Results tagged ‘ Fresno Grizzlies ’

31 Days Till Opening Day

31 Days Till Opening Day

Ryan Lollis, sporting jersey number 31 during the 2012 season, helps us count down to the 2013 Opening Day on Thursday, April 4th at Chukchansi Park.

Lollis, 26, played at the Triple-A level for the first time in his career last season. Over 50 games with the Grizzlies, the Houston, Texas native batted .309 with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 21 RBIs. He also posted a .393 OBP and .434 SLG.

The left-handed outfielder’s stint with the Grizzlies was unexpected, but due to injuries and Major League promotions during the middle of July, Lollis was able to get his first taste of Triple-A action. He became the Grizzlies’ everyday center fielder immediately after his first game on July 12 at Tucson.

One of Lollis’ standout performances from last year was his 3-double performance on August 2nd vs. Nashville. His final double of the night proved most vital as it was a walk-off hit to give the Grizzlies a 4-3 win in 11 innings.

Lollis began the 2012 season with Class A Advanced San Jose. He batted .296/.347/.418 over 75 games with the Giants.

He holds a .299 batting average with .364 OBP and .405 SLG over his 4-year career entering 2013. Lollis was drafted by San Francisco in the 37th round of the 2009 Draft out of the University of Missouri.

34 Days Till Opening Day

34 Days Till Opening Day

Tony Torcato, who wore jersey number 34 in 2004, played for the Grizzlies between 2001 and 2005. The Giants’ 1st round pick from the 1998 Draft played in the San Francisco organization until 2005, including 43 games with the Giants between over four years.

Torcato is among the Grizzlies all-time leaders in several offensive categories. He is 2nd in hits (530) and games played (496), tied for 3rd in doubles (86), and 4th in RBIs (234).

Torcato’s final year in affiliated baseball was with the Chicago White Sox organization in 2006. His route to the White Sox system, though, was rather circuitous.

After the 2005 season, Torcato was released by the Giants. With no offers from American teams, the Woodland, Calif. native elected to play overseas.

Torcato joined a team in Grosseto, Italy, “playing three games a week on Fridays and Saturdays.”

“The competition was low,” Torcato said in an interview with Gary Traynham of the Democrat Sports Editor. “Some of the teams played like Valley High School, like the Bad News Bears. I said, ‘Man! Why am I doing this.'”

After joining the Chicago organization in May of 2006, Torcato went on to play in 78 games with Chicago’s Triple-A team, the Charlotte Knights, of the International League. He batted .249 with 2 home runs and 22 RBIs.

In 2008, Torcato played in the independent Golden Baseball League. He played for 2 teams: the Chico Outlaws and Long Beach Armada. It was his final year in pro baseball.

35 Days Till Opening Day

35 Days Till Opening Day

Travis Ishikawa, who wore jersey number 35 in his first season with the Grizzlies in 2008, helps us count down to Opening Day on April 4th.

The left-handed slugger out of Seattle, Wash. made quite a bit of noise in his first run with Fresno back in 2008. After starting the season with Double-A Connecticut, Ishikawa was transferred to the Grizzlies in mid-June. In 48 games with the Grizzlies, he batted .310 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs. Add in 19 doubles and 3 triples, Ishikawa posted an envious .737 slugging percentage in 2008.

By mid-August, Ishikawa earned his first taste of the Major Leagues. He would go on to finish the 2008 season with San Francisco, batting .274 with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs.

The 29-year-old played for the Giants in 2009 and 2010 before finishing his career with the San Francisco organization (for the time being at least) with the Grizzlies in 2011.

Ishikawa is currently in big league Spring Training with the Baltimore Orioles as a non-roster invitee.

37 Days Till Opening Day

37 Days Till Opening Day

Right-handed pitcher Andrew Kown was with the Grizzlies for both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Over 48 games (47 starts) in a Fresno uniform, Kown is 16-17 with a 5.00 ERA (142er, 252.2ip) and 169 strikeouts against 96 walks.

The 6’7″ hurler ranks in the top-10 for the Grizzlies’ all-time career totals in wins and games started.

In 2011, Kown tied with Matt Yourkin for the team lead in wins with 10. That same season, Kown was the lone player to represent the Grizzlies at the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Fun fact: Kown drove in a run in his first start of the 2012 season on April 8. The RBI, which contributed to a Grizzlies 4-1 victory over Tucson, was just Kown’s second career RBI. His only previous RBI was recorded back in 2008 when he played for the Columbus Clippers. Both of his 2 career RBIs have been with 2 outs.

Kown has signed with the Giants organization once again for the 2013 season. He is at San Francisco’s minor league spring training camp.

The Marietta, Georgia native was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 5th round of the 2004 Draft out of Georgia Tech. He has also pitched for the Washington Nationals organization (2008-2010).

38 Days Till Opening Day

38 Days Till Opening Day

Pitcher Matt Palmer wore jersey number 38 in 2007 when he made 29 appearances (25 starts) for Fresno.

The right hander pitched for the Grizzlies between 2006 and 2008. He is 3rd on the Grizzlies’ all-time career strikeouts list (305) as well as 4th in all-time career wins (23).

The Memphis, Tenn. native pitched for the San Diego Padres organization in 2012, including 3 games with San Diego. He also made 20 starts for Tucson, going 6-9 with a 5.66 ERA. One of those losses was against Fresno on July 13th when he allowed 6 runs on 6 hits over 4 innings.

Palmer is currently in big league Spring Training with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-roster invite.

For what it’s worth, Palmer has only pitched for California-based Major League organizations: Giants, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego, and now Los Angeles Dodgers. California dreamin’.

41 Days Till Opening Day

41 Days Till Opening Day

Eli Whiteside, wearing jersey number 41 in 2012, helps us count down to Opening Day on April 4th.

Whiteside played for the Grizzlies in 2008, 2009, and 2012. The native of New Albany, Miss. batted .233 (109-for-468) with 25 doubles, 9 home runs, and 66 RBIs in a Grizzlies uniform over 143 games in his career.

The catcher was a member of the San Francisco Giants during the playoffs of their 2010 World Series run.

The Grizzlies’ 2013 Opening Day against the Tacoma Rainiers kicks off an 8-game homestand from April 4-11.

Classic Grizzlies

The final World Baseball Classic rosters were announced, and there are 12 former Fresno Grizzlies on 8 different teams participating in the international tournament.

The 12 past Grizzlies combine for 453 games played in a Fresno uniform during their careers, with Edgar Gonzalez leading the pack with 137 games. The total number of games played does not include Hensely Meulens’ time with the Grizzlies as he was Fresno’s hitting coach in 2009.

Special tip of the hat to Jason Grilli. The right-handed pitcher is an O.G. (Original Grizzly). Grilli played for Fresno during the Grizzlies’ inaugural season in 1998. He also pitched for the Grizzlies in 1999.

The first slate of WBC games start on March 2. The Championship Round will be held at AT&T Park in San Francisco from March 17-19.

If you need more primer for the WBC, check out team previews written by friend of the Grizzlies/Big League Stew blog writer Mike Oz.

The complete list of Grizzlies in the WBC can be found below. Years with the Grizzlies are in parentheses:

  • Clayton Tanner – Australia (2012)
  • Santiago Casilla – Dominican Republic (2010-11)
  • Jason Grilli – Italy (1998-99)
  • Tyler LaTorre – Italy (2011-12)
  • Horacio Ramirez – Mexico (2010)
  • Sergio Romo – Mexico (2008-09)
  • Edgar Gonzalez – Mexico (2011)
  • Hensley Meulens – Netherlands manager (2009)
  • Luis Figueroa – Puerto Rico (2007)
  • Andres Torres – Puerto Rico (2009, 2011)
  • Ryan Vogelsong – USA (2011-12)
  • Pablo Sandoval – Venezuela (2011-12)

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Gillaspie traded to White Sox

The San Francisco Giants announced on Friday they traded infielder Conor Gillaspie to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitcher Jeff Soptic.

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Gillaspie has spent most of the last 2 seasons with the Grizzlies, batting .289/.368/.447 with 25 home runs and 110 RBIs. Gillaspie led Fresno in walks with 66 in 2011.

The Wichita State product was selected 37th overall by the Giants in the 2008 Draft.

Soptic was drafted by the White Sox in the 3rd round of the 2011 Draft out of Johnson County (Kan.) Community College. The Leawood, Kansas native spent all of 2012 with Single-A Kannapolis, appearing in 27 games. He was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA (26er, 43.1ip) and 36 strikeouts against 29 walks. He also had 16 wild pitches. Opponents batted .176 against Soptic last year.

The right-hander was rated as having the best fastball in the Chicago farm system by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season.

Linden re-signs with Giants for 2013

According to Baseball America, OF/1B Todd Linden has signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants. The contract doesn’t include an invitation to big league Spring Training.

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Linden led the Grizzlies in walks and strikeouts in 2012 (Don Davis/dadphoto.com)

The 2013 season will be Linden’s second consecutive season with the Giants organization as he spent all of 2012 with Fresno. The 12-year veteran also played in the Dominican Winter League this past offseason, batting .256 (23-for-90) with 7 home runs and 13 RBIs over 29 games with Estrellas de Oriente. The 7 homers were tied for the third-most in the league. He also carried a .393 OBP and .522 SLG with Estrellas.

Last season, Linden moved atop the Grizzlies’ all-time leader board in several offensive categories, including hits (563), home runs (83), and RBIs (310). The native of Edmonds, WA has played in 558 games over six seasons with the Grizzlies since 2002.

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Linden’s veteran presence in the Grizzlies clubhouse helped younger players such as Charlie Culberson transition to Triple-A and even the Majors (Don Davis/dadphoto.com)

For most – if not all – players, a career in the minors is undesirable. Linden probably has that same mindset, but he never let it show with the Grizzlies in 2012. He was a professional all year, helping Fresno finish with a winning record and mentoring up-and-coming players as they knock on the Major League door.

Who’s Next – Top Prospects Ranked

MLB.com and Baseball America released their respective 2013 Top Prospect lists for the San Francisco Giants organizations.

The MLB.com version is for the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Two Giants cracked the list: RHP Kyle Crick at #86 and OF Gary Brown at #100. This is the first time Crick made the MLB.com list while Brown was #48 for the 2012 version.

Baseball America, meanwhile, has been rolling out their organizational top prospects for each farm system over the last few weeks. January 30th was the Giants’ turn. Beat writer Andy Baggarly filed this year’s list as he has done in years past.

Crick was the top choice for the Baseball America list. Brown was fourth. While Crick is not considered to appear in Triple-A this season, many project Brown to possibly start the season with Fresno or at least make a stop with the Grizzlies some time in 2013.

Brown played all of 2012 with Double-A Richmond. He struggled early on with the Flying Squirrels, hitting .227 through his first 23 games, but he rebounded with a strong May and June to finish with a .279 batting average. He also played in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.

Three Fresno Grizzlies from 2012 were in the Top 10 Prospect List: Heath Hembree (#7), Francisco Peguero (#8), and Roger Kieschnick (#9).

Hembree is coming off his first pro season at Triple-A. He tied for the team lead with the Grizzlies in saves with 15 despite missing a month-and-a-half with an arm injury. Before he went on the disabled list, Hembree was elected to the PCL mid-season All-Star team.

Peguero parlayed his first Triple-A season into his Major League debut last August. Peguero had a team-best 10 triples for Fresno last season, which are tied for the second-most ever by a Grizzlies hitter in a single season. The outfielder made his big league debut on August 25th and played in a total of 17 games for the Giants.

Peguero was rated as having the best outfield arm in the Giants system by Baseball America once again. Here’s proof of that distinction. Yeah, we think he deserves it.

Kieschnick also made his Triple-A debut in 2012. He missed three months due to a left shoulder injury, but still managed to pace the Grizzlies in home runs with 15. Here is video evidence of power.

Kieschnick went down with the injury on May 31st, when he was batting .319. He appeared in four games as a designated hitter in the final series of the season from August 31-September 3, hitting a home run in the penultimate game.

Another name to watch for on the possible 2013 Grizzlies roster is Michael Kickham. The left-handed pitcher was placed fifth on Baseball America’s Top 10 list. The Missouri State product made 27 starts over 28 games for Double-A Richmond in 2012, going 11-10 with a 3.05 ERA. He had 137 strikeouts and 75 walks in 150.2 innings pitched.

He has quickly risen through the Giants system – he skipped High-A San Jose – and he may earn a shot at Triple-A in 2013 based on his career projection thus far. Kickham is rated as having the best slider in the Giants system according to Baseball America, a lethal pitch for a southpaw. The 24-year-old was selected by the Giants in the sixth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

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