Schwarber promoted to High-A; Almora hits for cycle

Chicago Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber bats for the Kane County Cougars late last month. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Chicago Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber bats for the Kane County Cougars late last month. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Kyle Schwarber, the Chicago Cubs’ top draft pick this year, is being promoted from the Kane County Cougars to the High-A Daytona Cubs.

After five games with the short-season Boise Hawks, Schwarber batted .361 with 4 HR and 15 RBI in 23 games with the Cougars. He was named Midwest League offensive player of the week for the period of June 23-29, during which he went 9-for-22 with 3 HR and 7 RBI.

Almora hits for cycle, drives in 5

Former Cougars CF Albert Almora, the Cubs’ top draft pick in 2012, hit for the cycle and drove in five runs in Daytona’s 13-inning win over the Jupiter Hammerheads tonight. He had five hits in seven at-bats, completing the cycle with a triple in the 13th inning.

Almora batted .329 with 3 HR and 23 RBI in 61 games with the Cougars last year.

Posted in Boise Hawks, Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, Jupiter Hammerheads, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Northwest League | Leave a comment

Candelario, Weller named MWL players of the week

Jeimer Candelario batting for the Kane County Cougars (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Kane County Cougars 3B Jeimer Candelario bats in Beloit last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Kane County Cougars 3B Jeimer Candelario and South Bend Silver Hawks RHP Blayne Weller respectively were named the Midwest League offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of July 7-13.

During that period, Candelario played in seven games, going hitless in only one — the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. He made up for that oh-fer performance with two home runs in the second game, including a walk-off roundtripper.

Candelario had 12 hits during the past week, including three home runs and five doubles. He walked twice, drove in nine runs, and struck out only twice. He is batting .267 with 3 HR and 15 RBI in 21 games since rejoining the Cougars from High-A Daytona last month.

It’s no surprise that Weller was named the MWL pitcher of the week after he no-hit the Dayton Dragons last Thursday in a game nationally televised by the CBS Sports Network. He struck out 12 batters and, despite giving up no hits, gave up an unearned run thanks to a walk, a stolen base, and a two-base throwing error. (The error was committed by SS Andrew Velazquez, who set a new minor-league record Sunday for consecutive games on base.)

Overall this season, Weller is 5-4 with a 4.03 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 29 walks in 82.2 IP (21 games/11 starts) for the Silver Hawks.

Hernandez, Wainwright to start ASG

The starting pitchers for tomorrow night’s MLB All-Star Game were announced today: Seattle Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez for the American League and St. Louis Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright for the National League.

Wainwright never pitched in the Midwest League, but Hernandez did briefly. The pitcher now known as King Felix started two games for the 2003 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, striking out 18 batters in 14 IP.

Posted in Dayton Dragons, Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

QC’s Feliz gives up game-winning HR in Futures Game

Both current Midwest League players on the World team got to pitch in the All-Star Futures Game, with Quad Cities River Bandits RHP Michael Feliz taking the loss in the U.S. team’s 3-2 win Sunday.

Feliz pitched the bottom of the 6th inning, striking out two batters and giving up a two-run homer to Texas Rangers power prospect Joey Gallo, who was named the game’s MVP. It wasn’t surprising that Gallo went deep after hitting 15 home runs during batting practice, including six into the third deck at Target Field.

Gallo’s home run was measured at 419 feet and hit the windshield of a truck displayed on the concourse.

Chicago Cubs prospect Javier Baez (2012 Peoria Chiefs) also went deep. His home run was estimated at 399 feet.

Burlington Bees RHP Victor Alcantara faced two batters in bottom of the 8th inning, walking Cubs prospect Kris Bryant before getting Gallo to fly out.

Posted in 2014 All-Star Futures Game, Burlington Bees, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment

Velazquez’s 72-game on-base streak sets new MiLB record

South Bend Silver Hawks SS Andrew Velazquez hit an infield single in his second at-bat Sunday to set a new minor-league record for consecutive games on base (72).

The old record of 71 was set by Kevin Millar in 1997 and matched by Kevin Youkilis in 2003. The major-league record is 84, set by Ted Williams in 1949.

Velazquez’s infield single happened in the top of the 2nd inning when he beat out a throw from Fort Wayne TinCaps SS Trea Turner, who was making his Midwest League debut. Turner, the top draft pick of the San Diego Padres this year (No. 13 overall), went 1-for-5 and stole two bases.

RF Franmil Reyes homered for the TinCaps.

Related reading:

Velazquez ties MiLB record; TinCaps snap losing streak

Velazquez’s on-base streak reaches 70 games

Velazquez, Crawford named MWL players of week

Posted in Fort Wayne TinCaps, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Velazquez ties MiLB record; TinCaps snap losing streak

South Bend Silver Hawks SS Andrew Velazquez bats during a game at Four Winds Field earlier this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

South Bend Silver Hawks SS Andrew Velazquez bats during a game at Four Winds Field earlier this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

It took him until his last at-bat, but South Bend Silver Hawks SS Andrew Velazquez extended his on-base streak to 71 consecutive games Saturday, tying the minor-league record set by Kevin Millar in 1997 and matched by Kevin Youkilis in 2003.

Velazquez struck out twice and flied out once in his first three at-bats. Then, in the top of the 7th inning, he singled sharply to shallow left field to tie the record.

“I was real nervous,” Velazquez told The Journal Gazette. “When I got to first, it was definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders. The whole game I was thinking about it. I’ve been thinking about it for the past week and a half.”

Velazquez’s on-base streak began April 22 when he tripled and walked against the Dayton Dragons. He can set a new MiLB record today against the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

The major-league record for consecutive games reaching base is 84, set by Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams in 1949.

Velazquez matched the MiLB record against the TinCaps, who beat the Silver Hawks 6-1 to end their losing streak at 13 games. TinCaps SP Kyle Lloyd struck out 13 batters in 6 IP, and LF Henry Charles hit a towering two-run homer that landed on the roof of Parkview Field’s 400 Club in straightaway center field.

Silver Hawks 1B Daniel Palka also homered, giving him 18 roundtrippers and 69 RBI this season. He leads the Midwest League in both categories.

Happy birthday, Stan Coveleski

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Stan Coveleski was born today in 1889. His playing career predated the Midwest League’s formation, but MWL fans will recognize him as the original namesake of South Bend’s stadium (now known as Four Winds Field).

Earlier this year, the Silver Hawks unveiled a statue of Coveleski that is located inside the center field gate. I shared photos of it and wrote about Coveleski’s career and connection to South Bend here.

Additionally, you can watch the Baseball Hall of Fame’s short video about him here, and read a biography of him by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) here.

Posted in Baseball Hall of Fame, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Velazquez’s on-base streak reaches 70 games

South Bend Silver Hawks SS Andrew Velazquez went 3-for-5 Friday to extend his on-base streak to 70 consecutive games, one shy of the Minor League Baseball record.

In addition to his three hits, Velazquez drove in a run and stole two bases in South Bend’s 9-2 win over the TinCaps at Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field. The loss was Fort Wayne’s 13th in a row — two shy of the Midwest League record of 15, set by the 1958 Clinton Pirates and matched by the 1975 Cedar Rapids Giants and the 1986 Kenosha Twins.

If Velazquez reaches base Saturday, he will tie the MiLB record for consecutive games reaching base, set by Kevin Millar in 1997 and matched by Kevin Youkilis in 2003. The Major League Baseball record is 84, set by Ted Williams in 1949.

Velazquez could set a new minor-league record of 72 consecutive games if he reaches base Saturday and Sunday, the same day the TinCaps could match the Midwest League record for consecutive games lost (if they lose Saturday and Sunday, of course). Fort Wayne and South Bend play each other both days.

Frazier, Young have 2-HR games

Lake County Captains CF Clint Frazier and Bowling Green Hot Rods 3B Tyler Young each homered twice for their teams Friday.

Frazier, a top Cleveland Indians prospect, went 5-for-5 with two homers, three RBI, four runs scored, and a stolen base in Lake County’s 14-3 win over the Great Lakes Loons. Teammate Nellie Rodriguez drove in five runs on three hits, including his 16th home run of the season.

Young blasted a pair of two-run homers for the Hot Rods in their 7-2 win over the Lansing Lugnuts. Hot Rods SP Chris Kirsch (4-6, 3.04 ERA) struck out seven batters in seven innings.

In that game, Lugnuts 3B Matt Dean and Lugnuts DH Mitch Nay extended their hitting streaks to 13 consecutive games. Both did so with one out in the 9th inning.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

South Bend’s Blayne Weller no-hits Dayton

In terms of audience reach, South Bend Silver Hawks RHP Blayne Weller couldn’t have picked a much bigger minor-league stage on which to throw the game of his life.

Weller no-hit the Dayton Dragons in a game televised nationally Thursday on the CBS Sports Network.

It wasn’t a completely spotless game for the Silver Hawks, who won 7-1. In the 2nd inning, Weller walked Dragons CF Phil Ervin, who stole second base and scored on a two-base throwing error by SS Andrew Velazquez. Weller walked one other batter, in the 4th inning, but otherwise pitched a flawless game that included 12 strikeouts.

It was somewhat surprising to see him take the mound to start the 9th inning because he needed 111 pitches to get through the first eight frames. (He ended up throwing 125 pitches.) At the same time, Weller seemed to be getting stronger as he went deeper into the game; according to the Dragons, Weller’s fastball was consistently clocked at 94 mph throughout the game and reached 95 mph several times in the final frame.

It is the sixth no-hitter by the South Bend franchise and the second at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field. It is the second no-hitter thrown in the Midwest League this season.

Velazquez reached base four times (three walks and a triple) to extend his on-base streak to 69 consecutive games. The Minor League Baseball record is 71 games, set by Kevin Millar in 1997 and tied by Kevin Youkilis in 2003. The Major League Baseball record is 84, set by Ted Williams in 1949.

Velazquez, who turns 20 on Monday, could tie the MiLB record on Saturday against the Fort Wayne TinCaps, who lost their 12th consecutive game Thursday.

Posted in Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment