Six 2010 Memphis Redbirds join winter league teams
MEMPHIS, TN – Although the Memphis Redbirds have wrapped up their season, baseball is far from gone. The Arizona Fall League and Caribbean League began in mid-October are underway.
Away in Arizona
The Arizona Fall League was founded in 1992 as a way for top minor leaguers to improve their skills and have the chance to perform in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives. The AFL, owned and operated by Major League Baseball, begins in early October and concludes in mid-November. Instead of having a select affiliate for each AFL team, all Major League teams provide seven players who, combined, fill the 35-man roster of each team.
This year, both Adron Chambers and Tony Cruz were the sole Memphis Redbirds selected to participate in the AFL. While Chambers had the chance to make a bit of noise with the ‘Birds, Cruz only appeared in four regular season games at the Triple-A level. Although he was relied upon during the Pacific Coast League play-offs, it wasn’t until this past week when he caught some well deserved attention playing for the Surprise Rafters.
As of October 27th, Adron Chambers has gone 7-for-24 (.292 average) with four RBI, two walks and four strikeouts. Known for his speed, he has also collected a double and two stolen bases. Tony Cruz has compiled a .235 average (8Hx34AB) with three walks,eight strikeouts and five runs scored. Cruz’s career day came during the October 20th game against the Peoria Saguaros where he went 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI; it was the first time the Florida native had ever hit consecutive homers during a game. His 10 RBI rank second-highest amongst the Cardinals’ prospects playing winter ball.
Cruisin’ the Caribbean
The Caribbean League is made up of four nations, the Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rico Baseball League and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. It was the idea of Venezuelan Pablo Morales to create such a league that was established in 1949. Each league’s season runs from October to December with a playoff series in January to determine league champions who go on to play in the Caribbean Series each year.
Currently, the Memphis Redbirds have four players from the 2010 roster partaking in the Caribbean League. Amaury Cazana is playing for the Tomateros de Culiacan which is part of the Mexican Pacific League. He has flourished during winter ball, appearing in 12 games while hitting .333 (16Hx48AB) with seven extra-base hits, eight runs scored and 13 RBI. Ruben Gotay joined the Puerto Rico Baseball League last week, playing for the Gigantes de Carolina. Going 2-for-13 in his four games, he has collected four walks and four strikeouts for a .507 on-base percentage. Oneli Perez is a reliever in the Dominican Winter League, pitching only one inning thus far as part of the Tigres del Licey with one walk. Rich Rundles joined the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League to play for the Tigres de Aragua. He has successfully fanned eight batters, issuing only one walk and three hits in six games to pitch 5.2 scoreless innings collectively.
With Halloween just three days away help us reach our “FOLLOW-EEN” goal of 4,000+ followers on Twitter and 2,000+ ‘likes’ on facebook before the ghoulish holiday hits! The Memphis Redbirds also have other Halloween fun to be had, with our pumpkin carving designs and costume contest. Send pictures of your pumpkin carving masterpieces to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on our blog and post your creative costumes to our facebook page for a chance to win a prize!
The Surprise Rafters had an exciting game last night, with our very own Tony Cruz hitting two home runs in a game for the first time in his career.
On another note, there are many other players part of the Cardinals farm system that are also enjoying winter ball. Some are with the Surprise Rafters along with Tony Cruz and Adron Chambers, while others are spending the winter in Venezuela and Mexico. Here is list of individual statistics
***Memphis Redbirds are in bold.
|Individual Statistics As of: 10/21/2010|
|De La Cruz, Manuel||MXC||LMP||0-0||1.80||3||0||5.0||3||1||1||1||1||3||2||0||1.20||.150|
Check back to the blog for more updates! You can also check on the Cardinals farm system here
Although it’s the beginning of our off-season here at AutoZone Park doesn’t mean our players aren’t already working hard to prepare for next year. Two Redbirds, Adron Chambers and Tony Cruz, have joined the Arizona Fall League playing for the Surprise Rafters. The team includes players from the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers farm systems.
Adron Chambers was the Cardinals’ 38th round selection (1153rd overall) in the June 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Chambers joined the ‘Birds mid-July this year, appearing in 37 games for a .290 average (20Hx69AB) with 11 runs, eight RBI, nine walks and 18 strikeouts. During a 16-inning game on August 16th, the Florida Native was hit in the jaw by a wild pitch from Sky Sox reliever Franklin Morales and was forced to leave the game. Painful as this was, Chambers recovered well and made his way back into the Memphis line up.
Tony Cruz was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 42nd round of the 2005 June free agent draft, but did not sign. He became a Cardinal after being selected in the 26th round (802nd overall) of the June 2007 free-agent draft. He, like Chambers, joined the Redbirds late in the 2010 season appearing in only four regular season games. Going 3-for-14 (.214 average) with two runs and one RBI, the career catcher hit his first Triple-A home run in his first game as a Memphis Redbirds on September 1st.
Here’s a look at yesterday’s game recapitulation, where both Chambers and Cruz collected a hit.
We will be keeping tabs on these ‘Birds and updating the blog to let all of you know just how well they do, so continue to check Chirp Chatter for updates on your Memphis Redbirds while they endure winter ball!!
To catch up with the Cardinals affiliates participating in the AFL click here: AFL Surprise Rafters.
With winter ball in full swing we thought it would be a good idea to update Cardinals and Redbirds fans on the Boys of Summer that are still playing. And we’ll get to that but first we want to make sure everyone knows which team they are rooting for in the Spanish speaking leagues like the Dominican, Venezuelan, Mexican-Pacific and Puerto Rican leagues. Each team in those leagues is listed below with their English translation and a fun fact.
Dominican Winter League
Toros del Este – English Translation: Bulls of the East – This team is loaded with former PCL guys this season like former Nashville Sounds Vinny Rottino and Ozzie Chavez.
Tigres del Licey – English Translation: Tigers of the Licey – Former Redbird Timo Perez leads the team in average, home runs and RBI so far this season. These guys are good, they have 22 national championships and 10 Caribbean Series titles.
Leones del Escogido – English Translation: Lions of the Escogido – Escogido actually means chosen so the literal translation is ‘from Leon of the Chosen One’ but in this case we’re pretty sure leones means lions. Former Redbird Nerio Rodriguez is on the team pitching at 38-years-old. PCL Rookie of the Year Eric Young Jr. is also on the squad.
Aguilas Cibaenas – English Translation: Cibaenas Eagles – Former Redbird Hector Luna plays for the Eagles and is a teammate of Al Albuquerque. Seriously, they have a pitcher named Al Albuquerque.
Gigantes del Cibao – English Translation: Giants of the Cibao – This is Redbirds first baseman Mark Hamilton’s team. Unfortunately, he hit just .191 in 15 games for the Giants but hey he played left field almost exclusively, which was probably the reason he was there.
Estrellas de Oriente – English Translation: Stars of East – Former Bird Kelvin Jimenez is a Star this winter along with former Cardinal Fernando Tatis. Hey, Tatis spelled backwards is sitat.
Venezuelan Winter League
Leones del Caracas – English Translation: Lions of the Caracas – This is our very own Jon Jay’s team this winter. Jay is hitting over
.300 and has a team-high 21 RBI as of November 13. They’re also in first place as of November 13.
Navegantes del Magallanes – English Translation: Navigators of the Magallanes – The Navigators are in second place as of the publish date of this blog. The Navigators were founded way back in 1917 and boast Mets lefty Johan Santana on their all-time roster.
Bravos de Margarita – English Translation: Brave of Margarita – Again the literal translation is a little different here meaning Brave of Daisy, just think about that the next time you’re having a margarita.
Aguilas del Zulia – English Translation: Eagles of Zulia – According to legend the Eagles got their name from the label of Zulia Beer, whose label features a blue eagle. How great would it have been if the Cardinals would have dropped the Birds on the Bat for Spuds MacKenzie in the 1980s?
Tigres de Aragua – English Translation: Tigers of Aragua – The Tigers’ all-time roster reads, well like an all-time greats roster. Mariano
Riveira, Paul O’Neill, Torii Hunter, Jim Edmonds, Miguel Cabrera, Rod Carew and Dave Concepcion all played for Aragua. Former Iowa manager Buddy Bailey has led the squad to five titles in the past six years.
Tiburones de La Guaira – English Translation: Sharks of the Guaira – Hall of Famer Luis Aprecio played six seasons for the Sharks. White
Sox manager and Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen is one of six former Sharks to have his number retired by the club.
Cardenales de Lara – English Translation: Cardinals of Lara – Lara and Aragua are the only teams in the Venezuelan Winter League to share mascots with big league teams. The Cardinals colors, however, a little different than the St. Louis version, Lara’s colors are black and red.
Caribes de Anzoategui – English Translation: Caribbean of Anzoategui – The Anzoategui region has one single beach that is over 60 miles long.
Venados de Mazatlan – English Translation: Deer of Mazatlan – Why does America not have a major league franchise called the Deer? The Milwaukee Bucks is close but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Unlike the tiny Arkansas town of Deer, whose teams are the Deer Antlers.
Aguilas de Mexicali – English Translation: Eagles of Mexicali – Former Philadelphia Phillies ballplayer and former owner of one fine
mullet John Kruk played for the Eagles 1986 championship team.
Mayos de Navojoa – English Translation: Mays of Navojoa – Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, former Cardinals skipper White Herzog and Boston Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis all played for The Tribe.
Naranjeros de Hermosillo – English Translation: Orange Sellers of Hermosillo – Orange Sellers? Redbirds hurler Fernando Salas is
pitching for Hermosillo this winter.
Yaquis de Obregon – English Translation: Yaquis of Obregon – The Yaquis were a Native American tribe who lived in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.
Caneros de los Mochis – English Translation: Caneros of the Mochis – We have no idea what caneros means and we couldn’t find a logo for the team so if anyone knows what or who a canero is let us know.
Algodoneros de Guasave – English Translation: Cotton Plants of Guasave – Former Redbird Andy Cavazos is twirling for Guasave this winter.
Tomateros de Culiacan – English Translation: Once again we’ve been foiled by our lack of Spanish speaking skills and have no idea what
tomateros means, tomatoes?
Puerto Rican League
The Puerto Rican League just started on Thursday, November 12 so there isn’t a whole lot to say about this league right now other than our clubhouse managers are all Puerto Rican and working in the league. So a big shout out to Nelson Padro, Celso Collado and Ruben Allende. The league didn’t play in 2007 but it’s back now and better than ever.
Lobos de Arecibo – English Translation: Arecibo Wolves
Criollos de Caguas – English Translation: Caguas Creoles
Gigantes de Carolina – English Translation: Carolina Giants
Indios de Mayag�ez – English Translation: Mayaguez Indians
Leones de Ponce – English Translation: Ponce Lions
The Caribbean Series starts on February 2, 2010 on Margarita Island in Venezuela with each of the four leagues mentioned sending their champion to the series. Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League is the defending Caribbean Series champ.
And as promised a little update on the Birds still playing ball, however, be fair warned it is not pretty. Of the 11 position players that
have Cardinals ties only two of them are hitting over .300, the aforementioned Jon Jay in the Venezuelan Winter League and Tyler Henley in the Arizona Fall League. Prospect Daryl Jones is hitting under .200 and Redbirds first baseman Mark Hamilton hit under .200 in his stint in the Dominican Winter League. Daniel Descalso and Bryan Anderson have neither one put up the numbers everyone
expected so far in the Arizona Fall League. Meanwhile, on the bump Evan MacLane is still cruising. The lefty is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts for Oriente in the Dominican Winter League. Former ‘Bird Mike Parisi is out in the Fall League as well after recovering from Tommy John surgery this past season. The Arizona Fall League concludes on Saturday, November 21.
The Arizona Fall League starts today out in the dessert and several other Winter Leagues are already underway. The Arizona Fall League is probably the most glamorous of all the Winter Leagues due to the fact it is normally a who’s-who of top prospects from all 30 MLB teams. Let’s just run down the list of who will be in Arizona for a few extra weeks of fun in the sun. Well the top two picks from this summer’s draft will be there with Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals) bringing his millions of dollars and 100-MPH fastball. No. 2 pick Dustin Ackley will be there representing the Seattle Mariners. Including Strasburg and Ackley, five of the first 10 picks from last summer’s draft are scheduled to be in Arizona. The Giants uber-catching prospect Buster Posey will be there. The Marlins are sending Andrew Miller in hopes of getting the big lefty back on track. The Kansas City Royals top prospect Mike Moustakas will play third for the Surprise Rafters. Former Ole Miss Rebel and Collierville, TN-native Zach Cozart will represent Cincinnati. And all those guys are just a few of the best, future big leaguers.
So if this the best-of-the-best prospects league, who are the Cardinals sending? Since the Cardinals traded four of their Top 10 prospects from last year fans will definitely see some new, yet familiar faces wearing the Birds on the Bat while playing for the Surprise Rafters this fall. The players the Cards have slated on the Rafters Opening Day Roster are below along with their position and the highest level they reached in 2009.
- Gary Daley – RHP – Double-A Springfield – Daley pitched in just nine games, all in relief, for the S-Cards this past season going 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA. The right-hander didn’t make his debut until August 19 for Springfield after starting the year with Single-A Quad Cities, where he went 4-3 with a 6.93 ERA in 32 games, 10 starts. Daley was the Cardinals third round pick out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2006.
- Scott Gorgen – RHP – Double-A Springfield – Gorgen reached Double-A in just his first full year of pro ball after being a fourth round pick out of California-Irvine in 2008. The right-hander went 4-5 with a 5.20 ERA in 11 starts for the S-Cardinals after posting a 3-5 record with a 2.93 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts, for Single-A Palm Beach. Gorgen’s twin brother was a 16th
round pick of the Rays last year.
- Mike Parisi – RHP – Single-A Palm Beach – Former Redbird Mike Parisi will be one of very few guys in the Fall League with MLB experience. Parisi pitched in 12 games, two starts, for St. Louis in 2008 before blowing out his elbow in a game with Memphis at Sacramento in early August. The right-hander missed almost all of 2009 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- Adam Reifer – RHP – Single-A Palm Beach – Reifer racked up 21 saves in 54 games for the Cardinals this past summer going 4-7 with a 4.47 ERA along the way. In his first full year of pro baseball Reifer followed up a stellar 2008 when he was tabbed the third-best prospect and best pitching prospect in the New York-Penn League after punching out 41 batters in 30.1 innings.
- Bryan Anderson – C – Triple-A Memphis – Anderson is another former Redbird scheduled to get some extra at-bats in the Fall League after missing significant time due to an injury. Anderson was the ‘Birds starting catcher before going down with a shoulder injury sustained in a collision at the plate in late June. The California-native is still considered one of the Cardinals best prospects but needs to use the Fall League to vault into 2010.
- Daniel Descalso – 2B – Triple-A Memphis – The Arizona Fall League will be the icing on the cake to an amazing 2009 campaign for Descalso. After crushing the Texas League for a .323 average and 26 doubles in 73 games, Descalso was promoted to Memphis for 46 games before joining Team USA for their gold medal run in the World Cup. He’ll share the Rafters infield with Team USA teammate Ike Davis from the New York Mets organization.
- Tyler Henley – OF – Double-A Springfield – Henley just wrapped up the best season of his young career leading Springfield with a .303 average and 31 doubles in a career-best 123 games. The former Rice star hadn’t even played in 123 games in his two previous years as a pro until this past summer. Henley is on the taxi squad for the Rafters, which means he is only active on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- Daryl Jones – OF – Double-A Springfield – Jones has been one of the Cardinals top prospects since he was drafted in the third round out of high school in 2005. However, since then his career has been up-and-down until 2008 when he was named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year. Jones will be making up some at-bats this fall as well after missing a lot of time in the second half of the season with a leg injury.
Other former Redbirds playing ball this fall are Jon Jay, who is hitting .400 in four games for Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League, and Fernando Salas, who has turned in 1.1 scoreless innings for Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the Mexican Pacific League. Naranjero translates to orange seller in case you were wondering. Follow us on twitter (@memphisredbirds) and check back here for updates on our Boys of Fall. You can also follow the Arizona Fall League games pitch-by-pitch over on MiLB.com. Games start at 1:35 p.m. CT so if you’re bored at work or like us and get to say it’s part of your job check it out.