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Drive Long and Prospect: Your day-to-day guide to the 2016 Cut4 Minor League Road Trip

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The guys behind Cespedes Family BBQ have embarked on a cross-country road trip to see as many Top-100 MLB prospects as possible.You can find an introduction to the trip and their full schedule by clicking here

Cool things happen when you hit the road, and you should always tell your friends about it. That's the spirit behind Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman's journey across America. The Cespedes Family BBQ founders will drive more than 8,000 miles through 30 states -- the plan is to see more than 30 of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects and to help you learn at least a little bit about each of the game's future stars. Be sure to check this post for daily updates.

Home Run Derby

Before the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, the guys asked some All-Star catchers for advice for the unsung hero of the Derby: The guy catching all the balls the contestants are trying to slug into outer space. 

They also checked in with a few All-Star relievers, because sure, Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainwright want to get in on the #PitchersWhoRake HRD, but what about the late inning guys? 

All-Star Media Day 

Jake and Jordan made all the important observations during All-Star Media Day: 

They also asked Odubel Herrera about his incredible bat flips and found out that Giancarlo Stanton homers off everyone, including his own team's relievers.

Futures Game 

Once they were in San Diego, Jake and Jordan reconnected with some of the prospects they met on the road before the SiriusXM Futures Game. What does the movie "Jumanji" have to do with Dansby Swanson? Why do people insist on calling No. 17 Rays prospect Ryne Stanek "Rain?" Will Jake really grow up to become a pirate lawyer? 

Day 16 - San Diego

Well, Jake and Jordan finally reached their destination. 

Once they got there, they watched four Futures Games players take on their toughest competition yet -- a whole bunch of children at the Play Ball Park across from Petco Park. But just because they've arrived in San Diego, that doesn't mean they're going away.

Day 15 - The Grand Canyon

Ever wondered what it would be like to bat flip at the Grand Canyon? Well, you're in luck -- now you can live vicariously through Jake and Jordan and their nature-friendly flippery: 

Day 14 - El Paso @ Albuquerque

On the drive to Albuquerque, Jake and Jordan encountered some of the desert's finest fine art and discovered a pair of disembodied legs. Don't worry, this isn't the beginning of an episode of "Law and Order," they're supposed to be there: 

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They also talked to No. 4 Rockies prospect Jeff Hoffman, who shared a story about getting dunked on by his dad. 

Day 13 - Colorado Springs @ Oklahoma City

After taking in some much needed sleep, the boys made the relatively short drive to Oklahoma City. While there, they covered the most important topic of the day: Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors. At least Dodgers prospect Jose De Leon enjoyed the conversation. 

Not that it was the only fun that Oklahoma City could provide. 

Day 12 - Frisco @ Northwest Arkansas

On the road for the Fourth of July, Jake and Jordan had but one choice: Try and eat an entire apple pie before Frisco Roughriders players Ryne Slack and Joe Filomeno could name all 50 states. Crazy? Sure. Dangerous? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely. 

Oh yeah, they also drove hours out of the way to flip some bats in Flippin, Ark. Because that's something sane people would do. 

Day 11 - Mississippi @ Jackson

North goes the road trip, on to beautiful Jackson, Tenn. -- where Jake and Jordan talked to gaggle of great Braves prospects, including Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies. Plus, they got to bat flip from the highest point in Mississippi, so you know it was a good day.

Day 10 - Biloxi @ Birmingham

 Still in Alabama, the boys stopped in Birmingham, home of the Barons and once, professional baseball player Michael Jordan. 

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They also talked to No. 1 White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer, and challenged him to a game of fungo golf. Since Fulmer is a pitcher who hasn't had a single plate appearance since high school, they were hoping that his lack of experience swinging a bat would bring him down somewhat closer to their level. They were horribly wrong.

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Day 9 - Montgomery @ Mobile

The trip continued westward, as Jake and Jordan arrived in Alabama to talk to some Rays prospects about video games and Spanish language education -- but not before christening the Braves' future home with a ceremonial bat flip.

Day 8 - Kannapolis @ Hickory

From our nation's capital, Jake and Jordan made their way into the south, where they talked to Justin Jirschele about becoming a coach at age 26, and talked about the journey into pro ball with No. 8 White Sox prospect Micker Adolpho. They also learned just how far the borders of Birdland extend: 

Day 7 - Nationals Park

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Jake and Jordan didn't get to take in a game on Wednesday, but they did get a pretty nice consolation prize: a chance to sit down with the best prospect/baker in baseball, Lucas Giolito. Fresh off making his (rain-shortened) MLB debut against the Mets, the Nationals righty talked about adjusting to life in The Show ... and trying to get a hit off of Matt Harvey.

Day 6 - Myrtle Beach @ Salem

After bat flipping into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, Jake and Jordan spent Day 6 of their Minor League Road Trip flipping even more bats, this time with professionals. They were joined by a few Red Sox prospects from the Class A Salem Red Sox to show off their most joyful bat flips:

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They also talked to Cubs No. 1 prospect Gleybar Torres about his baseball role model, Miguel Cabrera, then caught the first half of a modified double-header between the Red Sox and Myrtle Beach Pelicans. It's a shame they missed the second game, though, because they could've witnessed this beautiful bat flip in person:

 

Day 5 - Columbus @ Lehigh Valley

Jake and Jordan left Maine for Pennsylvania, where they caught up with Phillies prospects Andrew Knapp and J.P. Crawford, who found time to dish about "Game of Thrones" and his favorite players growing up. They also delved deep into Cam Perkins' double life as a pro baseball player/barista. 

But perhaps most importantly, they witnessed one of the true wonders of Minor League Baseball -- a human cannonball: 

Day 4 - Reading @ Portland

From New Hampshire, Jake and Jordan took the short drive to Portland to see the Sea Dogs, the Red Sox Double-A affiliate. Here they spoke with Yoan Moncada -- a man with biceps the size of the entire state of Maine.

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Sea Dogs outfielder/professional prankster Cody Decker was also down to chat, recounting the infamous deaf teammate trick he played on Jeff Francoeur and his social media genius.  

The Sea Dogs defeated the (surpemely talented) Fightin' Phils roster in a close 9-8 victory. This called for a celebratory home team bat flip into the Atlantic from our dutiful Minor League Road Trip warriors:


Miles Driven: 392

Miles Driven To-Date: 1,161

Time in Car: 6:58

Time in Car To-Date: 20:50

Day 3 -- Harrisburg @ New Hampshire

From top Mets prospect to top Nationals prospect, the guys drove up to New Hampshire to watch Reynaldo Lopez and the Harrisburg Senators face the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Twelve K's and eight scoreless innings later, it's safe to say he didn't disappoint.

But that was just the beginning of the fun. Jake and Jordan caught up with Blue Jays prospects and former Little League teammates Brady Dragmire and Rowdy Tellez to discuss the origins of their baseball careers, first home runs and even how to properly squash a fly.

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Miles Driven: 169

Miles Driven To-Date: 769

Time in Car: 3:32

Time in Car To-Date: 13:52

 

Day 2 -- Richmond @ Binghamton

After a bro-tastic and educational first day, the #Cut4RoadTrip continued into Central New York. First, Jake and Jordan hit up the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. and got to check out some of the weirdest items the Hall has to offer. It was, as the kids might say, aflame:

Then, they drove down to Binghamton, N.Y. to hang with the B-Mets (at least that's their name for now) before their game against the Flying Squirrels. Naturally, Jake and Jordan talked Minor League mascot names with the Minor Leaguers themselves, and then tested their knowledge of Kendrick Lamar lyrics head-to-head with Dominic Smith.

Miles Driven: 297

Miles Driven To-Date: 600

Time in Car: 4:53

Time in Car To-Date: 10:20

Day 1 -- Akron @ Reading and Toledo @ Scranton

Jake and Jordan started out their trip with some tips for life on the road from people who are actually paid to live much of their lives on the road: Indians and Phillies prospects in Reading, Pa.

Then they broke down LeBron's baseball talents with eternal bro Nick Swisher, reminisced about the days of unrestricted aluminum bats with Yankees prospect/dinger machine Aaron Judge and found a giant inflatable rat.

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Miles Driven: 303

Miles Driven To-Date: 303

Time in Car: 5:27

Time in Car To-Date: 5:27

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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