Tagged: Marlins

Dodgers heading back to Albuquerque for Triple-A ball

Isotopes Park.jpgAfter eight seasons in Las Vegas, the Dodgers announced on Sept. 18 they will move their Triple-A affiliate back to Albuquerque, where they will be called the Isotopes.

The Dodgers played Triple-A baseball in Albuquerque from 1972-2000 — with Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, Orel Hershiser, Davey Lopes, Mike Marshall, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, and Bill Russell all making stops — and the city hosted the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate from 1963-71.

“We’re very excited to be returning to Albuquerque,” player development director De Jon Watson said in a release. “Their top-notch facility will undoubtedly help us develop future Dodgers, and their fans have been following this franchise for many years.”

Albuquerque has built a new stadium, Isotopes Park, since the Dodgers were last affiliated with the city, and it is considered one of the finest facilities in Minor League Baseball. A franchise-record 593,606 fans visited the ballpark in 2008 to see the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate.

“It’s a lot more modern facility, clubhouses, weight room, amenities for us from a player-development standpoint,” Watson said in an interview with MLB.com. “It’s more of a unique ballpark that’s conducive to doing the things we need to do with our players from a development standpoint to get them ready to play up here.”

Albuquerque won eight Pacific Coast League championships as the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate and three Texas League titles while a Double-A affiliate of the Dodgers.

Watson added the Dodgers enjoyed their time in Las Vegas working with the 51s’ staff, but he looks forward to returning to the city Los Angeles Minor Leaguers called home for 38 years.

“It’s nice to be able to go back into the market,” Watson said. “I think we do have a strong fan base there. The fans in Albuquerque have some familiarity there and have had quite a few Major League players move on from that place. The fan base will be familiar with our brand of baseball and style of players.”

The Dodgers will also move their Double-A home to Chattanooga, Tenn., after an eight-year run with Jacksonville. The Lookouts, who play at AT&T Field, had previously been a part of the Reds’ organization.

“Our move to Chattanooga will continue to help bring all of our affiliates closer to home,” Watson said in a release. “We look forward to making an impact throughout the city as our Minor League players continue to hone their skills en route to the big leagues.”

The Dodgers signed two-year deals with both Albuquerque and Chattanooga.

The Dodgers’ final move also involves distance, switching their entry in the Gulf Coast League to the Arizona Rookie League. They will be called the “Arizona League Dodgers.”

Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Class A Great Lakes will remain Dodgers affiliates for a third straight season, and Rookie-level Class A Ogden will stay for a seventh consecutive year.

The Dodgers will also continue to field a Dominican Summer League team.

— Michael Schwartz

Mudcats’ season crumbles in the end

Up 2-1 against the Mississippi Braves, Double-A Carolina dropped the final two games of the series in extra innings to come up short in the Southern League Finals.

tuohlnrs.jpgMIAMI — The Carolina Mudcats were so close.

But, in the end, the only thing they were close to was the celebration by the Mississippi Braves players near the mound at Trustmark Park (pictured), as they beat the Marlins’ Doube-A affiliate, 3-2, in 10 innings during the Southern League Finals.

Back in Game 4, when they were up 2-1 in the series, the Mudcats had a chance to seal the deal in the 11th inning before surrendering a home run tie it up. Two innings later, they lost on a walkoff single.

Entering the ninth inning of the deciding game, Carolina was down, 2-1, before a leadoff homer by Scott Cousins off Southern League Pitcher of the Year Todd Redmond tied it up. But after a couple of singles in the 10th inning by the Braves, Chris Mobley checked into the game and threw a wild pitch, allowing J.C. Holt to score the winning run.

Read the full story here.

But hey, here’s one thing to look forward to: Now that the Mudcats’ season is over, there’s a good chance you can see center field prospect Cameron Maybin pretty soon. Gaby Sanchez, the Southern League MVP this year, isn’t as likely of an addition, considering he’d have to be added to the 40-man roster first, and there wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for him to play with the Marlins. Ryan Tucker could also be added.

Jammers update

The Marlins’ short-season, Single-A affiliate, the Jamestown Jammers, lost the first game of the New York-Penn League Finals to the Batavia Muckdogs, 4-3. Down a run in the bottom of the ninth, the Jammers had the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Brandon Tucker struck out, and Justin Bass grounded out to end it.

The second of the best-of-three series on Saturday was postponed due to rain and will be played Sunday at 6:05 p.m. ET.

– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Mudcats GM named Southern League Exec of Year

MIAMI — What has already been a great year for the Carolina Mudcats just keeps getting better.

kremer.jpgOn Monday, Joe Kremer, the general manager of the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate, was named the Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year in the Southern League — an award voted on by his peers.

Kremer’s most productive contribution was helping raise the Mudcats’ average attendance (4,073) to the highest it has been in 11 years over a full season.

But his most memorable lasted only one inning.

MiracleLeague.jpgWhile hosting the Southern League All-Star Game in mid-July, Kremer set up the Miracle League’s first All-Star Game. Before the start of the game, All-Star players and coaches assisted special-needs children in a one-inning exhibition. Afterwards, he set up an auction that featured autographed, player-worn jerseys and raised $8,000 for the Miracle League.

Kremer has been with the organization — which relocated from Columbus in 1991 — for 20 years and is receiving the award for a Southern League record-tying fourth time.

Series tied

The Mudcats and Mississippi Braves have split the first two games of the Southern League Championships. The Braves won the first game, 5-4 in 10 innings, at Carolina, and the Mudcats came back to win Game 2, 6-3, on Tuesday. Both teams will play next on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET at Mississippi — a place the Mudcats better get used to, considering they’ll be playing the last three games of the series there.

‘Jamming’ into Finals

Make that five in a row now for the Jamestown Jammers, the Marlins’ short season Single A club. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. After two straight wins against the Staten Island Yankees, the Jammers find themselves two wins away from winning the championship, as they’ll face the winner between Lowell Spinners and Batavia Muckdogs — to be decided tonight, at 7:05 ET.

– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Marlins on the Strip?

IsotopesPark.jpgMIAMI — There’s a chance the Marlins may not have a Triple A team in Albuquerque, N.M., next season. That’s because the Dodgers have yet to reach a contract extension with their Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll do so by the cutoff point on Sept. 30.

The Dodgers’ Triple A team had been located in Albuquerque from 1972-2000 — then known as the Dukes — and it seems like they want to move back. If that’s the case, it would be the Marlins that would likely end up in Vegas.

cashmanfield.jpgIt would also be the Marlins who would be giving up having their young stars play in the beautiful Isotopes Park (right) — finished in 2003. The area of the stadium’s current location was known as the Albuquerque Sports Stadium before most of it was demolished when the Dodgers moved out. Instead, the Triple-A Marlins could be playing in the 25-year-old, less-than-10,000-seat-capacity Cashman Field in Nevada (left).

Another option could be New Orleans, where the Mets look to be moving on.

Teams have until Sept. 11 to let the commissioner’s office know they’d like to consider other options, and they’ll start negotiating in a two-week period beginning Sept. 16.

In an article by the Las Vegas Sun, 51s President Don Logan said he doesn’t feel like the Dodgers will be back, but his organization is guaranteed somebody. He said by the time the smoke clears, it would be the Marlins and Nationals still looking for a Triple-A affiliate.

The 51s were looking to rename their organization, but that’s been put on hold because of the uncertainty.

Currently, the Marlins have agreements with Single-A Greensboro and Jupiter. Albuquerque, as well as Double-A Carolina and short-season Class A Jamestown, are still up in the air, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 

– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Mudcats in Southern League Championships

MIAMI — The Marlins’ Double-A affiliate, the Carolina Mudc
mudcat.jpgats, swept the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in the Northern Division playoffs and will face off against the Mississippi Braves in a five-game series beginning Monday.

The Mudcats outscored West Tennessee, 22-5, and Gaby Sanchez went 5-for-12 with three RBIs in the series.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’d wait until the Double A playoffs are over before he calls anybody from the Mudcats up. And when they are, Sanchez and Cameron Maybin are very likely candidates.

So close

After starting off the season 33-36, the Marlins’ High A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads, went right down to the wire in the second half for first place in the Florida State League’s East Division. While going 41-28 to end the year, the Hammerheads finished just a half-game out of the first place Daytona Cubs — a lead they lost during their last five games of the season.

Going into the final five contests, Jupiter actually held a half-game lead on the Cubs but had five games against them to finish off the season. The Hammerheads split the first two, but they fell in the following two games to put them at 1 1/2 out and mathematically eliminated. The Marlins’ 2003 first-round pick, Jeff Allison, was the losing pitcher in the dagger, getting rocked for seven runs (six earned) in just two innings.

Future closer?


Thumbnail image for images.jpgDon’t blame Adalberto Mendez for the Hammerheads coming up short in their quest for the playoffs. All he did was record 29 saves — tied for the FSL lead — while posting a 3.47 ERA. In 57 innings, Mendez struck out 59 batters and limited his opponents to a measley .215 batting average.

I know Mendez isn’t one of the more popular candidates for the Marlins’ closers role in 2009 if Kevin Gregg isn’t retained — that title belongs to Matt Lindstrom and Ryan Tucker. But neither of those two have impressed much in the Major Leagues, and a season like this one could make Mendez, a 26-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic, a potential candidate when Spring Training opens next year.

Mendez was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cubs in 2001 and, after five years in their system (he didn’t start until 2003), he was acquired by the Marlins for the 2008 season. It was a big bounce-back year for Mendez, who posted a 5.09 ERA last year between High A and Double A.

How they finished …

Albuquerque Isotopes: 68-75 (.476), 2nd in American South Division of Pacific Coast League; 7.5 games out of first place; 10th overall out of 16

Jupiter Hammerheads: 41-28 (.594), 2nd in East Division of FSL; .5 games out of first place; 3rd overall out of 12

Greensboro Grasshoppers: 28-40 (.412), 5th in Northern Division of South Atlantic League; 16 games out of first place; 13th overall out of 16

Jamestown Jammers: 47-29 (.618), 2nd in Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League; percentage points out of first place; 3rd overall out of 14

Gulf Coast League Marlins: 30-24 (.556), 2nd in East Division of GCL; 2.5 games out of first place; 5th overall out of 16 

New faces

Since the beginning of the September callup period, the Marlins have brought in five players from their Minor League system. Here’s a look at how they’ve done since being called up/back:

Logan Kensing: 36.00 ERA in two appearances (four runs in one full inning)

Eulogio De La Cruz: one 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout

Robert Andino: 0-for-2 through two games

Dallas McPherson: 0-for-3 with three walks through three games (one start)

Brett Carroll: 0-for-1 with three appearances 

– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Lots of hardware in Marlins’ farm

MIAMI — It was a good week in Florida’s Minor League system in terms of individual awards. On Thursday, Double-A Carolina’s Gaby Sanchez was named the Southern League Most Valuable Player after racking up 88 RBIs — the most for a Mudcat since 1995 — hitting .342 with runners in scoring position and hitting 17 home runs. Through Wednesday, the first baseman already had a franchise-record 41 doubles and was hitting .320 for one of the best offenses in Double A.

752609646_8d3329bb83.jpgThen, on Saturday, Class A Jupiter had an MVP of its own when first baseman Logan Morrison (pictured) got the honors for the Florida State League after leading the FSL in batting average (.334), hits (157) and doubles (37). Morrison, a 6-foot-2 lefty-hitting 21-year-old, was taken by the Marlins in the 22nd round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Last year for Greensboro, Morrison hit .267 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs.

Triple-A Albuquerque

Isotopes drawing fans

With 13,576 on hand to see their home finale, the Isotopes totaled 593,606 fans in 71 games for the season, beating the previous high in 2005 of 582,839.

Two more for McPherson

After having just one home run in August going in, Dallas McPherson belted two more home runs on Saturday night, bringing his count up to 42 this season with just two games remaining. McPherson still leads the Minor Leagues in home runs, and Nelson Cruz — whose contract was purchased by the Rangers on Aug. 25 — is behind him with 37.

Double-A Carolina

All-Stars all over the place

Sanchez, second baseman Chris Coghlan (.298, 71 RBIs) and outfielder John Raynor (.312, 13 home runs, 49 RBIs) were all named to the Southern League Postseason All-Star Team on Thursday. The Mudcats were crowned the North Division second half champs and will begin the playoffs next week.  

Injured Marlins: Outfielder Brett Carroll (right shoulder) has been rehabbing for the Hammerheads. Over his last 10 games, the 26-year-old is hitting .184 (7-for-38). 

– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Not a great start for Skipworth

MIAMI — Wednesday night marked the final game of the season for the rookie Gulf Coast League Marlins. And it marked the end of what hasn’t been the greatest of beginnings for Marlins first-round pick Kyle Skipworth.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for skipworth.jpgThe lefty-hitting catcher finished off his first season in professional baseball batting just .208 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. Not the kind of numbers envisioned for a guy taken sixth overall and who’s often been compared to Twins All-Star catcher Joe Mauer. But the 6-foot-3 18-year-old did hit better down the stretch, batting .313 in his last 10 games.

Don’t fret, Marlins fans. Skipworth can hit with the best of them, he proved it all through high school, and he’s solid enough defensively that the Marlins’ staff plans on having him purely catch as a pro — rather than move him to a corner infield position because of his offense, like they did with Gaby Sanchez.

Besides, Marlins first-round picks usually don’t do well in the Gulf Coast League. Here’s a list of all of the Marlins’ first Draft selections who played in the GCL, and how they fared:

2007: Matt Dominguez – .100 with two RBIs in five games

2003: Jeff Allison – 0-2, 1.00 ERA in three starts

2002: Jeremy Hermida – .224 with 14 RBIs in 30 games

2001: Garrett Baker – 1-2, 9.16 ERA in 14 appearances

2000: Adrian Gonzalez – .295 with 30 RBIs in 53 games

1999: Josh Beckett – 0-0, 4.50 ERA in one start

1998: Chip Ambres – .353 with a home run and 15 RBIs in 37 games

1997: Aaron Akin – 0-0, 2.32 ERA in four starts

1995: Jaime Jones – .222 with three RBIs in five games

1994: Josh Booty – .222 with a home run and two RBIs in 10 games

Don’t know much about Skipworth? Here’s a quick clip on him when he was presented with Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year as a senior out of Patriot High School in California:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAzUEh471nY&feature=related

– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

 

Continue reading

Spiderman a Marlin?

MIAMI — It seems like the Marlins could have a Spiderman in the making at the Double A level.

Thumbnail image for mlb_a_maybin_200.jpgCenter field prospect Cameron Maybin re-emerged into the starting lineup for Double-A Carolina on Wednesday — going 0-for-3 with a strikeout — for the first time since Aug. 21. The result for his recent absence? Maybin suffered a staph infection on his left cheek, which swelled up and forced him to go to the hospital.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said it might’ve been due to a spider bite, but Maybin said he wasn’t sure how it happened.

But you can only hope, can’t you?

If a simple spider can give skinny Peter Parker the abililty to shoot webs, fly through tall buildings and beat up on superhuman bad guys, then why can’t it make the Marlins’ potential leadoff guy a better contact hitter? — Maybin has 61 more strikeouts than walks this season.

Just a thought.

– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Marlins farm report

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Here’s an update on what’s going on in Florida’s Minor League system:

Triple-A Albuquerque

Miller is the new addition

The Marlins outrighted right-handed reliever Justin Miller to the Isotopes this week, 10 days after they designated him for assignment to bring up catcher Paul Lo Duca. How Miller does in the few remaining games the Isotopes have left could determine whether they bring him back up with teh Marlins when rosters expand to up to 40 players after Sept. 1.

Bringing up Miller could be a big question for the Marlins, who would have to be added to the 40-man roster first.

Follow the leader

With just nine games to go in his regular season, standout third baseman Dallas McPherson continues to lead the Minor League world in home runs with 40, three ahead of Nelson Cruz.

McPherson is enjoying a stellar comeback year after missing all of 2007 with back surgery. The 28-year-old is hitting .278 with 91 RBIs in 121 games.

Double-A Carolina

Mudcats rolling

Despite currently being on a three-game losing streak, the Marlins’ Double-A club is still in first place in the Southern League at 37-24 (a .607 winning percentage). They’re 5 1/2 games up in the North division, and a half-game ahead of Mississippi for first overall.

Single-A Greensboro

Dominguez struggling

The Marlins’ first-round pick last year, Matt Dominguez, has been struggling as the season winds down for the Grasshoppers. Over his last 10 games, the 6-foot-2 right-handed hitting corner infielder is hitting just .220 (9-for-41). This season, the 18-year-old is batting .283 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 83 games.

Single-A Jupiter

Hammerheads holding on

With just nine games remaining in the regular season, the Marlins’ Single A club remains one game ahead of Daytona in the East division of the Florida State League for first place. Jupiter sits at 36-24, and both clubs have won three games in a row.

Injured Marlins: Left-hander Andrew Miller (right patella tendinitis), who threw 5 2/3 innings and 99 pitches in a rehab start on Thursday, will make another Double-A rehab start Wednesday and be on a pitch count of 100. … Righty reliever Doug Waechter (right shoulder inflammation) threw a pain-free inning of scoreless relief during a rehab assignment outing Thursday. Waechter is getting some work with the Gulf Coast League Marlins and is eligible to come off the disabled list.

– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com 

Likely candidates for 08 Marlins

MIAMI — With the end of August on the horizon, and the day Major League rosters can expand on Sept. 1 coming up, let’s take a look at how some of the players who could help the Marlins make a postseason run are faring in the Minor Leagues:

Triple-A Albuquerque

Robert AndinoMarlins manager Fredi Gonzalez always expresses wishing he would’ve had a chance to use Andino’s versatility more when he was with the club, but his bench was just too deep for the 24-year-old to get much playing time. In his limited time, this is what we know about Andino: He’s fast and a very smart baserunner, is a streaky hitter that can hit for power and a good defensive infielder — who played emergency outfield on occasion.

 

Q92r6IYa.jpgAndino was optioned to the Isotopes on July 31 to make room for veteran closer Arthur Rhodes. On Sunday, Andino hit a walk-off homer for Albuquerque. In his last 10 games, he is batting .391 (18-for-46) with three home runs and 12 RBIs.

Dallas McPherson – The power-hitting third baseman has turned a lot of heads this season, and a lot of people feel like he could be a starter with the Marlins right now. McPherson has a good chance to be with the team after Sept. 1, but one problem with him is he pretty much fits the bill in terms of the rest of the Marlins players — he strikes out a lot (150 times this season with just 70 walks) and hits a ton of home runs (a Pacific Coast League-leading 40).

On the year, he also sports a .279 batting average with 91 RBIs.

One more thing, he is not a prospect. McPherson is 28 years old and played three seasons with the Angles. Regardless, after missing all of 2007 because of back surgery, it’s been a great comeback for the 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter.

Taylor Tankersley – “The Tank,” as some of his teammates with the Marlins call him, can be a very useful tool out of the Marlins’ bullpen if called back up, especially with the way current lefty reliever Renyel Pinto has struggled — sporting a 27.21 ERA since July 29.

Tankersley started off the year on a bad note, but he said he became a “tougher” pitcher when sent down to Triple-A and has sported some good numbers in the Minor Leagues this year, going 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 29 games.

Paul Hoover – I can’t see the Marlins adding a fourth catcher this year, but Hoover has been up and down with the club all year, and Gonzalez has said he does a very good job handling the pitching staff. In his last 10 games with the Isotopes, Hoover is batting .294 with two home runs and three RBIs.

Rick VandenHurk – The righty starter struggled mightily at the beginning of the year with the Marlins, came back, had one very good start, then reverted back to his old ways before getting sent back down for Anibal Sanchez. Still, VandenHurk is a guy who can give the Marlins some spot starts if he’s back with the team.

He is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in his last four starts in Albuquerque.

Double-A Carolina

Cameron MaybinThe speedy centerfielder is very young, but also very promising, and the Marlins are likely to want to take a closer look at him in September. This year, Maybin has been up-and-down offensively and has struck out a ton — pretty much the M.O. on the Marlins.

 On the year, he’s hitting .276 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. Maybin suffered a shoulder injury earlier this month, but vice president of player development Rick Fleming said a few weeks back that he has recovered fully.

Gaby Sanchez – Not sure if Sanchez would get called up to the Marlins, but it sure would be tough to keep the corner infield from the big club. The former University of Miami star has been on a tear this year, batting .327 with 17 home runs and 84 RBIs. In July, he earned Topps Player of the Month.

And check this out: He’s walked three more times than he’s struck out (65-62).

Ryan Tucker – Tucker started off the season as a starter, but struggles there prompted him to the bullpen with the Marlins, and he has continued that in the Minor Leagues.

Lately, Tucker has been throwing just one inning of relief at a time and has been used as a middle reliever — most recently as the eighth-inning guy. In his last five games, all of them one-inning stint, the 6-foot-2 righty has thrown five shutout innings and has given up just one hit.

Injured Marlins

* Catcher Mike Rabelo (right wrist) is pretty much done for the season, and Gonzalez said he’d probably play Winter Ball.

* Andrew Miller (right patella tendinitis) threw six shutout innings on an 80- to 85-pitch limit for Class A Jupiter on Thursday and would be scheduled to make his next rehab start on Tuesday. Gonzalez said he could pitch for Double-A Carolina. “We just want him to feel comfortable,” the Marlins’ skipper said.

* Doug Waechter (right shoulder inflammation) has been throwing bullpen sessions with no strain on his injury and said he’d be in Jupiter, Fla., throwing some more while the Marlins are on the road. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday.

2008 Draft picks

The Draft signing deadline was midnight ET on Saturday, and the Marlins succesfully came to terms with their first nine picks. Here’s a look at how they’ve done in the rookie Gulf Coast League this summer:

1. Kyle Skipworth (C) – .187 batting average, four home runs, 17 RBIs in 37 games 

2. Brad Hand (LHP) – 1-0, 2.83 ERA in eight games (seven starts)

3. Edgar Olmos (LHP) – 0-0, 0.00 ERA in one start

4. Curtis Petersen (RHP) – 0-2, 9.64 ERA in five games (four starts)

5. Peter Andrelczyk (RHP) – NULL

6. Graham Johnson (RHP) – 0-0, 9.00 ERA in one game

7. Paul Gran (3B) – NULL

8. Isaac Galloway (RF) – .274, one home run, 22 RBIs in 42 games

9. Daniel Jennings (LHP) – NULL

– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com