Tagged: Arkansas Travelers

The Playoff Picture (as of September 3)

Statistics are as of the morning of September 3.

Here’s an update on the playoff status for each of the Angels affiliates.

SALT LAKE — The Pacific Coast League plays a 144-game schedule. Unlike lower levels, it’s all one season, not divided into two halves. The Bees are 71-69, 1½ games behind Tacoma in the Pacific North division. They just completed a four-game sweep of Fresno (73-67) and have four games left at home against Reno (67-72). Tacoma (72-67) will be on the road at Fresno for four. So the Bees still have a pulse.

ARKANSAS — The Texas League plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Travelers finished 26-44 in the first half, 16 games behind Northwest Arkansas in the North division. They’ve clinched last place with a current second-half record of 27-39, ten games behind third-place Springfield, with four games to play.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The California League also plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Quakes finished 39-31 in the first half, good but not good enough to win the Cal League South, falling seven games behind Lake Elsinore (46-24). The Storm have been more like a squall in the second half, currently at 34-32, two games behind the first-place Quakes. High Desert (35-31) is in second place, one game behind the Quakes and one game ahead of Lake Elsinore. Rancho has four games left to play, on the road at Lancaster. The Mavericks four to play at Lake Elsinore.

The Cal League has a rather convoluted playoff procedure, in part because they add an extra tier of playoffs. Click here to read the playoff procedures. Basically, the first-half team (Lake Elsinore) gets a bye while the second-half winner plays the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three playoff. Should the Storm win the second half too, then the teams with the second-best and third-best records would play. If you look at the overall records, Lake Elsinore is in first at 80-56, five games ahead of Rancho Cucamonga at 75-61 and eight ahead of High Desert at 72-64. The next best team is Lancaster, 27 games behind Lake Elsinore, so it would seem that the Storm, the Quakes and the Mavericks are all a lock for the post-season. All that appears to be at stake right now is home field advantage for the first-round mini-series; the team with the better finish is the home team for Games #2 and #3.

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Midwest League also plays a 140-game schedule split into two halves. The Kernels won the Western Division first half with a 43-25 record, so they’re automatically seeded into the post-season. They’re currently 35-31 with four games to go. The current roster bears little resemblance to the first-half powerhouse. Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin were traded to Arizona. Garrett Richards and Orangel Arenas were promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. Fabio Martinez Mesa has been on the disabled list since August 1 with right shoulder tendonitis and it’s unclear whether he’ll be available for the playoffs. League MVP Mike Trout was also promoted to Rancho along with third baseman Luis Jimenez. Randal Grichuk has returned from the disabled list, which will help, and Carlos Ramirez has an OPS (OBP + SLG) of .870 in the second half after a putrid .596 first half.

OREM — The short-season Pioneer League plays a 76-game schedule divided into two halves of 38 games each. The Owlz finished 19-19 in the first half, four games behind Ogden (23-15). Ten days ago, Orem appeared poised to go off on another one of those famous Tom Kotchman runs as they won eight of ten between August 13 and 22 to move into first place for the second-half title, but since then have gone 2-7. The Owlz just dropped two out of three at home to Casper, so the Ghosts have gone into second place at 17-14 while the Owlz are in third at 16-14. Ogden at 18-12 is 1½ games ahead of Casper and two ahead of Orem.

Should Ogden win both halves, they’ll face the team with the second-best overall record. Right now, that would be the Owlz at 35-33, 1½ games ahead of Casper (34-35). Orem has seven games left, starting with three on the road at Idaho Falls (23-46 overall). They finish with four games against the Raptors, two at home and then two at Ogden. Casper is at Ogden for three, then at home against Idaho Falls at four. The Owlz are fairly well-positioned to qualify for the playoffs, but they’ll have to play better during their remaining seven games to outrun Casper.

TEMPE — The Arizona League plays a 56-game schedule which ended Sunday August 29. The Angels finished 24-31, last in the AZL East, so no playoff this year for the rookie league team.

The Playoff Picture (as of August 31)

Statistics are as of the morning of August 31.

Here’s an update on the playoff status for each of the Angels affiliates.

SALT LAKE — The Pacific Coast League plays a 144-game schedule. Unlike lower levels, it’s all one season, not divided into two halves. The Bees are 68-69, 3½ games behind Tacoma in the Pacific North division. Salt Lake has seven games left, none of them against Tacoma. They’re at home for the rest of the season, with three games against Fresno (73-64) and four against Reno (65-71). It’ll take a collapse by Tacoma to give the Bees a shot at the post-season.

ARKANSAS — The Texas League plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Travelers finished 26-44 in the first half, 16 games behind Northwest Arkansas in the North division. They’ve clinched last place with a current second-half record of 27-36, nine games behind third-place Tulsa, with seven games to play.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The California League also plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Quakes finished 39-31 in the first half, good but not good enough to win the Cal League South, falling seven games behind Lake Elsinore (46-24). The Storm have been more like a squall in the second half, currently at 31-31, three games behind the Quakes and High Desert who are tied for first at 34-29. Rancho has seven games left to play — three at home starting tonight against High Desert, then four on the road at Lancaster. The Mavericks would seem to have the tougher schedule — three at Rancho, and finally four at Lake Elsinore.

The Cal League has a rather convoluted playoff procedure, in part because they add an extra tier of playoffs. Click here to read the playoff procedures. Basically, the first-half team (Lake Elsinore) gets a bye while the second-half winner plays the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three playoff. Should the Storm win the second half too, then the teams with the second-best and third-best records would play. If you look at the overall records, Lake Elsinore is in first at 77-56, four games ahead of Rancho Cucamonga at 73-60 and six ahead of High Desert at 71-62. The next best team is Lancaster, 24 games behind Lake Elsinore, so it would seem that the Storm, the Quakes and the Mavericks are all a lock for the post-season. All that appears to be at stake right now is home field advantage for the first-round mini-series; the team with the better finish is the home team for Games #2 and #3.

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Midwest League also plays a 140-game schedule split into two halves. The Kernels won the Western Division first half with a 43-25 record, so they’re automatically seeded into the post-season. They’re currently 33-30 with seven games to go. The current roster bears little resemblance to the first-half powerhouse. Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin were traded to Arizona. Garrett Richards and Orangel Arenas were promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. Fabio Martinez Mesa has been on the disabled list since August 1 with right shoulder tendonitis and it’s unclear whether he’ll be available for the playoffs. League MVP Mike Trout was also promoted to Rancho along with third baseman Luis Jimenez. Randal Grichuk has returned from the disabled list, which will help, and Carlos Ramirez has an OPS (OBP + SLG) of .845 in the second half after a putrid .596 first half.

OREM — The short-season Pioneer League plays a 76-game schedule divided into two halves of 38 games each. The Owlz finished 19-19 in the first half, four games behind Ogden (23-15). A week ago, Orem appeared poised to go off on another one of those famous Tom Kotchman runs as they won eight of ten between August 13 and 22 to move into first place for the second-half title, but then lost five in a row before winning on August 29. That left them 15-12, but only a half-game behind the Raptors (16-12) who went into their own tailspin.

Should Ogden win both halves, they’ll face the team with the second-best overall record. Right now, that would be the Owlz at 34-31, 2½ games ahead of Casper (32-34). Orem has ten games left, including three at home against Casper on September 1-2, including a makeup doubleheader. They finish with four games against the Raptors, two at home and then two at Ogden. The Owlz are fairly well-positioned to qualify for the playoffs, but they’ll have to play better during their remaining ten games to outrun Casper.

TEMPE — The Arizona League plays a 56-game schedule which ended Sunday August 29. The Angels finished 24-31, last in the AZL East, so no playoff this year for the rookie league team.

The Playoff Picture

Statistics are as of the morning of August 28.

The minor league seasons are coming down to the last days, so let’s take a look at each Angels affiliate and see where they are in their respective title chases.

SALT LAKE — The Pacific Coast League plays a 144-game schedule. Unlike lower levels, it’s all one season, not divided into two halves. The Bees are 67-67, 2½ games behind Tacoma in the Pacific North division. Salt Lake has ten games left, none of them against Tacoma. After two more games in Colorado Springs (59-74), they’ll be at home for the rest of the season, with four games against Fresno (73-61) and four against Reno (64-69).

ARKANSAS — The Texas League plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Travelers finished 26-44 in the first half, 16 games behind Northwest Arkansas in the North division.They seem doomed for a similar demise in the second half, with a 27-33 record. The Travs have ten games left, including six against the Springfield Cardinals who are 33-27, in third place six games ahead. It’s unlikely they’ll even catch Springfield, so it looks like the Travs will wind up in last place for both halves.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The California League also plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Quakes finished 39-31 in the first half, good but not good enough to win the Cal League South, falling seven games behind Lake Elsinore (46-24). The Storm have been more like a squall in the second half, currently at 30-30, two games behind the Quakes and High Desert who are tied for first at 32-28. Rancho has ten games left to play — three at home against Lancaster (23-47), three at home against High Desert, then four on the road at Lancaster. The Mavericks would seem to have the tougher schedule — only three more at home against Lake Elsinore, then three at Rancho, and finally four at Lake Elsinore.

The Cal League has a rather convoluted playoff procedure, in part because they add an extra tier of playoffs. Click here to read the playoff procedures. Basically, the first-half team (Lake Elsinore) gets a bye while the second-half winner plays the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three playoff. Should the Storm win the second half too, then the teams with the second-best and third-best records would play. If you look at the overall records, Lake Elsinore is in first at 76-54, five games ahead of Rancho Cucamonga at 71-59 and seven ahead of High Desert at 69-61. The next best team is Lancaster, 24 games behind Lake Elsinore, so it would seem that the Storm, the Quakes and the Mavericks are all a lock for the post-season. All that appears to be at stake right now is home field advantage for the first-round mini-series; the team with the better finish is the home team for Games #2 and #3.

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Midwest League also plays a 140-game schedule split into two halves. The Kernels won the Western Division first half with a 43-25 record, so they’re automatically seeded into the post-season. They’re currently 32-28 with ten games to go. The current roster bears little resemblance to the first-half powerhouse. Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin were traded to Arizona. Garrett Richards and Orangel Arenas were promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. Fabio Martinez Mesa has been on the disabled list since August 1 with right shoulder tendonitis and it’s unclear whether he’ll be available for the playoffs. League MVP Mike Trout was also promoted to Rancho along with third baseman Luis Jimenez. Randal Grichuk has returned from the disabled list, which will help, and Carlos Ramirez has an OPS (OBP + SLG) of .878 in the second half after a putrid .596 first half.

OREM — The short-season Pioneer League plays a 76-game schedule divided into two halves of 38 games each. The Owlz finished 19-19 in the first half, four games behind Ogden (23-15). A week ago, Orem appeared poised to go off on another one of those famous Tom Kotchman runs as they won eight of ten between August 13 and 22 to move into first place for the second-half title, but since then they’ve lost four in a row to fall to 14-11, 1½ games behind the Raptors. Should Ogden win both halves, they’ll face the team with the second-best overall record. Right now, that would be the Owlz at 33-30, four games ahead of Casper (29-34). Orem has 12 games left, including two at home against Casper on September 1-2. They finish with four games against the Raptors, two at home and then two at Ogden. Barring a total collapse, it looks like the Owlz will reach the playoffs for the tenth straight year the franchise has been in Utah County, but they’ll need to play better to get past Ogden in the first round.

TEMPE — The Arizona League plays a 56-game schedule which ends Sunday August 29. The Angels are 23-30, last in the AZL East, so no playoff this year for the rookie league team.

The Playoff Picture

Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Well, it’s over.

Salt Lake and Arkansas have been eliminated from post-season contention, and finish their regular season schedules today.

Rancho Cucamonga and Cedar Rapids also finish their regular season schedules today, but they’re going to the post-season.

Despite a poor year, the Quakes are in the post-season due to how the California League playoff system works. High Desert won both halves of the South Division, so the second- and third-best teams by overall winning percentage play in a best-of-three series while the Mavericks get a bye. So the Quakes (61-78) will host the Storm (73-66) on Wednesday, with Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 Thursday and Friday at Lake Elsinore.

The Kernels (77-60) play Peoria (80-57) in a best-of-three series starting Wednesday at Peoria. Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 will be Thursday and Friday at Cedar Rapids. The Kernels get the home field advantage because they qualified in the first half but Peoria didn’t.

The Orem Owlz (47-24) play through Friday 9/11, then begin their three-game series against Ogden (41-30) on Saturday 9/12 at Orem. Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 are Sunday and Monday at Ogden, which won the first half title.

The Tempe Angels (38-18) qualified for the playoffs but lost to the Scottsdale Giants (39-17) in the Arizona League playoffs.

The Playoff Picture (Through August 30)

Here’s an update on where each affiliate stands in their pursuit of the post-season.

Salt Lake — The Pacific Coast League is a full-season league, no split-season schedule, so the Bees must win their division outright to qualify for the playoffs. I’d given them up for dead when they lost three straight August 24-26, but they just beat division leader Colorado Springs three straight to move within 4½ of first place. The Bees are 65-69, the Sky Sox are 69-64. Tacoma (69-66) is in second place, one game behind Colorado Springs. The Bees have nine games left, including today’s game at Colorado Springs and then four on the road at Tacoma. They ain’t dead yet.

Arkansas — The Travelers finished 28-42 in the first half, ten games behind Springfield in the Texas League North Division. They’re currently 28-33 in the second half, five games behind Northwest Arkansas (33-28). Tulsa (32-29) trails Northwest Arkansas by a game. The Travs and Springfield are tied at 28-33. They have nine games left on the schedule — two against Springfield, then four at home at Northwest Arkansas, and finally three on the road at Springfield. The Travs remain on the periphery with a little more than a week to go; if they go off on a hot streak they still have a chance.

Rancho Cucamonga — The Quakes finished 30-40 in the first half, 13 games behind South Division first-half winner High Desert. The California League has rather unusual post-season eligibility rules. The first-half winner in each division get a bye, while the second-half winner faces the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three series. If High Desert wins both halves, then the teams with the second and third best records will face each other. In the second half, the Quakes are 29-33, six games behind the Mavericks (35-27). They’ve won three of their last four but lost power-hitter Matt Sweeney in the Scott Kazmir trade. They’re currently two games behind Lake Elsinore (31-31) and two games ahead of Lancaster (27-35). In the overall standings, after the Mavs the Storm (70-62) have clinched the second-best record so the Quakes (59-73) must finish third overall to qualify for the wild card. They currently have a two-game lead over Inland Empire (57-75) with eight games to go, none of them against division opponents. To make it simple, the Quakes have to hold that third-place lead through the rest of the regular season to make the playoffs.

Cedar Rapids — The Kernels finished 40-30 in the first half, good enough for second place one game behind Kane County, so under Midwest League rules they’re in. They’ll face the Peoria Chiefs in the first round of the West Division playoffs.

Orem — Tom Kotchman does it again. The Owlz’ 20-18 first half record in the Pioneer League’s South Division was only good enough for third place, so they need to win the division outright in the second half. As Kotch teams almost always do, they kicked into high gear in the second half for a 22-3 record so far and a seven-game lead over Idaho Falls (15-10). Rival Ogden won the first half. The Owlz have 13 games left in the second half, so short of a total collapse they’re going to the post-season. Garrett Richards continues to emerge as the staff ace, striking out eight and walking none in eight shutout innings last night at Idaho Falls.

Tempe — The Tempe Angels beat the Scottsdale Giants 1-0 last night in 12 innings in their regular season finale, to finish in a 20-8 first-place tie with the Giants. They meet tonight at 7:00 PM MDT at Scottsdale for a one-game playoff to determine the East Division champion. The winner goes on to play the West Division champion Peoria Mariners on Monday for the Arizona League title. Tempe’s overall record for the season was 38-18, one game behind Scottsdale (39-17).

It’s Official: Scott Kazmir to the Angels for Alex Torres, Matt Sweeney and PTBNL

The Angels traded Alex Torres (left) and Matt Sweeney to Tampa Bay on Friday for pitcher Scott Kazmir. A third Angels player is to be named.

 

Once the Rays’ game in Detroit ended last night, the rumored trade was officially announced. The Angels acquired LHP Scott Kazmir from Tampa Bay in exchange for Arkansas Travelers’ LHP Alex Torres, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ third baseman Matt Sweeney, and a player to be named later (PTBNL).

The trade was originally announced on AngelsBaseball.com as just Torres and Sweeney, but then that press release was deleted and replaced by one which said that the trade fell through. Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times wrote that “The leak from the Angels’ side enraged Rays officials and nearly led them to call it off because it aborted their protocol of notifying their player first.”

There’s no doubt that Kazmir has issues. I wrote on May 10 that the critics who bashed the Angels for selecting Joe Saunders over Kazmir in June 2002 had been proven wrong. Since then, Saunders has struggled but we learned that it was due to shoulder tightness which has been apparently corrected by a stint on the disabled list and a cortisone shot. Kazmir, however, has had ongoing battles with mechanical problems that have led to repeated DL visits.

Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune published an article today that calls Kazmir “the Ace Who Never Was.” Fennelly couldn’t resist also taking a cheap shot, writing:

The word from Detroit is the Rays beat the space shuttle to the punch by launching Scott Kazmir into space. Well, not space, but a place just as spacey, the left coast, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or whatever they’re called.

Infantile insults aside, Kazmir at age 25 remains one of the most promising young pitchers in baseball. A rare left-hander with mid-90s velocity and a wicked slider, his best seasons were during and after Mike Butcher worked with him in Tampa. Butcher was a long-time Angels minor league pitching coach who was hired by Joe Maddon to be the Devil Rays’ pitching coach in 2006. When Bud Black left to manage the Padres, Mike Scioscia brought home Butch to become the Angels’ major league pitching coach. Kazmir’s best ERA year was 2006 at 3.24, and in 2007 it was 3.48. Reuniting Kazmir with Butcher might solve whatever problems are going through his young head.

As for what the Angels gave up … You can read about Torres and Sweeney in the many articles published this morning on various newspaper sites, as listed on FutureAngels.com. Torres is about the same in physical build as Kazmir, although he lists as about two inches shorter (5’10”). He put himself on the prospect radar this year, although you won’t find many star left-handed pitchers of his stature in the big leagues. As for Sweeney, he was always a potential power hitter but he missed all of 2008 with a leg injury and part of 2009 with a hip injury, and his defense has always been suspect.

When the trade was “unannounced,” rumors abounded that a PTBNL had been added to the deal. Normally a PTBNL is chosen later from a list of players agreed upon at the time of the trade, but it appears in this case that the player’s name is already known. Topkin wrote, “The one not named is considered closer to the majors and someone Maddon, a former Angels coach, called “a very interesting player that I’m very excited about.”

HalosHeaven.com claims it’s Jordan Walden, based on Walden not appearing on the Arkansas Travelers’ roster. But Walden hasn’t been on that roster for weeks. He’s been on the Tempe Angels’ roster since August 16 while on rehab assignment for a recurring forearm injury. The Tempe rosters are on FutureAngels.com.

Flawed logic aside, if the player is already known but hasn’t been announced it could be for several reasons. MLB rules prohibit trading a player while he’s on the disabled list, unless the player approves. Another rule prohibits trading a player within the first year after he signs. Topkin says it’s someone closer to the majors than Torres or Sweeney.

If I were the Rays, I’d be asking for Trevor Reckling, Will Smith or Ryan Chaffee. None of those, however, are disabled, so there’s no reason not to include them now in the trade. So it could be Walden despite the flawed reasoning of the HalosHeaven.com post. It could also be a position player pending some other transaction.

When I originally heard it was just Torres and Sweeney, I thought the Angels were getting off cheaply. But as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for,” and Kazmir is worth more than those two. When the other cleat drops, we may think twice about this deal.


UPDATE August 29, 2009 4:45 PM PDT — In discussing the PTBNL with someone on the Angels MLB.com board, we realized that the PTBNL could be someone on the 40-man roster who isn’t on the 25-man roster. That opens a new list of possible names. Among those are Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez, Matt Brown, Terry Evans, Sean O’Sullivan, and more. They also include two major league pitchers on the disabled list, Scot Shields and Dustin Moseley. These players would have to pass through waivers first, which could explain the delay.

If you’re looking for clues, it was pointed out that Matt Brown didn’t play the last two nights for Salt Lake. You’d think that the Rays wouldn’t want to risk an injury to a future employee by letting him play while he passes through waivers.

What if the player is claimed on waivers by another team? That would complicate matters. It would seem likely that the Angels and Rays would have a “backup” list if that happens. Or they could simply wait until season’s end when waivers are no longer required and then complete the transaction.

Report: Angels About to Acquire Scott Kazmir from Rays for Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney

Multiple media outlets report a trade about to happen between the Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Angels would acquire 25-year old LHP Scott Kazmir from the Rays for Arkansas LHP Alex Torres and Rancho Cucamonga 3B Matt Sweeney.

The Los Angeles Times reported the trade, then MLB.com reported the trade fell through, and now the St. Petersburg Times says the trade may still happen but the hangup may be the Rays wanting a third minor leaguer to be named later.

Updates when available.