Results tagged ‘ South Atlantic League ’

Young is done-who’s next to lead the Whitecaps?

Ernie Young signs autographs for fans for the last time as manager of the Whitecaps last weekend.

Last Monday the West Michigan Whitecaps’ season came to an end. Also coming to an end, was Ernie Young’s tenure as the ‘Caps manager, as he was notified after the game by the Detroit Tigers organization that his contract won’t be renewed. This news he handled with class, and kept to himself, until he was back home in Arizona the next day.

“They’re not going to renew my contract for next year,” Young stated to MLive.com over the phone. “I knew yesterday, I just didn’t tell anyone. They gave a reason (but Young did not state the reason). There are going to be some changes, but that’s the only one that I can tell you about. I can’t speak to or for anyone else.”

The ‘Caps went 72-68 this season, and 70-69 in 2011. Unfortunelty, they missed the playoffs both years even with winning records. At this point it’s unknown whether pitching coach Mark Johnson or hitting coach Scott Dwyer will be brought back, but both did their job well. Coaching in the minors is a tough gig, but I thought Young has done a pretty good job. Last season with top prospect Nick Castellanos struggling out of the gate, the coaching staff helped him turn his season around and lead the league in hits. West Michigan struggled at times this season more due to injuries than anything else. They lost power hitters Steven Moya and Dean Green to injuries, then a promotion to Green. They also lost catcher Curt Casali when he was promoted. Young is a former manager of the Class-A Kannapolis Intimidators in 2009-10. The 2009 team lead the South Atlantic League with a 82-57 record. He has also served as hitting coach for Great Falls in the Pioneer League in 2008 following  his Major League career that included eight seasons with Oakland. His 142 wins is fifth all-time for the Whitecaps. He seems positive he’ll land with a new team, though.

“I’ll redo my resume’ tonight and tomorrow and get it out to the other teams and go from there”, Young said. “I’ll bounce back and I’ll be on my feet. I’ll tell you what, I enjoyed my time in West Michigan. The fans were great to me. I don’t have anything to be upset about because I know how hard I worked and what I gave to the organization.”

I wish Young all the best, as I think that he did well the last two seasons in West Michigan. Now, I guess, is the time to try to guess who the new manager will be, although we may not get an answer for several months. Back in February, I wrote that I thought that former Tigers infielder Brandon Inge would be a perfect fit in West Michigan. Some of my reasons included his 12 year stint with Detroit, and owner Mike Illitch’s reputation for taking care of his loyal players, and the fact that Inge still lives in Michigan and has his family here. His experience at various positions and the fact that his playing career may be coming to and are other factors. In fact, this season for Inge has already come to an end due to injury. Now, also playing for the Oakland A’s, Inge suffered a season ending shoulder injury on the first of the month. He originally dislocated it on August 11, and had just come off the DL when he injured it again.

“My damn shoulder came out again,” Inge told the Sporting News. “I gave it my best shot. I knew it was going to be rough coming into it. In a year like this, you don’t leave anything on the table. I literally gave everything I had to offer to this team. And I’m at peace with it.”

He also stated he was in pain before the re-injury, but wanted to help the A’s in their playoff push. In 74 games with Oakland, he hit .266 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI’s. Inge was brought in last April when fellow Whitecaps alumni Scott Sizemore went down with a season ending injury of his own. If Sizemore is good to go by next season, it will be unlikely that Inge’s contract will be picked back up, and courting a new time at this point in his career could prove difficult. Now, I like Brandon Inge, I really do. I love the fact that he wants to compete and contribute to his team, and I respect the hell out of that. At this point in his life, though, it may be time for a change. A job with the Whitecaps would put him very close to his family, and give him a stable environment. Inge is still very popular in West Michigan and has said nothing but good things about playing there. I’m sure if the Whitecaps themselves had a say in it, he might be a top candidate. It’s the Tigers organization, however, that will make that call. Honesty, I don’t see any other reason that Young would get the axe unless they really had someone else lined up to replace him. Hitting coach Scott Dwyer has head coaching experience, so he would be a solid candidate to get promoted also, with maybe Inge taking his job. If any of these bold predictions do come to pass, however, remember you read it here first: http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com/2012/02/12/the-future-of-brandon-inge/

Photo property of Minoring In Baseball

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MiLB Champions Crowned

milbplayoffs.jpgThe Minor League Baseball season has come to an end (sigh). Here are the list of champions from their respective leagues. Any I missed I’ll try to get updated when I can. Looked like some exciting playoffs all around. I hope some other fans got to witness any of these games.

TRIPLE A

International League

Durham Bulls(TB) defeated Scranton/WB Yankees(NYY)

Pacific Coast League

Memphis Red Birds(STL) defeated Sacramento River Cats(OAK)

Triple A National Championship

Durham Bulls defeated Memphis Red Birds in 11 innings 

DOUBLE A

Southern League

Jacksonville Suns(FLA) defeated Tennessee Smokies(CHC)

Eastern League

Akron Aeros defeated Connecticut Defenders(SF)

Texas League

Midland RockHounds(OAK) defeated NW Arkansas Naturals(KC)

CLASS A

Midwest League

Fort Wayne TinCaps(SD) defeated Burlington Bees(KC)

South Atlantic League

Lakewood Blue Claws(PHI) defeated Greenville Drive(BOS)

Florida State League

Tampa Yankees(NYY) defeated Charlotte Stone Crabs(TB)

CLASS A-SS

New York/Penn League

Sctanton Island Yankees(NYY) defeated Mahoning Valley Scrappers(CLE)

Northwest League

Salem Keizer Volcanoes defeated Tri-City Dust Devils(COL)

ROOKIE

Pioneer League

Orem Owlz(LAA) defeated Missoula Osprey(PHO)

 

MiLB First Round Playoffs

The Minor League playoffs have started, and it’s an exciting time. Bare with me as I’lmilbplayoffs.jpgl try to keep updated on all of the leagues and how the series are coming along. I’ll be adding new leagues and updating things as fast as I can.
If I missed your favorite league or team, let me know and I’ll get it posted.

TRIPLE A

International League

Gwinnett Braves(ATL) vs. Scranton/WB Yankees(NYY) Yanks advance 

Durham Bulls(TB) vs. Louisville Bats(CIN) Bulls advance 

Pacific Coast League

Albuquerque Isotopes(LAD) vs. Memphis Red Birds(STL) Red Birds advance                          Sacramento River Cats(OAK) vs. Tacoma Rainiers(SEA) Cats advance 

DOUBLE A

Southern League

Birmingham Barons(CHW) vs. Jacksonville Suns(FLA) Suns advance

Huntsville Stars(MIL) vs. Tennessee Smokies(CHC) Smokies advance 

 Eastern League

Akron Aeros vs. Reading Phillies(PHI) Aeros advance 

New Britain Rock Cats(MIN) vs. Connecticut Defenders(SF) Defenders advance

Texas League

NW Arkansas Naturals(KC) vs. Springfield Cardinals(STL) Nats advance

Midland Rockhounds(OAK) vs. San Antonio Mission(SD) Rockhounds advance

 

CLASS A

Midwest League

West Michigan Whitecaps(DET) vs. Great Lakes Loons(LAD) Loons advance

Fort Wayne TinCaps(SD) vs. South Bend Silver Hawks(ARZ) TinCaps advance

Cedar Rapids Kernels(LAA) vs. Peoria Chiefs(CHC) Kernels advance 

Kane County Cougars(OAK) vs. Burlington Bees(KC) Bees advance 

 South Atlantic League

Greenville Drive(BOS) vs. Asheville Tourists(COL) Drive advance

Lakewood Blue Claws(PHI) vs. Kannapolis Intimidators(CHW) Claws advance

Florida State League

Charlotte Stone Crabs(TB) vs. Fort Meyer Miracle(MIN) Crabs advance

Tampa Yankees(NYY) vs. Brevard Co. Manatees(MIL) Yanks advance 

CLASS A-SS

New York-Penn League

Lowell Spinners(BOS) vs. Stanten Island Yankees(NYY) Yankees advance                             Brooklyn Cyclones(NYM) vs. Mahoning Valley Scrappers(CLE) Scraps advance

Northwest League

Salem Keizer Volcanoes vs. Tri-City Dust Devils(COL) Volcanoes win Championship 3-1

From Bum to Yankee

This is a pretty good reason to watch independant pro baseball, and ‘feel good’ story if I every heard one. On Monday, Jeff Williams, a closer for the Frontier League’s Trwilliams.jpgaverse City Beach Bums, had his contract bought out by the New York Yankees. He has been assigned to the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class A South Atlantic League. Williams was signed by the Red Sox out of college (Colorado State-Pueblo) but never saw action in there system.

So Williams spent two and a half seasons playing independant pro ball with the Beach Bums. In that time he became the Bums single season career record holder for saves. He converted 26 straight saves dating back to June 6, 2008. That including 13 this season which is tops in the league. Williams was also and All-Star this season and even earned the save in that game by hurling a 1-2-3 ninth inning that included two strikeouts.

He also leads Traverse City this season with 23 appearanced and a tiny ERA of 0.78. Williams has not allowed a run in his last 16.2 innings of work, including 23 strikeouts. In 2008, he set a single season team record by converting on 15 saves out of 16 opportunities. He appeared in 39 games going 3-4 with a 3. 40 ERA. In 2007 he pitched 38 games and posted an ERA of 4.61 with 52 strikeout.

So, good luck Jeff, in taking your mid-nighties fast ball to the show. It’s a big step up from being a Bum in Traverse City (right in my back yard) to Charleston, SC (where I was training last month). It’s a small world, but then baseball has the habit of uniting the world.

Photo courtesy of the Traverse City Beach Bums

Making The Best Of It

While being sent away for training down south, all you can really do is make the besgnate-daddy.jpgt of it. I did this by taking in some great Minor League Baseball action in some historic cities with great baseball atmospheres.

Charleston RiverDogs: I was able to make it to two games of the RiverDogs here in Charleston, South Carolina. They are Single A in the South Atlantic League. It’s always nice to be at a ballpark for the first time and ‘The Joe’ as they call it is a nice place to watch a game. It’s pretty big ballpark, but you still got a great view from anywhere. I was shut out at getting a game ball and the Dogs beat and lost to the Lexington Legends.


riverdogs1.jpg
riverdogs.jpgSavannah Sand Gnats:
Luckily the Sand Gnats were also in town while I was down here, this time playing the Charleston RiverDogs (maybe they’re thinking I followed them). I love Grayson Stadium, though, as I was here back in 2005 when I was training in Brunswick then. Always a good time in Savannah, and the Gnats played well losing a close game Tuesday night and winning in extra innings the next. I’d love to bring the family down here at some point.

Sorry the picture quality is so bad, but had to pick up a desposable camera while down there. They’re better than nothing, I guess.


sandgnats-graysonstadium.jpg
gnats.jpgPhotos property of MIB

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