There was a lot of impressive things I saw from this football team. As a new fan of the University of South Carolina, I have learned William Brice Stadium is an atmosphere like none other. From the Sandstorm to a stellar recent/past history of many great NFL players, this program pushes the expectations of greatness in exciting fashion. 

Shane Beamer has fierce confidence in his players:

In his first year in 2021, Shane helped lift this team up from underwhelming expectations to an impressive bowl win against North Carolina in the Duke Mayo Bowl. In his second year, he faces a tall task to repeat that run, but in a greater extent. During his on the field interviews, he was poised, yet focused in the teams success. Not only that, his deep concern for the well being and safety of his players is hard to match; from the compassion he showed towards last year starter Luke Doty was something to admire. His excitement towards his players rallying around their veteran leaders is also something to keep an eye on.

The secondary will be a force to wreck with:

With the loss of Jaylen Foster as well as other upper class men, this secondary will have plenty of shoes to fill. Watching this game, walk on safety Joseph Byrnes corralled 2 interceptions in a surprising show up. Alongside Up and coming star, Junior Cam smith comes off last year with 3 picks and many more exciting plays that show he is ready for an excellent year and a top tier corner in the SEC.

Marshawn Lloyd will fill the shoes of Kevin Harris, if not more:

Coming back from an ACL injury, Lloyd looked like he was back with avengence with a touchdown and many more sharp plays where he broke tackles and avoided negative yard plays on a few missed block assignments. He’s accompanied by Juju McDowell and Christian Beal Smith. With this lethal core, it opens up a lot of plays for this offense.

Spencer Rattler had some Solid throws:

Rattler looked solid throwing 8-10 and 73 yards. However, there were some plays where he looked stressed in the pocket and waited too long to throw the ball. If he gets time, he will burn defenses as shown during his time as an Oklahoma Sooner. However, it is up to him to create those plays, read defenses, and call plays that he’s comfortable to execute.

Pass blocking needs work:

This is an understatement as Rattler had a good amount of hurried throws. However, I think it has improved from last year and the run blocking still prevailed as solid. This o line has potential to build on their experience fundamental play, but must correct mistakes made last year to light up the board.

This Defense looked quick:

The defense gave every QB a hard time during the game with hurried throws carrying even more momentum from the end of the season.Fans hope for a  better outcome than finishing 12th in the SEC in total sacks.

Doty is a solid backup option:

Throwing 7 for 9 coming off foot surgery is an impressive feat during this spring game. He will be a great insurance option for this team and an inspiring leader.

This team WILL suprise many:

With several key players injured last year, it was a miracle this team ended up with a winning record. I think this year will be the year to prove opposing team’s fans wrong as a young and healthy Gamecocks team is ready to invade the college football world. Watch out for the Cocks! 😈 

What kind of name is the TinCaps. Long story short, it a new name that is inspired by Johnny Appleseed. Yes the fictional character. Before 2008 their name was the Fort Wayne Wizards, the old mascot was named Dinger the Dragon. The new mascots name is Johnny Tincap. Between the two, dragons would win over Johnny Tincap. In the TinCaps frist season they had a record 318,506 people come to the stadium. The Tincaps have one league Champion from 2009.

The Tincaps have been affiliated with two teams, the Minnesota Twins form 1993 to 1998 and than the San Diego Padres form 1999 to now.

The TinCaps are from Fort Wayne,Indiana. From 1993 to 2008 they played in Memorial Stadium . In 2009 with part of a downtown revitalization project the Tincaps got the new Parkview Field, for a whopping 30.6 million dollars.

Some of the players form the past…

Torii Hunter , who was a 5x All Star ( 02 ,07,09,10 and 13) , 9 time gold glove winner from 01-09 and is apart of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.

Jake Peavy an 3 x All star (05,07,12) , 2x world champion(13,14), NL Cy Young winner (07) Triple Crown winner also in 07.

David Freese was an all star in 2012, World Series champ in 2011 with the Cardinals. In 2011 he won NLCS MVP and also the World Series MVP.

AJ Pierzynski who played from 1998 to 2016 in that time he was a 2x all star (02, 06). He was part of the World Series 2005 with the White Sox and was sliver slugger award in 2012.

Now to the player that still play in the MLB…

Max Fried who is a LHP with the Braves ,broke out in 2020. He was on the MLB first team . He is a Golden glove winner in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, Max was a monster winning the World Series and also winning a Sliver Slugger.

Trea Turner is a SS plays for the Dodgers. Trea has hit for the cycle three times ( 17, 19, and 21 ). He is a fast guy, a 2x stolen base leader (18 and 21), also in 21 he had the best batting AVG in all of the national league. On top of all of that he was also part of the Dodgers World Series team that won in 2019 .

Lastly, the face of the MLB Fernando Tatís Jr. Tatís is the SS for the San Diego Padres, in his short career he has taken over the MLB with a Big coming out party in 2020 where he was voted to the MLB frist team ( 2020 and 2021 ). He is also a 2x Sliver Slugger ( 2020 and 2021) , and was the Home run leader in 2021 also.

Now on to the prospects…

Robert Hassell lll is the number 2 prospect, he is also the 30th top ranked prospect in all of the minors . He drafted in 2020 in the 1st round with the 8th pick. He is a OF who bats and throws a lefty, this year he has a batting AVG of .305, OBP of .374 and a SLG .449. He has 51 hits , 29 RBIs and 6 dingers in only 43 games. I could see him getting moved up to double AA soon .

C Brandon Valenzuela is the 18th prospect in the Padress organization. He was a international signing coming out of Mexico in 2017. He has been playing minor league baseball for 4 years, and he is only 21 years old. This year he is batting .226 in 36 games. His OBP is a decent .333.

Robert Gasser ( what a name for a pitcher ) is a LHP and is the 8th prospect in the Padress organization. He was drafted in the 2021 with the 71th pick. . This year he has started 10 games and has a ERA of 5.64 with a WHIP of 1.48. In 44.2 innings batters are batting .287 and have hit 4 dingers against him.
> OF Joshua Mears is the 9th prospect in the Padress organization, he was drafted in 2019 in the second round with the 48 pick. In 31 games he has been struggling at the high A baseball. He is batting .185 and is not getting on base either with a OBP of .299. He is a power house though with a SLG % of .463. He has more home runs (8) then double (6).

BELOIT, WI MAY 3, 2022

We all love a come up story. This team was on the brink of being eliminated from the  minor leagues. Their former stadium falling apart, So with new  Ownership ( Quint and Rishy Studer )  also with help  from Diana Hendrick  and a private group of people. They went out on a limb to build ABC supply stadium. In only 13 months, the then Beloit Snappers had a new stadium. One of the nicest ones in  high  A affiliated baseball .  With a new stadium comes rebranding.. Say goodbye to the Snappers and  say hello to the Sky Carps .
How did they come up with Sky Carps? They asked the people of Beloit and they   came up with some very good options. Names like Supper Clubbers and the Cheeseballs to name a few. Now, as Wisconsin residents I find those very fitting.

Back to baseball, the Beloit Sky Carps are the high A affiliate team for the  Miami Marlins.  They are a very exciting team with a lot of young talent. Some of their top prospects are in Beloit . It might be to early to tell but here are some of the top player for the Beloit Sky carps…. 

The number 9 prospect in the Marlin’s farm system is Dax Fulton  Who was drafted in the 2nd round with the 40th pick In 2020. The left handed pitcher has a 5.30 ERA through 18.2 innings. He has 22 strike outs and only 9 walks.

Victor Mesa Jr.  An outfielder who was  signed October 22nd 2018.   Also he is the 14th right prospect in the Marlin’s farm system.Has an average of .257 ,  On base percentage .308 ,   Slugging .386  And 1 dinger  through  19 games.

The 16th ranked prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system is 2B Cody  Morissette. Was drafted in 2021 in the 2nd round with the 52nd pick . At the plate he is batting  .179 average, on base percentage dungeon  .276, slugging  .313 and has hit 2 dingers. Hopefully he can turn it around he has played 18 games so far this season.

And lastly the number 18 prospect is prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system shortstop Nasim Nunez . He was drafted In 2019 in the 2nd round with the 46th pick. Through 18 games he has a . 111 average, . 260 base percentage, . 143 slugging which is not good. Sad to say no dingers, hes got 4RBI though.

In conclusion if you live near Beloit and wanna watch some ” pro” baseball for cheap, I think that The Beloit Sky carps are the team for you. I love the team, that’s why I’m writing this. As my first installment of a trip around the minors. So come on by and watch some baseball.

Photo credits to the Twitter handle @Beloitskycarp

You could call this team the new kids on the block . At least the new kids when it comes to high A affiliated baseball, 2021 was their first season as a high A affiliated baseball team. Surprise? The team has been around since 1958, in lower leagues .

The Timber Rattlers have been affiliated with are the Baltimore Orioles ( 1960 – 1965) , the White Sox ( 66 – 86) , the Royals ( 87-92 ) , Seattle Marines (93-08) and now they are affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Timber Rattlers have had a ton of greats players come though their organization ; names like Boog Powell who won rookie of the year, Goose Goosage , who was a 9 time all star and world series champ and Alex Rodriguez who may be one of the most Controversial players MLB history.

They have also been managed by some of the leagues Legends such as ; Earl Weaver who is a Hall of Fame Manger, Cal Ripkin Sr. , who won Midwest league Manger of the Year award in 1962 and Joe Sparks who is a name who may not know but has coach many of the minor leagues teams.

Now time to talk about the prospects.

Tyler Black is a 2B who is batting .256 and On Base Percentage of .396. In 12 games he has 10 hits 3 doubles but sadly no dingers . He is also the 6th prospect in the Brewers organization.

OF Joe Gray Jr. the 13th prospects in the Brewer organization. In his fourth season in the minor leagues he has had a terrible start with a .187 avg , and a .292 OBP. In 26 games he has 17 hits , 6 doubles and 2 dingers . Hope he can turn this season around.

Now to the pitcher…

The number 14th prospect in the Brewers organization, Antoine Kelly who is a LHP. In five games he has pitched 21.2 innings , he has a decent 2.49 ERA and a great WHIP of 1.06.

Lastly, The number 16th prospect in the Brewers organization, Russell Smith LHP . This is his first year in the minors. He is 1-1 in five starts , with a 4.45 ERA in 20 innings. He has a WHIP of 1.50, and has only given up 1 dinger so for this year.

So if you are ever going though Appleton Wisconsin, Maybe stop by and catch a game. This team has alot of history and a pretty cool logo.

Can you guess what team the South Bend Cubs are affiliated with? If you guessed the White Sox from 1988-1993 , The Arizona Diamondbacks from 1994-2014 and now The Chicago Cubs since 2015. You would be right! But if you knew all that already You probably know more than I do, so send some knowledge my way.

This team has had some Legends come though it like Terry Francona, manager in 1992. 1988 AL MVP George Bell, 3x all star and 2010 NL Batting Title Champ Carlos Gonzalez , 3x all star Dan Uggla , and 4x all star Justin Upton . Most of these player or retired or at the tail end of there career.

Now on to names that are still in the big league. 1x all star Wade Miley, David Bote , and Ian Happ who all play for the cubs and finally Gleyber Torres 2x all star who plays for the New York Yankees.

The South Bend Cubs play at Four Winds Fields at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend Indiana . Four Winds has been around since 1987 and cost 11 million dollars back then. That would be 26.2 millions dollars today.

Now to the Prospects..

Jordan Wick the number 5 prospect in the cubs organization. He is a LHP who was drafted in 2021 with the 21th pick . He went to school at Kansas State. Currently rocking a 4.30 ERA in 23.0 innings, a great WHIP of 1.39. He has given up 25 hits and 2 dingers this season .

Now to the Prospects..Jordan Wick the number 5 prospect in the cubs organization. He is a LHP who was drafted in 2021 with the 21th pick . He went to school at Kansas State. Currently rocking a 4.30 ERA in 23.0 innings, a great WHIP of 1.39. He has given up 25 hits and 2 dingers this season .

The 8th prospect in the Cubs organization is OF Owen Cassie. He was drafted in 2020 in the 2nd round with the 45th pick by the San Diego Prades. He has .179 AVG, .259 OBP and .259 SLG . In 22 games he has 14 hits and 2 dingers. Let’s hope he can turn this season around with the Avg.

Back to the pitchers cause the 9th prospect in the Cubs organization is LHP DJ Herz. DJ was drafted in the 2019 with the 252nd pick In the 8th round. In 23.1 innings he has an ERA of 1.93 ,(That is really good people) with a WHIP of 1.03 ( also really good) , with only one 1 dinger given up. He is definitely having a great season. Hopefully he can keep this going.

And last but not least Ed Howard 2B or SS. He is the 14th prospect in the Cubs organization. He has been batting decently with a .244 AVG , .323 OBP , and .317 SLG. In 20 games he has hit the ball 20 times and 1 dinger. Hopefully he can hit some more dingers . Cause “chick’s dig the long ball” – Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux.

So when your in South Bend you should go to a Cubs game and see some young star players. You won’t be disappointed.

The Peoria Chiefs may have the best Legacy as a high A team but we will get to that later . The Peoria Chiefs are named after the Peoria Indian tribe that the city was named after. The Chiefs were founded in 1983, but in 2005 they changed they “offensive Indian ” logo to a Dalmatian fire chief.The Chiefs have been affiliated with the LA Angels from 1983-‘84, Chicago Cubs from ‘85- ‘94, the St. Louis Cardinals from ‘95 -‘04 , then back to the Cubs ‘05 to ‘12, and are currently with the Cardinals since ‘13. 

Now to the player of the past…

Hall of Famer Greg Maddux was on the Chiefs in 1985 , Kerry Wood was the ‘98 NL Rookie of the year and on the team in ‘05 and ‘07. Coco Crisp was the leader in stolen bases in 2011.  Before Joe Girardi  was a manager he played for the Cheifs in 1986. 

The players that are still playing…

WARNING this list is long and packed full of greats.

 In 2000 Alberta pujols played for the Cheifs, he has won 3 NL MVP (05 ,08 and 09 ) , ROY in 01.

Josh Donaldson how won the AL MVP in 08 and has had a great career.

Yadier Molina has been on the Cardinals for 19 years and is retiring at the end of this year , he has 8 gold gloves and been an all star 9x.

DJ Lemahieu won the Nl batting title in 2016.

Javier baez was in Peroia in 2012.

Finally, Sandy Alcantara who is on that Miami Marlins team that has a great pitching rotation. 

Now to the Prospects…

SS Masyn Winn was drafted in 2020 in the 2nd round with the 54 pick. This is his 2nd year in the minors first year he was in low A and now in high A   Batting an .242 avg. OBP of .324 and a SLG of .358. This year he has step up his game and is batting .350 with an OBP .404 and SLG of .566. He has sadly only 1 Dinger but has 45 hits in only 33 games. I could see him getting the call.up to double A if he keeps this up.

 RHP Michael McGreevy was drafted in 2021 in the frist round with the 18th pick. He has had two years of minor league baseball. The first year he pitched 7.2 innings ans had an 9.39 ERA. In his second year he has started in 45.1 innings he has a 2.58 ERA . An insane WHIP of 0.99 and batters have an AVG of .238. Only giving up 1 dinger. 

RHP Austin Love was drafted in 2021 in the third round with the 90th pick. He has been in the minor leagues for 2 years. Year one he only pitched 8.0 innings amd has a 1.13 and only giving up 3 hits. This year he has pitched in 8 games and 37.1 innings. He has a high 6.75 ERA giving up 46 hits. He has a WHIP of 1.66 and the opponent has a batting AVG of .30. Hopefully he can turn it around. 

And lastly RHP Gordon Graceffo was also part of the 2021 draft class. He was The St. Louis Cardinals 5th round draft pick, pick number 151. He has been in the minor leagues of two second and have excelled at both Low A and High A. Let’s start in year one where he played in 11 games and 26 innings. In put up an ERA of 1.73. He has given up 27 hits but his WHIP is at an incredible .68 and a opponent batting AVG of .170. If he keeps this up for like 70 to 80 innings . The Cardinals will have to move him up. 

The Peoria Cheifs has a tremendous amount of amazing player come though Perioa. It seem with the Cardinals great drafting this trend will continue. So if you live in central Illinois make the time to see this awesome team .