Well, we are approaching the all-star breaks for the minor leagues, which marks the halfway point in the season. I'm not much for giving "awards" or doing rankings, so I won't be doing any of that, but I will throw out a couple names.
Certainly Jason Windsor has been one of (if not the) best pitcher this season. He has emerged as a rotation candidate in 2007 after putting up great numbers in both Midland and Sacramento. He was baseball's first pitcher to 10 wins.
Nobody has stood head-and-shoulders above anyone else on the offensive side of things, but Jeff Baisley has certainly been a surprise. In Kane County, the third baseman has hit 13 home runs and 15 doubles in 65 games. He needs to be promoted soon though, as Kane County provides little challenge.
Travis Buck has also been among the best offensive players this year. Between Midland and Stockton he has 32 doubles in 70 games, walked a bunch and even stolen 10 bases. The outfielder may end up in Sacramento before the end of the season.
Despite no first round pick this year, the 2006 draft may need to pick up a system that has lost much of its top talent to promotion and trade. There are still many players from the 2005 draft that may rebound, but there isn't much (besides Barton) in the way of top talent. Speaking of the 2006 draft...
For those who don't know, there are a few short-season leagues that start after the draft. Oakland has a team in Vancouver (Northwest League) and a Rookie league squad in Arizona. The two teams are made up mostly of players who were either drafted in the past few years (including this year) or young Latin-American players making their transition to the States.
Rosters are out for the two teams, but they usually are spotty, with some players listed on the roster but not actually playing. This is especially true with Arizona. While many of the top picks haven't signed, some have and are on rosters. Chad Lee (RHP, 4th round) and Jermaine Mitchell (OF, 5th) are both on Vancouver, while Angel Sierra (OF, 8th) is in Arizona. Look for Vancouver to start play today, and Arizona later this week.
Jeremy Brown in Oakland is certainly a good experience for him, and the pay increase doesn't hurt either. Problem is, he isn't getting any playing time. Sure he's taking batting practice, getting instruction from the coaches and catching bullpen sessions, but he isn't getting any actual game time. It's bad enough that he is losing reps, but what good is he doing on Oakland? It made sense when Kendall was out, but what purpose is he serving now?
So should Brown he sent down and... well... anyone else sent up?