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Greetings Minor League Ball-ites! My name is Shwan.

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Introduction to a new Minor League Ball contributor, Shwan Ziad.

Damon Tarver/

Greetings Minor League Ball-ites! My name is Shwan, and I'll be aiming to bring you material on the minors, majors, and beyond. I'm very pleased for the opportunity to join the contributors here.

I'm a writer living on the central coast of California. My previous writing is on other subjects, reviewing literature and books on film. Baseball's a long-fed passion from which I cannot help myself, as is the case for many of you. So my writing about baseball and prospect related matters will be an experiment, to some degree.

A few years ago, I realized that the minor leagues were a hole in my appreciation and knowledge of the game. I had loosely followed prospects before, latching onto the excitement of a coming attraction like the lighting bolt through the minors that was Tim Lincecum, but it wasn't until I read John Sickels’ Baseball Prospect Book that I understood the minor leagues could be such a fertile subject for baseball writing, and that judging a prospect is a mysterious art unto itself.

Since then I've been trying to develop my own ability to judge a ballplayer at developmental stages, and failing often enough (Prospect Lesson One). I’ll be offering occasional views on prospects, by no means authoritative. My former Minor League Ball persona was Vivafakethirdtofirst, now retired, just like the delightfully ineffectual pitcher's pick-off move of the same name.

I plan to select links for discussion, write-up some brief observations on prospects and player development in the majors, and to review baseball books.  I also hope for a vist to MILB ballpark at some point, probably San Jose or Sacramento, with a report. I’ll hope to be a source for you, discerning reader of Minor League Ball.