“Best Tools” singles out top players

Kyle Crick has a 1.58 ERA in 45 2/3 innings for San Jose.

Baseball America has announced the results of its annual Best Tools survey which asks the managers in each league to evaluate the prospects they think are best at each position in each facet of the game.

Inlnad Empire had one player singled out as Alex Yarbrough was named Best Defensive Second Baseman. I think Eric Stamets should have been named Best Defensive Shortstop but Modesto’s Trevor Story was named.

Rancho Cucamonga’s Jon Garcia, who has since been promoted, was named Best Outfield Arm.

Here is the rundown:

Best Batting Prospect – Addison Russell, Stockton

Best Power Prospect – Mac Williamson, San Jose

Best Strike Zone Judgment – Nolan Fontana, Lancaster

Best Baserunner – Travis Jankowksi, Lake Elsinore

Fastest Baserunner – Travis Jankowski, Lake Elsinore

Best Pitching Prospect – Kyle Crick, San Jose

Best Fastball – Kyle Crick, San Jose

Best Breaking Pitch – Clayto Blackburn, San Jose

Best Changeup – Tanner Peters, Stockton

Best Control – Ty Blach, San Jose

Best Reliever – Jake Barrett, Visalia

Best Defensive Catcher – Austin Hedges, Lake Elsinore

Best Defensive 1B – Max Muncy, Stockton

Best Defensive 2B – Alex Yarbourgh, Inland Empire

Best Defensive 3B – Juan Silverio, Bakersfield

Best Defensive SS – Trevor Story, Modesto

Best Infield Arm – Trevor Story, Modesto

Best Defensive OF – Travis Jankoswki, Lake Elsinore

Best Outfield Arm – Jon Garcia, Rancho Cucamonga

Most Exciting Player – Addison Russell, Stockton

Best Managerial Prospect – Webster Garrison, Stockton

 

 

 

Wilson solid in Quakes outing

Maybe it was just one inning, eight pitches. But it was a good start.

Brian Wilson made his debut in the Dodgers organization, pitching the first inning for Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday against Lake Elsinore.

Wilson has been sidelined for 16 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. The Giants let him walk. So much for 171 saves and three all-star appearances in seven seasons.

Wilson barely broke a sweat, getting a strikeout and the other two outs on routine grounders to second base. He was clocked between 89-91 mph.

The next stop will be Triple-A Albuquerque.

There is always a bit of a buzz when a major leaguer plays at a lower level on a rehab. And the Quakes have had more than their fair share. But Wilson brought more than the usual buzz, including a media contingent of about 20, 19 more than usual.

Plenty of fans showed up, many wearing San Francisco Giants jerseys. Wilson got a nice round of applause as he took the field. Maybe it was that flamboyant personality or the fact that the once-hated rival was now a part of a team so much a part of the Southern California landscape.

After pitching and talking to the media, he signed autographs for about 20 minutes on his way out.

One outing doesn’t mark a complete return, but it’s a good start.

Quakes’ Mount goes down again

Poor Ryan Mount can’t catch a break.

The Rancho Cucamonga third baseman got back in the Quakes lineup after missing nine weeks with a foot injury. And what happens? He gets hurt again.

The Ayala High School grad apparently got hurt sliding into third base in the fifth inning, according to manager Carlos Subero.

Not only did Mount not say anything, he stayed in the game. He was serving as designated hitter so he went in the clubhouse and rode a stationary bike to stay loose. He also almost beat out an infield hit later in the game.

“That shows just how tough he is,” Subero said.

At the same time the Quakes were hitting and prepping for a game against Lake Elsinore on Wednesday, Mount was seeing a doctor. Subero said the injury is likely a torn ACL.

Mount turns 27 in 10 days so it is possible that serious of an injury could be career-ending, especially in such a competitive field as professional baseball.

Mount was hitting . 342 and made the all-star team when he was injured. Before last night he last played on May 31.

Mount was in the Angels organization up until last year. Everyone in both organization’s was bummed about the players’ latest setback.

“He’s a great guy and he worked so hard to get back,” Subero said. “We’re all upset for him.”

Former Giant to pitch at Rancho

Former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson will start his comeback tonight at LoanMart Field where the Los Angeles Dodgers California League affiliate Rancho Cucamonga (52-63) will be hosting Padres affiliate Lake Elsinore (51-63) at 7:05 p.m.

Wilson, 31, signed with the Dodgers on July 30, five days after throwing a bullpen session to show he had sufficiently recovered fro Tommy John surgery he underwent in April of 2012.

It was the second Tommy John surgery for Wilson, who first had the procedure done in college.

Don’t arrive late. Wilson, who recorded 171 saves in 314 career games with the Giants, will start the game but likely only pitch an inning.

Wilson will be followed to the mound by the regularly scheduled starter Freddie Cabrera (2-2, 5.05).

Photo: Who's ready for newly acquired Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Brian Wilson 38? 48? He is scheduled to take the mound tonight for the first time in over a year for your Quakes as they take on the Lake Elsinore Storm. Wilson is scheduled to start so make sure you arrive early. Game time 7:05pm. Gates open 6:05pm. Go Quakes!

 

 

Mount off the DL for Quakes

There was a lot of roster moves made by the parent club Dodgers to the Rancho Cucamonga roster.

The most notable move for local baseball followers is that third baseman Ryan Mount came off the disabled list. The Ayala High School grad was having a career year (hitting .342) when he injured the same foot he had surgically repaired two years ago. He was in the starting lineup on Tuesday for the first time since May 31.

Right-handed pitcher Edwin Carl has been signed to a free agent contract and assigned to Rancho Cucamonga while  another right-hander, Craig Stem, has been transferred to Rancho Cucamonga from Class-A Great Lakes of the Midwest League.

Outfielder Devin Shines has been transferred to Great Lakes while  infielder James McDonald has been transferred to Rookie-League Arizona.

Quakes, Sixers back in action

After a day off both local California teams are back in action.

Rancho Cucamonga will host Lake Elsinore while Inland Empire will be traveling to High Desert. Both games are set for 7:05 p.m.

The Quakes (52-62) will send (4-6, 5.03)Lindsay Caughel to the mound while the Storm (50-63), a Padres affiliate, will counter with John Barbato (2-4, 5.19.

Meanwhile the Sixers will start Orangel Arenas (6-5, 4.98), who has been nearly unhittable at home but struggled in road games.  Jordan Pries (6-6, 5.07) is slated to start for the Mavericks.

Inland Empire outfielder shooting for rare Triple Crown

Winning a Triple Crown is tough in the majors, but it’s almost as tough in the minors. Inland Empire outfielder Zach Borenstein has a shot.

Borenstein, a 23rd round draft pick out of Eastern Illinois, leads the California League in batting (.341). The next two players behind him in that category have been promoted and won’t have enough at-bats by the end of the year to qualify.

The other two categories might be tougher. Borenstein has 21 home runs, trailing only Rancho Cucamonga’s Scott Schebler (23) and Sixers teammate Michael Snyder (22).

In RBI Borenstein (76) trails just Andrew Aplin (84) and Matt Duffy (77), both of Lancaster. That might the toughest deficit to overcome because the two frontrunners have a decided advantage playing in the most hitter friendly venue in the league. It’s actually amazing the Borenstein is that close in RBI with Aplin having played 23 more games.

The last player to win a Triple Crown in the Cal League is Ruben Gonzalez who did so with the then San Bernardino Spirit in 1989. His numbers weren’t exactly overwhelming – a .308 batting average with 27 home runs and 101 RBI.

Borenstein also seems to have a legitimate shot at Cal League Player of the Year honors. He leads the league in slugging percentage (.649).

If nothing else, Borenstein has put himself on the Angels’ organization’s radar. He wasn’t listed in the top 30 prospects this year but it would be hard for Baseball America to leave him out next year given those numbers.

Sixers, Quakes back in action tonight

The Inland Empire 66ers and Rancho Cucamona Quakes both return from an off day in pursuit of a California League playoff berth and will start a head-to-head three-game set at 7:05 tonight at San Manuel Stadium.

The Sixers (58-50 overall, 21-17 second half) finished second to Lancaster in the first half and are second in the second, two games behind that same opponent. They are in good position to make the postseason as a wild card if they don’t win the half at 4 1/2 games better than Seattle affiliate High Desert and eight better than the Quakes for the second playoff spot.

If Lancaster, a Houston Astros affiliate, wins the second half too, the two teams with the next best records would advance.

The Quakes (50-58, 19-19) have been a much better team in the second half and come into the set having won seven straight series. They are four games behind Lancaster for the half and 3 1/2 behind High Desert for the second wild card, assuming Lancaster wins the second half.

The Sixers are led by reigning Cal League Player of the Week Zach Borenstein while outfielder Scott Schebler has spearheaded the Quakes resurgence.

Carlos Frias (2-3, 4.11) is the scheduled starter for the Quakes while the Sixers counter with All-Star Mark Sappington(10-4, 3.42).

 

2014 California League schedule is released

Here is the 2014 Cal League schedule, if you click on the link below. Quakes open at home on April 3, play the 66ers for the first time, at home on April 7, and 66ers open at home on April 10.

66ers will host on July 4, Quakes on July 3.

2014 California League Schedule(1)

Borenstein finally back for 66ers; Baez promoted from Quakes

 

Zach BorensteinPedro Baez

Zach Borenstein, who hadn’t played since June 15 with a strained hip flexor after hitting .315 with 16 home runs and 50 RBIs in 65 games, finally returned to the 66ers lineup on Wednesday. He was activated off the disabled list and had RBI singles in each of his first two at-bats at Lancaster. The Sixers had an open roster spot so they did not need to make another move.

Not so for the Quakes, who needed to find room for former big-league closer Carlos Marmol. Since Marmol is technically a minor leaguer and not on a rehab assignment, the Quakes needed to make room for him. The room was made with Pedro Baez, in his first year as a pitcher, getting promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. Baez was 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA and two saves in 32 appearances for the Quakes.

“Double-A will challenge him to make more progress,” Quakes manager Carlos Subero said. “It will help in his development.”