MWL highlights: Daniel drives in 7; Gonsalves strikes out 12

Andrew Daniel drove in seven runs for the Burlington Bees on Tuesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Andrew Daniel drove in seven runs for the Burlington Bees on Tuesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Tuesday’s Midwest League action was highlighted by an offensive explosion, some stellar pitching performances, and a rehab appearance by a major-league outfielder.

In Burlington, the Bees used 19 hits, five walks and three errors to beat the Beloit Snappers 15-6. Andrew Daniel drove in seven runs and had three hits, including a two-run triple and a three-run homer. Jake Yacinich and Ryan Seiz also had three-hit performances for Burlington, and Zachary Houchins hit a pair of solo homers. Sandber Pimentel and Argenis Raga homered for Beloit.

In Cedar Rapids, LHP Stephen Gonsalves improved to 5-1 by dominating the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. In the Kernels’ 4-1 win, he struck out 12 batters while giving up only three hits, a walk, and one unearned run in six innings. He is among the league leaders with 66 strikeouts (1st), a 1.31 ERA (3rd), and a 0.79 WHIP (2nd).

At Quad Cities, RHP Wei-Chieh Huang and the Kane County Cougars shut down the River Bandits, winning 3-0. Huang got the victory in his professional debut, striking out eight batters while giving up only two hits and a walk in 5.2 scoreless innings. Losing pitcher Akeem Bostick struck out seven, gave up three hits and two runs, and walked none in five innings.

In Dayton, the Dragons held the South Bend Cubs to four hits in their 4-0 victory. LHP Seth Varner earned the win, striking out five batters while giving up three hits and no walks in seven scoreless innings.

In Peoria, the Chiefs scored three times in the 6th inning on their way to beating the Clinton LumberKings 4-3. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, rehabbing with the Chiefs, went 0-for-4.

St. Louis Cardinals OF Jon Jay began a rehab stint with the Peoria Chiefs on Tuesday. (Photo by Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)

St. Louis Cardinals OF Jon Jay began a rehab stint with the Peoria Chiefs on Tuesday. (Photo by Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)

Jay previously played in the Midwest League in 2006, his first professional season. He batted .342 with 3 HR and 45 RBI in 60 games with the Swing of the Quad Cities, who were affiliated with the Cardinals.

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Giron, Thompson named MWL players of the week

Ruddy Giron, seen here playing with the Rookie-level AZL Padres last season, was named the Midwest League offensive player of the week for May 18-24. (Photo by Larry Goren/Four Seam Images)

Ruddy Giron, seen here playing with the Rookie-level AZL Padres last season, was named the Midwest League offensive player of the week for May 18-24. (Photo by Larry Goren/Four Seam Images)

Fort Wayne TinCaps SS Ruddy Giron and West Michigan Whitecaps RHP Jeff Thompson respectively were named the Midwest League offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of May 18-24.

Giron burst onto the scene with a 6-for-6 performance against the Lake County Captains in his Midwest League debut May 18. He has at least one hit in each of his first eight MWL games, and had multiple hits in six of them. He is batting .526 with 2 HR and 5 RBI.

Thompson made two starts during the May 18-24 period, and they were two of his three best starts this season. On May 18 against the Bowling Green Hot Rods, he gave up only three hits and a walk while striking out five in 5.2 scoreless innings. On May 24 against the Dayton Dragons, he gave up three hits and three walks while striking out nine in six scoreless innings.

Overall this season, Thompson is 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 38.1 IP.

Jeff Thompson delivers a pitch during the West Michigan Whitecaps' home opener last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Jeff Thompson delivers a pitch during the West Michigan Whitecaps’ home opener last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Kelly, Fernandez lead Kernels to 12-3 win over Snappers

Jorge Fernandez (center) is congratulated by teammates Brett Doe (left) and Pat Kelly (right) after hitting a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning of Monday's game. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Jorge Fernandez (center) is congratulated by teammates Brett Doe (left) and Pat Kelly (right) after hitting a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning of Monday’s game.

Pat Kelly and Jorge Fernandez drove in nine Cedar Rapids runs to lead the Kernels to a 12-3 win over the Snappers at Beloit’s Pohlman Field on Monday.

Kelly went 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, a walk and five runs batted in. Fernandez went 2-for-5 with a home run and four runs batted in.

Pat Kelly homers off Junior Mendez in the 4th inning of Monday's game.

Pat Kelly homers off Junior Mendez in the 4th inning of Monday’s game.

Three Kernels players collected three hits — Kelly, Max Murphy and Tyler Kuresa. Overall the team had 19 hits and got at least one from every starter.

Max Murphy (right) gets a fist bump from manager Jake Mauer during Monday's game.

Max Murphy (right) gets a fist bump from manager Jake Mauer during Monday’s game.

Beloit’s James Harris had three hits, including a solo homer and a double.

Beloit Snappers CF James Harris

Beloit Snappers CF James Harris

Michael Theofanopoulos earned the win in relief, giving up four hits and no walks while striking out four batters in 2.2 scoreless innings. He took the mound after Kernels starter John Curtiss exited with an undisclosed injury in the 5th inning.

Cedar Rapids Kernels LHP Michael Theofanopoulos

Cedar Rapids Kernels LHP Michael Theofanopoulos

Snappers catcher Jose Chavez picked off two runners — Kuresa at first base and T.J. White at third base — and threw out Nick Gordon on a steal attempt.

Beloit Snappers C Jose Chavez

Beloit Snappers C Jose Chavez

The Kernels have scored at least 11 runs in three games this season. All three games were against the Snappers.

All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Lugnuts wallop Cubs, 17-2

The Lansing Lugnuts used 16 hits, six walks and three wild pitches to win 17-2 and complete a four-game sweep over the South Bend Cubs on Thursday at Cooley Law School Stadium.

All nine players in the Lugnuts lineup drove in runs, led by Rowdy Tellez, whose three RBI were part of a 3-for-3 performance that included two doubles, a walk and a stolen base. Danny Jansen had three hits and a walk, and drove in two runs. Chris Carlson had three hits, including a double and a triple, and drove in a run. Tim Locastro had two hits, a walk, two stolen bases and a run batted in.

You can see the game’s box score here.

Lugnuts starting pitcher Chase De Jong almost went the distance, coming one out short of the second complete game of his career. He gave up two runs on six hits and no walks, and struck out six. The two runs scored on a homer by Cael Brockmeyer.

Littell leads LumberKings to win

The Clinton LumberKings shut out the Quad Cities River Bandits 3-0 in a game that featured more walks (8) than hits (7).

LumberKings RHP Zack Littell was impressive in his second Midwest League start, giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out eight in six scoreless innings. River Bandits RHP Brandon McNitt took the loss despite giving up only one run on four hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings.

LumberKings third baseman Chris Mariscal drove in all three of the game’s runs.

Two MWL games last 14 innings

Thursday’s slate of Midwest League games began and ended with contests that lasted 14 innings.

The only day game was won 9-5 by the Fort Wayne TinCaps, who scored twice in the 9th and four times in the 14th to beat their hosts, the Lake County Captains. The game featured five home runs, by Fort Wayne’s Ruddy Giron, Chase Jensen and Duanel Jones, and Lake County’s Bobby Bradley and Claudio Bautista.

The last game to finish was won 6-3 by the West Michigan Whitecaps over the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The teams were tied 2-2 heading into extra innings, and both scored a run in the 12th before the Whitecaps plated three in the top of the 14th inning. West Michigan’s Zach Shepherd and Bowling Green’s Jace Conrad each hit solo homers. Hot Rods LHP Kyle Bird struck out eight batters in four innings of relief.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Clinton LumberKings, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Holmes, Gonsalves pitch one-hit gems

Two Midwest League games on Wednesday featured one-hit performances by pitchers who each hurled six innings.

RHP Grant Holmes did it for the Great Lakes Loons, and LHP Stephen Gonsalves did it for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Holmes improved to 3-0 after holding the Dayton Dragons to one hit and two walks while striking out nine in six scoreless innings. The Loons won 7-1. The Dragons committed five errors, a balk and a passed ball.

In eight starts this season, Holmes has a 3.03 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 19 walks in 38.2 innings.

Gonsalves improved to 4-1 after holding the Peoria Chiefs to one hit and three walks in six scoreless innings. He struck out seven and hit a batter. The Kernels won 8-0, with Zack Larson and Blake Schmit each driving in two runs.

In seven starts this season, Gonsalves has a 1.50 ERA (third-best in the Midwest League) with a league-leading 54 strikeouts and 10 walks in 42 innings.

Jackson sent to extended spring training

The Seattle Mariners reassigned top prospect Alex Jackson to extended spring training Wednesday after batting .157 with no homers and 13 RBI in 28 games with the Clinton LumberKings this season. He reportedly suffered a left shoulder injury during spring training but played through the pain until his last start on May 12.

Jackson, 19, was Seattle’s top draft pick last year (No. 6 overall) after Baseball America named him its High School Player of the Year.

TinCaps offer Letterman internship

The Fort Wayne TinCaps are struggling on the field so far this season, but their staff hasn’t forgotten how to have fun. With that in mind, they sent out a press release offering an internship to Indiana native David Letterman, who ended his 33-year late-night television career Wednesday.

Here are their “Top 10 Reasons David Letterman Should Intern with the Fort Wayne TinCaps”:

10. You’ll be paid in cotton candy.

9. In case you break the printer, you can always blame the mascot.

8. We also have openings for Rupert to work concessions, Alan to do PA, and Paul to lead “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

7. Parkview Field is close to Ball State, so you can check out the building named after you.

6. Need to spice up your marriage? We can put you on the Kiss Cam.

5. You’ll be in a cubicle, but you can keep your desk.

4. Chance to do slip-n-slide on tarp during rain delay.

3. We’ll take out the ceremonial first pitch so you can still do a monologue.

2. Most of our in-game promotions already qualify as Stupid Human Tricks.

1. Together, we could make “Small Town News” on Colbert’s show.

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Four homers lift Captains past TinCaps

Lake County Captains SS Yu-Cheng Chang hits a grand slam in the 3rd inning of Tuesday's game. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Lake County Captains SS Yu-Cheng Chang hits a grand slam in the 3rd inning of Tuesday’s game. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Four home runs, including a grand slam by Yu-Cheng Chang, propelled the Lake County Captains past the Fort Wayne TinCaps for a 8-5 win at Classic Park on Tuesday.

In addition to Chang’s grand slam — which came with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning — the Captains got a two-run homer from Dorssys Paulino and solo shots from Greg Allen and Francisco Mejia.

Captains LHP Justus Sheffield improved to 4-1 after giving up three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings.

Lake County Captains LHP Justus Sheffield got the win Tuesday. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Lake County Captains LHP Justus Sheffield got the win Tuesday. (Photo by Tim Phillis/TCP Photography)

Chang wasn’t the only player to hit a grand slam during Tuesday’s early Midwest League action. Peoria’s Steve Bean did, too, and it was enough to give the Chiefs a 7-5 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Steve Bean waits on deck during a Peoria Chiefs game earlier this season. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Steve Bean waits on deck during a Peoria Chiefs game earlier this season. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

One other homer was hit in the Dozer Park game — Trey Vavra hit an inside-the-parker that plated three runs for Cedar Rapids. Vavra’s hit became lodged under the outfield wall, but the Kernels first baseman’s bases-rounding effort was allowed to stand because Chiefs centerfielder Magneuris Sierra picked up the ball after he found it.

Chiefs RHP Daniel Poncedeleon improved to 4-0 despite giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out three batters.

At Cooley Law School Stadium, the Lansing Lugnuts beat the South Bend Cubs 7-3. Lansing’s Richard Urena and South Bend’s Charcer Burks each drove in two runs. Jesse Hodges went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run batted in for the Cubs.

Lugnuts RHP Conner Greene improved to 3-2 after giving up only one run on three hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six batters.

Conner Greene pitched six strong innings for the Lansing Lugnuts. (Photo by Kyle Castle)

Lansing Lugnuts RHP Conner Greene pitched six strong innings Tuesday. (Photo by Kyle Castle)

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Fort Wayne, Dayton ballparks ranked among best in MiLB

Fort Wayne's Parkview Field is among the top five ballparks in Minor League Baseball, according to Baseball America. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field is among the top five ballparks in Minor League Baseball, according to Baseball America. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Two Midwest League ballparks are among the top 25 in Minor League Baseball, according to rankings released by Baseball America last week.

Baseball America created lists of the top 25 minor-league ballparks and top venues in each league after surveying more than 100 MiLB general managers, radio announcers, league observers and others involved in the sport. Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field and Dayton’s Fifth Third Field rank No. 5 and No. 24, respectively, on the overall list.

Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, is described as follows:

A variety of seating options sets Parkview Field apart. Fans can pick from the “Treetops Rooftop Party Area” on top of the convention center in right field, a tiered picnic area in right field, the home run porch atop the left-field wall and the “410 Club” built in the batter’s eye beyond center field. The menu is almost as diverse, with in-house concession offerings ranging from the outrageous (including a variety of apple-themed desserts) to the practical (gluten-free options are available).

(As an aside, I found it interesting that Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, is ranked right after Parkview Field. I’ve been there several times, and I’ve always felt the two ballparks are comparable. Indiana residents who live between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis are fortunate to have two impressive MiLB ballparks in their area.)

Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons, is described as follows:

The Dragons have sold out every game since 2000, and the franchise sold for a record amount in 2014, reportedly $40 million. So they’re doing something right, and part of that is the ballpark. It’s cut into a city block, offers 30 luxury suites, three party decks and top-notch customer service.

The Midwest League rankings are as follows:

1. Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps

2. Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons

3. Dow Diamond, home of the Great Lakes Loons

4. Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps

5. Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs

6. Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

7. Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts

8. Dozer Park, home of the Peoria Chiefs

9. Classic Park, home of the Lake County Captains

10. Community Field, home of the Burlington Bees

11. Modern Woodmen Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits

12. Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, home of the Kane County Cougars

13. Bowling Green Ballpark, home of the Bowling Green Hot Rods

14. Veterans Memorial Stadium, home of the Cedar Rapids Kernels

15. Ashford University Field, home of the Clinton LumberKings

16. Pohlman Field, home of the Beloit Snappers

Do you agree with these rankings, or do you think one or more ballparks got shortchanged? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Indianapolis Indians, International League, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | 1 Comment