Results tagged ‘ Tim Smith ’

Kings in Spring (March 14)

This may be old news to some, but I was back home in Milwaukee and unable to post it until now.  Right-hander Blake Beavan (’08) made his first Spring start as a Mariner on Saturday against Oakland and earned the win, limiting the Athletics to a run on three hits over 3.0 innings.  Shortly thereafter, Beavan was re-assigned to Minor League camp.  Right-hander Yoervis Medina (’10) also saw his time in big-league camp end as he was optioned to the High Desert spring roster.

In that Beavan start, a 10-2 win over the A’s, first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08) finally woke up his bat with a 2-for-2 game including a two-out two-run single in the fourth inning and a two-run homer to left-center in the sixth.  The blast was Smoak’s first in Cactus League action.

The Mariners’ roster still includes Smoak, right-handers Josh Lueke (’07-’08) and Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) and catcher Steven Baron (’10) at this time.  I have to say, I’m still surprised Baron is there.

Over in Surprise, the Texas Rangers sent outfielder Engel Beltre (’08), right-hander Fabio Castillo (’08) and left-hander Zach Phillips (’06-’07) back to Minor League camp on Saturday.

Continuing with Rangers camp, Ian Kinsler (’04) is hitting a healthy .367 with a .933 slugging percentage…the former Clinton infielder has a team-high five homers and nine RBI in 11 games.  While Chris Davis continues to assert his value to the team as a corner infielder, Mitch Moreland (’08) keeps fighting to hold onto the first-base spot…he’s hitting .375 with a .719 slugging percentage, five doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 12 games.  Aside from catcher Jose Felix (’08), who is 5-for-5 with a double in big-league action, the group of former Kings that includes Chad Tracy (’07), Craig Gentry (’07), Marcus Lemon (’07) and others has been largely quiet offensively.

Left-hander Derek Holland (’08) is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA, no walks and six strikeouts in his two starts, totaling 5.0 innings.  Right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08) has pitched just twice in camp, including one start…the flamethrower has not allowed an earned run over 5.0 innings, but has walked three and has hit a batter in that span.  Lefty Michael Kirkman is carrying a 3.00 ERA in three outings and has struck out eight over 9.0 innings.

Scanning other camps, outfielder John Mayberry Jr. (’06) continues to look impressive in a bid for a roster spot with the Philadelphia Phillies…he’s hitting .324 with three doubles, four homers and nine RBI in 14 games.  Right-hander Maikel Cleto (’09) has had two outings with the St. Louis Cardinals and is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA, one save, four walks, three strikeouts and a home run allowed over 4.0 innings.  Right-hander Thomas Diamond (’04) is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA over four relief outings as he attemps to make the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day roster.  Catcher Manny Pina (’07) and outfielder Tim Smith (’08) have both seen minor action in Kansas City Royals’ camp…Pina is 4-for-16 (.250) with a home run and three RBI in 10 games, while Smith is hitless in two at-bats. 

There’s plenty more players to track, but I’ll leave it at that for now.


The Interview Vault: Tim Smith

tim smith interview vault.jpgMy six-month journey through all of my old interview tapes culminates today in the final edition of The Interview Vault, at least for this offseason.

Most seasons in the Midwest League, a player who hits .300, belts 25 doubles and 13 home runs and drives in 70 runs would be one of the centerpieces of a lineup.  Those numbers would have led all of those offensive categories for the 2009 LumberKings.  However, the year prior in which they occured, they were largely overshadowed by the seasons of Ian Gac, Mitch Moreland and Jonathan Greene.

That statline belonged to LumberKings’ outfielder Tim Smith, the biggest overlooked piece to the offensive puzzle during the ’08 season.  He was tasked with moving over Engel Beltre and Renny Osuna while batting in the three spot early on in the season, setting the table for Gac.  After Gac’s promotion, he was asked to protect Moreland in the five spot and handled himself there as well.  Smith hit above .276 in every situational category, including .352 when leading off an inning and .311 with runners on base.  He committed just two errors in 81 games in the outfield, yet also took to the DH role, hitting .335 with five homers and 30 RBI when he didn’t have to play defense.  Simply put, Smith did everything manager Mike Micucci could ask for and more without much accolades.

The lack of a spotlight was probably nothing new to Smith, who after winning the High School Player of the Year award in his native Toronto in 2004 and setting numerous school records in two seasons at Midland Junior College (Midland, TX) had been just another solid player at Arizona State.  His .333 average and .446 slugging percentage would be overshadowed during that 2007 season by the likes of current Houston Astro Brett Wallace (.404, 16 HR, 78 RBI, Pac 10 Player of the Year), current Oakland Athletic Eric Sogard (.400, 11 HR, 62 RBI), Colorado Rockies prospect Kiel Roling (.356, 15 HR, 63 RBI), current New York Met Ike Davis (.349, 8 HR, 61 RBI) and current LA Angel Andrew Romine (.300, 41 RBI).

While he wasn’t a first-round selection like Wallace and Davis, Smith found his way to the Texas Rangers as a seventh-round pick in the 2007 draft.  He went on to Spokane that season and didn’t make a huge splash, hitting .284 with a home run and nine RBI in 23 games.

His start with Clinton was steady but unremarkable.  He hit .293 with 39 RBI in the first half, yet had slugged only two home runs.  Still, he was one of the franchise record nine LumberKings named to the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game, joining Gac, Greene, Moreland, Osuna, Jose Felix, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Kennil Gomez.  By the end of the two-day event, Smith would finally emerge from that group of budding stars to get his share of the attention.

The All-Star Game stood deadlocked at 4-4 from the fifth inning on and looked bound for the first tie since the North and South battled to a 6-6 draw in 1991.  Smith, the only non-starter amongst six Kings’ position players on the West roster, stepped to the plate to lead off the top of the 10th against a hometown pitcher in Great Lakes’ right-hander Miguel Ramirez.  Upon the 1-2 delivery, Smith lifted a towering drive down the right-field line that wrapped around the foul pole, giving the West a 5-4 advantage.  That lead would stand as the West snapped a three-game All-Star losing streak.  For his efforts, Smith was awarded the “Star of Stars” award for the game, becoming the first Clinton player to win it since Roger Miller in 1990.

Today’s feature interview is all about that magical June evening.  Smith weighed in on the home run, the “Star of Stars” selection and more on his All-Star experience. 

Tim Smith (2008 ASG Star of Stars).mp3

So what’s happened to Smith since then?  Plenty.  He finished the ’08 season even better than his All-Star-worthy start, hitting .307 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI in the second half.  His ’09 season was split between high-A Bakersfield and double-A Frisco, and he combined to hit .320 with seven blasts and 51 RBI in those two stops. 

At the end of that year, the prospect-heavy Rangers decided to move Smith to another team building through the draft and Minor League acquisition.  He and catcher Manny Pina joined the Kansas City Royals in exchange for the talented yet troubled right-hander Danny Gutierrez.

Now in a Royals’ system that Baseball America considers the best in all of baseball, Smith is again putting up great numbers while standing in the shadow of bigger-name prospects like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.  In 95 games with the double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals last season, Smith hit .306 with 18 doubles, nine home runs and 50 RBI.  Assuming he stays healthy and has a solid spring, 2011 should be his first shot at triple-A Omaha.

He may never be the biggest name in baseball, but Smith has shown that he has the ability to hit consistently and could soon make his mark with the rest of the young Royals crop.  Until that time, he’ll continue to be remembered around here as Clinton’s last “Star of Stars.” 


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  For more information on the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game and festivities, visit or



Canada Day

It’s a 12:05 PM start today at Time Warner Cable Field in Appleton, Wisconsin.  With no batting practice for the LumberKings, there will be no pregame interview today.  You can still read all about last night’s 4-2 win in today’s notes:  appleton weather 7.1.09.jpg
7.1.09 kingsnotes.pdf

With no interview, today is a chance to highlight a fun road promotion being put on by the Timber Rattlers.  With the likes of Brett Lawrie, Brock Kjeldgaard and Chris Dennis all hailing from Canada, the Rattlers are putting on their very first “Canada Day”.  The weather conditions are fitting for the promotion…temperatures in the low-60’s and overcast grey skies.  Weather better suited for Saskatoon in the summer.  Canada-themed features at the ballpark today include the playing of “Oh, Canada” prior to the game and each and every Timber Rattler dressed in Canadian mounty gear on the scoreboard.

For the record, the LumberKings have no Canadians on their current roster.  The most recent was outfielder Tim Smith of last year’s club.  The Toronto-raised Smith was a star at Arizona State before being selected by the Texas Rangers in the seventh round in 2007.  Smith hit .300 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs and 70 RBI in 121 games with the Kings last season.  After hitting .333 with four homers and 19 RBI in 35 games with high-A Bakersfield this season, Smith has already rejoined manager Mike Micucci (’07-08) at double-A Frisco.  With the Rough Riders, he’s certainly holding his own.  A .376 average with seven doubles, a home run and 23 RBI through his first 24 games in the Texas League.  A September call-up?  Possibly.


Tim Smith gets interviewed after winning the “Star of Stars” award at the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game in Midland, Michigan.