Results tagged ‘ A-View-from-the-Press-Box ’

A View from the Press Box – 3/18


Sam_Blog.jpgLast post we asked for your nominations for the Inland Empire all-time top 10 list, and you came through with eight players in, seven nominees out, and a final five trying to pick up the last pair of spots. I’ll leave you in suspense on who’s made it so far (probably not a lot of suspense for most of them), and ask you for one last vote to finish off our top 10 list.

Only a few more weeks left of voting, and now we’re asking for fans to choose TWO of the following players for selection to our franchise’s all-time top-10 list!

Remember, we’ll choose one lucky voter to receive a bobblehead or tickets to Opening Night just for voting.  E-mail media@ie66ers.com with your selections.

Dave Burba (1988)- Certainly a recognizable big league name, he was a big star for the then Spirit, filing away a top-10 season in team history for ERA as a 21-year-old. Burba went on to pitch for six major league teams in his 15-year career, during which he accumulated 115 career wins.

Jeff Nelson (1988)- Nelson was one of the top clutch relief pitchers in baseball history, winning four World Series titles between 1996 and 2000 while a member of the New York Yankees. The 2001 AL All Star pitched in five World Series in total, and in 16 innings allowed just three earned runs (a 1.69 ERA in the Fall Classic).

Hong-Chih Kuo (2000)- Kuo has made several cameos in the Inland Empire, and has never given up a run while pitching for the 66ers franchise. Last year was his best yet in the big leagues as Kuo was named an All-Star for the first time in his career thanks to his 1.20 ERA in 56 appearances.

Shin-Soo Choo (2002)- Choo’s prodigious power has yielded back-to-back 20 or more home run seasons for the Indians, but while with the 66ers he was known more for his speed. Choo has the third most triples in 66ers history for triples and in 2003 recorded 13 three-baggers, the second most in a season in team history.

Kenley Jansen (2010)- Kenley Jansen the catcher had his share of struggles in the minors, but Kenley Jansen the pitcher blew through the minors like one of his fastballs. Jansen needed just 11 appearances in the California League in 2010 to demonstrate he was ready for a tougher challenge, and when he didn’t find one in AA either he was sent all the way to the majors (one of the fastest ascents since Ken Griffey Jr.) In 25 appearances for the Dodgers in 2010 Jansen was 1-0 with four saves and a 0.67 ERA. 

To pick your selections, e-mail media@ie66ers.com. You may pick no more than two. The top 10 66ers in franchise history will have banners on the concourse.

A View from the Press Box – 3/7


Sam_Blog.jpgWe are one month away from Opening Night, April 7th at Arrowhead Credit Union Park, and while we here at the 66ers are looking forward to the team’s 25 season of baseball, we are also looking back at the past 24 seasons and some of the great players who started their careers here. It’s not just us in the front office, we’d like you to look back with us as well and help us pick the top-10 players in franchise history.

E-Mail media@ie66ers.com with your top-10 and be automatically entered to win either a pair of ticket vouchers for Opening Night or a bobblehead!

Now some questions may quickly come to mind in terms of what we’re looking for. Do we want players who excelled while playing in the Inland Empire, or players who went on to great careers in the big leagues? The answer is yes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and your choices for the ten best can be based on any criteria you choose.

Here are our 20 nominees listed in the order they played in San Bernardino:

Ken Griffey Jr. (1988)- Not a lot of time spent in a Spirit uniform but he certainly had an impact. In just 58 games he slugged 11 home runs and hit .338. Once he hit the bigs he put up even more impressive numbers. All told the 1997 MVP was sent to the All-Star game 13 times, won 10 Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers and is considered one of the best players of his generation.

Dave Burba (1988)- Certainly a recognizable big league name, he was a big star for the then Spirit, filing away a top-10 season in team history for ERA as a 21-year-old. Burba went on to pitch for six major league teams in his 15-year career, during which he accumulated 115 career wins.

Rich DeLucia (1988)- Obviously you can make a serious case for the class of 1988 being the best in franchise history. DeLucia posted a top-10 ERA in team history before going on to a 10-year MLB career, including a 12 win 1991 season where he was in the top five for Rookie of the Year.

Jeff Nelson (1988)- Nelson was one of the top clutch relief pitchers in baseball history, winning four World Series titles between 1996 and 2000 while a member of the New York Yankees. The 2001 AL All Star pitched in five World Series in total, and in 16 innings allowed just three earned runs (a 1.69 ERA in the Fall Classic).

Mike Hampton (91-92)- Mike Hampton dominated both the California League and the Major Leagues in his time. He is in the top 10 in 66ers history for career Wins, Innings Pitched and Starts, and in 1992 he led the Spirit Staff in Wins, ERA and Strikeouts. After graduation Hampton was selected twice for the MLB All-Star Game and in 1999 led the bigs in wins with 22.

Keith Johnson (1995)- Johnson has the distinction of being the only player in franchise history to make his Major League debut with the Angels. Since retiring as a player, he’s gone on to become a successful minor league manager. This coming season, Johnson will lead the Salt Lake Bees (Angels-AAA).

Paul Konerko (1995)- Paul Konerko is still clobbering baseballs in his mid-30’s. As a 19-year-old he showed signs of what was to come, smashing 19 home runs as a member of the Spirit, validating his standing at the time as one of the games top 50 prospects. He broke into the Majors in 1997 and has hit 365 home runs in 14 major league seasons. 2010 might have been his best. He hit 39 home Runs, drove in 111 RBI, and hit .313, while finishing fifth in the American League MVP ballot.

Matt Herges (1995)- So the class of ’95 was loaded as well (makes sense since that was the first team to bring home a title). Herges has been called from the bullpen to pitch for eight different major league organizations over 11 seasons, and is still pitching at age 40.

Adrian Beltre (1996)- Beltre was just 17 when he broke in to the lineup in San Bernardino and has become one of the top third-baseman of his time. He led the majors in Home Runs in 2004 with 48, and last year was selected to his second All-Star Team.

Ted Lilly (1997)- The 1997 California League Pitcher of the Year is still in the 66ers single season Top 10 for strikeouts and ERA, and is also in the 66ers career top-10 for Earned Run Average as well. Lilly is a two time major league All-Star as well, and has hit double figures in wins each of his last eight seasons.

Hong-Chih Kuo (2000)- Kuo has made several cameos in the Inland Empire, and has never given up a run while pitching for the 66ers franchise. Last year was his best yet in the big leagues as Kuo was named an All-Star for the first time in his career thanks to his 1.20 ERA in 56 appearances.

Rafael Soriano (2001)- In 2010 Soriano led the Majors in Saves (45) and was named an All-Star for his efforts. Back in 2001 he was a 21-year-old pitcher for San Bernardino who went 6-3 with a 2.53 ERA as a starter before quickly being promoted up the line.

Shin-Soo Choo (2002)- Choo’s prodigious power has yielded back-to-back 20 or more home run seasons for the Indians, but while with the 66ers he was known more for his speed. Choo has the third most triples in 66ers history for triples and in 2003 recorded 13 three-baggers, the second most in a season in team history.

Felix Hernandez (2004)- He’s a no-brainer for his work as an Inland Empire alumni (2010 Cy Young Award Winner), but Hernandez had already established himself as one of the franchise greats when he won California League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2004. King Felix struck out 114 batters in just 92 innings that season, on his way to a 9-3 record.

Adam Jones (2005)- The former Mariner’s first rounder blew through the Inland Empire in 2005 when the then 19-year-old  hit .295 and established himself as one of the game’s best prospects. The following year Jones made his MLB debut. In 2009, one year after being traded to the Orioles in 2008 in the Erik Bedard deal, Jones may have had the M’s regretting the deal as he was sent to the All-Star game and won a Gold Glove. Just 25-years-old, the best may be yet to come for Jones.

Brandon Morrow (2006)- Morrow made a very brief pit stop in the Inland Empire after being drafted fifth overall by Seattle in 2006 (five spots ahead of Tim Lincecum). Morrow was mostly a reliever in the bigs until last year when he broke through in his first season north of the border pitching for the Blue Jays. In 2010 he recorded his first 10 win season and he threw a one hit, complete game shutout versus the Tampa Bay Rays.

Carlos Santana (2008)- The 2008 California League MVP ranks in the 66ers career top 10 in Batting Average, and the single season 10 best for Batting Average and RBI. Two seasons after being the top catcher (or any other position) in the California League, he was a backstop in the bigs, making his MLB debut for the Indians.

Travis Denker (2007, 2010)- The leader of Denker’s disciples, Travis is in the 66ers career top 10 or Hits and doubles and the single season top 10 for batting average. In his eight minor league seasons he has amassed over 400 RBI, and nearly 800 hits as well as almost 80 Home Runs to go with legions of fans.

Scott Van Slyke (2008, 2010)- Van Slyke may be the most successful in hitter in 66ers franchise history. He is the Inland Empire record holder for RBI and Doubles, top five for Home Runs and Runs, and top 10 for career hits, games, at bats and walks. His 2009 campaign was one of the best single seasons in team history (.293, 23 HR, 100 RBI).

Kenley Jansen (2010)- Kenley Jansen the catcher had his share of struggles in the minors, but Kenley Jansen the pitcher blew through the minors like one of his fastballs. Jansen needed just 11 appearances in the California League in 2010 to demonstrate he was ready for a tougher challenge, and when he didn’t find one in AA either he was sent all the way to the majors (one of the fastest ascents since Ken Griffey Jr.) In 25 appearances for the Dodgers in 2010 Jansen was 1-0 with four saves and a 0.67 ERA. 

To pick your top-10 E-mail media@ie66ers.com. You must pick at least five players but no more than 10. The top 10 66ers in franchise history will have banners on the concourse.

A View from the Press Box – 1/4


Sam_Blog.jpgIt’s a new year with a new affiliation for the Inland Empire 66ers, and that means a whole new crop of future big league stars will be making their way to Arrowhead Credit Union Park in the coming months. I think it’s time we gave you a peak of who MAY be coming to the California League to play for the 66ers this year.

Before we get started, I’ll let you know that we’re only including players who have had no more than a cup of coffee in the California League prior to 2011 (meaning they may have played in less than a handful of games leading up to a playoff run at the end of the season).

This eliminates listing players like Mike Trout — who would top my list — but does not mean he’ll for sure be absent the 66ers roster to start the season. The Angels place players within their system. As a team, the 66ers have zero say in who plays for its team. I have no idea who will or won’t be sent to the Inland Empire, so please don’t read into this list as indication of who will or won’t fill our roster this season. With that in mind, here is my list!

Worth Mentioning:

(Here are some guys that are all from the most recent draft, who if they have a Trout-like freshman year, may make it to the Inland Empire.)

Kaleb Cowart- Angels first 1st round pick (selected out of a Georgia High School). Speedy position player who can switch hit, play multiple infield spots and was a stud pitcher in High School as well (Gatorade Player of the Year for 2010). Showed very good speed in high school with solid pop with the metal bats, and as a former pitcher has a good arm. If he has a huge start to the season he could come to the Inland Empire.

Cameron Bedrosian- Angels second 1st round pick (from Georgia like Cowart). Has great bloodlines (son of Steve Bedrosian), but at just 19 years old, with no starts outside of the Arizona rookie league, may take some time to rise to High-A.

Chevez Clarke- Angels third 1st round pick (guess where he’s from…yep, a Georgia High School). Reason he might rise faster: played more during his draft year recording three homers and nine stolen bases in 38 games. Reason he might not get to the 66ers in 2011: he hit .216 and struck out 55 times in Arizona.

Donn Roach- Slightly older for the draft class, Roach had a nearly 4-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio with rookie level Orem. But he had a 6+ ERA and opponents hit .294 against him so he might be a mid-year call up depending on performance at his next stop.

Max Russell- 4th round pick but might be the most likely of this group to start with Inland Empire next year. A 22-year-old who had a better than five-to-one K-BB ratio, but saw a big jump in his batting average against (BAA) and ERA from the rookie level to Low-A after being drafted. A possibility perhaps, but like the others more likely to join the 66ers half way if at all as I see it.

 

My Top 5:

5. David Carpenter (RP)- I love under the radar guys who put up great numbers, especially with pitchers. This guy has put up great numbers the last two years, particularly in the clutch. Carpenter went eight-for-eight in save opportunities last year with Low-A Cedar Rapids. He didn’t give up a run in his last six outings (6.1 innings) and showed an ability to stretch himself by pitching two or more innings seven times — all but one of them without allowing an earned run. Perhaps best of all, there was only a slight rise in his ERA and BAA during his jump from the rookie level to Low-A. He may not be the 66ers closer for 2011, but he sure looks like he could be a go to bullpen guy for Inland Empire in 2011.

4. Daniel Tillman (RP)- He would have a bit further to rise than Carpenter, but is the 2010 draft pick (2nd round) most likely to make it to High-A to start 2011. He had a 1.95 ERA, five-to-one strikeout to walk ratio, didn’t allow a home run all year and opponents hit just .195 against him in 22 rookie league appearances. At 21 he’s at an age where the California League is a real possibility, and if he makes it, he would be a favorite to close for the 66ers next season.

3. Randal Grichuk (OF) – The Angels first 1st round pick of 2009 (one pick ahead of Michael Trout!) is slightly against the grain of the Angels normal draft patterns of speed, speed and more speed. Grichuk was a big time power hitter in high school with 21 home runs in 75 at bats (hit .613 overall). In two years of pro ball he has 18 home runs in 117 games but is still hitting .310 lifetime (.292 last year in 50+ games at Low-A Cedar Rapids). He is very young, very talented, and if he plays the full season, he could put up some serious numbers for the 66ers next year both for power and average.

2. Fabio Martinez Mesa (P) – There are rumors that a move to the bullpen could be in this flamethrower’s future, but whatever role he takes, expect excitement from Fabio Martinez Mesa. As a starter last year in Cedar Rapids, Martinez Mesa went 7-3, striking out 141 batters in 103 1/3 innings while allowing just 80 hits. He did walk 76 batters last year (third most in the Midwest League), hence some scouts speculation of a future in the bullpen. If he stays a starter he could be out on the hill opening day. If he goes to the bullpen, he could be the Kenley Jansen of 2011.

1. Jean Segura (2B) – Pound-for-pound Segura may be the best prospect in the Angels system (tips the scales at 155). He led the Midwest league in hits (161) last season, and was top-5 in batting average (3rd– .313), stolen bases (3rd– 50), runs scored (4th– 89), and triples (4th– 12), all while committing just 13 errors in 125 starts at second base last season. He also led the team in Home Runs (10) and RBI (79), so he could bring a little pop to Inland Empire as well. The soon to be 21 year old is my top prospect among potential 66ers for 2011.

Again, none of these guys are a lock to appear on the 66ers roster in 2011, but any one of them could leave Spring Training for the Inland Empire!  Let me know what you think of the list, and tell me who you’re most excited to see this season.

A View from the Press Box comes to you every Tuesday from Director of Broadcasting, Sam Farber.  To contact Sam, e-mail him at sfarber@ie66ers.com.

A View from the Press Box – 12/14

Not much has been said from an on-field stand point about what the affiliation change means for 66ers baseball. Obviously we all expect a better win-loss ratio than last year’s, which saw record, or near record, lows in more categories than I have time to mention. The thing to keep an eye out for next year is an Angels running philosophy like no other farm system in baseball.

Angels’ farm clubs tend to be the Oregon football offense of their respective leagues. They run, and run, and run. I’ve worked in three leagues now, the majority of which have had an Angels affiliate, and every year the Halo feeders have either led the league in stolen bases or made a pretty good run at the top spot, pun intended.

There are some people out there who say they don’t like baseball because it’s too slow, there’s not enough action. If that’s the excuse some of your friends gave you as to why they didn’t join you for a 66ers game in the past, get them a seat for a game in 2011. We expect to see a lot more activity on the base paths in the season to come.

A View from the Press Box comes to you every Tuesday from Director of Broadcasting, Sam Farber.  To contact Sam, e-mail him at sfarber@ie66ers.com.