Baseball is back in Oct!
Ok, so after starting the week by saying that I will post a new blog every Wednesday in the offseason, I have successfully gone 0-for-1, posting blogs on Monday and now Thursday… I almost made it! At least, if you average them out, you almost get Wednesday… maybe like Tuesday night, around 11 a.m…. and I’m rambling again…
Anyway, the exciting news is that we’re about to flip the calendar page to October, which means that baseball is about to start! No, not necessarily Crawdads baseball, but the Arizona Fall League, which kicks off on Oct. 13.
The AFL is, as it’s name would suggest, a fall league that runs through Nov. 19 and features some of the best and the brightest prospects in the minors. A little bit different than your typical minor leage set up, parent clubs basically share teams, each sending a handful of players to fill out the six teams’ rosters. With so few spots available, it’s definitely a considerable honor to be selected by your parent club to play in this league.
The Rangers prospects are teaming up with prospects from the Royals, Yankees and Cardinals systems to form the Surprise Rafters. Most notable (for us at least) of the Texas representatives is C Doug Hogan, who spent the majority of the 2009 season behind the plate for the Crawdads.
Hogan, a former 16th-round pick out of Clemson in ’08, played in 68 games with the ‘Dads. He batted .249 with 16 homers (3rd on the team) and 43 RBIs, and was a rock behind the plate. He earned mid-season all-star honors, but unfortunately missed the game due to a month-long DL stint. He was promoted to Bakersfield in High-A on Aug. 17 and helped the team make it to the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
While his performance on the field is certainly deserving of the promotion and selection to the AFL, I think it is the Doug Hogan that fans really don’t get to see that is what makes Texas value him so greatly. Hogan not only calls a great game behind the plate, but he has a remarkable presence in the dugout and clubhouse.
Not the most vocal player, or person in general, Hogan led this Crawdads team by example, and did speak when needed as well. He brought an invaluable sense of controlled intensity to every scenario, on and off the field, and it spread throughout the team. There was a marked difference in this club when he went back to Arizona while on the DL, and a relieved reception when he rejoined the club in mid-July. Hogan is one of those rare natural leaders that you can neither create nor groom — some have that quality, most don’t.
This is why we are so excited to have Hogan playing in the prestigious AFL this fall — sooner rather than later, he may just be suiting up in Arlington when summer fades to fall. Hogan will be joined on the Rafters by fellow Texas hopefuls RHP Brennan Garr, RHP Danny Gutierrez, RHP Evan Reed, 2B Marcus Lemon and OF Mitch Moreland.
We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on how Hogan and the Rafters are doing this fall, and keep everyone updated on Hickorycrawdads.com.
Oh, and before I forget, here are some pictures so I don’t get in trouble with a certain someone in the group sales office (not named Kim)…
Hogan at the plate:
Hogan behind the plate:
And, my personal favorite:
Yes, that is a Crawdad hat… priceless.
Until next time, Go ‘Dads!
Andrew Buchbinder is entering his second season as director of broadcasting/media relations with the Crawdads. He has previously served in similar capacities with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) and the Bakersfield Blaze, the ‘Dads High-A affiliate in the California League.