Twenty-Nine Players From Tacoma’s Triple-A All-Star Game Currently In The Majors

September 28, 2017

Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the 2017 season at Cheney Stadium was the Triple-A All-Star Game back on July 12th.

The game has a history of showcasing future major league stars, and I’m sure our game will stand up to many previous editions in that regard.

A total of 29 players who appeared in that game have been called up to the major leagues. Several appear to be making a statement for long-term major league employment.

Here’s a list of the players who appeared in the Triple-A All-Star Game and are currently in the major leagues:

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

  • Amed Rosario – New York Mets (Las Vegas)
  • Derek Fisher – Houston Astros (Fresno)
  • Christian Walker – Arizona Diamondbacks (Reno)
  • Willie Calhoun – Texas Rangers (was Oklahoma City in the game, then traded)
  • Ildemaro Vargas – Arizona Diamondbacks (Reno)
  • Garrett Cooper – New York Yankees (Colorado Springs in game, traded)
  • Dan Vogelbach – Seattle Mariners (Tacoma)
  • Colin Moran – Houston Astros (Fresno)
  • Renato Nunez – Oakland A’s (Nashville)
  • Alex Verdugo – Los Angeles Dodgers (Oklahoma City)
  • Carson Kelly – St. Louis Cardinals (Memphis)
  • Max Stassi – Houston Astros (Fresno)
  • Tomas Telis – Miami Marlins (New Orleans)
  • Wilmer Font – Los Angeles Dodgers (Oklahoma City)
  • Troy Scribner – Los Angeles Angels (Salt Lake)
  • Jimmie Sherfy – Arizona Diamondbacks (Reno)
  • Ryan Sherriff – St. Louis Cardinals (Memphis)

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE

  • Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves (Gwinnett)
  • Chance Sisco – Baltimore Orioles (Norfolk)
  • Andrew Stevenson – Washington Nationals (Syracuse)
  • Chris Bostick – Pittsburgh Pirates (Indianapolis)
  • Mike Marjama – Seattle Mariners (Durham in game, traded)
  • Jorge Alfaro – Philadelphia Phillies (Lehigh Valley)
  • Steven Brault – Pittsburgh Pirates (Indianapolis)
  • Caleb Smith – New York Yankees (Scranton)
  • Lucas Sims – Atlanta Braves (Gwinnett)
  • Andrew Kittredge – Tampa Bay Rays (Durham)
  • Kevin Shackelford – Cincinnati Reds (Louisville)
  • Jimmy Yacabonis – Baltimore Orioles (Norfolk)

I did not include players who had major league experience prior the Triple-A All-Star Game and did not get called up after it, such as Pawtucket’s Rusney Castillo and Bryce Brentz. This list is just players in the big leagues right now.

Some players of note:

Two of the starting middle infielders in the Triple-A All-Star Game have locked up jobs in the majors: Amed Rosario is the Mets starting shortstop of the present, and Ozzie Albies has taken the Braves everyday second base job.

The Phillies have made Jorge Alfaro their starting catcher and so far, so good. He’s hit .304 with four homers in his first 27 games.

Despite being playoff-bound, the Houston Astros are giving Derek Fisher a long look as a potential everyday outfielder for next year. He’s been kind of so-so in his MLB debut, hitting just .207 but with walks (16) and some power (five homers) in 135 at-bats.

Lights-out Reno closer Jimmie Sherfy has not allowed a run over his first 11 major league games for the Diamondbacks, and the playoff-bound team is has even used him in some key situations down the stretch. He’s eligible for the playoff roster.

Ex-Rainiers reliever Andrew Kittredge (grew up in Spokane –> University of Washington) has been outstanding in his first major league stint, posting a 1.93 ERA in 14 games out of Tampa’s bullpen.

Natural born hitter Willie Calhoun launched his first major league home run for Texas on Wednesday. He’s only had 19 at-bats.

Two highly regarded catching prospects are getting their first tastes of the big leagues right now, and they have different outlooks. Cardinals receiver Carson Kelly is generally considered to be ready for a starting job in the majors, but he is stuck behind Yadier Molina. Baltimore’s Chance Sisco has hit two homers in September and may have a clearer path to regular playing time.

It was a fun game, and those of us who attended will be reminded of it in years to come while watching MLB games.

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Accolades and Endings

September 25, 2017

We’re back! Today we have some news on off-the-field personnel to pass along, and a couple of good links.

Tacoma Rainiers team president Aaron Artman received a major honor last week, when he was named Pacific Coast League Executive of the Year.

The Rainiers had an amazing season off the field, highlighted by hosting the Triple-A All-Star Game in July. The all-star events went off spectacularly, and that’s a main reason Artman was honored by his peers.

It wasn’t just the All-Star Game. Tacoma also had great crowds, recording the third-highest total attendance in franchise history. Merchandise sales continue to rank among the best in the minors. Aaron continues to try to improve the Cheney Stadium experience by making improvements to the park: the R-Yard deck in left a couple of years ago, then the kid’s playground and whiffle ball field, and prior to 2017 the improved top deck/beer garden.

Artman became the first Tacoma executive to win this award since Stan Naccarato in 1975.

Up north, Seattle Mariners Radio is losing it’s anchor to retirement.

Kevin Cremin is retiring after 35 years as the producer/engineer for Mariners Radio. He traveled with the team, handled all equipment-related issues, and produced the broadcasts including pregame and magazine-style shows among many other duties.

Kevin has been a big help during the handful of games I filled in over the years. I hope he enjoys not working!

For more on Cremin, check out Shannon Drayer’s blog post on his career.

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Check back later this week, when we’ll see how many players from our Triple-A All-Star Game got called up to the big leagues afterwards.


And The Triple-A National Champion Is…

September 20, 2017

The Durham Bulls.

Durham beat Memphis in the Triple-A National Championship Game last night at PNC Park in Scranton, PA, by a final score of 5-3.

Durham’s Kean Wong was the star, hitting a go-ahead grand slam in the fourth inning. That was part of a three-hit game for the Bulls second baseman.

Ex-Rainiers outfielder Tyler O’Neill hit a pair of singles and scored a run for Memphis in the losing cause.

It marked the second Triple-A National Championship for Durham in the 12 years that the game has been played. Durham won in 2009 – coincidentally, also against Memphis.

(Tacoma reached the final game after winning the PCL title in 2010, but lost to Jason Kipnis and Columbus).

Here’s coverage of the game from MiLB.com, and the newspaper in Scranton.

That was the final minor league baseball game of the year. Now we’ll watch the end of the major league season play out, with the playoffs right around the corner.

This is shaping up to be an interesting October, with both of last year’s World Series teams (Cubs and Indians) red hot at the moment, the once-mighty Dodgers stumbling down the stretch, the Astros with their brand new Verlander, the baby Yankees, the Red Sox turning Price into a bullpen weapon, and two dangerous teams playing in the NL Wild Card game.

This blog will be off duty for the remainder of the week; we’ll be back next week.


Triple-A Title Game Tonight

September 19, 2017

The final game of the Minor League Baseball season is tonight, when Memphis plays Durham in the Triple-A National Championship Game in Scranton, PA.

The one-game battle between the PCL and International League champions starts at 4:00 (Pacific) and can be watched live on the NBC Sports Network.

There will be some prospects to watch on the mound. Durham – the Tampa Bay Rays affiliate – is starting former Mariners prospect Ryan Yarbrough, and expects to use top prospect Brett Honeywell in relief. Hard-throwing St. Louis Cardinals prospect Dakota Hudson is set to start for Memphis.

Let’s root for the PCL. Hopefully Tyler O’Neill will hit a bomb for the Redbirds!

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Roses For The Redbirds

September 18, 2017

Congratulations to the Memphis Redbirds, who are the 2017 Pacific Coast League champions.

A fitting title for the team that had the best record during the regular season, winning a franchise record 91 games.

Memphis beat Colorado Springs in the American Conference finals, then had a real dogfight with El Paso in the Championship Series.

Memphis went up 2-0 at home in the best-of-five series, but then lost the next two at El Paso to set up a winner-take-all game last night.

Game Five turned out to be a pitching-and-defense affair, which the Redbirds won 3-1. Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run homer, and Matt Pearce pitched six innings and gave up just one run.

Wisdom was named MVP of the postseason, collecting nine RBI in ten playoff games.

Memphis has one game left, on Tuesday in Scranton in the Triple-A National Championship Game against the International League champion Durham Bulls.

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Game Five Of PCL Finals Tonight

September 17, 2017

The PCL Championship Series has gone the distance.

After losing the first two games at Memphis, El Paso returned home and has won two straight to even the series and bring us to the decisive Game Five tonight.

San Diego Padres pitching prospect Jacob Nix pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just one run in his Triple-A debut, and Nick Buss hit a three-run homer as the Chihuahuas topped Memphis on Saturday night, 5-1.

Here are reports on the series from MiLB.com and the El Paso Times.

Game Five is tonight at 5:05 (Pacific). Memphis starts Matt Pearce against El Paso’s Kyle Lloyd. Follow along right here.


M’s Affiliate Wins Title; Chihuahuas Stay Alive

September 16, 2017

Congratulations to the Seattle Mariners Class-A Modesto affiliate, which won the California League championship last night.

The Nuts swept their way through the postseason, sweeping both best-of-five series to win the title.

Infielder Joe Rizzo was named MVP of the postseason. Up from Low-A Clinton for the playoffs, the 19-year-old third baseman hit .538 over the five games he played in, driving in six runs. Rizzo was the Mariners second round draft pick in 2016.

You can read about the Nuts title run right here.

In the PCL, the El Paso Chihuahuas avoided extinction by taking down Memphis on Friday night, 3-0.

Franchy Cordero hit a go-ahead home run, and five El Paso pitchers combined to pitch a shutout. We have game stories from MiLB.com and the El Paso Times.

Game Four of the series is tonight at 6:05 (Pacific), with Memphis still able to win the trophy with a victory. Memphis leads the series, two games to one.

Whoever wins the series will play Durham in the Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday in Scranton, PA. Durham (Tampa Bay Rays affiliate) won the International League title last night.

You can follow Game Four of the PCL Championship Series right here.