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  1. #196
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    Bowling Green (A) to Midwest League in 2010
    It's official. Bowling Green will join Lake County (Indians) and move from the South Atlantic League to the Midwest League in 2010.

    "The two Class A circuits, along with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, announced on Tuesday that the South Atlantic League is going to transfer two of its franchises -- Bowling Green and Lake County -- to the Midwest League prior to the 2010 season. The Bowling Green club, formerly known as the Columbus Catfish, will be moving from Georgia to Kentucky and will play its final SAL season there in 2009."

  2. #197
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    Affilliate Attendance
    Team Level Avg. Attendance
    Durham AAA 6,994
    Montgomery AA 4,495
    Vero Beach A+ 761
    Columbus A 1,021
    Hudson Valley A- 4,181
    Princeton R 932

    If you knew nothing about the Rays organization, could you pick the two teams they are moving next year? Note: Princeton basically shares it's small market with the Bluefield Orioles.
    Posted by Doug A. Milhoan at 5:50 PM 0 comments
    A look at Glenn Gibson
    Hudson Valley's LHRP Glenn Gibson was ineffective again last night in relief of Diego Echeverria:
    Code:
    Pitcher	IP	H	ER	HR	BB	SO
    Gibson	2.1	8	4	0	1	5
    The 6'4" lefty was originally drafted by Washington in the 4th round of the 2006 draft. He had been rated the #2 amateur prospect in the state of New York by BA in 2006. He turned down a baseball scholarship at University of Central Florida to sign with the Nationals.

    After signing he pitched for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Penn League (A-):
    Code:
    Pitcher	Age	G	GS	IP	ERA	FIP	DIPS	SO/9	BB/9	H/9	HR/9
    Gibson	18	3	3	6.0	0.00	0.87	0.91	10.5	0.0	3.0	0.0

    After the '06 season he was named Washington's 7th best prospect and the best curveball in their system according to BA.

    In 2007 he was again assigned to Vermont:
    Code:
    Pitcher	Age	G	GS	IP	ERA	FIP	DIPS	SO/9	BB/9	H/9	HR/9
    Gibson	19	12	12	58.0	3.10	2.75	2.80	9.0	2.3	7.3	0.5

    Solid season for a 19 year old starter in short season A ball. He was a midseason All-Star and after the season was named Washington's 8th best prospect and the 9th best rospect in the NYP by BA. BA also said he had the best changeup and best control in their system.

    On December 10, 2007, he was traded to the Rays for OF Elijah Dukes. At the time, many Rays fans would have traded Dukes for a bucket of balls and his value was at it's lowest, so this looked like quite an acquisition by the organization.

    In 2008 Gibson was assigned to Columbus (A) where he began as a starter but was moved to the pen after several bad outings:
    Code:
    Pitcher	Age	G	GS	IP	ERA	FIP	DIPS	SO/9	BB/9	H/9	HR/9
    Gibson	20	22	12	78.2	7.44	5.58	5.36	5.6	4.7	11.9	1.4

    Everything looks bad, not one thing to point to as the cause. He wasn't sat down so there is no indication of injury. After the NYP started he was demoted to Hudson Valley where he has continued to struggle:
    Code:
    Pitcher	Age	G	GS	IP	ERA	FIP	DIPS	SO/9	BB/9	H/9	HR/9
    Gibson	20	10	0	21.2	6.65	4.77	4.16	9.6	5.8	12.9	0.8

    The strikeout rate is back up but the walk and hit rates are still way too high. Remember, this is his third trip through the NYP, even though he is just 20. Even if we ignore the Columbus numbers, this year he has gone from an effective starter in the NYP to an ineffective reliever.

    Going into next year I think we need to forget 2008 happened. Maybe the trade, the new organization, and the promotion to full-season A ball all were too much for him at once. Maybe the organization just was mistaken about his readiness for Columbus. Start him in Columbus and remember how young he is and all those accolades from 2006 and 2007.

  3. #198
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    Bowling Green (A) to Midwest League in 2010
    It's official. Bowling Green will join Lake County (Indians) and move from the South Atlantic League to the Midwest League in 2010.

    "The two Class A circuits, along with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, announced on Tuesday that the South Atlantic League is going to transfer two of its franchises -- Bowling Green and Lake County -- to the Midwest League prior to the 2010 season. The Bowling Green club, formerly known as the Columbus Catfish, will be moving from Georgia to Kentucky and will play its final SAL season there in 2009."

    UPDATE: Bowling Green has hired Greg Coleman as Assistant GM.

    "Coleman spent the past three seasons as the Assistant General Manager of the Double-A Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League. He reunites with Brad Taylor, the Bowling Green General Manager/CEO, who served as the Thunder's General Manager/COO for the past three seasons."

    "Coleman, 34, has been in professional baseball for 11 years. Prior to joining Trenton, he spent two years (2004-05) as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of the start-up Golden Baseball League in California.

    Previously, Greg worked for five seasons with the Advanced A Modesto A's of the California League, where he served as Assistant General Manager, General Manager and Vice President. Under his leadership in 2003, Modesto captured the Bob Freitas Award, which is given annually by Baseball America to recognize franchise excellence in Minor League Baseball."

    ANOTHER UPDATE: And yet another good article on the 2010 move. Interesting note: the average distance from opponents in 2009 is 485 miles, and after the move to the Midwest the average in 2010 is 474 miles. I get the feeling this was more for Lake County's benefit than Bowling Green's.

  4. #199
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    Quick Affiliate Overview
    Code:
    Final 2008 stats:
    Team         	Level	Tm ERA	Tm OPS	Age P	Age B
    Durham      	AAA	4.25	.761	26.4	27.4
    Montgomery	AA	4.29	.746	25.1	25.3
    Vero Beach	A+	3.76	.651	24.3	23.3
    Columbus	A	4.53	.706	22.5	22.3
    Hudson Valley	A-	3.97	.696	20.8	20.9
    Princeton	R	4.42	.665	19.5	19.6
    DSL Rays	R	4.03	.674	18.8	19.1
    VSL Rays	R	4.35	.677	18.9	18.4
    Not meant to be an indepth look, just a glance at the organization. A few outliers mess up team averages, but I thought it was worth seeing. Age P is the average age of pitchers on the team and Age B is the average age of batters.

  5. #200
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    Durham advances to IL championship
    The Bulls defeated Louisville 9-1 to win the best-of-5 series three games to one. Wade Davis labored through the first two innings, allowing a run and throwing 60 pitches, but settled down and went 6 strong: 4 hits, just the 1 run, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts. As usual, the walks are higher than you'd like, but it's tough to complain. Dale Thayer pitched two scoreless innings before Heath Phillips closed it out.

    Jon Weber went 4-5 at the dish while catcher Matt Spring went 3-4 including a home run and 6 RBIs. Jonny Gomes also homered.

    The Bulls will face the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, who won their series over the Pawtucket Red Sox.

  6. #201
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    Hudson Valley wins award
    This will probably be our last Hudson Valley post for a while, but congratulations:

    "Every season hundreds of minor league ball clubs attempt to come up with the wackiest, craziest and most bizarre promotion they can think of in hopes of leaving a lasting impression on their fans. This year the Renegades did just that with "Born in the USA" night. "Born in the USA" night received the 2008 Veeckies Award as the top promotion in Minor League Baseball, courtesy of ESPN the Magazine.

    On July 1st Pedro Risso, a native of Portugal, competed against three American citizens for the chance to have the Renegades fund the cost of his naturalization.

    Risso competed in five on field games; an apple pie eating contest, the Boston-three party (a tribute to the Boston Tea Party), the British are coming (a twist on Paul Revere's ride), a corn chucking contest and a quiz with questions from the U.S. citizenship test.

    Risso needed to score 13 total points throughout the contests, earning three points for a first-place finish and two points for a second-place finish. He competed against three American citizens and despite his unbelievable effort came up three points short.
    ...
    "This is truly an honor to receive the 2008 Veeckies top award as best promotion of the year," said General Manager Eben Yager. "Being recognized on a national level raises the bar for next season, so make sure to check us out in 2009. I'm feeling a repeat."

    About the Veeckies:
    The Veeckies are named after late promotions-genius Bill Veeck. Veeck was known for many promotional innovations including sending the 3'7" Eddie Gaedel to the plate with the St. Louis Browns, orchestrating "Grandstand Day" where fans decided the managerial decisions and installing the first ever exploding scoreboard."

  7. #202
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    Rays recalled RHP Mitch Talbot from Triple-A Durham.
    Talbot spent a day in the majors back in July but didn't get into a game. He was 13-9 with a 3.86 ERA in 28 starts for Durham this season and should work sparingly in long relief.
    Rotoworld.com

  8. #203
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    Rays recalled RHP Jeff Niemann from Triple-A Durham.
    Niemann was 9-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 24 starts at Triple-A this year. He had a nice major league debut back in April, but lost his rotation spot once Matt Garza became healthy. He'll work out of the rotation initially.
    Rotoworld.com

  9. #204
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    Princeton Prospects - BA Appy Top 20
    Three Princeton (R) players were named to BA's Appalachian League Top 20 Prospects.

    The number one overall pick in June's draft, SS Tim Beckham was named the Appy's #1 prospect:

    "An outstanding athlete, Beckham has plus hitter's hands, solid pitch recognition and the bat speed to turn around quality fastballs. As he matures, he also should add average power, though he's already solidly built and doesn't project to be much more than an average runner. Beckham is an above-average defender with major league actions at short. His arm is above-average and he gets rid of the ball quickly. As the season wore on, he improved in getting his feet behind him on throws to first base."


    Our 8th round pick in the 2007 draft, LHSP Matt Moore was the #3 prospect:

    "With easy 92-94 mph velocity (and the ability to touch 95) from the left side and a tight, late-breaking curveball, Moore offers true top-of-the-rotation potential. He also fine-tuned his changeup, which runs away from righthanders. Add in plus makeup and competitiveness, and Moore has established himself as one of Tampa Bay's brighter pitching prospects."


    And the #9 prospect is RHSP Albert Suarez, who signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2006, out of Venezuela:

    "With a projectable 6-foot-2, 186-pound frame and a clean arm stroke, Suarez has drawn comparisons to countryman Freddy Garcia. His repeatable delivery features terrific downhill plane, and he walked just seven batters in 11 appearances. His curveball has above-average potential but is inconsistent. He also showed aptitude for a changeup that he began throwing in extended spring training, but it also needs refinement."


    Noteable omission: RHSP Joseph Cruz

    No time to do an indepth review, but I think it's a fair list. Suarez and Cruz are the only surprises. We'll be rolling out our own Top 20-something lists for pitchers and position players in the coming weeks. To see stats on all of Princeton's pitchers see our Princeton season in review: Pitching.

    [EDIT 1:45 by Kevin]: Just chiming in with my quick thoughts here: Obviously we know what Tim Beckham brings to the table. I could not be more excited about Matt Moore right now after reading that report. 93 from the left side with a decent breaking ball and change? Sign me up. Suarez sounds like someone to keep an eye on, particularly with that control that's rare for guys his age.

    My early guess is that Beckham and Moore begin 2009 with our low-A affiliate, Bowling Green, while Suarez heads to Hudson Valley. Moore was held back in Princeton already, so if we play it slow with him and send him to HV, I'll be disappointed.

    [EDIT 2:30 by Doug]: From the chat about this list:

    "Q: Ben from Leland Grove asks: With Beckham on the way up, should Brignac be nervous in the coming years, or do you see him as potential trade bait?

    A: Matt Eddy: Interesting question, but thankfully for the Rays, it's one they won't have to address for two and a half or three years, when Beckham's minor league apprenticeship ends. By that time, the organization will have a better handle on Brignac's major league potential. More on Brignac when we get to the International League . . .

    Matt Eddy: If both Beckham and Brignac develop as expected with the bat, then one of them could shift to another infield position. But that's the beauty of up-the-middle players -- often they can slide down the defensive spectrum to less demanding positions."


    "Q: Swig from Boise, ID asks: How good can Matt Moore be? I've heard Scott Kazmir comparisons. Is that type of a ceiling possible for this kid?

    A: Matt Eddy: Moore's pitching style compares favorably with Kazmir's, in that both lefties feature power fastballs and hard breaking balls. Moore is more physical, at 6-2, 205, but each of Kazmir's pitches is at least a grade higher.

    Matt Eddy: With his mid-90s heat and hard breaker, Moore has top-of-the-rotation potential, but he's so far away that you may want to hold off on the Kazmir comps for now. Remember, Kazmir carved up the New York-Penn League in his debut; he didn't need to repeat the Appy League, as Moore did."


    "Q: Doug A. Milhoan from North Canton, OH asks: I was surprised you chose Albert Suarez over his Princeton teammate Joseph Cruz. Thoughts on Cruz?

    A: Matt Eddy: That's a fair question. It's easier to dream on Suarez because he's young, projectable and already shows advanced command. For his part, Cruz gets real good extension on his pitches, as he has long arms, and he throws his fastball up to 94 mph. He's a plus competitor who has a strong feel for his changeup, but his breaking ball needs refinement."

    [EDIT 5:40 by Doug]: Well, I'm a fair guy. Ages: Suarez 18.9, Cruz 20.1. Cruz was drafted in the 30th round of the 2007 draft out of East Los Angeles Junior College and is repeating the Appy this year (only 9 IP in 2007). One more:

    "Q: Steve from Orlando asks: Does Matt Moore compare to Jake McGee at the same age?

    A: Matt Eddy: Moore already has "more" advanced feel for his secondary stuff, particularly his breaking ball, than McGee did. McGee's fastball is a tick better, however."

  10. #205
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    Durham Prospects - BA International League Top 20
    Three Rays check in:

    Wade Davis at #3:

    Davis works quickly, and his power curveball is his out pitch, topping out in the low 80s and featuring true 12-to-6 break. He dominated righthanders in Triple-A, but lefties fared better as Davis worked to improve the consistency of his changeup and cutter. Both have the potential to be average pitches.

    Reid Brignac at #4:

    Once regarded as an offensive-minded infielder, Brignac was a unanimous pick by the managers as the IL's top defensive shortstop. He has plus range, hands and arm strength, and he committed just 12 errors in 92 games. He still can hit, too, allowing him to profile as a quality starter on a contending ballclub.

    Brignac shows solid plate coverage and a willingness to go with the pitch, though he's susceptible to hard stuff up and in because he has a little lift to his swing. His strike-zone discipline regressed this year and he was inconsistent, but he still projects as a .280 hitter with average power. He has good athleticism and average speed.

    And Jeff Niemann at #16:

    Because he's a deliberate worker who can't warm up quickly, and because he does not control the running game—just two of 33 basestealers (6 percent) were caught on his watch—Niemann's future is as a starter and not as a reliever. He projects as a No. 3 to 5 starter, and it remains to be seen whether he'll get that chance with Tampa Bay.

    I'm surprised that people are still as high as they are on Brignac, considering he hasn't hit all that well since his 2006 season. The reports on his defense are definitely promising, and I wouldn't be shocked to see him as a part-time starter at SS for the Rays when next year starts.

  11. #206
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    Rays International Signings
    During the summer international signing period, the Rays gave four players bonuses in excess of $100,000 according to BA:

    SS Julian Morillo, Dominican Republic, age 16, $210,000. "At around 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Morillo is a good defensive shortstop with good hands, good first-step quickness and a good arm."

    SS Hector Guevara, Venezuela, 16. "Guevara improved his stock leading up to July 2, improving his speed from 7.25 seconds in the 60-yard dash to 6.9 upon signing."

    C Omar Narvaez, Venezuela, 16. "Narvaez, a switch-hitting catcher, is around 5-foot-11, 170 pounds and projects to hit for some power. He has good hands and agility behind the plate."

    RHP Wilmer Sabala, Venezuela, 16. "Sabala is a 6-foot-2 righthander who could gain another inch or two. Some scouts saw him working at 85-86 mph, but his fastball has been up to 88-89 mph at his best with some movement."

  12. #207
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    Top of the Food Chain, NJ, Wha wha wha!
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    Mad props to the Rays, I hope they win it all...

  13. #208
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    System News

    System News
    Charlotte County
    Ripken Baseball plans to officially announce the team name and colors for the Rays’ new A+ affiliate in Port Charlotte on Tuesday, October 21st. The team says it took careful consideration in choosing a name that reflected both the local community of Charlotte County and the fun and entertaining aspects of minor league baseball. Day-to-day operations of the team began immediately after the announcement by Ripken Baseball and the Rays that the team was moving to Port Charlotte on August 25th, but the team has operated since then without an official team name or color scheme. The Charlotte County team is the third team owned by Ripken Baseball, along with the Aberdeen Ironbirds and the Augusta Greenjackets. The Ironbirds have soldout every home game since their inception seven years ago, and the Greenjackets have seen attendance go up more than 40% in the three years since it became a Ripken franchise.

    Dominican Winter League
    Outfielder Maiko Loyola has begun playing for the Estrellas de Oriente in the DWL. Through two games he's gone 0-2 with a strikeout. Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Pirates on May 23, 2002, Loyola was acquired by the Rays via the Rule V draft (AAA phase) from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Venezuelan Winter League
    Infielder Cesar Suarez is playing for the Tiburones de La Guaira in the VWL. Through two games he's 2-6 with an RBI and a strikeout. Suarez was signed by the Rays as a Minor League free agent on June 3, 2005.

    Arizona Fall League
    Catcher Matt Spring checks in from the AFL with a blog post:

    To be honest with you i may be enjoying my time here too much. That being because it is home for me. I grew up in Peoria, and have been watching the AFL since I was a little kid. It has been really nice for my family to be able to come and watch all of my games. A nice change from the season mainly because all of our affiliates are east of the Mississippi. I am sure that the ticket office looks at the pass list everyday and is amazed at all the tickets I am leaving for friends and family. They have been great about it too, they haven't said anything to me yet!

    It has been a whirlwind last couple of months for me in my career. It started when my manager called me into his office to inform me that I would be representing the Rays in the AFL, which was a huge honor. Then my teammates and I in Montgomery Alabama (the Biscuits) were in a playoff race for all of August until being nudged out at the end by the Braves affiliate in Mississippi. Right before the last game of the season my manager (Billy Gardner) called me into his office one more time. This time to tell me that I would be joining the Durham Bulls in the International League Playoffs. The whole experience would have been great had I just sat on the bench, but I got an opportunity to play and helped contribute in both the first and championship rounds of the playoffs. We lost to some of my Fall League teammates who played for the Scranton Wilkes Barre Yankees in four games but it was a lot of fun. And yes they remind me often! But I would have done the same thing to them.

  14. #209
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    Question on Status

    Hey guys, I haven't kept up with Wade Davis and Jake McGee much this year. I believe Davis missed most of the season due to injury. As of now, what are their status for the Rays' future? Davis still a starter and McGee still relieving???


    Thanks,
    Go Rays

  15. #210
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    Danny Wild, of MLB.com, reports Tampa Bay Rays OF Desmond Jennings went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run in the Arizona Fall League Wednesday, Oct. 22.
    Danny Wild, of MLB.com, reports Tampa Bay Rays 1B Rhyne Hughes went 3-for-6 with two RBIs in the Arizona Fall League Wednesday, Oct. 22, to raise his average to .415.
    Looks like some prospects are doing well.

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