Results tagged ‘ Tim Morris ’

The Fourth from Peoria

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Amidst all the fireworks, grill outs, parades and parties, July 4 is just another day of baseball on the 140-game Midwest League schedule.  Your LumberKings will be spending the holiday at O’Brien Field in Peoria, hoping to liberate themselves from a two-game losing streak. 

Rather than writing an “On the Bright Side” posting, I’ll just say this…there were three great things to note in an otherwise dismal 13-3 loss in Cedar Rapids last night:

  1. Tim Morris extended his hitting streak to 12 games, going 1-for-4 with a single.  He’s hitting .409 during the streak.
  2. Mario Martinez went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.  Mario has a pair of three-hit games over his last three starts.
  3. Right-hander Brandon Josselyn tossed another scoreless inning (the only Clinton pitcher to do so), extending his streak to seven games, 9.0 innings.

All those notes and more in tonight’s very festive-looking edition of the LumberKings Game Notes:  7.4.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Taylor Stanton (6-4, 3.61) gets the game one start tonight against the Chiefs.  While you’re waiting for your fireworks display or your hot dogs to finish grilling, listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com starting at 5:45 PM.

-DL

Crossing Enemy Lines: John Rodgers

The LumberKings saw their three-game winning streak and their two-day run in first place come to an abrupt end as a result of five errors last night, losing 5-3 to the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  Luis Nunez (2-for-4, RBI) and Tim Morris (1-for-4) kept hitting streaks alive at nine games and 11 games, respectively.  Matt Cerione also lifted a solo home run (highlight: 
Cerione Solo HR 7.2.10.mp3) and is hitting .321 over his last eight games.

More useful factoids in tonight’s Game Notes: 
7.3.10 kingsnotes.pdf

On the interview, I’ve decided to point the mic at the legendary voice of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, John Rodgers.  He’s watched a club fronted by All-Star center-fielder Mike Trout capture the first half West Division title, the first by a Kernels’ club since 1992.

We’ll talk about Trout, one of several 2009 first-round picks of the Los Angeles Angels currently comprising the Cedar Rapids’ roster.  Mr. Rodgers also weighs in on the likes of Matt Long, Jean Segura and Casey Haerther of the offense, plus Fabio Martinez, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs of the pitching staff.  Get ready for a long one, the interview clocks in at just over nine minutes.

Listen Here:  John Rodgers CEL Interview 7.3.10.mp3

Tonight, it’s the Midwest League debut (sort of…ok, so he made four starts with Wisconsin in 2007) of right-hander Nolan Gallagher.  Seattle’s fourth-round pick out of Stanford in 2007 is back from Tommy John surgery and faces the Kernels tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:35 PM.  Listen to the game online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

No Interview, Plenty of Content

I’m airing part two of the Tony Blengino interview from yesterday on tonight’s pregame interview, so I will not be recording a new one tonight.  I do, however, have plenty to share with you.

First off, the LumberKings won the series with Kane County with a 4-2 victory in the finale last night.  Left-hander Jimmy Gillheeney looked as impressive as we’ve seen this season, limiting the Cougars to two runs (one earned) over 7.0 innings and fanning six.  The Kings came back from a 2-1 deficit thanks to a three-run sixth as Vinnie Catricala, Tim Morris, Brandon Bantz and James Jones singled in succession off right-hander Rob Gilliam.  Mario Martinez recorded the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Read more about last night’s game in the Game Notes: 
7.1.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Check out some highlights here:

carroll family living.jpgIn other news, the LumberKings were recently featured in the Iowa Farm Bureau’s “Family Living” Magazine.  Daniel Carroll gets some face time on the issue’s cover, and there’s photos of various LumberKings’ players, fans and staff (myself included) in the feature. 

This feature is reprinted with permission from Iowa Farm Bureau’s Family Living.

Check it out: 
Clinton LumberKings Family Living Article.pdf

 

  

Third off, a former LumberKing has been included in a Major League trade today.  The Texas Rangers shipped former Kings lefty Michael Main along with reliever Chris Ray to San Francisco, acquiring catcher Bengie Molina.

Main, one of two first-round picks by the Rangers in 2007, went 2-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 10 starts for the LumberKings in 2008.

Finally, the LumberKings open a six-game road trip tonight starting with a three-game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  Left-hander Nick Czyz (1-0, 0.68) will try and duplicate the success from his first start (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K vs. Beloit) tonight against the Kernels.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

The Sound of an Eight-Run Inning

In case you missed it, the LumberKings scored a season-best eight runs in the third inning last night en route to an 11-4 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps.  Tim Morris singled home Daniel Carroll from second to get it started, Kalian Sams added a three-run double and scored on a single by Henry Contreras, and Carroll in his second at-bat of the inning lifted a three-run homer to left-center.

Listen Here: 
Eight-Run Inning 6.11.10 vs. Fort Wayne.mp3

-DL

The Sound of Six Homers

In case you missed it, the LumberKings won for the first time ever in Bowling Green tonight thanks to a season-best six homer game. 

The blasts, in order:  Nick Franklin (leadoff to right-center), Mario Martinez (solo, opposite-field), Brandon Bantz (completely out of the park in right), Hawkins Gebbers (just over the wall in left, back-to-back with Bantz), James Jones (laser to right-center, off the scoreboard) and Franklin again (into the bullpen in right).  Tim Morris would have had #7 if his double off the wall had been a few feet to the right.

Enjoy a whole lot of “Start your Trot”: 
Six Homer Night in Bowling Green (6.2.10).mp3

-DL

Morris Joins Clinton as Raben Advances

Dennis Raben gets the call to High Desert, Tim Morris replaces him on 25-man roster

                                                         

Clinton, IA – The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have
announced three player moves affecting the 25-man roster.  First-baseman Dennis Raben has been called up to high-A High Desert.  Replacing him is first-baseman Tim Morris, joining the club from extended Spring Training.

 

Also announced today, right-hander Tyler Blandford has been reinstated from the disabled list in order to start game two of today’s doubleheader.  Right-hander Jorden Merry has been moved to the Pulaski roster to make room for Blandford.

 

Raben, 22, hit .221 with eight doubles, eight home runs and 23 RBI over 42 games with Clinton, his first professional action since 2008.  Seattle’s 2008 second-round pick out of the University of Miami had missed all of 2009 following knee surgery.

 

Morris, 22, was the 11th round selection by the Mariners last year out of St. John’s University.  In his first pro campaign at Pulaski, he hit .214 with four doubles, four home runs and 24 RBI in 50 games.

 

Blandford has been out of action since May 7.  He’s 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA over six starts so far this season, his first as a pro after being drafted in the fifth round out of Oklahoma State last year.

 

Merry pitched in one game for Clinton, yielding three runs over 1.0 inning and striking out one.

 

With the additions of Morris (no number yet chosen) and Blandford, the active Clinton roster stands at 25 players with none on the disabled list.

 

The LumberKings (24-20) take on the Burlington Bees (15-28) for doubleheader action at Alliant Energy Field tonight, first pitch of game one scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen to both games live on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or online at 1390kcln.com.

 

There’s no new interview this evening.  Yesterday’s unaired Daniel Carroll interview will be played for tonigh’ts pregame show.

 

Still, enjoy the Game Notes: 
5.26.10 kingsnotes.pdf

 

-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
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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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