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]

Trade Talk On Jeremy Reed Continues

Dirtbags #20 In Rosenblatt Report Pre-Season Rankings

Evan Longoria Named Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season All American

Former Dirtbag Jeff Liefer Signs With Japan's Pacific Baseball League Seibu Lions

BWC SOS Takes A Step Backwards

And They're Off....Dirtbags 16th In Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season Rankings

Dirtbags To Face Stiff Competition

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver In The Show In 2006?

Sorry, Evan. I Think This Can Only Get Worse!

Baseball America On Chris Demaria Trade

More Former Dirtbags In's Organizational Reports

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria Traded

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed To The Red Sox?

Former Dirtbag Greg Dobbs DFAed

Former Dirtbag Terrmel Sledge Traded Again...This Time To San Diego

Former Dirtbag Kirk Pierce Has Been Traded...

Mariners May Trade Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed

Former Dirtbag Justin Hall Retires

Former Dirtbag Bryan Kennedy's Season In Review

Former Dirtbag Todd Jennings...

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria Designated For Assignment

Former Dirtbag Josh Buhagiar Signs With GGL Reno

Former Dirtbag Brad Davis...

Jared Hughes Named NCBWA Pre-Season All American

Tulo, McAnulty, Make Baseball America Top 10 Prospects Lists

Dirtbags Strength Of Schedule Tops NCAA Division I

Former Dirtbag Terrmel Sledge...

Three Former Dirtbags Among San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects...


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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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Friday, December 30, 2005

Trade Talk On Jeremy Reed Continues

According to the Seattle Times, the Mariners are offering former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed as part of a deal to acquire pitching help. Time will tell.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dirtbags #20 In Rosenblatt Report Pre-Season Rankings

The Rosenblatt Report lists the Long Beach State Dirtbags in the #20 slot in their Pre-Season Top 35 rankings. Here's the entire list:
Rosenblatt Report's
Pre-Season Top 35 Poll

1. Texas (56-16)
2. Rice (45-19)
3. Florida (48-23)
4. Clemson (43-23)
5. Oregon State (46-12)
6. Georgia Tech (45-19)
7. North Carolina (41-19-1)
8. Nebraska (57-15)
9. Cal-State Fullerton (46-18)
10. Florida State (53-20)
11. South Carolina (41-23)
12. Missouri (40-23)
13. Pepperdine (41-23)
14. Arkansas (39-22)
15. Tennessee (46-21)
16. Mississippi State (42-22)
17. Tulane (56-12)
18. Miami, Fla. (41-19-1)
19. Southern Miss (41-21)
20. Long Beach State (37-22)
21. Notre Dame (38-24-1)
22. Florida Atlantic (37-24)
23. Oklahoma (35-26)
24. Southern California (41-22)
25. Mississippi (48-20)
26. NC State (41-19)
27. Texas A&M (30-25-1)
28. Alabama (40-23)
29. Baylor (46-24)
30. Stanford (34-25)
31. TCU (41-20)
32. LSU (40-22)
33. Stetson (35-28)
34. Arizona State (42-25)
35. Creighton (48-17)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Evan Longoria Named Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season All American

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper is out with their 2006 Pre-Season All American picks. The Dirtbags' Evan Longoria is named to the 3rd Team as a 3rd baseman.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Former Dirtbag Jeff Liefer Signs With Japan's Pacific Baseball League Seibu Lions

This from (hat tip to reader Rhonda):
Seibu gets infielder Liefer on 1-year contract

The Seibu Lions said Thursday they have signed infielder Jeffrey Liefer to a one-year contract worth an estimated 50 million yen.

The 31-year-old Liefer hit .196 with one homer and eight RBIs in 19 games for the Cleveland Indians this year. In his seven-year career in the major leagues, Liefer has a .230 average with 31 homers and 113 RBIs.

He did not receive any signing bonus.
Jeff saw only limited action with the Indians in 2005 (appearing in 19 games - 56 at bats). With AAA Buffalo in the International League, he hit .321 (103 hit in 321 AB), slugged at .595 (19 HR, 27 doubles, 2 triples), with a .388 OBP (35 walks).

Update: According to, 50 million yen is currently $427,083.29 U.S. In 2003, the last season he appeared in more than 19 Major League games, Jeff earned $320,000 (courtesy of

Friday, December 23, 2005

BWC SOS Takes A Step Backwards

When the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee makes its choices for at-large post-season bids, they consider a number of factors but few would argue that Ratings Performance Index (or RPI) is the most important. To raise RPI, a team has to win, and at least as important, its opponents have to win (at least against their other opponents). Strength of Schedule (or SOS) is a measure of the quality of a teams opponents (and their opponent's opponents).

For several years, Boyd Nation has calculated and published his SOS, both intended and actual, at Intended SOS is the anticipated strength of schedule before any games are played, and is based upon the previous season's results. Actual SOS is calculated based upon actual results for the season in question. Boyd publishes them as the season progresses, and as final numbers after all the games are done. Boyd's SOS is the average of a team's opponent's Iterative Strength Rating (or ISR). ISR is a modification to the RPI used by the NCAA which corrects for bias primarily against teams in the western U.S. This bias is caused by the relative scarcity of Division I baseball programs in the west, compared to other parts of the country (especially the southeastern U.S.). This scarcity causes a team's opponent's winning percentage to come closer to .500 than it does in areas such as the southeast (since there tend to be a lot of common opponents for western teams).

This year, Paul Kislanko and have come out with it's version of intended SOS, both non-conference and overall. These ordinals are included in the table below. SEBaseball's calculations are somewhat different than Boyd Nation's. You can read all about it here, but the significant differences are:
SEBaseball uses RPI, while Boyd Nation uses ISR.
SEBaseball uses ordinal rankings, while Boyd Nation uses numeric values.
The RPI versus ISR difference is a little more obvious. We in the west like ISR because it (usually) seems a more fair measure of the quality of a team. But using the RPI in SOS is more pragmatic. It is, unfortunately, the value used by the Committee for at-large bids, so in the real world we gotta live and deal with it.

Be sure to read's explanation of why they are using ranking order, rather than numeric values. Paul can explain it better than I can, with my limited math and statistics accumen. But in a nutshell, Paul maintains that their formula does a better job of reflecting the depth of a schedule, as well as its overall strength. He explains that it corrects for extremes, and takes into account how weighted a schedule is to highly ranked, or lowly ranked, opponents.

The table below shows SEBaseball's intended non-conference, and overall, SOS for the upcoming season, for teams in the Big West Conference. These 2 columns are followed by Boyd Nation's intended 2005 SOS, and then the actual 2005 SOS. Unfortunately, Boyd is not out with his 2006 intended SOS article yet. I'll revisit this post when he is. There will be differences between SEBaseball and Boyd, and some may be substantial. But as I discuss below, these numbers have got to give Beach fans (and fans of other Big West teams) cause for some concern.
                   Intended    Intended    Intended   Actual
Non-conf. Overall Overall Overall
2006 SOS 2006 SOS 2005 SOS 2005 SOS
SEBaseball SEBaseball BoydsWrld BoydsWrld

Long Beach State 1 21 14 3

CS Fullerton 4 25 6 6
CS Northridge 13 27 17 21
UC Riverside 43 51 10 10
UC Irvine 61 53 13 9
UC Santa Barbara 75 57 8 8
Pacific 97 58 22 24
Cal. Poly SLO 114 85 16 23
UC Davis 141 71 26 25
While Boyd's numbers will likely be better, if only because he uses the ISR, I'm willing to bet that Cal. Poly and UC Davis aren't going to go from 114 and 141 in SEBaseball's SOS, to the numbers they had in Boyd's intended SOS last season (16 and 26). The 2 calculation methods don't appear to be grossly different. A 20 or 30 place improvement I'd buy, but not 100 slots. With the exception of Long Beach State, Fullerton and Northridge, the other 6 teams in the Big West appear to have taken a huge step down in scheduling. A couple of years ago, it looked like the Big West was headed towards 3 and sometimes 4 bids. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that unless 1 of those 6 wins the Conference title, it seems likely that the BWC isn't likely to have more than 2 teams playing in Regionals.

You have to admire Northridge's willingness to maintain a very demanding schedule. Last season they were 18-36 (17-36 against Div. I opponents), and finished 177th in RPI, and 120th in ISR. It would be understandable for them to schedule lighter to improve the W-L percentage.

What I can't understand is the huge step back for Cal. Poly. Last season they were 36-20, 57th in RPI and 15th in ISR. Had they played only a slightly more difficult schedule, they would likely have been selected to play in a Regional. Of their 29 scheduled non-conference games, only 5 are against teams with 2005 RPIs under 99 (3 against Washington, and 2 against Oregon State). That's digging a hole it will be hard to get out of. That said, there is hope that their actual SOS will be better than their intended SOS. Four of their opponents with 2005 RPIs worse than 100th are ranked in Collegiate Baseball's pre-season poll: San Diego at 36th (130th 2005 RPI), Fresno State at 40th (168th 2005 RPI), San Diego State at 60th (170th 2005 RPI) and Loyola Marymount at 68th (102nd 2005 RPI).

If the Big West Conference wants to remain a top 6 baseball power conference, its members - top to bottom - are going to have to schedule aggressively. Winning 40 games is great, but not if it's against such an easy schedule that it doesn't get you into the post-season.

And They're Off....Dirtbags 16th In Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season Rankings

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper is the 1st out of the gates with their NCAA Division I baseball pre-season rankings. The Dirtbags, who finished 18th in the final Collegiate Baseball poll last season, get the nod at 16th in the 2006 pre-season list. Here's the rankings, with Big West Conference schools in italics:
Rank School ('05 Final Record)  Final '05 Rank
1. Texas (56-16) 1
2. Florida (48-23) 2
3. Oregon St. (46-12) 7
4. Nebraska (57-15) 6
5. Rice (45-19) 16
6. Clemson (43-23) 13
7. North Carolina (41-19-1) 21
8. Florida St. (53-20) 15
9. Cal. St. Fullerton (46-18) 9
10. Georgia Tech. (45-19) 10
11. Miami, Fla. (41-19-1) 14
12. Arizona St. (42-25) 3
13. Pepperdine (41-23) 23
14. Missouri (40-23) NR
15. Louisiana St. (40-22) 19
16. Long Beach St. (37-22) 18
17. South Carolina (41-23) 26
18. Florida Atlantic (37-24) NR
19. Tennessee (46-21) 8
20. Mississippi (48-20) 11
21. Southern California (41-22) 17
22. Notre Dame (38-24-1) NR
23. Baylor (46-24) 4
24. Tulane (56-12) 5
25. Stanford (34-25) NR
26. Wichita St. (51-24) 27
27. Texas Christian (41-20) 29
28. Winthrop (44-22) NR
29. Oklahoma (35-26) NR
30. Southern Miss. (41-21) NR
31. Arizona (39-21) 12
32. Houston (29-30) NR
33. Arkansas (39-22) NR
34. Mississippi St. (42-22) NR
35. San Francisco (38-18) NR
36. San Diego (30-27-1) NR
37. Stetson (35-28) NR
38. Washington (33-22) NR
39. Georgia (30-25) NR
40. Fresno St. (30-29) NR
And here are the other teams that following, in decending rank: Cal Poly SLO, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Auburn, California, UCLA, Ohio St., North Carolina St., Coastal Carolina, Louisville, U.C. Irvine, Virginia Commonwealth, Miami (Ohio), Oral Roberts, Central Florida, East Carolina, Central Michigan, Southern Illinois, Nevada-Las Vegas, San Diego St., Maine, Birmingham Southern, Jacksonville St., South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy, Florida International, Loyola Marymouht, Army, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, N.C. Charlotte, Richmond, Western Carolina, Northwestern St., Lamar, Southern.

Dirtbags To Face Stiff Competition

By's calculations, the Long Beach State Dirtbags will face the toughest non-conference schedule in Division I baseball, and have the 21st toughest overall schedule. These rankings are "intended," in that they are based upon each programs' performance last season.

Former Dirtbag Jered Weaver In The Show In 2006?

I'm late in getting this posted, but in case you missed it here's a piece on Jered Weaver from the Orange County Register (November 20, 2005) (hat tip to reader Rhonda):
Pitching defections could push Weaver

The Angels are paying Jered Weaver big-league money. They might as well start collecting. At least that will be their rationalization, if they fail to sign free-agent starting pitchers Jarrod Washburn and Paul Byrd and provide Weaver a clear path to their 2006 rotation. And if that happens, Weaver is providing admirable cover for general manager Bill Stoneman. In his final start in the Arizona Fall League, Weaver strangled a lineup of Class-A and AA All-Stars with 10 strikeouts in five innings.

Watching was Marcel Lachemann, the ex-Angels manager who is serving as pitching coach for Team USA as it attempts to get through the first round of pre-Olympic qualifying. "He looked just like his brother," Lachemann said, referring to Dodgers right-hander - and incipient free agent - Jeff Weaver. "Jered's going to be our guy against Mexico." He certainly was. Weaver struck out the first six Mexicans he faced in Wednesday's second-round game. The U.S. was up, 4-2, when he left the game after four innings, and won, 5-4.

In both cases Weaver flashed the deception, the variety and the pointed control that made him the best pitcher in college baseball in 2004. The Angels, picking 12th in the first round, shook off all the red-slash warnings that appear whenever Scott Boras is representing a high college pick. They took Weaver, which seemed to indicate they were interested in signing him. They were, but not at the price Boras put on the sticker. While Boras likened Weaver to Mark Prior, whom the Cubs had taken on the second pick in 2002, Stoneman made an offer and moved about as much as Stone Mountain. Stoneman, in fact, proclaimed the deal dead in early March.

On May 30, Boras finally went to the mountain and agreed to a $4 million minor-league deal for Weaver. An hour later, and Weaver would have slid into the 2005 draft, with fewer teams willing to slow-dance with Boras. "It was a difficult time," Weaver said last week, after his AFL swansong. "I had never gone that long without pitching. I really had no idea what was going on. Every time you heard something it was different. "I worked out, sure, and I pitched in an independent league for a while, but I was off schedule. It was a time in which I could have been pitching somewhere. But I can't get caught up in the business end of it. I'm just glad it all got settled and now I feel like I've just about caught up."

Boras is perceived to have lost this round, which is a perception he likes about as much as losing itself. He still thinks the Angels were being self-destructive when they didn't sign Weaver expeditiously. "When this guy (Weaver) finished up at Long Beach State that spring, he was ready to pitch in the major leagues," Boras said. "He had great command of four pitches, and he had the velocity and the approach to help the Angels in the second half of that year. "I had a client (Craig Hansen of St. John's) who was drafted in the first round by the Red Sox this year, and they had him up at the end of the season and he was helping them. He has two pitches. Jered has four. But I think the Angels have realized that Jered is ready to help them now."

If they lose Washburn and Byrd to their competitors in free agency, the Angels might have little choice. That would leave Bartolo Colon, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Ervin Santana in the rotation, and Weaver and left-hander Joe Saunders would presumably scrap for the fifth position.

...Is Weaver ready for this? "I feel pretty much like I did in college," Weaver said. "I basically was going through my own spring training during the summer. Then I hit that dead-arm stage that you always run into. Down the stretch I felt pretty sharp. Now I'm going to take a little time off and go back to Long Beach State and go over some things with (49ers pitching coach) Troy Buckley."

Weaver was 1-3 with a 5.47 ERA in the Fall League, which generally was a hitters' paradise. "He would make one mistake with his breaking ball and he'd pay for it," said Kernan Ronan, who was his pitching coach here and works with Angel minor-leaguers. "But based on the way he threw in his last outing, I'd say he's very close to the big leagues. That was the best he looked in terms of energy and aggressiveness." He was 3-3, 3.98 at Arkansas, the Angels' Double-A club, in late summer, and fanned 46 in 43 innings. All eyes will follow Weaver in spring training. He was supposed to be one of many Plan Bs for the Angels. Now he might be Plan A. Assuming there's a plan.

Sorry, Evan. I Think This Can Only Get Worse!

Another Evan versus Eva Longoria piece!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Baseball America On Chris Demaria Trade

This from Baseball America:
Brewers Get Bullpen Help With Demaria Deal

By Kevin Goldstein
December 22, 2005

The rapidly improving Brewers made a small move Wednesday to shore up their bullpen, sending minor league pitcher Justin Barnes to the Royals for righthander Chris Demaria.

Demaria, 25, was selected by the Royals in the minor league phase of the Rule Five draft in 2004, and while he started the year in High Class A High Desert, he finished it in the big leagues. A 17th-round pick by the Pirates in 2002 out of Long Beach State, Demaria went 8-3, 2.94 with 10 saves for low Class A Hickory in 2004 before being selected by the Royals.

In 2005, he was one of the few pitchers to find success pitching in High Desert, the friendliest hitting park in the minors, where he went 4-2, 2.23 with 19 saves in 48 games. His success continued at Double-A Wichita, where he compiled a 1.76 ERA in 10 appearances before spending the last three weeks of the season in the Royals bullpen, where he had a 9.00 ERA in nine innings. His career minor league record is 19-10, 2.81 in 139 games with 256 strikeouts in 233 innings. Demaria's fastball only gets into the upper 80s, but he spots it well and uses it to set-up a plus-plus changeup that features plenty of deception and was considered the best in the Royals system before the deal...

More Former Dirtbags In's Organizational Reports

Picking up where I left off in October, from's Organizational Report on the Angels:
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...
From the Organizational Report on the Milwaukee Brewers:
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.
And on the San Diego Padres:
Cinderella Story

Paul McAnulty, OF
McAnulty's fourth season in the Padres system may have been his best, and that's saying something considering he lead the Pioneer League in hitting in 2002 and was the organization's Player of the Year in 2004. The 24-year-old Californian was hitting .301 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs in 67 games at Double-A Mobile before getting his first Major League call-up in June. He got a couple singles in nine at-bats with San Diego before returning to the Southern League, where he won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. From there, he was promoted to Portland and was an absolute hitting machine while also transitioning to what is likely to be his Major League position, first base. McAnulty hit .344 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 38 games for the Beavers, posting an OBP of .405 and a SLG of .563. He didn't go consecutive games without a hit during his six-week stay in the PCL. He rejoined the parent team in September, going 3-for-15....

2005 draft recap...

2. Cesar Ramos, LHP
The second college pitcher taken by the Pads in the first round, Ramos came with far less fanfare than Carrillo, and a considerably cheaper price tag ($950,000 compared to Carrillo's ($1.55 M). Ramos was a veritable no-name compared to his Long Beach State predecessors, Jered Weaver, Jason Vargas and Abe Alvarez. Historically successful due largely to his command and accuracy, Ramos struggled a bit at Eugene (0-1, 6.53 ERA in six games) when he walked seven in 20 2/3 innings in addition to allowing batters to hit .303 off him. But a promotion to the Midwest League seemed to help, as the 21-year-old lefty went 3-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 38 2/3 innings, walking just seven vs. 32 strikeouts.
From the Organizational Report on the San Francisco Giants:
2004 draft recap

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

2. John Bowker, OF
Bowker has been touted as one of the best pure hitters in San Francisco's system, thanks in large part to his excellent hand-eye coordination. But the 2005 season was a struggle for the Long Beach State product, despite hitting in a stacked San Jose lineup. He batted .267 and his OBP was just .319, with a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 36-to-108. These numbers are extensions of his stats in college, where, even though he hit .323, he struck out 76 times in 381 at-bats. Bowker turned on the power late in the season, hitting eight of his 13 long balls in his final 24 games, including five in the last eight. Defensively, he committed just four errors in 104 games.
Here's their take on the Seattle Mariners:
Five Faves

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

Jeremy Reed, OF
The overall offensive numbers don't seem all that impressive: .254 average, .352 slugging, 12 steals (but 11 caught), just three homers and 45 RBIs (though only 74 strikeouts). But those numbers don't really tell the full story on the steadying influence of Reed's rookie season. He played 148 games and started 129 in the outfield, committing just three errors while covering Safeco's vast center field. There are those who thought he was the best defensive outfielder in the American League this season. He should continue to grow as the young M's do.
And last, but not least, the Washington Nationals:
2005 draft recap...

4. Marco Estrada, RHP
The Long Beach State product worked his way into pro ball by splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen in Vermont. He had some success, going 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA in nine games (six starts). His 37 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings is an attention-getter. He uses a low-90s fastball and a sharp curve to get the job done.

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria Traded

The Kansas City Royals have traded Chris Demaria to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Justin Barnes. Both are right handed relievers.

Update: Chris has been added to the Brewers' 40 man roster.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed To The Red Sox?

Not so fast!

Former Dirtbag Greg Dobbs DFAed

After acquiring left handed reliever Jake Woods from the Angels (claiming him off waivers), the Seattle Mariners made room on their roster by designating Greg Dobbs for assignment. They now have 10 days to trade, release or assign him to the minor leagues (if he clears waivers).

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Former Dirtbag Terrmel Sledge Traded Again...This Time To San Diego

Terrmel Sledge was a Texas Ranger for 12 days. Today, he was traded by the Rangers to the San Diego Padres as part of a 6 player deal - With RHPs Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka and minor league catcher Bill Killian going to the Rangers in exchange for RHP Chris Young, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Terrmel (an outfielder). I saw it 1st at 6-2-4 Blog.

Former Dirtbag Kirk Pierce Has Been Traded...

...from the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association to the Edmonton Cracker Cats in the Northern League.

Mariners May Trade Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed

The Seattle Mariners, in search of more pitching, have been shopping Jeremy Reed in trade. Most of the talk has been about a trade with the Red Sox, but teams in the hunt for Johnny Damon unable to sign him may look to trade for Jeremy to play centerfield. Hat tip to reader Kurt.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Former Dirtbag Justin Hall Retires

From the St. Paul Saints website:

December 7, 2005 - The Saints have lost one of the best players in their history to the business world. Justin Hall, a three-time All Star who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2004 Northern League Championship Series, is leaving baseball for a career in real estate.

"Justin has been the heart and soul of this team for the past three years and he will be missed," said St. Paul manager George Tsamis. "He played hard every time out."

Hall became just the third player in team history to record 1000 career at-bats in the regular season finale at Schaumburg, September 4. He retires ranked in the top three all-time in Saints' history in seven offensive categories. He is the team's all-time leader in Triples with 11 and ranks second in Runs with 242. He ranks third in Hits (304), Doubles (55), Games Played (242) and Extra Base Hits (75). He is fourth in RBIs with 126.

"His numbers were great while he was here but what I liked the best about him was that winning was always the most important thing to him," Tsamis said.

Hall's best statistical year was 2004 when he hit .326 during the regular season. That was just a warm-up for the post-season when he hit .436 in 10 games. His last at-bat of the year proved memorable when he lined a two-out single to right to ignite the seven-run rally that led to the Saints' dramatic 10-6 win over Schaumburg to claim the Northern League championship.

Originally an 18th round draft pick by Oakland in 1998, he played four seasons in that system before moving to independent ball at Newark and Atlantic City in 2002. He joined the Saints the next year - and has been a staple at second base for Tsamis ever since. Hall retired with a career .291 batting average in 586 games over eight professional seasons.

In June, 2004, his contract was purchased by the Texas Rangers. He was slated to report to AAA Oklahoma City but never got there due to a late roster move. Instead, he returned to St. Paul and helped the team create history with an unforgettable comeback.

"Justin will do very well out of baseball because he is driven to succeed," Tsamis said. "It was a pleasure to manage him the past three seasons."

Former Dirtbag Bryan Kennedy's Season In Review has this review on Bryan Kennedy's season with the New Britain Rock Cats (AA Eastern League) (no link to story, paid subscription area):
Bryan Kennedy- C

Kennedy served as the Rock Cats starting catcher in 2005, and was pretty solid behind the plate. It was his work at the plate that needs help in 2006, as he finished the year with a meager .239 average in 72 contests. The brother of Anaheim Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy, he needs to work on getting on base, and will never be considered a legitimate catching prospect until he does so. Although he did struggle a bit behind the plate, committing six errors on the year, he did provide crucial leadership to the younger guys on the team, and handled the pitching staff well all season long.

Former Dirtbag Todd Jennings... the #34 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization, according to (no link to story, paid subscription area). Here's what they have to say about Todd:
Todd Jennings came out of 2003 looking pretty sunny as a prospect, a highly rated defensive catcher with a good bat-for-average tool in a system with a need for catchers as the prospects at the higher levels were having problems.

Unfortunately, that's where things ended. The Giants, unsure of Jennings' ability to stay healthy as an everyday catcher, moved Jennings to third (and pushed him to San Jose). The health worries may have been warranted, as Jennings suffered a strained shoulder after a number of struggles at High-A. But after a return to Salem-Keizer to rehab which showed some pop back in his bat, things were looking up.

The good news is that Jennings returned to San Jose, and served as one of the team's primary third basemen and did fairly well, certainly better than 2004. The bad news was that he was primarily a third baseman and otherwise shuffled around the infield.

Jennings still has the ability to hit for average. He draws a fair number of walks and doesn't strike out too often, and runs fairly well. But he really doesn't have much power. Although he reached double digits in San Jose, which is a huge improvement, the California League is a hitter's league which lessens the impact of those numbers, and Jennings didn't back them up with enough doubles and triples. If he were still a catching [prospect], that wouldn't be a big deal. But Jennings seems to be destined as an infielder, and particularly when playing the corners, low power numbers can drag a prospect down.

Maybe as Jennings gets older and stronger, he can find some way to show he can handle catching again. Being one would strengthen his chances at making the majors and playing everyday. But, should that not happen (and it's not likely), he still has some use with his versatility around the infield, and if he can keep his power improving and improve his reactions at third and second, there's some value in him being a utility player.

This year, like with many of the 2005 California League champs, is a make-it-or-break-it year, as Jennings is going to AA. AA has long been the foil for hitting prospects, particularly borderline ones who had big years in San Jose. Jennings year wasn't a banner year, so if he keeps his numbers close to what he put up in San Jose, it'll be a very good sign. But if Jennings is going to have any chance at the bigs, he's going to have to find a way to survive playing in the Eastern League.

Former Dirtbag Chris Demaria Designated For Assignment

After signing 4 free agents, the Kansas City Royals on Friday designed 4 players for assignment, including Chris DeMaria. The Royals have until December 26 to either return him to the active roster, send him outright to the minors, trade him, or release him - making him a free agent. After December 26, he must clear waivers to be released or sent to the minors.

Update: The Royals intend to resign Chris, if possible. "We're going to approach each one of those guys and try to re-sign them," assistant general manager Muzzy Jackson said. "Each one of them still have some value to the organization in providing some depth, so we're going to go after them rather aggressively."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Former Dirtbag Josh Buhagiar Signs With GGL Reno

The Golden Baseball League announced that 36 players were drafted and offered contracts at the conclusion of the annual league-wide tryout held at Blair Field in Long Beach, California on December 13th and 14th. All six GBL teams selected players from the pool of 321 hopefuls that arrived from 30 States and four countries for the opportunity to play in the league. Stocking up on young arms and rookies was the focus as 19 pitchers were selected, followed by six catchers, five outfielders, three middle infielders, two third baseman, and one first baseman. All players selected had collegiate or professional experience with approximately half from California and the rest from 12 other states...

The players drafted and the teams selecting them were as follows:

...Reno Silver Sox: ..., Josh Buhagiar (OF - Penngrove, CA), ...
Josh was originally drafted into the Arizona Diamondback organization, but released earlier this year.

Former Dirtbag Brad Davis...

...has been extended an invitation to the Florida Marlins' Major League spring training camp.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jared Hughes Named NCBWA Pre-Season All American

Jared Hughes has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn. Pre-Season All America Team.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Tulo, McAnulty, Make Baseball America Top 10 Prospects Lists

Baseball America ranks former Dirtbag Troy Tulowitzki the #2 prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization (no link to story, paid subscription area). BA had this to say about Tulo, who hit .266 in limited action (94 ABs) with a .343 OBP (9 walks) and .457 slugging percentage (6 doubles, 4 HRs) in his pro debut at advanced Class A Modesto (California League):
Background: Tulowitzki has been compared to Bobby Crosby since succeeding him at shortstop for Long Beach State. The seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft, he signed for $2.3 million. He went straight to high Class A, and the only negative in his pro debut was a torn quadriceps that limited him to 22 games.

Strengths: Most scouts think Tulowitzki is slightly ahead of Crosby, the 2004 American League rookie of the year, at the same stage of their careers and a better fit at shortstop. Tulowitzki has the stroke, strength and bat speed to hit 25-30 homers annually. Though he's big, he doesn't sacrifice any athleticism. He has above-average range and arm strength, and his exceptional instincts allow him to extend his range.

Weaknesses: Tulowitzki sometimes can get out of control and too aggressive at the plate. He could control the strike zone a little better. A broken hamate bone in the spring and the torn quad restricted his development in 2005.

The Future: Despite the injury, Tulowitzki should be able to handle the jump to Double-A for his first full season. He could be Colorado's starter by 2007.
Former Dirtbag Paul McAnulty ranks as the #8 prospect in the San Diego Padres organization, according to BA. They have this on Paul, who made his Major League debut in 2005:
Background: Former Padres scout Jason McLeod (now Red Sox scouting director) and West Coast crosschecker Chris Gwynn fell in love with McAnulty's bat at Long Beach State in 2002, when he hit .360-9-55. He won the Rookie-level Pioneer League batting title at .379 in his pro debut and hit his way to the big leagues in three years.

Strengths: McAnulty has a quick bat, quiet swing mechanics and no problem hitting lefties. He shows good patience at the plate and crushes mistakes. He's a gritty player who always gives full effort.

Weaknesses: Though he's a better athlete than his stocky frame suggests, McAnulty offers little more than his bat. He has below-average speed and arm strength. He lacks the power to profile as an everyday first baseman or corner outfielder, and he's no better than an adequate defender at those spots.

The Future: McAnulty has little chance at earning a full-time job in spring training, so he's likely ticketed for a return to Triple-A. He could emerge as a valuable bat off San Diego's bench.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dirtbags Strength Of Schedule Tops NCAA Division I

According to, the Long Beach State Dirtbags will have the toughest schedule in NCAA Division I baseball based upon opponents' performance last season. Hat tip to reader Dave for passing this one on. The schedule strength for other Big West teams is as follows:

CS Fullerton - #4.
CS Northridge - #13.
UC Riverside - #43.
UC Irvine - #61.
UC Santa Barbara - #75.
Pacific - #97.
Cal. Poly SLO - #114.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Former Dirtbag Terrmel Sledge...

...has been traded by the Washington Nationals to the Texas Rangers. In the deal, Texas sends 2nd baseman Alfonso Soriano to Washington in exchange for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and a minor league pitcher to be named later.

Update: The minor league pitcher included in the deal is Armando Galarraga.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Three Former Dirtbags Among San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects...

...according to's Here's what they have to say today (no link to story, paid area):
By Denis Savage

Date: Dec 2, 2005

Here are the Top 30 Padres' prospects. gives a little insight on each selection in our rankings but will follow up more in depth with individual scouting reports on each player throughout this off-season, starting in descending order.

When ranking prospects, much is considered. How do they profile in the future, what have they done so far, and can you give them a higher ranking for raking through the lower levels of the minors?

Each has its weight but the toughest part is determining whether a prospect that shows great intangibles at the lower levels can transfer that ability as he continues to rise up the ladder.

Without further ado, the top 30 Padres' prospects:

...5. Paul McAnulty There are few holes in his swing - he hits for average and power and maintains a semblance of patience, though his high strikeouts remain a concern. As the best left-handed hitting prospect in the system, McAnulty has shown he will do whatever it takes to make it to the next level. His dedication to the game is unsurpassed, his bat will get him to the bigs - but it may be his defensive credibility that keeps him in the Majors...

18. Neil Jamison One of the most successful relievers coming out of college last year, Jamison continued to prove he could get batters out consistently. He throws strikes, has the demeanor to close or setup and is on the fast track to the majors. He understands the art of pitching and is not afraid to come right after a hitter. Is there really anything more to say?...

23. Cesar Ramos Tired at the end of the year, Ramos is a strike throwing lefty that will be as good as his defense. He knows how to pitch and can throw four pitches for strikes, three above-average. A lefty with a lively fastball and a cutter that he likes to use on righties, Ramos profiles as a future long hauler that can eat up a ton of innings - pitching to contact...