Just four teams and 11 players were involved in transactions last week, including four former big leaguers. It’s the least amount of teams and players involved in transactions in a one-week span all season. Before we get to the roster moves, though, here are some newsworthy items:
Pitcher of Month: Former Skeeters’ pitcher Michael Nix has been named the Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month for the month of May. Nix was recently picked up by the Chicago White Sox. During the month, Nix went 5-0 in five starts while holding opponents scoreless in 30.1 innings of work and accumulating 28 strikeouts to just six walks for the Skeeters.
Player of the Month: Somerset Patriots’ corner infielder Corey Smith was selected as the Atlantic League Player of the Month for the month of May. During the month he hit .333 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 27 games.
Player of the Week: Lancaster pitcher Horacio Ramirez was named the Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of June 10-16. Ramirez won both of his starts last week, striking out out 17 to just one walk while holding opponents to four earned runs in 12.2 innings of work.
Now on to the transactions….
CAMDEN RIVERSHARKS: Signed LHP Rusy Jones and UTL Dionys Cesar
Jones, 29,was released by the Long Island Ducks in May despite posting a 2.45 ERA – which was third-best on the team – in eight relief appearances, allowing two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and seven walks in 7.1 innings of work. Jones has spent his entire eight-year pro career in independent ball. Entering the 2013 season, the lefty reliever had a career 15-16 record and 5.06 ERA. A Kansas native, Jones went 4-1 with a 2.44 ERA in 32 appearances last season with Edinburg (North American League).
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 1993 by the Oakland Athletics, Cesar made his professional debut in 1995. The 36-year-old switch-hitter made his Atlantic League debut in 2007 with the Long Island Ducks and Lancaster Barnstormers before switching to international baseball in 2008 with teams like Laguna, Reynosa and Chunichi in the Japanese League. In the 43 combined games played with Long Island and Lancaster in 2007, Cesar batted .337 with a homer, 13 RBIs, 19 runs scored and four stolen bases. In 36 games with Sugar Land last season, Cesar posted a .267 average with three homers, 10 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
LANCASTER BARNSTORMERS: Signed OF Jerry Owens, RHP Brodie Downs and INF Matt Spencer, released RHP Alan Johnson
Owens returns to the ‘Stormers after leaving for the Mexican League earlier this year. In 35 games with the Barnstormers, Owens posted a .304 average with three doubles, a triple, eight RBIs and 17 runs scored. He also stole 10 bases. A former big leaguer, Owens retired from the game after the 2009 season but returned to the game this season when he became the first player to sign with the Barnstormers for the 2013 season back in February. In seven games with the Campeche Pirates in the Mexican League, Owens batted a team-low .194.
Downs, 33, last pitched in 2009 in the Seattle Mariners’ organization. The right-handed reliever has a career 6.20 ERA in 27 appearances at the Class AAA level and 4.57 ERA in 55 games (12 starts) at the Class AA level.
Spencer comes to Lancaster less than two weeks since being released by Bridgeport, where he batted .235 with no homers, 10 doubles, one triple, 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored in 32 games. A third-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, Spencer spent the first four years of his pro career in the minors as an outfielder. In 2011, he split time between pitching and playing the outfield. In 2012, he was strictly a pitcher. As an outfielder, he reached Class AAA Iowa in the Chicago Cubs’ system. As a pitcher, he reached Class High A Daytona (Cubs) in 2012. This season is his first in the Atlantic League.
In 10 games (seven starts) for Lancaster, Johnson posted a 1-3 record and 8.02 ERA, walking 21 and striking out 20 in 33.2 innings of work. It’s a drop-off from the 14-6 record and 4.56 ERA the right-hander had for the ‘Stormers in 2012.
Lancaster now has 30 players under contract for the 2013 season (I’m guessing one more corresponding roster move has to be made to reach the 25-man limit since only two players are inactive – catcher Francisco Hernandez – while two others are on the disabled list – outfielder Ryan Harvey and right-hander Robert Hinton), including nine players with major-league experience.
SOMERSET PATRIOTS: Signed RHP Erik Arnesen, released OF Josh Kroeger and LHP Alex Hinshaw
Arnesen returns to the Pats’ just a month after being picked up by the Oakland Athletics and assigned to Class AA Midland, where he posted an 0-1 record and 10.03 in three games (two starts), striking out seven and walking six in 11.2 innings pitched. Arnesen, 29, spent his first seven years as a pro in the Washington Nationals’ organization before coming to Somerset. He has a career 3.76 ERA in 57 games at the Class AAA level. In five starts for the Patriots earlier this season, Arnesen went 2-1 with 4.10 ERA with 27 strikeouts and one walk in 30.2 innings of work. He reported to Oakland’s Class AA Midland (Tex.) affiliate.
In his first season in the Atlantic League, Kroeger held a .254 batting average with four doubles, 14 RBIs and 15 runs scored in 32 games for Somerset. Kroeger, 30, played in 22 games at the major league level with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005. He also has nine seasons of experience at the Class AAA level, played in the farm systems’ of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves. He last played at the Class AAA level in 2007 with the Cubs.
A former big leaguer, Hinshaw leaves the Patriots after signing with them just two weeks ago. In his Atlantic League debut, Hinshaw allowed a run on a hit with four walks and two strikeouts in two relief appearances (one total inning) for Somerset. Hinshaw, 30, came to the Patriots after going 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in 12 games at Class AAA Buffalo (Toronto Blue Jays) earlier this season. Hinshaw has appeared in 90 big league games in his nine-year pro career, posting a career 3-2 big league record and 5.11 ERA. He’s less than a year removed from last pitching in the majors with San Diego and the Chicago Cubs last season.
Somerset now has 29 players under contract (infielder Anderson Hernandez and pitchers Graham Taylor, Brad Thompson and Ryan Zamorsky are inactive while outfielder Joe Holden is on the disabled list).
Sugar Land Skeeters: Los Angeles Angels signed LHP Dustin Richardson, Skeeters signed C Jeff Allen
Richardson became the fifth Skeeters’ player to be picked up by a big league organization this season (tops in the Atlantic League for most players signed by major league franchises this year). The left-hander posted a 1.03 ERA in five relief appearances and one start this year for the Skeeters, striking out five and walking two in 8.2 innings of work. A fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2005, Richardson last pitched in the majors in 2010 with the Red Sox, compiling a 4.15 ERA in 26 games. The 6-foot, 5-inch Texas Tech product split the 2011 season between Class AAA Gwinnett (Braves) and Class AAA nEW Orleans (Marlins), combining for a 4.79 ERA in 46 games. In his Atlantic League debt with the Skeeters in 2012, Richardson went 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA in 17 games (two starts), striking out 31 and walking 14 in 31 total innings.
Ramos played in one game for the Skeeters last season but didn’t see a plate appearance.
The Skeeters now have 28 players under contract (first baseman Josh Pressley, outfielders Steve Moss and Fernando Perez and pitcher Gilbert De La Vara are on the disabled list while infielder Anthony Granato is inactive).
Previous Atlantic League news, transactions:Read More