Results tagged ‘ Charlotte Stone Crabs ’

Notable Quotables: Remembering Don Zimmer

By Jake Seiner /

Wednesday night, the baseball world was hit with the sad news that Don Zimmer — a 66-year baseball veteran — had passed away at age 83. In his wake, the internet has been flooded by stories and memories from those who were influenced by him, painting the picture of a man whose influence on the game trickled from his lively personality into the core of numerous players, coaches and others in and around baseball.

One such person is Jared Sandberg, manager of the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Sandberg’s uncle, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, is one of numerous MLB managers who played for Zimmer earlier in his career. Jared Sandberg spent parts of three seasons as a player with the Rays from 2001-03 and had his first interactions with Zimmer then. After retiring, Jared became an instructor in the Rays’ organization, where he had numerous encounters with Zimmer, who became a special assistant for the Rays in 2004 — a position he held until his passing.

On his memories with Zimmer:

“’01 was my first year in the Rays organization as a player in the big leagues. He was a bench coach for the Yankees, and the first opportunity he had to come over and say hello, he came over and said hello. He managed my uncle, Ryne, with the Cubs, so there was a family history there. Then, every time we played the Yankees after that, he made a point to come over and say hi. We would talk a little bit, he’d share stories and ask how Rhyno was doing.  (more…)

Notable Quotables: Jays building a Stroman

By Jake Seiner /

Toronto prospect Marcus Stroman reflecting on his first full pro season (Stroman stellar in Cats’ season finale):

480 Stroman Kevin Pataky MiLB“I think this was a huge season for me, development-wise and just having success in a tough Eastern League. I was throwing my changeup a lot more. As a starter, that’s a huge pitch for me going forward. I’ve learned how important fastball command is, being able to locate inside and outside of the zone. I’ve learned how to be able to pitch, not quite backwards, but throwing 2-0 sliders and changeups.

“Keeping hitters off balanced, that’s been huge for me. I think I’ve made huge strides from the beginning to the end, and now I’m trying to take that into the Fall League and into next year.

“I felt like I was in a really good routine being a starter, between my days working out and throwing ‘pens and the intensity I have when I’m doing everything.

“I’ve been learning how intense my ‘pens between starts should be. Also, kind of toward the end of the season, I backed off a little. I used to really aggressively long toss before I would pitch. I cut that down, and it gave me a lot more power in games. Just tweaks like that as the season goes on, adjusting for how my arm feels.”

Charlotte pitching coach Bill Moloney on Tampa Bay pitching prospect Felipe Rivero (Rivero delivers opening win for Crabs):

“I think he’s finally realizing that he’s maturing a little bit. He had a few hiccups here and there in the season. He’s realizing that, ‘Hey, I have to get my act together.’ His stuff is good enough to get guys out. He’s just taking himself more seriously, and that’s reflecting in the fact that he’s able to bounce back if adversity hits. He’s able to stop it in a hurry rather than letting it snowball.

“He has improved. His fastball — he can throw any pitch at 95 — and that’s fine if he can locate it. He’s realizing now that harder isn’t necessarily better. He knows when to maybe back off a little. It’s just him maturing as a pitcher to maybe figure that out.”

480 Rivero Charlotte Stone Crabs

Corpus Christi manager Keith Brodie on Houston prospect Domingo Santana (Santana, Hooks clinch second-half title):

“He’s a work in progress. He’s still a young man. He’s still learning plate discipline. He has the bat speed, so when he hits the ball, it stays hit. He has power to all fields. He has to improve to be a viable Major League player. I’m certain and convinced he will be that with experience.

“He’s just made tremendous strides this year. His strike zone discipline got better as the season went on. You look at his strikeout numbers, you want to see that go down. Anybody who has played, you see they learned to hit as they matured. There isn’t a big hole in his swing or anything — he’s just swinging at pitches he can’t hit. When he learns that discipline, you’ll see even more production.

“He missed I think four weeks with a hamstring pull. He could’ve hit 30 home runs, and he’s the type who could steal 30 bases, too. He needs to get his legs better conditioned for the long haul. Those are things on the horizon for him to improve on.”

480 Santana Walter Barnard MiLB

Draft Retrospective: Harper, Machado, Olt in 2010

By Ashley Marshall

With the 2013 MLB Draft starting Thursday, we thought we’d take the next few days to run down how some of the more intriguing picks out of the top rounds from the last few Drafts have fared. On Monday, we looked at 2009.

Today, we turn our attention to 2010.

The 2010 Draft had a little bit of everything, both at the time of the event and — retrospectively — in the three years that have passed.

While Bryce Harper, a highly touted outfielder from a junior college in Southern Nevada, made the most news, the Draft stands out for several other reasons.

Two right-handers taken inside the first 15 picks chose to attend college rather than sign with a Major league team. One — Karston Whitson — missed the entire 2013 college season with a shoulder injury while the other — Dylan Convey — may never have a pro career after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

The Draft also saw a toolsy young shortstop called Manny Machado draw comparisons with Alex Rodriguez and baseball’s current No. 5 prospect Taijuan Walker selected 43rd overall as the Mariners only pick as compensation for the loss of Adrian Beltre.2010draft

Eight first-rounders from this Draft class have already made it to the Majors, while four others are ranked inside’s Top 100.

  1. Bryce Harper, Washington (2013: MLB Nationals)
  2. Jameson Taillon, Pirates (2013: Double-A Altoona)
  3. Manny Machado, Orioles (2013: Baltimore) — A two-time Futures Game selection, Machado has played almost one-third of his total professional games in the Majors. The shortstop — the first one drafted by the O’s in the first round since 1974 — appeared in 51 regular-season games with the Orioles in 2012 and he’s currently hitting .327 with 30 RBIs in 57 contests this year. He’s the only high schooler from the 2010 first round to make the Majors so far.
  4. Christian Colon, Royals (2013: Triple-A Omaha)
  5. Drew Pomeranz, Indians (2013: Triple-A Colorado Springs) — Acquired by the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal in 2011, Pomeranz is one of only two left-handers from the first round of this Draft class to reach the Majors. He is 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 26 big league starts over two seasons, numbers that are part of why he’s back at Triple-A Colorado Springs again this year. In 11 2013 PCL games, he is 6-1 with a 4.26 mark.
  6. Barret Loux, D-backs (2013: Triple-A Iowa) — The D-backs opted not to sign Loux due to injury concerns, but he signed as a free agent by the Texas Rangers on Nov. 18, 2010. Last November, he was dealt to the Cubs for former teammate Jake Brigham.
  7. Matt Harvey, Mets (2013: MLB Mets) — Few rookies have ever made the impact that Harvey has this year. In 12 starts with the Mets, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA. The North Carolina product — who went 20-10 in the Minors — showed glimpses of this potential in 10 starts in 2012, but nobody expected the level of production he’s given the big club in the first two months of the season.
  8. Delino DeShields, Astros (2013: Class A Advanced Lancaster)
  9. Karsten Whitson, Padres (2013: none; Draft eligible) — Whitson turned down a $2.1 million signing bonus to attend the University of Florida. He went a combined 12-1 in 33 games between 2011 and 2012, but he missed the entire 2013 collegiate season with a shoulder impingement. He may draw interest from teams in this year’s Draft, but he is not ranked in’s Top 100 Draft prospects.
  10. Michael Choice, Athletics (2013: Triple-A Sacramento)
  11. Deck McGuire, Blue Jays (2013: Double-A New Hampshire)
  12. Yasmani Grandal, Reds (2013: MLB Padres)
  13. Chris Sale, White Sox (2013: MLB White Sox) — Of all 50 first-rounders from 2010, none have posted a greater WAR than Sale (12.2). He posted a 1.93 ERA in 21 games in 2010, and he saved eight games the following year. Converted to a full-time starter last season, Sale went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 30 games, striking out 192 batters in as many innings en route to finishing sixth in AL Cy Young voting. This season, he’s 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA in nine starts.
  14. Dylan Covey, Brewers (2013: none; Draft eligible) — Convey chose to attend the University of San Diego rather than going pro after being diagnosed with diabetes days before the signing deadline. In his sophomore year at college in 2012, he went 6-3 with a 3.32 ERA while holding opponents to a .247 batting average over 81 1/3 innings. He had just a 5.05 ERA in 16 appearances this spring for the Toreros.
  15. Jake Skole, Rangers (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach)
  16. Hayden Simpson, Cubs (2013: released) — Released at end of spring training, Simpson hasn’t pitched this year. For his career, he sports a 6.42 ERA over 30 starts and 26 relief appearances with Chicago’s Minor League system. He did not pitch professionally the year he was selected after suffering from mononucleosis, and he never lived to the promise of the Cubs only first-round pick that year.
  17. Josh Sale, Rays (2013: suspended) — Sale has not endeared himself to Tampa Bay. In August he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for methamphetamine and an amphetamine. He came off the restricted list and was added to the roster of the Charlotte Stone Crabs, but before he had a chance to make his season debut he was suspended indefinitely for throwing two quarters at a dancer in a strip club and then posting about it on Facebook.
  18. Kaleb Cowart, Angels (2013: Double-A Arkansas)
  19. Michael Foltynewicz, Astros (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi)
  20. Kolbrin Vitek, Red Sox (2013: Double-A Portland)
  21. Alex Wimmers, Twins (2013: Double-A New Britain; injured) — Wimmers missed most of 2012 with a right elbow injury, and he has not pitched in 2013. A two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Year at Ohio State, he has pitched in just 19 games in his professional career.
  22. Kellin Deglan, Rangers (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach)
  23. Christian Yelich, Marlins (2013: Double-A Jacksonville)
  24. Gary Brown, Giants (2013: Triple-A Fresno)
  25. Zack Cox, Cardinals (2013: Double-A Jacksonville) — Acquired by the Marlins from the Cardinals in July, Cox originally improved his Draft stock by 20 rounds after going to the University of Arkansas instead of signing with the Dodgers in 2008. He saw time at Triple-A Memphis last summer before being dealt to the Marlins for Edward Mujica last July. He’s been with Double-A Jacksonville since the trade.
  26. Kyle Parker, Rockies (2013: Double-A Tulsa)
  27. Jesse Biddle, Phillies (2013: Double-A Reading)
  28. Zach Lee, Dodgers (2013: Double-A Chattanooga)
  29. Cam Bedrosian, Angels (2013: Class A Burlington)
  30. Chevy Clarke, Angels (2013: Class A Burlington) — Los Angeles took outfielder Clarke one pick after they selected pitcher Bedrosian, who grew up just 50 miles from Clarke in Georgia. Both 21 years old, they have been teammates in the Arizona and Midwest Leagues together and they both started 2013 a bit behind schedule in Burlington.
  31. Justin O’Conner, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
  32. Cito Culver, Yankees (2013: Class A Charleston)
  33. Mike Kvasnicka, Houston (2013: Disabled list in Twins Org) — Drafted by the Astros as a catcher, Kvasnicka struggled in his first two years of pro ball when the organization tried him at third base and as a corner outfielder. The 24-year-old was traded to the Twins — the team that tried to sign him in the 31st round of the 2007 Draft out of high school — in March, but surgery to repair a broken hamate bone has seen him sidelined this season.
  34. Aaron Sanchez, Toronto (2013: Class A Advanced Dunedin)
  35. Matt Lipka, Atlanta (2013: Class A Advanced Lynchburg) — A shortstop at McKinney High School in Texas, Lipka has transitioned to the outfield. He tore his hamstring last summer, and that limited him to 199 at-bats in 2012. Back with the Hillcats for a second year, he’s looking to get back on track. He’s already hit for the cycle this season.
  36. Byrce Brentz, Boston (2013: Triple-A Pawtucket) — Overlooking the fact that Brentz hit .198 in his rookie year in Lowell, he batted .298 with 47 homers and 170 RBIs across four levels over the past two years. A hitter through and through, Brentz — who moved from left field to right without any issues — is already on pace to better his 2012 power numbers from Double-A Portland this year in Pawtucket.
  37. Taylor Lindsey, LA Angels (2013: Double-A Arkansas)
  38. Noah Syndergaard, Toronto (2013: Class A Advanced St. Lucie) — Acquired by the Mets in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays in December, the 6-foot-6 prep right-hander is looking to build on his 2012 successes with Lansing. Syndergaard has the stuff to record a strikeout per inning in the Florida State League (59 in 57 2/3 IP), and there’s every chance he can post a sub-3.00 ERA (currently at 2.81).
  39. Anthony Ranaudo, Boston (2013: Double-A Portland) — LSU has seen one of its players drafted in the first round each year since 2009. Ranaudo went 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA in the Eastern League last year, but he’s 6-1 with a 1.48 mark this year at the same level.
  40. Ryan Bolden, LA Angels (2013: Unassigned in Angels Org) — Drafted as an 18-year-old out of Madison Central High School, Bolden has spent each of the past three years in the Arizona League. The right fielder hit .187 in his rookie year but saw his average drop in each of the following two seasons. He has not played yet in 2013.
  41. Asher Wojciechowski, Toronto (2013: Triple-A Oklahoma City) — Acquired by the Astros in part of a 10-player deal with the Blue Jays last July, Wojciechowski is looking to build on a 2012 season that saw him go 9-5 with a 3.09 ERA between two organizations. After six superb Texas League appearances to start 2013, he was promoted to the RedHawks of the PCL.
  42. Drew Vettleson, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Advanced Charlotte) — He spun three no-hitters as an ambidextrous pitcher in high school, and he turned down a commitment to play for Oregon State University to play with the Rays. Now a right fielder, Vettleson set a Bowling Green franchise record with 139 hits in 2012.
  43. Taijuan Walker, Seattle (2013: Double-A Jackson) —’s No. 5 prospect was a Southern League midseason All-Star and a Futures Game selection last year. Still just 20 years old, he’s repeating the league after going 7-10 with a 4.69 ERA there in 2012, and early signs are that he’ll make his way up to Triple-A by the end of the year.
  44. Nick Castellanos, Detroit (2013: Triple-A Toledo) — A third baseman in high school, the Tigers felt Castellanos was more suited to the outfield in order to help the big club in the near future.’s No. 20 prospect finished third among all Minor League players in 2012 with 172 hits and he’s on pace to set new career highs in homers and RBIs in the International League this year.
  45. Luke Jackson, Texas (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach) — Jackson did not start pitching until ninth grade, but that did not stop the Rangers from drafting him 45th overall out of Florida’s Calvary Christian High School. The right-hander is repeating the Carolina League where he’s 4-4 with a 2.74 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 23 walks in 46 innings.
  46. Seth Blair, St. Louis (2013: Double-A Springfield)
  47. Peter Tago, Colorado (2013: Unassigned in Rockies Org) — Ranked 17th in the Rockies Top 20 prospects, Tago has not pitched in 2013. He walked more batters than he struck out in each of his first two years in pro ball, and his poor debut in Asheville in 2011 saw him reassigned to the Northwest League in 2012
  48. Chance Ruffin, Detroit (2013: Double-A Jackson)
  49. Mike Olt, Texas (2013: Triple-A Round Rock) — Of the eight first-rounders from the 2010 class to reach the Majors so far, none were drafted later than Olt, a supplemental pick for the loss of free agent Marlon Byrd. His big 2012 season — including 28 Double-A homers — saw him promoted to Texas, but he’s struggled in his time in the PCL, batting .139 with five extra-base hits in 20 games. He recently missed a month with vision problems, which may now be resolved.
  50. Tyrell Jenkins, Cardinals (2013: Class A Peoria)

Prospect Uniformed: Rays Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee in Every Minor League Jersey He’s Worn

People seem to forget that’s No. 32 overall prospect Hak-Ju Lee was traded. Lee was shipped along with right-handed starter Chris Archer from the Cubs to the Rays almost two years ago to the day, on Jan. 8, 2011 in the Matt Garza deal. The 22-year-old South Korean shortstop has strengthened his prospect stock since switching organizations. He is expected to play ball at Triple-A Durham next season, representing his third team in Tampa Bay’s system and fifth overall. Here are the previous four, in a gallery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.