Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Every MLB Team's Top Prospect Who Could Shock the Baseball World This Spring

Our agent sent this to us this morning and made me really excited, I know this is something most of you would want to see! I'm so proud of Jake and how hard he is working! 

Top prospect who could shock baseball world 

Jacob Brigham, RHP, Texas Rangers (By: Zachary Ball)

The Rangers have too many talented starting pitchers to risk taking a chance on Jacob Brigham. The 24-year old still has plenty of worth to the organization, however, especially with a recent move to the bullpen.
After moving to the pen in the middle of last season, Brigham shined, racking up 22 strikeouts in 16 innings while holding down a 1.69 ERA in July.
Brigham will make the jump to Triple-A in 2012, but whether he's going to make the move as a starter or reliever is yet to be known. He'll likely get some innings in spring camp out of the pen, and with all the transition the Rangers pitching staff has undergone since the end of the 2011 season, there's no ruling him out of making the opening day roster.


Oliver Drake, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Drake's backstory is one of the best around. Formerly of the United States Naval Academy, he was ineligible to be drafted, due to the inevitable military commitment that comes after graduation.
Only a handful of teams realized that wasn't actually the case. The Orioles utilized a loophole that allows cadets to be drafted prior to their junior year and selected the right-hander in the 43rd round of the 2008 MLB draft.
Since signing, Drake has quietly moved up the ladder, showing uncanny control and the ability to eat innings like a workhorse. He tossed a career-high 162.2 innings last season. During the regular season, he dominated the High-A Carolina League (8-3, 2.14 ERA) and then got lit up in the Double-A Eastern League (3-5, 5.20). He made a brief appearance for Triple-A Norfolk and ended his campaign strong with Bowie, tossing 5.2 shutout innings in his final start.
Drake's performance was impressive enough for the O's to add him to their 40-man roster for the 2012 season. He could start the year in the Triple-A rotation, but the Tides figure to have a pretty stacked starting five, so don't discount him heading back to Double-A.
Then again, there's literally no spot that's secure in the big-league's starting five, so don't rule out Drake earning a spot there either. One thing he has going for him is his health. He's started at least 21 games in each of his three full seasons.
With Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and numerous members of the O's bullpen dealing with injuries, or coming back from them, Drake has about a 10 percent shot.

Chris Carpenter, RHP, Boston Red Sox

Rob Carr/Getty Images
The newest member of the Red Sox organization, Carpenter was the compensation that was finally agreed upon, once and for all, completing the deal that allowed Theo Epstein to move from Boston to Chicago.
Seeing as how the Red Sox have a couple of the most unproven fourth and fifth-starter candidates in the East, it only makes sense that Carpenter can throw his hat in the ring too. The other Carpenter made 10 appearances for the Cubs last year, posting a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 innings. Prior to 2011, however, he had been a fairly reliable starter, racking up 53 starts since 2009.
He made the move to the pen in 2011 in an attempt to get his arm onto the roster. Interestingly enough, Carpenter had by far his worst showing as a reliever, witnessing an increase of two and a half runs from his 2010 ERA.
Carpenter was drafted by the Yankees back in 2004, but refused to sign, instead heading to college. He's a dark-horse candidate for sure but definitely somebody who could impress in his debut in the AL East.

Austin Romine, C, New York Yankees

Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Romine is in no way, shape or form a mediocre prospect. In fact, he's one of the top defensive catchers in the minor leagues.
Still, it would be a shock to see him force his way onto the Opening Day roster. Think, however, of all he has going for him. His immediate roadblock to the big-league job, Jesus Montero, was dealt to Seattle, and the Yankees other top catching prospect, Gary Sanchez, will be playing the 2012 season in High-A ball, two levels below Triple-A, where Romine will be.
If anything, that should give Romine some confidence, not to mention a little bit of breathing room.
With an incredibly impressive spring, Romine could force Russell Martin to the bench.

Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Elsa/Getty Images
Archer was a highly regarded prospect coming over to Tampa from Chicago late last offseason. Taking a closer look back at his performances, however, one can see that he benefited greatly from one stellar season, 2010, in which he went 15-3 and held down a 2.34 ERA. Prior to that season, his career ERA was closer to 5.00.
Not to mention the problem he's always had with walks. That problem, along with many others, reared its head last season, when Archer endured one of the roughest stretches of his career. He walked a personal-worst 86 batters in 147.1 innings. Batters teed off on him at the highest rate of his career. He also surrendered 11 home runs, after giving up just six the two previous seasons.
Despite all negatives of 2011, Archer still has sensational stuff. His fastball is one of the best in Tampa's system, and with a little control, he could be a vital piece of the Rays' future.
There are no spots open for debate in the Rays' rotation, which means if Archer wants to earn a role for 2012 in the big leagues it will have to be as a reliever. With his stuff, he could be a top-notch closer.

David Cooper, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

J. Meric/Getty Images
With Adam Lind coming off another fine season, it appears there's no competition for the first-base job in Toronto, leaving David Cooper ticketed back to Triple-A, where he tore apart Pacific Coast League pitching in 2011.
The 25-year-old hit .364, pacing the PCL. He also topped the circuit in on-base percentage and finished 15th in slugging percentage, despite slugging only nine home runs in 467 at-bats. He more than made up for his lack of home run power with 51 doubles—a number that led all minor leaguers in 2011.
Even more impressive than his batting average and doubles total was his plate discipline. He walked an astonishing 24 more times than he struck out. The fact that Cooper didn't win the PCL MVP was a travesty.
Defensively, Cooper is limited to first base, and even if he could manage to learn another position, he'd be just as blocked there as anywhere else.
With a strong offensive showing in camp, and a poor one by Lind, Cooper could make things interesting, especially with the team focused on youth.

Jhan Marinez, RHP, Chicago White Sox

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Marinez had an up-and-down six-year career with the Marlins before being sent to Chicago as compensation for Ozzie Guillen.
Despite reaching the big leagues in 2010, Marinez never got back, even after an impressive campaign with the Marlins' Double-A squad last season. The right-hander set career-bests in innings, strikeouts and victories.
In Chicago, Marinez appears to have an even worse chance at cracking the big-league squad's bullpen. He is, however, armed with a blazing fastball, has closing potential, and at this point, just needs a chance to prove his worth.

Russ Canzler, INF, Cleveland Indians

There would be no greater shock in all of baseball than if Russ Canzler, after eight minor league seasons and nearly 2,500 at-bats, was able to force his way onto the Indians Opening Day roster.
His timing, however, could not be better.
The 25-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, one in which he hit .314 with 40 doubles, 18 homers and 83 RBI. He was named to both the midseason and postseason All-Star squads and took home International League MVP honors in his first season at the Triple-A level.
In addition, he saw time at four different positions (LF, RF, 1B, 3B) during his time with the Rays, making him an incredibly valuable resource for a team looking for a versatile guy off the bench. Tampa itself didn't have room for him on their crowded roster, so they shipped him off to Cleveland for cash considerations.
Canzler certainly has the experience to challenge for a spot on the Opening Day roster. All he has to do now is light it up in spring camp.

Duane Below, LHP, Detroit Tigers

Dave Reginek/Getty Images
Below doesn't have the prospect pedigree of Jacob Turner, but there's a great likelihood that he will be the one who locks down the fifth spot in the rotation come Opening Day.
Just two years removed from Tommy John surgery that threatened to bring an end to his career as a starting pitcher, Below had a terrific campaign at Triple-A Toledo, where he went 9-4 with a 3.13 ERA and held batters to a .232 average. Against lefties, Below was devastating, holding them to a .168 average.
He earned his way onto the roster late in the season and even managed to make a few spot starts, although the majority of his appearances came out of the pen, where he saw action for the first time since 2008.
Below not only has the edge on Turner in age (at 26, he's nearly six years older), but also in experience. He's thrown over 600 innings in the minors, compared to Turner's 246.
Heading into the 2012 season with a run-creating dynamo at its core, Detroit will probably look to the pitcher less likely to screw things up, and while Turner might be the best bet in the long run, odds are the Tigers will turn to Below first.

Clint Robinson, 1B, Kansas City Royals

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Robinson making the roster would definitely qualify as a shock, considering his primary position is first base—the same spot that is currently occupied by 2011 AL Rookie of the Year candidate Eric Hosmer.
Still, over the past few years, Robinson has been one of the best hitters in the minor leagues. The past two seasons have seen the 27-year-old hit 76 doubles and 53 home runs, rack up 176 runs and 198 RBI, all the while maintaining a .330 average.
The Royals have a glut of corner infielders, many of whom have already been forced into corner outfield spots, leaving Robinson with little chance to make the team—even if he has a jaw-dropping performance this spring.
Still, greater longshots have made the Opening Day roster.

Jacob Brigham, RHP, Texas Rangers

The Rangers have too many talented starting pitchers to risk taking a chance on Jacob Brigham. The 24-year old still has plenty of worth to the organization, however, especially with a recent move to the bullpen.
After moving to the pen in the middle of last season, Brigham shined, racking up 22 strikeouts in 16 innings while holding down a 1.69 ERA in July.
Brigham will make the jump to Triple-A in 2012, but whether he's going to make the move as a starter or reliever is yet to be known. He'll likely get some innings in spring camp out of the pen, and with all the transition the Rangers pitching staff has undergone since the end of the 2011 season, there's no ruling him out of making the opening day roster.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fontana Family

Lewis in the middle with his two brothers.
I wanted to ask all of you to please pray for one of Jake's long time friends and friends of the Brigham family. Lewis Fontana was in a serious car accident early Sunday morning. He was air lifted to ORMC with internal bleeding, and has had two surgeries. One of them was to fix his broken ankle, and to stop bleeding. Please pray for healing and pray for all the families who have been impacted by this. Prayer is a powerful thing, and I know that the people this is going to believe in prayer. Thank you for all your prayers for Lewis, and his family. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Facts about baseball

I wanted to update everyone with the season and explain a few things, especially to my new followers! :)

Texas Rangers Affiliation

Here is a map where all of the Texas Ranger affiliate teams are located...

Big Leagues
Texas Rangers

Triple A Affiliate

Double A Affiliate

Class A Advanced Affiliate

Class A Affiliate  

 Short Season

Each of these teams are levels and where Jake has played.. Some have skipped different levels, and other have played in same level for years! We played at AA last season in Frisco. We don' t know where we will be this year, and won't find out until a few days before camp breaks (this makes it really easy to find a place!) 

Spring training starts for Jake on Thursday! He is very excited to get back in routine, and I am happy for him to get the ball rolling! 

Facts during season:
Major league season plays 162 games in 180 days 
Minor league season plays 142 games in 160 days

Each Roaster has 25 players.
Normally 13 position players & 12 pitchers (5 starters, 7 relievers) 

As a starter you pitch every 5th day, as a reliever you are available every day. 

Short season to AA they travel in a bus and location could be as far as 16 hours away 
AAA-Big Leagues-Fly everywhere

When you fly for AAA you have to be on the first flight out of the city your in, and typically those are 5-6 am flights, this is the league rule - they do this if delays in flights, you still have all day to get there to be at the game that night (yes they do have to play that night, along with every other night.)

They play half in our city where we are at, half on the road (all levels)

Starting in April, Jake and I will never be able to eat dinner together unless at 11 p.m every night. He goes into the field everyday around 1 pm and we don't leave until 10:30-11 depending on game finishing. 

When he travels to different cities, I cannot fly or travel with him, I would have to follow the bus or get a different flight. I only went on two road trips last season, but hope to go on more this year depending on location.

I go to every home game, and is usually 3 hours long (if no extra innings!) Last season I didn't buy one thing at the field (impressive huh?) I smuggled in snacks, and allowed to bring waters. It would be half our pay check if I bought a water every night there!

and... Texas Rangers was rated the TOP organization from top to bottom (all levels) in baseball! Pretty awesome to be apart of this organization!!  

Hope you learned something new today! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Interviews with Jake

Jake recently had a few articles written on him, and wanted to share with you all! 


I really enjoy helping Jake with the interviews, I feel like his secretary typing up his answers.. I always try to throw some stuff in there, but Jake usually makes me delete it, the second article Peter asked some fun questions about us, which usually I never get brought up in interviews so that was kind of fun! Hope you enjoy! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Home sweet Arizona

We finally made it to Arizona on Wednesday! We had an interesting day to say the least! We ended up using some free points we had that were going to expire, and didn't look at the route it was taking us.. Keep in mind, I hate flying and our route took us from FL, to Boston..had an hour layover and plane change, then from Boston to Arizona (5 hr flight!!) We had Sophie with us (our dog) and it took us about 12 hours to finally arrive. I ALMOST did not get on that plane, I had to have a few people talk help me through it (the moms) BUT I ended up getting on it lol. When we got to AZ we got a taxi take us to Surprise which was 45 min ride.. We didn't get in until 2:30 am.. We crashed!! The next morning was very busy! We had to get a ride to get our rental car, then pay some bills and sign paperwork at furniture place, sign our lease..wait for internet & cable, and then furniture people who were 7 hours late to deliver in between that our rental car got hit (no damage thank goodness) along with no insurance, and getting our apartment to feel like home! AHH... We again crashed Thursday night, and I was over everything that happened the last 48 hours! 
So excited to see snow!! 

The next day, I was feeling much better, and realized there will ALWAYS be things that go wrong when your moving across the country, and it was a new day! Jake is so excited to be back, and working out! He threw a really good bullpen on Friday, and is feeling ready/excited/anxious/nervous/happy you name it! :) 

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!
it was soooooo cold!!! 
 We relaxed most of the day on Friday, ran a few more errands to get things we needed, and yesterday we decided to go to the Grand Canyon! Jake has never been the 6 years he has been out here, and we decided to go since our off days together are limited! He was in awe of the Grand Canyon, and it truly was amazing!! I went when I was little, but obviously didn't appreciate it.. We got lunch to eat there, was pretty cold (30's) so ended up not staying as long as we wanted to! Spring training starts on the 23rd, next weekend we plan on going to San Diego to visit my sister, for my nephew's birthday, along with Jake's on Friday, enjoying this small vacation and weekends off (we won't see those for 7 months pretty soon!)