Monthly Archives: February 2010

Lehigh Valley Ironpigs – 2009 Review / 2010 Outlook

If you haven’t noticed my review of International League teams has gone alphabetical, well I’m going to let you know now. It is. We are now on to our beloved Ironpigs. The Pigs in 2009 finally got us to .500 but never surpassed that level. They had a good finish to the season and got close but finished at 71 wins and 73 losses. Take one loss, make it a win and we’re .500 for the season but it just wasn’t in the card last year.

Looking ahead we have a lot of competition for jobs here in the minor leagues. Competition breeds a higher level of play and that’s just what Ironpig fans need and want to see. With offseason moves and free agents coming in this could go down to the wire.

Catchers - Expect a battle here. Paul Hoover re-signed, John Suomi is back and the young Tuffy Gosewisch had some time in AAA last year. I’m thinking Hoover and Suomi to start with Gosewisch coming up later in the year.

1st Base - No brainer here. If Andy Tracy isn’t DH’ing, he’ll be on the cold corner this season. With Cervenak and his average fielding off to the Mets, Tracy should see more DH time this year.

2nd Base, Shortstop, 3rd Base - This is where it gets tricky. With J.J. Furmaniak signing with Tampa Bay and no news on Terry Tiffee we have some prospects but noone familiar to the average Pig fan. Vying for some time in the Ironpig infield in 2010 are:

Wilson Valdez – Split time with Columbus, Buffalo and NY Mets in 2009.

Luiz Maza – Career minor leaguer.

Melvin Dorta – Played for Norfolk in 2009

Cody Ransom – Spent 2009 with the NY Yankees backing up Alex Rodriguez

Neil Sellers – Spent 2008 and 2009 with Reading Phillies

Tagg Bozied – Bozied split time in 2009 playing in Taiwan and Indianapolis

Now all these guys have talent. No real prospect value but these guys will play hard and put on a good show. With little room to advance to a healthy Phillies club they will be digging dirt at Coca Cola Park this summer.

Outfielder - What a selection of outfielder the Pigs have this year.

Rich Thompson – 3 year Ironpig veteran and fan favorite will likely be relegated to a platoon position.

John Mayberry – Also a returning Ironpig, Mayberry has a legit shot at making the Phillies roster to ride the bench. I don’t think the Phils will take away from his development and we should see him at CCP most of the season. I have this feeling when Domonic Brown comes up to AAA, John Mayberry goes to the Phillies.

Domonic Brown – Considered the Phillies top overall prospect, this guy is incredible. Stopping at Reading last summer I saw him lauch a ball over Route 61 in right field and he has an absolute cannon for an arm. This guy needs to be competative and get that fine tuning that AA is known for. Might be a later season call up, but if the Pig’s are overloaded on outfielders he might skip the Pigs and find himself warming up to replace Jason Werth in 2011.

Mike Spidale – A great guy who has taken hold in the city of Reading, Spidale will most likely see most of his season there. We might see him if injuries or call ups bring the Pigs up short but otherwise a high energy player with a positive attitude and hustle.

Dewayne Wise, Brad Wilkerson, Freddy Guzman – These guys have been around the Major Leagues are looking to get back. I have a feeling, just call it a feeling, that if they don’t make the Phillies 40 man roster that they will either be released or opt to retire. Wise is known for his defense, Wilkerson has spent his fair share of time in the show and the speedy Guzman would provide a lot of excitement on the basepaths.

Starting Pitchers
Expect to see Brian Mazone back in 2010. Also we are most likely to see Drew Carpenter and Antonio Bastardo in the rotation. Kutztown University alumni Ryan Vogelsong looks to add himself to the roster in a bid to make a come back.

Prospects:
Mike Stutes – Spent 2009 in Reading going 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA. He appears to be on a fasttrack and should earn a trip to the Lehigh Valley in 2010.

Vance Worley – Another 2009 product of Reading should make a few appearance for the Pigs when they are in a bind for starting pitching. He rates higher as a prospect than his numbers show, but he needs work to get his body accustomed to the long season.

Joe Savery – Savery was red hot at Reading last season and earned a trip to the Lehigh Valley midseason. He will be back, oh yes, he will.. be back.

Relievers:
With bullpen struggles last season we really depend on who the Phillies send our way. Scott Mathieson will most likely be in the Phillies bullpen next season. If he doesn’t get there for Opening Day the Pigs should have him until he is needed. It’s just a matter of time. Look for B.J. Rosenburg to answer the call for a closer this season.

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Pig Day!

I did go to the Ironpig’s Pig Day event today. I have to say it was a great time.

I showed up a minute or two after the 9:00am start time and was met by a long line of folks waiting to buy tickets.

9:00AM

Luckily, there were a bunch of happy and nice people around me and we enjoyed conversations about baseball’s past, prospects and jokes about the snow that came down steadily until around 10. Slowly but surely I navigated the maze of barriers until I got to the ticket booth to buy All Star game tickets for a bunch of friends. I am a season ticket holder so already had mine, but call me a faithful fan and friend.. I did this for fun.

12:30PM

After 3+ hours in line, in snow and cold and wind, I had my tickets. I wandered into the stadium and got myself a free hotdog. By this time the free pork was long gone as was most of the Coca Cola and Philly Pretzels. I bought a few raffle tickets to support our friends in Haiti and then took a few swings in the batting cages.

Batting Cages

Needless to say, I haven’t picked up a baseball bat since I was 17 years old. I got some good contact but my timing was way off. Baseball America can keep me off of their top prospects list, for now.

It was a great day and gave us all a taste of the quality baseball to come on April 14th and all summer.

Note: The Noise Nation received some great news today… stay tuned when we release this information.

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Indianapolis Indians – 2009 Review / 2010 Outlook

Anyone who saw the Indians play at CCP in 2008 or 2009 got to see a great ball player. OF Andrew McCutchen put on a show for us each time he visited and that hustle and determination earned him Rookie of the Year honors.

The Indians finished 2009 with a 70-73 record, one win short of the Ironpig’s record. A respectable season, enough to give any city hopes for a playoff run in 2010.

Who to look out for in 2010

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Pittsburgh’s #1 Prospect should start the season in Indianapolis for some seasoning. A power hitter, Alvarez is looking at a spot on the Pirates roster later this season.

Jose Tabata, OF
– Tabata has potential but needs to work on increasing power and maturing at AAA before he gets to the bigs.

Brad Lincoln, RHP – Lincoln started 12 games for the Indians in 2009 with 6 wins, 2 losses and a 4.70 ERA. Has the potential to be a mid-season call up.

2009 Batting Statistics
Player AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Tom Gorzelanny .667 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Brad Lincoln .571 3 7 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
Jonel Pacheco .400 7 15 2 6 3 0 0 4 2 6 0
Lastings Milledge .333 17 60 7 20 6 0 0 7 8 10 3
Andy Phillips .333 7 27 2 9 0 0 1 2 2 4 0
Jack Wilson .333 2 6 0 2 2 0 0 3 0 2 0
Yoslan Herrera .333 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Brian Myrow .330 62 206 37 68 12 1 8 34 43 33 3
Garrett Jones .307 72 277 44 85 18 0 12 50 18 47 14
Andrew McCutchen .303 49 201 41 61 10 8 4 20 17 24 10
Tagg Bozied .288 56 215 32 62 17 1 5 18 21 60 4
Steve Pearce .286 77 273 37 78 18 1 13 54 34 46 3
Jose Tabata .276 32 134 21 37 7 1 3 10 10 18 4
Brian Bixler .275 108 403 71 111 23 8 9 43 35 128 13
Pedro Lopez .275 42 142 16 39 5 0 0 13 9 20 0
Erik Kratz .273 93 319 45 87 30 0 11 43 31 72 7
Jeff Salazar .270 84 315 43 85 7 3 10 39 30 57 16
Hector Gimenez .268 48 168 16 45 12 0 2 20 13 35 0
Neil Walker .264 95 356 38 94 31 2 14 69 26 60 5
Robinzon Diaz .262 44 149 18 39 4 0 3 15 9 12 0
Luis Cruz .253 66 229 28 58 15 0 3 23 6 26 3
Virgil Vasquez .250 11 20 3 5 0 0 0 1 3 7 0
Larry Broadway .233 69 206 21 48 10 0 8 27 17 64 0
Argenis Diaz .233 43 146 14 34 1 0 0 8 8 27 1
Jeff Clement .224 27 98 16 22 2 0 7 22 12 27 1
Eric Hacker .211 9 19 0 4 2 0 0 4 0 7 0
Chris Barnwell .193 87 270 24 52 13 0 2 15 17 61 3
Shelby Ford .188 86 298 34 56 11 2 4 27 14 58 8
Miguel Perez .182 7 22 2 4 0 0 0 1 1 9 0
Adam Melhuse .176 17 51 6 9 2 0 0 2 9 13 0
Anderson Machado .125 4 8 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 6 0
Chris Snelling .123 19 57 5 7 0 0 0 4 8 14 0
Ryan Doumit .118 5 17 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Daniel McCutchen .118 10 17 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 10 0
Jeremy Powell .091 12 11 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Ty Taubenheim .000 8 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 0
Jason Delaney .000 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
Corey Hamman .000 9 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Bobby Livingston .000 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Juan Mateo .000 18 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Charlie Morton .000 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Brian Slocum .000 9 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Ian Snell .000 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Denny Bautista .000 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Evan Meek .000 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Sean Smith .000 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Jeff Sues .000 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Chris Bootcheck 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jason Davis 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Phil Dumatrait 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Steven Jackson 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jorge Julio 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jeff Karstens 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Koplove 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jean Machi 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
John Meloan 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Romulo Sanchez 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Donald Veal 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 Pitching Statistics
Player W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
Daniel McCutchen 13 6 3.47 24 24 0 0 142.2 145 63 55 10 29 110
Eric Hacker 5 5 4.02 21 21 0 0 116.1 135 57 52 6 46 82
Virgil Vasquez 7 4 3.93 19 19 1 0 107.2 116 50 47 14 16 72
Ty Taubenheim 7 9 3.65 26 19 0 0 106.0 108 53 43 8 37 63
Jeremy Powell 4 7 3.74 34 10 0 2 98.2 114 48 41 9 26 61
Tom Gorzelanny 4 3 2.48 15 15 2 0 87.0 73 31 24 3 30 85
Juan Mateo 7 7 3.79 48 0 0 4 71.1 69 33 30 4 16 45
Jason Davis 0 8 6.06 35 7 0 0 62.1 72 51 42 2 36 25
Brad Lincoln 6 2 4.70 12 12 0 0 61.1 72 37 32 7 10 42
Denny Bautista 2 3 4.88 36 0 0 1 48.0 54 29 26 2 34 58
Chris Bootcheck 3 2 3.38 40 0 0 20 42.2 40 16 16 1 7 55
Ian Snell 2 2 0.96 6 6 1 0 37.1 28 7 4 0 13 47
Brian Slocum 1 3 3.94 19 0 0 2 32.0 30 14 14 1 19 28
Mike Koplove 3 1 2.35 22 0 0 2 30.2 27 8 8 0 10 20
Corey Hamman 1 2 8.01 26 0 0 0 30.1 38 30 27 2 15 32
Steven Jackson 1 0 6.50 12 0 0 0 18.0 23 14 13 1 5 17
Jean Machi 1 1 2.12 13 0 0 6 17.0 8 4 4 1 6 12
Yoslan Herrera 1 1 2.30 4 2 0 0 15.2 12 4 4 1 7 7
Phil Dumatrait 0 2 4.20 4 2 0 0 15.0 16 11 7 2 4 5
Donald Veal 0 1 6.43 9 1 0 0 14.0 6 10 10 0 16 13
Romulo Sanchez 1 0 4.38 10 0 0 0 12.1 11 6 6 1 5 15
Jeff Sues 0 0 6.00 8 0 0 0 12.0 13 10 8 1 8 12
Sean Smith 1 0 0.93 3 1 0 0 9.2 8 1 1 0 3 9
Evan Meek 0 0 1.04 6 0 0 0 8.2 3 1 1 0 7 7
John Meloan 0 0 1.17 6 0 0 0 7.2 3 1 1 1 1 8
Bobby Livingston 0 0 1.29 1 1 0 0 7.0 6 2 1 0 2 3
Charlie Morton 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 7.0 4 0 0 0 1 7
Jose Ascanio 0 1 2.70 1 1 0 0 6.2 6 2 2 1 1 9
Jeff Karstens 0 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 6.0 4 0 0 0 0 7
Jorge Julio 0 2 6.75 4 0 0 0 5.1 8 7 4 0 2 7
Dave Davidson 0 1 4.15 3 0 0 0 4.1 3 2 2 0 1 4
Larry Broadway 0 0 4.91 4 0 0 0 3.2 6 2 2 0 1 2
Chris Barnwell 0 0 4.50 2 0 0 0 2.0 2 1 1 1 3 1
Jimmy Barthmaier 0 0 1 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 2 0

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MLB to Test For HGH?

As anti-doping researchers have been frantically working to develop an accurate test to detect the use of HGH, Major League Baseball is looking to negotiate with the player’s union to allow use of the test, when available.

I’m all for testing. Honestly, I could care less if they destroy their bodies and shorten their life by 10-20 years. That’s their choice. Look at how many NFL All Pro players from the 70’s and 80’s are dying under the age of 60. These athletes know the risks. They know what they face if caught.

The problem I have is when they lie about it. If you do it, be up front about it. Look at the controversy that ensued when Phil Mickelson pulled out a golf club that was 20 years old because it fit into a loophole in a new rule prohibiting a specific club that gave a golfer a huge advantage. Mickelson said he was going to use it, and that it was a legal club. He didn’t shy away. He didn’t say no comment. He didn’t wait 6 years to come out and say he was ready to admit to it.

So with testing the union has a legitimate concern in quality and accuracy of a test. One false positive and a kid’s career is tainted if not over. A higher profile player risks losing playing time, multi year contracts and endorsement deals. It could become a huge liability if these tests are implemented and turn out inaccurate.

I also want to point out that testing is going to be fanatical. Talk to Olympic athletes. These anti-doping agencies are on top of things. Thinking locally, the Velodrome in Trexlertown showcases premier cyclists of the world. Many of these folks live and work in the area. I’ve personally seen a waiter/cyclist approached at work being told he must perform the test immediatly or risk a suspension. To say these testing agents are on the ball is an understatement.

To set the record clear, I am FOR testing. I am AGAINST any test that has not been 100% validated as effective.

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Crazy Hotdog Vender Beware!

Being reported in St. Louis by STLToday.com, the Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrrr is being sued for throwing a hot dog that injured a man.

The report goes on to say that Sluggerrr jumped atop the 3rd base dugout and was firing hot dogs from an air cannon and then switched to simply throwing the dogs into the stands. Unfortunately for one fan, he was hit in the eye with a good bit of injury.

I’m going through my thought process on this….

1. A big mascot standing in front of you throwing hotdogs, at you.
2. People yelling, cheering, waving for said macot to throw a hot dog at them.
3. Seeing a hot dog coming right at you and not only don’t you catch it, but it slips through your fingers and pokes you in the eye.
4. You forgot to blink.

Middle school principals around the nation have been vindicated.

Now the man is suing saying the mascot has not been properly trained to throw a hot dog professionally. Personally, I missed this event in the Olympics but there are a lot of weird sports I haven’t heard of. Sound to me like another, “I spilled coffee on myself and didn’t know it was hot” lawsuit. Everyone looking for an easy buck.

Fortunately for Major League Baseball, the Kansas City Royals and poor ole Sluggerrr each and every ticket to a professional baseball game includes this disclaimer:

“The ticket holder assumes all risk and danger incidental to the game of Baseball, including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by thrown bats and thrown or batted balls, and agrees that the Commissioner, the Participating Clubs, their Agents and Players are not liable for injuries resulting from such causes.”

Now you can say this was not incidental, but the MLB policy on fan injuries has been rock solid since time began. Even a woman slammed by a broken bat in Pittsburgh resulting in a multitude of life altering injuries has been denied compensation from the courts.

I say this as a die hard fan. I agree some casual game attenders might get bored or distracted and miss some of the game or look away at an inopportune time. It happens.

My advice to those people is learn how to keep score. Score cards are in every Ironpig program (free) and bigger/better scorecards can be obtained from the Fan Services booth at no cost. It helps you to pay attention, follow the game and more throughly enjoy the game.

That’s all I have to say about that.

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Andy Tracy or The Last Expo?

With the signing of Brad Wilkerson to a minor league contract, the Phillies have created some questions as far as who plays first base for the Ironpigs in 2010.

Yes, Noise Nation, I hear the collective screaming, “Say it ain’t so!”

Yet, it is baseball and at the minor leagues anything could be so.

Let’s make a comparison:

• Both were brought up in the Expos farm system when it was producing players like Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Vlad Guerrero.

• Both are power hitting left handed first basemen.
Tracy throws Right, Wilkerson throws Left. One point to Wilkerson.

Career Major League Stats:
Tracy – 5 seasons, 149 games, .231 avg, 13 HR, 2 Triples
Wilkerson – 9 seasons, 972 games, .247 avg, 122 HR, 28 Triples

• Andy Tracy pitched one inning in 2008, striking out one allowing no hits or runs.

•Wilkerson has hit for the cycle twice.

• Nicknames:
The Might Tracy! or The Last Expo.
I’ll let you decide on that one..

Could Wilkerson replace Tracy as the Pig’s 1st baseman? Possibly.

Could they alternate as 1st baseman and designated hitter? Possibly.

Could Wilkerson find himself as a bat off the bench role for the Phillies? Possibly.

Could Wilkerson replace Andy Tracy in the hearts of Ironpig fans? Not likely.

Is it April yet? OINK!

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He’s to the Track! To the Wall… Forrrget About It!

Andy Tracy, Brian Schneider, Brad Wilkerson & Milton Bradley?

One of these players is not like the other….

Ok, so you have Andy Tracy. Mr. Ironpig himself.

You have Brian Schneider who had some great seasons in the bigs and recently signed with the Phillies organization.

You have Brad Wilkerson who came out of a brief retirement to sign a minor league contract with the Phillies.

And you have Milton Bradley.. he likes to play games, I’ll leave my personal opinions to the side tonight.

What do they all have in common? According to the archives of the Harrisburg Patriot News website these players all played on a team which became legendary at the AA level of minor league ball.

All of them played for the Harrisburg Senators, then AA affiliate of the Montreal Expos. This team started out like the 2008 Ironpigs and were laughable to say the least but unlike those inaugural Pigs, the 1999 Senators played hard ball and recovered enough to make the playoffs and win their league title.

One game that makes the story a legend.

Taken from The Patriot News Website:
The Senators trailed Norwich 11-7 entering the bottom half of the ninth. Navigators reliever Ozwaldo Mairena opened the inning by pitching to Senators third baseman Andy Tracy
* Tracy singled
* Jon Tucker walked, Tracy to second
* Brad Wilkerson walked, Tracy to third, Tucker to second
* Joe Lisio, who led the league with 33 saves, relieved Mairena
* Jeremy Ware popped out
* Brian Schneider struck out on three pitches
* Jason Camilli grounded an infield single to third, Tracy scored, Tucker to third, Wilkerson to second
* Milton Bradley, 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, lined a 3-2 fastball over the wall, Tucker, Wilkerson and Camilli scored
FINAL SCORE: Harrisburg Senators 12, Norwich Navigators 11

Why is this significant for Ironpig fans?

Tracy, Schneider and Wilkerson can be reunited this summer in a Lehigh Valley uniform. Hopefully, Milton Bradley will not. Stranger things have happened though…

“Bottom of the 9th, down by 3, 3-2 count, 2 outs, bases loaded… he swings and it’s a long drive to….”

Thanks to Decal for passing this story on to us.

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