SUZUKI HEADED TO ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE:
2004 Vancouver Canadians catcher Kurt Suzuki has been selected as one of five Oakland Athleticsprospects worthy of a spot on the 2005 Arizona Fall League ‘PhoenixDesert Dogs’. Suzuki will be playing alongside established prospectsDaric Barton, Stephen Bondurant, Shane Komine, and Andre Ethier in whatis considered by many to be one of the ultimate tributes to a minorleague player’s potential.
HERRERA NAMED MIDWEST LEAGUE FULL SEASON ALL-STAR:
2004 Vancouver outfielder, Javier Herrera, has been named to theMidwest League’s 2005 All-Star team - the only Kane County Cougar towin the honor. While both he and Myron Leslie appeared in themid-season All-Star game, the full-season All-Star team honors the bestplayers of both divisions.
MIGHTY JOE SCOTT COMES CLOSE TO A NO-NO:
Recent Vancouver graduate, Mighty Joe Scott, started the 2005 seasonwith the Kane County Cougars as a reliever. He was sent down toVancouver at the start of the short-season with a view to convertinghim to a starter, and since being promoted back up to Class-A ball,he’s got a few people talking.
In fact, more than just talking, peopleare actively pushing Scott now for a potential push upwards toStockton, after he threw 7 innings of no-hit ballon Monday night. Scott struck out five and walked three, before beingtaken out of the game when his pitch count hit his Oakland-set quota.Trent Peterson took over from Scott and promptly gave up a pair of softsingles while maintaining the shut-out. The game was won 8-0 by KaneCounty.
KANE COUNTY SUSPECTED OF GRAND THEFT BASEBALL
The traditional Oakland way over the years has been to get men on baseand hit homers to get them across the plate. This, over the years, hasfrustrated many hitters who like to play a little small ball - bunt,steal, stretch a single to a double, etc. But the Kane County Cougarsare stealing up a storm this season, with over 100 stolen bases thusfar, getting themselves caught just over 30 times.
Scout.com’s Oakland Clubhousepublished a Kane County Notebook just today in which Cougars managerDave Joppie explained the change in style thusly, "As a manager, I haveto adapt to the roster we have. Last year, we could stand around andwait for the three-run homer. This year we have guys like JavierHerrera, Nick Blasi and Cliff Pennington who are good base-stealers sothe roster lends itself to running more. […] Herrera steals most ofhis bases on speed alone,? Joppie said. ?While Pennington and Blasistudy the pitchers more. They both have good instincts for when to goand they don?t force things.?
?I pay close attention to the percentages (of successful steals tonumber of attempts). A lot of teams run out of big innings, but we arecareful not to do that. The guys have the green light to steal, butthey know when it is a good time to go. I have a lot of confidence inmy guys to make those decisions,? Joppie said.
MISCELLANEOUS ARIZONA LEAGUE STUFF
Clay ‘Pigeons’ Tichota, the Vancouver starting pitcher who starred in2004, but saw himself fall back through the system as injury and poorform bit, is slowly steadying himself in rookie ball. Tich got himselftagged on a couple of outings, but has managed to get himself a fewwins in middle relief, notching up a 2-0, 4.85 record.
Wes Long continues to show good form with the bat after his orbitalsocket surgery just a few weeks ago. He’s now hitting .310 in therooks, going 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI on the 23rd against theRoyals Rookies. The night before, against the AZL Brewers, he went 2-3with 3 walks (I guess his eyes are working alright!), with a home run,an RBI and 3 runs scored. Yowzer!
In that same game, 2004 Vancouver starting pitcher Steven Sharpe tookthe win, going three scoreless innings and taking his record to 5-0with a 2.49 ERA, indicating Sharpe will begin his climb back up throughthe system shortly… Could we see Sharpie back in Vancouver red duringthe NWL play-offs?
Frank Martinez, who had started the 2005 season with Vancouver,continues to struggle in the rookie league, with an average of .216,which says to me that he’s exactly where he should be.
BEST ROOKIE NAME EVER? Alexis Bastardo,from the Venezuela Summer League’s Red Sox/Padres. I honestly don’tcare that he sucks, I want Bastardo to make the Majors just so I canhear Joe Morgan say his name over.. and over.. and over.