayne, 6.92 ERA, 40.1 ip/53 h/17 bb/37 k
Robert's performance was a bit of a mystery, especially since he dominated last summer in Eugene with 66 k's and 11 bb's in 42 innings. We may have found the culprit, though, as he is now on the DL nursing a strain in his oblique. He'll take it slowly, as that can be a touchy injury, but we do expect him back in the not too distant future.

Round 15 - Brett Mooneyham
As expected, Brett enrolled at Stanford where he had a 4.14 ERA in 67 innings of work this spring.

One obvious question here is: why so many guys, especially college guys, in Fort Wayne rather than Lake Elsinore and aren't their numbers inflated by playing against weaker competition?

There are two answers to this:

1) There were players, in our estimation, who were already in our system and deserved the opportunity to advance to Lake Elsinore, so even though a number of the players from the 2008 draft were fully capable of going to high-A, there weren't enough at-bats to go around. Furthermore, players have jumped from Low-A straight to AA (Will Venable is one), so getting someone everyday at-bats at Fort Wayne would not slow down their advancement in the system.

2) The demographics of the Midwest League are not what you might expect. Just 25% of the players on Midwest League rosters were born in 1988 or later, whereas 55% of the league was born in 1986 or 1987. So, by and large, this is not a league for high school drafts. Though it's technically a low-A league, the talent may very well be on par with the other high-A leagues.

Last year we believed there was an unusual amount of talent among the college hitters, so we targeted them aggressively in the draft. So far, that strategy seems to have paid off, as we're getting exceptional performance from a number of them and have the top two in OBP (by a wide margin) in both the Midwest League and the Cal League. Let's hope they can keep it up as they move through the chain.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peavy to the DL

Today we announced that Jake Peavy will be placed on the DL for his ankle injury. In order to let it heal he will wear a cast for at least the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rounds 31-50

31st Round - Matt Jackson, RHP from University of South Alabama

32nd Round - David Erickson, RHP from University of Connecticut

33rd Round - Jonathan Berger, RHP from San Diego State

34th Round - Joshua Cephas, RHP from Southern Nazarene

35th Round - Adalberto Santos, OF from Oregon State

36th Round - Dylan Tonneson, C from Cal Berkeley

37th Round - Gaspar Santiago, LHP from Ranger JC in Texas

38th Round - Kyle Loretelli, CF from Cal State Stanislaus

39th Round - Christopher Ahearn, SS from Catawba College

40th Round - Thomas Porter, RHP from Elon College

41st Round - Dane Hamilton, 3B from University of New Mexico

42nd Round - Ray Delphey, RHP from Alonso HS in Florida

43rd Round - Chadd Hartman, OF from University of Central Florida

44th Round - Ryan Skube, 2B from Mountain Ridge HS in Arizona

45th Round - Derek Landis, RHP from Iowa Western Community College

46th Round - Mykal Stokes, CF from Orange Coast College in California

47th Round - Zack Thomas, LHP from Cy Fair HS in Texas

48th Round - Andrew Ruck, CF from Sinclar SS in Ontario

49th Round - Brett Holland, RHP from University of Texas at Tyler

50th Round - Brett Basham, C from University of Mississippi

Sorry for not including individual info on all of these players (and my apologies to them), but I'm out of gas. Feel free to ask questions, and I'll tell you what I know.

I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of our picks in either Eugene or Peoria later this summer after sleeping for about a week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rounds 21-30

21st Round - Kendall Korbal, RHP from Blinn College in Texas

20 years old and 6'6", 210 lbs, Kendall has a fastball that reaches 93 and the makings of solid secondary pitches. He could end up as a starter or a reliever with power stuff.

22nd Round - Cody Decker, 1B from UCLA

A senior first baseman from UCLA, Cody banged 20 homers this season. He doesn't have the height of the rest of our draft class, but he attacks the ball and can hit it a long way.

23rd Round - Jeffrey Ibarra, LHP from Lee University in Tennessee

A California native and standing 6'6" and 180 lbs, Jeffrey is a left-handed reliever with a low 3/4 arm angle making him tough on left-handed hitters.

24th Round - Ben Davis, OF from University of Southern Mississippi

No flashbacks here...Ben actually goes by "Bo". A senior centerfielder, Bo plays with a lot of energy and hit .371/.488/.649 this spring.

25th Round - Ty Wright, OF from Georgia Southern

A 6'0", 235 lbs left-fielder, Ty was the Georgia Junior College player of the year in 2007 and a Second Team All-American in 2008. He combined to hit .365/.457/.658 over his past two seasons at Georgia Southern. Ty plays hard and has some serious strength.

26th Round - Kevin Winn, 2B from Louisiana Tech

Kevin had a big senior season at La Tech hitting .380/.440/.606 while striking out just 11 times. His father is Earl Winn, a scout for the Twins, and his brother plays in the Phillies organization.

27th Round
- Cameron Monger, OF from University of New Mexico

Despite being a solid 6'2", 205 lbs, Cameron runs the 60 in about 6.3 seconds. He didn't get to play all that much this season at New Mexico, but he can impact a game with his speed.

28th Round - Vince Belnome, 2B from West Virginia University

A junior left-handed hitting 2B, Vince was a Third Team All Big East selection in 2008 as a sophomore and this year hit .417/.520/.655.

29th Round - Robert Poutier, RHP from University of Virginia

A 6'4", 190 lb reliever from UVA, Robert has pitched 54.2 innings over the past two seasons, yielding 49 hits and 20 walks while striking out 73. He has a nice FB/SL mix.

30th Round - Babawande Olabisi, OF from Stanford

A terrific athlete, Wande hasn't had much of a chance to play at Stanford, amassing just 23 ab's over the past three seasons. Nevertheless, he can really run and has plenty of strength. Wande was born in Lagos, Nigeria before moving to Saudi Arabia where he played for the 2000 Little League World Series team. He is a member of the royal family of the Urhobo tribe in Nigeria. Here's a good article.

That's it for today. We still have some work to do tomorrow, but we're pumped how everything has fallen so far. We feel we have a lot of upside in this draft, and we're happy to add so much size and power. If a basketball or football game breaks out in Peoria, AZ, we'll be ready.

Rounds 11-20

11th Round - Andrew Madrigal, RHP from Mt. San Jacinto in California

A two-way player at Mt. San Jacinto, Drew hit over .400 while also putting up a big year on the mound. 6'2" and 200 lbs, Drew is an athletic strike thrower who has been up to 94 mph with a solid slider. He struck out 138 in 106 innings.

12th Round - Brayden Drake, 3B from Missouri St

A senior, Brayden is a hard-nosed infielder with a solid line drive bat. He's a good enough defender to move around, and he's a tough out hitting over .400 this season while slugging .695.

13th Round - James Vern, 1B/OF from Texas Christian University

At 6'3" and 225, James is athletic enough to play out in LF as well as 1B. James hit 15 homers this season and slugged .679.

14th Round - Nick Greenwood, LHP from University of Rhode Island

A left-handed starter at URI, Nick has excellent command along with a solid changeup. He has started for the past two years, going 184.1 innings with 185 hits, just 40 walks, and 169 strikeouts.

15th Round - Matt Lollis, RHP from Riverside Community College

Back on our theme. Matt is 6'8", 260 lbs, and he's just 18 years old. Despite the size, Matt has good feel for the strike zone and runs his fastball up to 94 mph.

16th Round - Griffin Benedict, C from Georgia Southern

Son of former Major Leaguer, Bruce Benedict, Griffin has been a four-year starter at Georgia Southern and shows great intangibles. A left-handed hitter, Griffin controls the strike zone and hits to all fields, but he's also belted 26 homers over the past two seasons.

17th Round - Jorge Reyes, RHP from Oregon State

6'3" and 185 lbs, Jorge has been a high profile pitcher at Oregon State for the past three seasons. He has a good sinker in the low 90's along with a solid slider.

18th Round - Shuhei Fujiya, RHP from University of Northern Iowa

An Irvine native, Shuhei attended Orange Coast College before heading to Northern Iowa. 6'3" and 175 lbs, Shuhei does not yet have a lot of experience on the mound but shows a good delivery with an easy, quick arm.

19th Round - Chris Tremblay, SS from Kent State University

A senior infielder, Chris is a solid defender and has hit over .350 over the past two college seasons combined. This year he played SS with a dislocated finger - like the toughness.

20th Round - John Wooten, 3B from Eastern Wayne HS in North Carolina

At 6'3" and 195 lbs, John has already shown big, big power. He's a good athlete, and as he continues to get bigger and stronger he could end up being dangerous with the bat.

10th Round Pick

Ryan Hinson, LHP from Clemson University

It was about time we took a lefty. A 6'2", 220 lb reliever, Ryan has also started in the past. In the bullpen his FB has been up to 94 to go along with a solid slider.

The draft is really going fast right now, so I'm not going to be able to continue posting after each pick. There are a few breaks, so I'll try to do so roundups along with a recap at the end of the day.

9th Round Pick

Chris Fetter, RHP from University of Michigan

A 6'8", 230 lb starting pitcher, Chris had a huge spring after seeing a jump in his velocity up to 94 mph. In 94 innings this season he walked just 17 and struck out 103. At 6'8" you could say he has good "downhill plane".

8th Round Pick

Nate Freiman, 1B at Duke University

A 6'8" first baseman, Nate has monster power. This year, his senior year, he had 19 homers and just 24 strikeouts. As you can imagine, he makes a nice target over at 1B.

7th Round Pick

Miles Mikolas, RHP from Nova Southeastern in Florida

A 6'5" 220 lb starting pitcher, Miles has a fastball up to 94 with a good curveball. Is anyone sensing a trend?

6th Round Pick

James Needy, RHP from Santana HS in California

A San Diegan, James is a 6'5" starting pitcher with a FB in the low 90's with feel for both a breaking ball and a changeup. It's nice to get a local in the mix, but this one was all about talent.

5th Round Pick

Jason Hagerty, C from the University of Miami

Jason is a strong switch-hitting catcher with some power. He has also spent time at 1B, but we see him as a catcher.

4th Round Pick

Keyvius Sampson, RHP from Forest HS in Florida

Keyvius is a very athletic right-handed starter with a fastball that ranges from 90-96 mph and a very good changeup. This season he posted a 0.83 ERA, pitching 59 innings, giving up 19 hits and 14 walks while striking out 113. We believe he has big upside as a starting pitcher.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


With just three rounds under our belt we have a long night in front of us tonight. The good thing is that we have the opportunity to digest what has transpired and create a comprehensive plan for tomorrow, which will be rapid fire. The bad thing is that the draft at this stage is much more unpredictable.

Nevertheless, we're very happy with our first day. We've been excited about selecting Tate for weeks, were pleasantly surprised that Williams was still there, and were happy to add a starter with both athleticism and stuff.

Thanks for all of the comments so far. We're excited that you're excited.

3rd Round Pick

Gerald Sullivan, RHP from Oral Roberts Univ

Jerry is 6'4", 200 lbs and has been a starting pitcher for the past two seasons for Oral Roberts while spending his summers in the Cape. An excellent athlete, he has a FB that ranges from 90-94 and complements it with a solid SL and a CH.

2nd Round Pick

Everett Williams, OF from Austin McCallum HS in Texas

This is another highly athletic HS outfielder who we think can really hit. He's about 5'10" and 200lbs and is another potential 5-tool guy.

Tate Video

Thanks to Scott Singer from Workhorse Video Productions for making this video available.

1st Round Pick

Donavan Tate, OF from Cartersville HS in Georgia

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding this pick over the past few weeks, but Tate has always been in the front of our minds. He is a potential 5-tool player who plays in the middle of the diamond and is probably the best athlete in the draft.

We're taking our shot.

Draft Day

We finished our annual Draft Day breakfast, and we're currently in our final discussions.

Today is going to be a slower first day than normal since we're only getting through three rounds. Nevertheless, we're going over a number of permutations to make sure that we're set up to act quickly regardless of what happens in front of us in each of the rounds. The anticipation is painful.

Just like last year I'll be posting after each of our selections.