By Bill Arnold and Rick Wacha
TAPPING THE SOURCE
The long-range fortunes of a major-league franchise often hinge on the quality of its minor-league organization. In addition to providing replacements for departing players a pool of young, relatively inexpensive talent is a protection against the high salaries of veteran players. The combined record of a big-league club’s affiliates can indicate the talent pool from which it will draw in the future. The future of the San Francisco Giants looks a bit brighter after their Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, won the Triple-A Championship by shutting out the Cleveland Indians top affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, 4-0, on Tuesday night. The River Cats are the first Giants’ Triple-A affiliate to win the Triple-A Championship since the Minneapolis Millers (American Association) won the title in 1955. The River Cats also won their first Pacific Coast League title since 1977, a span of 42 years. The Texas Rangers, with a .567 winning percentage, edged the Los Angeles Dodgers (.552) to lead all minor-league organizations. The Tampa Bay Rays’ and the Dodgers’ affiliates had the most winning seasons with seven each of their own nine affiliates. The Los Angeles Angels, with all affiliates finishing with a losing record, posted the lowest winning percentage of any organization with a .407 mark. The Seattle Mariners’ Double-A team, the Arkansas Travelers, had the only winning season of team’s seven affiliates.
Below are the 2019 minor-league organizational records for each MLB franchise including all Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A, Short-season, Rookie, Dominican and Venezuelan League affiliates (.500+ – denotes .500 or better seasons):
The Hall of Fame will release its 2020 ballot in November. The 2020 election class will include Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee and Alfonso Soriano. The slate for the 2021 election will feature Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez and Barry Zito. The 2022 election will offer Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The ballot in 2023 will list Carlos Beltran, John Lackey, Francisco Rodriguez and Jayson Werth. Among the players for the 2024 ballot will include Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley and David Wright. So far, the ballot for 2025 will feature Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia.
AROUND THE HORN
… The Orioles beat host Tigers, 8-2, in a totally meaningless game on Sunday; the game, however, was the first time that two 100-loss teams had matched up since the final day of the 1962 season when the 120-loss Mets lost to the 103-loss Cubs, 5-1, in Chicago.
… Sean Holtz of the Baseball Almanac notes that half of the majors’ 30 teams have broken or tied their single-season home run records this year; the 15 teams are the Angels, A’s, Astros, Brewers, Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Padres, Red Sox, Twins and Yankees through Thursday.
… Cubs fans have spent 2019 season alternating between television stations since the team is being aired on seven different Chicago stations (ABC-7, WGN-9, CW-26, Fox-32, NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago Plus).
… According to David Smith, the founder of Retrosheet, home runs have accounted for over 45 percent of 22,000 runs scored this season.
… On Monday manager Rocco Baldelli joined Bucky Harris (1924), Joe Cronin (1933), Billy Martin (1969), Bill Rigney (1970) and Ron Gardenhire (2002) as the only first-year skippers for the Twins’ organization to win at least 92 games; Cronin holds the mark for most wins by a Twins/Senators rookie manager with 99, but Baldelli, at 94-59 through Thursday, has a chance to set the franchise record.
… Alex Bregman has moved to within .012 percentage points of breaking Bill Dahlen‘s record OPS of 1.011 for players who have played at least 50 games at both shortstop and third base in a season for the N.L. Chicago Colts in 1894; the Astros’ MVP candidate had a combined slugging and on-base percentage of 1.000 through Thursday.
… According to A’s PR stat whiz Mike Selleck shortstop Marcus Semien has joined Babe Ruth (1921 and 1923) and Lou Gehrig (1927 and 1930) as the only major-league players to record least 116 runs, 173 hits, 38 doubles, 7 triples, 30 home runs, 85 RBI, 78 walks and 10 stolen bases in a season.
… White Sox’ pitcher Lucas Giolito, who’s shut down for the reminder of the season, improved his ERA from 6.13 in 2018 to 3.41 this year to rank his 2.72 ERA improvement as the third-best in major-league history; only Dennis Lamp‘s 2.79 ERA improvement from 1980 to 1981 and Dick Ellsworth‘s improvement of his 2.98 ERA from 1962 to 1963 were better.
… Kevin Pillar with 21 homers stands a chance of becoming just the fourth Giants’ center fielder since 1920 to lead the team in home runs; Chili Davis led the team in 1984 with 21; other center fielders to turn the trick were Willie Mays (1954-60, 1962, 1964-66) and Bobby Thomson (1949-50).
… Gerrit Cole passed 300 strikeouts for the season on Wednesday night and teammate Justin Verlander needs 17 more Ks to reach 300; if the Astro duo each finishes with 300 whiffs they would join the 2002 Diamondbacks (Randy Johnson -334 and Curt Schilling – 316) as the only teams to feature two 300 K pitchers in the same season.
… The Reds lead the majors with the most first-inning runs (123), home runs (44) and RBIs (120); in the first inning, the Reds have outscored opponents 120 to 80.
… The Blue Jays lead all teams with most rookie hits (495), doubles (107), home runs (87), RBI (262), walks (208) and extra-base hits (200).
… Harold Castro is trying to be the first Tiger rookie to register at least 300 at bats and .300 average since Harvey Kuenn had 679 at bats and .308 average in 1953 and went on to win the A.L. Rookie of the Year award.
… Gary Pressy, Wrigley Field’s organist of 33 years, is going to retire at the end of the season; the 61-year-old keyboarder began playing at the ballpark in 1987, before there were night games, and has played the organ at “The Friendly Confines” for 2,681 consecutive games through Thursday.
… Rockies pitchers have set an unenviable record for most lead-off home runs in the second half with 15 (all since July 30); the Mariners previously held the dubious record by giving up nine after the break in 2017.
… Bryce Harper could become just the 11th player since 2003 to add at least 30 defensive runs saved (DRS) from one season to the next; last year the then Nationals’ right fielder had a minus 26 DRS and this year – as a Phillie – has a DRS of plus 7.
… On Tuesday night Ryan Tepera became the 21st starting pitcher for the Blue Jays this season, which is the second most in MLB history; the record for most starters (24) is owned by the 1915 A’s.
… Pirate pinch-hitters lead the majors with 50 RBI.
… 28 pitchers have recorded three-inning (or more) saves this season; the Dodgers’ Julio Urias leads with three such saves.
… Bryan Reynolds (150 hits) and Kevin Newman (146) are the first pair of Pirate rookies to collect at least 146 hits in the same season since Bob “Mr. Team” Elliott (161) and Maurice “Bomber” Van Robays (156) in 1940.
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