Monday, September 30, 2013

Rays roll over Rangers in tiebreaker game

David Price pitched a seven-hitter and Evan Longoria shined offensively in the Tampa Bay Rays' 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers in Monday's American League wild-card tiebreaker.

The Rays will play at Cleveland on Wednesday in the AL wild-card game.

Price (10-8) recorded his fourth complete game with one walk and four strikeouts. Longoria hit a two-run home run in the third inning, doubled, singled and walked for the Rays.

Both the Rays and Rangers finished with a 91-71 record to force Monday's tiebreaker. Wednesday's winner starts a best-of-5 series at Boston on Friday.

And Kiermaier makes 62

Kevin Kiermaier made his major league debut tonight for the Rays in the wild-card tiebreaker against the Texas Rangers. The outfielder entered in the ninth inning and is the 62nd former Biscuit to reach the major leagues.

Kiermaier is the sixth former Biscuit to make his major league debut this season. He's also the third player to play for Montgomery in 2013 to also reach the big leagues.

Kiermaier with Rays for one-game playoff

Kevin Kiermaier has something to distract him from his beloved Purdue's football troubles.

Kiermaier, the Biscuits' player of the year this season, has been promoted to the Rays for tonight's one-game playoff with the Texas Rangers, according to media reports.

Purdue, by the way, fell to 1-4 with last weekend's 55-24 home loss to Northern Illinois. The Boilermakers, who beat Indiana State in early September, have an off week this week before hosting Nebraska.

Kiermaier, promoted to Triple-A Durham in late July, finished one hit shy of winning the Southern League batting championship for the Biscuits. He was also Montgomery's community service nominee.

Kiermaier ended the year with Durham's International League championship ... until today's promotion. Though Kiermaier is unlikely to play, the Rays needed him because center fielder Desmond Jennings is ailing and put Kiermaier on the 40-man roster by relegating reliever Jesse Crain back to the 60-day disabled list.

Monday, September 23, 2013

De Los Santos traded to White Sox

If, like me, you missed it over the weekend ...

Former Biscuits pitcher Frank De Los Santos has been traded by the Rays to the Chicago White Sox. He fetched a player to be named or cash considerations from the Sox.

The 25-year-old left-hander had a 5.34 ERA in 26 games at Triple-A Durham and missed two months due to an injury.

De Los Santos was a combined 7-2 with five saves and a 2.11 ERA between Durham and the Biscuits in 2011. He also made 33 appearances for Montgomery in 2011.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Romero won't be winner in his major league debut

Former Biscuits pitcher Enny Romero has no chance of picking up a win in his major league debut.

Romero threw 4 2/3 shutout innings Sunday in the Rays' game against Baltimore, falling one out shy of the required five innings for a starter to get a win.

The left-hander gave up just one hit, walked four and threw 38 of 70 pitches for strikes.

Romero was making his first appearance since throwing two hitless innings of relief in Durham's Sept. 13 playoff game. It was his first start since throwing eight shutout innings in his Triple-A debut Sept. 2.

The Rays lead 3-0 in the sixth.
UPDATE: The Rays won 3-1. Brandon Gomes, the first of five Rays relievers, got the win.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Romero to start for Rays on Sunday

Left-hander Enny Romero, after shining this season for the Biscuits, will make his big league debut Sunday when he starts for Tampa Bay.

The Rays are in need after playing an 18-inning game Friday and Romero is available. Romero will be the 61st former Biscuit to reach the major leagues.

Romero was 11-7 with a 2.76 ERA for the Biscuits and was named the top left-handed starter in the Southern League. He threw eight shutout innings Sept. 2 for Triple-A Durham. In the playoffs, Romero threw two hitless innings for the Bulls.

He'll pitch against the Orioles, whose Triple-A team was the foe Sept. 2. Romero gave up four hits that day with two walks and two strikeouts.

Astros, Royals had most minor league champs

The Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals each had two of their minor league teams win championships this season.
The Astros, who had six teams reach the postseason, celebrated titles by Quad Cities (low-Class A Midwest League) and Tri-City (short-season Class A New York-Penn League). The Royals batted 1.000 on their playoff teams with Omaha (Triple-A Pacific Coast League) and Idaho Falls (Rookie-level Pioneer League) taking championships.

The other 12 domestic minor leagues had their champions come from 12 different organizations. Here are the champions, listed by parent team ...
Astros: Quad Cities, low-A Midwest; Tri-City, short-season New York-Penn
Royals: Omaha, Triple-A Pacific Coast; Idaho Falls, Rookie Pioneer
Angels: Inland Empire, high-A California
Blue Jays: Vancouver, short-season Northwest
Cubs: Daytona, high-A Florida State
Giants: AZL, Rookie league
Mariners: Pulaski, Rookie Appalachian
Mets: Savannah, low-A South Atlantic
Nationals: GCL, Rookie league
Padres: San Antonio, Double-A Texas
Tampa Bay: Durham, Triple-A International
Red Sox: Salem, high-A Carolina
White Sox: Birmingham, Double-A Southern
Yankees: Trenton, Double-A Eastern


Kiermaier was Biscuits' nominee for Erik Walker Award

Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was more than the Biscuits' on-the-field most valuable player (here and here) this season.

He was also the team's nominee for the Tampa Bay Rays' community service award.

Bowling Green catcher Geoff Rowan won the award, which is named for Erik Walker, a 2006 Rays draftee who died that fall in a canoeing accident.

The full list of nominees ...
Durham: Chris Archer
Montgomery: Kevin Kiermaier
Charlotte: Willie Argo
Bowling Green: Geoff Rowan
Hudson Valley: Ryan McChesney
Princeton: Clayton Crum
GCL: Alexander Simon

Friday, September 20, 2013

Stanford hires former Biscuit

Ryan Garko, a former major leaguer who played for the Biscuits, has been hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Stanford, Baseball America reports.

Garko hit .297 with 40 RBIs and 33 runs scored in 61 games as a first baseman/designated hitter for the Biscuits in 2012. He didn't play this year, though he was in spring training with the Colorado Rockies.

The 32-year-old replaces Dean Stotz, who has retired after 37 seasons under head coach Mark Marquess.

Garko played at Stanford from 2000-03 and went to four straight College World Series. The Cardinal lost in the finals to LSU in 2000, Miami in 2001 and Rice in 2003. In 2002, Stanford finished third, losing twice to eventual champion Texas.

Biscuits release 2014 promotional schedule

The Biscuits released their promotional schedule today. Since you've surely seen the full schedule, here are the promotional highlights ...

5: Girl Scouts Camporee
7: Grand Slam School Day (10:35 a.m. start)
19: Easter at the Park
22: Grand Slam School Day (10:35 a.m. start)
30: Grand Slam School Day (10:35 a.m. start)

2: Boy Scouts Camporee
9: Myron Noodleman
23: "premium giveaway" (guessing a bobblehead or figurine)
24: pregame team autograph session
31: "Duck Dynasty's" Mountain Man appearance

9: Business Lunch Special (11:05 a.m. start)
20: pregame concert

19: Star Wars Night

8: "premium giveaway" (another bobblehead or figurine)
9: pregame team autograph session
28: apocalyptic "Auburn/Alabama Night"
29: Charities Night

1: Fan Appreciation "Night" (12:05 p.m. start)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hot Rods' Rowan wins Rays' community service award

Hot Rods catcher Geoff Rowan won Tampa Bay's minor league community service award, the Hot Rods have announced.

The Rays, if they follow the same award as last year, will donate $2,500 to the charity of Rowan's choice.

Each of the top six teams in the Tampa Bay system nominate a player for the award, which is named for Erik Walker, a 2006 draft pick who died that October in a canoeing accident.

(I've asked about the other finalists. Last year, the Rays gave $500 to their favorite charities.)

Previous winners ...
2012: Montgomery's Joe Cruz
2011: Charlotte's Matt Hall
2010: Charlotte's Stephen Vogt
2009: Princeton's Ryan Wiegand
2008: Montgomery's Matt Spring*
2007: Vero Beach's Patrick Cottrell

*--Blog post not available. That year, the blog was at (and not Blogger).

Nats take Spann (over $$$) to finish DeJesus deal

Left-handed pitcher Matt Spann has been sent to the Washington Nationals to complete the Aug. 23 trade for outfielder David DeJesus.

Spann was 4-3 with two saves and a 2.87 ERA in 59 2/3 innings for the low-Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods this year.

The 22-year-old was a 25th-round draft pick in 2010 from a Tennessee high school.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Best seats for Rays-Biscuits exhibition will be $28

If you missed it on Twitter (@AStacyLong), tickets for the March 29 Rays-Biscuits exhibition game will be $28 for reserved seats and $20 for lawn seats/standing room only.

(Regular-season seats this year cost $12 for "super box" seats, $10 for box seats and $8 for lawn.)

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Biscuits president Greg Rauch said when asked about the ticket prices. "Obviously, there are some expenses to get the Rays here, and we only have 7,000 seats available."

Rauch said the Biscuits will "stay within all fire codes" and not oversell the stadium. The largest crowd in stadium history is 7,591 on July 4, 2010.

"We'll look to be creative on ways to expand capacity where we can, without sacrificing the fans' experience," he said. "We want everybody to have an enjoyable time."

VIDEO: Rauch talks about exhibition.

Also ...
1. The game will begin at 2:05 p.m. that day.

2. Rays manager Joe Maddon will have a Q&A session with Biscuits season-ticket holders (full-season and 35-game packs).

3. Those with any season-ticket package can buy tickets now. Otherwise, tickets will go on sale March 4 when the Biscuits host their annual Auburn-Alabama game. (Check,

4. The commanders at Montgomery's Maxwell and Tampa's MacDill Air Force bases will have a ceremonial bet on the game. The losing commander will have to wear a polo shirt of the other bases and send a "care package" of his city's goodies to the winner.

Floro, Toles take Rays' organizational awards

Right-hander Dylan Floro and outfielder Andrew Toles have been named the Tampa Bay Rays' minor league pitcher and player of the year.

Also, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier -- just like he was by the Advertiser three weeks ago -- has been named the Biscuits' most valuable player.

Durham: IF Vince Belnome
Charlotte: OF Willie Argo
Bowling Green: OF Andrew Toles
Hudson Valley: IF Darryl George
Princeton: RHP Jake Faria
GCL: 2B Kean Wong
Dominican: IF Jose Rojas
Venezuela: C David Rodriguez

Best baserunner: Bowling Green OF Andrew Toles
Best relief pitcher: Durham's Kirby Yates
Best defensive player: Durham/Montgomery CF Kevin Kiermaier

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Report: Beckham promoted to majors

Shortstop Tim Beckham was promoted from Triple-A Durham to the Rays after the Bulls' loss Tuesday, according to Adam Sobsey of Bull City Summer.

Beckham is in line to be the 60th former Biscuit to appear in a major league game. He played in Montgomery in 2011.

The 23-year-old hit .276 in 122 games this year for Durham with 51 RBIs and 71 runs scored. Beckham was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft and signed for a then-record $6.1 million bonus.

Beckham had a .275 average in 107 games and was a midseason Southern League All-Star for the Biscuits two years ago. He played in just 72 games last year due to a 50-game suspension after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

Beckham is in line to be the sixth player from the 2011 Biscuits to play in the major leagues and the fourth former Biscuit this year, joining Derek Dietrich (May 8 debut for Marlins), Alex Colome (May 30 with Rays) and Ryan Reid (June 3 for Pirates).

Bulls fall to Storm Chasers in Triple-A championship

The Durham Bulls mustered only three hits in a 2-1 loss to the Omaha Storm Chasers in Tuesday's Triple-A championship game in Allentown, Pa.

Omaha starter Chris Dwyer took a perfect game into the seventh inning and gave up just one hit with eight strikeouts.

Durham's Jake Odorizzi and J.D. Martin each worked four innings with one run allowed on five hits and a walk. Odorizzi struck out eight.

Leslie Anderson homered with two outs in the eighth inning for Durham's run. Tim Beckham singled and had the Bulls' only walk. Cole Figueroa also singled.

Biscuits, Rays extend affiliation, to play exhibition at Riverwalk in 2014

The Montgomery Biscuits and Tampa Bay Rays, together since the Biscuits' inception, have extended their affiliation and are going to play each other, too.

The Biscuits and Rays will face off in an exhibition game at Riverwalk Stadium on March 29, 2014, the Rays announced Tuesday.

The teams, whose player development contract was due to expire at the end of next season, have extended it through 2018.

“We've had a great relationship with Montgomery, and it's a great place to develop players,” said Billy Gardner, who has been Montgomery's manager for the last seven years. “I think the exhibition is great for the fans.

“They'll get to see the guys who have played for Montgomery and made it to the major leagues,” Gardner said. “To see them in a major league uniform will be really great.”

The Biscuits, envious since the Rays played an exhibition game at Triple-A Durham in 2010, have campaigned for a game with the Rays for several years. It's one reason they, along with the city, rebuilt Riverwalk's 9-year-old infield before the 2013 season at the Rays' behest.

“Any time you upgrade your facilities and can improve your playing surface, we show our affiliate our commitment to providing a first-class environment,” Biscuits president Greg Rauch said in April.

Rauch declined comment earlier Tuesday except to say the Biscuits would have their own news conference at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Riverwalk.

The Rays had eight of their nine Opening Day starters in the lineup at Durham on April 3, 2010, though each starter left after just two plate appearances. Tampa Bay won 9-6 and, most importantly to the host Bulls, an announced crowd of 10,374 attended.

Three days later, the Rays opened their regular season at home against Baltimore.

At least three Southern League teams have hosted their major league affiliates since 2009 -- and a fourth will also have theirs next year.

The Mississippi Braves hosted Atlanta's second annual “Future Stars” game just this year where Atlanta played a group of the organization's top prospects. Atlanta won 10-0 before an announced crowd of 8,217, the largest in Mississippi's Trustmark Park history.

The Jacksonville Suns hosted the then-Florida Marlins in 2010 and the Carolina Mudcats, part of the Southern League through 2011, hosted the Cincinnati Reds in a 2009 “Future Stars” game.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos, who took Carolina's place in 2012, will host the Reds on March 28, 2014, one day before the Biscuits-Rays showdown.

The Birmingham Barons have played three exhibition games against their parent team, the Chicago White Sox, since 2000. The Barons also hosted a Baltimore-Philadelphia exhibition in 1999.

In 2014, the Rays open their regular season at home March 31 against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Biscuits start their season April 3 when they host the Birmingham Barons.

The Biscuits have been part of the Tampa Bay organization since their debut in 2004. The affiliation contract between the two, last renewed in 2010, was to expire after the 2014 season.

The Biscuits, entering Tuesday, have had 60 former players reach the major leagues, including 43 who debuted with the Rays.

The Biscuits have had a former player win the Cy Young Award (David Price in 2012) and two be named American League Rookie of the Year (Evan Longoria in 2008 and Jeremy Hellickson in 2011). This year, pitcher Matt Moore marked the 11th time a former Biscuit has been a major league All-Star. All are with the Rays.

Tampa Bay's current 30-player roster, as of Monday night, had 11 Biscuits, including former Southern League most valuable players Delmon Young (2005), Longoria (2007) and Desmond Jennings (2009).

The 2014 exhibition will kick off the Biscuits' true 10th anniversary season. The team celebrated it a year early with a commemorative logo and uniform patch.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Odorizzi to start for Bulls in Triple-A title game

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi will start for the Durham Bulls in Tuesday's Triple-A national championship game against the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Left-hander Chris Dwyer will start for Omaha.

Odorizzi will be facing his former team. He was 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA last year for the Storm Chasers before being traded in the offseason to Tampa Bay. Odorizzi was Kansas City's minor league pitcher of the year and his 15 wins between Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas last season ranked third in the minor leagues.

Odorizzi has thrown 14 shutout innings without a decision in the playoffs, giving up five hits with four walks and 16 strikeouts. He was 9-6 with a 3.33 ERA in the regular season.

Dwyer made one postseason start for Omaha, giving up a run on three hits in two innings. He was 10-11 with a 3.55 ERA in the regular season.

Price is (again) Rays' Clemente Award nominee

David Price, the Tampa Bay pitcher and former Biscuit, has been nominated by the Rays for the Roberto Clemente Award.

It's the second straight year Price has been the Rays' nominee. The award recognizes a major leaguer's sportsmanship and off-the-field involvement.

Price has his Project One Four that supports programs and charities in Tampa Bay and Nashville, Tenn., where he went to Vanderbilt and near where he grew up.

He also helped start the Rays Dugout Club, which sponsors two recreation centers each summer. Price has also hosted a bowling event the last two springs to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Price and the Ted Williams Museum have had "An Evening with David Price" the last two years. It has raised more than $40,000 for Tampa Bay programs.

Fans can vote for the Clemente Award at

Recent Rays nominees ...
2012: Price
2011: James Shields
2010: Shields
2009: Shields

Bulls are 13th from Rays to win minor league crown

Durham's International League championship is the 13th in the Tampa Bay minor league organization. Below are all of them, with their regular-season records.

2013: Durham Bulls (87-57), Triple-A International League
2012: Hudson Valley Renegades (52-24), short-season Class A New York-Penn League
2011: VSL Rays (38-33), Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League

2009: Durham Bulls (83-61), Triple-A International League
2009: VSL Rays (41-28), Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League

2007: Montgomery Biscuits (81-59), Double-A Southern League
2007: Columbus Catfish (82-53), low-Class A South Atlantic League

2006: Montgomery Biscuits (77-61), Double-A Southern League
2003: Durham Bulls (73-67), Triple-A International League
2002: Durham Bulls (80-64), Triple-A International League

1999: Orlando Rays (70-68), Double-A Southern League
1999: Hudson Valley Renegades (42-34), short-season Class A New York-Penn League
1997: St. Petersburg Devil Rays (81-56), high-Class A Florida State League

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Montgomery Rebels' record safe; Barons win Southern League title

The Montgomery Rebels' biggest piece of Southern League history is safe. For now.

The Mobile BayBears failed in their attempt for a third straight league championship, falling 4-2 to the Birmingham Barons on Sunday in Game 5 of the title series.

The Rebels are the only team in league history to win three straight. They did it 1975-77.

Mobile, after losing the first two games of the series at home, won the next two in Birmingham to force Sunday's decisive finale.

Micah Johnson, who homered to lead off the bottom of the first inning, hit a go-ahead RBI single in the second inning for the Barons.

Mobile scored twice in the top of the first to take the lead. After Johnson's first-inning homer, Birmingham scored three times in the second inning.

Barons starter Myles Jaye, after Mobile's two-run first, gave up just two more hits through the fifth. Ryan Kussmaul and Cody Winiarski finished an eight-hitter.

Birmingham won its first league championship since 2002. The Southern League started its playoff format in 1972. The Rebels won five of the first six titles.

Bulls to face Storm Chasers for Triple-A crown

The Durham Bulls will face the Omaha Storm Chasers in Tuesday's Triple-A national championship game in Allentown, Pa.

Omaha won the Pacific Coast League title with a 10-5 win over Salt Lake on Saturday.

The Storm Chasers won the PCL series in four games and are 6-1 in the postseason.

Omaha, Kansas City's top affiliate, didn't have a player make the PCL's end-of-season All-Star team.

Right-hander Brian Sanches was the team's top pitcher, stats-wise. He finished 10-3 with a 3.20 ERA in the regular season and is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in the playoffs.

As far as hitting, third baseman Rey Navarro has a .409 average, five RBIs and six runs scored in the postseason. Omaha has four other players with four playoff RBIs.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

BayBears are 1 win from reaching Rebels' level

The Mobile BayBears will get their shot at the Montgomery Rebels.

The BayBears, with Saturday's 3-1 win over the Birmingham Barons, forced a decisive Game 5 of the Southern League championship series.

If Mobile wins Sunday at Birmingham, the BayBears will win their third straight league title. The Rebels are the only team that has won three straight Southern League championships. They did it 1975-77.

Bo Schultz gave up one run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings Saturday, while Jake Barrett retired all four batters he faced for his third postseason save.

Raywilly Gomez hit an RBI single in the second inning and homered in the fourth. Dustin Martin homered in the ninth.

Bulls win International League championship

Merrill Kelly and three relievers combined on a two-hitter in Durham's International League championship-clinching 7-0 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox on Saturday.

Kelly gave up both hits over six innings before Jeff Beliveau, Steve Geltz and Adam Liberatore finished. Kelly had seven of the Bulls' 11 strikeouts.

Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give the Bulls a 3-0 lead. He added a single, a second run scored and a third RBI. Mike Fontenot tripled, singled, had an RBI and scored twice.

Durham won its fourth International League championship (2002, '03, '09, '13).

The Bulls will play for the Triple-A national championship Tuesday in Allentown, Pa. Omaha and Salt Lake were playing the fourth game of the Pacific Coast League title series Saturday. Omaha entered with a 2-1 series lead.

Bulls-Pawtucket marathon longest in IL finals since 1957

The Bulls shared a good note today.

Durham's 14-inning win over Pawtucket on Friday was the second-longest game in International League championship series history.

On Sept. 20, 1957, Miami beat Buffalo 3-2 in 18 innings.

Durham and Pawtucket used eight pitchers each, and they threw a combined 520 pitches (305 strikes). The teams were a combined 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position and combined to strand 33 baserunners.

Durham Bulls 1 win from championship

Enny Romero threw two no-hit innings of relief and picked up the win with Durham's 2-0, 14-inning victory over Pawtucket on Friday.

The Bulls took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 International League championship series. Game 4 is Saturday at Pawtucket.

Romero, who made his Triple-A debut in the regular season's final weekend, walked three. He is not in Durham's postseason rotation.

Kirby Yates worked around two walks in the bottom of the 14th for his fourth postseason save. The Bulls used eight pitchers, who combined on a four-hitter.

Kevin Kiermaier and Cole Figueroa scored in the 14th. Vince Belnome walked four times, while Jason Bourgeois and Brandon Guyer each singled twice.

Durham finished with 16 runners on base and struck out 19 times. The Red Sox stranded 17 and had 14 whiffs.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Barons have Southern League's top GM, top organization

General manager Jonathan Nelson and the Birmingham Barons won the Southern League's executive of the year and organization of the year awards today.

Barbara O'Berry, the senior director of business administration for the Jacksonville Suns, won the league's woman of excellence award.

The Barons opened Regions Field and drew a league-high 396,820 fans, an average of 5,669 per night. It was a 94 percent improvement over the 2012 attendance at Hoover's Regions Park.

Nelson just finished his ninth season as Birmingham's general manager. O'Berry, who has been with the Suns for 12 seasons, handles Jacksonville's financial accounting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rays' top 7 signees, Casali on instructional league roster

Tampa Bay's top seven signees from the 2013 are on the team's instructional league roster, including first-rounder Ryne Stanek, who did not make his professional debut this summer.

Stanek was the 29th overall pick out of the University of Arkansas and signed July 2. He was 10-2 with a 1.39 ERA in 97 1/3 innings this spring.

Catcher Curt Casali is the only player with Biscuits credentials headed to instructs. Casali just ended his first season in the Tampa Bay organization and spent the last month in Montgomery.

There were two players who saw considerable action with the high-Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs: outfielder Drew Vettleson and reliever Lenny Linsky. Three others (Dylan Floro, Grayson Garvin, Chris Kirsch) also saw some time in Charlotte.

Five players from the Rays' teams in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic earned a spot on the instructs roster.

Left-handed pitcher Jose Alvarado had a 1.97 ERA in 13 starts and catcher David Rodriguez hit .329 in 64 games in Venezuela. In the Dominican, right-hander Deivy Mendez had a 6.55 ERA in 14 starts, outfielder Angel Moreno hit .305 in 38 games and outfielder Manny Sanchez had a .247 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs in 69 games.

I've listed the players below by where they spent most of 2013, though there will surely be errors. For example, I listed Casali with the Stone Crabs and Floro with Bowling Green.

Charlotte -- Lenny Linsky
Bowling Green -- Dylan Floro, Nick Sawyer,
Hudson Valley -- Colton Reavis, Brad Schreiber, Jaime Schultz
Princeton -- Clayton Crum, German Marquez, Hunter Wood
GCL -- Jose Alonzo, Freddy Alvarez, Damion Carroll, Jose Mujica,
Dominican -- Deivy Mendez
Did not play -- Ian Kendall, Ryne Stanek

Charlotte --
Grayson Garvin
Bowling Green -- Blake Snell
Hudson Valley -- Chris Kirsch
Princeton -- Darren Fischer
GCL -- Jose Castillo
Venezuela -- Jose Alvarado

Charlotte --
Curt Casali
Bowling Green -- Luke Maile, Justin O'Conner
Princeton -- Jesus Araiza
GCL -- Nick Ciuffo, Taylor Hawkins
Venezuela -- David Rodriguez

Bowling Green --
Tyler Goeddel, Patrick Leonard, Brandon Martin, Leonardo Reginatto
Hudson Valley -- Ty Young
GCL -- Alex Simon, Cristian Toribio, Riley Unroe, Kean Wong

Charlotte --
Drew Vettleson
Bowling Green -- Andrew Toles
Hudson Valley -- Granden Goetzman,
Princeton -- Bralin Jackson,
GCL -- Tommy Milone, Jose Paez
Dominican -- Angel Moreno, Manny Sanchez

Bowling Green --
RHP Taylor Guerrieri
Hudson Valley -- OF Johnny Field, C Oscar Hernandez
Princeton -- SS Spencer Edwards
Did not play -- SS Juniel Querecuto

Riefenhauser on Baseball America all-minors team

Former Biscuits reliever C.J. Riefenhauser was named to Baseball America's minor league All-Star team Thursday.

Riefenhauser was a combined 6-1 with 11 saves and a 1.22 ERA between the Biscuits and Triple-A Durham. Hitters amassed a .162 batting average, 19 walks and 70 strikeouts in his 73 2/3 innings.

The left-hander was a midseason Southern League All-Star and pitched a tidy scoreless inning in the Futures Game.

The 15-player team included five who played against the Biscuits this year: Marcus Semien and Erik Johnson of the Birmingham Barons, Joc Pederson of the Chattanooga Lookouts, Javier Baez of the Tennessee Smokies, and Archie Bradley of the Mobile BayBears.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bulls rally to beat PawSox, knot IL title series

Kevin Kiermaier doubled home Craig Albernaz with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the Durham Bulls beat Pawtucket 2-1 on Wednesday.

Durham tied the best-of-5 International League championship series at one game apiece.

The Bulls trailed 1-0 before Jason Bourgeois singled and scored on a passed ball in the sixth inning.

C.J. Riefenhauser tossed two perfect innings with four strikeouts to pick up the victory. Kirby Yates worked a one-walk ninth for his third postseason save. Starter J.D. Martin gave up one run on just four hits in six innings.

Pawtucket hosts the remainder of the series beginning with Friday's Game 3.

Rays on end-of-season All-Star lists

We're still waiting to hear from the Gulf Coast League, but here are the other Tampa Bay minor leaguers who made a league's end-of-season All-Star team:

International League
J.D. Martin, pitcher of year
Vince Belnome
Charlie Montoyo, manager of year

Southern League
Enny Romero
Kevin Kiermaier

Florida State League
Richie Shaffer

Midwest League
Dylan Floro
Luke Maile
Andrew Toles

New York-Penn League
no end-of-season team

Appalachian League

Gulf Coast League

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bulls drop opener to Pawtucket

Pawtucket scored twice in the eighth inning to beat Durham 2-1 in the opening game of the International League championship series Tuesday.

Game 2 is Wednesday.

After starter Jake Odorizzi tossed seven shutout innings, reliever Jeff Beliveau gave up two runs on two hits and recorded just one out.

The Red Sox totaled just four hits, a walk and seven strikeouts against Odorizzi, who has thrown 14 shutout innings in the playoffs.

The Bulls loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Tim Beckham singled and went to third on a Cole Figueroa single. Figueroa moved up to second on the play before the Red Sox intentionally walked Jason Bourgeois.

Shelley Duncan fouled out and Brandon Guyer flied out to end it.

The Bulls scored in the second inning. Mike Fontenot hit a leadoff double, went to third on a Kevin Kiermaier bunt and scored on a Jesus Flores flyout.

Beckham singled twice and walked. Figueroa hit two singles and Vince Belnome walked twice.

Bulls add O'Malley for IL finals

Shawn O'Malley, after spending all season with the Biscuits, will get a shot at a championship.

O'Malley has been added to Triple-A Durham's roster for the International League championship series, which begins tonight.

The infielder replaces Ryan Roberts, who has been placed on the disabled list.

O'Malley hit .262 in 91 games for Montgomery and joined the Bulls at the end of the regular season, though he wasn't on the active roster for Durham's semifinal series. O'Malley had a .245 average in 67 games at Durham last year.

Rebels' 3-peat history rests with Barons

Montgomery Rebels fans might pull for the Birmingham Barons this week.

The Mobile BayBears, who are trying to become the first team to win three straight Southern League championships since the Rebels, will face the Barons in the final series.

Oddly, when the Rebels abandoned Montgomery after the 1980 season, they moved to Birmingham and became the Barons. The Rebels won three straight Southern League titles from 1975-77.

Birmingham, which is in the finals for the first time since 2002, won 7-4 at Tennessee on Monday in Game 5 of their semifinal series.

Championship series schedule ...
Wednesday: at Mobile, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: at Mobile, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: at Birmingham, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, if necessary: at Birmingham, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, if necessary: at Birmingham, 6 p.m.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Stone Crabs watch Daytona celebrate title

The Charlotte Stone Crabs mustered just one hit and Daytona won the Florida State League championship with a 4-0 victory Monday.

Jake Hager singled in the fourth inning. Jake DePew walked in the third and Alejandro Segovia in the fifth.

Dylan Floro gave up three runs in the first two innings before posting a book-rule quality start.

No Romero in Bulls' championship series rotation

Jake Odorizzi will start Tuesday for Durham in the opening game of the International League championship series.

The Bulls and Pawtucket Red Sox announced their projected starters today. Enny Romero again isn't on Durham's list, so the left-hander is relegated to the bullpen.

Game 1: Jake Odorizzi (9-6, 3.33) vs. Anthony Ranaudo (3-1, 2.97)
Game 2: J.D. Martin (16-4, 2.75) vs. Steven Wright (8-7, 3.46)
Game 3: Matt Buschmann (8-2, 2.97) vs. Matt Barnes (1-0, 1.00)
Game 4, if necessary: Merrill Kelly (8-4, 3.19) vs. Charlie Haeger (4-4, 4.38)
Game 5, if necessary: Mike Montgomery (7-8, 4.72) vs. TBA

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rebels' 3-peat history faces challenge from BayBears

The Montgomery Rebels' piece of Southern League history will face a challenge this week.

The Mobile BayBears, after finishing off a semifinal playoff series victory over Mississippi on Sunday, are gunning for their third straight Southern League championship.

No team -- other than the Rebels from 1975-77 -- has won three straight.

The BayBears downed the Mississippi Braves in four games, winning Sunday's finale 15-0.

They'll face either the Tennessee Smokies or Birmingham Barons. The Smokies and Barons play a decisive Game 5 on Monday.

Stone Crabs stay alive with 9th-inning rally

Jonathan Quinonez singled home Alejandro Segovia with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the Stone Crabs' 3-2 win over Daytona on Sunday.

Charlotte staved off a sweep in the Florida State League's best-of-5 championship series. Game 4 is Monday.

The Crabs scored twice in the ninth. Jeff Malm hit an RBI single to tie it with one out just before Quinonez's game-winning hit.

Quinonez hit a pinch-hit home run to lead off the eighth.

Starter Felipe Rivero gave up one earned run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Bulls have losing record vs. IL finals foe Pawtucket

The Durham Bulls will take on the Pawtucket Red Sox in the International League championship series.

Pawtucket finished off its semifinal series today with a 3-0 victory over Rochester. Tuesday's series opener is at Durham.

Pawtucket won five of eight games from the Bulls this season. The teams split a four-game series at Pawtucket from May 2-5. The Red Sox won the first three games of a four-gamer in Durham from July 18-21.

Looking back at past Rays system champs

With Kean Wong and Dylan Floro "winning" the Tampa Bay organizational batting and ERA titles, I thought it might be interesting to look at past champs.

I planned to go back to 2004 and cover the Biscuits era, but the 2004 data wasn't easily available, so 2005-present is listed below.

If a short-season player "won," I listed the top full-season player in parentheses. Also, the team listed is the one where the player finished the season.

2013: Kean Wong, GCL, .328 (Andrew Toles, BWG, .326)
2012: Ben Kline, GCL, .333 (Omar Luna, MGM, .315)
2011: Joel Caminero, PRI, .330  (Russ Canzler, DUR, .314)
2010: Stephen Vogt, CHA, .345
2009: Ryan Wiegand, PRI, .324 (Desmond Jennings, MGM, .318)
2008: Eli Otero, PRI, .332 (Dan Johnson, DUR, .307)
2007: Ryan Royster, Columbus, .329
2006: Nevin Ashley, PRI, .333 (Reid Brignac, MGM, .321)
2005: Francisco Leandro, Visalia, .329

2013: Kyeong Kang, MGM, 16
2012: Todd Glaesmann, BWG, 21
2011: Derek Dietrich, BWG, 22
2010: Dan Johnson, DUR, 30
2009: Chris Richard, DUR, 24
2008: Chris Richard, DUR, 26
2007: Ryan Royster, Columbus, 30
2006: Kevin Witt, DUR, 36
2005: Earl Snyder, DUR, 29

2013: Leslie Anderson, DUR, 74
2012: Henry Wrigley, DUR, 79
2011: Stephen Vogt, DUR, 105
2010: Dan Johnson, DUR, 95
2009: Matt Fields, MGM, 77
2008: Gabriel Martinez, MGM, 93
2007: Ryan Royster, Columbus, 98
2006: Chris Nowak, Visalia, 103
2005: Delmon Young, DUR, 99

2013: Andrew Toles, BWG, 62
2012: Ryan Brett, BWG, 48
2011: Tyler Bortnick, CHA, 43
2010: Ty Morrison, BWG, 58
2009: Desmond Jennings, DUR, 52
2008: Maiko Loyola, Columbus, 45
2007: Demond Jennings, Columbus, 45
2006: B.J. Upton, DUR, 46
2005: Fernando Perez, Southwest Michigan, 57

2013: Dylan Floro, CHA, 11-2, 1.77
2012: Jeff Ames, HV, 6-1, 1.96 (Roberto Gomes, BWG, 9-3, 2.48)
2011: Matt Moore, DUR, 12-3, 1.92
2010: Enny Romero, HV, 5-4, 1.94 (Alex Cobb, DUR, 7-5, 2.71)
2009: Alex Colome, HV, 7-4, 1.66 (Darin Downs, MGM, 12-6, 2.23)
2008: Matt Moore, PRI, 2-2, 1.66 (Jeremy Hellickson, MGM, 11-5, 2.96)
2007: Wade Davis, MGM: 10-3, 2.50
2006: Jeremy Hellickson, HV, 4-3, 2.43 (Andy Sonnanstine, MGM, 15-8. 2.67)
2005: Andy Sonnanstine, Visalia, 14-5, 2.99

2013: J.D. Martin, DUR, 16-4
2012: Matt Torra, DUR, 12-7
2011: George Jensen, BWG, 13-4
2010: Richard De Los Santos, DUR, 14-5
2009: Jeremy Hall, CHA, 14-7
2008: Wade Davis, DUR, 13-8; Mitch Talbot, DUR, 13-9
2007: Heath Rollins, Columbus, 17-4
2006: Andy Sonnanstine, MGM, 15-8
2005: Andy Sonnanstine, Visalia, 14-5

2013: Matt Buschmann, DUR, 167
2012: Chris Archer, DUR, 139
2011: Matt Moore, DUR, 210
2010: Matt Moore, CHA, 208
2009: Matt Moore, BWG, 176
2008: Jeremy Hellickson, MGM, 162
2007: Jake McGee, MGM, 175
2006: Jake McGee, Southwest Michigan, 171
2005: Andy Sonnanstine, Visalia, 178

2013: Kirby Yates, DUR, 20
2012: Austin Hubbard, BWG, 23
2011: Zach Quate, MGM, 20; Chris Rearick, BWG, 20
2010: Zach Quate, CHA, 25
2009: Josh Satow, CHA, 20
2008: Neal Frontz, MGM, 26
2007: Dale Thayer, DUR, 21
2006: Greg Dupas, Southwest Michigan, 25
2005: Jose De La Cruz, Southwest Michigan, 19

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Saturday's Rays playoff roundup

Daytona 2, Stone Crabs 0
Drew Vettleson
singled twice and the Stone Crabs finished with just five hits (all singles) and two walks. Grayson Garvin gave up one run over four innings. Charlotte trails Daytona 2-0 in the best-of-5 FSL championship series.

Minor League Baseball screws up playoff schedule

ERROR: Minor League Baseball

MiLB lists this for today's International League playoff game ("Rochester @ Pawtucket, 6:05PM") and this for Sunday's possible game ("Rochester @ Pawtucket, 1:05PM"), and has this for Tuesday's IL championship series opener ...

Durham @ , TBD

However, the "@" should appear on the left side of Durham's name because the Bulls are hosting the first two games and traveling for the final three.

Durham will open on the road at home in the International League championship series.

The Bulls, after finishing a sweep of Indianapolis on Friday, will travel to host either Rochester or Pawtucket to begin the best-of-5 title series.

Pawtucket takes a 2-1 lead into tonight's Game 4, which the Red Sox are hosting. Game 5, if necessary, will be Sunday at Pawtucket.

The championship series is scheduled to begin Tuesday and Wednesday at Pawtucket or Rochester Durham.

The Bulls Pawtucket or Rochester will host the remainder of the series, starting with Thursday's Game 3. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will be Friday and Saturday.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Friday's Rays playoff roundup

Bulls 2, Indianapolis 1
Merrill Kelly
threw 5 2/3 shutout innings and the Bulls finished an IL semifinal series sweep. In the third inning, Cole Figueroa singled home Kevin Kiermaier and Jason Bourgeois knocked in Tim Beckham with a groundout. The Indians scored in the ninth off Juan Sandoval and had the tying run in scoring position with one out. The Bulls will face Rochester or Pawtucket in the finals.

Stone Crabs at Daytona
Game 2 of the FSL championship series rained out. Will be made up Saturday in Daytona.

Tampa Bay organizational leaders

There were some surprising organizational leaders among Tampa Bay minor leaguers this year.

Kean Wong was the Rays' organizational batting champion, hitting .328 in the GCL and edging Bowling Green's Andrew Toles and his .326.

Dylan Floro was the ERA champion after posting a combined 1.77 in 137 1/3 innings between Bowling Green and Charlotte. He had an 11-2 record.

Some other categories ...
Home runs: Outfielder Kyeong Kang had 16 with five players tied for second at 14. Kang jacked one for the Stone Crabs before posting 15 with the Biscuits.

RBIs: Durham's Leslie Anderson finished with 74, one ahead of Charlotte's Richie Shaffer.

Steals: Toles was the, ahem, runaway winner. His 62 were 22 ahead of Hot Rods teammate (and BCS/RPI champion) Tommy Coyle.

Wins: Durham's J.D. Martin was 16-4, while Matt Buschmann finished 14-5 and Merrill Kelly was 13-10 between the Biscuits and Bulls.

Saves: Durham's Kirby Yates had 20, and Juan Sandoval totaled 19 between the Biscuits and Bulls.

Strikeouts: Buschmann blew away the field with 167, a mere 43 ahead of Durham's Jake Odorizzi.

Renegades' Griffin best in year's "Little BCS"

Aaron Griffin
Aaron Griffin, Tampa Bay's 10th-round draft pick in June, made an impact in his first season with the Rays.

Griffin won this year's "Little BCS" race for short-season players. It's an offshoot of the BCS/RPI.

The right-handed pitcher scored 24 points in the daily "Ranking the Rays" feature, nine points ahead of Hudson Valley teammate Ben Griset. Princeton pitcher Jake Faria was third with 14 points.

Griffin finished with a 2.02 ERA and gave up just 67 hits in 75 2/3 innings for the Renegades. He issued eight walks and had 54 strikeouts.

Griset had a 3.41 ERA in 14 starts. Faria had a 2.02 ERA with 53 hits allowed, nine walks and 71 strikeouts in 12 starts.

Ben Griset
All three had a 3-3 record.

24 points: Aaron Griffin
15: Ben Griset
14: Jake Faria
13: Jose Alonzo, Chris Kirsch
12: Yoel Araujo, Kevin Brandt
10: Darryl George, Oscar Hernandez, German Marquez

Jake Faria

5 days: Aaron Griffin
3: Ben Griset

2: Darryl George, Granden Goetzman, James Harris, Chris Kirsch, Jose Paez, Colton Reavis, D.J. Slaton, Kean Wong

10 days: Aaron Griffin
7: Jake Faria
6: Ben Griset, Chris Kirsch, Hunter Lockwood

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Thursday's Rays playoff roundup

Bulls 6, Indianapolis 5
J.D. Martin
carried a shutout into the seventh for the Bulls in their IL semifinal series opener Game 2. Leslie Anderson hit a two-run home run in a five-run first inning. Vince Belnome singled, walked, had two RBIs and scored. Cole Figueroa had two RBIs and scored. Kirby Yates, after Indianapolis scored three times in the ninth, walked the tying run on base with none out before recording three straight strikeouts.

Daytona 5, Stone Crabs 0
Jake Hager
singled thrice and the Stone Crabs totaled nine hits in Game 1 of the FSL championship series. Jesse Hahn gave up four runs and recorded four outs.

Fort Wayne 9, Hot Rods 5
Tyler Goeddel
doubled twice, had two RBIs and scored as the Hot Rods were swept in their MWL series. Patrick Leonard singled twice, walked, stole, RBI'd and scored twice. Reinaldo Lopez's three innings included four runs.

Rays in middle of minors' pack with 3 playoff teams

The Houston Astros, in the doldrums of the American League, have the most minor league teams in the playoffs this year.

Six teams in the Houston organization -- twice as many as the Rays -- are in the postseason.

The Astros, Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets are the only teams with both their Triple-A and Double-A teams in the playoffs. The Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds have no playoff teams.

Astros: Oklahoma City, Texas, Lancaster, Quad Cities, Tri-City, Greeneville

Angels: Salt Lake, Arkansas, Inland Empire, AZL
Giants: San Jose, Augusta, Salem-Keizer, AZL
Mets: Las Vegas, Binghamton, Savannah, Kingsport
Nationals: Harrisburg, Potomac, Hagerstown, GCL
Pirates: Indianapolis, West Virginia, Jamestown, GCL

Blue Jays: Dunedin, Vancouver, Bluefield
Cubs: Tennessee, Daytona, Boise
Diamondbacks: Mobile, Visalia, South Bend
Dodgers: Rancho Cucamonga, Great Lakes, AZL
Mariners: Clinton, Everett, Pulaski
Padres: San Antonio, Fort Wayne, AZL
Rays: Durham, Charlotte, Bowling Green
Red Sox: Pawtucket, Salem, GCL
Rockies: Tulsa, Modesto, Grand Junction
Twins: Rochester, Fort Myers, Cedar Rapids

Braves: Mississippi, Lynchburg
Rangers: Myrtle Beach, AZL
Royals: Omaha, Idaho Falls
White Sox: Birmingham, Great Falls
Yankees: Trenton, GCL

Athletics: Beloit
Brewers: Helena
Cardinals: State College
Indians: AZL
Orioles: Aberdeen
Tigers: Erie


Coyle crowned 2013 BCS/RPI champion

Tommy Coyle
Bowling Green's Tommy Coyle staggered to the finish line, but he had just enough to take the BCS/RPI championship by a nose.

Coyle, who mustered just four points in the final-month's daily rankings, nudged out hard-charging Dylan Floro and Andrew Toles.

Coyle finished the season with 67 points -- a mere two ahead of Floro and three in front of Toles. It's the closest finish in BCS/RPI history.

Coyle had a .278 average, 58 RBIs and 79 runs scored in 126 games. He had a .399 on-base percentage and was second on the team with 40 steals.

Dylan Floro
Floro started the year with Bowling Green and moved up to high-Class A Charlotte in August. He finished a combined 11-2 with a Rays-organization best 1.77 ERA. Floro scored 17 final-month points.

Toles, who was Coyle's teammate all season, won the Midwest League's batting championship with a .326 average in 121 games. He also scored 79 times and had 62 steals. Toles had 23 points in the final month.

If you're curious, 110 different players received at least one vote in the daily full-season rankings and 60 achieved a first-place nod.

(Still to come, the "Little BCS" final standings.)

Andrew Toles
67 points: Tommy Coyle
65: Dylan Floro
64: Andrew Toles
61: J.D. Martin
59: Merrill Kelly
51: Matt Buschmann
49: Vince Belnome
43: Kevin Kiermaier, Jake Odorizzi
41: Sean Bierman, Marty Gantt, Victor Mateo
40: Curt Casali
39: Enny Romero

36: Mikie Mahtook
35: Jake Thompson

J.D. Martin

8 days: Dylan Floro
7: J.D. Martin
5: Sean Bierman, Matt Buschmann, Merrill Kelly, Jake Odorizzi
4: Jeff Ames, Vince Belnome, Curt Casali, Tommy Coyle, Reinaldo Lopez, Victor Mateo, Enny Romero

3: Jason Bourgeois, Michael Colla, Roberto Gomez, Jeff Malm, Wil Myers

21 days: Tommy Coyle
19: Andrew Toles
17: Dylan Floro, Merrill Kelly, Kevin Kiermaier
16: Vince Belnome
15: J.D. Martin

14: Matt Buschmann, Marty Gantt, Joey Rickard
13: Mikie Mahtook
12: Ryan Brett, Cole Figueroa, Brandon Guyer, Enny Romero, Jake Thompson
11: Sean Bierman, Curt Casali, Taylor Guerrieri, Victor Mateo, Jake Odorizzi
10: Jeff Ames, Willie Argo, Tim Beckham, Tyler Goeddel, Jesse Hahn, Felipe Rivero, Cameron Seitzer

2011: Tyler Bortnick, 75 points
2012: Drew Vettleson, 82 points 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Wednesday's Rays playoff roundup

Bulls 2, Indianapolis 0
Jake Odorizzi allowed one hit with nine strikeouts over seven innings in the best-of-5 series opener. Jeff Beliveau and Kirby Yates finished a two-hitter. In the eighth, Tim Beckham singled home Kevin Kiermaier and scored on a Vince Belnome single.

Stone Crabs 2, Fort Myers 1 (10)
Richie Shaffer and Kes Carter scored on 10th-inning wild pitches and Charlotte finished a two-game playoff series sweep. Dylan Floro tossed eight shutout innings, giving up five hits with one walk and 12 groundball outs. The Stone Crabs will play either Dunedin or Daytona in the finals starting Friday.

Fort Wayne 6, Hot Rods 1
In the first eight innings, the Hot Rods had just one hit (a Marty Gantt single in the second) and two walks (Tommy Coyle and Tyler Goeddel). They added four walks in the ninth, including one by Goeddel with the bases loaded. Jeff Ames gave up four earned runs in five-plus innings.

Biscuits end Southern League's longest-running dynasty

The Biscuits have stopped the Southern League's biggest dynasty.

Will Bowman was named the league's top visiting clubhouse attendant, snapping the four-year reign of Mississippi's Destin Smith.

Bowman, a Troy graduate and Greenville native, just finished his second season as Montgomery's visiting clubbie. He was also director of baseball operations while he was at Troy.

The visiting clubhouse award is voted on by the league's managers and umpires.

The Biscuits have had two previous winners: Scott Mauldin in 2004 and Matt Gallant in 2006.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Wednesday won two more non-uniformed personnel awards.

Charles Leddon was named the trainer of the year, while Ray Sayre won groundskeeper of the year.
Leddon has spent seven years in the Cincinnati organization and two with the Wahoos. Sayre has also been in Pensacola for two years and his experience includes time with the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Romero to be reliever for playoffs' first round

Enny Romero, after throwing eight shutout innings in his Durham debut Monday, is in the Bulls' bullpen for the first round of the International League playoffs.

Durham doesn't list Romero among its expected starters for the first-round series with Indianapolis.

Romero, who is on Durham's playoff roster, has made two relief appearances the last four years. Both were for high-Class A Charlotte after a major league reliever made a rehab start.

Beliveau moves back to Bulls' bullpen

Left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau, who finished the regular season with the Biscuits, has rejoined Triple-A Durham for the International League playoffs.

Beliveau was with the Rays before throwing two hitless innings for Montgomery in the final series of the year. He had a 2.62 ERA in 38 games for Durham this year. Promoted to Tampa Bay, Beliveau did not make an appearance.

The three other Biscuits who were promoted to the Bulls for the playoffs -- catcher Mayo Acosta, infielder Shawn O'Malley and pitcher Michael Colla -- are not on Durham's playoff roster.

Casali takes final-month BCS/RPI

Andrew Toles
Curt Casali
Catcher Curt Casali's response to a promotion from high-Class A Charlotte to the Double-A Biscuits led him to the final-month BCS/RPI title.
Casali totaled 26 points in the Biscuit Crumbs Standings/Rays Player Indicator standings, three points ahead of Bowling Green outfielder Andrew Toles. Montgomery right-hander Victor Mateo was third with 21 points.

In the "Little BCS" for short-season teams, Princeton outfielder Yoel Araujo and designated hitter Hunter Lockwood tied with nine points.
Victor Mateo

Casali hit .379 with 28 RBIs in 29 games from Aug. 1 through the end of the season. He had five home runs, 12 doubles and 22 runs scored.

Toles had a .339 average, 21 runs scored and 14 steals in 26 final-month games and won the Midwest League's batting championship.

Mateo was 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA in six late-season starts, including his no-hitter Aug. 24. He gave up just 21 hits in 41 2/3 innings.

Yoel Araujo
Araujo had a .299 average, five home runs and 17 RBIs over the final month. Lockwood was a .278 hitter with seven homers and 24 RBIs.

26 points: Curt Casali
23: Andrew Toles
21: Victor Mateo
18: J.D. Martin, Enny Romero
17: Dylan Floro
14: Kevin Kiermaier

13: Matt Buschmann
9: Yoel Araujo, Hunter Lockwood
8: Spencer Edwards, Chris Kirsch
7: Jake Faria, Aaron Griffin, James Harris, D.J. Slaton

APRIL: Tommy Coyle, 24 points
MAY: Matt Buschmann, 20 points
JUNE: J.D. Martin, 18 points
JULY: Dylan Floro, 21 points 

2013 Southern League struggled with offense

What's happened to the offense?

Mobile outfielder Justin Greene's .308 is the lowest average for a Southern League batting champion since 1989 when Scott Leius hit .303 for Orlando. Last year, Montgomery's Omar Luna hit .315, which was the lowest since a .310 in 1991.

The league's 10 teams combined for a .243 average and 5,434 runs. Those are the feeblest numbers of the Biscuits era (2004-present). This year's 901 home runs, aided by the Birmingham Barons' move from the cavernous Hoover Met to more-hospitable Regions Field, was sixth. (The Barons hit 47 homers at home this year, 25 more than last year.)

Year, Avg., Runs, HRs
2013: .243, 5,434, 910
2012: .252, 5,913, 901
2011: .263, 6,493, 1,015
2010: .263, 6,269, 897
2009: .255, 5,986, 890
2008: .264, 6,512, 1,045
2007: .259, 6,358, 1,034
2006: .249, 5,520, 886
2005: .266, 6,229, 954
2004: .258, 6,016, 1,109

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Stone Crabs win playoff opener

Felipe Rivero threw six innings and combined with two relievers on a three-hitter in a 1-0 win over Fort Myers in Tuesday's Florida State League semifinal series opener.

Rivero gave up two hits, Andrew Bellatti threw two no-hit innings and Nate Garcia the ninth. Rivero recorded 11 groundball outs.

Jeff Malm singled home Jake Hager in the sixth inning.

Biscuits help Suns' Evans in SL pitcher of week effort

Jacksonville right-hander Bryan Evans, with the help of the Biscuits, was the season's final Southern League pitcher of the week.

Evans threw a two-hit shutout last Monday at Riverwalk Stadium and followed with 7 2/3 shutout innings Sunday against Mississippi He finished 7-5 with a 3.32 ERA.

Tennessee third baseman Christian Villanueva was the final week's top player. He was 7-for-23 with three home runs and six RBIs. Villanueva's final season numbers included a .261 average, 19 home runs and 72 RBIs.

Barons' Semien league MVP; BayBears' Bradley top pitcher

Birmingham's Marcus Semien won the Southern League's most valuable player award today. Mobile's Archie Bradley won the pitcher of the year and Mobile's Andy Green the manager of the year.

Semien led the league with a .420 on-base percentage and 90 runs scored. He was third with a .290 batting average and a .483 slugging percentage. Semien played second base, shortstop and third base before being promoted to Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 1.

Bradley finished 12-5 with a 1.98 ERA, leading the league in wins and finishing second in ERA. He had 119 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings. The right-hander is one of the top prospects in the minor leagues.

Green led the BayBears to the South Division first- and second-half championships. Mobile finished 79-60 and will try to be the first Southern League three-peat champion since the Montgomery Rebels from 1975-77.

Semien is the third Baron to win MVP: Joe Crede (2000) and Aaron Miles (2002). Bradley is the second BayBear to win top pitcher: Brad Baker (2004). Green is the third BayBears manager to take honors: Mike Ramsey (1998) and Turner Ward (2011).

Ranking the Rays ... Romero, Reginatto, Rickard

Today marks the year's final "Ranking the Rays." I'll total up the August/September BCS/RPI sometime today or Wednesday with the season's results soon thereafter.

For Monday ...
1. Enny Romero, DUR: 8 shutout, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 Ks, 11 GBO
2. Leonardo Reginatto, BWG: solo HR, 2 1b's, walk, 3 RBIs, 2 runs
3. Joey Rickard, BWG: 2 1b's, walks, 3 steals, RBI, run
4. Jimmy Patterson, MGM: 6 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 6 ks
5. Ryan Brett, MGM: 3b, 2 1b's, 3 runs

Monday, September 02, 2013

Monday's Rays roundup

Bulls 1, Norfolk 0 (10)
Enny Romero
worked eight innings in his Durham debut, giving up four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Jason Bourgeois had three singled and knocked in Kevin Kiermaier with the go-ahead run.

Hot Rods 10, Lake County 2
Leonardo Reginatto
homered, singled twice, walked, had three RBIs and scored twice. Brandon Martin and Tyler Goeddel also homered and scored twice. Joey Rickard singled twice, walked, stole thrice, RBI'd and scored.

Renegades 4, Connecticut 0
Derek Loera
tossed six innings with one hit allowed, one walk and nine strikeouts. Isaac Gil finished a four-hitter. James Harris doubled, singled, stole and scored.

Toles dispatches Reginatto in Hot Rods' MWL batting title race

While Mobile's Justin Greene took a knee (and Montgomery's Omar Luna was going to do the same last year), two Bowling Green Hot Rods dueled it out on the final day.

Leonardo Reginatto finished 3-for-4 with a solo home run, three RBIs and two runs scored in a 10-2 win over Lake County.

And Andrew Toles admired him from the dugout.

Toles stood his ground with a .3256 batting average to win the Midwest League's hitting crown. Reginatto's challenge fell short at .3252.

Toles, who finished second in steals and had a league-high 16 triples, is the first batting champion in Hot Rods history.

I don't know if this applies here, but there's a lesson to be learned: Be nice to thy official scorer.

3 postseason promotions to Durham

Three Biscuits are getting postseason promotions to Triple-A Durham.

Catcher Mayo Acosta, pitcher Michael Colla and infielder Shawn O'Malley will join the Bulls for the International League playoffs, though they aren't expected to be on Durham's active roster.

O'Malley spent much of last season with the Bulls, though he's been with the Biscuits for all of this year.

Acosta played in nine games for Durham last year. Colla has never reached Triple-A.

Mississippi Braves in playoffs for first time since '08

Christian Marrero scored on an 11th-inning error and the Mississippi Braves qualified for the Southern League playoffs with a 6-5 win over the Jacksonville Suns on Monday.

Mobile beat Pensacola 10-1 to give the BayBears the second-half South Division title. Mobile also won the first half.

Mississippi gets in with the second-best South Division overall record, but the BayBears will host four of the five playoff games, if necessary.

The M-Braves last reached the playoffs in 2008. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos now have the longest postseason drought, though that comes with an asterisk. They last made it as the Carolina Mudcats in 2008.

Monday: Biscuits 9, Barons 2

Cameron Seitzer knocked in a season-high four runs and the Biscuits finished the 2013 season with a winning record after Monday's 9-2 win over the Birmingham Barons.

Seitzer hit a two-run double to cap Montgomery's go-ahead five-run fourth inning that made it 7-2 and added a two-run single in the sixth.

Ryan Brett scored three times, his most since joining the Biscuits a month ago, and had three hits, including his first Double-A triple. Mikie Mahtook doubled, singled, walked twice, had an RBI and scored twice.

Jimmy Patterson, making his first start in a year, gave up two runs over six innings. Paterson (1-4) walked two and struck out six.

The Biscuits were 71-69 this season. With last year's 74-63 mark, Montgomery enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 2006-07 Southern League championships.

Greene will finish ahead of Kiermaier in SL batting race

Justin Greene and the BayBears took a knee after all.

Greene, after grounding out in the first inning of today's game against Pensacola, was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the third inning.

By finishing 0-for-1, he's 117-for-380 for the season, which gives him a .30789 average. Kevin Kiermaier hit .3072 for the Biscuits before he was promoted to Triple-A Durham in late July.