Greetings and salutations. Lots of little things to dive into this time around, from player updates to some potentially huge news within the PCL. Let’s get to it…
Winter League Updates
Several 2013 RedHawks–and possible 2014 RedHawks–have been participating in fall/winter leagues, both stateside and abroad. This list doesn’t cover everyone, but mainly guys who have played significantly thus far, as there are a bunch who have appeared in just a scant few games.
-Japhet Amador, Peoria Javelinas (Arizona Fall League): 18 G, .284, 4 HR, 12 RBI.
- After signing late in the year from Mexico, Amador joined the RedHawks for the final few regular season games and the playoffs. I would say these are definitely encouraging numbers as he continues to get assimilated to baseball in the States. Whereas most hitters need to adjust to better off-speed pitches as they advance in their careers, it’s been the opposite for Amador. A couple weeks back I read an article in which he said the biggest challenge was adjusting to better fastball velocity, as opposed to Mexico where pitchers rely mostly on breaking stuff and junk.
-Eric Berger, Bravos de Margarita (Venezuelan Winter League): 7 G, 6 GS, 2-1, 1.78 ERA, 17 K, 9 BB
- The mustachioed lefty was the RedHawks’ best pitcher–starter or reliever–over the final month of the season. He’s kept that success rolling in Venezuela, primarily as a starter.
-Rudy Owens, Gigantes del Cibao (Dominican Winter League): 5 G, 5 GS, 2-1, 3.55 ERA, 25.1 IP, 22 K, 8 BB
- After getting off to a great start, Owens succumbed to a stress fracture in his foot in late April and missed the rest of the season. He’s pretty much picked up where he left off, putting up solid numbers.
-Carlos Perez, Leones del Caracas (VWL): 12 G, .359, 0 HR, 7 RBI
- I think it’s worth pointing out 6 of his 14 hits have been doubles.
-Jon Singleton, Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rican Winter League): 12 G, .275, 2 HR, 3 RBI
- Not surprising Singleton decided to play winter ball after missing the first 50 games of this past season. Everyone in the know is certain 2013 was an aberration for Singleton, and he’ll bounce back next year. Although he leads his team in strikeouts, he also leads the team in walks and has posted a .420 on-base percentage. Very similar to what he did in OKC.
-Alex Sogard, Peoria Javelinas (AFL): 10 G, 2-1, 3.65 ERA, 12.1 IP, 10 K, 8 BB
- Sogard split this season between the RedHawks and Double-A Corpus Christi. While with OKC, he had an up-and-down experience. Sogard’s stuff constantly draws rave reviews, but his command can get him in trouble. Although opponents only hit .234 against him in the talent-rich AFL, he did have 8 walks over 12.1 IP.
-Austin Wates, Cangrejeros de Santurce (PRWL): 11 G, .225, 0 HR, 2 RBI
- After a wrist injury ended his season in early June, I would imagine Wates is still trying to shake off some rust. However, he has walked (7) more than he’s struck out (6), which is always a good thing.
-Last but not least…Tony DeFrancesco, Manager, Tiburones de La Guaira
- In his first time managing in Venezuela, Tony D’s squad is currently 15-17 and sits tied for sixth in the eight-team league.
The following are 2013 RedHawks who are currently free agents: Hector Ambriz, Cody Clark, Trevor Crowe, Brandon Laird, Che-Hsuan Lin, and Jose Martinez.
Pitchers Wade LeBlanc and Philip Humber have signed with the Angels and A’s, respectively. According to Baseball America, the Astros re-signed Jorge De Leon, although the Astros have not announced it.
Just like last year, I imagine the Astros will not sign many minor league free agents. Follow the RedHawks (@okcredhawks) or me (@azfreedman) on Twitter to be informed of relevant signings. Baseball America also has a great Minor League Free Agent tracker to keep your eyes on.
Other Former RedHawk News
2004 RedHawk–and 2008 Astro–David Newhan was recently named manager of Vermont Lake Monsters, the Short-Season A-ball affiliate of the Oakland A’s. It will be Newhan’s first managerial post.
At some point this off-season I will attempt to see how many former RedHawk players are now coaching around the Majors and Minors. We obviously already know of one other.
Big news from both of the PCL’s teams in Tennessee. First, the Nashville Sounds are on the brink of getting a much-needed new stadium. You can read all the details here. This has been a long-debated issue in Music City, but it looks like there’s a good shot it’s going to come to fruition this time.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am rooting for this to happen. Nashville is easily one of my favorite cities in the country. If I could choose to pick anywhere to live regardless of work, it would be Chicago or Nashville. Although I don’t have that many complaints about much-maligned Greer Stadium, a dynamic city like Nashville deserves better. Let’s hope this becomes a reality.
Meanwhile across I-40, the Memphis Redbirds announced the team has been purchased by the parent club St. Louis Cardinals. This move had been in the works for awhile and should bring some stability to the organization.
Snow Tubing Starts Saturday
Crews are currently hard at work getting the ballpark ready for Chesapeake Energy Snow Tubing. Hard to believe, but the first public sessions are this Saturday. To learn all about the Downtown in December tradition and how to purchase tickets, click here.
Shameless self-promotion time…
One of my biggest duties during the off-season is running the RedHawks Speakers Bureau. If you are looking for a speaker to attend your next event, feel free to send me an email to learn more. Whether it’s a civic group, school, or any other nonprofit organization, I love getting out in the community to talk baseball. And it’s completely free!
Cease & Desist
We’ll end on this. I have noticed both the University of Minnesota and University of Tennessee football teams have employed “Brick by Brick” as a theme/slogan for their current season. This blog started several months before those schools came up with their “original” idea. The Gophers and Vols will be hearing from my attorney soon.
(Note: I don’t actually have an attorney. Maybe I can enlist Lionel Hutz?)
Thanks for reading.