Results tagged ‘ Nick Franklin ’

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

Kings in Spring (March 28)

Well, as you can see, The LumberBlog looks slightly different with the recent conversion of all the Pro Blogs to WordPress.  I’m still getting used to the features, but it looks like there’s a lot more flexibility here.  Moving on to more important things.

Seattle Mariners’ camp is winding down out in Peoria, but there’s been a lot of noise made lately by former LumberKings.  On Sunday, it was Kyle Seager (not identified as Mario Martinez this time) making the most of a call-up to the Major League game as he launched a  solo home run in the eighth inning off Texas Rangers’ hopeful Dave Bush.  Ultimately, the Mariners still fell, 5-4.

Today, it’s Steven Baron (’10) re-appearing in the box score.  Recently sent back to Minor League camp, the Mariners brought him back up today to play against the Colorado Rockies in Seattle’s last home Cactus League game.  After a Justin Smoak single (’08) and RBI knock by Michael Saunders, Baron calmly stepped up and delivered a walk-off single to right.  Final score, Mariners 7, Rockies 6.  Baron, by the way, is now 7-for-13 (.538) with three RBI in big-league camp.

The Mariners selected the contracts of right-handers Jamey Wright and Chris Ray today, releasing infielder Josh Wilson to clear space.  What does that mean for right-handers Josh Lueke (’07-’08) and Tom Wilhelmsen (’10)?  We might know that soon, but both remain on the Spring Training roster with only a few days left.  One of those two — if not both — will be Mariners sooner than later.

The 2011 LumberKings Gameday Program is nearing completion and will feature some of the 75th anniverary content you’ve already been seeing on LumberKings.com.  Also, just completed today, a brief essay I did about Nick Franklin’s chase to break Dick Kenworthy’s franchise home run record last year.  I’m pretty proud of it.  I may post it here once the program is finished.

Less than 10 days remain until the opener against Burlington.

-DL

Predicting the 2011 Roster (Part 2)

Thumbnail image for 2011previewpart2.jpg

Left-handers Anthony Fernandez (left) and Edlando Seco (right) finished 2-3 in the Northwest League in ERA last season.

Part two of my third-annual educated guess at the upcoming LumberKings’ roster is today, with a look at players who I think will make their Clinton debuts at some point in 2011.  Again, my disclaimer…I have no advanced knowledge of the roster via the Seattle Mariners at this point in the year, thus this is just my opinion.  If anyone I’ve mentioned is no longer with the Mariners’ organization (trade, release, retirement, etc.), please feel free to update me in the “comments” section below.

It’s easy to get excited about the crop of talent coming up, given that four of the five teams below low-A advanced to the playoffs last year.  Everett, the team we’re likely to see the most players from, won the Northwest League title last season under the guidance of Jose Moreno and newly-named LumberKings’ pitching coach Rich Dorman.  Pulaski, the other top feeder team, advanced to the postseason under current manager Eddie Menchaca.  The players coming up from those two squads will already be well versed in what it takes to win, and they’ll be working with a staff that is more than familiar with their skillset.  That should be a solid recipe for success here in Clinton.  Now, let’s take a position-by-position look at some of the players who could be wearing black and green in 2011.

Catcher

As I said in part one of the preview, 2009 supplemental first-rounder Steven Baron, who split his first pro season between Clinton and Everett, should be the everyday catcher here.  He started 50 of the AquaSox’ 76 games behind the plate and was named the NWL’s top catcher. Cal State Fullerton product Billy Marcoe (.153, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .383 OPS) appeared in 11 games for Everett as Baron’s backup last year.  He could be filling that role again.  Pulaski’s catching corps included Venezuela native Larry Gonzalez (.267, 1 HR, 17 RBI, .700 OPS), Dominican native Hassiel Jimenez (.229, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .541 OPS) and Seattle’s 32nd round pick out of Vanderbilt, Andrew Giobbi (.291, 2 HR, 12 RBI, .764 OPS).  Seattle’s highest-drafted catcher in 2010 was sixth-round pick Christian Carmichael, who needs a season at short-A before he’s ready for the Midwest League.  Carmichael, drafted out of Mililani High School in Hawaii, hit .100 in just 11 games in the AZL.  It’s anyone’s guess at this point who the other catcher (or second and third catchers) will be, but I’d put my money on Gonzalez or Giobbi and bank on Carmichael in 2012.

First Base   

Evan Sharpley, the Mariners’ 50th-round and final selection of the 2009 June draft, was better known as the backup quarterback to Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame when Seattle selected him.  After solid efforts in the AZL in ’09 (.333, 7 HR, 29 RBI) and Everett in ’10 (.231, 6 HR, 42 RBI, .706 OPS), Sharpley has proven he belongs in pro baseball.  Granted, .231 with a .318 OBP isn’t lighting up the Northwest League, but he still started 64 of Everett’s 76 games last year and can provide power from the left side of the plate.  Pulaski had a first-base platoon situation with Hofstra product and 35th round pick Ethan Paquette (.236, 3 HR, 19 RBI, .643 OPS) splitting time with Matt Browning (.330, 4 HR, 24 RBI, .947 OPS), the 43rd round pick out of James Madison.  Paquette is the only natural first-baseman of the group with Sharpley and Browning both moving over from third base, but I think this spot ultimately goes to Sharpley.  I projected in my previous post that Tim Morris should return, but we’ll see who emerges this Spring.

Second Base

LumberKings’ alums Hawkins Gebbers and Terry Serrano handled most of the second-base duties for Everett last year, and either one could be back on the Clinton infield.  Since this post is about new faces, I’ll focus elsewhere.  Menchaca’s Pulaski team featured an intriguing second-baseman named Jorge Agudelo, who ripped 16 doubles and legged out seven triples in just 59 games while hitting .287.  The Caracas, VZ native also exhibited a knack for baserunning, stealing an Appy League-high 24 bases in 31 attempts.  The Kings haven’t had a true speedster at the top of the lineup since Engel Beltre in ’08, so it’d be great to see Agudelo flying around the bases.  Unless Gabriel Noriega repeats the league and isn’t the starting shortstop (more on that later), I think Agudelo has the inside track on the second base spot.  Gebbers, Serrano and Carlos Ramirez are all solid utility choices, while 30th-round pick Derek Poppert (.242, 8 doubles, HR, 11 RBI) could be in the mix also.    

Third Base

When Menchaca was in for the Hot Stove Banquet in January, he raved about third-baseman Ramon Morla whenever he was asked about his players from Pulaski.  The 21-year-old San Pedro de Macoris product was a near Triple Crown winner in the Appy League, blasting a league-best 17 homers in 62 games while hitting .323 (2nd) and driving in 49 runs (2nd).  Only Elizabethton’s Oswaldo Arcia (who figures to be big in Beloit this year) led more offensive categories than Morla.  He won’t be Mario Martinez on defense, given that he committed a team-high 21 errors at the hot corner last year, but his offensive numbers are exciting enough to forgive that fact.  The Mariners’ used their 12th-round pick on Oregon State third-baseman Stefen Romero, but he was unable to play last season after fracturing his arm in late May.  Romero was hitting .326 with 13 homers and 41 RBI with the Beavers prior to the injury.  Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara is high on Romero, but you can’t argue against Morla’s MVP-like season.  I say, let’s see them both.  Someone’s got to DH.

Shortstop 

No question, the shortstop position will be the biggest shoes to fill in the eyes of most LumberKings’ fans.  Nick Franklin enjoyed one of the best offensive seasons in club history last year and emerged as the #3 prospect in the entire Seattle system.  With respects to Pulaski’s Jake Schlander (the 31st-round pick out of Stanford, hit .259, one HR, 25 RBI, .671 OPS) and Everett’s Anthony Phillips (.204, 2 HR, 12 RBI, .627), 2010 second-round pick Marcus Littlewood should be a more-than-capable replacement to Franklin.  The 19-year-old Littlewood was drafted out of St. George High School in Utah and didn’t play for an affiliate last year, yet was ranked the #8 prospect in the system by Baseball America.  Like Franklin, Littlewood has Team USA experience, suiting up with the 16-and-under National Team at the 2008 Pan Am Youth Games (they won gold) and the 18-and-under squad last year.  BA projects him to hit for average and put up 10-15 home runs as Clinton’s everyday shortstop in 2011.  How can I disagree?

Outfield

Two of Everett’s top four hitters resided in the outfield, with left-handed hitting right-fielder Kevin Rivers leading the way.  Rivers, signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2009 out of the same school that produced Scott Savastano (Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire), shook off pedestrian numbers in the AZL and hit a team-best .332 (3rd in the NWL) with 11 blasts, 48 RBI, a league-best .466 on-base percentage and a 1.022 OPS for the AquaSox.  Centerfielder Robbie Anston also had a productive year for the AquaSox after a 26th-round selection out of Boston College, hitting .292 with 13 doubles, two homers, 24 RBI and 15 steals in 23 attempts.  Anston was one of Everett’s top playoff hitters, batting .333 with three doubles.

Menchaca’s Pulaski team was also anchored by powerful outfielders, most notably Venezuelans Jose Rivero (.295, 7 HR, 35 RBI, .817 OPS) and switch-hitting Mario Yepez (.231, 12 doubles, 6 HR, 27 RBI, .652 OPS).  Left-handed hitting James Wood, the 47th-round pick, hit .291 and had a .794 OPS in 28 games.  The one I’ve heard most about, however, is the eighth-round pick out of Miami Dade Community College, Jabari Blash.  Originally from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Blash looks like the heir apparent to James Jones in right field.  The 6’4″ Blash is just about the same size as JJ, plus he hit at a similar clip (.266, 5 HR, 20 RBI, .839 OPS) over his 32 games in the Appy League.  BA rated Blash the fastest player of the Mariners’ 2010 draft class, and we’ll see if he can cover JJ-like ground when he patrols right-field.  I expect him to be joined by Rivers in left and Anston in center, with Rivero, Yepez, Kalian Sams and Ryan Royster fighting for the fourth spot or stepping in to the DH role.  In regards to Menchaca’s lineup, I’d like to see Anston and Rivers in the 2-3 spots with Blash protecting Morla around the five spot. 

Starting Rotation 

One thing the Mariners have always supplied the LumberKings since the affiliation began in 2009 is brilliant starting pitching.  The 2009 club led the Midwest League in ERA at 3.35 and featured league ERA champion Kenn Kasparek, while the 2010 team ranked second in ERA at 3.66 and sported the league’s top right-hander (Erasmo Ramirez) and second-best left-hander (Jimmy Gillheeney).  Will the rotation live up to the standards of the last two years?

Looking just at the top three starters in Dorman’s Everett rotation, it looks like the 2011 starters should be outstanding.  The AquaSox posted a Northwest League-best 3.22 ERA thanks largely to a pair of southpaws, Edlando Seco and Anthony Fernandez.  The duo finished 2-3 in the league in ERA, with the Calabozo, VZ native Seco going 3-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 14 starts while Fernandez, from Santiago, DR went 8-3 with a 2.59 ERA over 15 starts.  Fernandez finished atop the league in fewest baserunners per 9.0 IP (10.26), tied for first in wins (8), second in WHIP (1.12) and third in fewest walks per 9.0 IP (1.94) while Seco held opponents to a league-low .169 average, finished third in WHIP (1.20) and third as well in strikeouts per 9.0 IP (9.52).  Simply put, the lefties put on a show for the eventual champs.

Yet, they weren’t the only stellar starters for Everett.  Right-hander Chris Sorce, Seattle’s 26th-round pick out of Troy in 2009, made the move from the bullpen to the rotation this season and was fantastic in 15 starts, going 8-2 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.  I had him projected to be in Clinton’s pen last year, but there’s no doubt in my mind he should be in the Kings’ rotation this season.

Pulaski has an ace of their own to offer up.  Right-hander Tim Boyce, the 44th-round pick out of the University of Rhode Island, won an Appalachian League-best nine games (9-3) and had the league’s 10th-best ERA of 2.98 over 13 games, eight starts.  In the mold of Ramirez, Boyce is a control artist — he walked seven while striking out 42 over 47.1 innings as a starter and had a paltry 1.03 WHIP, fourth-best in the Appy League.

Continuing with Pulaski…right-hander Jessie Nava (4-3, 4.36 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) was a reliable starter aside from his propensity to give up home runs (a league-high 8 in 13 starts).  Righty George Mieses went 4-4 with a 3.45 ERA and the league’s third-lowest walks per 9.0 IP average (1.19) over his 13 starts.  Right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen went 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in seven games, five starts after his 45th-round selection.

All of those pitchers could quickly be overshadowed if Seattle’s supplemental first-round pick, 18-year-old right-hander Taijuan Walker, comes to town.  Walker was the 43rd player drafted last year despite having more experience as a high school basketball player than as a pitcher.  That’s because of a large frame (he’s 6’4″ according to most reports) and a live arm (his fastball has touched 95 mph, and he backs it up with a decent slider and change).  Walker went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and a stingy .087 opponent average over his four appearances in the AZL last year, a very encouraging start to a career that might take a few seasons to develop.  The Mariners are in no need to rush Walker here to Clinton, but I think he’ll factor into the rotation once the weather gets warmer (much like Kasey Kiker and Blake Beavan did in ’07 and ’08).

Even if Walker doesn’t arrive this year, the Kings could be in for some other surprises from the Dominican Summer League and the Venezuela Summer League much like Ramirez was in 2010.  Left-hander Henry Perez went 7-1 with a 0.86 ERA in 11 starts in the DSL, striking out 76 while walking only 10 (can someone say Erasmo-like?) and limiting opponents to a .187 average over 73.0 innings.  He’s not particularly young (he’ll turn 22 after the season), meaning he likely can handle the jump to the United States.  Left-hander Brandol Perez might be more likely to stay in the DSL despite going 7-0 with a 0.19 ERA (yes, you read that right) over 11 games, six starts last year…he’ll be 18 in August.  Right-hander Vicente Campos was the DSL Mariners’ top starter, going 8-2 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and .231 opponent average in 12 starts.  Campos will turn 19 in July, leading me to believe we’ll probably see him in 2012.

If the Clinton rotation features any combination of Walker, Seco, Fernandez, Boyce, Sorce and Perez this year, we could witness the most dominant LumberKings’ staff in recent history.  Given all that we’ve seen as a Seattle affiliate, that’s saying a lot.

Bullpen

Things certainly look promising for the first six-to-seven innings, but will the Kings’ bullpen be able to finish things off?  A lot of Everett’s bullpen made their way to Clinton and were sent back down, but there’s a few arms out there we haven’t seen.  Right-hander Willy Kesler, the 18th-round pick out of the University of New Mexico, went 3-2 with a 1.47 ERA in 19 relief outings and held NWL opponents to a .213 average.  Kesler led the team in holds (5) and was tied with Jason Markovitz and Stephen Pryor for the saves lead (4-for-4).  Right-hander Austin Hudson, the 27th-round pick in ’09, went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA over 20 games (including seven starts) but was just 3-for-6 in save attempts.  New York, NY native Eric Valdez was also impressive in seven relief outings for the AquaSox, going 0-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a .192 opponent average.  Right-hander Tyler Burgoon, the 10th-round pick out of Michigan, had decent numbers outside of a 4.40 ERA…his 0.98 WHIP ranked third on the team amongst pitchers with eight-plus outings.

Back over to Pulaski, right-hander Bryan Leigh (2-0, 1.71 ERA, 3-of-3 in saves, 1.05 WHIP, .203 opponent average) was their most reliable reliever.  Right-handers Lance Abbott (0-0, 2.25 ERA) and Preston Vancil (2-1, 2.84 ERA) also checked in under the 3.00 ERA mark, although they had just one hold and one save combined.  I’m pulling for right-hander Ben Versnik, the 38th-round pick out of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, to make the roster.  Versnik, born in West Allis, Wisconsin (my birthplace as well) went 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six outings. 

The AZL offers up a few names as well, including left-handers Kody Kurowski (1-3, 4.30, 5-for-7 in saves) and Scott Ronnenbergh (0-1, 2.13, 1-for-1 in saves) and right-handers Danny Cruz-Ayala (1-0, 4.05, 3-for-4 in saves) and Jandy Sena (4-2, 4.01, 1-for-2 in saves).

As you can see, there’s no clear-cut closer amongst the players I’ve named, but we might not know who fits into that role until well into the season.  It will be fun to see how it all pieces together, especially with a lot of returnees to the pen from last year’s playoff club.

Whew, that was a long one.  If you’re still reading by this point, congrats…you’ve stuck with me until the end of this preview and you’re truly a diehard LumberKings’ fan.  Feel free to share your own thoughts in the “comments” section below, I’d be interested in hearing what others think.  Of course, we won’t know for sure until just prior to April 7 when the team arrives from Peoria, AZ.  Check out this blog and LumberKings.com around that time to find out the official word on the Opening Night roster.

-DL

Franklin at FanFest, Leyland Feature

A couple odds and ends for you on the second birthday of The LumberBlog

Nick Franklin participated in Seattle Mariners’ Fan Fest last weekend, and video of Franklin’s Q&A session along with fellow first-rounder Dustin Ackley is now online.  Check it out at Mariners.com.



Part five of “The History File” is up at LumberKings.com.  This week’s recovered article is from 1991 and features legendary manager Jim Leyland.  His path to the Majors and the 1997 World Series began here in Clinton, when at just 27 years of age he helmed the 1972 Clinton Pilots.  Leyland went 189-189 in three seasons as the Pilots’ skipper.

Oh yeah, and Green Bay 27, Pittsburgh 14.

-DL

The Interview Vault: Justin Smoak

smoak interview vault.jpg

While everyone around baseball watches shockingly as Cliff Lee dons a Philadelphia Phillies uniform at a press conference sometime in the next few days, I’m focusing in on the centerpiece of the deal that sent the left-hander to the Texas Rangers last July 9.  He just happens to be a former LumberKing and is the feature of this week’s edition of “The Interview Vault”.

Switch-hitting first-baseman Justin Smoak was one of the four former Clinton players dealt by the Rangers in exchange for Lee and Mark Lowe prior to last year’s trade deadline.  Once the undoubted future of the middle of the Texas lineup, Smoak was deemed expendable to help the Rangers turn the corner in the immediate.  Now, the 2008 first-round pick (11th overall) finds himself as the cornerstone of Jack Zduriencik’s rebuilding project in Seattle.

Smoak was fresh off the fishing boat when he arrived in Clinton in August of 2008, rested from a drawn-out signing process that wouldn’t end until 15 minutes before the MLB deadline.  Anxious to play baseball again for the first time since he left the University of South Carolina, he’d still have to wait a day before making his professional debut in Peoria on August 18.

The featured interview today took place between myself and Smoak prior to that first action and was his first minor league interview.  We talk about his hectic first 48 hours, fitting in with the likes of fellow first-baseman Mitch Moreland (who hit a pair of home runs in the previous game vs. the Chiefs), getting ready to hit in the 5-spot in manager Mike Micucci’s order, his thoughts on the first round selection by the Rangers and more. 

Listen:   Justin Smoak, Prior to ’08 Pro Debut.mp3

Not long after the interview, Smoak would take the diamond for the first time as a pro, going 1-for-3 with a double off the right-center wall for his first pro hit.  He’d go on to register at least one hit in 13 of his 14 games as a LumberKing, hitting .304 with three doubles, three home runs and six RBI.

Since ’08, he’s accomplished a lot quickly.  Smoak ascended to the Major Leagues in just his second full season in 2010, making his big-league debut for the Rangers on April 23 vs. Detroit.  He’d hit .209 with eight homers and 34 RBI for Texas before being packaged for Lee, and would finish out the year bouncing between Seattle (.239, 5 HR, 14 RBI) and triple-A Tacoma (.271, 7 HR, 25 RBI).  Smoak teamed up with the red-hot Dustin Ackley to bring a PCL championship home to the Rainiers, winning the PCL’s Offensive Player of the Postseason award (.423, HR, 6 RBI) in the process.

With the likes of Ackley, Rich Poythress and Nick Franklin coming up alongside him, the future for Smoak should be very bright in the middle of the Mariners’ order.    

-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

More Pub for Franklin

A new article is out on Mariners.com highlighting the first season of LumberKings’ shortstop  Nick Franklin.  The article, written by MLB.com’s Doug Miller has a ton of quotes from the Clinton home run king about his uncanny ability to hit the longball despite his small frame, his improvements on defense and his confidence.

Field coordinator Andy Stankiewicz also adds his observations.

Check it out:  http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101104&content_id=15992492&vkey=news_sea&c_id=sea

-DL

18-Inning Classic up for a MiLBY

Martinez Game of the Year.jpgThe MiLBY yearly awards are still going on over at MiLB.com, and they’ve moved on to the two final categories: “Best Game” and “Best Team”.

I’m happy to announce that Clinton’s 18-inning walk-off win in Game 2 of the Midwest League Championship Series is one of the six games up for fan vote in the Low A classification.  For those of you who missed it back on September 16 (many saw the beginning, far fewer saw th end), the LumberKings won a war of attrition over the Lake County Captains in the longest Championship Series game in league history when Mario Martinez (pictured) sent a hot shot through the legs of third-baseman Adam Abraham, scoring Blake Ochoa.

Listen to Ochoa’s game-winning run: 
Abraham’s Error Scores Ochoa in 18th 9.16.10.mp3

Abraham’s glove would end up on the roof of the clubhouse, but the Captains would go on to take the series in the decisive Game 5.  It’s the longest game I’ve ever broadcasted as far as innings are concerned, and it’s one the folks who stuck around won’t soon forget. 

Whether you were there or not, help us out by voting at this link:  http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/awards/y2010/game.jsp

In other MiLBY news, Nick Franklin finished second in “Best Hitter” voting for class A, trailing only Lexington’s J.D. Martinez.  Martinez received 29% of the vote, while Franklin earned 22%.

For some reason, the five-team field for “Best Team” did not include your West Division Champion LumberKings.  Instead, Lake County, Great Lakes and Quad Cities are the entrants from the Midwest League.  Augusta and Lakewood of the South Atlantic League round out the selections.

I’ll give you Lake County based on their Midwest League championship and Great Lakes based on their fantastic 90-win regular season, but I struggle with Quad Cities.  A first-half Wild Card entrant into the playoffs, the Bandits did go on to finish one game better than Cedar Rapids for overall record in the West Division.  However, they bowed out in the first round to Kane County.

Meanwhile, a Clinton club that went 5-1 in playoff elimination games, slugged a league-high 134 home runs and featured the league’s second-best pitching staff gets no love.

I’d tell you to cast anti-votes, but that’s not possible and it’s not very nice either.  Instead, vote for Lake County in this category…they deserve it:  http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/awards/y2010/team.jsp

A new edition of “The Interview Vault” is coming tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

-DL

Franklin Up for a MiLBY

A week after Clinton right-hander Erasmo Ramirez was nominated for a MiLBY for top Class A pitcher, LumberKings’ shortstop Nick Franklin now finds himself nominated for the Top Hitter award for all of Class A.

Franklin is up against fellow Midwest League post-season All-Star Mike Trout of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Trout’s Kernel teammate Jean Segura, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers slugger Khris Davis and both Jared Clark (Asheville) and J.D. Martinez (Lexington) of the South Atlantic League.

Nick is leading the early vote at 52%.  Vote early and often for Franklin at this link: http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/awards/y2010/hitter.jsp

While you’re checking off Franklin, make sure to show some love for fellow Mariners’ prospects Kevin Rivers (Everett) in the short-season vote and pick either Johermyn Chavez or Rich Poythress (both from High Desert) in the high-A vote.

For the record, Ramirez finished fourth amongst the six nominees for top pitcher with 10% of the vote.  Matt Magill of the Great Lakes Loons won with 57% of the vote despite going just 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA.  I guess the 135 strikeouts was a bigger deal than Ramirez’s 10-4 record and 2.97 ERA.  I disagree.

Following the MLB Division Series, I’ll do an update on former LumberKings in the playoffs.  Turns out I missed one.  Stay tuned for that posting later this week.

-DL

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