Amarillo Baseball

S. Samek

Keeping up with the recent theme we have another new minor league baseball identity for 2019.

This one is the Amarillo Sod Poodles. Yes the went with the nickname for prairie dogs.

The other options were boot scooters, Bronc  busters, Jerky and Long Haulers. Very heavy on Texas theme and each dumber than the last.

The names all are terrible. I think they tried to clown it up instead of finding a unique and tasteful identity. Heck even going with just prairie dog would have been a better choice, or maybe even just broncos.

The logos are pretty weird too. Upon first look I thought the logo with the big hat was a camel. The other logos make it clear its a prairie dog, but don’t really stand out as anything really cool.

The Texas theme also  is a bit off putting. Like I get it its Amarillo Texas, but why not show more of a city based identity rather than the whole state. Its not like your the Texas Sod Poodles.

Over all I might just call this the worst of the new rebrands or team names to come out so far. Its just a rediculous name with a weird logo. Absolutely a miss in my book.


Rocket City Rebrand

S. Samek

On the heals of the first MILB rebrand of the season in the Syracuse Mets, we have a new name and now logo to share.

The team will play in 2019 as the Mobile BayBears before moving and rebranding in 2020.

The new name is the rocket city Trash Pandas.

Now at first I though what in the world it sounds dumb to be called a trash panda. Turns out its actually a nickname for a racoon.

Which  ok another racoon themed logo to add to the mix. Theres already a few of them so its not super special.

I was proven wrong. The logos the released are really cool. The one looks like Oscar the grouch getting shot up into space using only his trash can as a rocket. Its very whimsical and funny.

You also have a racoon in a space suit with an American flag like he just planted it on the moon. Its just makes me want to rally around a flag and shout America. Its patriotic and fun. It just wins as a logo.

It also has a cool local angle. Huntsville Alabama ,which  isn’t too far from Madison, where the Trash Pandas will play is a NASA site and home to many space themed research and development.  The former Huntsville team was called the Stars, which went with the space theme. Trash Panda’s logos do a good job keeping up  with the space theme too.

I’m just really impressed with this team name and logo. Its fun and whimsical, yet not over the top. Its unique and fun. Its what minor league baseball logos should be.





Syracuse What

S. Samek

Tts a yearly occurrence to see what minor league baseball teams change affiliations. This often come with a change of name as well. Sometimes the result are great, other time not so much.

To lead off the 2019 season we have the Syracuse Chiefs becoming the Syracuse Mets. This does come with the fact that the New York Mets bought the team and are moving their triple -a affiliate  from Vegas to Syracuse.

Yet why the heck did you change the name to the Mets. That name is so boring. It doesn’t make me want to go buy merchandise. its just boring.

I also hate the name your team  after your MLB team, especially at the higher levels above say low a or rookie ball. It doesn’t make your team stand out much. Plus if you do sell the team you have to rebrand all over again, in less you want to make it awkward.

I don’t forgive the New York Mets for doing this because they bought the team. I think it should have stayed Chiefs.

Now Chiefs isn’t a great name, Sky Chiefs was a better more unique name as they were formerly know as, but its better than the Mets.

I also felt nothing wrong with the red and blue color scheme of the team. Now its orange and blue. Which I guess works with being the same color as Syracuse University. Yet I feel its like your more likely to remember the college than the team with that color scheme.

I’m just not buying into this name.

I can’t wait to see what other names are released this off season though.


2018 Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League Awards

S. Samek

The Pittsburgh Pirates named their minor league player and pitcher of the year recently. Ke’Byran Hayes won player of the year while J.T Brubaker won pitcher of the year.

Hayes is the number two prospect on the Pirates top 30 list. He hit .293 with seven home runs and 47 RBI in 117 games at double -a Altoona this season. This was a career high in games played for Hayes, who has been injured quite a bit the past couple seasons. The homer and rbi numbers are also career highs.
Hayes is also playing strong defense. He made just six errors and had a .978 fielding percentage.

This mark was the best in the minors for all third basemen. These numbers are encouraging too see. I think Hayes will go back to Altoona at least to start the season. This isn’t a bad thing as he is only 21, but I’m not sure if he needs to be rushed up the system quite yet.

Brubaker went 10-6 with a 2.81 era and 131 strikeouts this season. This was over 28 starts and 154 innings at double a and triple a. This is a good season for a player that most seem to overlook. He isn’t ranked in the top 30 Pirates prospect list. Yet it doesn’t mean he can’t pitch and this season proved it.
I think Brubaker gets sent back to triple a. I could maybe see him as a mid-season, or at worst September call up if he continues these numbers. He did manage career bests for starts, wins, seasonal era, and strikeouts.

So, don’t sleep on Brubaker in 2019.
Congrats to Hayes and Brubaker on great seasons. Should be proud.


Mitch Keller 2018 Update

S. Samek

One of the most prominent prospects we cover at Hammer Down as been Mitch Keller of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. With the minor league season well over let’s take a look at Keller’s progress during the 2018 season.

Keller sits atop the Pirates top 30 prospects list. He has been their sense last season, with Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow being the closest competition for the spot. Both have sense been promoted to the majors, as well as, traded to Tampa Bay in the Chris Archer deal. Though the spot could be vacated to Ke’Byran Hayes, who had a strong year at double a in 2018.
Keller started the year returning to double-a. This is a level he had success at during the 2017 season especially during the playoff run for Altoona that resulted in a championship.

The return trip was just as good. In 14 starts Keller went 9-2 with a 2.72 era. He itched 86 innings and had 76 strikeouts to 32 walks with hitters hitting .208 against him.
This earned him a promotion to triple -a in July. Here the numbers take a bit of a hit. In 10 starts Keller had a 4.82 era with a 3-2 record. He pitched 52 innings while striking out 57 and walking 22. Hitters hit .280 against him. While the numbers were a bit low they are still pretty good.

Keller is still striking out a lot of hitters and pitched a higher amount of innings than before. Both are encouraging signs going forward. Yes, the era didn’t show a dominance, but it was just a short sample size at triple -a.
I won’t say it’s a lost year of development, or that Keller’s a bust. I do just think that maybe he isn’t as close to the majors as was thought. He should be sent back to triple -a and if all goes well look to be up next September. If not look for him in 2020.

MILB Mt.Rushmore


So, pardon my Take did a Mt. Rushmore of minor league baseball names. I think they did a pretty good job, yet missed with quit a few picks.

I present my top four picks for overall best name. Note I’m not using temporary names used for promotions like a lot of the comments are. Most of these can also be seen in my series of best logo posts. I guess mark this as the unofficial best logo in minor league baseball post then.

1. Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Yep this team has to be on the list. My top-ranking hat that I own and the top ranked logo team in my Southern League post puts the in a position of dominance in my personal rankings. Plus, its just a super fun name.
2. Richmond Flying Squirrels. This is a team left on the pardon my take list. However, after capturing the top spot in my Eastern League logos it needs to be on the list.
3. El Paso Chihuahuas. You know just how much I love this team name. It’s one of the few names to have a post dedicated to it solely. Despite a third-place finish in the PCL logo rankings its still own of the best names in the entire minor leagues.
4. Carolina Mudcats. This is a team I really want a hat for. They also play in the awesome town of Zebulon. I feel like I would be missing something by not having them on the list. So the top Carolina League logo gets the nod as one of the best in minor league baseball.

No Hitter Loss


This has to be one of the most insane things ever. Turns out a team won a game with out recording a hit or a walk.
The Clearwater Threshers used an error and a fielder’s choice, to score a run. Yet the way the did it came from how they got a baserunner on in the first place.
New extra inning rules gave them a free runner at second to start the inning. They were then able to get that runner home despite not recording a hit. Tampa then failed to score a run after giving one up and lost.
The game goes into the books as a no-hitter, but not a perfect game. It also goes into the books as an unlikely loss.
I must admit when I first saw this happened I chuckled. Yet now I just think what a terrible loss. It must feel so cheap to lose in such a fashion.
Yes, Tampa could have scored their runner from second in the bottom half of the inning, but they didn’t. It may be part of the game, but it just feels cheap, even if both teams had the same opportunity.
I don’t like the free runner on base to start extra inning games in the minors. I think this is one of the cases that shows how bad of a rule it is. An awesome accomplishment like a no hitter equals a loss because of a silly rule. That shouldn’t happen.