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National Pastime Archive: July 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Madison Bumgarner, Giants

    No minor league pitcher in recent memory has overwhelmed the competition quite like Madison Bumgarner. After selecting Bumgarner with the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of a small North Carolina high school, San Francisco Giants officials simply hoped he would hold his own, learn and make progress last year in his pro debut; instead, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound southpaw went 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA and 164-to-21 K-to-walk ratio in leading the Augusta GreenJackets to the Class A South Atlantic League title. In his encore performance, Bumgarner - who turns 20 on Aug. 1 - has continued his rapid climb up the Giants' organizational ladder while staking his claim as the top pitching prospect in baseball. Published July 28 2009

  • Welcome to the show, Chris Tillman

    The Baltimore Orioles did everything they could to exercise extreme patience with top prospect Chris Tillman. They resisted the urge to promote him last year despite his 11-4 record, 3.18 ERA and 10.22 strikeouts per nine innings in Double-A. They declined to turn to the 21-year-old righty earlier this season even after he got off to a 5-0 start in Triple-A while the big league rotation scuffled, and held firm in recent weeks as Orioles fans clamored for a call-up. The wait - which seemed a lot longer than it actually was, thanks in part to Rich Hill and Jason Berken - is over. Published July 27 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Matt Moore, Rays

    Matt Moore used his low- to mid-90s fastball and sharp, late-breaking curve to earn Gatorade New Mexico Player of the Year honors as a senior at Moriarty High School but still managed to slide all the way to the eighth round of the 2007 draft. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound southpaw posted a 2.66 ERA and fanned 29 in 20 innings for the Rookie-level Princeton Rays in his pro debut that summer but somehow failed to crack Baseball America's list of the Tampa Bay Rays' top 30 prospects. A dominant 2008 season ended Moore's days of flying under the radar, however, and a great first couple months in 2009 has solidified his top prospect status. Published July 22 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Nick Hagadone, Red Sox

    The Boston Red Sox thought they had a steal on their hands when they snagged University of Washington left-hander Nick Hagadone with the 55th pick in the 2007 draft, and the early returns suggested they were right. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder got lit up for five runs in his pro debut that summer for the short-season Class A Lowell Spinners, then settled in and kept his opponents off the board in his final nine appearances. Promoted to the Class A Greenville Drive to begin the 2008 season, Hagadone opened the year with 10 more scoreless frames. But in his third start he blew out his elbow, necessitating Tommy John surgery and ending his season. Published July 16 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Drew Storen, Nationals

    There's a lot of blame to be spread around for the Washington Nationals' 26-61 first-half showing, and the team's relief pitchers certainly deserve a good chunk of it. The Nats rank dead last in Major League Baseball in bullpen ERA (5.71) and their relievers have combined to blow more than half the save opportunities their young rotation has provided (a big league-worst 18 of 32). Given that backdrop, it comes as no surprise that the club used its second first-round pick in the 2009 draft, No. 10 overall, to select college baseball's top reliever, Drew Storen of Stanford. Published July 14 2009

  • July 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

    Three of the Baltimore Orioles' elite prospects moved a step closer to the big leagues in June as right-hander Jake Arrieta and first baseman Brandon Snyder were promoted to Triple-A Norfolk and lefty Brian Matusz joined Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, righty Brandon Erbe - who missed about two months with shoulder fatigue - began a rehab assignment with short-season Class A Aberdeen, and right-handed pitcher Matt Hobgood, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft, agreed to a deal that included a $2.42 million bonus and was assigned to Rookie-level Bluefield. Published July 1 2009