Jeter is King, Canzler Returns & Santa is Coming

The RailRiders assembled the fields, but you decided their victors. Through month-long online voting, the greatest of the great were decided for each of the three different SWB baseball eras. For the betting man, the no-doubt-about-it pick was Derek Jeter to claim the four-man RailRiders bracket. And the No. 1 seed did just that, routing Dellin Betances and Curtis Granderson in succession. When it came to the Yankees bracket though, a surprise was in store. While the top two seeds advanced to the final, their match-up was not close – and the high seed lost. Shelley Duncan got smoked by the only man to ever manage SWB to Governors’ Cup greatness – Dave Miley. But that was nothing compared to what fan-favorite Jon Zuber did in the Red Barons bracket. The man who once rewrote the record books at his college alma mater, Cal, roared to glory as a 14-seed in the 16-man field, taking down a virtual Mount Rushmore of Red Barons – Ryan Howard, Andy Ashby, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino in the process. While that run is remarkable, someone called it. A consultant that was heavily involved in the selection and seeding process, Scranton Times-Tribune writer Donnie Collins, predicted exactly that via Twitter weeks before voting ended.

Donnie does a great job of covering the team through the paper, its website and this RailRiders blog. For more on the voting, check out the team’s release, visit the RailRiders, Yankees and Red Barons voting pages.  How did the SWB baseball experts’ picks stack up?  Check out the original selection show video, or witness the surprisingly accurate (with one notable exception) “presidential picks” video from RailRiders team president/GM Rob Crain. *******************************************************************************************************

Russ Canzler could very well be a RailRider in 2014. Well, I suppose the guy next door *could* be too, but this is grounded in a little more reality.  Not only is he a talented player, the 2011 International League MVP is also once again a member of the New York Yankees organization according to Baseball America‘s transactions hawk, Matt Eddy:

You may recall that Canzler was a Yankees’ commodity last year for nearly a month (Jan. 4-Feb. 5), but was claimed off waivers the week before spring training. Canzler had been DFA’d to make room for Travis Hafner, as we profiled here on PIP. The former Hazleton Area High School star was also the subject of this outstanding feature when he came to town with Norfolk this past June. Incidentally, Canzler crushed the RailRiders. In eight games against his hometown club, Canzler assembled slashes of .364/.400/.606/1.006 including a pair of homers and six RBIs. He also becomes yet another 2013 Norfolk Tide to sign with the Yankees this off-season, joining fellow infielders Zelous Wheeler and Yamaico Navarro. Considering Norfolk finished in a tie with Rochester for the IL’s wild-card spot, signing some of the Tides’ better players might not be a bad idea. Especially if part of the goal is to assemble a competitive Triple-A unit that will likely have its share of prospect outfielders during the course of the 2014 season.

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Arguably the Yankees’ best prospect outfielder might still be a few years away though. Pro scout Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com breaks down the AFL exploits of Mason Williams. *******************************************************************************************************

In other RailRiders news, catcher Bobby Wilson has signed with the Diamondbacks per Matt Eddy:

With the big club inking Brian McCann and trading Chris Stewart to the Pirates, the trickle-down effect will be felt in SWB’s battery. *******************************************************************************************************

Earlier today, the Yankees officially announced a multi-year deal with defensive whiz, Brendan Ryan. Might that might mean the end of the road for Jayson Nix? *******************************************************************************************************

On Jan. 8, voting results for baseball’s Hall-of-Fame voting will be announced. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch examined two former Yankees who are on different ends of that spectrum. Right-hander Mike Mussina, who is eligible for the first time, and Don Mattingly, who first appeared on the ballot over a decade ago in 2001. Click to read more about Moose and Donnie Baseball. *******************************************************************************************************

Former New York Yankee Ted Lilly has retired due to chronic neck pain.

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Connecting with families is a huge part of the minor league baseball experience.  And it’s not one that’s beholden to the season proper. On Dec. 14, Santa Claus will be at PNC Field for an amazing family breakfast experience. Get the details here.

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