Two Cycles

S.Samek

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.

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Tim Tebow an All-Star

S.Samek

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.

 

2018 MILB Pace of Play Rules

S.Samek

Starting in 2018 Minor League baseball will have some changes to pace of play. The goal to make games shorter.

 
Games going into extra innings will start with a runner on second base. Mound visits will be limited as well with the number going down as you increase in level. There will also be a 15 second pitch timer.

 
I like the pitch timer and mound visit change. Let the pitchers pitch and see if they can get out of jams themselves. Especially at the higher levels, which is something they need to work on before reaching the show. Mound visits do take a while and cutting down on them should help.

 
I do hope the clock also cuts down on throws to first looking for pickoffs. Those are annoying if done so many times in a row.

 
Now I’m not a fan of the starting with a runner on base. It feels like a little league rule. If you want to get on base you have to earn it. That’s the point of the game. This kind of feels like each team touches the ball in college football overtime rule. I just don’t really like it. Makes it easier to score and if both teams start with the runner they can both score just as easily and keep extending the game.

 
Though it does increase the chances for walk off wins if the home team stops the visitors from scoring in the top of the inning. People love walk-offs so that could be cool.
I understand baseball is a long game and people don’t like the length.

 

Yet its what baseball has that’s different from other sports. Some games are longer, some shorter as there is no clock. Extra innings means more baseball. More baseball is good for the fans You get more for your money and people like that.

 
It’s an interesting set of rules. I’ll have to keep updated if they actually make games shorter.

MILB Rebrands for 2018

S.Samek

In this post I talked about the new names the Gwinnett Braves were considering. Now they officially have a new name: The Gwinnett Strippers.
The name comes from a popular fish in Lake Lanier.
The logo looks sharp with a red, green and blue color scheme. They even have an alternate logo with a worm on a hook. That’s pretty funny.
The logo set looks on pair with most minor league offerings. The name is unique, but not super over the top. It maybe doesn’t draw the attention of some of the wackier names, but does a good job of not being to pedestrian.
That and it gets another super common and boring Braves name out of the Atlanta System.

Speaking of changing names from that of the parent club, we have the former Tampa Yankees. They selected a team name from the history book the Tampa Tarpons.

The logo looks like kind of a generic fish. Though Tarpons is a cool name. Also points for how the Yankees color scheme looks so good in the main logo. Complete with a pinstripe background.

The Hudson Valley Renegades changed appreances as well. They now have another new set of logos complete with a raccoon swing a bat.
I must admit I don’t thing they really needed a change. To me the logos look a bit smoother than the old one, but don’t really change the brand with a must have logo for a hat.
Though I do enjoy how they have a set up for their season 25 anniversary by showcasing the team colors throughout the years in a set of three logos. They look very well done and impressive.

Speaking of sharpening their image we have the Augusta Green Jackets. The golf themed moniker gets a sharp new upgrade. This was due a long time ago, but as they are set to get a new stadium it’s the perfect time to adopt a new logo.

The little duffer bee dons a silly little gold cap in a mostly dark green logo. Its silly fun and looks good to boot.

So far, I am pleased with this years first wave of rebrands from minor league baseball. Interested to see what else is in store.

 

 

 

Minor League Championship Games

By S. Samek

The triple -a baseball season wrapped up for the 2017 campaign on September 19,2017. The matchup for the level championship was the Durham Bulls and Memphis Cardinals. Th champs of the International League Durham won it thanks to a big grand slam by Kean Wong in a 5-3 victory.

As I was looking on twitter I saw a tweet asking why the other levels of the minors didn’t have national championship games. I figured it would be something to look into.
I think that it would be a good idea to see championships be played at other levels of the minors. It gives teams another game to play for a championship. If nothing else it’s a couple extra at bats and innings thrown for your pitcher. No down side really. Sure, injuries may occur. But these always a risk of those anytime you play.
If anything, you would think that the Triple A game wouldn’t be played. This is because most September call ups occur from Triple A. So, a decision is in play to call up players for the big club, or stay pat and try to win a triple a title. Double A players may get called up as will some high a players. Levels lower than this shouldn’t have this issue.

One issue though is the number of leagues.

Triple A has two leagues in the states, so they just play. Double A and High A have three. Class A and short season have two apiece, while rookie has five leagues. So, would the other leagues, just take the best two records, or play a round robin. I think that would be the hardest choice to make. Which team gets to host said game could be an issue to. I would just solve that simply by rotating it between leagues.
Plus, if it’s only one game, or even a round robin it’s only an extra day at most. A double header could be played with the three entrant classes and it would be over without elongating the season. Giving players time to relax before fall leagues and instructs. Call ups would then be able to join the MLB clubs for at least a solid month of development.
I’m all for more baseball and a chance to see elite prospects more times. A championship game for each class would give that opportunity. Make it happen MILB.