Q&A: Jennifer Pendergraft, Assistant GM of the Visalia Rawhides

10 05 2011

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest hardships for minor leaguers is finances. This especially holds true for lower-level players, who earn as little as $850/month in their first season in professional baseball.

One of the ways that players look to save money is via host families. Several minor league teams offer players the chance to stay with a local family, who volunteer to house/feed the player for the season.

I had the chance to talk to Jennifer Pendergraft, who is the assistant general manager of the Class-A Visalia Rawhides, to learn more about how host families work. Jennifer took over the Rawhides’ host family program when she came aboard in 2008, and since then it has grown to about ten families (who host about fifteen players/coaches per season on average).

Why would a player want to opt into a host-family program (versus, say, splitting the cost of an apartment with teammates)?

Several reasons: 1) The season only lasts a little over 5 months, 5.5 if you make the playoffs, and almost all renting companies will take no less than a 6 month lease.  2) These guys don’t know how long they will be in town for, so they’re all leery about putting their name on a lease without being guaranteed roommates the entire time.  3) Many of these guys do not have cars.  4) None of these guys bring furniture or housing basics with them when they come, so that all needs to be rented.  5) Splitting utilities with any roommate is always a lot harder than it sounds.  6) After all that is accomplished, the team is on the road half of the season, so they don’t even get to enjoy their “home” the entire time. Read the rest of this entry »


Maruszak, Suttle Power Trenton Thunder To 4-1 Win Over Fisher Cats

30 04 2011

The Trenton Thunder offense exploded on Fireworks Night.

Addison Maruszak hit a two-run homerun in the 5th inning, and Bradley Suttle added a solo blast of his own as the Thunder (10-12) defeated the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (11-9) by a score of 4-1 Saturday at Waterfront Park.

The powerful offensive display helped to bolster a shaky start by Manny Banuelos. The lefty prospect went four-and-two-thirds innings, surrendering the Fisher Cats’ lone run on three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over 88 pitches. Read the rest of this entry »

New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Trenton Thunder: Live Blog

30 04 2011

Manny Banuelos makes the start for Trenton tonight.

It’s a beautiful day for baseball here at Waterfront Park, where the Trenton Thunder will be playing host to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (the AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays). The Thunder went 1-3 in their last series against the Fisher Cats (4/7 – 4/10), but defeated them last night by a score of 6-2.

Manny Banuelos (0-0, 1.42 ERA) will square off against Joel Carreno (0-2, 7.02) tonight. First pitch at 7:05 pm.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

THUNDER LINEUP: Krum LF, Brewer RF, Romine C, Suttle 3B, Mesa CF, Joseph 2B, Pirela SS, Kruml DH, Maruszak 1B

FISHER CATS LINEUP: Hechavarria SS, Gose 1B, McDade 1B, Sierra RF, Stansberry 3B, Sobolewski DH, Tolisano LF, Gomes C, Crabbe 2B Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Garrett Broshuis, Former Minor League Pitcher

25 04 2011

Garrett Broshuis (Credit: Tom Clifton/Flickr.com)

I recently had the chance to talk to former minor-league pitcher Garrett Broshuis. Broshuis spent five years in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system, making it up to AAA before calling it quits in 2009. Now age 29, Broshuis is studying at Saint Louis University School of Law. He also runs a blog called Life In The Minors and frequently writes guest columns for Baseball America about the minor-league experience. Below is an excerpt of our conversation:

What went into your decision to call it a career in 2009? Was it a difficult decision? 

It was a difficult decision. Anytime you’ve devoted a good portion of your life to something–and all of your adult life–it’s not easy to give it up. My life revolved around this game. I became accustomed to putting on that uniform each night, to stepping on the green grass, to hanging out with the guys, and to performing. Yet my dream wasn’t to be a minor league baseball player. Once I came to the realization that my dream probably wasn’t going to happen, I had to seriously think about giving it up.  Read the rest of this entry »

Richmond Flying Squirrels at Trenton Thunder: Live Blog

19 04 2011

Manny Banuelos makes his second start for the Trenton Thunder tonight.

We’re here at Waterfront Park in Trenton, NJ for tonight’s contest between the Trenton Thunder and the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Hyped pitching prospect Manny Banuelos (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Thunder. He’ll be going up against Daryl Maday (0-1, 5.06 ERA).

–Note: Since NJ Transit’s RiverLINE service shuts down at 10:00, I had to unfortunately cut the live blog short to make sure I don’t spend the night at the Trenton train station. Once I get back to NYC, I will post the final score below, with any newsworthy developments.–

Here’s tonight’s starting lineups:

TRENTON LINEUP: Krum LF, Pirela SS, Romine C, Suttle 3B, Johnson DH, Mesa CF, Joseph 2B, Maruszak 1B, Kruml RF.

FLYING SQUIRRELS LINEUP: Christian DH, Culberson 2B, Flors 3B, Koshansky 1B, McBryde RF, Kieschnick LF, Perez CF, Monell C, Weeks SS.

Read the rest of this entry »

The 40-Man Roster: What Does It Mean?

18 04 2011

Dellin Betances of the Trenton Thunder is on the New York Yankees 40-man roster.

If you look back at my last post, you’ll notice that several players on the Trenton Thunder roster are part of the New York Yankees’ “40-man roster”. Besides having some sort of special designation, what does that mean for those guys? Are they major-leaguers or not?

For some fans, the explanation of the 40-man roster and its quirks can be just as bumpy as the road to the majors itself. So grab some popcorn and dig in to the batter’s box as we try to explain how this all works. Read the rest of this entry »

Trenton Thunder Reveal 2011 Roster

11 04 2011
Manny Banuelos

Expect young prospect Manny Banuelos to hone his craft with the Thunder this season.

Earlier this week, the Trenton Thunder released their final roster. Below is the complete list, followed by my reactions and thoughts as the Eastern League season gets underway:

PITCHERS: Cory Arbiso, Wilkins Arias, Manny Banuelos^, Dellin Betances*, Jeremy Bleich**, Grant Duff**, Steve Garrison*, Shaeffer Hall, Fernando Hernandez, Craig Heyer, Alan Horne**, Kei Igawa, Tim Norton, Naoya Okamoto, Graham Stoneburner, Pat Venditte

Read the rest of this entry »