After winning 181 games the past two regular seasons, the GreenJackets should be Southern Division favorites next summer.
The bulk of the roster likely will come from this season's Class A short-season Salem-Keizer squad, which won its second consecutive Northwest League championship Sunday with a 4-2 victory over the Tri-City Dust Devils.
The Volcanoes dominated the league en route to their fourth title in eight years. They went 57-19 during the regular season to run away with the Western Division by 19 games.
The team consists mostly of first-year players and recent draft picks in the San Francisco Giants organization.
COWART CALLED UP: GreenJackets all-star pitcher Adam Cowart was promoted by the Giants to high Class A San Jose after Augusta's elimination from the SAL Southern Division series Friday night.
Cowart, who went 14-7 with a 2.39 ERA in 28 starts for Augusta, finishing with the SAL's third-lowest ERA, had no trouble adjusting in his California League debut Sunday.
The 24-year-old right-hander with a unique delivery allowed three hits in eight innings as San Jose blanked the Visalia Oaks for the second consecutive game, 5-0, to take command of the North Division championship series.
"I just wanted to give the team a chance to win," Cowart told MILB.com. "I didn't get a chance to throw a whole lot between my last start and tonight."
Cowart retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced.
"I just kept the fastball down and let the infield work behind me," Cowart said. "I'd heard a lot of good things about this team. It's a great experience for me."
He is trying to win a championship for the second year in a row. Last year he went 10-1 with a 1.08 ERA for Salem-Keizer.
FISHY FEELING: Several GreenJackets indicated they thought the Columbus Catfish, who swept Augusta for the division championship, should win the league championship over the West Virginia Power of the Northern Division.
"This was the series (for the championship)," Augusta outfielder Bobby Felmy said. "I have no doubt (Columbus) is going to win it. I don't think they'll have a problem.
"Whoever won this series was going to win it, I have no doubt."
The Catfish, who pitched well all season, displayed a potent offense in the divisional series, outscoring Augusta 18-3.
Columbus won three of four from West Virginia during the regular season.
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HUNT, MCKINNEY HONORED
A pair of Aiken Foxhounds have been named to the South Coast League All-Star team, the independent league announced Monday.
Infielder Kelly Hunt, who hit a SCL-best 24 home runs, and outfielder Garth McKinney were voted onto the roster by league managers.
The Macon Music led the league with five selections. The SCL champion South Georgia Peanuts have three representatives, including championship series MVP Doc Brooks.
Players who were drafted or had their contracts purchased by affiliated clubs, such as Aiken's Scott Houin by the Milwaukee Brewers, were not eligible.