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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Travel Like a Big Leaguer, be a Skeeter

With the focus on youth in the Astros' organization becoming more prominent, spots for veterans and minor league free agents in the system will diminish. As a result, being a Farmstro will no longer be an option for quite a few. For those players who find themselves outside the Farmstros Village looking for a way back to the big leagues (or at least a way to keep playing baseball at a high level), there will be a new option in 2012. This new option, the SugarLand Skeeters, will give players a chance to travel like a big leaguer, while playing half their games in close proximity to Minute Maid Park.

2012 will mark the Skeeters first season as part of the independent Atlantic League. Although the league has plans to add more teams from the South in the future, the Skeeters will be isolated in Texas in 2012. The club will make ten roadrips, playing a total of 70 games in locales such as Waldorf, Maryland; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Long Island, New York.

This unique geographical situation means that the Skeeters will be traveling more than 33,000 miles over the course of a 140-game schedule. While this is not quite a major league travel itinerary (the Astros are slated to travel more than 40,000 miles in 2012), the Skeeters will be on the move far more than the Astros' AAA affiliate Oklahoma City, who will log a little bit less than 20,000 miles in their 144-game season.

In addition to the frequent flyer miles, the Atlantic League also offers opportunity for advancement on the field. The most recent Atlantic League to Major League success story is Angels pitcher Jerome Williams. In June 2011, Williams was pitching for the Lancaster Barnstormers. By the end of the season, he was sporting a record of 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA for Los Angeles' American League entry.

NOTE: These mileages reflect road distances and were calculated using a combination of Google Maps and the Farmstros office Rand McNally Road Atlas.

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