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WizCaps Where R They? – Paul McAnulty

Paul McAnulty was selected in round twelve (355th overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2002. In 2005, he made his Major League Debut with the Padres and saw Big League action in each of the next three seasons. In 2009, he played at the Triple-A level for both the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.

With the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2003, McAnulty appeared in 133 games. He hit .273 with 7 homers and 73 RBI while mostly manning the first base and designated hitter roles.

McAnulty is one of five position players from the 2003 squad to reach the Majors. Shortstop Luis Cruz, catchers Colt Morton and Luke Carlin and outfielder Drew Macias being the others. Pitchers, Dale Thayer, David Pauley (who recently made it back with the Mariners) and Jon Huber also made the Majors, for a total of eight from the 2003 Wizards team that lost in the first round of the playoffs.

In 90 games for Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .233 with 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 48 RBI. In 20 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs, he hit .182 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

In the offseason, McAnulty signed with the LAA Angels. He’s appeared in 29 games for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, hitting .360 with eight doubles, four dingers and 26 RBI. In 44 games with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, he hit .331 with three doubles, a triple, 14 home runs and 27 RBI.

Today, McAnulty was recalled by the Angels, seeing Big League action for the first time since 2008:

“These guys have been around,” Scioscia said. “They have a little Major League experience, they’ve been playing in Triple-A for a long time. They’re really veteran-type players. Both can swing the bat and that’s something that we need a little depth in right now.”

Related BBIFW Paul McAnulty Posts:

Luis Durango Called up by Padres

Luis DurangoFormer Fort Wayne Wizards speedster, Luis Durango has been called up by the San Diego Padres.

Durango made his MLB debut last season as a September call up. He’s got virtually no power threat, but is capable of swiping mor ethan a couple bags because he does a solid job of getting on base. Friar Forecast has a great analysis if you’re interested.

And as Denis Savage of MadFriars points out

Only once has he hit under .300 – hitting .281 across 129 games in the Double-A Texas League during the 2009 season.

There’s also a ton of other info and coverage on that page – which is not subscriber-only. So check it out.

Related BBIFW Posts:

Leo Lions Move Up to Number 3 in Coaches Poll

The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches rated 3A Leo number 3; just 2 points behind number 2 Brebeuf. They also received a first place vote.

Last week, Leo wrapped up the ACAC conference championship, going undefeated at 7-0. They are 18-2 overall on the season. Senior pitcher Brandon Alger, who is an Indiana Tech signee, is currently 6-1-1 with an earned run average of .4, 80 strikeouts to just 11 walks and WHIP of .688. Junior Jordan Baer is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.56 and 42 strikeouts, and Junior Luke Pepple is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.50 and 27 K’s.

The offense has 4 players batting over .400 (Andrew Suciu, Alger, Mitchell Kumle, and Baer) and four others batting over .300 (Kyle Miller, Drew Adams, Pepple, and Cortlin Simpson). RBI leaders are Suciu and Baer with 21, Simpson 19, Adams 15, and Alger & Pepple 13.

Speaking of Indiana Tech…

Indiana Tech alum, Jush Judy has been promoted to the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in Columbus. The move comes following the Tribe’s trade of reliever Saul Rivera to the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations.

Note: Special thanks to Brad Alger for submitting the information on Leo.

Fort Fragments: Scales, Peavy, Luebke, Cuddyer, Baxter

The last remainign former Wizards player from the Minnesota Twins era who is still with Minnesota, Michael Cuddyer recently hit for the cycle. He’ having a pretty good season too.

Bobby Scales hasn’t felt well the last couple days. I am sure the news that he has been demoted back to Triple-A didn’t make him feel any better. Although, Ryan Freel’s injury might be brigning Scales back sooner than later.

The Padres club record for career wins as a Padre is at risk of falling if Jake Peavy hangs aroung to get ten more.

Corey Luebke is starting to really put things together with Lake Elsinore, and was recently named the California League Pitcher of the Week. Ben Davey (Friar Forecast) also has some good Luebke observations. 

Mike Baxter was named the Texas League Player of the Week.

At 5-1, Ernesto Freiri is turning some heads while pitching for Double-A San Antonio.

Former Wizards Likely to Debut in 2009 – Part III

This is the thrid and final part of a series on former Fort Wayne Wizards that I think will debut in Major league Baseball during the 20009 season. In part one, I presented the “sure things” who I think will break camp with their parent clubs or get called up relatively early. Part two presented the “warning track” players who are knocking on the door and waiting for an opportunity at the big league level. Today, I reveal the players I think will have an outside shot or are dark horse candidates to make their debuts:

Jose Lobaton (Padres)
My gosh. We’ve seen a lot of catchers come through Fort Wayne that are either in the Majors or close to it. Colt Morton, Nick Hundley and Luke Carlin are the most recent to go along with Javier Valentin, A.J. Pierzynzki, Chad Moeller, Matt LeCroy and others. Jose Lobaton will most likely be the next on that list. With the Wizards in 2006, he hit .279 with 17 hits in 61 at bats. Over 20 games, he collected three doubles, one homer and 11 runs batted in. He also drew 12 bases on balls. He’s got a great arm, handles the staff well and tends to hit in streaks (ending his Wizards run with an eight game hitting streak). We’ll see him in September if not sooner.

Neil Jamison (Padres)
Neil Jamison was the sixth round pick (number 188 overall) by the Padres in the 2005 Amateur Draft. he San Diego native was a teammate of former Wizards starting pitcher Cesar Ramos while at Long Beach State University. With the Wizards in 2005, Jamison appeared in seven games to post a 1-1 record to go along with 12 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA. The following year, he got into four games with the Wizards while posting a 0-0 record to match a 0.00 ERA and collecting 3 saves. He’s steadily progressed at each stop but had seen his ERA rise each year until his wonderful 2008 season was stopped short because of an elbow injury. In 29 games with Double-A San Antonio, Jamison posted a 2.55 ERA while pitching exclusively in relief. He’ll probably start the year at Triple-A or maybe again at Double-A before moving up. If he can stay healthy, he’d make a good fill-in candidate for a big leaguer who isn’t, but a September call-up is more likely (although they’d have to make room for him on the 40-man roster first).

Josh Alley (Padres)
Alley is another Padres farmhand with breakthrough potential who is not on the 40-man roster. Also like Jamison, Alley spent parts of 2005 and 2006 in Fort Wayne. In 2005, he hit .263 with 40 walks to just 26 K’s over 45 games to collect a.411 OBP. In 2006, he hit .205 in 234 at-bats over 67 games. Alley also hit two home runs and collected 23 runs batted in while swiping 11 bases in 17 attempts. He’s made it as high as Triple-A (albeit a short stint in the end of the 2007 season). 2008 was spent at Double-A San Antonio where he put up respectable but not stellar numbers. Hi patience and good eye are solid assets that might give him a chance when September call-ups take place. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him debut with a team other than the Padres though.

Ernesto Frieri (Padres)
Unlike the previous two, Ernesto Frieri is on the 40-man roster. At just 23-years-old, Frieri is a 4-year veteran of the minor leagues after being signed as an undrafted free agent. Perhaps his best stint in the minors was with Fort Wayne in 2007 (he also appeared in a Wizards Uniform form one game in 2006). In 2007, he appeared in 40 games with the Wizards, all in relief. He posted a 1-2 record to go with a 2.64 earned run average. Frieri struck out 64 and walked 23 over 64.1 innings pitched. He will probably start at 2009 at Double-A San Antonio. Last year, he went 8-6 with a 4.00 ERA at Lake Elsinore. A switch from the starting role to relief might produce a solid opportunity for him to crack through the big league roster though.

Ray Chang (Pirates)
He’s a dark horse this year – maybe not so much next year. He’s playing in the World Baseball Classic for China, so let’s pay attention. Who the heck is Raymond (Ray) Chang? Glad you asked. Read more here. I’m really rooting for this former Wizard.

Todd Donovan (Toronto)
This is perhaps the darkest of the dark horses. Some might even contend it’s more than a bold prediction, but I won’t go there. Todd Donovan has been around Minor League baseball for a while. Since 1999 to be exact. That’s right, he enters his eleventh Minor League Baseball season in 2009. He does so with the Toronto Blue Jays, who are his eight organization. The San Diego Padres selected him in eighth round (number 262 overall) of 1999 amateur draft.  With the Wizards in 2000, Donovan hit .284 with 58 hits, 23 runs batted in, and 25 stolen bases. That later stat is probably what has kept Donovan around so long. The dude has stolen a lot of bases in his day, including 40 in 1999 with Idaho Falls (rookie league), 31 in Double-A Mobile in 2003, a whopping 62 with Jacksonville in 2005 and 37 last year with Oakland’s Double-A team in Midland. In his career, he has over 300 minor league stolen bases. Would be a good pinch runner late in the season.

For more on Todd Donovan, see also:

Fort Fragments: TinCaps, Wizards and Local Ties

Tickets for the TinCaps home opener at Parkview Field sold out in 28 minutes. In actuality, there were still a few lawn section tickets available, but all the fixed seat tickets sold out fast. Glad I got mine. The new on-lien ordering system is great.

Another blogger to watch this season is Anna Lynch McClaryMc. I suspect we’ll be seing some great shots of the TinCaps and Parkview Field once the season gets underway.

Hot-Prospects has a nice little write-up on Blake Tekotte, who is likely to be among the innagural TinCaps squad:

The speedy U of Miami alum had a power outbreak in 2008 belting 13 HR with the Hurricanes prior to being drafted in the 3rd round by the Padres . . . is a scrappy player who gets the most out of his skills and strives to refine every aspect of his game.

Fort Wayne Native and current Gulf Coast Community College player, Mike Morrison is battling a sore back that has had him out of several games lately. He’s a key component of the Commadore’s offense, which has been struggling since he’s been on the mend:

“That’s a huge loss for us,” (Mike) Kandler said. “He’s a middle-of-the-lineup guy and not easily replaced.”

According to Baseball America, former Wizards Pitcher, Jon Huber has signed a Minor League deal with the Detroit Tigers:

Huber, 27, appeared poised to earn a place in the Mariners’ bullpen following a breakout 2006 campaign at Triple-A Tacoma. But a strained forearm—sandwiched between 44 ineffective innings in Triple-A and the majors—cut short his ’07 follow-up. Another shaky season with Tacoma in ’08 preceded his first foray into minor league free agency. The Tigers (and their flimsy bullpen) seem like a suitable landing place for Huber, who despite a lofty ERA and WHIP figures in Triple-A (5.60 and 1.55, respectively) has managed a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk (122-to-40) ratio in 144 2/3 innings. That, coupled with a four-pitch mix (his curve and change are vestiges of his early career as a starter), could spell back of the bullpen material.

The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC) has a wonderful article about former Wizards pitcher, Wynn Pelzer. Pelzer was a lot of fun to watch at the Castle last season – and to listen to during his guest appearances on the Bear. A lot of folks don’t know that Pelzer came to Fort Wayne pretty fresh off a significant leg injury:

A line-drive shattered his knee cap, causing him to spend part of last offseason with a cast running from the top of his hip down his leg. There was nothing wrong with that arm, and for most pitchers that’s a good thing. But Pelzer generates his fastball with his base. So when it was time to head to Peoria, Ariz., last year and start doing some professional pitching in spring training, Pelzer didn’t know exactly what to expect from his body.

There’s also some good video of the interview here.

Another Major Leaguer with Fort Wayne ties – one that many don’t realize – is Boston hurler, Justin Masterson:

His father was a youth pastor in Fort Wayne, Indiana, before taking the post as Dean of Students at Jamaica Theological Seminary (where he had once been a foreign exchange student).

If I remember correctly, during their time in Indiana, the Masterson family lived in or around Bluffton.

Matt Bush Update – Padres Career All But Over

Matt Bush in 2005I thought about simply tagging this onto the previous post on Matt Bush – but then I thought more about it and wanted to give it proper attention.

Remember back to 2004, when the Padres – amid much criticism – drafted the hometown boy Matt Bush with the number one overall pick? They passed up Steven Drew and JAred Weaver. They passed over many others hwo have already gone onto to play and produce at the Major League level.

The DFA that occured a couple days ago probably surprised many given the fact that the Padres had protected him in the recent Rule 5 Draft.

However, since being drafted, Bush has been arrested – three times, he’s failed to hit at even low-A ball (which I would think a top overall pick could do), and he’s converted to a pitcher in a last ditch effort to have a career. The next stop was Tommy John surgery and another season on San Diego’s dime. And now, just as opportunity starts to peak out over the horizon, Bush self destructs yeat again.

A witness, who requested his name not be used because of the ongoing police investigation, said Bush was drunk, threw a golf club into the dirt, picked up and threw a freshman lacrosse player and hit another one. Bush also yelled “I’m Matt (expletive) Bush,” and “(expletive) East County,” before driving over a curb in his Mercedes when leaving the campus, according to the witness [SignOnSanDiego].

You may also be interested in Police interview alleged victims, witnesses in Matt Bush case.

The bottom line is that there is a very real possibility that Matt Bush’s career might be over. One run-in at age 18 after becoming a millionaire might be chalked up to youthful immaturity. However, what we have here is a pattern of self destruction. I imagine the Padres have recognized this and even suspect they’ve tried to intervene to help mentor and nurture the million dollar baby.

Parting ways might now be the only choice and the best thing for Matt Bush. If he does catch on elsewhere, I surely hope the team that takes a chance on him have a plan to build this young man’s character as well as his talents. If he doesn’t catch on, I hope he gets the help he needs to continue life – albeit one that is filled with the regret of having wasted enormous talent.

Photo by Chad Gramling. Special thanks to a reader who brought the SignOnSanDeigo links to my attention.

Matt Bush Designated for Assignment

The San Diego Padres signed veteran outfielder CLiff Floyd today. To makelroom on their 40-man roster, San Diego designated former number one overall pick, Matt Bush, for assignment. The move doesn’t mean Bush’s San Diego career are over, as was evidenced by Eddie Bonine’s recent DFA in Detroit. He was placed on their 40 man roster to protect him in the recent Rule 5 draft.

However, Paul DePodesta points out in his comments section that if there is sufficient interest, Bush could be traded to another club:

. . . by designating Matt we create a window to explore trade opportunities. We intend to do so.

The Padres now have 10 days to trade, release or assign Bush outright to the minor leagues.

UPDATE: It seems that there may be more the Matt Bush DFA than the Cliff Floyd signing [hat tip to FriarForecast]. In fact, the Floyd signing might have nothing to do with it. As reported here:

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson issued a statement declaring that the team was investigating a recent incident involving Bush, who received a club-record $3.15 million signing bonus in 2004.

“The Padres have learned of a possible off-field incident earlier this week involving Matt Bush,” Alderson said in the statement. “We are still gathering information about this incident and will have no further comment at this time.”

Additionally, Padres GM Kevin Towers stated that:

“The Matt Bush era is probably over . . . If we’re not able to work out a trade, we’ll release him at the point in time. … It didn’t work out.”

Looks like it’s pretty definitive. Given the troubled history that Bush has had and the number of “second chances” that the Padres have patiently provided, seems that this was inevitable. However, the potential is still there. He might be able to come back from his injury and piece together a solid career if you can develop some maturity and keep out of trouble.

Would you want your team to take a chance on trading for Bush or signing him after his release? Comment on this post.

Related Matt Bush posts:

Todd Donovan Signs with Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have added another former Wizards player in outfielder Todd Donovan. The veteran Minor Leaguer was recently in his hometown of East Lyme, Connecticut for the World Baseball Coaches’ Convention. The Jays’ bench coach Brian Butterfield kicked off the event by telling those in attendance that he would like to get Donovan in a Toronto uniform and came through on his hope.

Donovan was the eighth round pick (number 292 overall) of the San Diego Padres in the 1999 Amateur Draft. With Fort Wayne in 2000, he appeared in 53 games. During that span, he hit .284 with 58 hits, 12 doubles and runs batted in. He also walked 25 times in 204 at-bats and compiled a .370 on base percentage. He swiped 18 bases and was caught stealing 9 times.

In ten minor league seasons, Donovan has 309 stolen bases; including 62 in 1995 while with the Jacksonville Suns of the (AA) Southern League. Yeah, that’s a record and yeah, that still stands today.

Note: The following links were used as references in producing this post:

What’s David Freese’s Chances with Cardinals in 2009?

One storyline I’ll be watching closely in Spring Training and throughout the 2009 is how former Wizard infielder, David Freese, develops and when/if he cracks the St. Louis Cardinals lineup.

He was originally drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 amateur entry draft by San Diego with the 273rd overall pick. He went right to work, hitting .379 with five home runs and 26 runs batted in over 58 at-bats at Eugene before joining the Wizards 53 games in 2006. During that stint, Freese hit .299 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in and drawing 21 walks in 204 at-bats. The following season, he produced similar numbers over the full season at High-A Lake Elsinore, and even inched his on base percentage up over .400.

Then, in December 2007, the Padres traded Freese to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jim Edmonds. As Edmonds floundered with the Padres, was released and ultimately put in a solid year with the Chicago Cubs, the Cards put Freese at Triple-A Memphis, where he started turning heads with his outstanding production – especially considering he had never played about A ball before the season began.

In 2008, with the Memphis Redbirds, Freese hit .306 with a .361 OBP. He also clubbed 26 home runs while driving in 91 and walking 39 times over 464 at-bats in 131 games. Not too shabby.

Given that production, the question on many observers’ minds is not whether Freese will play with the parent club in 2009, but it he will be on the Opening Day roster. Obviously, how he performs at Spring Training will have a lot to do with the answer to that, but there are other variables that we must consider. For one, Troy Glaus is already the incumbent third baseman and probably still has a lock on the spot for now – although he is injured and will miss some time to begin the season.

But the second wrinkle is the fact that Freese has some stiff competition. He’s not the only hot prospect at the corner. He’s not even one of two; he’s one of three!

The Cardinals have three third-base prospects in the upper levels of the Minor Leagues: David Freese, Brett Wallace and Allen Craig. They’re all pushing hard, and it’s extremely difficult to envision a 2010 Cardinals club that doesn’t include at least one of them. That’s especially true if it’s the difference between, say, Wallace at the Major League minimum and Glaus at eight figures per year [mlb.com].

Odd are, Freese will get some playing time at another position, maybe first, while the Wallace and Craig may also get tryouts in other spots too. Either way, Glaus’s injury can’t be good news for him with these three breathing down his neck.

In fact, the reason I write this post now is more in response to Glaus’s injury than Freese’s emergence. I think most observers have been quietly monitoring this situation. However, when news of Glaus’s surgery and the fact that he’ll miss 12 weeks came out, Freese’s name started popping up with a much greater frequency than it had been.

A sample of what many are saying shows a mixed opinion on who will get the nod:

  • I think Freese will be a very good MLB third basemen, but he’s not quite my pick. ~ The Bid Dead Sidebar
  • David Freese, 26, might get an extended audition a year early as a result of Glaus’ surgery… ~ OCregister
  • David Freese, who hit well at AAA last season, will be given all the chances to show he can replace Glaus. ~ Reilly Mcshane @ BuzzNewsRoom
  • David Freese has the inside track on the job (for all you, NL-only guys), but top prospect Brett Wallace is the guy to watch ~ Fantasy Ball Junkie
  • David Freese seems like a much better option as he showed great skills in AAA last year with 26 homers, 5 steals and a .306 batting average. ~ Roto Savants

The St. Louis Register seems to be on board with Freese too:

Well, David Freese figures to get the first shot to fill the void. It seems that it’s his turn. Freese isn’t a baby. He’s 26. He’s more mature than other prospects. The Cardinals coveted him when the traded Edmonds to San Diego last winter; they agreed to pay $1 million more of Jimmy Baseball’s salary so they could get Freese instead of another, lesser prospect being dangled by the Padres. And Freese, the hometowner, responded to his move to the Cardinals organization by making the jump from high Class A to Class AAA and batting .306 with 26 homers and 91 RBIs for Memphis. He made only 10 errors at 3B and impressed the Cardinals with his defense. If Freese isn’t given the opportunity to run with this job until Glaus returns, then I must ask: what was the point of the trade?

What more would Mister Freese have to do to earn a shot? If he has an awful spring, then that’s a different matter. But what if he goes to Jupiter and hits well, and fields crisply? He deserves the chance. The Cardinals have made a priority of player development, and they have pitched the concept aggressively to their fan base. If they leave Freese standing on the side now, when there is a clear need for his skill set at the major-league level, then this PR campaign over player development will be exposed for what it is.  Mostly talk. I don’t care where the Cardinals’ farm system is ranked by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus or ESPN. If a player who has put up those kind of numbers in his first AAA season can’t get a shot when the big-league club has an emergency, then the joke is on us.  Which reminds me: I complained at the time, and I will repeat it now: Freese should have been called up to STL last September. The experience would have been valuable to him. Think of the jump-start he would have gotten by playing some games in the bigs late in 2008. Freese has work to do. He must improve his plate discipline and ratchet up his walk rate to have a fighting chance for quick big-league success. I wish him well. 

You might also find this synopsis of one of Freese’s interviews interesting.

What do you think? Will Freese break the starting lineup out of Spring Training? Comment on this post!