Tag: Jose Sanchez

Chukars notebook: Controversy surrounds minor-league wages


A 300 percent pay raise how’s that for an incentive?

Three-hundred percent is the approximate raise a Triple-A baseball player would receive if he was called up to the MLB team’s 40-man roster, according to sports law attorney Jeff Blank. The wage gap is larger for players in the minor leagues’ lower levels; large enough to inspire a lawsuit.

Salaries for first-year players on the 40-man roster equalled $41,400 in 2015, according to Blank. First-year AAA players, meanwhile, made $2,150 a month. That rose to $2,400 for their second year and $2,700 for their third year.

First-year Double-A salaries are $1,700 a month with an additional $100 per month for subsequent seasons. Advanced Single-A salaries are $1,500 a month and low A’s are $1,300.

The seasons from Low A to AAA span seven months. Short-season teams like the Idaho Falls Chukars play from June to September, and their players make $1,150 per month.

All minor-leaguers get $25 in meal money per road day.

The federal poverty level for individuals is $11,880 in yearly income, which is higher than every minor-league salary below AAA.

The minor-league salaries listed above do not account for post-draft signing bonuses, and players often negotiate for higher salaries after their initial seven-year contract is up.

Two years ago, a lawsuit was filed against the MLB on behalf of 20 former minor-leaguers. The lawsuit, as Baseball America reported, “claims that major league teams have suppressed minor league player salaries in violation of federal and state labor laws, and calls for minor leaguers to be paid a salary that meets minimum wage requirements.” A judge ruled that the suit could be expanded to a class action, as Baseball America reported last year.

Congress recently proposed an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would prevent guaranteed minimum wage and overtime pay for minor-leaguers. The MLB released a statement in response to the legislation, which compared minor-leaguers to artists or musicians.

“For the overwhelming majority of individuals, being a Minor League Baseball player is not a career but a short-term seasonal apprenticeship in which the player either advances to the Major Leagues or pursues another career,” the statement read.

The MLB also argued that minor league clubs could not afford increased player costs. If the 2014 lawsuit succeeds, the MLB would likely share a chunk of its multi-billion dollar revenue with the minors. Retraction is another reality the MiLB would face.

For now, players have to reach Triple-A or the major leagues if they want to earn a living playing baseball.

Dozier makes Futures Game roster

This week, former Chukar Hunter Dozier was named to the 2016 MLB Futures Game roster.

Dozier, a shortstop for Triple-A Omaha, is one of two Kansas City Royals prospects on the Futures roster. The other is outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, who also plays for Omaha.

The Futures Game features 25 of the world’s best prospects against 25 of the U.S.’ best. It will be played at 5 p.m. July 10.

Dozier was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. He spent 54 games with the Chukars in 2013, hitting .303 with .912 OPS and seven home runs.

Roster moves

Here are all of the roster moves the Chukars have made since the beginning of the season:

June 17: Outfielder Nick Heath and catcher MJ Sanchez join I.F. Heath was a 16th-round pick in last month’s MLB draft, and Sanchez was selected in the 35th round.

June 22: Chukars first baseman Brandon Dulin is promoted to Single-A Lexington, where he had played until suffering an injury on April 12.

June 25: I.F. adds right-handed pitcher Jace Vines, who was selected in the fourth round of June’s draft. He is the highest 2016 pick on the Chukars roster as of July 2.

June 26: Right-handed pitchers Reid Redman (on a rehab assignment) and Sam Lewis are promoted to Lexington.

June 30: Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman moves up from the Arizona League to Idaho Falls, continuing his rehab assignment. Selman was named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year in 2012, when he played for the Chukars. He posted a 2.09 ERA with 89 strikeouts and 22 walks in 60.1 innings (12 starts) that season.

July 1: Kansas City moves outfielder Jose Sanchez from I.F. to its other Rookie ball team, the Burlington Royals. Fellow outfielder Leland Clemmons moves up from the Arizona League to the Chukars.

Who’s hot?

C Meibrys Viloria

Viloria has cooled down a bit, but his batting average is still a blistering .467 (as of press time), good for second in the Pioneer League. Going into Saturday, Viloria led the league in slugging percentage (.805) and doubles (nine).

Who’s not?

RHP Arnaldo Hernandez

In Tuesday’s start against Orem, Hernandez gave up eight earned runs on nine hits in three innings pitched. That performance raised his season ERA to 9.24 and his opponents’ batting average to .393. Hernandez does, however, have eight strikeouts against two walks in his three starts.

Chukars earn second straight walk-off win over Rockies

Chukars shortstop Angelo Castellano tags out Cole Anderson, of the Grand Junction Rockies, on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Chukars shortstop Angelo Castellano tags out Cole Anderson, of the Grand Junction Rockies, on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

The Idaho Falls Chukars walked off winners against the Grand Junction Rockies for the second straight night.

Friday’s walk-off wasn’t quite as odd as Thursday’s (more on that later), but it was almost as rare. Nick Heath hit a two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Chukars a 5-4 win at Melaleuca Field.

“It’s a great feeling,” Heath said.

Heath’s walk-off

The center fielder Heath came to the plate with one out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth. Grand Junction led 4-3. Heath fell into a 1-2 hole, but he turned on the next pitch and lined it down the left-field line.

The outcome of the play came down to a footrace, which the Chukars won easily. The ball rolled so far into the corner that Manny Olloque, who started the play at first base, scored standing up.

“I kinda knew I was gonna get an offspeed down-and-in, some type of pitch inside,” Heath said. “That’s what I was geared up for, and I was able to put a barrel on it.

Right-handed pitcher Jace Vines is the highest 2016 MLB draft selection on the Chukars roster, and the fourth-rounder made his first start for I.F. on Friday. But he was completely overshadowed by the 18-year-old who started for Grand Junction.

That 18-year-old was Riley Pint, a right-hander who was selected No. 4 overall in last month’s MLB draft.

Pint retired the final six batters he faced after a leadoff infield single by Luke Willis. He struck out two and walked none, mixing a mid-90s fastball with a big breaking curveball. He was relieved after two innings due to a pitch limit.

“I had to get all the nerves out of the way before I started pitching, but it was great,” Pint said. “I was finally glad to get on the mound.”

Thursday’s game under protest

The Chukars walked off in strange fashion Wednesday, and the Rockies were not happy with a crucial non-call.

With runners on first and second, Willis hit a ground ball to second baseman Jonathan Piron, who turned and threw to shortstop Jose Gomez. Gomez dropped the ball and got hit in the knee by a sliding Meibrys Viloria. Gomez writhed in pain as the ball rolled away, allowing Colton Frabasilio to score and give I.F. a 7-6 win in 10 innings.

Angelo Castellano, of the Idaho Falls Chukars, breaks his bat during a line drive in the second inning against the Grand Junction Rockies on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Angelo Castellano, of the Idaho Falls Chukars, breaks his bat during a line drive in the second inning against the Grand Junction Rockies on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

The Rockies are protesting the game, arguing that Viloria’s slide was outside of the basepaths. But manager Frank Gonzales doesn’t expect the result to change, he said Friday. The umpires told Gonzales that the non-call on Viloria’s slide was judgment call, which cannot be overturned by a protest.

Roster moves

The Chukars lost one outfielder and gained another on Friday. Jose Sanchez was moved to Burlington (the Kansas City Royals’ other Rookie-level team), and Leland Clemmons moved up to I.F. from the Arizona League.

Sanchez hit .438 with a .938 OPS in 16 at-bats for the Chukars this summer. Clemmons, who the Royals signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014, hit .083 with a .646 OPS and one home run in 12 at-bats for the Royals last month. He has 11 home runs in his three-year career.

Player of the game

Chukars center fielder Nick Heath

Heath finished 2 for 4 including the walk-off triple.

The Chukars (8-6) will face another first-round pitcher on Saturday at Melaleuca Field. The Rockies (6-7) will start righty Mike Nikorak, the 27th overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft. I.F. will send lefty Matt Portland to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Chukars prevail 11-7 in back-and-forth slugfest against Orem

Idaho Falls' Meibrys Viloria slides into third base with a triple during Thursday's game at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls’ Meibrys Viloria slides into third base with a triple during Thursday’s game at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)

The Idaho Falls Chukars and Orem Owlz refused to go quietly Thursday night.

Idaho Falls prevailed 11-7, but the score masks the tense, back-and-forth nature of the game. The win gave the Chukars a 2-2 series split and a 4-2 homestand to start the season.

Eighth-inning heroics

No lead was safe Thursday night. After a back-and-forth first five innings, the Chukars scored twice in the sixth thanks to two errors and two wild pitches. The 7-4 lead was the biggest of the night up to that point, but Orem clawed back.

The Owlz scored once in the seventh, and first baseman Nick Flair singled with one out in the eighth. That hit brought up Juan Moreno, who hadn’t notched a home run in his five-year pro career. The shortstop ended that drought with a two-run blast to left field, tying the game at 7-7.

The Chukars quickly answered. Right fielder Yeison Melo doubled with one out in the bottom of the eighth, and first baseman Colton Frabasilio drove him in with a double into the left-center field gap. Two batters later, Meibrys Viloria hit a double down the right-field line. Second baseman David Edwards, in his first pro season, came up next also looking for his first home run. Sure enough, Edwards pounded an Ariel Ovando pitch over the left-field fence. It traveled 416 feet.

I.F. hitters have now hit three home runs this season. Brandon Dulin hit one of them, and he’s now in Lexington. The Kansas City Royals promoted the first baseman to the Legends on Wednesday after he hit .313 in four games with the Chukars.

Right-hander Reid Redman, who gave up the homer to Moreno, shut down the Owlz in the ninth to end the game.

Crooked numbers

The first inning was a poor indication of how the game would go.

Orem's Jordan Zimmerman makes it safely to second base as Idaho Falls' Ricky Aracena makes a throw to home during Thursday's game at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)
Orem’s Jordan Zimmerman makes it safely to second base as Idaho Falls’ Ricky Aracena makes a throw to home during Thursday’s game at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)

After the scoreless opening frame, each team scored at least one run from the second inning to the sixth. The Chukars scored in every inning but the first and the seventh, while Orem’s only scoreless innings were the first, sixth and ninth.

The Owlz and Chukars lost leads six separate times, as well.

Piling up the hits

Before the eighth inning, the Chukars had tallied 13 hits, which would have been their second-most in a game this season. I.F., of course, demolished four more hits in the eighth to finish with 17 on the night. The Chukars haven’t strung together that many hits in one game since Aug 30 of last season at home against Grand Junction. They finished with 18 hits in their 16-7 win.

Player of the game

Chukars first baseman Colton Frabasilio

Frabasilio might beg his coaches to let him play first base for the rest of the season.

After three starts as the designated hitter, Frabasilio started at first base and put up one of the best offensive performances of the Chukars’ young season. Frabasilio went 4 for 4 with three doubles, a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs.

Melo, Viloria and Jose Sanchez delivered three hits for I.F., as well. Viloria smashed two doubles and a triple while also drawing a walk.

Up next

The Chukars (4-2) begin their first road trip of the season Friday night at 6:30 against Grand Junction. Righty Igol Feliz is scheduled to get his second start.

Fifth annual Chukars-Bandits game ends in a 7-7 tie

Bandits shortstop Hunter Leavitt tags out Chukars right fielder Yeison Melo on a stolen base attempt during an exhibition game Thursday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Bandits shortstop Hunter Leavitt tags out Chukars right fielder Yeison Melo on a stolen base attempt during an exhibition game Thursday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

It was Brandon Bialas’ night.

The Idaho Falls Bandits pitcher and infielder celebrated his birthday Thursday, earned a scholarship, drove in the tying run and scored a late go-ahead run against the Idaho Falls Chukars at Melaleuca Field.

The run Bialas scored gave the Bandits a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning. The Chukars ended up tying it in the bottom of the inning, and both teams decided to end the game at 7-7. In the exhibition game’s five-year history, it’s the first time the Bandits have not lost.

“0-4-1,” Bandits coach Joldy Watts said. “We’ll take the one.”

Before his heroics, Bialas earned the first annual Michael McGuire Carlos Watts Idaho Falls American Legion Baseball Scholarship (more on that later).

Bialas came to the plate in the seventh with two outs and Kolten Westergard at second base. In a 1-2 count, Bialas crushed a Reed Hueter pitch into the right-center field gap for a double, tying the game at 6-6. Jace Jones came up next and skied a double off the glove of Chukars center fielder Tanner Stanley, scoring Bialas for the Bandits’ first lead of the game.

This is Bialas’ third year as a Bandit. Compared to American Legion games, he said exhibition games against the Chukars feel foreign. Players face pitchers from their respective squads, and the crowds are exponentially larger (Thursday’s announced attendance was 2,860).

“It’s definitely a lot more intense, with the crowd and everything,” Bialas said. “It’s always fun to hit off your own guys. We kind of have a good time with them. But definitely more intense, and the adrenaline is flowing a lot more.”

The Chukars quickly tied the game in the bottom of the seventh thanks to singles by Jose Sanchez and Angelo Castellano. With one out, both teams left the field. Both teams agreed before the game that innings would end when the Chukars pitchers reached their pitch limits, regardless of the out total, and the game wouldn’t go past seven innings. Chukars’ pitcher Reinaldo Cepin had reached his pitch limit in the seventh, Watts said.

Andrew Gregersen is in his first season with the Bandits. He’s also a freshman who had struggled in his first 14 Legion games. Gregersen looked spry in his first at-bat, though, looping a double to left field off of Sage Trejo.

“It’s been a hard summer so far,” Gregersen said. “Hopefully that double will keep my wheels rolling.”

The Bandits understand the context of their tie. Both teams faced their own pitchers, every Bandit batted, seven Bandits pitched and the Chukars rotated several batters and pitchers. It was hardly a head-to-head matchup.

But the result was still unprecedented, and the Bandits left the field in good spirits. Especially Bialas, who topped off a dream day by devouring a cupcake.

“To have a birthday like that, couldn’t beat it,” Bialas said.

Michael McGuire Carlos Watts Idaho Falls American Legion Baseball Scholarship

The scholarship Bialas received Thursday honors the fathers of Joldy Watts and Bandits assistant coach Colben McGuire.

Carlos Watts’ kidneys failed him earlier this year, and doctors feared he also had prostate cancer. Carlos Watts, 62, is now free of cancer and recovering in his Arizona home.

Around the same time Carlos Watts had his cancer scare, Michael McGuire, 66, was diagnosed with colon and lung cancer. Michael, who is also the father of Joldy Watts’ wife Megan, is now cancer-free and was in attendance for Thursday’s game.

The scholarship Bialas received is worth $500 and is “given to a young man who excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” per a news release from the I.F. American Legion Baseball vice president Cliff Brady.

Comeback falls short against Orem

The Orem Owlz tagged Chukars starting pitcher Kellen Moen for six runs Thursday night through the first two innings. And that’s all the offense Orem needed as it held on for a 6-5 home win against Idaho Falls in the second to last game of the regular season.

Moen surrendered a two-run homer to Orem designated hitter Wes Hatton, the second batter in Orem’s lineup, in the first inning. Orem tacked on two more runs in the first before a Jett Bandy double and an Abel Baker triple in the second made it 6-0.

Moen finished the night with six earned runs and seven hits allowed in two innings.

Idaho Falls mounted the ultimately unsuccessful comeback in its next at-bat. Shortstop Michael Antonio put the Chukars on the board with a sacrifice fly and first baseman Dean Espy drove in two runs with a double to right field that cut the lead to 5-3 in the third inning.

Continue reading “Comeback falls short against Orem”

Playoff hopes ended in final home game

The Boys of Summer bid farewell to Melaleuca Field on Friday night as the Idaho Falls Chukars closed the home season with a 7-5 loss to the Orem Owlz.

The loss drops Idaho Falls to 14-18 in the second half and eliminates the Chukars from postseason contention.

Playing in front of a season-high 4,101 fans in the home finale, Idaho Falls gave locals reason to cheer with a pair of early runs.

The Chukars got things going in the bottom of the first with an RBI triple by Michael Antonio followed by an RBI double by Dean Espy.

Orem opened a 5-2 lead of its own with four runs in the top of the fourth, highlighted by an RBI triple off the bat of Kaleb Cowart.

Continue reading “Playoff hopes ended in final home game”

Osprey cool off Chukars

A trio of Missoula Osprey pitchers shut down the Chukars on Monday in a 4-1 loss in Missoula.

Missoula pitchers Taylor Siemens, Conrad Flynn and D.J. Johnson limited Idaho Falls to four hits through nine innings. The only run the Chukars could muster came on a wild pitch that allowed Darian Sandford to score in the third inning.

As meager as that sounds, Idaho Falls starting pitcher Brian Peacock held the lead as he tossed six shutout innings while striking out seven.

But it all fell apart in the seventh when Robert Penny came on in relief.

Continue reading “Osprey cool off Chukars”

Chukars beat Helena 5-4 to snap skid

The Idaho Falls Chukars picked up a much-needed win by coming from behind and beating the Helena Brewers 5-4 on Wednesday at Melaleuca Field.

Chukars first-baseman Dean Espy said the win washed away the bad taste left in the Chukars mouths after a five-game losing streak and a a four-game sweep in Orem.

“It feels really good, especially when in those first three innings we weren’t playing good baseball,” Espy said. “To come back from behind feels really nice.”

Continue reading “Chukars beat Helena 5-4 to snap skid”

Incoming Chukar looking for host family

With the 2011 season just three days away, one Idaho Falls Chukar is looking for a place to live.

Left-handed pitcher Jose Sanchez doesn’t come to Idaho Falls as the typical 21-year-old minor league ball player. He’ll arrive in town with his wife and daughter, Sophia, who is less than a year old.

While the Kansas City Royals pay for some of the cost of the hotel rooms the team stays in, it doesn’t pay the entire tab. And the cost is a bit much for a player trying to make ends meet for a family on a minor league salary.

Continue reading “Incoming Chukar looking for host family”

2011 pitchers announced

The Idaho Falls Chukars announced the first 14 players assigned to the team, which starts its season June 20 at Melaleuca Field.

All 14 players are pitchers.

Four pitchers return from last year’s club, including lefty starters Brennon Martin (5-4, 4.36 ERA) and Brian Peacock (0-5, 6.86).

They are joined by a pair of lefty relievers, Tyler Graham (1-1, 5.58) and Robert Penny (1-0, 3.00 in two appearances).

The Kansas City Royals seventh-round draft pick, righthander Kellen Moen from the University of Oregon, joins the staff, along with Gary Puevas, Aaron Brooks, Jonathan Dooley, Mike Giovenco, David Middendorf, Spencer Patton, Jose Sanchez and Ryan Wood.