Tag Archives: baseball

Tigers #1 Jonathan Crawford, Another Frank Lary?

By Rodger M. Wood

Jonathan Crawford 4

See more Jonathan Crawford images here.

While I shot photos of Detroit Tigers 2013 #1 (20th overall) draft pick, Jonathan Crawford, in the Norwich Dodd Stadium bullpen on June 17th, I couldn’t help but remember the Tigers’ old Yankee Killer of the late 1950s and early 1960s, RHP Frank Lary.

I asked the 21 year old if he had ever heard of Frank Lary, but of course, pitching forty years before he was born, I had to tell him who he was and added that unlike Lary, he would also miss out pitching in old Briggs Stadium, which brought many days of joy to my childhood.

Although Jonathan had not heard about the Tigers’ past, he could well be a large part of their future.

At Florida the past two seasons, the 6-2, 205 RHP pumped a 92-96 mph fastball and wicked curve past opposing batters. Pitching for a young Gators team in 2013 without much hitting early in the season, he went 0 – 4, but bounced back with a
3-2 record to close out the season with a 3-6 W-L record. The highlight of his season was pitching a 2-hit shutout against Ole Mississippi, who went on to do big things in the NCAA tournament.

Statistics are deceiving as Baseball America ranked Jonathan the 24th top prospect in the 2013 draft and he had a good 2012 collegiate season. In the opening round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, he limited Austin Peay to one run and four hits over 6 1/3 innings pitched and made the all tournament team.

Jonathan has lots of promise and while he reminded me of one of my old favorite, someday the reverse may be true. Looking at my old baseball cards of “Tatoes” Lary, I may well be reminded of an intense young Jonathan Crawford pumping his fastball in the bullpen that day in Norwich.

Another Kaline on the Way in Detroit? Nick Castellanos, Erie Sea Wolves

By Rodger Wood

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Older Tigers fans are praying young Tigers BA #2 minor league prospect, Nick Castellanos will develop into a HOF right fielder just like Al Kaline did back in the 1950s.

Tigers brass invited comparisons of the 20-year old to the HOFer, who patrolled right field at old Briggs Stadium for over 20 seasons, when figuring 29-year old Miquel Cabrera would be holding down their hot corner for awhile, they moved young Castellanos from 3B to right field at AA-Erie Sea Wolves this past July.

Erie manager Chris Cron thinks the youngster has all of the tools to be a good right fielder at the major league level.

“He has a strong arm, good speed, moves, and catches the ball well, but he’s playing in only his 46th game in the outfield, and needs to learn the position through a thousand repetitions and lots more hard work.”

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Castellanos says he’ll do his best to help his team at the new position. “I never played right field before, I played only shortstop and third base in high school, and minor league ball so I have to learn the hard angles I have to read to catch fly balls and especially line drives off a left handed batter. Right field is a tough position to to play but I’ll do it.”

Drafted in the First Supplemental round of the 2010 MLB draft, 44th overall, after he hit 542 BA his senior year at Archbishop McCarthy HS (Southwest Ranches, FL), the young right handed hitter proved he could hit beyond his years at Rookie GCL, Low A – West Michigan, Lakeland. When he stops chasing bad pitches and develops better plate discipline, he has the swing and hitting instincts to develop into a 300 BA and 30 HR major leaguer.

He’s advanced fast through the Tigers minor league organization, and while one of the youngest players in AA, he’s proved he can hit the more savvy Eastern League pitchers at AA Erie with a 276 BA in 74 games played, 15 2B, 1 3B, and 7 HR in 301 at bats. As he advanced from rookie to AA – ball, his power statistics have progressively increased against the tougher competition and has done better as the pitchers demonstrated better command of their pitches.

When asked about comparison with the Tiger great, Castellanos modestly reflected, “Al Kaline was a great rightfielder, and I don’t think I can ever fill his shoes, but if given a chance, I’ll do my best to give the Tigers another good right fielder. “

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Kaline was soft speaking and thankful off the field too. Maybe Nick Castellanos, thankful for the opportunity to play right field, will also be the answer to Tigers fans’ prayers when he runs out on the field.

Top Draft Pick’s Happy To Be A Red Sox: Pat Light – Lowell Spinners

By Rodger M. Wood

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Even though he was born in Colts Neck, NJ and raised deep in New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies’ territory, Red Sox 2012 MLD 1st round sandwich, and 37th pick overall, Pat Light is overjoyed to be a Boston Red Sox.

The 6’6” Monmouth University right hander said the Red Sox drafting him was “a dream come true. The Yankees/Red Sox rivalry across New Jersey is tough, and I probably will lose a few friends saying this, but I consider it to be a privilege to be with the Red Sox and part of that old rivalry. I’d love to beat the Yankees in Fenway Park some day.”

Light started 13 games, pitched 75.2 IP, and struck 61 batters for the Blue and White this past college season. Before the 2012 season, he was a Golden Spike or college baseball’s Heisman Trophy Award candidate, and #53 on Baseball America’s pre-season draft prospect list.

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After going 20-0 in three seasons at Christian Brothers Academy and winning a New Jersey high school state championship, he was the Minnesota Twins 28th round pick in the 2009 MLD but elected to go onto Monmouth rather than sign.

Light throws a four seam fastball as fast as 99 mph, a solid slider, which breaks down and away on righthanded batters, and a split change up in the upper 70s.He knows how to pace himself to go the distance, throwing his fast ball in the low 90s and only occasionally slipping in a fastball in the 96 – 97 mph range to keep the opposing batters honest.

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Sometimes victimized by an inconsistent, varying arm slot when throwing his off speed pitches, Light is working on repeating his most effective delivery every pitch at Rookie A NY Penn League Lowell.

“Lowell pitching coach Paul Abbott is working with me every day to improve and maintain my mechanics. My slider and change up sometimes lose their effectiveness late in the game when I tire and change my delivery.”

The 21-year old hurler must be learning his lessons. At Lowell, he is 0-2 W-L with a good 2.96 ERA in 10 starts and 24.1 iP. He’s stuck out 25 batters and walked only 5. The opposition has scored only 8 earned runs against him.

His potential, work ethic, and the way he’s performing at Lowell most certainly make the Red Sox happy too that he’s a Boston Red Sox.
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Click here if you want to view more Pat Light and Lowell Spinners photos.

See a slideshow.

Top White Sox Pick Lights up The Field at Bristol

By Rodger M. Wood
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#1 White Sox (13th overall) 2012 draft pick Courtney Hawkins has already shown the potential to dominate a baseball game at Rookie A – Bristol.

In the game I saw him play, he singled to get on base his first two AB, stole second base each time, advanced to 3B on an overthrow and scored the first AB on a sacrifice fly, starting the home crowd buzzing at the old Bristol ball park with excitement.

Although just an 18 year old, he has a certain aura about him which tells you he’ll get a hit, steal a base, and win a ball game for you.

While his speed is rated as only above average, the radar gun doesn’t take into account his baseball canniness, instinct and ability to rile an opposing pitcher into trying to pick him off. I had three perfect opportunities to photograph young Hawkins slideback to 1B in the first inning alone.

The book on this phenomen is he needs more plate discipline, but that will come with age. Critics will say he has struck out 27 of 92 AB in 24 games, but overlook the youngster has shown a knack for hitting the long ball with 2 HR and 5 doubles among his first 23 professional hits.

Bristol is also loaded six other White Sox’s 2012 draft picks: #3 2B Joey DeMichele, #5 SS Nick Basto, #7 C Jose Barraza, #12 1B Zach Stoner, #19 Alex Williams, #23 CF Kale Kiser, and #31 3B Corey Thompson.

You can view photos of all of the draft picks and other players in the photo galleries/featured photo folders/Bristol White Sox 2012 and Courtney.

See the slideshow.

See the gallery.

2011 Hagerstown Suns Legends Card Set

The Suns are offering a limited edition gift 30-card Hagerstown Suns Legends card set to fans, who purchase their 2012 ticket plan by December 22nd.

Legend sets will also be offered for sale to collectors in the Suns store.
The card set will include vintage cards of these past Hagerstown Suns players:

#1Bryce Harper 2011
#2 Jay Gibbons 1999
#3 Matt Cain 2003
#4 A.J. Cole 2011
#5 Mike Coolbaugh 1993
#6 Bryce Harper 2011
#7 Carlos Gomez 2005
#8 Orlando Hudson 1999
#9 Francisco Liriano 2002
#10 Grady Little 1984
#11 Stephen Lombardozzi 2009
#12 Felipe Lopez 1999
#13 Chris Marrero 2007
#14 Jason Martinson 2011
#16 Boof Bonser 2001
#17 Nyjer Morgan 2010
#18 Mike Mussina 1990
#19 Jonathon Niese 2006
#20 Derek Norris 2009
#21 Jim Palmer 1983
#22 Brad Peacock 2008-2009
#23 Shannon Stewart 1994
#24 Drew Storen 2009
#25 Stephen Strasburg 2011
#26 Vernon Wells 1998
#27 Arthur Rhodes 1990-1991
#28 Michael Young 1998
#29 Ryan Zimmerman 2011
#30 Jordan Zimmerman 2010

Twenty –six of the photos used for the set were taken from ones I shot at Hagerstown the past 28 years
(1983 – 2011).

You can view copies of this beautiful card set at this link.

Hickory’s Loaded with Top Talent!

By Rodger M. Wood

Led by All Stars at practically every position in the lineup, Texas Rangers’ Low A affiliate Hickory Crawdads won the 1st Half SALLY Northern Division and are leading White Sox’ Kannopolis Intimidators by a game in the 2nd Half.


Alejandro Selen (296 BA, 11 HR, 38 RBI in just 58 GP) is at 1B, Odubel  Herrera (306 – 3- 35) at 2B, 2011 BA Rangers #2 minor league prospect and SALLY MVP  Jurickson Profar (283-11-63) at SS, underrated Cristian Villenueva  (277-17-81) 3B, and Kellin Deglan (221-6-39) catching.

The Crawdads outfielders are speedy Josh Richmond (248-11-48) in RF and Jake Skole (265-7-58) in CF.

The Crawdads Big Four Rotation on the mound are right hander Nick Tepesch (7-4 W-L, 3.55), Roman Mendez (9-1, 3.26), Cody Buckel (8-3, 2.65) and Rangers #1 2011 Draft pick out of Clemson, Will Lamb (1-0, 0.66).

I saw Hickory in mid-August at Hagerstown, where they swept a three game series away from home.

I shot posed and action shots of the players listed below, which you can access and view at this link.

Hickory Crawdads 2011

Texas Rangers – Low A SALLY

List of Available Players Photos

Alejandro Selen 1B

Bill Richardson mgr

Cody Buckel RHP

Cristian Villenueva 3B

Jake Skole CF

Josh Richmond RF

Jurickson Profar SS

Kellin Deglan C

Nick Tepesch RHP

Odubel Herrera 2B

Roman Mendez RHP

Will Lamb RHP

The Sea Monsters Are NY/Penn Stedler Division Leaders

By Rodger M. Wood

Led by shortstop Chih Fang Pan and right hander Seth Frankoff and Brent Powers, Oakland’s Rookie A NY Penn League Vermont Sea Monsters are a game and a half ahead of the Connecticut Tigers in the Stedler Division pennant race.

Pan is hitting 343, good for a league third highest batting average, Frankoff is 3-3 W-L, 3.19 ERA, and Powers 3-2, 4.15.

Also on the team are Baseball America’s 2011 #7 Oakland minor league prospect OF Aaron Shipman and BA #18 3B Chad Lewis.

I saw Vermont on Friday, July 15th at Aberdeen’s beautiful Ripken Stadium.

You can view the Vermont photo folder at this link.

Vermont Sea Monsters 2011

Oakland Athletics  –  Rookie NY Penn League

List of Available Players Photos

Aaron Shipman OF

Brent Powers rhp

Chad Lewis 1B

Chih Fang Pan ss

Clime Neurdy OF

Diomedes Lopez C

Jacob Tanis 3B

John Wasdin pc

Jordan Tripp OF

Michael Fabisch 2B

Nick Magrante mgr

Sean Jamieson ss

Seth Frankoff rhp

Xavier Macklin OF

Greenville’s Still In a Pennant Race

By Rodger M. Wood

 

 

Even without some top first half performers, the Greenville Drive, with a 26-18 W-L record, are still only a game and a half behind the New York Mets affiliate Savannah Sand Gnats, and battling for a second half SALLY League pennant.

After strong first half performances, Boston prospects, OF Bryce Brentz (359 BA, 11 HR 36 RBI in 40 GP), 1B Miles Head (338 BA, 15 HR, 53 RBI in 66 GP), SS Heiker Meneses (277 BA, 2 HR, 22 RBI in 51 GP), RHP Chris Martin (4-0 W-L, 2.17 ERA in 7 GP), and 2011 Red Sox Minor League Prospect BA #2 and 2010 top draft pick RHP Anthony Ranaudo (4-1 W-L, 3.33) were called up to face more savvy Carolinas League pitchers and hitters at the Red Sox High A – affiliate Salem Avalanche.

Staying back at Greenville, 2B Sean Coyle (249 BA, 11 HR, 47 RBI), SS Xander Bogaerts (240, 2 HR, 11 RBI in 47 GP), RHP Miquel Celestino (8-4 W-L, 3.88 ERA), Keith Couch (5-4 W-L, 3.05 ERA), RHP Brandon Workman (3-6, 3.92), RHP Manny Rivera (5-4, 3.58), and RHP Kyle Shoup (4-5, 3.95) are picking up the slack created by the players moved up.

With the exceptions of Bogaerts and Celestino, and Ranaudo, who I saw at Salem last week, I photographed most of the Greenville stalwarts listed below at three games I saw in early June at Hagerstown.

You can view my photographs of the players listed below at this link or go into photo galleries/ Greenville Drive 2011 featured photo folder.

You can also view Boston affiliates’ photos, Pawtucket, Portland, Salem, Greenville, and Lowell, back to 2008 in the photo galleries/baseball/minor league/team.

Editors, if interested in publishing any of the Red Sox minor league photos, they’ can be downloaded from the editors choice photo folder. Please send me an email requesting a password.

 

Greenville Drive 2011

Boston Red Sox Low A SALLY

List of Available Players Photos

Billy McMillion mgr

Brandon Jacobs cf

Brandon Workman rhp

Chris Martin rhp

Cristian Vasquez c

David Renfroe 3b

Dick Such pc

Drew Dominquez 2b

Drtew Hedman 1b

Felix Sanchez of

Heiker Meneses ss/2b

Henry Ramos of

Jose Garcvia ss

Josue Peley of

Keith Couch rhp

Kyle Shoup rhp

Lucas LeBlanc of

Luis Lopez  hc

Manny Rivera rhp

Miles Head 1B

Sean Coyle 2B

A Ball Game at Dayton!

By Rodger M. Wood

Although shooting photos on minor league fields all over the country the past 28 seasons, anticipating  old time fun baseball at Fifth Third Stadium the next three games, my blood pressure rose excitedly when I walked through the Dayton Dragons office door to get my photography pass for a three game Peoria/Dayton series.


Dayton’s Fifth Third Field is the most fun field at which I have ever seen a baseball game. Season in and season out, Dragons staff and mascots, Heater and Gem, enthusiastically reve up the fans with their fun festivities before the game and between every inning. Team management makes tickets, and concessions affordable, and have sold out 815 straight games, and with the talent the Cincinnati Reds have put on the field this year, they will maintain their sellout streak the rest of the season.

Besides playing top notch baseball, Dragon players, including top prospects, are accessible to the fans, mingling, talking signing autographs before the game, catching first pitches, cooperating and working with a cheerful  Dragons staff.

Blessed with shutout pitching and a murderers’ row, Dayton is tied for first place in the Midwest League Eastern Division with the rival Lansing Lug Nuts with a second half 23-13 W-L Record.

Veteran major leaguer, and Dragons manager, Delino DeShields is leading his young wards in their professional growth by his sound example.

Every day shortstop Billy Hamilton (258, 10 HR, 39 RBI) is lighting up the stadium with his outstanding plays in the hole, running the bases, and clutch lead off hitting.

CF Juan Duran (253, 10 HR, 48 RBI) is starting to show a young Vladimir Guerrero like potential in the field and at the plate.


2B Ronald Torreyes (390 BA, 2 HR. 22 RBI), 3B David Vidal (296 BA, 14 HR, 63 RBI), 1B Dominic D’Anna (286 BA, 8 HR, 58 RBI), and Donald Lutz (267 BA, 16 HR, 45 RBI) are making opposing pitchers shudder.  Lutz hit for the cycle off Peoria’s RHP Starling Peralta in the second game of the series and was the first professional player I could speak my German with.

Led by RHP Josh Smith (9-6, 3.10), RHP Daniel Corsino (9-5, 3.41) RHP Daniel Renken (6-8, 3.18), RHP Pat Doyle (6-3, 3.90), RHP Daniel Wofford (5-1, 1.46) and RHP Drew Hayes (2-2, 1.77), the Dragons also have a strong pitching rotation and bullpen.

While the Dragons smoked the Chicago Cubs Low A- affiliate Peoria 13-5, 13-0, and 2-0 in the three game series, the Chiefs are a proverbial poor road team this season, who recently lost key performer CF Matthew Szczur to high A- Daytona.

But they have some strong prospects in their lineup. In the third game of the series, RHP Erik Jokisch  (7-3, 3.07) shut Dragons hitters down for seven innings. 1B Richard Jones (307, 18 HR, 71 RBI) is the sixth leading Midwest League BA, and is 2nd in HR and RBI.  1B Greg Rohan is hitting 314, 5 HR, and 52 RBI. While not getting a lot of run support, LHP Austin Kirk is 5-7, 3.36 ERA.

It was good to see Chiefs manager Casey Kopitzke, whose photos I took when he played with Cubs affiliates, Lansing, Daytona, West Tennessee and Iowa

You can look at the highlight photos for each team at this link. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

 

List of Available Players Photos

Dayton Dragons

Billy Hamilton SS

Chris Berset C

Daniel Corsino RHP

Daniel Renken RHP

Daniel Wofford RHP

David Vidal 3B

Delino DeShields Mgr

Dominic D’Anna 1B

Donald Lutz 1B/OF

Drew Hayes RHP

Frank Pfister 2B

Jefry Sierra OF

Juan Duran CF

Pat Doyle RHP

Ronald Torreyes 2B

Theo Bowe OF

Tucker Barnhart C

 

Peoria Chiefs

Anthony Giansanti OF

Arismendy Alcantara SS/2B

Brandon May 3B

Casey Kopitze Mgr

Daniel Berlind RHP

Dustin Geiger 3B

Eliot Soto SS

Eric Jokisch LHP

Micah Gibbs C

Richard Jones 1B

Rubi Silva OF

Sergio Burruel C

Starling Peralta rhp

Taiwan Easterling CF