Tag: Reid Redman

Chukars notebook: Controversy surrounds minor-league wages

chukars-extra-125x125

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 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.

Everyone contributes in Chukars’ 7-2 win over Ogden

Feliz
Feliz

The Idaho Falls Chukars continued their strong start to the 2016 season with a 7-2 win over Ogden on Saturday at Melaleuca Field.

The win netted the Chukars a two-game series sweep. I.F.’s pitching staff continued to prevent runs, and the entire lineup contributed, most notably center fielder Nick Heath.

Memorable debut

Heath’s baseball future was in question as recent as last Saturday. He didn’t know which MLB team would draft him or which round he’d be taken in.

A week later, Heath started in center field and batted eighth in the Chukars’ lineup. The 22-year-old, selected by Kansas City in the 16th round of last week’s draft, played a key role in the 7-2 win.

“Good to get the nerves out of the way,” said Heath, who arrived in Idaho Falls on Friday.

The speedy Heath narrowly avoided hitting into a double play in his first at-bat, and his right shoe fell off as he beat out the throw to first base.

Heath earned his first professional hit in his second at-bat, lining a single up the middle that hit pitcher Miguel Urena in the side (Urena appeared to be fine and remained in the game).

“The second at-bat, I was just as nervous as my first one,” Heath said. “I got on base, took a deep breath, relaxed and got after it the rest of the night.”

Heath went 2 for 4 and scored a run.

Remaining stingy

I.F. allowed 16 runs in each of its first two games last season, both at home against Grand Junction. The Chukars and Raptors combined to score 19 runs in this weekend’s two-game series, and Ogden scored only four of them.

The pitchers’ key on Friday was attacking the strike zone. Arnaldo Hernandez, Alex Luna and Reid Redman combined to throw 111 pitches in the 8-2 win. They threw 83 strikes and didn’t walk a single batter.

Chukars pitchers allowed five walks Saturday but just six hits. Starter Igol Feliz issued three bases on balls, but he escaped multiple jams thanks to his hard fastball (it topped out at 95 miles per hour), impressive off-speed pitches and good defense behind him.

Deep lineup

The Chukars compiled 24 total hits in their two wins over Ogden this weekend, and every hitter reached base at least once.

In game one, only shortstop Ricky Aracena and third baseman Manny Olloque didn’t record hits, but both walked (Aracena once, Ollqoue twice). Aracena went 2 for 4 with a walk in game two, and Olloque walked once. Of the 11 I.F. batters to get plate appearance these first two games, Olloque is the only one without a hit.

Aracena, Heath, Yeison Melo, Meibrys Viloria and Colton Frabasilio each recorded two hits on Saturday, and Tanner Stanley went 3 for 5. Stanley is now 4 for 8 with a walk.

Player of the game

Chukars first baseman Brandon Dulin

Dulin had only one hit Saturday night, but it was the loudest.

The 23-year-old came up with two outs and a runner on in the bottom of the first inning. With his parents Jason and Lisa Dulin in attendance, the left-hander crushed the first pitch toward the scoreboard in left-center field. The ball traveled over the wall at 404 feet, per the Chukars’ in-stadium stat system, to give I.F. a 2-0 lead.

It was the first and only home run hit at Melaleuca Field in this young season. Dulin now has 20 home runs in his pro career, which started in 2013.

In addition to the big fly, Dulin played solid defense all night.

Up next

The Chukars get Father’s Day off and return to Melaleuca Field on Monday to begin a four-game series against the Orem Owlz. Right-hander Andres Machado is scheduled to start on the mound for I.F.

Chukars begin their season on the right foot with an 8-2 win over Ogden

Idaho Falls Chukars first baseman Brandon Dulin narrowly misses the opportunity to tag out Gersel Pitre, of the Ogden Raptors, during the top of the second inning Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls Chukars first baseman Brandon Dulin narrowly misses the opportunity to tag out Gersel Pitre, of the Ogden Raptors, during the top of the second inning Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

David Edwards wasn’t about to let his first professional hit turn into an out.

The Idaho Falls Chukars’ designated hitter came up in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and two on. Edwards laced a line drive to the right of Ogden second baseman Carlos Aquino, who slid and snagged the ball after one hop.

“I was running as hard as I could,” Edwards said. “I had to get my first hit out of the way.”

The 23-year-old beat Aquino’s throw by a step.

For Edwards, the hit was a relief. For the Chukars, it was the perfect way to cap a successful season-opening win.

I.F. handled the Raptors 8-2 on Friday night in front of 3,160 fans at Melaleuca Field. The win especially pleased the Chukars’ coaches, who watched their team start last season on the opposite foot.

“It sets a tone for us,” Chukars manager Justin Gemoll said.

The Chukars had a better offensive performance in last year’s season opener, scoring 10 runs against Grand Junction. The problem was they allowed 16 runs. They gave up the same scoring total in game two, and 11 Rockies scored in the third game. I.F. turned its season around in the second half, but the 0-3 start was an omen in a rocky first half.

Arnaldo Hernandez dashed those memories with a dominant, efficient five-inning start Friday. He allowed one earned run on three hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Of his 56 pitches, 44 were strikes.

“His fastball command was really good early, to both sides of the plate,” Gemoll said. “He was mixing in his changeup and his breaking ball very well. He was a bulldog.”

Alex Luna added two scoreless innings, and Reid Redman allowed one earned run in two frames to close it out.

Idaho Falls Chukars shortstop Ricky Aracena fumbles an infield grounder during Friday's game against the Ogden Raptors at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls Chukars shortstop Ricky Aracena fumbles an infield grounder during Friday’s game against the Ogden Raptors at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

The three I.F. pitchers didn’t allow a walk, while their batters drew nine. Left fielder Luke Willis led the base-on-balls brigade by walking twice, and he hit two singles to begin his season with a perfect on-base percentage.

“There’s great chemistry between all the guys, on and off the field,” Willis said. “That might not be so common in other places, but it’s definitely here.”

First baseman Brandon Dulin added two singles and a walk in five plate appearances.

Edwards was nowhere near the top of the Chukars’ hitting leaderboard Friday, going 1 for 5 with no walks, no runs scored and no RBIs. But he’ll cherish the career-opening hit, especially considering how murky his future looked a year ago.

Edwards graduated from Loyola Marymount two springs ago but went undrafted due to a shoulder surgery following his senior season, when he hit .316 with six home runs. Some major league teams feared he tore his labrum, Edwards said, which is one of the most concerning injuries a baseball player can have.

But Edwards’ rehab went smoothly, and he remained on the Kansas City Royals’ radar. In February, Kansas City signed him.

“I knew I’d have a shot because of my success in college,” Edwards said. “I knew someone would give me a chance, and I’m glad the Royals did.”

Roster moves

The Chukars added a pair of 2016 draft picks to their roster Friday, outfielder Nick Heath and catcher MJ Sanchez.

Heath, 22, was selected in the 16th round out of Northwestern State University. Sanchez, 21, was taken in the 35th round out of Cal Baptist University.

The Chukars now have 29 players.

Reid Redman continues adjusting to life as a pitcher

Right-handed relief pitcher Reid Redman, 27, is on a rehab assignment with the Idaho Falls Chukars. He underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2015. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Right-handed relief pitcher Reid Redman, 27, is on a rehab assignment with the Idaho Falls Chukars. He underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2015. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

It’s hard to blame Reid Redman for missing the warning signs.

The right-handed pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization felt some tightness in his right forearm during 2015 spring training, but he pitched through it.

“I was pretty new to pitching, so I thought this was just what pitchers go through,” Redman told the Post Register.

The pain persisted during his first two months with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Kansas City’s Double-A affiliate. That May, Redman decided to get his arm looked at. An MRI revealed a ulnar collateral ligament tear. He underwent Tommy John surgery the next day.

The surgery landed Redman, 27, with the Idaho Falls Chukars this summer on a rehabilitation assignment. His goal this summer is to progress as a pitcher, a position he began playing three years ago.

Redman graduated from Texas Tech in 2012 with a degree in oil and gas. In 2013, the Lubbock, Texas, native started considering a career in the oil industry.

Redman was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 23rd round of the 2012 MLB draft. He played infield at the time and had hardly pitched an inning in his career.

In 2012, the Rays assigned Redman to Rookie-level Princeton, where he spent most of his time at second base. Redman batted .265/.324/.376 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) in 253 plate appearances that summer. It wasn’t a horrendous performance, but Tampa Bay released him after 2013 spring training.

Redman packed his things and headed back to West Texas. He figured his career was over.

“I was going to get into oil and gas of some sort,” Redman said. “That’s all there really is around there.”

Before he began searching for new jobs, a scout for the Miami Marlins called Redman wondering if he could come to Palm Beach, Fla., for a tryout. Redman didn’t hesitate.

Redman arrived in Palm Beach hoping to impress the Marlins scouts at the plate and in the field.

“They said, ‘You don’t need any bats or anything, you just need your glove. We want to see if you can pitch,’ Redman said. “I was pretty confused at first. Thought they might have the wrong guy.”

A Miami scout was impressed with Redman’s arm as a infielder for Texas Tech, Redman said, and the Marlins wanted to see if that arm would translate to the pitching mound. Redman wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity. But all he threw, all he knew, were fastballs.

“I really had no idea what I was doing,” Redman said.

His velocity, movement and mechanics impressed Miami enough for them to offer him a contract. It’s paid off.

Redman posted a 1.91 ERA in 28.1 relief innings for the Batavia Muckdogs (short-season Single-A) in 2013. He played for the advanced Single-A Jupiter Hammerheads and the Double-A Jacksonville Suns the following season. His combined ERA in 61.2 innings that year was 2.04, with 68 strikeouts and 12 walks.

Redman and left-hander Brian Flynn were traded to the Royals for Aaron Crow before the 2015 season, and Redman was assigned to Northwest Arkansas. He posted a 3.63 ERA in 17.1 innings before he experienced a pitcher’s worst nightmare last May. But he considers the Tommy John rehab a blessing in disguise, a chance to improve his slider and changeup.

“His stuff is there, he’s got good velocity,” Chukars pitching coach Jeff Suppan said. “He has a good idea of how the game is played. That’s half the battle really.”

Redman does not know how long his rehab assignment will last or where he’ll be assigned after Idaho Falls. But it’s easy for him to be patient. After all, he thought his career was finished three years ago.

“I’m gonna try to do this as long as I can, and hopefully have some fun while I do it,” Redman said. “Oil and gas will be there when I get done.”