Minoring in Twitter: ‘Going deep’ with Cubs’ Giansanti, Pirates’ Taillon

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

This week, we carefully wade into the entertaining though sometimes bizarre Twitter timeline of Cubs prospect Anthony Giansanti, currently in his third season with Double-A Tennessee. With that kind of experience, the outfielder appears to have developed a certain comfort level, leading us to this: the Tennessee Smokies as you’ve (probably) never seen them:

Giansanti channels his inner Tom Hanks:

And then he has this deep conversation with teammate Bijan Rademacher:

How many times do you think he tried to record this?

And, over at Cracker Barrell, he captures Smokies ace Carl Edwards Jr. turning to his iPhone during a checkers match:

The always quotable Jameson Taillon gives advice on insomnia:

Taillon, who previously bragged about his expert PB&J skills, reveals another winning combo:

And when the big Pirates right-hander tells you to avoid a certain map on Call of Duty, you best believe him:

Padres first baseman Cody Decker, who has five homers and 12 RBIs in his last eight games, got some encouragement from WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan:

First-world problems:

Red Sox prospect Mauricio Dubon isn’t afraid to embrace pink:

Indians prospect Dace Kime, again, is connecting with me. I’ve been planning to try the new “Jurassic Smash Blizzard” (peanut butter cookies smashed together with chocolate chip cookie dough) at Dairy Queen this week (“An adventure in every bite!”). The question here is, what’s the struggle? Just get it:

Also, congrats to Dace, who was promoted to Class A Advanced Lynchburg earlier this month. I downloaded this game a couple weeks ago, too (13 days until Jurassic World in IMAX 3D):

Nationals farmhand Bryan Harper announced he has finally begun watching Game of Thrones:

Another huge announcement:

What do baseball players do without Netflix?

Chipotle Tweets of the Week

Minoring in Twitter: Beach days, selfies, magic candy and purple shoes

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

Phillies top prospect JP Crawford misses his dog, a frequently seen pet of Minoring in Twitter:

In case Indians lefty Sean Brady has ever checked out your hair, now we all know why:

Brewers catcher Matt Clark, who is only the third player in Minor League history with the name “Matt Clark,” reports the weather in Colorado isn’t currently ideal:

What do Minor Leaguers think of the NFL’s decision to lengthen extra point kicks?

We all know many Minor Leaguers feel they are underpaid, but Twins reliever Todd Van Steensel thinks he’s found a loophole for the future (if the Dodgers and Angels somehow allowed a MInor League team into LA, I guess):

Todd also revealed he’s not picky when it comes to how he likes his eggs:

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Minoring in Twitter: Players are really excited about… Pitch Perfect 2?

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By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

If you came here expecting some heartwarming tweets from players on Mothers’ Day, you’re in the wrong place, because Braves lefty Max Fried has finally gotten back to us about something much more important: which Pitch Perfect film was the best?

Thanks, that’s settled. Wait, what? Phillies prospect Venn Biter is also tweeting about Pitch Perfect?

What the hell is going on? I’ve never even heard of Pitch Perfect, nevermind a second one:

I’ve really never heard of these movies, and I don’t even want to look it up (for a second I assumed, maybe it’s about baseball?) But, evidently this is a big deal:

Oh wait, sorry, this tweet is actually about, you know … baseball:

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Minoring in Twitter: Players react to Mayweather-Pacquiao

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, stops Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, with a left during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

It’s been almost a week now since the let-down that was Mayweather-Pacquaio, a gigantic, multi-million dollar waste of time that saw Floyd Mayweather outlast an injured Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas (home of the 51s). While the fight’s telecast showed a huge celebrity audience, from Michael Jordan and Tom Brady to Ser Jamie Lannister (of Casterly Rock HBO’s Game of Thrones) and even the creepy Burger King guy, it appeared to lack baseball players.

Enter Angels prospect Trevor Gretzky.

Gretzky was, as far as I can tell, the only Minor Leaguer and baseball player to actually be at the fight in-person, and, as you can imagine,  with great seats. He posted this video on Instagram:

TREVOR

So, if you’re in the Minors and weren’t named “Gretzky,” you probably watched the “Fight of the Century” from your couch or squeezed into a local bar to see the action. Here’s how players reacted to Mayweather’s unanimous 12-round decision:

Some think Pacquiao, who revealed afterward he was limited with a torn rotator cuff, actually may have won:

Non-boxing Tweets of the Week

We’ll move on to stuff that doesn’t involve boxing:

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Minoring in Twitter: Players mostly indifferent about current events

CDx5f2IWoAApCMjBy Danny Wild / MiLB.com

It’s been my observation here that Minor Leaguers don’t react/comment on/seem to care about most of the larger news stories that make headlines today. Paris terror attacks? Nothing. ISIS threats? Not much. Bruce Jenner’s announcement? #StanleyCup playoffs? Rioting in Baltimore, which also impacted the Orioles? Very little response.

I realize they’re focused on baseball, as they should be, but maybe there’s a trend? On the other hand, perhaps these players are hesitant to inject their opinions into the hot-button issues of the day, aware of the sensitivities and smartly steering clear of any potential controversy.

Either way, here are the only tweets I could find from Minor Leaguers who weighed in on the week-long situation in Baltimore:

That’s pretty much it. How about the Nepal earthquake that killed 6,100 and counting? Two thoughtful tweets:

Oh, I know what will stoke their Twitter flames — independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders announced he’s running for president, providing a more progressive option to Hillary for Democratic voters! Minor Leaguers jumped on it:

results

Oh. Nothing. OK, so what were players tweeting about? Well, to be fair, there was one tweet about Bruce Jenner:

This week in bus drama

We were discussing in the office this week the less glamorous realities of Minor League life — mostly the postgame meals and bus travel. Would a large investment from Major League teams in higher quality food and better travel options be money well spent? Would it make it more desirable for a player to sign with that organization? Would players perform better with better nutrition and sleep? Or do fast food, cold cut platters and unreliable buses incentivize a guy to play harder, train more seriously and push his way up to the Majors?

J.P. Arencibia is someone good to ask — the Rays’ catcher has spent most of his time since 2011 in the Majors with Toronto and Texas. Now he’s back in Triple-A and simply says, “play better”: (more…)

Notable Quotables: Glasnow’s grounders, Pawtucket’s lineup

Tyler Glasnow

Top Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow owns a 1.08 ERA for Altoona. (Mark Olson/MiLB.com)

While it may be early in the season, there are still plenty of quotes offering insight into players and their mindsets that just don’t find their way into a story.

Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Altoona: To the surprise of no one, Tyler Glasnow is off to a terrific start with Double-A Altoona, sporting a 1.08 ERA through three starts. What is a nice change is that his groundball to flyball ratio has leveled off, currently at 1.00 for the year. Last year, his ratio for Class A Advanced Bradenton was 0.67, a fact his pitching coach Justin Meccage, is aware of.

“I had him all last year, a lot of fly balls just because of the fastball velocity and pitching up in the zone at times. A lot of his misses were down,  in the past, a lot of times, they were up. We’re always trying to throw the ball down in the zone, just in general. I think that’s something he’s been wanting to get better at it, and it has gotten progressively better over the course of the last year.”

Mark Appel, RHP, Corpus Christi: In a complete turnaround from last season, Appel this year has pitched like the player selected first overall in the 2013 Draft, limiting Texas League hitters to a .196 batting average in three starts. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates, Telvin Nash in particular.

“He’s been lights out. Staying with not doing too much. With this lineup, every good reason for him to pound the zone. Just working off his fastball, getting soft contact, which is a plus for him.”

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Tyler Duffey, Twins SP: After making 18 starts in the Eastern League last year, Duffey is taking on the Southern League to open 2015. Last year’s experience with more advanced hitters has prepared him for what to expect on the mound.

“I think I just know now, after spending the majority of last year in Double-A, hitters are going to hit your mistakes. It’s whether you make those mistakes or not that determines whether you’re going to have a good outing or not. If you leave stuff over the plate they’re going to get hit hard but if you can get them to hit pitches they shouldn’t be hitting you’re going to do well.”

Kevin Boles, Pawtucket manager: Boles has the fortune of managing a team with players like Rusney Castillo, Blake Swihart, Bryce Brentz, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sean Coyle sprinkled throughout his lineup. That type of lineup presents many opportunities for Boles to try different things.

“It’s exciting. Whoever we put out there , we believe in all of our hitters.  The versatility, the different things we can do with this lineup. Left and right, we’ve got a couple of switch-hitters. There’s a lot of versatility. There’s a lot of different things these guys can do, frequency of contact, play the short game, impact the baseball, it’s got a little bit of everything.”

Boles on Brentz, who has compiled an .884 OPS through 15 games this year:

“He’s always been a threat in the middle of the lineup. He’s always gonna stand out, he’s gonna impact the ball to all fields. He has a knack for collecting RBIs. He’s just showing some patience, working counts and earning himself hitter’s counts.”

Joe Ross, RHP, Harrisburg: Coming over from a warm-weather team, Ross has quickly adjusted to cold and how best to pitch in it.

“I was expecting it to be a lot colder starting out. I’ve heard snow and snowouts and stuff like that. With cold weather, you can really focus on working on your fastball and especially fastballs inside. It hasn’t been too bad but I’ve been on the same gameplan of fastballs inside. It’s good to pitch inside to begin with but when it’s 30, 40 degrees out the last thing a batter wants is to get jammed and break a bat.”

Minoring in Twitter: The perfect MiLB peanut butter & jelly sandwich

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

Pirates No. 2 prospect Jameson Taillon has learned many things during his Tommy John rehab (snorkeling in a hotel pool comes to mind), and his skills have expanded to the kitchen. Chef Taillon bragged this week of his perfected peanut butter and jelly recipe:

Jameson Taillon PBJ

Look at that clean line of peanut butter! Mets prospect Chasen Bradford chimed in that he goes with honey rather than jelly, because apparently jelly … not sweet enough:

Reese McGuire, also a Pirates prospect, prefers steak to PB&J:

You may best know Taillon from the time he spared a bug on his windshield earlier this month.

taillon driving

Moving on, Pirates prospect Jerrick Suiter isn’t your typical rich pro athlete — he claimed this week he couldn’t afford dinner with teammates:

Instead, he went for all-you-can-eat General Tso’s chicken:

Biloxi needs some help when it comes to photography:

Less to carry into the hotel, right?

Red Sox shortstop Mauricio Dubon snapped this selfie as the Greenville team bus burned:

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Minoring in Twitter: #MiLBproblems, burning buses, tornados

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

Playing professional baseball may seem like fun and games (technically, I guess, it’s exactly that), but there’s also more to the story. What happens behind the scenes? Where do the players go when the ballpark goes quiet and the lights go out? How do they get to stadiums when, for example, their team bus almost explodes and they, our beloved baseball heroes, are forced to grab their travel pillows and backpacks and walk the streets:

Yes, Benjamin Moore, Red Sox catching prospect and heir to the iconic paint empire (not really on the latter, but let’s pretend) was, along with his Greenville Drive teammates, forced to abandon his burning coach bus and trudge through the streets of Asheville, North Carolina, on Thursday. The Drive could not drive.

A burning bus isn’t scary enough for you? Sign me up, you say — I’ll deal with sub-par travel conditions for a chance to play ball! To that, we defer to A’s reliever Corey Miller of the Class A Beloit Snappers, who, on Opening Day no less, dodged a gigantic tornado with his teammates when they found themselves in Clinton, Iowa:

“Tornado right outside the locker room,” is the exact quote from teammate Brett Graves:

But hey, relax — they survived. No prospects burned up, no one was swept away. Every Minor Leaguer returned to their lavish homes, furnished with the finest luxuries:

You know, Derek Jeter had a personal chef when he played ball. Doesn’t everyone?

This week, we honor our fine Minor Leaguers and the #MiLBproblems hashtag on Twitter, which helps us chronicle the bizarre troubles facing players today. Just imagine yourself on a team bus late one night when the driver turns around and yells…
https://twitter.com/bmill3022/status/588175149440094208 (more…)

Top 10 Kris Bryant Minor League home runs

By Sam Dykstra/MiLB.com

Merry Kris Bryant Day to you and yours, especially those of you on the North Side of Chicago and others who carry a piece of Wrigleyville in their hearts.

As you surely already know, MLB.com’s No. 2 overall prospect has been promoted to the Cubs and will make his Major League debut at Wrigley Field on Friday, playing third base and batting cleanup against the Padres. By keeping him down at Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .321 with three homers and a 1.042 OPS in seven games, the Cubs delayed Bryant’s service time clock enough that he’ll be under team control through the 2021 season.

Yadda yadda yadda.

You’ve probably heard all this before ad nauseam. It’s been the story of Spring Training and the first week of the Minor Leagues. (We even made a page dedicated solely to Bryant’s short time in the Minors.)

So to paraphrase Mark McGwire in The Simpsons, do you want to hear about all that or do you wanna see Bryant sock a few dingers? You want the dingers. That’s why you’re here.

Upon hearing about Bryant’s promotion, we went through the MiLB.TV highlight archives and watched each of his Minor League homers for which we have video. Without further ado, here are the 10 best:

BONUS: Bryant hits first professional home run

We start at the beginning. That’s how these things usually go, and we’re giving an extra spot on the countdown to make this so. The Cubs took Bryant with the second overall pick in the 2013 Draft in June after he went deep 31 times as a junior at the University of San Diego and just over a month later, he connected on this shot to center field in his sixth game with Class A Short Season Boise. As far as Bryant homers go, this is fairly average. But firsts are special, and this deserves to be here.

10. Bryant launches two-run shot to left

Mystery can sometimes add to the “Wow” factor of a home run, and that’s what we have here. Bryant gets ahead of this pitch and crushes it to left in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, we don’t see where the ball lands. It’s certainly not in the stands out there. Here we must let our imaginations run free. Let’s say it kept rolling out of the ballpark into a truck that was headed from Oklahoma City to Dallas or something. Something like the legend about Ted Williams hitting a ball onto a train that was going from San Diego to Los Angeles. That’s fun.

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How top-100 prospects performed in level, organizational debuts

By Sam Dykstra/MiLB.com

Opening Day is a time for beginnings everywhere, and Thursday night’s slate was perhaps the most memorable Minor League Opening Day in memory with Minor Leaguers notching a no-hitter, a cycle and a triple play. But beyond the memorable performances, there were debuts — both with new organizations and at new levels — for some of MLB.com’s top 100 prospects. Here’s a quick breakdown for those who fit that category, with videos included:

Carlos Correa, SS, Double-A Corpus Christi: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB, K

Addison Russell, SS, Triple-A Iowa: 2-for-4, RBI, R

Russell only played 63 games between Double-A Tennessee and Midland last summer, but everything we know about the 21-year-old shortstop pointed to the fact he was ready for the Triple-A level, especially with the bat. A 2-for-4 showing tells us we weren’t wrong.  (more…)

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