Back from Deployment

It’s been almost a year since my last post, since then I’ve traveled all over the world while being deployed for 9 months. I returned April 19th after 270 days, we made port visits in France, Bahrain, Dubai and Spain. But it feels great to be back in the US.

The next day, along with my family and my living wife Jess (I will write a post about her separately) went to my 1st ball game of the year. The Tides took on the famous Durham Dulls. While the game was freezing cold and went into extra innings, I loved being back at the ballpark sitting next to my best friend and holder her hand. She was a little upset since the O’s traded away L.J. Hoes and Schoop is up in Baltimore, her two favorites from last season.

I went to a Tides game on Sunday and the post about the game should be up in a day or two. Sorry for the delay, I’m currently in a military to civilian transition class, applying to schools and moving to D.C.



Tides v Mud Hens

Getting ready to leave to see my favorite MILB team, the Toledo Mud Hens. This is my favorite part of the Tides schedule, when the Hens come to town. In the three years that I have lived here I have gone and seen Toledo. Tonight former Mud Hen Jair Jurrjens takes the mound for the Tides, which is an added bonus. I will live tweet the game tonight with the hash tag, #hensvtides. Make sure to tune in for the fun.

From the Deck

I was going through some of my cards, and I randomly, or not so randomly, pulled out these players to profile. A few of them I have seen play this season and have wrote about them before as well.

Promoted to the Astros today, and scheduled to bat leadoff, Robbie Grossman, was traded last year along with Colton Cain and Rudy Owens to the Astros for Wandy Rodriguez. The card I have of Grossman is of him playing for the Altoona Curve. The switch hitter played 95 games last year for the Curve before being traded and sent to Corpus Cristi. He hit 10HR and 47RBI last year while batting .266 overall. He was hitting very well for AAA Oklahoma City before the call up today (.324 with 22 hits in only 19 games played). In 2011, he was the first minor leaguer to have 100 walks and 100 runs in the same season in seven years. He was the 2011 Bradenton Marauders player of the year.

In my first game this season, my wife and I went to a Potomac Nationals game. Cutter Dykstra was playing that day and gave us an autograph on the ball that Adrian Sanchez tossed to my wife. Anyways, back in 2011 Dykstra was traded to Washington by the Brewers for Nyjer Morgan (Brewers also sent cash). After having a rough year in 2011 for Potomac, Washington demoted him to the Hagerstown Suns (Single A). In Hagerstown, Cutter found his bat again hitting .291 up from .211, also getting a career high in hits, RBI’s and SBs. This season he is batting .311 with 19 hits, 10 runs, & 8 RBI’s in only 16 games this season for A+ Potomac. I would expect to see Cutter move up soon to AA, and maybe AAA next year won’t be such a stretch

When I saw Jonathan Schoop play this season for the Norfolk Tides, I wasn’t impressed by the 82nd overall prospect in the minors, and third best in the Baltimore system. He didn’t bat well, his field performance was unimpressive, and he had an error. As the season progresses, Schoop still hasn’t started to hit, he is only batting .215 with 13K’s and 14 hits. As you can see, he strikes out as much as he gets hits. The Orioles 2011 minor league player of the year, he also played in the 2011 Futures All-Star Game, as well as the Netherlands national team. I hope he turns the corner and can find his 2011 form for the Tides.

Fresh off a 16K performance is Jesse Biddle of the Reading Fightin Phils. A first found pick in 2010, and the 2012 #1 Phillies prospect, Biddle is living up to his high pick. Last season with the Clearwater Threshers he went 10-6 averaging 9.5K’s per 9IP. But it gets even better this season: Biddle was moved up to AA Reading. His record is a bit deceiving at 2-1 in four games started this season. His ERA is 2.16 with about 10K’s per 9IP while only giving up 11 hits so far this year. Biddle has been climbing up the Phillies ladder every year. If he continues this trend he should end the season at the  AAA level and might make his big league debut next season. Keep an eye out for this kid.

Entering his third season in the pro ranks is another first round pick, Trevor Story playing for the Modesto Nuts (A+), in the Colorado Rockies organization this season. Last season with the Asheville Tourists, Story had a solid season. Playing mostly SS & 3B, he batted .277/18/63 and his slugging was .505. Not bad for someone playing his second season of pro baseball at 19. He is off to a slow start this year hitting a lowly .148 but he should adjust and come around. Ranked the #99 prospect going in to the season by and #96 by Baseball America. I would really like to see him play in person and from what I hear, he sounds like he could be the Rockies next Troy Tulowitzki. Or so the Rockies hope.

Most are 2012 Topps Heritage.

Most are 2012 Topps Heritage.

Update:The Atlanta Braves have called up Tyler Pastornicky from Gwinnett to replace the injured Jason Heyward. If you recall I wrote about Tyler in the Tides v Braves recap. I hope he does well in the majors, he impressed me a lot when I saw him play, and I’m not surprised he got the call to Atlanta.

From Prospect to Independent League

While I was writing my recap for the Virginia Weslyan game. I found out that some of the school’s alum play for a couple of independent league teams. Then I saw that a couple of former prospects and pros where on some of the rosters. Here is a list of some of the names that I noticed.

Kody Kirkland – 2012 team Lancaster Barnstormers. Playing for his 3rd independent team in 2012 Kirkland played 87 games for Lancaster. He batted .263 with 17HR & 53RBI. He also struck out 101 times. He is still listed on the Barnstormers roster for 2013.

Dontrelle Willis – 2013 team Long Island Ducks. After a great 2005 season with the Marlins, Willis was traded to the Tigers in 2008 along with Miguel Cabrera. With the Tigers and later the Reds Willis struggled with his control and his ERA and losses ballooned. 2013 will be his first year with the Ducks for the former NL Rookie of the Year and two time all-star.

Jeremy Sowers – 2013 team Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Sowers is a two time first round selection , 2001 with the Reds and in 2004 the Indians selected him 6th overall. 2010 was his last season in the Indians organization.

Gary Gaetti – Manager of the Sugarland Skeeters. Gaetti is the first every manager in Skeeters history. Gaetti was a fixture on Twins teams in the mid-80’s, earning him two AL All-Star Appearances and multiple Golden Glove awards. His last year playing was in 2000 with the Boston Red Sox.

Juan Rincon– 2013 York Revolution. Former big league journeyman tested positive for PED’s in 2005 last played for a major league team in 2010.

Edgar Corcino – El Paso Diablos – Former Detroit Tiger draft pick

J.P. Ramirez – Sioux Falls Canaries – Former Washington Nationals pick

Bryan Pounds – Sioux City Explorers – Former Detroit Tigers pick

Kevin Hooper – Wichita Wingnuts Manager – When Hooper was a Mud he ended up playing at least one inning at every position including pitcher one season. A fan favorite in Toledo Hooper never had much MLB success. I have happily surprised to see that he is still part of the game.

This is just a small portion of some of the players that I recognized in the independent leagues. I encourage you to have a look of your own. There are several leagues and I only covered two. Hope you enjoyed.


Hampden-Sydney at Virginia Wesleyan Recap (April 16)

Sorry I’m a few days late with this recap (my wife had a friend over from out of state). On Tuesday I decided to go to the Virginia Wesleyan College game here in the Hampton Roads area. the Marlins and Hampden-Sydney are  DIII teams. Virginia Wesleyan plays their home games on campus at Marlin Field. Its small field with a main bleacher behind home plate and a much smaller one next to the home dugout. I think my high school field fits more people. the game was free and there was no official attendance record that I know of but I would estimate there was about 75-90 people there, mostly family. VWC was hosted inter Old Dominion Athletic Conference foe Hampden-Sydney College Tigers.

So. Dylan Stoskus (3-6) was staring on the mound for VWC, while HSC set out Jr. Hunter Lewis (2-1). Both got out to a rough start. In the first inning the Stoskus a little trouble with control, giving up two singles one from Lewis and the other from Jeff Grey, then a walk and Andrew Tucker was hit by a pitch to loaded them up and bring in the first run of the game. But he would find his form striking out James Keller to end the inning. 1-0 Tigers.

The Marlins would answer in the bottom half of the inning. SS Brett Sutryk got a single, follow by a fielders choice which put CF Kenneth Belgrave on first. Belgrave would go on to steal second, allowing the next batter DH Casey Bryant to knock in the tying run. Bryant would also steal second. 1-1

For the next threw innings both pitchers dueled it out. With neither one giving up any runs. The top of the fifth would be the turning point in the game. An error by VWC 3B Josh Miller would allow Jeff Grey to start the inning on first with on outs. After a walk and a sac bunt, the Tigers had two one in scoring position with only one out. Tucker would drive them both in with a sac fly to deep right field, putting the HSC up 3-1. In the top of the sixth 2B John Lloyd hit a nice triple for his second hit of the game. Lloyd would score a batter later when Christian Hamlett would hit a sac fly to left field. 4-1 Hampden-Sydney.

The Tigers would score their fifth and final run in the seventh. A two out double from Chamberlin, follow by a RBI double from Tucker would give the Tigers a 5-1 edge over the home team.

The bottom of the ninth would be interesting. The Marlins would manage to load the bases. With a lead-off single from Josh Miller followed by another single from Jordan Miller and a well hit ball by Billy Crowe. Josh Miller should of scored on the single by Crowe but was held at third base. But only one of them would score. Evan Polk manage to get one runner in on a ground ball that almost became a double play. The game would end on a slow hit ball back to the Tigers pitcher Luke Rabiej. Hampden-Sydney would defeat Virginia Wesleyan 5-2 on VWC’s last home game of the year.

Overall it was an entertaining game that I really enjoyed watching.

Virginia Wesleyan Players of the game: DH Casey Bryant 2/4 w/ 1RBI, 1SB, P David Austin 1IP w/1K, LF Jordan Miller 2/3 w/1BB

Hampden-Sydney: 2B Josh Lloyd 3/4 w/ 1 Triple, 1R & 1SB, P Hunter Lewis 1W, 5K, 1R, 1B, CF Andrew Tucker 1/3 w/ 3RBI, 1Double, 1HP

Virginia Wesleyan College had two players in the professional ranks during the 2012 season, Colin Roberson & Mike Marion, both playing on independent teams.

While Hamplden-Sydney College has produced three MLB players, Bob Humphreys, Soup Campbell, & Dan McFarlan, the most recent was Humphreys in 1971.ImageImageImage

Where Are They Now? 2008 MLB Draft Edition

The 1st round of the June 2008 MLB Amateur Draft has yielded a number of all-stars and a National League MVP. The draft was almost six drafts ago, so let’s review and the top 5 and some of the other more notable picks.

1. Tim Beckham-SS (Tampa Bay Rays) Tim was drafted out of Griffin High School in Georgia. He was ranked the 28th best prospect in baseball prior to the 2009 season, but fell down to the 92nd best in 2012. He has yet to make his major league debut, but has progressed through the Rays’ minor league system, spending his first full year in AAA last season. Maybe this year he will make his major league debut. While he is still young at 23, he has 6 seasons of minor league play under his belt with no major league experience. Not really what you want out of the 1st overall pick.

2.Pedro Alvarez-3B (Pittsburgh Pirates) Drafted out of Vanderbilt University, Alvarez, only played three seasons in the minors, mostly at the double and triple A level. He got his first call up in 2010, but his major league career has been hot and cold. In 2010, he played 95 games & hit 16HR but in 2011 batted .191 w/4HR. 2012 was somewhat of a breakout year for Alvarez hitting 30HR & 85RBI for the Pirates. He is off to a slow start this season, but we aren’t out of April yet, so I’m not going to judge him yet for this year.

3.Eric Hosmer-1B (Kansas City Royals) Also drafted out of high school like Beckham, the two have taken vastly different paths. This pick makes the Beckham pick look bad. Hosmer has played two full MLB seasons (2011 & 2012). In 2011, he placed 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting, finishing with a .293BA & 78RBI. He is a very consistent player, and will be on the Royals’ roster for the foreseeable future.

4.Brian Matusz-P (Baltimore Orioles). Lefty from the University of San Diego, Matusz made his MLB debut in 2009 for Baltimore. Originally a starter for the 1st four years of his Oriole career, he has been moved to the bullpen for the 2013 campaign. In 2010, he earned 10 wins for Baltimore, and finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. But in 2011, he posted a 1-9 record. Matusz is fairing better this season coming out of the bullpen. Pitchers are sometimes hard to grade because of the team they play on.

5. Buster Posey-C (San Francisco Giants) The gem of the 2008 draft, Posey has won two World Series, and been awarded the 2010 Rookie of the Year, 2012 All-Star, 2012 NL MVP, 2012 Silver Slugger Award, 2012 Hank Aaron Award,2012 NL Batting Champion, 2012 NL Comeback Player of the Year. Need I say more. 


9.Aaron Crow-P (Washington Nationals) Crow didn’t sign with the Nationals, because he didn’t want to play with a losing franchise, so he went back to college, only to get drafted by the Kansas City Royals a year later. But he was a 2011 All-Star and has been a solid reliver for the Royals.

21. Ryan Perry-P (Detroit Tigers) Perry is notable because when I was in college, I saw him pitch in the College World Series regional against my school, Eastern Michigan. I even went out and get a Perry jersey t-shirt. He was lights out in the inning he pitched. Now he has moved on to play for the Washington Nationals. 

26. Daniel Schlereth-P (Arizona Diamondbacks) I put Schlereth up here because he got the win in the most recent game I went to, see my article about the Tides v Braves. Also his dad is former NFL player, and current ESPN personality Mark Schlereth.

37.Conor Gillaspie-IF (San Fransico Giants) Conor was the first 2008 pick to make his MLB debut he now plays for the White Sox.

39. Lance Lynn-P (St. Louis Cardinals) Lynn was a great steal for the Cardinals. Making the  2012 NL All-Star team, and winning the World Series with the Cardinals in 2011. In 2012 he was 18-7 and is 2-0 this season. Lynn is a high strikeout pitcher and should be a good number two or three pitcher for the Cardinals.

43. Wade Miley-P (Arizona Diamondbacks) A 2012 NL All-Star, got 16 wins and finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting last season. He is off to a solid start tihs year starting out 2-0 with a 2.13ERA in two starts.

96.Craig Kimbrel-P (Atlanta Braves) Was 2011 Rookie of the Year, 2012 NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award, 2011 & 2012 NL All-Star.

163. Alex Avila-C (Detroit Tigers) A fifth round steal for Detroit Avila made the 2011 AL All-Star team & won the Silver Slugger award that year. Should be Detroit’s catcher of the future.

Former West Virginia QB Pat White was drafted by the Reds in the 49th Round, but never played.

I hope you enjoyed this little overview, if you have any other players from the draft that you like, feel free to post about them in the comments section below.


Norfolk Tides vs Gwinnett Braves April 14 Recap

Last night’s game between the Norfolk Tides and the Gwinnett Braves was an exciting see-saw game. The starting pitcher for the Braves was Omar Poveda (0-0), who threw a one hit, no decision in his last start. The Tides had Zach Britton (0-0), who also got a no decision in his last start. For the first couple of innings it looked like the game was going to be a pitching duel; with each allowing only one hit through two innings, and Poveda getting two strikeouts. As the weather got colder, the bats started to heat up for both teams.

Going into the bottom of the third the score was deadlocked at zero. Luis Exposito, batting 9th for the Tides, earned a rare walk from Poveda. This set up lead-off man Jason Pridie, who belted a two run home run, to put the Tides ahead 2-0. The Braves would respond in the fourth, scoring an unearned run off of an error by SS Jonathan Schoop, cutting the Tides lead in half.

The fireworks, however, would start in the bottom of the fifth. Lead-off man Jason Pridie hit a nice two out double, which was followed by a home run from center fielder L.J. Hoes. The Tides had taken a 4-1 lead heading into the sixth inning. Zach Britton would start the sixth, but would leave after giving up a couple of hits and a run.

Going into the seventh, both starting pitchers had been relieved. Zach Britton had 2 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, and Omar Poveda, besides the two 2-run home runs, pitched strong, striking out 6 in 5 innings.

The seventh would be a huge inning for the Braves. Alden Carrithers led the inning off with a triple to right field, and Sean Kazmar capitalized on it with an RBI single. Tyler Pastornicky hit a one out single, and two batters later Ernesto Mejia belted a huge 3-run homer to put the Braves on top 6-4.

However, a scrappy Tides team wouldn’t go quietly into the night. In the bottom of the eighth, Jason Pridie collected his third hit of the night to start the inning. A walk and catcher interference call on Braves catcher, Jose Yopez, would load the bases for clean-up hitter Danny Valencia. Valencia would get a RBI single to cut the Braves lead to one. A wild pitch from Braves pitcher, Dusty Hughes, would bring in the tying run. Yamaico Navarro, who was 0-3 with three strikeouts, would bring in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to left field. The Braves would go down in order to end the game.

Former Detroit Tiger Daniel Schlereth would earn his second win for the Tides, and Dusty Hughes would get the loss as well as a blown save. Jario Asencio would earn the save for the Tides, his third of the year.

Overall, it was a very fun and entertaining game. Total attendance was 7,064, and game time was 2hrs 48min. The promotion for the game was Old Dominion University Night, which included the ODU marching band, an appearance by the ODU mascots and cheerleaders, and ticket discounts for ODU students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Tides Players of the Game: P Daniel Schlereth (2-0), 3B Danny Valencia 3/4 w/ 1 RBI and 9 put out assists, CF Jason Pridie 3/4 w/ 3R, 1HR, 2RBI, 1 Double he finished a triple shy of the cycle, & RF L.J. Hoes 1/3 w/ 2R, 1HR, 2RBI, 1BB.

Braves Players of the Game: 1B Ernesto Mejia 2/4 w/ 1R, 1HR, 3RBI, 3B Alden Carrithers 2/4 w/ 1R 1 Triple, & SS Sean Kasmar 3/4 w/ 1R 1RBI

Hope you enjoy!Tides v Braves 4 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 3 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 5 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 14 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 17 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 23 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 21 April 13 2013 Tides v Braves 22 April 13 2013

Norfolk Tides v Gwinnett Braves Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the Norfolk Tides are hosting the Gwinnett Braves. This will be my first Tides game of the season, and my third ever at Harbor Park. It is Old Dominion University Night at the game tonight, so if you teach or attend ODU you are eligible for special ticket prices. The Braves (5-4) are a game ahead of the Tides (4-5) in the standings, and both are coming off wins. The Braves are 4-0 at home this season, but unfortunately for them, tonight’s game is in Norfolk.

Zach Britton (0-0) is scheduled to start tonight for Norfolk and is looking for his 1st win. He struggled in his only start this season, pitching only 2 innings, and giving up 4 walks and 2 hits. He will be going up against Omar Poveda (0-0), also looking for his 1st win. Poveda fared better in his opening start, pitching 6 scoreless innings, and only giving up a single hit, but he gained a no decision. Tides hits will come at a premium.

Players of note for the Norfolk Tides: OF Conor Jackson (former Minor League All-Star), OF L.J. Hoes (Ranked #6 Prospect in Orioles organization), 3B Jonathan Schoop (#4 Prospect). The Tides bench also features some former Detroit Tigers Chris Robinson, Jair Jurrjens, Daniel Schlereth, and Freddy Garcia.

Players of note for the Gwinnett Braves include: OF Joey Terdoslavich (#15 Prospect in Braves organization),OF Todd Cunningham (#9 Prospect), and IF Matt Pagnozzia. The Braves also have some former Tigers in their line-up: Ernesto Mejia and Alden Carrithers.

I predict the Braves to come out on top of the Tides, with a score of 5-2. Britton struggled in his 1st start, and the Braves are hitting very well. Additionally, the Tides are having some struggles with hitting, and Poveda only gave up a single hit in is only start.

Make sure to follow my twitter @bleacherblues, as I will be live-tweeting from the game using #TidesvBraves. Hope to see you there – it’s a beautiful day for a ballgame!


Throwback Thursday – Matt Anderson

In the 1997 amateur draft the Detroit Tigers selected Matt Anderson a fast throwing pitcher out of Rice University. He could throw in the 100mph range going as high as 103mph. The Tigers’ organization had high hopes for Matt.

Initially, Anderson was a huge success for the Tigers’ front office, who had in the prior years been struggling to say the best. Going into his first pro season he was ranked the 24th best prospect in the nation by Baseball America. His first stop was with the Lakeland Tigers (A+). In Lakeland, Matt was dominating. In the 17 games he saw action in he averaged 11.9 strikeouts per 9 innings and had an era of 0.69, while going 1-0 with 3 saves. In total he had 34 strikeouts and only 8 walks in the 34 innings he pitched in.

So the Tigers rewarded Matt with a promotion to AA ball to play for the Jacksonville Suns. At Jacksonville, Anderson found more success in his limited time there. He managed to lower his ERA to 0.60 while recording 10 saves with a 1-0 record. He struck out 11 batters with 6.6 strikeouts per 9 innings average. Matt Anderson was off to a good start and having a hugely successful rookie campaign.

Then, the Detroit Tigers called Matt up to the majors where he continued to have success. He recorded a 5-1 record with a 3.27 ERA. Not bad for a pitcher on a struggling Tigers team. He struck out 44 batters in only 44 innings pitched, and averaged 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. Unfortunately this would be the pinnacle of his career.

After the 1998 season, it seemed that Anderson couldn’t find the touch of his rookie year. His ERA never got below 4.72. In 2002 he had a decent year saving 22 games with a strike out to walk ratio of 2.89. Sadly,that was as good as it got. He bounced around between five different major league franchises and an independent team . He even attempted a short lived comeback in 2011 with the Phillies organization.

In the end Matt Anderson was just another Tigers flop who showed great potential. Of all the failed draft picks and abysmal trades of the Randy Smith era in Detroit this one stings more because it seemed that this was going to work out.

I hoped you enjoyed and make sure to come back next week on Throwback Thursday.