Dedicated to fans of Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball (well, okay, officially the 49ers).

Dirtbag's 2006 Rankings

15th in ESPN/Sports Weekly
15th in NCBWA
16th in Collegiate Baseball
16th in Baseball America
1st in Non-Conference "Intended" SOS -
21st in Overall "Intended" SOS -

Posted Articles [View Selected Article Only]

They Know Their Dirtbags In Fort Wayne, Indiana

Former Dirtbag Brian Anderson...

Steve Trachsel Trade Rumors

Former Dirtbag John Bowker...

Abe Alvarez Send Back To AAA Pawtucket

Rough Outing For Former Dirtbag Abe Alvarez

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver...

Out With Some Old, In With The New

Hmmmm...Wonder What's Up

Former Dirtbag Russ Rohlicek Is Featured...

Q&A With Former Dirtbag Adam Heether...

George Will...

Evan Longoria And Jared Hughes Honored By Baseball America

Vargas Has Arrived

Paul McAnulty Makes Case For September Call Up

Giambi Hits Milestones

Back In Boston

If You Thought Dirtbag Games Were Long...You Were Right

Trach Is Definitely Back

Yes, Even Big Leaguers Like Bobby Crosby Use Two Hands!

Jon Strauss Returns As Dirtbags' Volunteer Assistant Coach

Former Dirtbag Scott Shoemaker...

Yup, Must Be The Hair

Dirtbags Land Sac City Transfer Andrew Carpenter

Not A Dirtbag, But...

Chris DeMaria And Jered Weaver Make AFL Roster

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver...

Tearing The Cover Off

Evan Longoria Named Cape Cod League MVP

Update On Former Dirtbag Marco Estrada

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria Is Nearly Unhittable...

Former Dirtbag Brad Davis On Fire

I Think I'd Stay Home

Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty...

Former Dirtbag Adam Heether Promoted To AA

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver...

Recruit Status Check...

Minor League Realignment Moves Forward...Slowly

Doug Kirkorian Compares Former Dirtbags Jered Weaver And Jason Vargas...

Ahh, The Price Of Fame!

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel Must Be Activated Today...

Neil Jamison Named 2004-2005 Long Beach State...

The Dish On Neil Jamison

Former Dirtbag Josh Alliston...

In The Rumor Mill...

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Ward....

Not A Bad Weekend For Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty

Former Dirtbag Greg Dobbs Has Been Recalled...

Jason Vargas Dominates Dodgers

Former Dirtbags Swinging Well For San Jose

Former Dirtbags In Daily Breeze Weekly Minor League Report

Ya Gotta Love Da Minors

Hometown Feature On Former Dirtbag Troy Tulowitzki

Q&A On Former Dirtbag Jason Vargas

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel Coming Off DL

Former Dirtbags In The Baseball America Prospect Report...


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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This website is not affiliated with Long Beach State University or its NCAA Division I baseball program. All original material copyright 2004-2006 by Jeffrey A. Agnew.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

They Know Their Dirtbags In Fort Wayne, Indiana

Ex-college teammates reunited as Wizards
Cesar Ramos and Neil Jamison also pitched for Long Beach State.

By Maria Burns

Pitchers Cesar Ramos and Neil Jamison aren't the first Dirtbags to play for the Wizards, and the way things are going for the Long Beach State baseball program, they likely won't be the last.

Don't worry, in baseball being a Dirtbag, or a former one, is considered a pretty good thing. The Long Beach State baseball team, officially known as the 49ers but affectionately referred to as the Dirtbags throughout college baseball, has been producing professional ballplayers faster than "American Idol" stars are putting out hits.

Former Wizard Paul McAnulty (2003), who was called up to San Diego for the first time earlier this year, is one of 25 Dirtbags to make it to the Show and one of four to get the call this year.

Ramos and Jamison are two of the latest in a long line of players from Long Beach State plowing their ways through the minor leagues.

This past June, the school saw six players go in the first 10 rounds of the draft, including two to the Padres. Ramos was a first-round supplement pick (35th overall), and Jamison was selected in the sixth round.

Ramos could have gone straight to the minors after being drafted by Tampa Bay in the sixth round out of high school but felt he could benefit from playing collegiate ball.

"I knew if I went (to Long Beach State) I'd get a lot better," the left-hander said. "And I did."

He didn't even mind it took a little time for people to realize just how much better. After two years of being somewhat overshadowed by teammate Jered Weaver, Ramos, a left-handed pitcher from Pico Rivera, Calif., took top billing for the Dirtbags this season after Weaver was drafted 12th overall in the 2004 draft.

Ramos went 10-7 with a 2.64 ERA en route to being named a first-team All-American. Jamison set a school record with a perfect 0.00 ERA and 11 saves as the team’s go-to closer.

Now, teammates again in Fort Wayne, the two are picking up where they left off - on and off the field.

Through six starts since joining the team July 25, Ramos has the lowest ERA of any Wizard starting pitcher with a 3.48. Jamison, who came to the Wizards on Aug. 18, has given up just one run in four relief outings.

"They've done great," Wizards pitching coach Steve Webber said. "Cesar had a couple rough outings, probably not up to his standards, but lately he's been pitching very well and Neil has settled right it."

Having a former teammate already here made that a little bit easier.

"It's definitely good to come to a new place where you don't know a lot of people and to have somebody that you've spent three years (with)," Jamison said. "You can ask questions and they fill you in on stuff."

Having former teammates at the next level can be helpful as well, serving to motivate and help put into perspective what it takes to progress.

"It's definitely motivation," Jamison said. "You get done with a game and you go back to the hotel and you're sitting there watching someone you played with for a couple years pitching in the big leagues. It's definitely something to look forward to if we're fortunate enough to get to that point."

"(Marlins starter) Jason Vargas made it in like a year and he was our third pitcher (in 2004)," Ramos said. "That's a motivation to push me to get there as soon as I can. Watching those guys and being with them and playing with them at the same level kind of pushes you and you believe in yourself that you can actually go forth."

If the successes of Weaver and Vargas are any indication of what their former teammates can expect, the pitchers best keep their bags packed.

Weaver was promoted this summer to the Angels' Class AA Arkansas affiliate, while Vargas spent just about a year in the minor leagues before being called up to the Marlins.

Preparing its players to succeed at that next level is the goal of the Long Beach State baseball program.

"It's one of those things that you're sitting there saying that you hope that it's a little further along (than other players)," Dirtbag pitching coach Troy Buckley said. "My goal would be from the pitching standpoint is for them to say, you know what I've done all this. ... I hope that they've experienced most things already here, through our games but more through our communication and the situations we put them through so the first time we don't experience it is out when they’re trying to make it to the big leagues."

With the way Ramos and Jamison are pitching for the Wizards, it looks like Buckley's been successful.

The origin of the Dirtbags

- The nickname refers to the all-out style of play Long Beach State has become known for, but was born out of the days when the team lacked its own facilities and practiced on an all-dirt field. After practice, the team's infielders would be covered in dirt and, from that, the nickname came to be.

Former Dirtbag Brian Anderson...

...has been named the righthanded relief pitcher All-Star in the Northwest League. Brian is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA, in 24.1 IP over 24 appearances. His 16 saves is tops in the Northwest League.

Steve Trachsel Trade Rumors

This from Newsday on former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel trade rumors:
A new role for Trach: gone?


August 30, 2005

With two days remaining for teams to shape their potential postseason rosters, the Mets are exploring a trade of Steve Trachsel.

A National League official said that of contending teams, the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres have expressed the most interest in the righthander.

Neither club possesses many intriguing players who have cleared waivers, though, making it quite possible that Trachsel will remain a Met for the duration of the season.

Trachsel, 34, has become the odd man out in the Mets' starting rotation, as manager Willie Randolph relegated him to the bullpen Sunday.

The news came as a mild surprise, given that Trachsel excelled in his first start of the season Friday night, allowing two hits in eight innings in a 1-0 victory over the Giants.

After surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, Trachsel had been on the disabled list since the beginning of the season.

Given the Mets' needs for more offense (particularly at first base and second base) and bullpen depth, the team is gauging the market to see whether it can deal Trachsel to fill a hole. If there isn't a suitable match, however, the Mets can simply keep Trachsel and either deploy him as a reliever or use him to replace an injured or ineffective starter.

It wouldn't behoove the Mets, currently involved in their first playoff race in four years, to swap Trachsel for prospects.

Trachsel cleared waivers last week, meaning he can be dealt to any club. He has a reasonable $2.5-million team option for 2006, making him more attractive to suitors.

Teams have until midnight tomorrow to acquire players who will be eligible for their playoff rosters.

Former Dirtbag John Bowker...

...led off the game for the San Jose Giants (Advanced Class A California League) with his 10th homerun of the season last night, and went 2 for 5. [Box Score][Play-by-Play].

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Abe Alvarez Send Back To AAA Pawtucket

Earlier this season, the Red Sox called up former Dirtbag Abe Alvarez...then sent him back to AAA Pawtucket the next day without having pitched. Sunday they called him up again, pitched him 1.0 inning on Sunday, and last night for 1.1 innings (in which he got roughed up a bit), today, they are sending him back down. 2 callups...2.1 innings...what was the point!?

Rough Outing For Former Dirtbag Abe Alvarez

Last night, in his first 2nd game back in the majors, Abe went 1.1 innings for the Red Sox, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits (including an HR to Tampa Bay 1st baseman Eduardo Perez), while striking out 1. The Red Sox 10-6 won nonetheless.

Reverse Update: Abe pitched 1.0 inning on Sunday, the 9th inning of an 11-3 Boston blowout of Detroit, retiring all 3 batters faced.

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver... back on track. Here's the story from
This week, we'll continue focusing on division races of another kind - the top 10 prospects in each of MLB's six divisions. This time up, it's the top 10 AL West prospects. Just a reminder: Prospects who have already exhausted or figure to exhaust their major league rookie status aren't being considered for inclusion (e.g. no Felix Hernandez, Ervin Santana, Casey Kotchman or Dan Johnson this time around)...

5. Jered Weaver, RHP, Angels Age: 22 Acquired: 1st round, 2004, Long Beach State

Weaver, the 12th overall pick of the '04 draft, had top-three talent, but holdout concerns caused him to fall to the Angels. Indeed, his holdout was a lengthy one, but the Angels were able to sign him before the deadline. Weaver has command of a full arsenal, and he blew away the Cal League this season in his first action as a pro. He's been less impressive since being promoted to AA-Arkansas, but considering the rapid promotion schedule he's entitled to some fits and starts. His ceiling is probably as a No. 2 starter in the majors, and his risk - considering his repertoire and college-trained status - is limited. Weaver isn't the next Mark Prior, but he'll still have a strong major league career. ...
Hat tip to reader Kurt for emailing the link on this one.

Out With Some Old, In With The New

It's early. As this is written, classes are just beginning for the Fall 2005 semester at Long Beach State. The 2006 Dirtbags roster is far from set. But one thing is certain. There will be a lot of new faces on that roster, as 8 of 9 Dirtbags selected in the 2005 MLB draft are now in professional baseball, 4 non-drafted seniors are no longer eligible, and at least (4) 6 others on the 2005 roster are transferring to other schools (or quiting baseball). Here's the players who won't be back for 2006, the new players, and those returning for 2005-2006 academic year:

Outgoing Players

Drafted and in professional baseball:

Position Players:

Chris Jones, catcher.
Troy Tulowitzki, shortstop.


Brian Anderson, RH reliever.
Marco Estrada, starting RHP.
Cody Evans, RHP, started and relieved.
Steve Hammond, LH reliever.
Neil Jamison, RH reliever.
Cesar Ramos, starting LHP.

Non-drafted seniors:

Position Players:

Kyle Bradburry, infielder.
Cole Jacobsen, infielder.
Danny Mocny, 3rd base/outfielder.
Steve Velazco, outfielder.



Players transferring out:

Position Players:

Zach Barger, outfielder.
Donnie Ecker, shortstop/infielder, (transferring to Santa Clara Univ.)


Romeo Newman, RH reliever.
Scott Juneau, RH reliever.
Ryan Shopshire, RHP.
Brandon Villalobos, LHP, started and relieved.

New Incoming Players


Position Players:

Danny Espinosa, Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana), 6'0", 185, shortstop. 2005 stats: .288, 20 RBI, 18 stolen bases. Good glove.

Kip Masuda, Mid-Pacific Institute (Honolulu, Hawaii), 5'10", 185, catcher/1st base. 2005 stats: .389, 5 HR, 38 RBI, threw out 17 of 20 attempting stolen base. MLB: Drafted in the 47th round (1,394th overall). Masuda was Hawaii's position player of the year, as selected by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, which had this:

Masuda was among several players nominated for top position player honors. He got the nod over a posse that included Moanalua's Andrew Blomberg and Saint Louis' Chester Wilson.

The 5-10 1/2, 185-pound senior impressed at the plate, hitting a league-high five home runs. He also had 14 doubles and 38 RBIs while hitting .389.

It was defense, however, that separated Masuda from the pack. The Owl threw out 17 of 20 baserunners. Much of the time, opposing coaches refused to run on Masuda.

"Hands down, he's the best catcher in the state," Saint Louis coach Scot Paiva said. "Automatically, you don't want to run on him."

Masuda credited his coaches with fine-tuning his accuracy behind the plate.

"It's just repetition in practice. Our coaches emphasized the release point, being compact and throwing to the same spot every time," he said. "That made a lot of difference."

Getting serious about conditioning also was a plus.

"The honor is kinda important to me because all the offseason workouts by myself, going to the weight room extra paid off," Masuda said. He reps in the bench press anywhere from five to 10 times at 225 pounds. On the squat, he does five to 10 reps at 315.

"When you're stronger, to me, it's a boost to everything, a lot easier to compete. You can swing the bat a little faster, come around on the inside pitch a little more," said Masuda, who accepted an early offer from Long Beach State.
Brandon Decker, Granite Hills High School (El Cajon), 5'9", 140, infielder. 2005 stats: .360, 14 stolen bases (5th in east San Diego County). 2004 stats: .430 (49 hits, 114 AB), .649 slugging percentage (9 doubles, 2 triples, 4 HR), 41 runs scored, 16 stolen bases. Played shortstop senior year, and 2nd base junior year.


Kyle Bredenkamp, Millikan High School (Long Beach), 6'5", 225, RHP. 2005 stats: 4-4, 1.23 ERA, 57 IP, 59 strikeouts, 18 BB. MLB: Drafted in the 37th round (1,117th overall). MaxPreps stats here.

Hunter Hewitt, Trinity High School (Louisville, Kentucky), 6'0", 187, LHP. 2005 stats: 7-0, 1.01 ERA.

Andre Lamontagne, Righetti High School (Santa Maria), 6'4", 180, RHP. 2005 stats: 9-0, 1.56 ERA, 81 IP, 81 strikeouts, 39 BB. 2005 hitting stats: .367 (11 for 30). MLB: Drafted in the 45th round (1,346th overall). MaxPreps stats here. He was the only high school player on the 2005 summer league Santa Maria Indians, and was one of 3 starting pitchers to anchor the rotation.

Russ Lowell, La Costa Canyon High School (Encincitas), 6'0", 155, LHP. 2004 stats: 6-0, 1.66 ERA. 2005 stats: 4-6, 3.85 ERA, 60 IP, 78 strikeouts, 44 walks. The La Costa Canyon High School baseball page has this:

If you asked CIF Champion Rancho Bernardo who the toughest pitcher they faced this year they might say it was the Mavericks' Russell Lowell. On April 21st Russ pitched a complete game, 7 inning shut out win over the Broncos, 1-0. On May 5th Russ limited the Broncos to only one run through 8 innings before loosing 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning. On April 8th Russ held Fallbrook to only 3 runs in an 8-3 win for the Mavericks over the Avocado League Champs. In 2005 Russ pitched 60 innings, allowing 46 hits and striking out 78, while posting a tough luck record of only 4-6.
Shane Peterson, Chaparral High School (Temecula), 6'1", 195, LHP. 2005 pitching stats: 5-4, 2.287 ERA, 67.1 IP, 90 strikeouts, 31 BB. 4 complete games. 2nd Team All-CIF. Batting stats: .414, 7 HR, .814 slugging percentage. 10 strikeouts and 21 walks in 70 AB. Can play 1st base. MaxPreps stats here. Pitched a no hitter in 2002.

Bryan Shaw, Livermore High School, 6'0", 190, RHP. 2005 stats: 5-0, 0.25 ERA over 28 IP, 14 hits allowed, 29 strikeouts, 9 BB (season shortened by injury). MaxPreps stats here. He also played wide receiver for Livermore.

Scott Turmail, Hazelwood Central High School (Florissant, Missouri), 6'4", 190, RHP. 2004 stats: 8-1, 1.41 ERA. 2005 stats: 7-1, 1.63 ERA, 53 strikeouts, 3 walks. 2005 1st Team All-State (Missouri) pitcher.

Vance Worley, McClatchy High School (Sacramento), 6'3", 210, RHP. 2004 stats: 6-1, 1.71 ERA. 2005 stats: 4-3, 1.79 ERA, 51.1 IP, 102 strikeouts. MLB: Drafted in the 20th round, (607th overall). Baseball America had this pre-draft scouting report:

Worley hails from the same Sacramento high school that produced big leaguers Larry Bowa, Dion James and Nick Johnson. The premier pitching prospect in northern California, he was a third- to fifth-round projection at the start of the year, but his stock has been on the rise this spring. He had one string of 23 straight scoreless innings. Worley has the potential for four legitimate pitches and works with an easy, efficient and fluid delivery. He rates a slight edge over Monte Vista High righthander Jeff Lyman, the No. 2 arm in the area, because his delivery is a little cleaner. Worley's fastball was 87-88 mph in 2004 but has been consistently 91-93 mph this spring, while touching 95. The ball explodes out of his hand and has good riding action, and he works the pitch to both sides of the plate. He also has good command of a slider, which ranges from 77-81 mph. His team's shortstop when he doesn't pitch, Worley is more athletic and displays better baseball actions than most pitchers when he takes the mound. He is considered more signable than most of the elite high school prospects in northern California, but scouts are split on his worth, ranging from a sandwich pick to the third or fourth rounds.


Position Players:

Bobby McMurray, junior, transferring from Mesa City College (Mesa, Arizona), 6'0", 195, outfielder/3rd base. 2004 stats: .354, 62 RBI. 2005: suffered rotator cuff injury in the middle of the season. He was selected to the 2004 NJCAA 1st Team Division II All Regional for Region 1.

Ted Pattock, sophomore, transferring from Chandler-Gilbert City College (Chandler, Arizona), 6'0", 180, outfielder. .319, .418 OB%, 21 stolen bases. 2nd Team All-Conference. Perfect Game had this scouting report from the summer of 2002 on Pattock from a showcase during his days at Seton Catholic High School in Tempe, Arizona:

Showed a good hitting approach with quiet hands and good hitting ability. Runs well and showed a quick first step out of the box. His left-handed bat and athleticism give him a bright future at the next level.
Robert Perry, junior, transferring from Santa Clara University, 5'9", 175, outfielder. 2004 stats: .305, 8 HR. 2005 stats: .324, 4 HR, season shortened by finger injury. The Los Gatos Weekly Times had this on Perry in December, 2004:

Sophomore Robert Perry (Mitty), a teammate of [Troy] Tulowitzki over the years on several successful Sunnyvale National Little League all-star teams, will be the starting centerfielder for Santa Clara University. Perry, who last year was the first freshman in 22 years to start for the Broncos, earned second-team All-West Coast Conference honors last spring. He played in all but one of SCU's 56 games, batting .300 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs.
Edgar Sedano, transferring from East L.A. College, junior, 5'11", 175, infielder. 2005 stats: .405, 40 runs scored, 6 HR, 19 RBI. All-Southern California.

Allen Wood, transferring from Golden West College (Huntington Beach), junior, outfielder. 2004 stats: .366. 2005 stats: .326, 28 RBI, 2nd Team All-League.


Andrew Carpenter, junior, transferring from Sacramento City College (played freshman year at Chico State University), RHP. I had this on Andrew:

Andrew, a right handed pitcher, played his freshman year at Chico State University, and last season at Sac City. The 6'3", 220#, righthander is from Vacaville, CA. In 2004 at Chico State, he pitched 74.1 innings in 17 games (11 starts, 4 complete games), posting a 4.12 ERA and 7-2 W-L record. Last season at Sac City, he led the team with an 8-2 record, posting a 3.15 ERA. He also led the team in innings pitched at 85.2, starting 12 of the 15 games he appeared in, and striking out 84 while walking just 20.

Andrew originally signed to play on scholarship at Oklahoma before the turmoil at OU over the resignation of head coach Larry Cochell forced by racially insentitive remarks, the hiring of Wichita State's long time head coach Gene Stephenson, and Stephenson's subsequent resignation a few hours later because of ""unresolvable scholarship issues" at Oklahoma." Andrew asked for, and was granted, a release from his committment to OU.

Returning Players

Position Players:

Sean Boatright, senior, outfielder. Dirtbags stats:

2003 .259 19-16 58 12 15 4 0 3 9 .483 7 12 .353 1-1 0 1.000
2004 .330 30-23 100 10 33 5 0 3 23 .470 4 18 .352 0-1 0 1.000
2005 .299 49-48 197 26 59 17 0 3 30 .431 14 1 .347 5-8 1 .990
Scott Bradley, senior, utility. Dirtbags stats:

2004 .308 10-3 13 1 4 1 0 0 2 .385 2 1 .400 1-1 0 1.000
2005 .282 28-19 71 14 20 2 0 0 6 .310 8 18 .386 4-4 2 .976
Tito Cruz, senior, catcher/3rd base. Dirtbags stats:

2003 .217 11-5 23 3 5 0 0 0 1 .217 2 8 .280 0-0 1 .889
2004 .271 22-12 48 6 13 3 0 0 2 .333 1 10 .327 0-0 5 .872
2005 .231 33-26 108 8 25 5 0 0 8 .278 5 23 .278 3-4 5 .972
Donnie Ecker, sophomore, infielder. Dirtbags stats:

2005 ........No plate appearances......
Brandon Godfrey, sophomore, 1st base/utility. Dirtbags stats:

2005 .305 47-46 177 19 54 9 2 1 24 .395 9 27 .349 2-4 3 .993
Jose Hernandez, sophomore, outfielder. Dirtbags stats:

2005 .224 31-18 67 9 15 4 0 1 7 .328 1 17 .2573 3-4 2 .955
Evan Longoria, junior, infielder. Dirtbags stats:

2005 .320 58-56 228 34 73 8 0 5 30 .421 14 41 .368 10-11 8 .952
Tom Sarti, senior, catcher/outfielder. Dirtbags stats:

2005 .139 17-9 36 6 5 0 0 1 5 .222 2 9 .220 1-1 0 1.000
Chuck Sindlinger, senior, 2nd base. Dirtbags stats:

2003 .288 41-38 125 13 36 7 2 0 21 .376 9 27 .350 8-10 4 .976
2004 .257 38-36 113 12 29 2 2 1 7 .336 5 24 .317 1-2 9 .937
2005 .264 56-55 193 19 51 5 0 3 23 .337 12 30 .324 6-11 8 .964
Jordan Struble, senior, catcher/outfielder. Dirtbags stats:

2005 .277 30-21 83 12 23 7 0 0 14 .361 9 14 .344 2-3 0 1.000
Tom Wolf, senior, outfielder. Dirtbags stats:

2003 .259 19-16 58 12 15 4 0 3 9 .483 7 12 .353 1-1 0 1.000
2004 .330 30-23 100 10 33 5 0 3 23 .470 4 18 .352 0-1 0 1.000
2005 .229 14-8 35 0 8 1 0 0 2 .257 1 3 .270 0-1 0 1.000

Brett Andrade, senior, RH reliever. Dirtbags stats:
2003 10.22 1-0 11 0 0 0 12.1 22 14 14 5 6 6 0 3 55 .400 2 0 0
2004 4.95 1-0 17 0 0 0 20.0 20 12 11 1 19 6 0 2 79 .253 1 1 0
2005 4.66 1-0 10 0 0 0 9.2 13 9 5 3 3 4 0 0 41 .317 0 3 1

Matt Fitts, sophomore, RH reliever. Dirtbags stats:
2005 2.20 0-1 16 0 0 0 16.1 16 7 4 4 11 1 0 1 61 .262 0 0 0

Update: Matt Fitts has left the program.
Jared Hughes, junior, RH starter. Dirtbags stats:
2005 2.83 8-3 15 14 2 0 89.0 67 29 28 23 87 10 4 3 316 .212 9 19 1

Donnie Hume, sophomore, LH starter and reliever. Dirtbags stats:
2005 2.37 1-1 11 2 0 0 19.0 20 8 5 5 13 3 3 1 72 .278 0 1 0

Scott Juneau, senior, RH reliever. Dirtbags stats:
2004 6.00 1-1 8 0 0 0 12.0 12 8 8 2 7 5 0 2 46 .261 0 1 0
2005 9.00 0-0 1 0 0 0 1.0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .333 0 0 0

Andrew Liebel, sophomore, RH reliever. Dirtbags stats:
2005 5.11 0-2 11 0 0 0 12.1 15 9 7 6 4 4 1 0 51 .294 1 2 1

Josh Tamba, redshirt sophomore, RHP. Josh redshirted 2004, and did not pitch in 2005.

Hmmmm...Wonder What's Up

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel had a great start Friday after spending the entire year on the DL. Now this from (originally in the New York Times):
Steve Trachsel's reward for pitching eight scoreless innings Friday in his first start in 11 months was a spot in the Mets' bullpen. Trachsel said he was shocked when manager Willie Randolph and pitching coach Rick Peterson told him before Sunday's game that he would not make another start until further notice. He added that he "understood things are being worked out" between his agents and General Manager Omar Minaya, although he would not elaborate.
But, apparently, the Boston Red Sox have contacted the Mets about acquiring Steve. They must do so by midnight tomorrow for him to be eligible for post-season play. We'll see.

Former Dirtbag Russ Rohlicek Is Featured... this piece at Inside Pitch (originally published at
All is Not a Wash for Rohlicek
Rohlicek adjusts to Triple-A

By Steve Holley
Date: Aug 29, 2005

It started off the way Russ Rohlicek would have liked. The left-hander threw 10.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to open the year and finish the month of April with a zero ERA. As the weeks and months slowly progressed, however, Rohlicek began finding himself in more and more tight situations as his ERA shot above four. There are still some positives to take from the year 2005, he says.

For starters, there is getting that all-important rookie season at Triple-A out of the way. At age 25, Rohlicek is somewhat of a late bloomer. He was drafted in 2001 by the Houston Astros at age 22 out of Long Beach State University.

After just over a year in the Houston farm system, Rohlicek was sent to the Cubs as the key prospect in the trade that brought "Flash" Gordon to the Astros. Rohlicek finished up 2002 at Class-A Lansing of the Midwest League and has moved up a level each year afterward.... [read the rest here].

Monday, August 29, 2005

Q&A With Former Dirtbag Adam Heether...

...from the Huntsville Times:
Nine questions with Star's Adam Heether
Sunday, August 28, 2005

Adam Heether was promoted to the Stars last week from Class A Brevard County in the Florida State League, where he batted .305 with 54 RBIs in 93 games. After this brief time in the Southern League, Heether fielded 9 Questions before Saturday's game.

1 First week in Double-A, what do you think?

Glad to be here. I like the group of guys. I like the coaches. Everyone's (on the field) a little bit better since it's a higher level. I'm enjoying myself, trying to finish strong the last couple of weeks.

2 Any nervousness?

You get those butterflies going again. At the lower level, after 100 games or so, it gets to be an every day thing. But in a new environment you get the butterflies the first couple of games. Then after a while it's back to baseball again. When I got my first at-bat, I had some butterflies.

3 How did you find out you were being promoted?

After a game, they called me and told me to pack up. John Tamargo called me in his office and said, "You're going up. Go get 'em."

I packed up all my stuff 'til about 2:30, 3:30 in the morning, left at 6:30. We drove here in about 11 1/2 hours and got here right before game time. (I) got to pinch-hit later that game (and got a hit in his first Double-A at-bat). Long day. My wife (Jennifer) was with me, and that made it easier. She let me sleep.

4 Was it tough leaving a pennant race?

We were a game and a half or two games back, so we had a great chance of getting there. The ultimate goal is to make to the big leagues. It's rewarding to be called up. Obviously, you're playing to get to the next level.

5 How was your own season going there?

I only got to play about 35-40 games. I broke my hand in the first half. I got hit by a pitch and it sidelined me for about a month, so I had to deal with that. It took me a couple of weeks to get adjusted, and I got on track.

6 Most everybody here is ready for this season to be over. You come here this late, does it feel like it's ending too quickly?

It gives you a second wind. You get tired at the end of the season. To get called up it's almost a new season, to be in a new environment.

7 You've played other seasons with manager Don Money, and you're playing his old position. Did you have any idea about his playing career?

I know he was a solid third baseman. When I got drafted by the Brewers I saw Don Money was the manager at low-A. I knew I'd have the chance to work with him.

It's nice having him around, being around somebody who knows the position. He helps you out on a daily basis. He was a solid, quality third baseman.

8 How many different ways does your name get botched?

I'd say "heather" is the biggest mistake. It's "heath-er,'' like the Heath bar. But I don't make a big deal about it.

9 Tony Gwynn Jr.'s father was a great player. Enrique Cruz's sister dates Pedro Martinez. What's your brush with fame? Do you have anything like that?

Nope. I'm trying to start my own (bit of fame). Oh, wait. I'll tell you one you can say. My second cousin. His name is Tim Stewart. He plays the drums and bass for Jessica Simpson's band.

George Will...

...has a great piece on life in the low minors, and hopes and dreams. In my opinion, Will is the best non-baseball baseball writer around.

Evan Longoria And Jared Hughes Honored By Baseball America

Baseball America has named it's 2005 College Summer All-America team, and 2 Dirtbags made the list. Evan Longoria was named 1st team 2nd baseman, and Jared Hughes was selected 2nd team starting pitcher. Both played for the Chatham A's in the Cape Cod League, and both made that league's in season and post season All-Star teams. Evan was selected the Cape's MVP. Hat tip to reader Rhonda for pointing me to this story.

Vargas Has Arrived

Photo caption from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Marlins rookie Jason Vargas wipes away the residue of a shaving cream pie last Sunday -- a veteran form of congratulations after he threw his first major-league complete game in a 7-1 win vs. the Dodgers at Dolphins Stadium."

Paul McAnulty Makes Case For September Call Up

Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty had a productive 10 game run with the Padres earlier this season. Yesterday at AAA Portland, he went 4 for 5, raising his AAA average to .340...and .372 in his last 10 game, .400 in his last 5. He has 6 homeruns in 150 ABs, and he's slugging at .560, with a .401 OB%. Paul's made a heck of a case for a return to San Diego when rosters expand September 1.

Giambi Hits Milestones

Former Dirtbag Jason Giambi reached 2 milestones during a big game yesterday. Here's the Reuters piece:
Jason Giambi belted two home runs in a day of milestones as the New York Yankees pounded the Kansas City Royals 10-3 to complete a three-game series sweep at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

The win moved New York a half-game clear of the Los Angeles Angels for the top spot in the American League wildcard race with Cleveland one game behind.

Giambi picked up his 1,000th career RBI with his three-run shot in the third inning and then notched his 1,500th career hit with a two-run blast in the fifth.

The New York slugger, who broke out of a 4-for-38 slump, completed his big day at the plate with a two-run single in the sixth to tie a career high with seven RBIs.

His efforts helped the streaking Yankees to their fourth straight win and sixth in seven games.

"Even when I was struggling up there, I felt pretty good," said Giambi. "I was getting good swings but I just wasn't getting any hits."

Back In Boston

Former Dirtbag Abe Alvarez was called up again yesterday to the Boston Red Sox. Since he was called up before the end of August, he is eligible for post season play.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

If You Thought Dirtbag Games Were Long...You Were Right

Boyd Nation (Boyd's World) did an interesting analysis of the average duration of Division I games last season. Turns out that the average for all Division I games is 2 hours, 42 minutes...well under the MLB average of just over 3 hours (which Boyd, probably correctly, attributes to TV time considerations).

It also turns out that Long Beach State games averaged 3 hours, 7 minutes...the 11th longest average time in D-I. In fact, every Big West school (except Pacific) made the list of the 25 highest average length (all over 3 hours). The Big West Conference had the longest average games for conference matchups in all Division I, at 3 hours, 11 minutes. Boyd theorizes that "[t]here's probably a weather factor at work here, since it's easier to take your time when you're not freezing." While he may be right (though night games at Blair Field in February and March aren't exactly sweltering), I have another theory. When listening to internet play by play originating from Baylor, Wichita State, and others, I have often heard commentary that west coast pitchers work "deliberately." They are being polite. They work slow! The way I see it, this comes in 2 forms. Many times, pitchers will throw over to first base 7 or 8 times. During the same at bat. It's too bad there are no stats kept on the number of times pitchers throw over to hold runners during games. The 2nd factor is the time between pitches.

This is not limited to Long Beach or the Big West. 19 of the 25 teams on the longest average game list hail from 4 states: California, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. And the 4 conferences with the longest league games are, in order: Big West, Pac10, West Coast and Mountain West. Clearly the length of the games has more to do with the style of play out west than it does with our fabulous weather.

Trach Is Definitely Back

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel made his first Major League appearance this season for the NY Mets last night, after spending the entire season on a DL following surgery to repair a herniated disc. Result: He shuts down the San Francisco Giants for 8.0 innings in route to a 1-0 win, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6. Here's the story from
Trachsel dominates in first 2005 start
Eight scoreless innings help extend Mets' winning streak
By Marty Noble /

SAN FRANCISCO -- He held his right hand at chest height, palm down, and moved it slowly from side to side to demonstrate the moderate manner he maintains on days he pitches. He is Even Stephen Trachsel on those days. Extremes are prohibited. He may be pleased, but he won't permit delighted. He may be irritated or disappointed, but never anguished.

"It works for me," Trachsel said following the Mets' handsome 1-0 victory against the Giants on Friday, as he stood in front of his locker and, at the same instant, in the middle of the road.

"I don't want to make this a big thing, then go back to New York, give up an eight-spot, and I'm a turd again. So I keep it down."

Trachsel's temperance was challenged Friday night when he finally finished the transformation from patient to pitcher, from "his back" to "he's back." But even in the afterglow of an uplifting and rewarding performance in his first Major League endeavor since last season, Trachsel was content to beat the Giants and not his chest.

"Maybe tomorrow night when we go to dinner in Napa," he said. Maybe that's when he'll pop his cork and celebrate the brilliant return he executed. And he may open a bottle then as well.

Trachsel, the Mets' sommelier, had given a performance worthy of a toast and maybe even another turn in the Mets' unspecified rotation. He surrendered two hits and two walks and struck out six in eight innings as the Mets gained their fifth straight victory. He threw as if he had made 20 starts against big-league hitters, not six against hitters without resumes, with midseason precision even though he hasn't had a season.

Some five months after back surgery, he provided no-hit drama for most of six innings and pitched into and out of trouble in the eighth inning, protecting the lead David Wright's rocket home run had produced six innings earlier.

"I did all right, I think," Trachsel said, keeping his key as low as he had kept his pitches in beating the Giants for the ninth time in 13 career decisions. "I pitched my normal game."

Normal in the sense of how he attacked the opponent. The results were better than normal.

"But I almost expected him to do what he did because I know how he prepares," manager Willie Randolph said.

Not that the Mets needed more encouraging developments on this stunningly successful trip to the West, but Trachsel provided another reason for them to believe the season doesn't have to end at Game 162.

Randolph didn't allow his postgame remarks to reach that far into the future. He wouldn't even hint at how his rotation would turn in New York and Miami next week. But he clearly was happy to have more information with which to make his determination.

"You have to love what he showed," the manager said.

Trachsel showed almost everything a manager could ask to see in the Mets' fourth 1-0 victory this season. He kept his pitches down and his pitch count relatively low, 108. And when the Giants resisted, he put them away, leaving only three outs for Braden Looper to achieve.

Trachsel, who has pitched three one-hitters in the big leagues, held the Giants hitless until two out in the sixth inning. Randy Winn singled through the middle at that point. The second of the Giants' three hits -- the third came off Looper -- didn't come until the eighth when Edgardo Alfonzo reached base on a leadoff ground-ball single that didn't reach the outfield but led to trouble. A sacrifice bunt and an infield out advanced pinch-runner Todd Linden to third base before Michael Tucker worked an eight-pitch walk and gave Winn a chance to do more damage.

On another night, perhaps, Randolph might have summoned Roberto Hernandez. On this night, the manager felt strongly that "this was Trachs' game to win." Hernandez still was in the bullpen when Winn flied out to short center. [more].

Friday, August 26, 2005

Yes, Even Big Leaguers Like Bobby Crosby Use Two Hands!

ESPN says so! (The pic is on the main ESPN MLB page, and is likely to be replaced soon. So a screen capture is below).

Jon Strauss Returns As Dirtbags' Volunteer Assistant Coach

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Dirtbag returns

Jon Strauss, a member of LBSU's 1993 College World Series team, has returned to the program as a volunteer assistant. Strauss, who spent the previous three seasons at Loyola Marymount as an assistant, began his coaching career under Dave Snow and served on the Dirtbags coaching staff from 1995 to 2000. Strauss spent two seasons as the head coach at Glendale Community College prior to LMU.
Jon played for the Dirtbags in 1993 and 1994, after which he signed a free agent contract with the New York Yankees.

Former Dirtbag Scott Shoemaker... featured here.

Yup, Must Be The Hair

There's a nice feature, with a new angle, on former Dirtbag Jason Vargas in the Sun Sentinel:
Jason Vargas has only been in the big leagues for six weeks, but already the rookie left-hander has a signature feature.

His hair.

Long, black, stringy hair. Hair that spills out from the back and sides of his Marlins cap in true Eckersleyan fashion.

Hair that nearly reaches his shoulders when left unchecked and falls into his eyes after almost every pitch.

It's great hair, really. Probably the best in franchise history and far closer to Video Music Awards hair than traditional baseball hair. At the very least it's reality-show hair. [more]

Dirtbags Land Sac City Transfer Andrew Carpenter

Long Beach State has landed an unexpected prize in Sacramento City College transfer Andrew Carpenter. Andrew, a right handed pitcher, played his freshman year at Chico State University, and last season at Sac City. The 6'3", 220#, righthander is from Vacaville, CA. In 2004 at Chico State, he pitched 74.1 innings in 17 games (11 starts, 4 complete games), posting a 4.12 ERA and 7-2 W-L record. Last season at Sac City, he led the team with an 8-2 record, posting a 3.15 ERA. He also led the team in innings pitched at 85.2, starting 12 of the 15 games he appeared in, and striking out 84 while walking just 20.

Andrew originally signed to play on scholarship at Oklahoma before the turmoil at OU over the resignation of head coach Larry Cochell forced by racially insentitive remarks, the hiring of Wichita State's long time head coach Gene Stephenson, and Stephenson's subsequent resignation a few hours later because of ""unresolvable scholarship issues" at Oklahoma." Andrew asked for, and was granted, a release from his committment to OU.

The Sac City website has this bio on Andrew Carpenter:
Andrew James Carpenter, son of Sandy and Larry Carpenter, was born in Fairfield, California on May 18, 1985. He played baseball for coach Trini Ruiz at Vacaville High School. He was selected to play in the Optimist All-Star game, Pitcher of the Year, an All League Selection, and a 3-time MVP. He also played basketball in high school. Carp came to Sac City because of the tradition, the reputation, great coaches, and they know how to win and produce good ballplayers. His goal for the season is to win a state championship. He lists his favorite movies as "Happy Gilmore" and "The Sandlot." Andrew's favorite athlete is Curt Schilling because he is a great competitor and a team guy. In his freetime he enjoys restoring cars, hanging out with friends, and reading the bible. The biggest influence in his life is his family because they taught him everything and mean everything to him.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Not A Dirtbag, But...

...A story I'm happy to report. From Baseball America:
Three months after testicular cancer surgery and the subsequent chemotherapy, Chris Malec made his professional debut [July 26] with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. The second baseman, a 16th-round pick out of UC Santa Barbara, went 2-for-2.
He's now played in 21 games, and is batting .384. At least he won't be batting against the Dirtbags again!

Chris DeMaria And Jered Weaver Make AFL Roster

As Baseball America puts it, the Arizona Fall League "is a stomping ground for budding prospects, and the circuit has earned its reputation as a steppingstone for future standouts." While there are still roster spots to be filled on the 6 teams in the League, 2 former Dirtbags - Jered Weaver (Angels) and Chris DeMaria (Royals) - have made the roster of the Surprise Scorpions. Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty played in the AFL last year.

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver...

...had a strong outing for the AA Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) last night, going 6.0 innings for the win. He did not allow an earned run, struck out 6, and gave up just 4 hits and a walk. [Box Score]. Over his last 2 starts, he's gone 2-0, with a 1.42 ERA (12.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 8 K, 5 BB). His AA season record has improved to 3-1, 3.98.

Tearing The Cover Off

Yesterday I updated you on former Dirtbag Brad Davis' hot hitting. It just got hotter. Last night he went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and scored 3 runs...increasing his season batting average another 10 points to .253. [Box Score]. That extends his hitting streak to 8 games, over which he has gone 16 for 37 (.432). Incredibly, over his last 4 games, Brad is hitting .474 (9 for 19). Not to give anyone any ideas, but can you say "intentional pass."

Evan Longoria Named Cape Cod League MVP

Evan Longoria selected Pat Sorenti Cape League MVP

Although many Chatham Athletic players posted mind-boggling numbers this summer, Evan Longoria - a legitimate triple-crown candidate for much of the year - was the player that stood out the most.

Thus, it is only fitting that he was the recipient of the Pat Sorenti Award for Most Valuable Player.

To win the triple crown, a player must finish the season as the league leader in the three major batting categories: average, home runs and RBIs. Needless to say, only the very best hitters are able to accomplish such a feat; the last MLB player to turn the trick was Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox way back in 1967 when he hit .326 with 44 home runs and 121 RBIs.

Although Longoria (Long Beach State) led the Cape League in both home runs (8) and RBIs (35), he fell out of contention in the batting average category, finishing with a .299 average after spending much of the season in the top five of this category as well.

Longoria, a native of Downey, Calif., was chosen as the Coca Cola player of the week on two separate occasions this season, joining Chatham teammate Derrick Lutz as the only repeat winners.

During a six-game stretch between June 20 and June 26, Longoria hit .440, going 11-for-25 at the plate. He added two home runs, five RBIs, three doubles and had an amazing slugging percentage over .800. Then, during the week of July 11-17, Longoria notched three home runs and 11 RBIs over a span of just 30 at-bats. His batting average for the week was .400, while his slugging percentage was .883.

Longoria anchored the middle of the powerful A's lineup, finishing third overall league-wide in hits with 49, first with a .500 slugging percentage and tied for first with teammate Baron Frost in extra base hits with 16. Longoria is a very talented defensive player, capable of playing anywhere in the infield.

This summer, he logged 14 games at second base, eight at third and 15 at shortstop. Longtime Chatham manager John Schiffner particularly praised his star infielder's leadership abilities, a very important aspect of the game that cannot be measured by statistics. "He's a great leader on and off the field," Schiffner noted.
And he's coming back to play the 2006 season for the Dirtbags!

Update: Here's the story at And a nice pic here.

Update On Former Dirtbag Marco Estrada

[Vermont] Expos [Short Season Class A New York-Penn League] starter Marco Estrada allowed just one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over five innings in his final appearance of the season for Vermont as Estrada is returning to school in California.
During his 1st season (albeit short) in pro ball, Marco put up these numbers:
1-3 5.35 9 6 0 0 1 33.2 32 21 20 4 3 16 37 1 .242
But he finished strong. In his last 2 games, he went 10.0 innings, struck out 12 while walking 4. Over the span he allowed 8 hits and just 2 earned runs, for a 1.80 ERA.

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria Is Nearly Unhittable...

...since his promotion to the AA Wichita Wranglers (Texas League). Tuesday night he went 1.2 innings, did not allow a hit or walk, and struck out 3 of the 5 batters he faced. Since the move, Chris has gone 7.1 innings over 4 appearances, and has not allowed a run. He's struck out 14, while walking 1. Opponents have 2 hits, and are batting .083.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Former Dirtbag Brad Davis On Fire

Until recently, it hasn't been the best of years for Brad Davis, the Dirtbags' catcher drafted in 2004 (5th round, Marlins). Brad was starting slow this spring with the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the Class A South Atlantic League, hitting just .163 in 14 games (49 AB) when he broke his wrist in a play at the plate. After 9 weeks rehabbing the injury, he came off the DL in the 2nd half of June.

It took him a while to get in a groove, but Brad's been swinging a hot bat lately. Currently on a 7 game hitting streak, he enjoyed his best game as a pro last night going 4 for 5 (including a double), with an RBI and 2 runs scored. [Box Score]. Over his last 13 games he's hitting .358 (19 for 53), and in his last 7, .406 (13 for 32, with a homer and 4 RBI). On the season, his average is up to .243 with a .365 slugging percentage (3 HR, 1 triple, 12 doubles), in 53 games (189 AB).

I Think I'd Stay Home

I detailed a few minor league promotions here, from amusing to odd, but this one may just take the cake:
The Potomac Nationals [Advanced Class A Carolina League] will hold the first-ever "Hairiest Back at the Ballpark" contest at Pfitzner stadium on Thursday August 25, 2005.

The contest is sponsored by Cosmetic & Laser Services of Dr. Don Brideau and Dr. Foster Montalbano and will be held before the game against Salem at 7:05 p.m. ET. The winner will receive a complimentary laser hair removal service valued at $2,500 courtesy of Doctors Brideau and Montalbano...
Can you say: "No shoes, no shirt, no service."

Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty...

...went 3 for 5 last night, with a double and an HR. [Box Score]. Over the last 5 games at AAA Portland (Ore.), he's 8 for 23 (.348).

Former Dirtbag Adam Heether Promoted To AA

Adam Heether has been promoted from the Brevard County Manatees in the Advance Class A Florida State League to the Huntsville Stars in the AA Southern League. Adam hit .308 (the league's 3rd best) with 6 home runs and 54 RBI in 93 games with Brevard County. In 338 AB, he struck out just 50 times, and walked 34. Adam's .388 OB% leads the FSL. He made his first plate appearance for Huntsville last night, lining a single in the 9th inning as a pinch hitter.

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver... interviewed by Baseball Digest

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Recruit Status Check...

...of the Dirbags recruits discussed here, the following were drafted in June:

Andrew Lopez, OF, freshman (8th round, 238th overall)
Vance Worley, RHP, freshman (20th round, 607th overall).
Kyle Bredenkamp, RHP, freshman (37th round, 1,117th overall).
Andre Lamontagne, RHP, freshman (45th round, 1,346th overall)
Kip Masuda, C, freshman (47th round, 1,394th overall).

As soon as a drafted player attends class at a 4-year college or university, the team drafting him loses the right to sign him. As classes start at LBSU, the only draftee reported to have signed (and as expected) is Andy Lopez. He signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for $300,000 - around $200,000 over "slot money." Apparently his scholarship to play for the Dirtbags provided him with a little bit of leverage! In any event, with the other 4 drafted players, and those not drafted, apparently in the fold, it sure looks like a pretty good recruiting class.

Minor League Realignment Moves Forward...Slowly

Realignment = Shrinkage.

As I posted here, Major League Baseball has a pending proposal to realign the minor leagues, eliminating the Rookie level Gulf Coast and Arizona Leagues, and converting the Pioneer League - a Rookie league with teams not owned by MLB franchises - to Short Season A ball. As Baseball America reports today, the proposal is moving forward, though a vote by owners has been postponed. MLB general managers did vote today...23-7 in favor of the change. As BA points out:
Sources said organizations that already draft more college players, such as the Athletics, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Rangers, generally are in favor of the changes. Organizations that favor a more traditional approach to player development, such as the Braves, Cubs and Twins, are among the seven organizations that voted against the proposal.
Read: "Traditional approach" as teams that emphasize drafting high school players.
"There's a club called the Atlanta Braves," Cubs scouting director John Stockstill said, "that added scouts in the 1980s, focused on player development and was patient in rebuilding the major league team. It took them five or six years, but now they are on the verge of winning a division for the 14th straight time. The other 29 clubs need to buy into the model the Braves have shown can work, not try to pull the Braves and the clubs like them down."
I've read a couple of baseball books in the last few months that really put this tug-of-war in focus: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, and Scouts Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Ballteam by Bill Shanks. As many reading this know, Moneyball focuses on the Oakland A's, drafting college players and sabermetrics; while Scout's Honor focuses on the Atlanta Braves, drafting high school players, and emphasizing "tools" and especially "makeup." If you like baseball books, both are worth the time to read.

From the GM's vote, it sure looks like the "Moneyballers" are winning the struggle for primacy in MLB. If that holds true with the owners, and the proposal passes, you can add a 4th likely result of the change to the three I previously listed: more high school players are likely to opt for college ball - either by choice or because the ratio of college to high school players drafted will shift to collegians.

Doug Kirkorian Compares Former Dirtbags Jered Weaver And Jason Vargas... the Long Beach Press-Telegram today. And the loser is...Scott Boras.

Ahh, The Price Of Fame!

This on former Dirtbag Mike Gallo, whose Houston Astros make the National League swing through southern California this week (from
Tickets aplenty: The trip to Southern California is a busy time for many Major Leaguers, considering how many were either born here or live here during the offseason.

For those who still have family ties in SoCal, they're probably going to feel a tug at their wallets by week's end.

Mike Burns and Mike Gallo, for example, are knee-deep in ticket requests. Gallo, a native of Long Beach, left 30 tickets for family and friends for Monday's series opener at PETCO Park, and he has bought 50 tickets for each of the three games in Los Angeles this weekend.

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel Must Be Activated Today... the NY Mets. But apparently neither the Mets, nor Steve, can figure out what his role will be.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Neil Jamison Named 2004-2005 Long Beach State...

...male Athlete of the Year by

The Dish On Neil Jamison

This on former Dirtbag Neil Jamison in Baseball America's Daily Dish today:
The Padres promoted righthander Neil Jamison to low Class A Fort Wayne over the weekend, and the sixth-round pick retired all four batters he faced on Friday (striking out two), and allowed one run in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday. Jamison, who had a perfect 0.00 ERA in 27 games for Long Beach State this spring, began his pro career at short-season Eugene, where he was 1-2, 1.32 with eight saves in 25 games.

Former Dirtbag Josh Alliston...

...has come off the disabled list, and pitched in his 1st game of the year for the Arizona Brewers in the Rookie level Arizona League. On Friday, Josh started the game and went 1.0 innings, retiring each batter faced (2 on popups, and 1 on a grounder - Box Score).

In The Rumor Mill...

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Word out of Baltimore is that the Padres have expressed interest in Orioles shortstop [and former Dirtbag] Chris Gomez, who was a member of the Padres' NL West champions in 1996 and NL champions in '98.

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Ward....

...has been sent down to the Mississippi Braves in the AA Southern League, from the Richmond Braves in the AAA International League.

Not A Bad Weekend For Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty

Saturday he went 3 for 5 with a double and a homer, scored 3 runs, and had 2 RBI and a walk, playing for AAA Portland in the PCL. [Box Score]. On Friday he got credit for a hit and a run scored for his former team, the Mobile BayBears in the AA Southern League, as Mobile completed a game suspended from July 9.

Since his promotion to Portland, Paul is hitting .325, slugging at .508, and has posted a .379 OB% in 120 ABs. He has 4 HR and 10 doubles.

Former Dirtbag Greg Dobbs Has Been Recalled... the Seattle Mariners. Wasting no time, he hit a 2 run homer yesterday.

Jason Vargas Dominates Dodgers

This on former Dirtbag Jason Vargas' 1st complete game victory - over the Dodgers yesterday (from
Vargas dominates Dodgers
Lefty allows one run in first complete game of young career
By Joe Frisaro /

MIAMI -- One impressive performance doesn't put a pitcher in elite company.

But emerging rookie Jason Vargas certainly made a statement in his fifth Major League start on a blistering 91-degree Sunday afternoon at Dolphins Stadium.

In front of 26,211, the 22-year-old left-hander went the distance, scattering six hits while striking out seven in the Marlins' 7-1 win over the Dodgers.

A second-round pick out of Long Beach State in 2004, Vargas helped himself with a two-run single off Derek Lowe (8-12), who suffered the loss.

Vargas delivered the Marlins' 13th complete game of the season, the most in the Major Leagues. Vargas joined Florida's "Big Three" of A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis as Florida pitchers with a complete game in 2005.

"I don't impress easily," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "But that was something. That was worth sitting out there in the sun."

The addition of Vargas suddenly gives the Marlins another formidable starter. Still one game behind the Phillies in the Wild Card race, strong starting pitching promises to be Florida's best weapon in its playoff pursuit.

"I think my part is the same as any other pitcher on the pitching staff -- go deep into games and keep the team in the ballgame," said the left-hander from Apple Valley, Calif., who tossed a career-high 117 pitches. "That's my only thought right now. I'm not here to pitch like a rookie or act like one. I'm here to help these guys get to the playoffs and win a World Series."

Brought up from Double-A Carolina on July 14, Vargas stepped into the rotation when Al Leiter, who was 3-7 with a 6.64 ERA in 17 games in the first half, was designated for assignment the same day. Now 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA, Vargas, who wasn't sure if he had thrown a complete game since high school, has the distinction of tossing his first Major League complete game in his fifth start.

Sunday's effort gives Vargas a piece of franchise history. In 1998, Brian Meadows also logged a complete game in his fifth start.

Vargas is the first National League rookie to toss a complete game this season.

"I was kind of hoping the kid could get the shutout," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "You can't say enough good things about the kid. He's a delight to be around. He's in the game. He's a gamer. He's very knowledgeable about pitching. [He] has a plan when he goes out there. He's got a great attitude. I was kind of rooting for him to get the shutout. He was going to get the complete game. I didn't care if he threw 140 pitches, as long as it didn't get to the point where it was save territory."

While Vargas has a ways to go before achieving the status of Willis, Beckett and Burnett, the rookie has accomplished a complete game faster than any of them.

As a rookie in 2003, Willis went the distance for the first time in his eighth start, which was a one-hit, 1-0 win over the Mets. Burnett's first complete game was in his 22nd start, his no-hitter at San Diego on May 12, 2001. And Beckett's first complete game came in his 68th big league start, on Aug. 31, 2004, at the Mets.

Vargas is the latest to feed of stellar outings from the "Big Three," who offer him encouragement.

"They all trust me," Vargas said. "They know I can go out there and pitch. They just tell me to stay focused and stay in my game -- not try to overdo anything. Pretty much do what I do that helped me get here, and you'll be fine up here. Just seeing that confidence from them just helps me every time I go out."

The Marlins tagged Lowe for four runs in the second inning. Carlos Delgado led off with a double, and after Jeff Conine walked, Paul Lo Duca's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners. A walk to Mike Lowell loaded the bases, setting up Alex Gonzalez's two-run double. Juan Pierre added a two-out, two-run single, snapping an 0-for-14 drought.

Lowe exited after 3 2/3 innings after the Marlins scored twice in the fourth inning. With one out, Lowell singled and Gonzalez's second double of the game put runners on second and third for Vargas. The Dodgers brought their infield in, and the rookie pitcher floated a two-run single to left.

Once a first baseman and designated hitter in college, Vargas collected his first two big-league RBIs.

The one Dodger who gave Vargas trouble was Milton Bradley, who had three hits, including a double in the seventh.

Trailing, 6-0, the Dodgers had a chance to get on the board in the seventh inning. With two outs, Antonio Perez singled sharply to left field. Miguel Cabrera charged and made a perfect throw to the plate, enabling Lo Duca to tag out the sliding Bradley.

Cabrera leads all Marlins outfielders in assists with 10.

The Dodgers broke up Vargas' shutout bid in the eighth inning when Cesar Izturis avoided tapping into a double play. Izturis' fielder's choice scored Jason Phillips, who led off the inning with a walk. Former Marlin Hee-Seop Choi had a pinch-hit single, moving Phillips to third. Izturis bounced to second base, and while the Marlins forced Choi at second, the speedy Dodgers shortstop beat the relay throw to first.

Entering the ninth, Vargas had thrown 96 pitches, and he gave up a one-out double to Olmedo Saenz. From there, the left-hander struck out Jayson Werth looking and got Perez to swing through strike three with the count full to end the game.

After Perez went down on strikes, the typically level Vargas let out an emotional burst.

"I was pretty excited at the end there, especially to strike out a guy who can handle the bat," Vargas said. "To make that be the last out of my first complete game made everything fall into place."

McKeon was determined to get Vargas the complete game.

"I think this was the turning point right here, for him to say, 'I can finish the game I start,'" McKeon said. "He does have a knack. He's a little bit like Dontrelle in that he has a knack for being able to get out of jams, to battle out of some jams."

Former Dirtbags Swinging Well For San Jose

John Bowker and Todd Jennings, drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2004 and 2003, respectively, both play for the San Jose Giants in the Advance Class A California League. And both are hitting .368 over their last 5 games (7 for 19). Over the span, John has 2 RBI, and has scored 3 runs, while Todd has knocked in 5 and scored 2. On the season John is batting .272 with a .398 slugging percentage and .322 on base percentage. For Todd it's .293/.407/.320

Former Dirtbags In Daily Breeze Weekly Minor League Report

From the Daily Breeze:
Weekly Minor League Notebook: Area stars waiting for that special call
By Chris Jackson
Daily Breeze

So far this season, a total of six players with area ties have made their major league debuts.

Left-hander Jason Vargas (Long Beach State) has become an integral part of the Marlins pitching staff, just one year after he was drafted in the second round...

Others, like outfielder Paul McAnulty (Long Beach State) with the Padres,..., have been up only briefly before being sent back down. All stand a chance to be recalled again soon.

With major league teams able to expand their rosters to up to 40 players on Sept. 1, here's a look at the players who stand a chance at either making their debuts or returning to the majors, breaking them down by school affiliations.

South Bay: Among former area high school players, a couple of names stand out.

The Royals are desperate for any pitching help they can get right now, so right-hander Chris Demaria (North Torrance, El Camino College, Long Beach State) stands a chance. Demaria had 19 saves and a 2.23 ERA at single-A High Desert before being promoted to double-A Wichita last week, where he hasn't given up a run in his first two relief outings.

Long Beach State: Lefty Abe Alvarez has gone 11-5 with a 4.75 ERA at triple-A Pawtucket. He was called up for a day earlier this season by the Red Sox, but didn't pitch before being sent back down. Alvarez made one start for Boston in a doubleheader last year, but will more likely be used in relief this year.

Lefty reliever Russ Rohlicek is already on the Cubs' 40-man roster, so he seems like a natural addition to their beleaguered bullpen after going 3-1 with a 4.53 ERA and three saves at triple-A Iowa.

Right-hander Jered Weaver has gone 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his five starts since being promoted to double-A Arkansas last month. The Angels could seek to add the former first-round pick to their suddenly slumping bullpen.

On the move: Right-hander Neil Jamison (Long Beach State) earned a promotion to single-A Fort Wayne, Ind. (Padres) on Thursday. Jamison, a sixth-round pick in this year's draft, went 1-2 with a 1.32 ERA and eight saves in 25 relief appearances with short-season Eugene, Ore. He'll be reunited with left-hander Cesar Ramos, who pitched with Jamison at both Long Beach State and with Eugene earlier this summer. ...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Ya Gotta Love Da Minors

As this piece at says: "Minor League Baseball teams are known for their game promotions." Here's a few between Wednesday and today:
Syracuse SkyChiefs
Mr. Potato Head Night
Wednesday, August 17 vs. Rochester
It's been more than 50 years since a spud was born, when the original Mr. Potato Head emerged in a field somewhere in Rhode Island. Since then, the Spudmeister has married Mrs. Potato Head, had some small fries, received a Presidential Sports Award, dabbled in Hollywood and even Madison Avenue marketing campaigns. But now Mr. Potato Head goes one step further and becomes an honorary SkyChief. The first 2,000 fans 13 and younger take home a Mr. Potato Head wearing the silver and blue of the Chiefs. Oh, Mr. Potato Head, I love you.

Charleston RiverDogs
Bring a Yankee Night
Wednesday, August 17 vs. Savannah
In honor of the RiverDogs' new Major League affiliation with the New York Yankees, Mike Veeck's club presents Bring a Yankee Night to the Joe. Discounted admission will be offered to anyone who brings a friend with an out-of-state license from the North. The club promises -- honest -- to welcome its neighbors with warm hospitality, Southern charm, and of course, a special brand of RiverDogs teasing. Hopefully that doesn't mean a Bronx cheer. Come prepared.

Jupiter Hammerheads
Guaranteed Win Night
Wednesday, August 17 vs. Brevard County
Should the home team lose, all fans will receive a free ticket to an upcoming game. Let's see, this could be a tough one. Jupiter is currently nine games behind Brevard in the standings, and the Manatees are in the hunt for a Florida State League playoff berth. However, if Jupiter gets to the eighth inning with the lead, fans should know that's a good sign as the Hammerheads are 40-0 this season when leading going into the ninth.

Now, that is a promo I could get into to!

Norwich Navigators
Only in America Day
Thursday, August 18 vs. New Hampshire
When team officials decided to host a day honoring our country, they zeroed in on Don King as their guest of honor. "I am first and foremost an American," said the big-haired boxing promoter, "and when I was asked to come to Norwich for Only in America Day with the Navigators' fans, I was happy to accept. I look forward to seeing everyone at Dodd Stadium for an American celebration on August 18." Indeed if anything says "freedom," it's King's hair. The first 1,000 fans will also get Don King wigs to wear during the game. Don't fear the 'fro....

New Jersey Cardinals
Dr. Lori's Antique Appraisal Night

Saturday, August 20 vs. Staten Island
It's time to dig out your vintage household items and bring them on down to the ballpark. Anyone who purchases a ticket for this New York-Penn League game can bring their favorite antique to Skylands Park for a free appraisal on the item's value.

Las Vegas 51s
Oscar Goodman Bobblehead Night
Saturday, August 20 vs. Portland
The flamboyant and controversial mayor of Las Vegas steps into the big time once again with his own Bobblehead Doll. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a bobblehead of Oscar Goodman: the so-called "Happiest Mayor of the Greatest City in the World." In past years, Goodman - who is serving his second term - has had his face placed on $5 and $25 casino chips as well as a 51s bobblehead doll back in 2000. These three items are reportedly coveted by locals and tourists alike and have shown up on Internet auctions at high prices. Now is your chance to get one for free.

That would be the same Oscar Goodman who is the subject of the book: Of Rats and Men: Oscar Goodman's Life from Mob Mouthpiece to Mayor of Las Vegas, by John L. Smith.

Hometown Feature On Former Dirtbag Troy Tulowitzki

From the San Jose Mercury News:


By Darren Sabedra

Mercury News

Troy Tulowitzki will remember this year for its rewarding highs and unexpected lows. After another impressive season for Long Beach State, the former Fremont High standout was drafted seventh overall in June by the Colorado Rockies.

Calling the moment "the best experience of my life,'' he signed for $2.3 million and began his journey toward the major leagues, playing shortstop for Class-A Modesto.

But the fun ended five weeks early. An MRI revealed that a quadriceps injury suffered while running the bases in early July turned out to be a partial tear. He was ordered to rest for two months.

"I never had any injuries before this year,'' Tulowitzki said, sounding puzzled.

Now he has had two, both significant. He missed 20 college games after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hand in February.

But if this comeback is anything like his last one, he has nothing to worry about.

Despite having to sit out a third of the season, he led nationally-ranked Long Beach State in home runs (eight) and was third in RBIs (29). He also hit a team-best .349 and was near the top of everyone's board when the draft rolled around.

"He's going to be a very, very good professional,'' his college coach, Mike Weathers, predicted in the spring.

Tulowitzki, who is 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, said that before the injury there was talk of him starting next season in Double-A.

The plan now is for him to rehabilitate with a team trainer in Modesto and then return for an instructional league in the fall.

After that, he isn't sure what is next.

Tulowitzki played in only 20 games for Modesto. He hit .259 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. But the average would have been much higher had he not started 0 for 12 and finished 0 for 15.

"When I was playing, it was pretty much what I expected,'' Tulowitzki said. "I didn't feel overmatched. I felt like I belonged.''

The biggest difference, he said, was that every pitcher threw as well as a college ace.

Off the field, his new teammates treated him as he anticipated -- like a golden child.

"I definitely heard some stuff in fun and games,'' he said. "You hear little jokes here and there.''

Some joked that the organization's newest millionaire should convince the manager to start daily workouts later. Some kidded that no one should touch Tulowitzki -- management wouldn't act kindly if the star got hurt.

Tulowitzki figured he would bear the brunt of the clubhouse hazing because one of his good friends, A's shortstop and former Long Beach State star Bobby Crosby, forewarned him.

Crosby experienced similar treatment after the A's drafted him in the first round in 2001. Three years later, he won the American League rookie of the year award.

Like Tulowitzki, Crosby also missed a substantial amount of time this year because of injury but has since come back to help lead the A's resurgence.

Tulowitzki predicts he'll be as good as new when he gets healthy. "Next year will be a good year for me -- knock on wood,'' he said.

Q&A On Former Dirtbag Jason Vargas

From the Sun-Sentinel, here's a Q&A by baseball writer Juan Rodriguez:
Q: Is Ismael Valdez better suited coming out of the bullpen? Also, did Jason Vargas come out of nowhere or what? Ron Dinone, Riviera Beach, FL

A: Not sure whether Valdez is better suited to being a reliever. After starting for so long, he'll no doubt require an adjustment period. Valdez realizes that's what's best for the team at this point, considering how well Vargas is pitching. I wouldn't say Vargas came out of nowhere. Remember, he was the Marlins' second-round pick in 2004 out of Long Beach State. Perhaps the Marlins didn't think he'd make such a significant contribution at the big-league level this quickly, but they knew he was talented. They told him he'd have every opportunity to make a quick climb up the system and Vargas took advantage.

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel Coming Off DL

I haven't seen anything in transactions yet, but has this:
Trachs is back: Steve Trachsel returned to the Mets' clubhouse Friday and unpacked a blue Norfolk Tides windbreaker, his No. 29 on the back.

It was a souvenir of his trip to Toledo, Ohio, with the Tides a day earlier, but also a welcome sight to truck back to New York. Trachsel's Minor League rehabilitation assignment had finally reached its 30-day limit and concluded.

But with Trachsel's surgically repaired back in good form and nothing more to prove at the Minor League level, the Mets have a decision to make shortly: How to fit six starting pitchers into five slots?

Randolph said he'd speak to general manager Omar Minaya concerning Trachsel, who could be on turn to pitch Tuesday at Arizona, if needed. But Mets ace Pedro Martinez had a much more entertaining solution to the matter.

"They're going to send me on vacation," Martinez joked. "You can have my spot. They'll send me to the Dominican Republic for three weeks, I'll come back and see if we're in the race."

"Sounds good," Trachsel said. "I like the sound of that."

The conditions of this little fantasy scenario? Trachsel must watch over Martinez's locker at Shea, minding the two plugs that power Pedro's cell phones -- one an international model -- and keep his iPod charged.

No problem, Trachsel said, and the matter seemed settled.

"After tomorrow's start, I'm on vacation," Martinez said. "Welcome back, Trachsel."

Former Dirtbags In The Baseball America Prospect Report...

...for August 20 (games of August 19):
--------------------  A Midwest League --------------------

SD N.Jamison 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 *
SD C.Ramos (W, 3-1) 5.2 6 2 2 0 8 0 3.77

*Midwest league debut has this:
Fort Wayne won 6-3

Neil Jamison made his Midwest League debut, tossing an inning and a third scoreless while preventing one inherited runner from scoring. It is just the third runner he has inherited in 26 appearances over two leagues. It is just the fifth time that he has worked more than an inning. With Matt Varner firmly entrenched as the closer, Jamison is back in the middle relief role. Jamison has given up five runs this year, four earned, and has struck out 13 over the last 8.1 innings.

Cesar Ramos picked up his third win in five starts for Fort Wayne. Ramos allowed two runs on six hits in 5.2 innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out a season-high eight. Ramos has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his five Midwest League starts and four of eight overall. He is actually pitching better now than he had in the Northwest League. He is sporting a 3.77 ERA with Fort Wayne while posting a 6.97 ERA with Eugene.