Tag Archives: California League

QUAKES’ PETERS, STORM’S LUCCHESI HONORED

Rancho Cucamonga’s DJ Peters has been named Cal League Player of the Week while Lake Elsinore’s Joey Lucchesi took home Pitcher of the Week honors.

Peters slashed .400/.545/.960 and had two doubles, four homers and 11 RBI in 25 ABs. Saturday night against the Storm, Peters went 2-for-5 with a HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.

Lucchesi threw six shutout innings at Visalia last Tuesday, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out eight.

ALL MILB PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
ALL MILB PITCHERS OF THE WEEK

 

BUEHLER DEALS, QUAKES OUTLAST 66ERS

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes pulled out a 5-4 win over the Inland Empire 66ers in a Friday night matchup that saw early offense before a tense finish at LoanMart Field. IE couldn’t do much with Quakes starter Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’ #11 prospect, and fell behind 4-0 after two innings.

Buehler left after three scoreless frames, throwing 47 pitches and allowing just one hit and one walk. The 66ers then mounted their offense and got a run in the fourth on a Matt Thaiss homerun. The Quakes made it 5-1 with a single run in the fifth before Inland Empire plated two in the sixth to pull to within 5-3.

An eventful ninth inning saw the 66ers score another run while coming up short as Rancho’s Andrew Istler notched his second save despite allowing three hits and IE’s fourth run.

The Quakes got to IE starter Jake Jewell for five runs (3ER) on five hits, including Ibandel Isabel’s  fourth homer, a solo shot in the second. But Garrett Nuss came on for the 66ers and threw three scoreless innings in relief to keep his team in the game.

Dean Kremer (1-0) went four innings for the win, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Thaiss is the Angels’ #2 overall prospect and the homer may have been a good sign as the 2016 first-round pick hasn’t gotten it going at the plate yet (.170/.302/245).

Rancho Cucamonga C Will Smith (#16 BA prospect) threw out two runners trying to steal while going 1-for-4 at the plate.

The series continues Saturday night at 7:05PM.

 

JETHAWKS GET TO WHITE, DROP QUAKES 11-9

The Lancaster Jethawks roughed up Rancho Cucamonga’s Mitchell White for six early runs (3 ER) and totaled 12 hits in an 11-9 win at The Hangar Tuesday night. The Jethawks have taken the first two games of the four-game series to tighten up the Cal League South race.

White, last week’s Cal League pitcher of the week, went 1 2/3 innings and allowed four runs and a walk. The first inning was marred only by a fielding error by 1B Ibandel Isabel. But White didn’t make it to the end of a six-run second inning that featured two HBPs, a wild pitch and an error.

Lancaster scored 10 runs over the second, third and fourth innings to put the game out of reach of Rancho’s late comeback attempt. LF Sam Hilliard went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Jethawks. SS Drew Jackson went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.

OTHER SCORES

VISALIA – 2
SAN JOSE – 3

LAKE ELSINORE – 2
INLAND EMPIRE – 3

STOCKTON – 7
MODESTO – 8

 

BLAZE, MAVS TO MOVE, CAL LEAGUE TO 8 TEAMS

f1b6a883-8f83-43b5-9b55-19a1f19c2f7cThe California League announced on Monday that the Bakersfield Blaze and the High Desert Mavericks will move to the Carolina League next season in a realignment of advanced-A leagues. The two cities will see their clubs cease operations and the California League will play with eight teams in 2017.

Bakersfield has been in the Cal League for 75 years while High Desert is finishing its 26th season in Adelanto.

The Blaze, famously, had problems with their aged stadium, Sam Lynn Ballpark, which has home plate facing the setting sun which necessitates later start times. The dugouts are way up the lines and it is lacking modern amenities that are now standard in weight training facilities and indoor batting cages.

imagesThe Mavericks got caught up in a nasty fight between the city and ownership. Both sides thought their counterpart to be unreasonable and litigation cast a cloud over the start of the 2016 season. As a result, High Desert was the logical choice to join the Blaze in downsizing the league and keeping with an even number of teams.

The Blaze have long had the lowest average attendance in the Cal League and High Desert has the second-lowest. This season the Blaze is averaging a mere 848 fans, despite the first-place club on the field in the second half. The Mavericks, first-half champions in the South division, are averaging 1,056. It’s a long way to next next lowest average attendance figure, Visalia’s 1,731. The rest of the league draws more than 2,000 per game on average.

It is sad to see a 75-year old club leave the league, but Bakersfield didn’t have a leg to stand on. Despite the first-rate staff that had the minor league experience down pat, the fans just didn’t come out. Attempts had been made to get a new facility but they fell through and the final years of Bakersfield baseball have seen sparse crowds in an outlier of a facility. That’s a tough way to go out. The fantastic staff deserved much better.

High Desert’s situation didn’t really have to happen, but the baseball played in the Mavs’ home stadium is unusually high-octane, even by Cal League standards. Again, it isn’t good to see a community and a league lose a franchise, but when the name of the game is player development, the wind-affected play in Adelanto has made it hard to evaluate both pitching and hitting.

The Cal League is clearly one of the most offense-heavy leagues in minor league baseball. Could they have continued to make it work out there? Of course. It’s unfortunate to have politics kill the whole deal. 1,000 people a night isn’t as large of an average crowd as most of the rest of the league, but it isn’t peanuts either. A lot of people spent a lot of summer nights watching the Mavs over the years. And then there are the employees.

It’s a sad, sad situation for a pretty stable league. But at the end of the day, you can see the logic in the realignment decision-making. The California League will continue to thrive. It will just do it without these two clubs, and that is sad for the people affected in these communities.

BALLPARK DIGEST STORY by Jeff Goldberg

 

PITCHER OF THE WEEK – MATT BOWER, LANCASTER

Matt Bower went five strong innings against Lake Elsinore to earn Cal League Pitcher of the Week honors. Bower allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out 10 over five shutout innings. It was the lefty’s first start at Lancaster after coming up from Quad Cities.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – JONAH ARENADO, SJ GIANTS

Arenado drilled three homers and slashed .346/.393/.846 over last week to be named Cal League Offensive Player of the Week. The Giants’ 3B also scored eight runs and drove in six. After hitting nine homers in 134 lo-A games last season, Arenado already has six a month into this year.

ORTIZ SHINES FOR HIGH DESERT WITH 6IP, 1H

Photo: MiLB.com

Photo: MiLB.com

The High Desert Mavericks rode the arm of Luis Ortiz and a 14-hit attack to pound out a 9-1 victory over the Visalia Rawhide on Saturday night. The home Rawhide hurt their own cause with a season-high six errors as well.

The visiting Mavericks broke open a 1-1 contest with a string of deuces in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, then put up two more runs in the ninth.

Ortiz, the Rangers’ #4 prospect in Baseball America’s rankings, allowed just one hit over six innings, a solo homer to Colin Bray in the third inning. The right-hander threw 59 pitches with 41 of them strikes while striking out five against 0 walks.

The Mavericks (24-12) have taken the first two games of the four-game set in Visalia and remained a game back of first-place Rancho Cucamonga (25-11) in the South division. The Rawhide (23-12) saw their lead in the North trimmed to two games as the San Jose Giants knocked off Modesto.

SCOREBOARD

MODESTO – 7
SAN JOSE – 11

LAKE ELSINORE – 1
LANCASTER 5

HIGH DESERT – 9
VISALIA – 1

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – 5
INLAND EMPIRE – 3

STOCKTON – 6
BAKERSFIELD – 9

 

MODESTO’S HOWARD SILENCES GIANTS

Photo: MiLB.com

Photo: MiLB.com

The Modesto Nuts scored three late runs to make a Sam Howard masterpiece stand up for a 5-2 win Friday  night in San Jose. The lefty Howard (2-1) went seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out 10 against no walks to notch his second win of the season and give the Nuts a series-opening victory.

Modesto got on the board in the first with an RBI single by Ronnie Jebavy, only to see San Jose come back to tie it up in the bottom of the second. The Giants went ahead in the bottom of the fourth when 3B Jonah Arenado left the yard for the fifth time this season.

Single runs in the fifth and seventh innings put the visitors back on top and Howard was back in position the get the win for his strong effort. A two-run rally in the eighth saw SS Luis Jean double in two runs for all the insurance the Nuts would need, providing the final margin at 5-2.

Howard is on the fringe of the Colorado Rockies’ prospect list, sitting at #24 by MLB.com and #25 by Baseball America. His first pro season in 2014 had some pretty big rough spots but the Georgia Southern alum had a solid second-half in low-A Asheville last year. He’s alternated good and bad starts with Modesto over his last few outings, but Friday night’s effort was clearly his best of the season, and the first one in which he has finished the seventh inning.

 

SAN JOSE, STOCKTON INK PDC EXTENSIONS

downloadThe Stockton Ports and San Jose Giants will continue to be affiliated with their big-league organizations through the 2020 season as both clubs announced Player Development Contract extensions.

On April 4th, San Jose agreed to an extension with the San Francisco Giants, continuing a relationship that dates back to 1988.

StocktonStockton did the same yesterday, extending their agreement with the Oakland A’s. The Ports have been an A’s affiliate since 2005.

Many of the Cal League teams are in the final years of their PDCs, as can be seen on BallparkDigest.com’s Affiliate Dance 2016 page. The stickiest situation is probably High Desert, which is embroiled in a dispute with the city of Adelanto.  the city is attempting to have the Mavericks evicted from Stater Bros. Stadium, but the legal process has been stalled at this point.

There is a lot to the High Desert/Adelanto story and you can follow it at the Victorville Daily Press local sports section HERE.

No such drama in Stockton and San Jose. Those harmonious situations are set to go to the next decade.

NAVA TAKES HELM OF 2016 SJ GIANTS

downloadThe San Jose Giants have a new field boss for 2016, as former hitting coach  Lipso Nava has been announced as the new manager. Also returning from 2015 are Pitching Coach Mike Couchee and Athletic Trainer Garrett Havig.

New to the staff will be Hitting Coach Todd Linden and Strength and Condidtioning Coach Andy King.

Nava served as hitting coach for San Jose from 2013-2015. The Giants had an overall record of 72-68 in 2015 and landed a wildcard playoff berth after a red-hot second half of 42-28. Series wins over Stockton and Visalia put the Giants in the finals, where they lost to Rancho Cucamonga.