Julian Aguiar took the mound on Saturday for the Daytona Tortugas against Jupiter. He was coming off of a 5-inning game against Clearwater the week before that saw him strike out eight batters with just one walk. He went out and did the exact same thing against the Hammerheads this weekend. the eight strikeouts on Saturday pushed his season total to 103 strikeouts in 88.1 innings pitched.

Aguiar was drafted in 2021 out of Cypress College in the 12th round. The 21-year-old works with a fastball, curveball, and a change up. His fastball has worked in the 92-95 MPH range this year and topped out at 97. His change up has worked in the low-to-mid 80’s. The curveball has worked in the 76-82 MPH range. The right-hander has mixed his usage well, throwing the fastball 49.6% of the time, his curveball 36% of the time, and his change up 14.4% of the time. He’s also gotten a high rate of ground balls this season, coming in at 50.9% this season. That ranks 9th in the league among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched.

Jack Rogers is getting it done in Daytona

When the 2022 season began for Jack Rogers he was with the High-A Dayton Dragons. But he went through a big time slump to start the season, picking up just six hits in 21 games. On May 24th he was sent down a level to join the Daytona Tortugas. In the 62 games he’s spent in the Florida State League he’s not only picked up his production, but he’s thrived. On Saturday he hit two home runs against Jupiter (the team, not the planet). Both were opposite field shots. Hawkeye in Jupiter missed the distance for the first one, but the second one went 441 feet.

The Tortugas were rained out on Sunday, so the game on Saturday that saw Rogers homer twice while also drawing a walk was his most recent game. That game pushed his season line with the Tortugas up to .292/.358/.546 with 15 doubles, 5 triples, and 10 home runs.

A Minor League Players Union

Late on Sunday night news broke that the MLBPA had sent out cards to minor league baseball players to vote on whether or not they would like to authorize becoming a part of the union. If there is enough support from the players in minor league baseball then there are a few options. MLB and MiLB could choose to recognize the union without an official election among the players. Given how that they’ve gone about business with regards to the minors that seems incredibly unlikely. That would then mean that there would need to be an official vote by the players. That is where things could get a little more complicated as MLB and MiLB could make challenges and drag the process out from a legal standpoint.

One interesting point brought up by Baseball America’s JJ Cooper this morning was that if minor league players join a union that the only way that more minor league baseball teams could be contracted would be if the union agreed to that happening.

In the past we’ve seen minor league baseball team owners throw their support behind major league baseball, particularly when it came to trying to pass the Save America’s Pastime Act that attempted to classify minor league baseball players as seasonal workers who wouldn’t require being paid minimum wage. Ultimately that act didn’t make it on it’s own, but then it was just put into an omnibus spending bill that was like 1900 pages long and went through anyways. Public pressure was then applied and ownership raised salary to what was still below poverty level wages for the year, but also began to cover housing for players during the season after 40 teams were cut out of minor league baseball.

With some owners worried that major league baseball could look to cut even more teams in the next collective bargaining agreement it sure seems like they should look to start throwing their weight behind the players unionizing as that would be a surefire way to keep their ten+million dollar business from being taken away from them as the players certainly aren’t going to decide that less teams and fewer jobs is a plan that makes sense.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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19 Responses

  1. MBS

    I do support the MILB player having a union that could increase their income, as most live on way too little. I do not like the idea of them having a vote on how many teams there are in the MILB. I still think there are too many teams in the MILB. If I were king of baseball this is what I’d do.

    1) MLB team 26 man roster with a 20 man Taxi Squad (former AAA team) that travels with team. They’d play the same schedule as the MLB team, but only 6 inning games that are played before the MLB game. You could have your rehabbing players, and subs always with you. MLB starters could also throw their bullpen days on taxi team games, if that would be beneficial to the team/player.

    2) AA equivalent team

    3) A equivalent team

    4) AZL equivalent team (mostly 18 and unders)

    If there are really that many more talented players, add more MLB teams with their own farm systems.

    • Doc

      Although I am generally non-union, as they have evolved, agree with the need for milb union. I don’t see any way in the long run that MiLB avoids this. Unfortunately, I think unionization will result in shorter careers for minor leaguers, but baseball has brought this on themselves. The history of unions is that the needle always tilts toward the union, yet even when there are obvious big issues, it never moves the other way. Really restricts being able to try new ideas.

      I don’t agree with your other comments about further shrinking the number of levels. It is a widely divergent set of skills needed to play MLB, and a wide range of development and maturity years that it takes to get to that point. There are HOF players who would never have been heard of under your proposal. However, there was an excellent suggestion, in my opinion, several days ago to adopt the NHL model of a traveling squad of 29+ players, with 3+ players designated as inactive for any particular game. That would greatly improve the quality of the MLB game, I would think.

      I find baseball at the minor league level most enjoyable entertainment, whether I am watching the Salem Red Sox in VA, the Tortugas in Daytona, the Rough Riders in Frisco or the Bats in Louisville. We look for milb games when we travel and nor infrequently route our travels to have access to ball games. I’d want more teams, not fewer, but I want a level playing field for all teams.

      • MBS

        I don’t disagree that there are many different skill levels. I do disagree that there are future Hall of Farmers that won’t get their shot under this system, as cream rises to the top.

        There are also other baseball leagues out there, Korea, and Japan have their own professional well paid leagues, and we have independent leagues all over the U.S. If the player you’re talking about isn’t getting their shot in the MILB they can prove themselves in those leagues. My guess it would be like a CFL player making it to the NFL, it happens, but it’s rare.

        Bottom line is the MLB isn’t going to cut a profitable arm of their business, so if you want better pay, you need to increase revenue from the MILB or decrease cost. It’s still a business, not a non profit.

    • BK

      @Doc, I agree with your assessment. The ingredients for a union are there–pay/benefits have not kept up with the demands on MiLB players. MLB comes across as heavy-handed with efforts to treat MiLB players as seasonal workers, etc.

      Size of MiLB should be optimized for player development. An effort to include this in any potential CBA will likely prove problematic over time.

      MLBPA is largely regarded as the most powerful in sports, but are they effective? They have delivered a decreasing piece of the pie over time. They continually laud their wins of 25+ years ago. They resist models that have proven to work better in other pro sports leagues. They publicly attack the league as a matter of practice and have not aligned their goals with growing MLB. From my perspective, they are the worst league in pro sports. I’ll feel bad for the players and the game if they align themselves with MLBPA. In short, I’d prefer they find a different union.

  2. Stock

    Aguilar was in my top 25 prior to all the trades in August. We have several young pitchers coming through the system. Aguilar, Petty, Jose Acuna and Javi Rivera have done well this month. They have combined for these stats:

    ERA: 2.36
    WHIP: 0.95
    K/9: 10.7
    BB/9: 2.6

    Four interesting pitchers to watch in 2023. It would not surprise me at all if Petty was a top 100 prospect in December 2023.

    • DaveCT

      There’s very good depth in the pitching ranks right now, even with graduations of the more elite arms. It isn’t really a quantity over quality argument either, as there is true talent and projection there. The Tyler Mahle model, if you will. Plus, we may also be seeing the benefits of the new(er) top to bottom pitching development program, with any remaining Boddy improvements, too. I said the other day that the failure of the Stephenson/Garrett/Romano/ trio along with RDavis, Stephens, etc, to develop and contribute probably did as much or more to kill the last rebuild. They were supposed to pick up the torch and they failed. Note: Castillo and Mahle did their share as we know. Hence we went out and purchased Bauer, Gray, Wood, etc at a large cost. I do want to add a note of snark though, Josiah Gray was leading the league in HR’s given up and Jeter Downs was sent back to AAA with a 51% strikeout rate. As Juaquin Anduhar once said so we’ll, “Youneverlnow.’

      • Redsvol

        High School pitchers, can’t live with em, can’t live without em. I wish we knew how the Braves do it. They have some failures but they have so many high school pitching draft successes. I just don’t trust the ability to predict which 18 year olds will capable of 23 year old major league pitchers.

        Best strategy is to trade for 1 of the few that makes it to high A+ with good health and stats from our surplus of middle infielders.

      • DaveCT

        Looks like the first year of the new development program had the younger arms, or those with low mileage on them, in their first year of full season ball in Daytona on the tandem system with lower pitch counts. In theory that allows the club to use 8-10 guys as starters to see who might stick another season at High-A.

        I wonder if this is strictly by design, or if the lack of a Short Season club just didn’t allow enough pitching slots for the kids moving up from Rookie ball.

    • Stock

      The back half looks especially promising. Julian Aguiar (12th Round) and Javi Rivera (20th round) have looked really good. Still interested with Blake Dunn (15) and Austin Callahan (18). The back half player I was most excited about last summer (Shawn Guilliams 11th Round) is no where to be seen.

      I was a lot more excited about Allen, Torres and Farr last November than I am right now.

    • DaveCT

      Agreed! Very St Louis Cardinal-like, IMO. 1-20, good quality with some significant depth pieces in there that can surprise. Been liking what we’ve seen of the 22 college kids as well.

  3. MK

    I am very pro Union but I could see where a unionized minor league workforce would most likely be the end of minor league baseball as we know it. Easily MKB could turn the 40-man roster into an 80-man roster put all their top prospects on it and let them play on two minor league teams. If they want to strike over these changes, since 90% will never make the majors they are told to have a nice life and bye bye. The guys with a chance to make it will come back. Result Union busted.

    • EyeballsInNooga

      If they do that, they’ve probably angered enough of Congress via loss of MiLB teams (many of which have been the subject of a lot of public investment) to seriously threaten the antitrust exemption.

  4. Jim t

    A very wise man once told me if you have a union it’s probably because you deserve a union

  5. DaveCT

    The first fastball from Aguiar in the video sure looked like it had some good movement and carry. And the curve has some nice break. I am guessing some of the “fastballs” later in the video without velocity posted may have been changes?

    I know less than zero about spin rates, etc, but I’d like to know what is known about Aguilar’s after watch this clip.

    • Doug Gray

      His spin rate doesn’t really stand out. In this particular start he averaged 2301 RPM. That’s slightly better than average. But without more context that doesn’t tell us a ton. After the season is over I will be better equipped to grab the full on data for pitch movement in the Florida State League and be able to compare that stuff to the others. A quick look showed that he got more horizontal break on his sinker than MLB average by about an inch. But that was just this game, too, and not necessarily a reflection of where he’s been all year.