The New Orleans Zephyrs have extended their player development contract with the Marlins to 2016. The Marlins have settled in here as they have had New Orleans as their AAA affiliate since 2009. There are now 13 PDCs expiring this year at the AAA level.
I was able to take in another Blue Rocks game and saw Sean Manaea pitch again. In this game, he went 5 innings giving up 1 earned run. The only problem is that he also gave up 5 unearned runs as the Blue Rocks lost to the Keys, 6-3.
This game had the Orioles #9 prospect SS Adrian Marin, who went 2-3 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. I also saw the Royals #7 prospect CF Bubba Starling, who didn’t play in the last game I saw. He went 1-4 with an RBI.
I was able to get an autograph from Frederick Manager Luis Pujols, who played for the Astros in the 80s. I also got another autograph from Blue Rocks Pitching Coach Steve Luebber. My rule on getting autographs from minor league coaches is that I’ll get one per season, rather than trying to bother the same guy every time I go to a game.
The Everett AquaSox have extended their player development contract with the Mariners to 2016. With that, it looks like 15 of the 22 Short-Season A teams have their PDCs expiring at the end of the year. I expect some other announcements at this level to be made soon as the season will be starting shortly.
Another piece of information that I missed a few months ago was that the White Sox purchased a majority stake in the Winston-Salem Dash, keeping that affiliation stable for a long time. The associated 25 year lease was approved by the city.
The Tennessee Smokies have extended their player development contract with the Cubs to 2018. It looks like there are 12 AA PDCs that are expiring this year. I’m sure most will be renewed but there are interesting options in new stadiums in Biloxi in 2015 (replacing Huntsville) and Hartford (as the Rock Cats are likely moving ten miles) in 2016. So two sites that wouldn’t get much attention before are being replaced with much more attractive facilities.
It was pointed out to me that I missed the announcement that the Akron RubberDucks have their player development signed until 2016. I don’t understand why the powers that be don’t make this information readily available, but I guess I can’t complain because it’s what has you reading this right now.
I saw the Wilmington Blue Rocks take on the Lynchburg Hillcats in what was a very close game. The Hillcats went up 4-0 after putting up runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings. The Blue Rocks came back with four of their own scoring in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings. This was capped off by a home run by DH Mike Antonio making his debut with the Blue Rocks. He was a 3rd round pick of the Royals in 2010, but this was his first game at the High A level.
I was able to see some pretty good prospects in the game as well. The pitching matchup was Braves #19 prospect RHP Wes Parsons and the Royals #4 prospect LHP Sean Manaea. Parsons looked good going 6 innings, striking out 9. Manaea didn’t make it out of the 4th, giving up 4 runs. The Hillcats lineup featured #4 prospect 2B Jose Peraza and #16 prospect CF Kyle Wren. The Royals lineup included #2 prospect SS Raul Mondesi Jr., #6 prospect 3B Hunter Dozier and #16 prospect C Zane Evans.
I was able to get an autograph from Hillcats Manager Luis Salazar who played 13 years in the majors, mainly with the Padres and Cubs. He was mainly a 3B, but played every position except for catcher over the course of his career (that’s right, 2 games in 1987 as a pitcher).
The Arkansas Travelers have extended their player development contract with the Angels to 2016. Looks like the Angels are going down their list since this was announced two days after Salt Lake was extended. I have to think that most West Coast teams would prefer the Texas League to the Southern or Eastern Leagues, so it had to be more important to the Angels to lock up one of the newer facilities in the league.
The Salt Lake Bees have extended their player development contract with the Angels to 2016. At the AAA level, most PDCs are pretty firm and will remain in place for a long time. This one doesn’t have the geographic connection that most do, but these two have been together since 2001.
One interesting story that came up this weekend is the possibility of the Giants moving their AAA affiliate to Sacramento. The Giants generally have a bigger following than the A’s, so I can see why it would be appealing to Sacramento. If this were to happen, I have to expect the A’s to end up in Fresno.