Oh, whoa, this one's bigger than most of the other's. That's what she... Anyways, this report is juicier than it's predecessors, because there's more happenin'. So much so that I've had to cut it in half. Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow. June ushers in the full Thome-sized swing of the minor league baseball season. With the beginning of the Dominican Summer League, the Arizona Rookie League, and the short-season campaign, Texas now has 7 development teams rockin'. 8 actually, because the Rangers field two DSL teams. So without further ado, lets jump in.
Dominican Summer League
Listen, this is youth at its youngest. Babies with bats. Pups as pitchers. Fledglings as fielders. Most of these kids are 16,17, 18, maybe 19 years old. Just like their stateside compatriots in the Arizona Rookie League, they have no idea what they're doing. Having said that, they all get to wear fancy equipment and eat free meals because they have tools and abilities that separated them from most of their peers. Unless they're from San Pedro de Macoris, where every single 16 year old boy is handed a professional baseball contract with their driver's license. Texas has 2 teams down there again this season, and yes, the argument can be made that one is better than the other. DSL 1 features a couple names you should know; infielders Luis Terrero and Brallan Perez, pitchers Marcos Diplan and Samuel Zazueta. Big time J-2 bonus babies Yeyson Yrizarri and Jose Almonte began the season with DSL 1, but have since been moved stateside. Anyway, here's a safe link to use if you're REALLY into Latin American teenage boys: DSL Homepage
This video will never not be awesome because of exploding catchers mitts and Diplan's Bambi leg kick:
Marcos Diplan (via IMPERIAL FILM)
Arizona Rookie League
Now we're getting a little juicier. Still raw, but more sushi grade. This is true Rookie Ball and a very real launching pad for nearly everyone's career. This year's roster is loaded with 2014 high school aged draft picks. Luis Ortiz, Ti'Quan Forbes, Josh Morgan, and Nick Green. As I mentioned, Yrizarri and Almonte have joined the AZL squad and I'm hopeful Marcos Diplan will make his stateside debut at some point this season. A few arms I'm fond of out there are Ariel Jurado, Omarlin Lopez, and Luke Lanphere. The games are played against the other teams who train out in Arizona and they're primarily played in near-empty stadiums. This is still very raw stuff. Here's the link to the constantly updating official league website: Arizona Rookie League
Ti'Quan Forbes 6.30.14 Surprise, Arizona (via Tepid Participation)
Josh Morgan 6.30.14 Surprise, Arizona (via Tepid Participation)
Spokane Indians (short-season ball)
Just buy a hat already. Or a shirt. The Indians have been around since 1903 and they are bad ass. They are an attendance juggernaut and are owned by baseball royalty, literally, as the Brett family (Bobby, John, Ken, and George) has held the reigns for this historic club since 1985. Rather than skirt the issue surrounding their moniker, the club dove right in with local leaders of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and came up with a logo and uniform design, the first ever in the Salish language. It is awesome and you can buy all their cool gear here: Spokane Official Team Store On the field, the Indians are usually a mix of former AZL-ers and college level kids who were just drafted. Hence, this year's team features Juremi Profar and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Recent draftees Jose Trevino and Luke Tendler have made a little noise early in the season. One time 1st Rounder, Zach Cone is there, rebuilding his swing, and one-time 2nd Rounder Jamie Jarmon was there but, notably, isn't anymore. Spokane was the launching point for guys like Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, Derek Holland, and Roogie Odor. Not sure there's one of those guys in this crop, but I'm also not sure there isn't. You can follow the link from their store to their stats, but don't forget to buy something. A Spokane hat tells everyone at every ballpark, you ain't doin' this because Nolan Ryan told you to.
Jose Trevino 1st Professional HR 6/22/14 (via VICTOR TREVINO)
Hickory Crawdads (low-A)
What. The. Hell? What the hell got into this team in June? They went 24-3. Upon his return from the DL, Lewis Brinson was unconscious (.410/.486/.770) in the month, which is why he's now a Pelican. Nomar Mazara hit .205 in April, .238 in May, then unloaded to the tune of .311/.407/.544 in the month of June. Toolsy outfielder Ryan Cordell in June .308/.407/.462. Jairo Beras turned on the lights and hit .307/.373/.493. Michael De Leon, who turned 17 in January and by all accounts should be on a team mentioned above, played shortstop everyday in June and even he managed to hit .284/.337/.364. Travis Demeritte scuffled a bit, (.230/.341/.500) but still showed a propensity to turn on a pitch. Cole Wiper made 4 starts, gave up 6 earned runs, and produced a 9bb/23k line in 20.1ip. Akeem Bostick (4G, 21.1ip, 3er, 2bb, 16k) continued to show a developing repertoire relying more on his CB and CH, while continuing to improve his ability to spot the FB. The bullpen was good with righty All Star Cody Kendall (15BB/42K in 44.1ip in '14) getting the nod as the closer, and fellow righty Ryne Slack (34BB/64K in 52ip in 2014) getting the nod as the dude with the cool name, born in a place with a cool name (Ninety Six, South Carolina). On the down side of the slide, Daniel Bard has the yips and was released. That's not cool at all. Condor Guzman continued to have a lost season as he hit .200/.293/.329 over the month of June. Something's wrong with that kid. He's better than this. Right? So, yeah, Hickory had a month for the ages. A truly historic month. The 'Dads even hosted the All Star Game. June kicked ass in Hickory, North Carolina. The End.
There you go, the lower levels, including the lowest of the lower levels. This is the heart of the season and it is awesome. Well, maybe not at the big league level, but down here on the farm, things keep churnin'. Tune in tomorrow when we discuss some of the players whose names you're likely to hear much sooner than today's mega-ninos.
See ya tomorrow, folks.