Results tagged ‘ Brian Moran ’

AFL Update (10/10)

The Peoria Javelinas are off to a 1-4 start and in last place in the three-team AFL West division.  Shortstop Nick Franklin (’10) is off to an 0-for-8 start, but has walked an AFL-high four times in three games and has scored twice.  On the mound, right-hander Forrest Snow (’10-’11, pictured) is 1-0 with a scoreless 3.0 innings and three strikeouts.  Lefty Brian Moran (’09-’10) has an ERA of 9.00 with two runs over his first 2.0 relief innings.  Right-hander Steven Hensley (’09) has already served up a whopping five earned runs over two-thirds of an inning in his first outing for an ERA of 67.50.

Right-hander Evan Reed (’08) has thrown two scoreless outings for the Surprise Saguaros, each totaling one inning.  He’s walked one while fanning three in that span.

You can keep checking here for periodical AFL updates (please do, I need the traffic this time of year), but if you want up-to-date information, stats, stories, etc., go straight to the source.

-DL

Following Former Kings in the AFL

The 20th season of the Arizona Fall League formally kicks off today, and five former LumberKings are set to participate.  Pitchers Steven Hensley (’09), Brian Moran (’09-’10) and Forrest Snow (’10-’11), plus shortstop Nick Franklin (’10) are on the Mariners-affiliated Peoria Javelinas roster, while pitcher Evan Reed (’07-’08), now a Florida Marlins farmhand, will pitch for the Surprise Saguaros.

Peoria hosts Salt River at 12:35 PM Mountain Time (I believe that should be 11:35 AM here), while Surprise heads to Scottsdale for a 6:35 PM MT start (5:35 PM here).  I’ll be checking in periodically to see how they’re all doing.

Initially overlooked but not forgotten, former LumberKings’ outfielder Chad Tracy (’07) is part of the USA team participating in IBAF Baseball World Cup in Panama City, Panama.  The US squad has defeated Cuba for the gold medal in each of the last two World Cup finals.  The tournament started on October 2 and runs through the 15th.  Hopefully I’ll have something for you on Tracy in the near future as well.

-DL

All-Stars, Cleto and More

A few things of note regarding former and future LumberKings and this blog:

  • The Seattle Mariners’ Organizational All-Stars list came out last week, and it’s finally up on LumberKings.com.  Nick Franklin (’10) was a natural choice as the All-Star shortstop after hitting .281 with a Midwest League-best 23 homers last year.  Kyle Seager (’09) makes the list at second base, while left-handers Anthony Vasquez (’09-’10) and Brian Moran (’09-’10) also show up as the top left-handed starter and top reliever, respectively.  Potential future King Kevin Rivers is amongst the three outfielders after posting a .332 average in Everett last year.

 

 

  • Last Friday’s post on the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings was my 500th on The LumberBlog.  That’s a lot of posts.  It appears that you’re still reading, as I finished #41 out of the Top 50 ProBlogs in November.  Thank you again!

-DL

Odds and Ends from the All-Star Game

parkview entrance.jpgThe 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game took place at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night, and in case you missed it, the East continued its run of dominance with a 6-2 win over the West.  Great Lakes’ Jerry Sands – the league home run leader – belted a first-inning opposite-field shot that proved to be the difference, helping him earn the “Star of Stars” award.  You can read plenty more about the game and also check out the final box score here:  Sands Powers East to All-Star Win

I spent part of the game shooting video from Press Row in the luxury suites, part of it on the radio with Mike Maahs of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (I might have audio of my sixth inning play-by-play, including Nick Franklin’s infield single to post in the near future) and part of it down in the seats behind home plate.  I must say, the TinCaps put on an excellent show and impressed a lot of folks.

I captured some video on your Kings in action, but it’s going to take some time to edit before it’s ready.  In the meantime, enjoy some photos and a pre-All-Star interview with the derby rep himself, Nick Franklin.

Listen Here: 
Franklin ASG Interview 6.22.10.mp3

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Vinnie Catricala takes some cuts during the optional West Division batting practice.

franklin asg 1.jpg

Franklin gets in some BP as well.

Erasmo Ramirez, Brian Moran, Catricala and Franklin

asg anthem.jpg

More video (hopefully) to follow in the next few days.  Oh yeah, and the LumberKings start the second half on Friday.  No rest for the weary.

-DL

2010 Midwest League Home Run Derby

I had the fortune (and media credential) of enjoying last night’s Midwest League Home Run Derby from the West Division dugout at Parkview Field, and what a show it was.  Clinton’s own Nick Franklin hit a combined six home runs while lasting into the second round, but ultimately it was the smooth right-handed strokes of Wisconsin’s Khris Davis and Fort Wayne’s own Nate Freiman that produced the most clouts last night.

Davis ended up winning in a pretty impressive final round over Freiman.  Both launched several to deep left field that seemed to get completely over the back wall of the stadium.  I have video to prove it, which you will see within the next few days (or later today if I get the time to edit).

For now, here’s some pictures from last night:

ParkviewField ASG 1.jpg

Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

autograph line.jpg

Brian Moran (seated on the very end) of your LumberKings takes part in the pregame autograph session.

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Inside the West Division dugout during the Skills Contest.

franklin derby 1.jpgNick Franklin prepares for the Home Run Derby.

ramirez catricala moran.jpg

Erasmo Ramirez, Vinnie Catricala and Brian Moran of your LumberKings.


franklin derby 2.jpgMike Trout
, Franklin, Davis and Matt Adams represent the West.

Thumbnail image for franklin derby 3.jpgFranklin swings in the first round.  He had four blasts and moved on to the second round.

franklin derby 4.jpgFranklin watches the flight of one of his two second-round homers.


freiman derby.jpgNate Freiman
of the East puts on a display for his home fans.  While he didn’t win, his home runs easily traveled the furthest to left.

davis derby.jpg

Wisconsin’s Khris Davis talks to reporters following his derby victory.

 

 More to come after tonight!

-DL

2010 First-Half Finale

Happy Father’s Day from the LumberBlog!

Believe it or not, the first half comes to an end today for your Clinton LumberKings.  There’s no playoff spot on the line, only a shot at sole posession of third place and some momentum going into the second half.  If the Kings beat Beloit and Peoria loses to Quad Cities, Clinton’s 38-31 record would put them alone in third.  That’s what we play for this afternoon.

A tradition continues today as we reflect on the year so far with the 2010 First-Half Highlight Reel.  From Kalian Sams’ dramatic home runs to Nick Franklin’s amazing first full season to unbelievable plays in right field by James Jones to the strikeout artistry of Jon Hesketh and more, hear it all (and then some).

Listen Here: 
2010 First Half Highlight Reel.mp3

Today’s Game Notes: 
6.20.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The half ends with right-hander Taylor Stanton (6-3, 3.51) on the mound for his 11th start.  First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM, listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com.

After today, check back the next two days for coverage of the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I’ll be there alongside Franklin, Vinnie Catricala, Brian Moran and Erasmo Ramirez.  It should be a great time.

-DL

Four LumberKings Headed to All-Star Game

Vinnie Catricala, Nick Franklin, Brian Moran and Erasmo Ramirez all headed to Fort Wayne on June 22

                                                         

Clinton, IA – Four members of the Clinton LumberKings will suit up for the West Division All-
Midwest League All Star Game copy.jpgStars on Tuesday, June 22 at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, IN.  Vinnie Catricala (starting designated hitter), Nick Franklin (reserve shortstop), Brian Moran (left-handed pitcher) and Erasmo Ramirez (right-handed pitcher) have all been included on the West roster, released by the Midwest League today.

 

Catricala , 21, will be Clinton’s only starter in the game.  Seattle’s 10th round pick out of the University of Hawaii and the Offensive MVP of short-season Pulaski a year ago, Catricala is hitting .286 with 17 doubles, four home runs, 34 runs scored and 28 RBI over 56 games this season.  The Sacramento, CA native is currently tied for third in the league in doubles.

 

Franklin has been named a reserve, edged out for the starting shortstop spot by Peoria’s Hak-Ju Lee.  Seattle’s first-round pick (27th overall) in 2009, Franklin is amidst league leaders in total bases (2nd with 128), extra-base hits (2nd with 28), home runs (T-2nd with 12), slugging percentage (3rd at .577), total hits (4th with 70), OPS (5th at .936) and batting average (9th at .315).  The 19-year-old leads the LumberKings with 20 multi-hit games, including six three-hit games this season.

 

Moran, 21, is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA over 16 relief appearances this season and has converted on two of three save chances.  Seattle’s seventh-round pick in 2009 out of the University of North Carolina, Moran has walked just three batters while striking out 36 over 29.0 innings and leads all Midwest League relievers in lowest walks per nine innings (0.93).

 

Ramirez, 20, is 4-2 with a 2.19 ERA over 10 appearances, seven starts in his first season in the United States.  Seattle’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 while with Aguirre of the Venezuelan Summer League, Ramirez currently ranks eighth in the league in ERA.  He’s also walked just three batters while striking out 36 over 53.1 innings.

 

This year marks the fourth-straight season in which the LumberKings have sent four-or-more players to the All-Star Game.  The 2007 club sent eight players, while the 2008 and 2008 teams were represented by nine All-Stars each.  Clinton’s last player to win the “Star of Stars” award was outfielder Tim Smith, who helped the West to a 5-4 win in 10 innings with a solo home run on June 17, 2008 at Dow Diamond in Midland, MI.

 

For more information on the Clinton LumberKings, call 563-242-0727 or visit www.lumberkings.com.  For more information on the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game and festivities, visit www.midwestleague.com or www.tincaps.com.

 

-DL

Predicting the 2010 Roster (Part 2)

The second and final installment of my look at the potential 2010 roster finally makes its way to the LumberBlog today.  I had originally planned on getting it out before the Hot Stove, but last week was a busy one.

In a way, it’s nice to save this second part till now.  I had the opportunity to talk with manager John Tamargo about the team during our car trips to and from the Quad City Airport in Moline, IL.  It was good to pick his brain on some of the talent he had in Everett last year.

With that being said, I want to preface my following predictions.  At this time, we do not know the 25-man LumberKings’ roster for next year.  The Seattle Mariners will not finalize that until camp breaks in early April, and at that time we will know for sure.  It is common for changes to be made even after that point.  Many people didn’t know that Scott Savastano, the man who turned into the offensive MVP of the team last year, was a last-second add to the roster.  Two years ago, Mitch Moreland was scratched from our Opening Day roster because of a minor injury.  You just never know until the bus shows up.

A First-Rounder Not Named Ackley

In my post last week regarding the Top 10 Seattle Prospects as selected by Baseball
franklin.JPG
America,
I mentioned a young man by the name of Nick Franklin (pictured right).  While Dustin Ackley has attracted most of the spotlight, Franklin is also a rising star.  The 18-year-old shortstop was Jack Zduriencik’s second first-round pick (taken 27th overall) out of Lake Brantley (FL) High and had a nice showing in six games with Tamargo’s AquaSox (.400, 3 XBH, 2 RBI in 20 at-bats).  Seattle scouting director Tom McNamara liked his confidence and fielding ability in a brief workout with the big-league club last August.  I don’t think you’ll see Ackley in Clinton next year, but Franklin could very well add some first-round flavor to the roster.

Franklin might not be the only talented shortstop to head here.  South African-born Anthony
Phillips
made 67 starts at short for Everett last season and put up some respectable power numbers at the plate.  The 19-year-old hit .247 with 8 doubles, 7 HR and 28 RBI over 68 games in the Northwest League last season.  Venezuelan shortstop Gabriel Noriega could also make the club, following an impressive second season at Pulaski.  Noriega hit .311 with 14 doubles, 4 HR and 26 RBI in 61 games last year. 

Avila Following the Gac Path?

Thumbnail image for avila.JPGStaying on the Everett infield, a lot of folks have asked me if Gerardo Avila (pictured left) might head to Clinton.  As Midwest League diehards already know, Avila is a three-season veteran with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (’06-’08), but never hit above .260 and had just one career homer in the league in 63 games.  Then, following the Ian Gac pattern, Avila went to High Desert in 2008 and found his way back to the Northwest League in 2009.  There, he finally went off for a league-high 13 HR while also finishing first in slugging (.582), second in RBI (54) and third in hitting overall (.333).  As Gac-like as this story is going, he could very well be in Clinton.  However, he could also go back to the Cal League, where he hit .303 in nine games two seasons ago as a Maverick.

If Avila heads back to High Desert, Jharmidy DeJesus could be the man to fill first base.  DeJesus was amongst my predictions for last year’s club and was the #8 prospect in the Mariners’ system prior to last year.  Hailing from Jose Vallejo’s hometown of Bani, Dominican Republic, DeJesus hit .249 with 7 doubles, 4 HR and 24 RBI in 48 games with Pulaski last year.  He made 30 starts at first base in a platoon situation with 11th round pick Tim Morris (.214, 4 HR, 24 RBI in 50 games).   

Rounding Out the Infield

Second-baseman Hawkins Gebbers, Seattle’s 33rd round selection hit .301 with 13 doubles, 2 HR and 21 RBI in 54 games with Everett last year.  Cesar Fuentes (.261, 4 HR, 20 RBI) and Fred Bello (.250, 5 triples, 2 HR, 12 RBI) each split time at second base in Pulaski.  Third-baseman and 10th-round pick Vincent Catricala led Pulaski with 40 RBI, hitting .301 with 14 doubles and 8 HR in 59 games.  Blake Trinkler played the utility role for Everett, hitting .229 with 18 RBI in 41 games.

The Backstops 

Headlining the group of potential Clinton catchers is certainly Steven Baron, Seattle’s supplemental first-round pick (#33 overall) out of Ferguson (FL) High School.  Baron struggled in his first pro assignment with Pulaski, hitting .179 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in 30 games.  However, his numbers slightly improved towards the end of the season.  Baron raised his average 39 points over his final seven games.  Taking into consideration that ’09 LumberKing Nate Tenbrink hit just .198 with Everett in 2008 prior to batting .282 with 10 HR and 59 RBI last year, it’s possible that Baron comes to Clinton and improves at the plate.  However, Tenbrink was older and more experienced than Baron will be heading into 2010.  Tenbrink also didn’t have the added responsibilities of working with a pitching staff like Baron has.

If no Baron, 2009 draft picks Trevor Coleman (9th round) and Brandon Bantz (30th round) could catch for the Kings.  Coleman struggled, hitting .184 in 32 games with Everett, while Bantz produced a solid .290, 3 HR, 15 RBI stint with the AquaSox.  Given the fact that Juan Fuentes, Tommy Johnson and Henry Contreras all saw limited time behind the plate in Clinton last year and could be back, it’s quite possible that none of these three arrive in ’10.

A Wealth of Potential in the Outfield

When looking at the outfield of both Pulaski and Everett, it’s hard not to get excited about the
Rivero.jpggroup that could be coming in.  The AquaSox had both James Jones (4th round) and Matt Cerione (13th round) in their outfield last year, in addition to Jose Rivero (pictured right).  Jones hit .311 over 45 games, mashing 3 HR and 24 RBI in that span.  Cerione flashed a little more power with 7 HR, hitting .266 with 14 RBI over 43 games.  Rivero finished third on the club in RBI behind Avila and Mario Martinez with 32, going along with his .251 average and 4 HR.

Brandon Haveman (29th round) was Pulaski’s standout outfielder thanks to a .339, 5 HR, 18 RBI campaign.  Jarrett Burgess (.187, 5 HR, 22 RBI), Mark McGonigle (.283, 2 HR, 14 RBI) and Greg Waddell (.195, 2 HR, 6 RBI) all saw time in the Mariners’ outfield as well.  Burgess is still trying to find his way after a 6th round selection in the 2008 June draft.

Much like the catching corps, it’s tough to say which of these players will be LumberKings this year.  It’s more likely that we see the return of Ryan Royster, Welington Dotel, Dwight Britton and others at least at the beginning of the season.

The Rotation:  A Tough Act to Follow

It’s no question that pitching was the key to success for the LumberKings last year, specifically starting pitching.  At times last year, at least three Kings’ hurlers ranked amongst the league’s Top 10 in ERA.  Kenn Kasparek finished the season as the ERA leader, Clinton’s first since Salomon Torres in 1991.  Quite simply, it’s going to be hard to top last year.

Stanton.JPGHere’s some of the new names that might try.  Right-hander Taylor Stanton (pictured left), Seattle’s 26th round pick in 2008, had a breakout year of sorts with Everett.  In 15 starts, he went 5-3 with a 3.50 ERA.  Most notably, he led the rotation in innings (87.1), WHIP (1.23) and wins (5).  Outside of Stanton, only two other pitchers made at least 14 starts for the AquaSox…Chris Kirkland (a LumberKing briefly last year) and right-hander Luke Burnett.  Like Stanton, Burnett was an ’08 draft pick (14th round) that finally saw action last year.  He went 2-4, 4.66 in 14 starts.

Righty Taylor Lewis (3-1, 7.82 in 5 starts) and left-hander Nick Czyz (2-2, 3.34 in 5 starts) were also brief members of the Everett rotation.  Lewis also logged one start for Pulaski.

Transitioning back to the Appalachian League, the Pulaski club featured four pitchers with eight-or-more starts.  Thirty-sixth round right-hander John Housey (3-2, 2.62) was the most successful of that bunch, posting a 1.10 WHIP and a .194 opponent batting average.  Righty Brandon Maurer (3-4, 3.61 in 12 starts, 1 CG) and Jean Tome (3-4, 5.18 in 10 starts) put up very similar numbers. Eighth-round lefty James Gillheeney is the top draft pick of the group (8th round), but he went 0-3, 4.84 over six games, four starts.

This is a resounding theme, but with Kirkland, Anthony Vasquez, Maikel Cleto, Andres Esquibel and Jon Hesketh all possible returnees, its not for certain who might join the rotation this year.  One thing is for sure, they have their work cut out for them to match last year’s league-leading 3.35 team ERA.

Can the Pen Get Any Mightier? 

Much like the conversation on the starting rotation, it’s fairly clear that next year’s bullpen will have big shoes to fill.  Last year’s staff featured All-Stars Ruben Flores and Cheyne Hann,staehely.JPG plus solid set-up in guys like Brandon JosselynJose Jimenez, Brian Moran and Matt Renfree.

Next year’s pen might very well consist of some of the pitchers mentioned in the above section, but here’s a few more to consider.  Right-hander Christian Staehely (pictured right) went 4-2 with a pen-best 3.16 ERA in Everett, striking out 40 while walking only nine over 31.1 innings.  Pulaski right-handers Jorden Merry (40th round in ’09) and Chris Sorce (26th round in ’09) were the most serviceable relievers in an otherwise lackluster pen.  Merry led the club in saves, converting 5-of-6 in addition to his 2-1, 3.06 statline.  Sorce was 2-1, 3.45 with a save in two chances over seven outings.

Some AZL Standouts

At about this point, I’m sure you’re thinking “what about the guys in Peoria?”.  Well, many of the players listed above (Franklin, Rivero, Housey, etc.) did spend some time in the Arizona League last year.  I’ll list a few more below who could see Clinton this year.

First-baseman Rich Poythress, last year’s second-round pick and a Golden Spikes finalist while at Georgia made his pro debut in AZ and hit .300 with a HR and 6 RBI over six games.  It’s very possible Poythress’s college experience (.376, 25 HR, 86 RBI as a junior) will help him move directly to High Desert like fellow second-rounder Dennis Raben did a year ago. First-baseman Evan Sharpley, Seattle’s final draft choice in 2009 (50th round) had a nice showing over 37 games, hitting .333 with 12 doubles, 7 HR and 29 RBI.  Second-baseman Kevin Mailloux (45th round) hit .311 with 14 doubles, 5 HR and 37 RBI before a brief call-up to Everett.

On the mound, Peoria’s most impressive man was their closer.  Right-hander Jeff Breedlove went 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA and converted 10-of-12 saves.  Opponents hit just .205 against him over his 20 appearances.  In the rotation, Miguel Celestino (5-3, 4.73) and Chris Kessinger (5-3, 2.45) were the only pitchers with at least seven starts.  Kessinger was a 37th-rounder last season.       

And there you have it, my preview is complete.  Again, this is all speculation and we won’t know until early April who has actually made the 25-man roster.  Once that announcement is out, you’ll see it here and on LumberKings.com before anywhere else.  Finally, as I said at the finale of Part One, if there’s anyone I’ve overlooked, any mistakes you’ve caught or any differing opinions you might have, feel free to add your thoughts/comments.

-DL

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