I had intended to start this feature earlier this season, but better late than never as I start what hopefully becomes a continued feature on Caught Looking as I dive into the latest news around the minor leagues. What’s going on down under in the minors? What players might we see soon on your favorite ballclub? All of that and more will be featured in these minors posts.

.340/.481/.854, 15HR, 33 RBI
That’s the current stat line for the Marlins top prospect at Double-A. Get ready for the name Mike Stanton to blast into Florida’s lineup very soon. Stanton is tearing the cover off the ball at Double-A Jacksonville, and there have already been rumors that his first ever call up is not far away. His 15 home runs currently lead the entire minors in the category, which includes one blast that was measured more than 500 feet. I don’t see this guy seeing Triple-A at all before jumping straight to the majors. I’m already kicking myself for not grabbing Stanton in my keeper league draft in March.

6IP, 1H, 0ER, 0R 1BB, 6K
Super prospect Stephen Strasburg’s Triple-A debut went okay. OK, it was more than okay, his performance being more like superb. He allowed one hit over six shutout innings to mow down Braves Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett after making just five starts at Double-A Harrisburg. It would be shocking if this kid wasn’t in the majors by the second week of June. The way he’s pitching to begin his professional career, there’s no one that could fault the Nationals for calling him up at the end of this month.

Cha, Cha, Cha, Chia!
One of the best things about the minor leagues it the wacky promotions teams put together while trying to one up each other. This week has a lot going on including a groundskeeper Chia pet and a rubber ducky giveaway!

Rehabs!
Another great thing about the minors is the numerous rehab assignments you see around the league as major league players try to get healthy before heading back up. Well, do you remember Jeff Francis? The former ace of the Colorado Rockies before he missed all of 2009 due to injury? Well he’s finally on his way back. Francis tossed seven shutout innings for Double-A Tulsa in his second rehab start and appears to be on track to return to Colorado shortly. He could make one more start in Double-A or Triple-A as I’m sure the Rockies are cautious to rush him back.

Why’s he keep calling me Meat?
I’ll end on a great story of the Durham Bulls returning to their historic park on Monday to host the Toledo Mud Hens for one game in Durham Athletic Park. This was the team and ballpark made famous in the 1988 classic film Bull Durham. The Bulls currently play in a newer park across town, but for one game fans were able to go back in town in the ol’ ballpark with throwback jerseys from the movie as well. You don’t get to see this too often with stadiums being torn down so much these days, so it’s refreshing to hear about this event. The stadium is currently used as a training facility for minor league baseball for groundskeepers and umpires. Glad to see it’s still there and useful.

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