Sunday, February 04, 2007

Brandon Wood
He was the first minor league draft pick in Alley Cats history. He was originally selected by Anaheim Angels in 1st Round (23rd overall) of 2003 amateur entry draft. Wood, while in High School was a 1st team High School All-American. His first attempt in the minors was relatively quiet. Though relatively unknown before the 2005 baseball season, Wood compiled statistics that season that were considered by some to be the greatest offensive season in the minor leagues.
He hit 5 home runs in his rookie league season. His first full year in the minor leagues was with the Single-A affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2004, where he hit .251 with 11 home runs. He spent most of the 2005 season with advanced Single-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, hitting .321 with a California League record 43 home runs and 51 doubles. Combined with two doubles and a triple in four games with the Triple-A Salt Lake Stingers, Brandon Wood became the first known minor leaguer to hit more than 100 extra-base hits in one year. For his efforts in 2005, Wood was awarded the California League and Single-A Offensive Player of the Year awards, was named the player of the year by Minor League Baseball's official website, as well as being named co-player of the year of the Angels minor league system, alongside fellow prospect Howie Kendrick.
Wood was selected by the Angels to play on their Arizona Fall League team, the Surprise Scorpions, in October and early November 2005. He hit a league-record 14 home runs for the league runner-up. In mid-November 2005 he represented the United States on the U.S. Olympic regional qualifying team.
The Cats were able to snag this mega-prospect right out from under the Angels wings. His impact will be felt very soon throughout the league. The Alley Cats currently have young shortstops on their roster, so don't be surprised to see them pencil Wood into the line-up very soon.

Next up..........Tim Lincecum

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Philip Hughes
The 2000's version of "The Pride of the Yankees", arrived in 2004. Hughes from 2004-2007 was the pride of the storied Yankees minor league system. The Alley Cats aquired him and have high hopes that he will be a ficture in their rotation for years to come.
Hughes was the 23rd selection of the June 2004 Amateur Baseball Draft. He had originally committed to play college baseball at Santa Clara University, but chose the professional route with his high selection. As a high school Junior, Hughes was very impressive. He finished his Junior season 12-0, and posted an 0.78 ERA while striking out 85 in 72 innings. He was selected a first-team High School All-American following a Senior season where he posted a record of 9-1, with an 0.69 ERA. In 61 innings he gave up 40 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 83 batters.
Hughes spent 2005, his first full professional year, split between the Yankees' Rookie League team and the Single-A Tampa Yankees. He went 9-1 with a 2.19 ERA, and in 86 innings gave up 54 hits while striking out 93. He recieved a non-roster invite to the Yankees Spring Training complex, but was assigned to AA. At the age of 19, he made his AA debut.
In 2006, in the minor leagues Hughes held opposing batters to a .179 batting average in 146.3 innings, while averaging 2 walks and 10 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. He became stronger as the year progressed; in August he gave up only 10 hits in 30 innings, while striking out 40. Hughes made one appearance in the Eastern League playoffs, earning a no-decision while pitching 6 innings of 1-run ball with 13 strikeouts.
In November 2006 Baseball America rated Hughes the Yankees # 1 prospect, and as having the best curveball and best control in the Yankee system, called him "arguably the best pitching prospect in the minors," and projected him as the Yankees # 1 starter in 2010.
The Alley Cats see him as a possible #1 starter in 2007. Through 2006, in his minor league career Hughes is 21-7 with a 2.13 ERA in 237.1 innings (45 starts), in which he has averaged 5.7 hits, 2.0 walks, and 10.2 strikeouts per 9 innings. Hughes was rated the # 2 prospect in the minor leagues for 2007 by Baseball Digest.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre stated that he reminded him of a young Roger Clemens. He features a power 92-96 mph fastball (mostly 4-seamers, with some 2-seamers), with good late life, a 12-6 and 1-7 hard-breaking curveball.
Look for big things out of Philip Hughes in 2007.

Next up...............Brandon Wood.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Alex Gordon
He was a minor league player in the Kansas City Royals organization the past two seasons. Gordon, a former Nebraska Cornhusker was the 2nd overall draft pick in the 2005 baseball draft. While in college, he was twice selected Big 12 player of the year and was a two time first team college all-american. In 2005 he was selected College Player of the Year by Baseball America. Gordon at Nebraska compiled an impressive set of numbers in his two year stint as a starter. He batted at a .342 clip, started 117 of his 121 games at third base, hit 25 homeruns, 123 runs batted in while slugging .623.
Gordon waisted no time in causing havoc in the Texas League as he put up some impressive numbers his first full season in the minors. At Double-A Wichita, Gordon batted .325, hit 29 homeruns and knocked in 101. He also stole 22 bases, which ranks him as the number one rated 5-tool prospects in all of baseball.
There will be no time until you see Alex Gordon trade in his minor league uniform for the beautiful blue of the Atkins Alley Cats.

Next up.......Philip Hughes.
Over the course of the next few days there will be a player breakdown of each of the Alley Cat minor league players. First on the list will be, Alex Gordon.