We all like to set goals for our selves and of course Jan. 1 tends to be the best time to do so. Sometimes we dump those resolutions by, oh, Jan. 5. Other times we actually exceed our greatest hopes … for example, I am willing to bet that Oakland Athletics relief prospect Paul Smyth (pictured above) had no idea on Jan. 1, 2009, that he’d not only sign with the As but would spend more than two months closing out games in the Minors without ever giving up a run in his pro debut!
So the main one I have made is to spend more time here at Got MiLB in 2010 … of course, it isn’t a great sign that it has taken me until January 3 rather than, say, 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1 to start fulfilling this one, but it’s a start …
And, hopefully, I will try to make things more interactive so that you as readers might take a few minutes to chime in with your thoughts and opinions!!!
Anyway, I am going to kick things off this morning by sharing a few words about the 2009 MiLBY Awards.
Now honestly, I wasn’t even sure this was the official title for the awards. When we started giving them out a few years ago, it was simply the term we had lovingly and affectionately bestowed “in house” on the MiLB (Minor League Baseball) end-of-year award winners. And there are an impressive group of them, may I add …
Each year for the last few years we (and I won’t name names so that the voting cabal can remain SOMEWHAT anonymous) spend an inordinate amount of time (no joke) voting for the top hitter, starting pitcher, relief pitcher, team and single-game achievement at (deep breath) short-season , Class A (that would be Midwest/South Atlantic League), Advanced A (Cali, Carolina and Florida State Leagues), Double-A, Triple-A AND the overall winner.
Trust me, we don’t take this voting thing lightly. I bet we spend more time poring over the stats than most BBWAA folks do with the Hall of Fame ballots (for one thing, there are a lot more players to consider). Then we send in our picks, and usually a bulk of the winners can be chosen in that fashion with a sizeable if not unanimous chunk of the votes. But there are always a few where we need to hash it out, narrow down the names and revote, and occasionally even lobby for our picks.
Sometimes, the overall winner will also be a single-level winner. But often it’s someone who doesn’t qualify for one of the regular level awards because he’s moved up through his system … cases in point this year, both our Starting Pitcher of the Year, Chisox ace Daniel Hudson, and Reliever of the Year, San Francisco’s Dan Runzler (pictured below right), started their years at Class A and each pitched at FOUR LEVELS of the Minors and then had GREAT big league debuts as well!!!! That is unbelievably rare, and for two guys to do it? Wow).
On the other hand, our Hitter of the Year, Oakland Athletics first baseman and slugging prospect Chris Carter (below, clearly watching one of his 28 homers fly out of the park), spent most of the season at Double-A Midland, so was not only our Double-A winner but also our Overall Hitter.
We rolled out the stories over the course of the last week of the 2009 calendar year. And since this is often a time when people are spending time with their families, or watching College Football bowl games, or on vacations, it is possible you may have missed them … our biggie, the Hitters of the Year, ran on January 1.
So my first good deed of the 2010 year is to share the link to THE MILBY PAGE here for you so if you missed it you can go and check out the winners and read their individual stories.
And there are some good ones so please don’t just read the overall winners (though they are great too) … one of my favorite stories of the 2009 Draft was that of Kansas closer Smyth, who Oakland picked up with a 35th round pick on the final day of the event. Partly because he had a valid passport, he was shipped right to Vancouver where he became the team’s closer. Normally you won’t hear a whole lot about a senior sign in the 35th round, but when they manage to not give up a run ALL YEAR between a short-season club and a Class A team, a span of more than 35 innings, well, you’re going to hear about them. Those 0.00 ERAs don’t come around every day and neither do guys like Paul Smyth. Remember the name …
So I hope you have all been having a great winter break and are as ready as I am for the “hot stove” season to start cooling off with the approach of the real deal, pitchers and catchers reporting in just a matter of weeks!
Needless to say, we’ll try to keep you updated and interested on the prospect side of the coin, with the annual pre-season Top 50 Prospects package coming up soon, as well as the Top 100 Prospects to watch for fantasy baseball purposes on tap and, of course, our own 10 Players to Watch packages coming for all 30 organizations being prepared even as I write this.
Oh, and my other resolution? To learn some of the technical ins and outs of this blogging thing a little better. Until then, hope you don’t mind TWO pictures of Paul Smyth (and am I the only person who thinks he looks like a young Danny Graves???).
In the meantime, tonight or tomorrow I’ll be back to share with you a story about a project developed by an old baseball friend of mine that I think may revolutionize how people watch and follow amateur baseball … from Little League through the college ranks. Intrigued? Keep an eye on this space!