Posts Tagged ‘Fort Wayne Wizards’

Wizards Where R They? – David Pauley

In 2001, the San Diego Padres drafted David Pauley out of high school in the eighth round. In 2003 with the Wizards, he posted a 7-7 record with a 3.29 earned run average to go along with 117 strikeouts and 38 bases on balls over 117.2 innings pitched. He started in 21 of his 22 games and did earn one save as a Wizard.

By 2004, Pauley had received recognition by Baseball America as the seventh best prospect in the San Diego Padres organization. However, after the 2004 season, San Diego shipped Pauley to the Boston Red Sox along with Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez plus cash in exchange for speedy Dave Roberts.

In May of 2006, Pauley made his Major League debut, starting against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was called up from Boston’s Double-A affiliate at the time (Portland) to spot start for the injured David Wells. He allowed six runs on 11 hits over just 4 and two-thirds innings. However, despite the poor first outing, the Red Sox did win 8-6.

“I was definitely nervous,” Pauley said. “I knew it was going to be tough. I thought I dealt with it pretty well. It’s just a stepping stone to my next one” [source: YahooSports]

He appeared in two more games with Boston during the remainder of the 2006 season, pitching in a total of 16 innings, while also pitching with the Red Sox’s Triple-A squad. Pauley pitched all of 2007 in Triple-A Pawtucket.

In 2008, Pauley began the year with Triple-A Pawtucket where he went 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA and 103 strikeouts over 147 innings pitched. In August, he returned to the Fenway mound – but it was against the Charlotte Knights in a “Futures at Fenway” game. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four en route to his thirteenth victory of that season in front of 36,000 spectators.

Pauley did get the chance to pitch a couple innings in relief with the Red Sox in September. The moves that Boston makes over the course of this offseason will likely play big into Pauley’s future. He is on Boston’s 40-man roster and therefore not in jeopardy of being snagged in the upcoming Rule-5 Draft. His solid season in Pawtucket seems to indicate that he has figured out Triple-A and is looking for his place at the next level. Whether he can crack the rotation in Boston or land a place in the bullpen remains to be seen.

Pauley mixes a very good sinker with a low 90s fastball with good movement,  a good changeup, and a nice curveball.   Has 5th starter potential at the MLB level. Pauley has demonstrated solid success against AAA competition for extended periods of time, but has yet to impress much at the big league level, although he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. Needs to improve his control somewhat.   Gives up a lot of home runs.  Good fielder with a strong pick-off move [soxprospects.com].

Boston also has to fill the catcher and fourth outfielder spot; which could be filled by former Wizards George Kottaras and Paul McAnulty (though it is unlikely). Boston has been known to pull of some solid trades in recent years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pauley get shipped or slotted in at the number five role, which is currently available to my knowledge.

Regardless, it seems that Pauley should and will be entering Spring Training in 2009 with his eyes set on winning a job on the Major League roster.

Update – January 19th, 2009: OMG! I was right! David Pauley got traded . . . to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitcher, Randor Bierd. Hopefully Pauley will get a good shot at cracking the Major League roster.

Update – July 4, 2010: David Pauley was granted ffree agency from the Orioles in November of 2009 and he signed with the Seattle Mariners about a month later. Through 2010, Pauley had been 1-6 with a 3.68 earned run average in 15 games for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Last week, he was called up to the Bigs when Mike Sweeney went on the DL. Pauley hasn’t allowed a run in three innings since being recalled.

WizCaps Where R They? 2010

Thought I would take a little time and update where many of the former Wizards and TinCaps are playing currently:

Let’s start with the easiest – that being the Padres. On their active roster, are former WizCaps, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, Lance Zawadzki, Kyle Blanks and Will Veneble. Others who are on their 40-man roster (but not active roster) are; Ernesto Frieri, Seve Garrison, Cesar Ramos, Matt Antonelli, and Luis Durango.

After having been released by the Padres during spring, Chad Huffman was quickly picked up by the Yankees. Padres front-office exec Paul DePodesta expressed regret. Friar Forecast called it “no big deal.” In 14 games with the Triple-A Scranton Wiles-Barre Yankees, Huffman is batting .204 with 3 home runs and 5 RBI. He’s struck out 12 time sin 54 at-bats.

Leo Rosales is still in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization and has seen big league action this year. However, he has landed on the DL due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Oddly, he first felt discomfort when he got fellow Fort Wayne alumnus Kyle Blanks (Padres) to ground into a double play

Luke Carlin is nearby in Indianapolis with the the Pittsburgh Pirate’s Triple-A Affiliate, the Indy Indians. The catcher is putting up some pretty solid offensive numbers in 13 games so far on the young season.

Another former ‘zards catcher, Jose Lobaton, is now in the Tampa Bay organization. He served as the backup for two days while Dioner Navarro served a two-game suspension last week. He’s since been optioned back to Triple-A. Also on the Durham Bulls’ roster are former Wizards Dale Thayer and J.J. Furmaniak.

Eddie Bonine is putting logging some big leage innings with Detroit. Perhaps the return of his knuckleball is the magic formula this time around.

“He’s a very useable big league pitcher,” Leyland said of the 28-year-old. “Will he knock your lights out? No. But he’s been a winner wherever he’s been.”

The Camden Riversharks seems to be the preferred indy team for former Wizards. Their current roster includes pitchers Travis Chick and Jon Ellis as well as infielders Brett Bonvechio and Brian Burgamy.

Everyone’s favorite wipping boy, Matt Bush is trying to not only save his career but redeem his life with the Tampa Bay Rays. On the season, he’s seen one game with the class A+ Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Dirk Hayhurst remains with Toronto – but he’s also gained a lot of attention for his New York Times Bestseller, The Bullpen Gospels. He’s also got his own site/blog. Unfortunately, he is likely to miss most of the season following shoulder surgery in February.

Freddy Guzman is in the Phillies organization. He’s currently assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Jared Wells is currently with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Houston Astros organization.

Wilton Lopez is with the Houston Astros organization, currently playing at Triple-A Round Rock, but he has seen big league action on the season already and he remains on the 40-man roster. Another former Wizard, Yordany Ramirez is also on the 40-man roster, but has yet to see big league action at any point in his career. He too is at Triple-A and is hitting .265 with a home run and 6 RBI over 16 games.

Former Wizards Owner, Mayerson Goes Flat Out Crazy

Daniel Hausmann has an interesting tidbit about former Frederick Mayerson, who brought the Kenosha Twins to Fort Wayne and renamed them the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Flat Out Crazy LLC is the new name of the holding company created by the merger of Asian-food concept chains Stir Crazy Restaurants and FlatTop Grill. The combination is backed by private equity firm Walnut Group.

Kudos to the Spaulding brothers, who are linked in the post.

In other news, Fort Wayne is no longer the top minor league sports market in the country according to Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. Seeks that not even the Komets repeat as Turner Cup Champions, nor the TinCaps historic innagural season at Parkview field couldn’t keep Hershy-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from pushing Fort Wayne down to number two.

Astros Claim Former Wizard, Wilton Lopez

The Houston Astros have claimed former Fort Wayne Wizards righthander, Wilton Lopez, off waivers from the San Diego Padres.

The 25-year-old Lopez, who was optioned to Class AA Corpus Christi of the Texas League, owns a record of 6-5 with 16 saves and a 4.13 ERA in 111 career relief appearances with the Padres and New York Yankees organizations. Last season, he appeared in a total of 58 games at the Class A, AA and AAA levels.

The move was made possible when Aaron Boon’s transfer to the 60-day disabled list opened up roon on the team’s 40-man roster.

Lopez came to the Padres as an undrafted free agent in 2007. That year, he spent 22 games with the Wizards, where he compiled a 1-0 record with a 3.30 earned run average. During that span, he struck out 17 and walked 2 over over 30 innings pitched. He also saw action in 22 games with advanced A Lake Elsinore in 2007.

Phillies Acquire Another Former Wizard

The San Diego Padres have traded Manny Ayala to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later. Aparently, he was set to be released, so I would not expect much in return. Ayala will report to the Phillies minor camp where he’ll meet up with another former Wizards, J.J. Furmaniak. Clay Condrey, who was a Wizard in 1999 is currently on the Phillies’ MLB roster.

Ayala appeared in 3 games with the Wizards in 2006. He compiled a 7.56 ERA with nine strikeouts and two walks in 8.1 innings pitched.

In a separate move, the Padres acquired right-handed pitcher Edward Mujica (pronounced MOO-he-kuh) from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. No Fort Wayne related implications yet, but a TinCap or former Wizard might end up being that PTBNL so we’ll have to stay tuned on that one.

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!

Cubs Invite Scales and Rivas to Spring Training

The Chicago Cubs have included two former Wizards, Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales, on their list of non-roster Spring Training invitees.

Luis Rivas with the Wizards in 1997Rivas is the most known and experienced of the two. He has previously played with the Twins, Indians, Rays and most recently, the Pirates. When he came through Fort Wayne with the Wizards in 1997, he was a considered their number one prospect. He debuted in 2000 but saw his career largely derailed at the hands of several injury-plagued seasons.

Last season, Rivas won an opening day spot with the Pittsburgh Pirates, in part due to Freddy Sanchez being injured. On that season, he hit .218 over 206 at-bats and 76 games.

With the Wizards in 1997, Rivas appeared in 121 games and hit .239 with 100 hits and 30 runs batted in over 419 at-bats. More about Luis Rivas can be found on page 58 of Baseball in Fort Wayne.

Bobby Scales played the full 2008 season within the Cubs organization at Trople-A Iowa. The 31-year-old infielder set career highs in batting average at .320 and had 94 runs, 59 walks to go along with a .415 on-base percentage over 121 games.

He finished tied for eighth in the Pacific Coast League batting race and finished tied for second in runs scored. A switch-hitter and right-handed fielder, he begins his 11th pro season after he was originally selected by San Diego in the 14th round of the 1999 Draft [DesMoinesRegister.com]

In addition to San Diego and Chicago, Scales has played in the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.

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Photograph of Luis Rivas is courtesy of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Will 2009 Bring Barfield Resurgence?

After my recent post on George Kottaras and the potential for him breaking camp with the Red Sox in 2009, I got to thinking about Josh Barfield.

His rise and fall is well documented. With the Padres in 2006, he was a legitimate candidate for NL Rookie of the Year. His numbers were pretty solid. Over 150 games, Barfield hit .280 with 151 hits, 13 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He also swiped 21 bases.

The offseason saw the Padres trade Barfield to the Indians for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown (who is now with Oakland) to fill a void at third base when the Sean Burroughs experience didn’t pan out the way they had planned. That’s when things went south for Barfield.

His 2007 production was lackluster at best. Over 130 games, Barfield hit.243 with three home runs and 50 RBIs. Rookie, Asdrubal Cabrera came out of nowhere to take advantage of the situation and wrestle away the starting gig at second base. His performance is one that often receives credit as a big reason the Tribe was able to launch into the playoffs and narrowly miss going to the World Series.

As one might expect, Cabrera entered Spring Training as the incumbent second baseman and began the 2008 season in that role. Barfield began the 2008 season at Triple-A Buffalo. His numbers were nothing to write home about, hitting .253 with 75 hits and 23 runs batted in over 299 at-bats. He struck out 58 teams.

But fortunately for Barfield, Cabrera offered a dismal performance that was reminiscent of Barfield’s 2007. It gave Barfield another shot. Though he went 0-6 during that stint, he might have had a good shot had he not gotten injured. He underwent surgery to repair an injured ligament on the left middle finger and missed several weeks.

By the time Barfield had recovered, Eric Wedge and the Indians had moved on and the season was more or less lost. Jamey Carroll held down most of the second base duties during that time, but didn’t really show any indication that he had locked up the role. That may have provided Barfield with yet another opportunity to regain his promise.

On the season, Barfield had little opportunity to impress at the MLB level and continues to show a high strikeout propensity (10 in 33 at bats). He hit just .182 during the combined stints. But reportedly, Barfield did make an impression and should get a legitimate shot at reclaiming his position unless there happens to be an acquisition of an established veteran. In all likelihood, the battle will come down to Barfield, Cabrera, Carroll and rookie Luis Valbuena, who hit .245 in 18 games last season.

Methinks there’s an very outside shot that Barfield could regain the role he lost nearly two years ago. Though, I might be a bit more on the hopeful side than most. As I often do with former Wizards players, as I researched this post, I did an environmental scan of news stories and blog posts. Many have already written Barfield out of the future plans not only for the Indians, but every team in Major League Baseball.

The DiaTribe suggests:

As 2009 looms, the decline of Barfield from being an up-and-coming steady MLB contributor at the age of 23 to a player that isn’t likely to factor into the Indians’ 2009 plans as a 26-year-old is nearly complete.

Sheldon Ocker of Ohio.com predicts that…

Jhonny Peralta probably will move from short to third – a move I don’t like – Asdrubal Cabrera will be shifted from second to short, and manager Eric Wedge will re-introduce himself to Josh Barfield, the forgotten man. It’s also not out of the question that Shapiro will find a free-agent second baseman.

And finally, Michael Taylor provides a thorough (yet bleak) analysis for MVN:

While Kouzmanoff has lived up to his end of the trade, the son of a former home run champion has arguably become the worst position player in the American League when he has been in the lineup. Barfield’s OPS, which is on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, is under .600! That’s right, under .600!

In that segment, Taylor reviews Barfield in comparison to baseball-reference.com’s similar batters through age 25.  Those batters are Russ Adams, Carlos Febles, Carlos Guillen, Pat Kelly and Michael Young. It’s an interesting mix, but I don’t recall any of those players ever emerging as the type of player who was irreplaceable for a team.

So, while the outlook is dim, it does appear that Barfield still has an opportunity to restore an unfulfilled promise. He’s still relatively young, nobody has a lock on his position at the MLB level, and he’s playing for a club that saw Cliff Lee make one of the most phenomenal “out-of-nowhere” resurgences in Major League Baseball History. So I guess anything’s possible!

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Photograph courtesy of the Fort Wayne Wizards/TinCaps

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