Fayetteville Rebrand 2019

S. Samek

We have another minor league baseball rebrand. Seems like a quick turn around on these this year.

Anyway, after playing for a couple years as the Buies Creek Astros, a team is moving to Fayetteville North Carolina to become the Woodpeckers.

I like this name. It has a charm to it. It’s a bit different than other general bird names, but not over the top annoying or rediculous. It stands out in a positive way as I don’t belive I’ve come across any other teams with the same name.

The logo also looks cool. I really like the red and black color scheme. It’s just a sharp looking logo that would be worth buying on a hat.

It also has a local connection to the name. The red-cockaded woodpecker had a large habitat there, despite being an endangered species.

Over all I think this is the second best of the three rebrands. It just isn’t’ as good as Rocket city trash pandas, but absolutely beats the Syracuse Mets.



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.

Two Cycles


Two of Pittsburgh prospect put on a hitting display.

Kevin Newman went 5-5 on the night of August 7th 2018. The final hit of which came in the eight inning as a solo home run. With the homer he collected one of each type of hit, completing the cycle.
Jacob Stallings stepped up a couple batters later an launched a fly ball. He then hustled his way around the bases stopping at third base for the triple. His forth hit of the night. He would twin with Newman on collecting one of each hit for a cycle of his own.
Yep two cycles in one game. A rare feat and very impressive.
Yet it’s the second one of its type this season. A pair of hitters from the San Francisco Giants did the same thing earlier in the year. Disappointing its not the first time its happened this season, but still very impressive.
In fact, I think this is the first time I have seen this happen. So, it’s very cool to see and really cool that it happened to players in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Tim Tebow an All-Star


Here at Hammer Down we have talked a lot about Tim Tebow. Mostly saying how we feel he shouldn’t try and make a professional baseball career.

Well after a year in single a baseball Tebow was set to double a Binghamton this season. Which was surprising as he struggled last year at both levels of low a.

Yet this year he played well enough to earn an all –star selection. During the game he went 1-4 with a double.

For the season he is hitting .273 with six homers and 36 RBI. The average is up quite a bit from last year which is good. The 6 home runs in 84 games puts Tebow at a better pace to beat the eight home runs he hit in 126 games last year. He should also be able to best his 52 RBI’s from 2017 during the season as well.

It’s good to see Tebow improve. I still don’t think it’s enough to get him to the MLB though. He still sits outside the Met’s top 30 prospects list and still remain unproven at the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Yet keep watching and I’m sure he will do something next that might surprise me.

Sadly , Tebow broke his right hand and is out for the rest of the year. This happened the same day the post was originally published. A rough break for a player having an improved season.