66ers announce coaching staff for 2010

The Dodgers and Inland Empire 66ers have announced the 2010 coaching staff for the team, and there will be some familiar faces.

Pitching coach Charlie Hough returns  for his fourth straight season with the team. He was also with the team in 1996, 1997 and the first half of 1998 during the franchise’s previous association with the Dodgers. Hough, who will be 62 by opening day, pitched in the big leagues from 1970-94, including with the Dodgers from 1970-80. He was 216-216 with a 3.75 ERA and also had 61 saves during his career. He was a member of three Dodgers National League champion teams.

Among those who flourished under the tutelage of Hough include young Dodgers James McDonald, Ramon Troncoso, Cory Wade and Brent Leach.

Hitting coach Franklin Stubbs returns for his 2nd straight season. Stubbs, a member of the 1988 Dodger World Champions, hit .234 with 104 home runs during a 10-year career. Outfielders Trayvon Robinson and Scott Van Slyke had breakout seasons in 2009 with Stubbs’ help.

The manager will be new, but not entirely unfamiliar: Jeff Carter. Carter managed High Desert in 2006 when the Mavericks were a Kansas City Royals affiliate. It is Carter’s third year in the Dodgers’ organziation, managing the last two years in rookie ball.

Carter never made it to the big leagues during a 12-year pro career that ended in 1996. He has experience playing in the Cal League, as he was with Fresno (which was then the San Francisco Giants affiliate in the league) in 1987.

Carlos Subero, who managed the Sixers in 2009, has been promoted to manage Double-A Chattanooga. It’s a return to the Southern League where he managed Birmingham in 2008. His hitting coach will be 2008 Sixers manager John Valentin, who managed Chattanooga in 2009.

Ex-Mavs prospects now in Phillies system

When the Seattle Mariners traded three minor leaguers to the Philadelphia Phillies for Cliff Lee earlier this week, it certainly signaled a change in philosophy for the Mariners to make a trade like that.

The trade sent packing three talented players who were with the High Desert Mavericks just last year:

RHP Phillippe Aumont, a 6-7, 220-pound fireballer who turns 21 next month, was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA and 12 saves while pitching half the time in hitter-friendly Adelanto. Aumont struck out 35 in 33 1/3 innings. After he was promoted to West Tenn, his ERA rose to 5.09, but he struck out 24 in 17 2/3 innings. Could eventually be an ideal addition to a beleaguered Phillies bullpen, but there’s still the possibility he could be a starter.

RHP J.C. Ramirez, a 6-3 21-year-old, spent all of 2009 with the Mavericks, he was 8-10 with a 5.12 ERA. It was a little high,  but his ERA on the road was just 3.09 and opponents hit .243 off him on the road.

OF Tyson Gillies, a 6-1 21-year-old outfielder, played all of 2009 with the Mavericks. He didn’t show as much pop considering he played half the time in Adelanto (eight of his nine home runs were at home), but he batted an impressive .341 with 104 runs scored and 44 stolen bases. While teammate Jamie McOwen set a league record with his hitting streak, Gillies had an 18-gamer and is the better prospect. He can really play the outfield, too.

All 3 would probably start 2010 at Double-A Reading, but they’ important to the Phillies because that previously solid farm system was depleted when they traded for Lee, then traded for Roy Halladay in the companion trade to the Lee-to-Mariners deal.

Aumont and Ramirez help replace the likes of RHP Kyle Drabek, who went to Toronto in the Halladay deal and Gillies helps replace OF Michael Taylor who went to Toronto (and then to Oakland).

The fact the Mariners have an abundance in prospects is fairly new for that organization. That they’re willing to trade them for proven talent is also nice for Mariners fans. I’m a Phillies fan, so I hope the trio going to the Phils helps them in the future.


Cal League alumni go in Rule 5 draft

Last week, Major League Baseball held its Rule 5 draft. If you don’t know how it works, here’s an overview: If you’re drafted in the major league phase in the Rule 5 draft, then the drafting team essentially has to keep you on their 25-man major league roster for the whole season, or offer them back to the original team. There is also some money involved in the deal (I think it costs to draft and when offered back the original team has to pay something). There is also a Triple-A phase and a Double-A phase. If you’re not on one of those rosters by X number of years, you’re eligible for Rule 5.

Here’s a look at ex-66ers and ex-Quakes who went in the draft:

Major League phase

1st selection. Jamie Hoffmann OF, drafted by Washington from the Dodgers, then traded to the Yankees.


Jamie Hoffmann.htm

Hoffmann, the hockey player from Minnesota turned baseball player who had a breakout season in 2007 with the 66ers (.309, 9 HR, 81 RBIs), was liked by teammates and hated by opponents for his hard-nosed, hard-sliding personality. Of those present, who can forget the Sixers-Mavericks brawl that year that started with a hard slide into second by Hoffmann? Also had what was known as the HofHawk, a mohawk-type haircut that he got rid of as soon as his parents came to town.He’ll have a tough time making the Yankees roster, but who knows with a lot of free agents out there. The 25-year-old Hoffmann hit one home run in 14 big-league games for the Dodgers last year.

9th selection, Bobby Cassevah, RHP drafted by Oakland from the Angels.

Cassevah was solid for the Quakes in 2008, going 2-3 with a 3.79 ERA. He followed that up with a 3-7, 3.68 ERA for Double-A Arkansas in 2009. But he wasn’t in a lot of closing situations, with only five saves combined in the two seasons. Obviously, the A’s see something in him to give him a shot.

10th selection, Zechry Zinicola, RHP drafted by Toronto from Washington.

He’s not from the Cal League, but he was born in Loma Linda and his initials are ZZ. So he deserves a mention.

15th selection, Steven Johnson, RHP drafted by San Francisco from Baltimore

Johnson was awful in the second half of 2008 with the 66ers, going 3-6,with a 7.10 ERA in 11 starts. He had a breakthrough first half of 2009, going 8-4, 3.82 before he was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. He was dealt to Baltimore in the George Sherrill deal and was 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA for Baltimore’s Double-A. Definite prospect, but where does he fit in with the pitching-rich Giants?

17th selection, David Herndon, RHP drafted by Philadelphia from the Angels

His overall numbers from the Quakes in 2008 (3-7, 5.01 ERA) were unimpressive to say the least, but a mid-season change to the bullpen changed his career path and Herndon saved 17 games in the second half of 2008. Was 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 11 saves for Double-A Arkansas in 2009. The Phillies need bullpen help, but is Herndon ready to pitch in the big-leagues? He’s at least some insurance they can look at in spring training.


10th selection, James Tomlin, OF drafted by Texas from Dodgers

Tomlin, 27, who played for High Desert in 2006, was signed by the Dodgers before 2007 and was inactive for the 66ers for the better part of the first month or so. When he did play, he made a difference, batting .283 with seven stolen bases in 31 games before he was promoted to Double-A. Although he batted .313 in Double_A in 2008 and .315 in 2009, he hasn’t advanced beyond Double-A. Good defensive outfielder with some speed who might deserve a look. Although he’s defniitely smart, Tomlin has the smallest hat size of any normal-sized adult I’ve ever met, something like a 6 7/8!

16th selection, Marshall Hubbard, 1B drafted by NY Mets from Seattle

Hubbard was decent in leading the 2006 Sixers to the first half title, batting .265 with six home runs and 27 walks in 61 games. But many (including myself) felt that he was promoted too early when he went up at the half-way point in ’06. He’s been at Double-A ever since, with his best year power-wise coming in 2007, when he had 15 home runs and 78 RBIs and batted .270 for West Tennessee. Hubbard, who turns 28 next April, obviously wasn’t going anywhere with the Mariners. The Mets haven’t had the best farm system, so this might be a great opportunity for him.