In this week's Minor League Mailbag, we discuss Chuck Greenberg's purchase of Frisco, stadium food, and Luke Jackson!
@unlikelyfanatic what effect will Greenburgs purchase [ed: of the Frisco RoughRiders] have ?
It's very exciting to see the purchase of Frisco be finalized, mainly because of everything I've heard about how Myrtle Beach is run and promoted. While Mandalay has done a good job with Frisco and their other clubs, it was slightly noticeable this season that the previous ownership group didn't want to put as much money in, as they were hoping to have it sold soon. Now that the Greenberg group has officially bought the 'Riders, it'll be interesting to see what happens. Personally, I'm hoping for the four windows in the press box to actually become one big window.
Player development wise, it should have no negative effect, and actually most likely locks Frisco up as a Rangers affiliate for the foreseeable future.
@unlikelyfanatic any early candidates for the AZ Fall Lg for the Rangers?
While the Fall League is supposedly for standout MiLB players from the regular season, it's also a place that organizations send rehabbers or guys they're auditioning for off-season deals. I could see Keone Kela making a return appearance, especially if his current DL stay (and lack of velocity) means he's shut down for a while longer. Any of the pitchers who come back later this year off injury are good candidates to get some extra innings in Arizona, as well as hitters like Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson, guys who picked up new positions this year (1B and RF, respectively.) I don't think we'd see Joey Gallo there, but who knows. From Myrtle Beach, Christopher Bostick or Chris Garia could make an appearance, especially if Garia is still shaky in center field. Each organization is only allowed to send two players from below DoubleA, though, so it'll be interesting to see who's chosen.
Basically, it's still a little early to attempt to figure out that roster.
@unlikelyfanatic which minor leaguer would have the most success playing in a World Cup game?
Luke Jackson played soccer in high school, and is still in the minor leagues, and I'm sure that many other minor leaguers played soccer in their youth, as well as baseball. While not a minor leaguer, Jurickson Profar was apparently actually better at soccer than baseball when he was young. Fortunately for Rangers fans, Profar preferred baseball.
@unlikelyfanatic is LukJack due for a promotion to AAA? He doesn't seem to be challenged at AA anymore.
While he's currently mowing down Double A hitters, I'm not sure that he'll be promoted to Round Rock unless room needs to be made for a concurrent promotion from Myrtle Beach. At this point, his next jump could be to the majors, to bring his FB/CB/CH mix to the slightly desperate looking Ranger bullpen.
@unlikelyfanatic what does LuJax have left to prove at AA?
The ability to pitch at his high level over a long season, to face hitters more than once, as well as saving the innings on his arm. Also, the Double-A team is better (for its league) than the Triple-A team, so pitching for a team with the ability to win is something, too, though if he were promoted you'd hear nothing negative about it.
@unlikelyfanatic Why do the Yankees refuse to give Pat Venditte a shot? Who doesn't love a switch pitcher?
I certainly love a switch pitcher, and think they're rare birds to be...well, this metaphor just broke down in shambles.
It may be why Ben Rowen is just now seeing his first major league time, why so many other fairly productive pitchers get few chances: Teams, especially teams still in the running for the post-season (like the Yankees always are, at least to their fans), would rather go with a lower-risk option, and something 'gimmicky' like a switch-pitcher isn't exactly a low-risk option.
@unlikelyfanatic what else does Rua need to do to reach Round Rock?
Show he can keep hitting and that he can handle first base, at this point. If he does get promoted to Triple A soon, he may see some more time at third, but it looks like the organization is quite fine with him staying with Frisco for now.
@unlikelyfanatic Tomas Telis: Myth or top-15 prospect in the system?
Not being in the top-15 doesn't necessarily mean that someone isn't a valuable prospect. Telis has showed a continued level of improvement in both his hitting and his defense across this season, and has worked his way into consideration, but still isn't quite in that top-15. If this keeps up through the end of the year, he could sneak in at the bottom of a post-season list, but he's definitely doing the right things to end up on the Rangers' 40-man roster before he becomes a minor-league free agent, which he would after 2014.
@unlikelyfanatic Which Frisco catcher has the better chance of an extended MLB run?
While it would be fun if one could combine Pat Cantwell's defense with Tomas Telis's offense, at this point it's a toss-up. A scout I talked to thinks Cantwell will have a major league career, despite the current lack of hitting, and Telis's improvements make it more likely that he'll see the bigs at some point, as well. Neither of them projects as a full-time headlining catcher, but both of them could carve out niche backup careers. Even if they don't stick in the bigs, catchers never die, and they could spend time as Triple A/call-up MLB catchers for years.
@unlikelyfanatic What foods would you invent that are both massive & contains a Texas MiLB player name, e.g., Smoreinskis: a 2 foot s'more?
Honestly, I'm tempted to steal 'Smoreinskis,' because that sounds delicious.
Isaiah Kiner-Falafel. Delicious, and fried! Two ballpark essentials.
@unlikelyfanatic Edwar Cabrera's changeup meets Alex Claudio's changeup in a dark alley. What happens next