Tag Archive | "Minor League Pitchers"

Jake Westbrook’s return should end rapid changes to St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff

The St. Louis Cardinals have established the best record in Major League Baseball through nearly one-third of the regular season and have thrived despite a series of injury obstacles that forced the team to mix and match its pitching staff together.

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But the steady stream of players headed back and forth to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds should soon subside when right-handed starter Jake Westbrook makes his return to the team Friday against the Miami Marlins.

Westbrook was one of the players who helped start a wild month of roster movement when he went on the disabled list May 12 with right elbow inflammation. He was 2-1 with a 1.62 earned-run average at the time and part of the best starting rotation in the game.

His injury created an opening for rookie left-handed pitcher John Gast to make his big-league debut, and the left-handed starter Jaime Garcia suffered a shoulder injury later that week, which created a spot for another left-handed rookie, Tyler Lyons.

Gast and Lyons were part of a large group of minor-league pitchers the Cardinals called up in May and early June as the team tried to fill in a bunch of spots just to have a full set of pitchers on its roster.

The Cardinals sent Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepczynski to the minors at the end of April because they pitched terribly, and Fernando Salas went down with an injury May 22. Those moves created opportunities for Seth Maness and Carlos Martinez to work out of the bullpen.

After various other issues, including an injury to Gast and another failed outing from Boggs, Keith Butler, Michael Wacha, Victor Marte, Mikael Cleto and Kevin Siegrist all found themselves on the Cardinals’ active roster. Michael Blazek even spent a few days in the bullpen but never entered a game before the team sent him back to Memphis.

That’s quite a bit of movement. The Cardinals have already had 21 different pitchers make an appearance this season, including nine rookies. Both numbers are the most in baseball.

The Cardinals have gotten great production from the young pitchers they’ve called up this season, but the team has still been at least one good pitcher short the whole time.

Marte and Cleto combined for a 12.65 ERA in their five appearances, but they had to fill innings because the team didn’t have any other options. Joe Kelly, who has spent the season in the bullpen, also had to make a start June 5 against the Arizona Diamondbacks because the team was out of starters after rain created a doubleheader June 1 against the San Francisco Giants.

So now Westbrook, the man who helped start all of that movement, will return, and that should slow the incredible turnover the pitcher staff has experienced in the first two-and-a-half months of the season.

Westbrook pitched well Sunday for the Single-A Peoria Chiefs. He allowed one run on four hits while inducing 14 groundballs through seven innings.

Now, although there is pressure involved in returning to his spot in the rotation, Westbrook doesn’t have to worry about coming back and trying to lift a team that faltered in his absence. More than anything, he just needs to pitch as he had to begin the season and in Sunday’s rehab start. The other parts of the team will likely take care of the rest.

With the best-hitting lineup in the National League and a defense that has committed the fewest errors in the game, a more complete starting rotation should keep the Cardinals on the incredible pace they’ve set while dealing with all of the pitching issues.

The best team in baseball might soon be even better.

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Royals name minor league players and pitchers of the year

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 31, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year for their respective affiliates.  The Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Hitter of the Year will be announced this offseason.

A majority of the players are expected to be at Kauffman Stadium for Futures Night on Friday, September 14, where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game against the Angels.

OMAHA (AAA)

Right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year.  The 22-year-old is 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for the playoff-bound Storm Chasers after going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts with Northwest Arkansas (AA) to begin the campaign.  Odorizzi’s 15 combined victories are tied for the second-most in the minors.  He started for the U.S. squad in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, tossing an inning.  Odorizzi, who was acquired with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010, was the 2011 Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.

Wil Myers was named the Omaha Player of the Year.  The 21-year-old, like Odorizzi, began the 2012 season with Northwest Arkansas.  After batting .343 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games, the Royals third-round selection from 2009 was promoted to Omaha where he is hitting .293 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 95 games.  The 2010 Burlington (IA) Player of the Year’s 36 combined home runs are the second-most in the minor leagues while his 105 RBI place him seventh.  An outfielder on the 12-member All-PCL team, Myers also competed in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, was named the “Star of Stars” at the Triple-A All-Star Game and is a finalist forUSA Today Minor League Player of the Year.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)

Right-handed pitcher Michael Mariot, 23, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year.  The University of Nebraska alum, who was recently promoted to Omaha, went 6-3 with one save and a 3.40 ERA in 31 games, including 14 starts, for the Naturals.  Mariot was the club’s eighth-round pick in 2010.

23-year-old Christian Colon is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year.  The middle infielder saw his season end prematurely in mid-August due to a right eye injury after batting .412 in five games for Omaha.  Colon, the club’s first round pick (fourth overall) in 2010 out of Cal State-Fullerton, hit .289 with five home runs and 12 stolen bases in 73 games for Northwest Arkansas.  The right-handed batter drew 37 walks and struck out just 27 times in 85 combined contests in 2012.

WILMINGTON (A-ADVANCED)

Right-handed starter Yordano Ventura was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.  The 21-year-old, who started and tossed a scoreless inning for the World team in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, is currently pitching with Northwest Arkansas.  He opened the 2012 season with Wilmington, posting a 3-5 record with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 98 in 76.1 innings.  The five-foot-11 Ventura was signed out of Samana, Dominican Republic, as a non-drafted free agent on October 8, 2008.

Whit Merrifield, 23, is the Wilmington Player of the Year.  Now at Northwest Arkansas, the former national champion from the University of South Carolina hit .258 with 20 doubles, eight homers, 59 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts in 101 games for the Blue Rocks.  Merrifield, who has played extensively in both the infield and outfield, was the Royals’ ninth-round pick in the 2010 Draft.

KANE COUNTY (A)

21-year-old Angel Baez was named the Kane County Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-three right-hander is 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with the Cougars, striking out 83 in 76.2 innings.  Baez, a resident of Juan Baron, Dominican Republic, was acquired as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2008.

19-year-old outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was named the Kane County Player of the Year.  Bonifacio will make his third-consecutive trip to Kansas City after being named the 2010 Dominican Royals Player of the Year and the 2011 Burlington Royals Player of the Year.  The younger brother of Marlins outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, he is batting .282 with 20 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 61 RBI and 54 runs scored in 105 games for the Cougars.  Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bonifacio was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on December 9, 2009.

IDAHO FALLS (ROOKIE-ADVANCED)

Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman, selected by Kansas City in the second round this June, is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year.  Selman, 21, was recently named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year.  He is 5-3 with a league-leading 2.11 ERA in 12 games (11 starts), allowing just 41 hits in 55.1 innings, holding Pioneer League batters to a .202 average, best in the circuit.  The six-foot-three hurler from Austin, Texas, by way of Vanderbilt University, has struck out a league-best 84 and walked just 22.

Outfielder Ethan Chapman, 22, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year.  Chapman, selected in the 30th round of the 2012 Draft out of Cal State San Bernardino, is batting .314 with eight triples, tied for third in the league, 52 runs scored, fifth in the league, and 22 stolen bases, tied for second in the league.

BURLINGTON-NC (ROOKIE)

18-year-old left-handed pitcher Colin Rodgers has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.  Rodgers, the team’s third-round selection in this year’s draft out of Parkview Baptist School in Louisiana, went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 11 starts for the B-Royals, allowing opponents to hit just .226 against him.  Rodgers made the start last night in the second game of Burlington’s first-round playoff series.

Outfielder Bubba Starling, 20, is the Burlington Royals Player of the Year in 2012.  The club’s first-round pick (fifth overall) in last year’s draft out of Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) High School batted .275 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI and 35 runs scored in 53 regular season games.  The six-foot-five centerfielder also swiped 10 bases in 11 attempts.  Starling last night was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI as Burlington evened their best-of-three playoff series at a game apiece.

SURPRISE (ROOKIE)

Matt Tenuta, an 18-year-old left-hander, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-four hurler from Apex High in North Carolina went 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 games (one start) with Surprise, surrendering just one home run in 39.1 innings.  Tenuta was selected in the 25th round of the 2012 Draft.

Outfielder Alexis Rivera has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year.  Rivera, 18, was sixth in the league batting .341 with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 34 RBI and 35 runs scored in 48 games and was named to the Arizona League All-Star team.  The left-handed hitter originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, was the Royals’ 10th round pick 2012 out of Montverde Academy in Florida.

DOMINICAN ROYALS (ROOKIE)

Right-handed pitcher Miguel Almonte is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The 19-year-old made 10 starts for the Dominican Royals, recording a 6-1 record with a 1.44 ERA, allowing just 34 hits and 8 walks with 46 strikeouts in 50.0 innings.  The six-foot-two resident of Santiago, Dominican Republic, who signed as a non-drafted free agent on November 20, 2010, is currently pitching for Burlington after a brief stint with the Surprise Royals in Arizona where he went 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in six games (two starts).

Infielder Wander Franco, signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on September 26, 2011, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year.  Franco, 17, hit .315 with 14 doubles, five triples, 38 RBI, 45 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 66 games.  The switch hitter currently resides in Bani, Dominican Republic.

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Royals get two minor league pitchers for Jonathan Broxton

Just before Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline, the Royals traded closer Jonathan Broxton to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for two minor league pitchers, righty J.C. Sulbaran and lefty Donnie Joesph. The Royals were also willing to trade Yuni Betancourt, Jeff Francoeur and Jose Mijares, but Broxton was the only player traded by the deadline.

The Reds lead the National League Central and were looking for a leadoff hitter to bolster their lineup. They weren’t able to get a leadoff hitter, so they made a trade for Broxton, who will join an already strong Reds bullpen as a setup man for lefty closer Aroldis Chapman. Broxton will be at least a two month rental for the Reds before becoming a free agent in the offseason. In return, the Royals get two young, controllable pitchers for the next few years.

The 22 year old Sulbaran is a starting pitcher with a 4.04 ERA, a 9.5 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 ratio and a 2.06 strikeout to walk ratio. Sulbaran pitched 104.2 innings over 19 starts and a 7-7 record for the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Baseball America ranked Sulbaran 12th among Reds prospects, while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked him fifth among Reds prospects.

Sulbaran’s best pitch is his curveball. Scouts say he’s a highly competitive power pitcher with good stuff, but there are some concerns about his maturity and secondary pitches. Sulbaran was a teammate of Eric Hosmer at American Heritage High School, winning a state championship during Hosmer’s senior year. The Royals assigned Sulbaran to AA Northwest Arkansas. He projects to be a No. 3 starter, and is likely a year or two away from the Majors.

The 24 year old Joseph is a relief pitcher with a 1.72 ERA, a 11.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 ratio and a 2.44 strikeout to walk ratio. Joseph pitched 22 innings over 18 games with a 4-1 record and five saves for the AAA Louisville Bats. Baseball America ranked Joseph 27th among Reds prospects and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked Joseph seventh among Reds prospects. He was also the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.

Joseph is a power lefty with a mid 90s fastball, a hard slider and curveball. If Joseph can improve his mechanics, scouts say he could be a power reliever in the Majors. The Royals assigned him to AAA Omaha and it’s possible Joesph could be with the big club this year.

The Royals wanted a Major League ready starting pitcher, but to be honest, giving up Broxton to get Sulbaran and Joesph was a better deal. If the Royals got a Major League starter, they probably would get another pitcher like Sean O’ Sullivan, Vin Mazzaro, Jeremy Guthrie or Jonathan Sanchez. The Royals have enough of these type of pitchers. At least with this trade, the Royals have a potential No. 3 starter and a power lefty reliever for the future.

It’s unlikely Sulbaran and Joseph will be star players and the Royals still need to sign or trade for a front line starter this offseason. But fans should be glad the Royals traded for the pitchers they got for Broxton, who was going to be a one year player for a losing team if he stayed. And it gives Greg Holland a chance to be the closer for the Royals, which is another plus.

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Myers, Colon And Others Have Chance To Shine In Fall League

Seven top Royals prospects will continue their seasoning in the Arizona Fall League – a proving ground for many Double and Triple-A stars on their way to the big leagues.

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Minor League pitchers Jeremy Jeffress, Bryan Paukovits, and Brendan Lafferty, and position players Clint Robinson, Christian Colon and Wil Myers will join Royal reliever Nate Adcock as members of the Surprise Saguaros, which will begin play Oct. 4.

The teams in the AFL are made up of selections designated by big leagues. The season is highlighted by a Rising Stars Game on Nov. 5, and culminates with a championship game on Nov. 19.

The AFL season will be headlined by Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, the top two prospects in the minors this season. The league is a launching pad for players on the verge of the majors. Often players in the league are just a few months from a call-up, as certainly Trout is.

Trout, of course, saw some action this season with the California Angels, as did Adcock, who spent all season in KC as a Rule 5 selection.

In fact, of the seven Royals who played in the AFL last season, four are now in KC – Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy, Johnny Giavotella, and Salvador Perez. Other participants last fall were Robinson, Mike Montgomery, and Brandon Sisk.

A non-Royal who garnered lots of attention in the league last fall was Jeffress. As a Milwaukee Brewer prospect prior to the Zack Greinke trade, Jeffress made headlines by registering 101 mph on fall-league radar guns.

The league enters its 20th year of existence. Jermaine Dye is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame, and Ken Harvey was once named its Most Valuable Player.

For Adcock, the league will provide a chance to gain additional experience. Plucked from the Rule 5 ranks in the offseason, Adcock has been used sparsely by KC.

Myers is the headliner of the Royals prospects. Converted to the outfield and slowed by an injury this season, Myers is still considered on of the top hitters in the minors. His .260 average with just seven homers is below what what expected, but a good fall season could give him a jump start for next spring.

The Royals’ top pick in the 2010 draft, Colon’s reputation could be helped by a solid fall. With a .255 average and eight homers, Colon is looking all too much like a bust in the early going.

Jeffress has regressed after making the Royals’ bullpen in April. A demotion to Omaha didn’t help, and he wound up falling to Northwest Arkansas, where he is still trying to harness his potential.

Robinson might hope to attract the attention of other big league teams in the fall league. Robinson continues to destroy minor league pitching. Currently blocked by Hosmer and Billy Butler, the best he could hope for might be a trade.

Paukovits and Lafferty, both in their mid-20s and still in the lower levels of the minors, hope to accelerate their advancement in the fall league.

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Royals Announce Minor League Awards

ROYALS NAME PITCHERS, PLAYERS OF THE YEAR FOR EIGHT MINOR LEAGUE AFFILIATES

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 30, 2011) – The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year for their respective affiliates. The Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Hitter of the Year will be named this Friday, September 2.

A majority of the players are expected to be at Kauffman Stadium for Futures Night on Friday, September 16, where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game against the White Sox.

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OMAHA (AAA)

Right-handed pitcher Luis Mendoza has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year. The 27-year-old has dominated Pacific Coast League hitters all season, posting an 11-5 record with a league-leading 2.15 ERA in 32 games (17 starts). Named to the 12-member All-PCL Team yesterday, Mendoza originally recorded his second career no-hitter on July 18 at Memphis, before a reviewed ruling overturned a ninth-inning error to a double. Mendoza was acquired from the Texas Rangers on April 2, 2010.

Johnny Giavotella was named the Omaha Player of the Year. The 24-year-old was batting .338 with a minor league-leading 153 hits for Triple-A Omaha at the time of his call-up to the Royals on August 5. The second baseman had 34 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 72 RBI and 67 runs scored in 110 games for the Storm Chasers. Giavotella was a starter on the Pacific Coast League All-Star team as well as a member of the 12-member All-PCL Team. The University of New Orleans alum was the Royals’ second-round selection in the 2008 Draft.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)

Left-handed pitcher Will Smith, 22, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year. The six-foot-five southpaw is 12-9 with a 4.02 ERA in 26 starts for the Naturals. Smith is 8-3 with a 3.44 ERA in the second half and has helped lead the Naturals to the brink of the second-half division title.

28-year-old Anthony Seratelli is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year. The versatile performer and Texas League All-Star selection is hitting .283 with 12 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 61 RBI and 89 runs scored in 123 games. Signed by the Royals from the Independent Frontier League on February 27, 2007, Seratelli has appeared at first base, second base, shortstop, left field and right field this season with the Naturals.

WILMINGTON (A-ADVANCED)

Right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year. The 21-year-old, acquired as part of the six-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010, went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts for the Blue Rocks before a midseason promotion to Northwest Arkansas. The 6-foot-2 righty has combined for 151 strikeouts in 140.0 innings this season.

Rey Navarro, who will turn 22 on December 22, is the Wilmington Player of the Year. The right-handed hitting infielder batted .285 with 17 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 41 RBI and 34 runs scored in 72 games for Wilmington before a promotion to Double-A. Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Navarro, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 1, 2010.

KANE COUNTY (A)

21-year-old Greg Billo was named the Kane County Pitcher of the Year. The six-foot-four right-hander is 9-5 with a Midwest League-leading 1.94 ERA in 26 games, 17 starts, for the Cougars. In 130.0 innings, the Royals’ 28th round pick from the 2008 Draft out of Orland Park, Ill., has allowed 111 hits while striking out 118 against just 25 walks.

22-year-old outfielder Brian Fletcher was named the Kane County Player of the Year. The former Auburn University slugger is batting .336 (107-for-318) with 30 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 57 RBI and 50 runs scored in 85 games for Kane County. The right-handed hitter and son of former big leaguer Scott Fletcher was the Royals’ 18th-round selection in 2010.

IDAHO FALLS (ROOKIE-ADVANCED)

Right-handed pitcher Edwin Carl, signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on July 20, 2010 out of the University of New Mexico, is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year. Carl, 22, has been nearly untouchable in the Pioneer League, posting an astounding 71 strikeouts and just three walks in 33.0 innings for the Chukars. He is 3-1 with five saves and a 1.36 ERA in 21 relief appearances. He was recently promoted to Kane County.

Outfielder Runey Davis, 22, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year. Signed as a minor league free agent on March 9, 2011, the 2009 Chicago Cubs 12th-round selection is hitting .325 with 14 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 36 RBI and 37 runs scored in 50 games for Idaho Falls.

BURLINGTON-NC (ROOKIE)

23-year-old right-handed pitcher Nick Graffeo has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year. Selected out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Raytown (Mo.) High in the 38th round in 2010, the six-foot hurler is 4-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 17 games, including six starts. The stepson of current Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has struck out 53 and walked 16 in 53.0 innings of work while holding opponents to a .192 average.

Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, the 2010 Dominican Royals Player of the Year, is the Burlington Royals Player of the Year in 2011. Bonifacio, 18, is hitting .284 with 20 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 30 RBI and 26 runs in 62 games. A resident of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bonifacio was signed as a non-drafted free agent on December 9, 2009.

SURPRISE (ROOKIE)

Andrew Stueve, a 21-year-old right-hander, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year. The six-foot-one hurler was 1-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 21 appearances, including one start, before a promotion to Wilmington. Stueve signed with the Royals as an undrafted free agent on June 11 out of Stanislaus State University.

Shortstop Nick DelGuidice has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter batted .408 (51-for-125) with 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 24 RBI and 32 runs in 34 games for Surprise before he was promoted to Idaho Falls. DelGuidice was signed by the Royals as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic University on June 12.

DOMINICAN ROYALS (ROOKIE)

Right-handed pitcher Yender Caramo is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year. The just-turned 20-year-old (his birthday was August 25) is 10-3 with a 1.26 ERA in 13 games, including 12 starts. His 10 wins were tied for the league-lead while his ERA was second in the 33-team league. Signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on November 22, 2010, Caramo is from San Felix, Bolivar, Venezuela.

Infielder Ramon Torres, signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on July 13, 2009, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year. The 18-year-old hit .260 with 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 24 RBI, 35 runs and 14 stolen bases in 60 games. Torres, a switch hitter, resides in Santiago Rodriguez, Dominican Republic.

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