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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]

Baseball Must Spawn "Unofficial" Nicknames

No So Fast!

The Brewers Organizational Review...

Mets Exercise Trachsel Option

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver Is Featured...

Former Dirtbag Steve Hammond's...

Ya'all Come Back Now, Hear

Evan Longoria May Be Next 1st Rounder

Former Dirtbag John Bowker Is...

Former Dirtbag Neil Jamison Named "Mr. Reliable"

The 2006 Division I Schedules Are Up...

Former Dirtbag Mike Gallo Gettin' It Done In World Series

2 Former Dirtbags Free Agents

Former Dirtbag Showdown In Arizona Fall League

Another Former Dirtbag Featured In's Organizational Reviews

Former Dirtbag Steve Hammond Now Not Going To Arizona Fall League

And Then There Was One - Former Dirtbag In The World Series

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver Is Scouted...

Hey Lucy, Splain Thees To Me

Former Dirtbag Steve Hammond Promoted To Arizona Fall League

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed Is Featured...

On Former Dirtbag Jason Vargas Making It To The Show

Former Dirtbags Featured In's Organizational Reviews

Robert Perry...

Prospects Looking Good For Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty

Former Dirtbag Neil Jamison One Of Eugene Emeralds' Top 2 Pitchers In 2005

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria....

Former Dirtbag Justin Hall Is Free Agent, As 4 Teams Leave The Northern League (Independent)

Prospect Report On Former Dirtbag Neil Jamison

Update On Former Dirtbag Kaulana Kuhaulua

Fall Ball Games Set

Update On Former Dirtbag Jeff Liefer's...

Playin' Catch...

Yesterday In The ALDS...

Pres. Bob Maxson And Prof. Sylvia Maxson, To Be Inducted Into LBSU Athletic Hall of Fame

Arizona Fall League Kicks Off Tomorrow...

2005 Final Major League Stats For Former Dirtbags

Jeremy Reed Is Definitely...

Former Dirtbag Jason Vargas Earns Award

Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty...

Update On Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria

2005 Final Minor League Stats For Former Dirtbags Who Played Affiliated Minor League Baseball


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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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Monday, October 31, 2005

Baseball Must Spawn "Unofficial" Nicknames

Think Long Beach State is the only baseball program to create an unofficial nickname? Think again! In 1988 the baseball players at Division II Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, weren't satisfied with the dignified "Statesmen" nickname. Instead, they adopted an unofficial nickname that stuck: the "Fighting Okra." Here's the story by St. Petersburg Times columnist Hubert Mizell:
Delta State, a Division II school with consistently strong athletics, has forever been Statesmen. But, in an inventive generation, the identity now sold on T-shirts, hats, mugs, key chains, banners and even a Beanie Baby is ... Fighting Okra.

Sixteen years ago, Delta State baseball players rooted in a rowdy group at basketball games on the Cleveland, Miss., campus. Creative youngsters found Statesmen a bit boring. They wanted change.

Uniforms are predominantly green, so the hardball suggestion was to become Fighting Algae. "Somebody with common sense suggested that, to rivals, our players would be more grossly labeled Pond Scum," said Delta State sports information director Paul Smith.

Baseball boys kept searching for something "green, Southern and ugly." Soon, the gang began to chant, "Fighting Okra!" Baseballers were so enthused they crashed the locker room at halftime, where stunned basketball chaps were serenaded with bellows of "Okra! Okra!"

Smith says the coach thought intruders were yelling, "Oprah! Oprah!" Being more into X's and O's than promos for a TV host, he ejected the cheerers. It didn't subside. Other patrons soon picked up the arena cry. Local newspaper writers began calling the hoops facility "Okradome."

Even as Delta State traditionalists lobbied to diminish the Fighting Okra movement, demand kept escalating for a veggie known more scientifically as Abelmoschus esculentus. Okra has become a cash cow.

Today's symbol is a sneering, grubby piece of okra that wears boxing gloves and perches proudly on paraphernalia sold at the campus bookstore. What a tasty matchup if the Fighting Okra meets Rice.

You can find Hardrockers at the South Dakota School of Mines, Vixens at Sweet Briar (Va.) and, just for baseball, the Cal State Long Beach Dirtbags. Nothing more yummy than Fighting Okra.
Must work for Delta State. This year they made it to the Division II World Series (going 1-2).

No So Fast!

The changes proposed by Major League Baseball to eliminate the Rookie leagues, and convert the Pioneer League to a short season Class A circuit, that I discussed here, may not happen after all. The changes would also include moving the draft to the end of June, and instituting an August 1 or 15 signing deadline....changes that would require MLB Players Assn. approval.

Now comes word (via Baseball America) that the proposals don't seem to be getting much traction. Hat tip to Rob McMillan at 6-4-2 Blog, who posted the link to the BA piece earlier today.

The Brewers Organizational Review... out at, and former Dirtbag Steve Hammond gets this mention:
2005 draft recap...

5. Steve Hammond, LHP
The Long Beach State product pitched at three levels after signing, beginning in Helena and ending with Brevard County. Combined, the southpaw had a 2.27 ERA in 67 1/3 IP, walking 14 and striking out 64 while holding hitters to a .233 batting average...

Mets Exercise Trachsel Option

The New York Mets have exercised their contract option to retain former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel for the 2006 season at $2.5 million.

With Trachsel's retension, and Chris Gomez' contract extension, there are no former Dirtbag free agents remaining at the Major League level.

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver Is Featured... the Angel's organization report at
2004 draft recap

How the top three from 2004 fared in their first full season of pro ball (The Angels' second pick in 2004, Patrick White, did not sign, so below are the top three picks who are in the Angels system.).

1. Jered Weaver, RHP
It took a while, but Weaver eventually did sign and made his way up to Double-A and then to the Arizona Fall League. Between the California and Texas Leagues -- both hitters' havens -- Jeff's younger brother went 7-4 with a 3.91 ERA, striking out 95 and walking 26 in 76 innings. Overall, he held hitters to a .231 batting average.

Former Dirtbag Steve Hammond's...

...2nd outing in the Arizona Fall League on Friday was outstanding. Steve started and went 4.0 innings, facing the minimum 12 batters. He gave up 1 hit and no runs, with 1 strikeout, and retired 7 on grounders (including a double play) and 4 on fly balls. [Box Score]. After 2 appearances, Steve's ERA is 1.42.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ya'all Come Back Now, Hear

Blogosphere portal currently ranks Dirtbags Baseball blog 2,379th in visits, at 120/day, in Blogosphere Ecotraffic (which measures how much a blog is actually being read). Their Ecosystem measures the number of links coming into a blog from other blogs (where Dirtbags Baseball ranks 38,268th). Thanks for stopping by!

Evan Longoria May Be Next 1st Rounder

It's October, and the 2006 MLB draft is already being talked up. writes up the top prospects today, including Evan Longoria (no link to story, paid subscription area):
...A name that shot up the draft charts this summer was Evan Longoria of Long Beach State. The Cape Cod League MVP slammed eight homers and had a slugging percentage of .500. He has an effortless swing, which led to a .299 average on the Cape and a .320 average as a sophomore. Longoria is expected to move to third base for the Dirtbags next year, and scouts feel he has the arm and the hands to stay there, or move to second base, where he would have a premium bat for the position...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Former Dirtbag John Bowker Is...

...recognized for his MVP play in the San Jose Giants capture of the California League title, in this Baseball America piece:

After finishing the regular season with a league-best record of 85-55, San Jose (Giants) recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win three straight games against Lake Elsinore (Padres) for their third California League championship. Outfielder John Bowker, who was named series MVP, laced an RBI single to begin a three-run rally in the seventh inning of a 3-1 win in game five, while Jason Waddell, pitching on two days rest after starting game three, struck out seven over three shutout innings for the victory. All of the drama overshadowed a tremendous first-round performance from High Desert (Royals) outfielder Chris Lubanski, who went 13-for-15 with seven runs and nine RBIs in just three games, including hitting for the cycle.

Former Dirtbag Neil Jamison Named "Mr. Reliable"

From (no link to story, paid subscription area):
By the time more than 30 pitchers finished their work in the Padres' instructional program last week, they had two ideas front and center in their minds: use the change-up, and get quick outs. It's safe to say the dual message, championed by new player development director Grady Fuson, was heard loud and clear.

Among those recognized at the annual awards dinner, Ben Krosschell, Fabian Jimenez, John Madden and Neil Jamison all impressed, not just with the results they got in Peoria, but how they got them...

Jamison earned accolades as "Mr. Reliable" for his work in camp. He allowed only four hits and no walks in 10 innings. Having given up zero runs in his senior year at Long Beach State, only seven in his first 37 1/3 professional innings, and none in the instructional league, "reliable" seems exactly the right description.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The 2006 Division I Schedules Are Up... at, a fan site by Jeremy Mills. Here is the composite schedule for the Big West Conference. And here are the individual schedules for each BWC team.

Mills does a great job of posting Division I scores, often within an hour or 2 of the conclusion of each game.

Former Dirtbag Mike Gallo Gettin' It Done In World Series

Even if his Houston Astros now stand at the edge of the abyss...okay, in a deep hole down 3-0...Mike Gallo has been perfect in his 2 relief appearances thus far. In game 2, he pitched .2 innings, inducing ground outs by both batters he faced. [Box Score]. And in the game 3 marathon last night (more below), Mike pitched .1 inning and retired the only batter faced on another grounder. [Box Score].

The game last night tied an 89 year old record for the longest World Series game in innings (14). The only other 14 inning game in World Series history was game 2 in 1916. Last night the Astros used 8 pitchers, and the White Sox 9. In that 1916 game, Babe Ruth pitched a complete game 2-1 victory for the Boston Red Sox over the Brooklyn Robins. Taking the loss, Sherry Smith also pitched a complete game! (Courtesy of The game last night also set a new record for a World Series game in length of time (5 hours, 41 minutes), topping the old record set in game 1 of the 2000 Series by 50 minutes.
Update/Correction: Actually, the game last night was the longest, in innings, in World Series history - not tied with game 2 in 1916. Game 2 in 1916 ended when Boston scored the deciding run with 1 out in the bottom of the 14th. From, here's how that half inning went:

RED SOX 14TH: Hoblitzell walked; Lewis out on a sacrifice bunt (pitcher to second) [Hoblitzell to second]; MCNALLY RAN FOR HOBLITZELL; GAINER BATTED FOR GARDNER; Gainer singled to left [McNally scored]

The game last night went 14 full innings. Another amazing fact about the 1916 game: They played 2 outs short of 14 full innings in 2 hours, 32 minutes. Here's the pitching line:
Brooklyn Robins       IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Smith L(0-1) 13.1 7 2 2 6 2 0

Boston Red Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR
Ruth W(1-0) 14 6 1 1 3 4 1
Now, if all the Astros would just perform as well as Mike Gallo, this World Series might be more of a contest. The Astros tied the game in the 8th inning. Over the final 6 innings, they did not have a single hit. But they did draw 8 walks, had a hit batter, and another reach 1st on an error. Over those 6 innings, they left 10 on base, 5 in scoring position. And for that I stayed up past my bedtime!

Back to Mike Gallo. This is the kind of stuff I like to read about Major League baseball players (from the Houston Chronicle):
"Before the game, we let kids down by the dugouts to get autographs. The best place to stand is at the ends of the dugouts, especially the side closest to the first base. The players are pretty good about signing balls and hats, especially Morgan Ensberg and Mike Gallo. ..." said Rob Matwick, the Astros' senior vice president for ballpark operations and customer service.
That's class.

Mike has a journal on his World Series experience going here at And Doug Kirkorian has a nice piece on Mike here in the Long Beach Press-Telegram (alternate copy here).

And Matthew Waxman at Sports Illustrated has this:
Playing for the Long Beach State Dirtbags (yes, that's really the baseball team's nickname) Astros pitcher Mike Gallo earned the nickname "Pepe" because "he acted like he was on caffeine [all] the time." Gallo said his CWS experience helped prepare him for the WS and that "The Dirtbags will be in my heart when I am out there on the mound."
'Nuf said.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2 Former Dirtbags Free Agents

Former Dirtbags Jeremy Ward (LBSU, 1999) and Chad Bentz (LBSU, 2000-2001), are free agents. Jeremy is a six year minor league free agent (Atlanta Braves organization). Chad was called up by the Florida Marlins on September 1, 2005 (not to report), and released the following day.

Former Dirtbag Showdown In Arizona Fall League

Well, maybe not. But yesterday, former Dirtbag Steve Hammond, a 2005 6th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, made his debut for the Peoria Javelinas against the Surprise Scorpions. [Box Score]. Over 2.1 innings, Steve struck out 1, retired 3 on grounders and 2 on fly balls. He allowed a single run on a solo homer, scattered another 4 hits and a walk. Steve has had a remarkable 2005. After pitching 24.1 innings, going 1-3 and posting a 4.07 ERA for the Dirtbags, he's pitched at the Rookie level (17.0 IP, 1-0, 1.06), low Class A (14.2 IP, 3-0, 2.45), Advance Class A (35.2 IP, 1-3, 2.78), and now the Arizona Fall League, where most of the players come from AA and AAA ball.

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria, pitching for the Scorpions, had a rough outing and took the loss. Over 1.1 innings, he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits, with a strikeout.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Another Former Dirtbag Featured In's Organizational Reviews

In the Florida Marlins organizational review:
2004 draft recap

How the top three from 2004 fared in their first full season of pro ball...

2. Jason Vargas, LHP
The Cal State product began the season in the Sally League, made his way through the Southern League and wound up in Miami before it was all over. The Marlins haven't been shy in recent years about bringing up players from Double-A, a philosophy that Vargas embodies. He joined the parent club in July and moved into the rotation in the beginning of August, going 4-5 in 12 starts, posting a 3.81 ERA over his last six outings. He figures to be in the rotation next spring.
That would the Cal. State Long Beach.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Former Dirtbag Steve Hammond Now Not Going To Arizona Fall League

The story is in an update to my earlier post.

Oh, yes he is! For consistency, I've added another update to my earlier post explaining this merry-go-round.

And Then There Was One - Former Dirtbag In The World Series

Mike Gallo is the sole remaining former Dirtbag still playing in Major League baseball's post-season. From
Gallo Headed to Fall Classic
Former Dirtbag Lefthander Playing for Astros in World Series


October 20, 2005... "This is the pinnacle of any baseball player's career. Now we have to win it. Four more wins....It still has not even hit me yet....It is kind of like the same feeling I had when we went to the College World Series.. Once I get to Chicago, it will hit me. It is another dream come true for me and my family. The Dirtbags will be in my heart when I am out there on the mound..."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver Is Scouted... the Arizona Fall League by Chris Kline of Baseball America here.

Hey Lucy, Splain Thees To Me

Eric Sorenson throws this little tag on the end of his college football 10 questions column at this week:
And if there was a question No. 11
Is that old dropped-third-strike call the dumbest rule in baseball?

A: No, it's the dumbest rule in all of sports.
No argument here! So where the heck did this rule come from, anyway. Here's a clue in this L.A. Times piece that followed the controversial call by home plate umpire Doug Eddings last week, extending the White Sox 9th inning and leading to the defeat of the Angels:
The term "legally caught" appeared when a Branch Rickey-led committee recodified the rule book for the 1950 season.

As written then, Rule 6.05 (b) states, "A batter is out when a third strike is legally caught by the catcher," disallowing a ball that bounces, is trapped or becomes lodged in the catcher's gear or uniform.

Jim Gates, head librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, said the rule's origin dates to at least 1858, though at that time catchers were positioned 25 feet behind the batter and wore no protective equipment, and therefore a legal catch could be made after one bounce. "For consistency's sake," Palermo said, "baseball is resistant to change what it does... We're starting to tinker with some of the dynamics of the game."

The 19th-century principles that led to Rule 6.09 (b), which fundamentally declares that a batter becomes a runner when the third strike is not caught, did not so much allow a batter to reach base as require him to attempt it. Until 1883, according to Gates, no rule existed that obligated a batter to leave the batter's box.
Interesting. But it still doesn't answer the ultimate question. Why? The rule doesn't seem to have any logical relationship to the dynamics of the game. It's not like other 19th century rules didn't change. While looking for some explanation of why this rule was originally adopted, I came across this interesting piece by Jim Porter at on the evolution of pitching rules:
As most of you probably know, no other element in baseball has undergone such drastic change as that of how the pitcher delivers the ball to the batter.

The change really began in the 19th century, when the earliest rulesmakers decided to change how runners are put out on the bases. They ended the practice of allowing the defense to strike a runner with the ball to retire him. This led to the development of harder baseballs, which could be thrown at much higher velocities. Thus was planted the seed which boosted the pitcher to a dominant role on the diamond, which is still evident in today's modern game.

In early baseball, the rules inarguably favored the strikers. After all, baseball was modeled after cricket, an offense-dominated game. The rules which favored the strikers included:

1. Batters dictated the type of pitch they preferred to hit. They could choose among three types: A high ball (between shoulders and waist,) a low ball (between waist and knees,) or a fair ball (between shoulders and knees.)

2. A strike was only registered when the batter swung and missed. Three misses and he was out.

3. There was no such thing as a base on balls.

Conceivably, the batter could stand there all day long until he got a pitch that met his liking.

The first Major League Code of 1876 brought in the concept of the base on balls. That year, it took nine balls to entitle the batter to a free pass to first base. That number dropped thusly:

1880: eight
1882: seven
1884: six
1887: five
1889: four - where it remains today.

The concept of "called" strikes came into baseball in 1887. Prior to this time, a strike was only registered if the batter swung and missed. But the rule changed to allow the batter two swings and misses, and if a third strike was called, the batter was entitled to a fourth strike (either called or swung and missed,) before the batter was put out. It was the following year that only three strikes were allowed regardless of how they were registered.

So, by this time, baseball's most famous rule was established: four balls and three strikes.

In the Major League Code of 1876, pitchers delivered the ball from 45 feet. The rule stipulated that the ball must be delivered, "to the bat with the arm swinging nearly perpendicular at the side of the body, and the hand in swinging forward must pass below the hip." If the pitcher delivered overhand, or made any outward swing of the arm (sidearm,) a foul balk was called. After three foul balks, the game was forfeited. (Seems much easier to swallow the one base award for a balk in today's game, eh coaches?)

In 1883, pitchers were first allowed to deviate from the underhand motion, and swing their arms up to shoulder height. By the following year they were nearly unrestricted provided that they faced the batter. This lack of restriction led to the overhand delivery we see in today's game, and as a result, pitches delivered at higher velocities. It also put more strain on pitchers' arms and affected their endurance. The relief pitcher was also born.

There were other changes that had a significant effect on how pitchers delivered the ball. In 1845, the pitcher's area was a 12' x 4' area. This allowed a pitcher enough space to get a running start, or what was called, "walking in the box."

By 1876, the box was shrunk to 6' x 6', 6' x 4' in 1879, and 5-1/2' x 4' in 1887.

The concept of a pitcher's plate or rubber first appeared in the game in 1893. That was nine years after the overhand throwing motion first appeared in the game. Historians guess it took that long for pitchers to develop consistent enough mechanics with this new style in order for it to come into such popular use in the game. It was also in 1893 when the distance between the pitcher and the batter was extended to 60' 6". (There is speculation that it was truly supposed to be 60', but a worker misread the blueprint.)

The fact that these three changes (the overhand motion, the development of the pitcher's plate, and extending the distance to 60' 6") coincided was certainly no coincidence. The overhand delivery was gaining in popularity, and batters were quickly losing the edge they had enjoyed since the game's inception. So, the rulesmakers, in order to bring more balance to the game, decided to outlaw walking in the box - - or getting a running start - - during the pitcher's preliminary motion. For, it was in 1893, that we find the origin of the rule in 8.01(a) allowing a pitcher one step back and one step forward in their wind-up position. Since pitchers could no longer get a running start, and since the distance away from the batter had been extended, pitchers now had to "wind-up" from their position on the pitcher's plate to even come close to approaching the velocities they had achieved before when they were allowed to walk in the box. And the wind-up was born.

Just to round out the rest of the story...

By the turn of the century, baseball clubs began to realize the advantage their pitchers gained by pitching from an inclined surface. It had become necessary in 1904 for rulesmakers to establish a maximum pitching height, which was 15" with a gradual slope to each base line. The rule remained, "no more than 15 inches" through the 1940's. Mounds varied since there was no minimum height, just a maximum. By 1950, the rules mandated a specific height - 15 inches. That remained in effect until 1969 when the height was lowered to 10 inches, and a specific slope was mandated. This was to create more offense in the game, which was good for TV and box office sales.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Former Dirtbag Steve Hammond Promoted To Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League is a showcase for top prospects of the Major League organizations that participate. Former Dirtbags Jered Weaver and Chris Demaria are currently playing in the AFL. Paul McAnulty, who had a couple of stints with the San Diego Padres this season, played in the AFL last year. Now the Milwaukee Brewers have moved Steve Hammond, as recent as June of this year a Dirtbag, from instructional league to the roster of the Peoria Javelinas (AFL). The Brewers have withdrawn reliever Mitch Stetter (elbow tenderness) and 1st baseman and hot prospect Prince Fielder ("personal issues") from the Javelinas. has this:
[Steve] Hammond, 23, was a 2005 sixth-round draft pick out of Long Beach State and split the season between Rookie League Helena and Class A Advanced Brevard County, posting a 2.24 ERA and a 53-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He also was participating in the instructional league.

"He's our most advanced guy, and he's ready to go," [Milwaukee farm director Reid] Nichols said. "Innings-wise, it worked out great."
UPDATE: Or maybe I should say, never mind! The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells us:
Request denied: Arizona Fall League officials rejected the Brewers' bid to have lefty Steve Hammond replace injured left-hander Mitch Stetter on the Peoria Javelinas roster. Stetter was shut down due to elbow soreness. "They wouldn't let us send (Hammond) because we've already got an A-ball player (Alcides Escobar) on the roster," Melvin said.

Melvin said a replacement would be named soon.
UPDATE: I received an email from a very reliable source today that Steve's on again/off again assignment to the Arizona Fall League is on again. What I've been told is he will be reporting to the Peoria Javelinas on Monday.

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed Is Featured... this piece by John Sickles at Bottom line: disappointing offensive production, likely contributed to by a number of injuries, the most significant of which was a wrist injury finally diagnosed as a torn ligament. With the diagnosis, Jeremy's season ended. On the positive side, his play in centerfield was better than expected, and kept him in the lineup even while struggling at the plate. A reader comments that he "led qualified major league centerfielders in range factor (3.05) and zone rating (.943)," and Jeremy "had seven assists and three errors (.992 fielding %)."

On Former Dirtbag Jason Vargas Making It To The Show

Bryan Smith at the Baseball Analysts has been taking a look at how Major League teams broke rookies in during the 2005 season. He has this on Jason Vargas, with the Florida Marlins:

Florida Marlins

Oddly enough, it seems as the farther we get down from the top, the less rookies we have to talk about. The Marlins gave just one rookie substantial time this season, while about seven others were given smaller roles...

It's clear the Marlins did not know what they had in Jason Vargas before the season. A 2004 second-round pick from Long Beach State, Vargas began the season in the low-A South Atlantic League. Vargas then moved to the FSL, and then again to the Southern League before finding a home in Miami. But don't expect Vargas to move much more, as his 4.03 ERA in 73.2 innings looks like a sign of things to come.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Former Dirtbags Featured In's Organizational Reviews

In the Boston Red Sox review:
At the start of the season, identified five prospects to keep an eye on. Here's how they fared in 2005: ...

Abe Alvarez, LHP
Boston's second-round pick in 2003 continued his steady ascent through the system, having a solid season at Triple-A Pawtucket while getting a taste of life in the Major Leagues for the second consecutive year. Alvarez was 11-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 26 starts for the PawSox and got the opportunity to pitch in a pair of games for the parent club in August. He is just one of Boston's many top-flight pitching prospects and should be part of the big-league staff in 2006 if he isn't dealt to strengthen another position.
And in the Colorado Rockies review:
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
The Rockies' shortstop of the future was one of the first top picks to be on the field in 2005, joining Modesto on June 21. The seventh overall pick got off to a rocky 5-for-29 (.172) start and then pulled quadriceps muscle on July 4 while running the bases. But Tulowitzki, a known gamer, was back in the lineup two weeks later and hit an even .300 through the close of the season. Despite the slow start and lingering effects of the injury, the former Long Beach State Dirtbag hit four homers and had 14 RBIs in 22 games.

Robert Perry...

..., who has transferred in to Long Beach State from Santa Clara, gets a mention as a college player to be watched in 2006 by Boyd Nation in his piece at the Baseball Analysts., after posting a .427 on base percentage and slugging at .556 for the Broncos. These numbers are even more impressive when adjusted for park effect and strength of schedule.

As noted at the Baseball Analysts:
Boyd Nation is chief cook and bottlewasher at Boyd's World, a college baseball stats and analysis site, and provides college baseball data consulting to an undisclosed number of major league teams. In real life, he's an information security guy with a beautiful wife and three great kids in Birmingham, Alabama.

Prospects Looking Good For Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty

Paul McAnulty should begin the year [2006] in Portland, and look for him to again put up solid numbers. McAnulty, who can hit for power and average, can play the corner outfield positions along with first base and could possibly be called up again in mid-season. Look for McAnulty to compete for a full time starting position in 2007.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Former Dirtbag Neil Jamison One Of Eugene Emeralds' Top 2 Pitchers In 2005

Denis Savage at has this (no story link, paid subscription area):
Pitcher of the Year for the San Diego Padres' Eugene Emeralds affiliate - This wasn't the runaway that most people probably expect it should be. They say relievers get no love - well we are here to prove you wrong - perhaps.

After compiling an ERA of 0.00 at Long Beach State, Neil Jamison racked up some pretty impressive numbers for Eugene prior to his ascension to the [Fort Wayne] Wizards [of the low Class A Midwest League].

Starter extraordinaire Brent Carter, out of Alabama, chalked up 13 consistently incredible starts before his promotion to Fort Wayne late in the year.

Do you go with the reliever or the starter? We need to dig a bit deeper before answering such a bold question.

Coming off an impressive college campaign, Jamison continued his excellence in the Northwest League. After surrendering an earned run in his third outing, he would go 13 straight outings without yielding another.

As a reward, he was handed the closer's job and was a perfect 8-for-8 in save situations.

"It is either you or them," Jamison explained of the closer's role. "I am real confident in myself that I have good enough stuff to get those three outs or four or five every now and then to end the game. It is fun."

Among his impressive statistics was a .077 mark with runners in scoring position (RISP), allowing two hits in 26 at bats. He did not give up a single hit with RISP and two outs, stoning the opposition on 14 occasions.

He ended his stint with Eugene posting a 1.32 ERA, allowing runs in five of his 25 appearances. He was shipped up to Fort Wayne to end the season...

As impressive a year as Jamison had, Carter gets the nod for his Herculean effort in the Northwest and earns the first sweep among the three voters - with David Jay and John Conniff already granting Carter top honors...

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria....

...made his first appearance in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday, pitching a scoreless 7th inning for the Surprise Scorpions while allowing 1 hit and no walks. [Box Score]. He pitched again yesterday, going 2.0 innings of no hit ball (1 walk). [Box Score]. Opponents are batting just .091 against him.

Former Dirtbag Justin Hall Is Free Agent, As 4 Teams Leave The Northern League (Independent)

From the Honolulu Star Bulletin:
Justin Hall (St. Anthony, Long Beach State) spent a third season with St. Paul of the Northern League. The second baseman, who hit .310 and .328 his first two seasons with the Saints, fell to .277 this year. He led the Saints with four triples.

The Saints, who withdrew from the league, granted Hall free agency Sept. 26.
Justin played on the Dirtbags 1998 College World Series team.

St. Paul is joining a newly formed league...this from their website:
October 12, 2005 - The St. Paul Saints today announced their membership in a new professional baseball league, the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The Saints, who were a charter member of the revived Northern League in 1993, will be joined by the Sioux City Explorers, Sioux Falls Canaries and Lincoln Saltdogs in the new venture...

Ironically, this will be St. Paul's second foray into the American Association. From 1903-60, the old Saints served as a farm team for the Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers in the AA. The franchise moved to Omaha when the Minnesota Twins joined the American League in 1961.

The new league will commence play in 2006. It is anticipated that the caliber of play in the American Association will compare favorably with that in the independent Northern League, in which the four franchises previously conducted play...

It is expected that the additional franchises will be named shortly in a separate announcement by the league, along with other details. The initial organizational meeting of the league will take place later this month at which time procedures will be adopted for the acceptance of applications from prospective ownership groups and communities seeking admission to the league in 2007 and 2008.
Former Dirtbags Matt Montgomery (LBSU 1997) and Kirk Pierce (LBSU 1992) played in 2005 for the Sioux Falls Canaries, who will also be joining the new league. Things could get dicey for the Canaries. Apparently the Northern League contends that it, and not the Sioux Falls Canaries, holds the lease on Sioux Falls Stadium. Northern League Commissioner Mike Stone says the league intends to have a franchise in that city next year.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Prospect Report On Former Dirtbag Neil Jamison's John Conniff has this on Neil Jamison (no link to the story, paid subscription area):
Neil Jamison, 21, the Padres sixth round pick in the 2005 draft from Long Beach State University, lived up to his reputation as one of the better college relief pitchers in the nation in the Northwest League. At Eugene, Jamison went 1-2 with a 1.32 ERA and eight saves. In 27.1 innings he allowed 23 hits with a 31/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

A 6-foot-3, 185-pounder out of Ramona High School in San Diego County, Jamison may have as much upside as anyone who pitched for Eugene this year. He comes from a big time college program, where as the team's closer he was used to dealing with a lot of pressure, a key component for success. Jamison was briefly called up to Fort Wayne at the end of the year, where he went 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in ten innings. He will probably start next year as Fort Wayne's closer.

Update On Former Dirtbag Kaulana Kuhaulua

From the Honolulu Star Bulletin:
[Kaulana] Kuhaulua (Waianae, Long Beach State) wasn't able to try and play until the final three weeks of the [2005] season after undergoing offseason surgery on his left ankle for a fracture and torn ligaments. The middle infielder had just five at-bats for the Twins in the Gulf Coast League.

"I tried to play at the end. I could run, but I couldn't round the bases very well. It just wasn't worth it, so I shut it down," said Kuhaulua, who already has been told by the Minnesota Twins to report to spring training next year.

"It is still healing, but still swells up. I'll be getting a lot of physical therapy this offseason," the 25-year-old said.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fall Ball Games Set

LONG BEACH, CA-- Long Beach State's fall schedule will conclude with nine intersquad games at the end of October and the beginning on November at Blair Field, concluding with the annual Dirt vs. Bags series November 4-6.

The Dirtbags return four starters, including Cape Cod League MVP and junior infielder Evan Longoria (Downey), rated the 10th-best prospect in the 2006 Amateur Baseball Draft, and Jared Hughes (Laguna Beach), who will assume the role as "staff ace" following a perfect summer in the Cape.

All games are played at Blair Field.

A full schedule is below:
Sat. Oct 22 6:30 p.m.
Sun. Oct 23 1 p.m.
Mon. Oct 24 6:30 p.m.
Fri. Oct 28 6:30 p.m.
Sat. Oct 29 2 p.m.
Sun. Oct 30 1 p.m.

Fri. Nov 4 Dirt vs. Bags 6:30 p.m.
Sat. Nov 5 Dirt vs. Bags 2 p.m.
Sun. Nov 6 Dirt vs. Bags 1 p.m.
The other returning starters will be senior outfielder Sean Boatright (who was drafted in June in the 36th round by the Marlins, but has elected to return for his last year of NCAA eligibility), and senior 2nd baseman Chuck Sindlinger.

Update: Actually, both, and I, missed a returning starter...redshirt sophomore infielder Brandon Godfrey. So make that 5 returning starters. Brandon started in 46 of the Dirtbags 59 games last season, batting .305.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Update On Former Dirtbag Jeff Liefer's...

...outright assignment to Buffalo in the AAA International League (from the Canton Repository):
TRIBE OUTRIGHTS PAIR: Utility infielder Jeff Liefer and right-hander Kyle Denney were outrighted by the Cleveland Indians on Friday to the Class AAA Buffalo roster. The move frees two spots on Cleveland’s 40-man roster. Both players can become six-year minor-league free agents if they do not sign a contract with the Indians by Oct. 15. Liefer played in 19 big-league games, hitting .196 (11-for-56) with a home run and eight RBIs. He batted .321 in 89 games for the Bisons with 19 homers and 68 RBIs....

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Playin' Catch...

...make that catch up. Don't you just hate it when the day job gets in the way?

Evan Longoria Is Top Prospect In 2006 Draft:

Baseball America lists Dirtbags infielder Evan Longoria as the #10 prospect overall in the 2006 MLB draft. Hat tip to reader Kurt. features Evan here.

In The Arizona Fall League:

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver started October 6, 2005, for the Surprise Scorpions, and went 2.0 innings (the typical maximum in the AFL). He allowed 1 hit and no runs, and struck out 6 - recording every out on strikes. [Box Score]. Hat tip to readers Chris and Rhonda. Jered is featured in this piece at Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria is also on the Scorpion roster, but has not yet pitched.

Former Dirtbag Jason Giambi Wins Comeback Player Of The Year In AL:

Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees and Ken Griffey Jr. of the Cincinnati Reds have been named the inaugural recipients of the 2005 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award ... as the result of fan balloting on, it was announced today. Throughout the voting process, Major League Baseball fans cast nearly 400,000 votes for the award.

This season, Giambi, who received 100,037 votes, won by a decisive margin and re-emerged as a star on the baseball field this year after a 2004 injury-riddled campaign. For the season, the Yankees' left-handed slugger hit 32 home runs and had 87 RBI while leading the American League with 108 walks. Additionally, his .440 on-base percentage was the highest in the American League and second overall in the Majors.

Giambi began his surge towards claiming the Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award ... in July by hitting a Major League Baseball best 14 home runs while also raising his batting average 33 points over the course of the month. The five-time All-Star also recorded another milestone in July by hitting his 300th career home run. [More].
Hat tip to reader Rhonda. Jason is also featured in this piece in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Sean Boatright Honored:

The Department of Athletics at Long Beach State announced the four award winners for the Hall of Fame Inspirational Awards which will be presented at the Annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday, October 20, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach.

...Winning the Todd Hart Courage Award are ... and baseball athlete Sean Boatright (Mission Viejo, CA) ... Student-athletes were nominated for the individual awards by their coaches and the voting was conducted by the Department of Athletics Senior Staff...

The Todd Hart Courage Award is presented to an athlete who best exemplifies courage. The award reads: “Todd displayed true courage and moments of greatness often found away from the bright lights and playing fields. He faced his challenge and turned adversity into an opportunity to let his courage serve as a daily inspiration to Long Beach State athletes and young men and women everywhere.”...

Sean Boatright has racked up more time on the disabled list than most players do in a lifetime. As a highly-touted outfield out of Orange County in 2001, Sean had to miss the 2002 season due to injuring his back. The next year (2003) he continued to suffer back problems, appearing in just 19 games on the season. But through determination and hard work he was able to come back from surgery and make a contribution. In 2004 he was healthy and ready to begin the year when he injured his elbow in the season-opening series with USC, forcing him to miss 22 games. He triumphantly returned to the lineup later in the season to bat .330 overall and led the 49ers to a Super Regional. He was named to the All-Regional Tournament team at Stanford after batting .600 in the three 49er victories, two of which came over the host Cardinal. This past year he injured his hamstring in the opening weekend at Arizona State and was out of action for six weeks. Boatright fought back though, and earned second team All-Big West honors in the process. He was drafted this past summer, but opted to come back to school for a hopefully injury-free senior season.
Former Dirtbag Jeff Liefer Back in AAA:

The Cleveland Indians have sent Jeff Liefer outright to Buffalo in the International League.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Yesterday In The ALDS...

...the New York Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (the team I formerly referred to as the team formerly known as the Anaheim Angels) 4-2. [Box Score]. Former Dirtbag Jason Giambi went 2 for 4. Following his 1st hit, a single in the 1st inning, he scored the Yankees 1st run. In the 2nd inning he knocked a 2 out RBI double, driving in NY's 4th and final run. The Angels made it interesting late, scoring single runs in the 7th and 9th.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pres. Bob Maxson And Prof. Sylvia Maxson, To Be Inducted Into LBSU Athletic Hall of Fame

From the Long Beach State website:
Officials at California State University, Long Beach recently announced the Class of 2005 inductees for the Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame.

The eight-member class includes: President Robert C. Maxson and his wife Sylvia (administration/special)...

President Robert C. Maxson and Professor Sylvia Maxson -- Now in his 12th year of service as president of California State University, Long Beach, Dr. Robert C. Maxson has instilled a genuine and enthusiastic vision of excellence, extending far beyond campus boundaries. Since he first arrived on campus, he has attended as many sporting events and athletic functions as his schedule would allow. He and Sylvia were always available to meet recruits and do whatever they could to promote "The Beach". Sylvia Maxson often traveled with teams to their events offering support, has hosted an annual "Women in Athletics" Tea promoting women athletes and a sense of pride and togetherness/community, and in 2003 lent her name to the Sylvia Maxson Gold Rush golf tournament, which raises funds for athletic teams at The Beach. Sylvia has been employed by CSULB since 1994 as a tenured professor in the College of Education/Liberal Arts...

Monday, October 03, 2005

...takes a look at each Major League team's farm system, from top prospects to recent draftees, and has this on former Dirtbag Abe Alvarez (Red Sox):
Boston's second-round pick in 2003 continued his steady ascent through the system, having a solid season at Triple-A Pawtucket while getting a taste of life in the Major Leagues for the second consecutive year. Alvarez was 11-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 26 starts for the PawSox and got the opportunity to pitch in a pair of games for the parent club in August. He is just one of Boston's many top-flight pitching prospects and should be part of the big-league staff in 2006 if he isn't dealt to strengthen another position.
More to follow as the reports come out for each organization.

Arizona Fall League Kicks Off Tomorrow...

...and former Dirtbags Chris Demaria (Royals) and Jered Weaver (Angels) will be on the roster for the Surprise Scorpions. Baseball America lists Jered as the top pitching prospect on the Scorpions, with these comments:
Weaver, the younger brother of Dodgers righthander Jeff Weaver, was the College Pitcher of the Year in 2004, but a long draft holdout that didn’t end until the end of May cut his pro debut short before it began. Once he signed in late May, the righthander from Long Beach State showed why he was the 12th overall pick. At high Class A Rancho Cucamonga, he went 4-1, 3.82 with 49 strikeouts in 33 innings. He pitches with his fastball in the 90-92 mph range, complementing his heater with a slider and a plus changeup. He commands all his pitches well. Weaver finished his season at Double-A Arkansas, where he went 3-3, 3.98 in 43 innings.
The AFL schedule is here (pdf).

2005 Final Major League Stats For Former Dirtbags

Here are the 2005 final regular season Major League Baseball stats for former Long Beach State Dirtbags. With the regular season ending yesterday, only Jason Giambi (Yankees) and Mike Gallo (Astros) will move on to the Divisional playoff series (Paul McAnulty is ineligible for the Padres post season roster, as he was called up after August 31). Though it was only over 26 at bats, Jason Vargas (Marlins) had the highest batting average, while also pitching the greatest number of innings (73.2).

Final stats for former Dirtbags in the affiliated minor leagues are here. There are links for teams and current stats for all former Dirtbags in pro ball here (including independent leagues).

If your browser does not allow frames, or you have frames disabled, or if you'd just prefer to see the stats without scrolling, you can view the stats here.

Jeremy Reed Is Definitely...

...a Dirtbag (even if former). Dirtbags give it all, as the Chicago Sun-Times notes:
TOUGH REED: Center fielder Jeremy Reed, the key prospect in the June 27, 2004, trade that brought right-hander Freddy Garcia to the White Sox, was one of the few bright spots for the Seattle Mariners this season. But he was shut down last week because of a partially torn ligament in his left wrist.

It turns out Reed played with the injury for much of the season, though he can't remember exactly when he got hurt.

Reed had a .254 average, three home runs, 45 RBI and 12 steals in his first full season. His 33 doubles were one shy of the Mariners' rookie record set by Alvin Davis in 1984.

Former Dirtbag Jason Vargas Earns Award

From the Florida Marlins website:
BBWAA Award winners: The South Florida chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America announced its annual team awards on Saturday.

... the Rookie of the Year goes to left-hander Jason Vargas...
And, Jason is featured in this piece:
MIAMI -- It was only one inning, but the way Jason Vargas was throwing Saturday night gave Marlins manager Jack McKeon a good feeling that the rookie left-hander could secure his sixth win.

Heavy rains in the bottom of the first inning, however, prevented that.

But just because Vargas' evening was finished after one inning, thanks to the 3-hour, 10-minute delay, it didn't dampen the optimism of the 22-year-old lefty's future.

"It looked like he might have had one of his better games," McKeon said. "Unfortunately, he didn't get the opportunity to get his sixth win."

Instead, Vargas ended up with a no-decision in a game the Marlins rallied to pull out, 6-4, securing their third straight winning season and fourth in club history.

Called up from Double-A Carolina on July 14, Vargas finished his rookie season with a 5-5 record and a 4.03 ERA. He made 13 starts, while appearing in 17 games, and logged 73 2/3 innings.

Based on his performance, Vargas will head into Spring Training next year as a front-runner to be in the rotation. [More].

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty... his 1st MLB stolen base last night, later scoring the 1st of 3 runs by the Padres in their 3-1 victory over the hated Los Angeles Dodgers (hey, I've lived in San Diego County my entire life - I was born and bred to hate the Dodgers). [Box Score]. In his season with the Dirtbags (2002), Paul stole 6 bases, and was caught stealing 4 times.

Update On Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria

From the Kansas City Star:
No rest for two Royals

First baseman Justin Huber and reliever Chris Demaria will head to the Arizona Fall League as soon as the regular season ends. Both will play for the Surprise Scorpions, whose first game is Tuesday....

Demaria, 25, is 1-0 with a 10.12 ERA in seven appearances. He was 4-3 with 20 saves and a 2.13 ERA in 58 games at Class A High Desert and Wichita.

Demaria is a draft-excluded player, ... who joined the roster after Aug. 1. That means the Royals must put him on waivers by next Friday. Thereafter, they must either keep him on the 40-man roster until March 9 or release him outright.
This article was in the Star yesterday. Last night Chris lowered his ERA to 9.00, when he went 1.0 innings and retired the side in order in the 9th (2 grounders, 1 fly ball). He was the only Royals pitcher to not allow a run in KC's 10-1 loss at Toronto. [Box Score]. Chris has had 1 really bad outing, allowing 6 ER in 1.1 innings on September 24. In his other 7 appearances, he's posted a 3.52 ERA (3 ER, 7.2 IP). Right handed batters are hitting just .182 against him, while he needs to work on the lefties, who are hitting .588.

Demaria was the 1st player taken in the AAA phase of the Rule V Draft last December, by the Kansas City Royals from the Pittsburg Pirates. I'd be shocked if he wasn't retained on the 40 man roster, given the fact KC plans to play him in the Arizona Fall League, and the promise he's shown in his September call up. Other than 15.1 IP in 10 appearances at AA (1.76 ERA) this year, the highest level Chris had pitched at was Advanced Class A.

2005 Final Minor League Stats For Former Dirtbags Who Played Affiliated Minor League Baseball

Below are final minor league stats for former Long Beach State Dirtbags who played in the minor leagues with teams affiliated with Major League Baseball during 2005. For those players who played at multiple levels, stats for each level are shown. Included are minor league stats for players currently in the majors (Paul McAnulty, Jeff Liefer, Mike Gallo, Chris Demaria and Greg Dobbs; and rehab assignments for Bobby Crosby and Steve Trachsel). Also included are hitting stats for pitchers who had plate appearances, which include Jason Vargas, Jeremy Ward, Mike Gallo, Russ Rohlicek and Chad Bentz. There are links for teams and current stats for all former Dirtbags in pro ball here.

If your browser does not allow frames, or you have frames disabled, or if you'd just prefer to see the stats without vertical scrolling, you can view the stats here.