Hope everyone’s enjoying the day and anticipating a great weekend. I suppose this blog serves as a mixed bag of news, notes, tidbits and…recommendations on a great snack. (?!)
The affiliation picture in the Midwest League is now complete. While the Eastern Division was quiet, there were quite a few dance partners who changed in the Western Division. In addition to our new affiliation with the Cubs, Peoria is now with St. Louis, Quad Cities is with Houston, Cedar Rapids with the Twins, Burlington with the Angels, and Beloit with the A’s. Kansas City, our parent club in 2010 and 2011, signed a player development contract with the Lexington (KY) Legends of the South Atlantic League.
Without question, the Midwest League had the most affiliation shuffling across Minor League Baseball. MiLB’s Ben Hill did a nice job of bringing fans up to speed on what teams have changed their major league affiliations. You can read the article by clicking HERE.
For Cougars fans, there will be a three-fold focus of attention on minor league farm systems. Obviously, the largest focus will be on the Cubs farm system as numerous prospects fill their organization (see below note from Baseball America). It’s also going to be nice to follow the Royals’ system, with 2 years’ worth of prospects who played at Kane County, hoping to move upwards and one day land in the City of Fountains. Former Cougars that come to mind and are worth tracking in ’13 include Yordano Ventura, Cheslor Cuthbert, Kyle Zimmer, Jason Adam and Kyle Smith.
And you also need to keep Oakland in mind. Our 8-year run with the A’s concluded at the end of the 2010 season. Yet their farm system includes countless former Cougars who have advanced nicely over the last few seasons. Some of those names include Michael Choice, Anthony Aliotti, and Jeremy Barfield. All three players had solid seasons at Double-A in 2012.
Some great accolades were given to the Cubs’ farm system by Baseball America, particularly their prospects who spent the ’12 season in Boise of the Northwest League. Seven Cubs prospects filled the top 20 list of Northwest League prospects, as compiled by Baseball America. That list is headed by Dan Vogelbach, an infielder who played for the Cubs’ Short-A team in Boise last summer, and is ranked #2. You can see the entire list by clicking HERE.
There’s never any rhyme or reason for which prospects land with a certain team, so it’s entirely premature to begin guessing which players will open the 2013 season at Kane County in April. But Kane County would be the logical step above Short-A Boise. Time will tell.
The Triple Crown watch continues. Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera, a Cougar from ’01, is entertaining the notion of doing something that hasn’t been done in nearly 50 years. Cabrera is attempting to win the American League Triple Crown – finishing the regular season as the statistical leader in home runs, RBI and batting average. Entering play today, Cabrera is checking in with the following numbers:
Batting Average: 1st, .326 (the Twins’ Joe Mauer is 2nd with a .323 mark)
RBI: 1st, 133 (the Ranger’s Josh Hamilton is 2nd with 125 RBI)
Home Runs: 2nd, 42 (the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton is 1st with 43)
In the midst of the American League Central division chase between the Tigers and White Sox, it’s going to be a fun finish as Cabrera attempts to make history.
We’re heading to Reno on Tuesday for the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. We briefly mentioned this seminar in a blog post towards the end of the summer. The MiLB Promo Seminar brings together front offices from clubs across the country, for nearly a week’s worth of idea sharing and brainstorming. It’s a great event and one of my favorite seminars to attend. I’ll be presenting on Tuesday and we’re up for some hardware as well, including a Golden Bobblehead in the “Best Theme Night” category. I’ll try my best to do some blogging from the seminar so you can get an idea of how the event is run.
Finally, a snack worth sharing. Nutella, according to the label, is a “hazelnut spread with skim milk and cocoa”. The nutrition facts look innocent enough. And the taste? I think it tastes more like a container of chocolate frosting. Grab a box of graham crackers, dip, and enjoy. I never heard of Nutella until last week, but it’ll be in the lunch rotation for a while.
As always, thanks for reading! We’ll catch up soon.