MWL alumni Almora, Gordon have 5-for-5 days

Albert Almora connects with a pitch while playing for the Kane County Cougars. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Albert Almora connects with a pitch while playing for the 2013 Kane County Cougars. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Midwest League alumni Albert Almora and Dee Gordon each turned in a 5-for-5 performance Saturday.

Almora’s five hits and an RBI led the Tennessee Smokies to a 7-1 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The Chicago Cubs prospect batted .329 with 3 HR and 23 RBI in 61 games with the 2013 Kane County Cougars.

Gordon’s five hits and 3 RBI came in a losing effort as his Miami Marlins fell 5-4 to the New York Mets. As a Los Angeles Dodgers prospect in 2009, Gordon batted .301 with 3 HR, 35 RBI and 73 SB in 131 games with the Great Lakes Loons. He is the half-brother of current Cedar Rapids Kernels SS Nick Gordon, a top Minnesota Twins prospect.

Only four Midwest League teams collected more than the combined 10 hits of Almora and Gordon on Saturday.

The Peoria Chiefs used 16 hits and seven walks to beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 15-4. Chiefs leadoff hitter Magneuris Sierra had three hits, including a triple. SS Andrew Sohn, LF Nick Thompson, 1B Justin Ringo, DH Collin Radack and RF Blake Drake each had a pair of hits. Sohn drove in four runs and Ringo drove in three.

The West Michigan Whitecaps used 12 hits, two walks and four errors to beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps 10-6. Whitecaps DH Will Maddox went 4-for-4 and RF Michael Gerber drove in four runs.

The Dayton Dragons used 12 hits, five walks and an error to beat the Lansing Lugnuts 9-3. Four Dragons players had two hits, including 3B Gavin LaValley, who drove in three runs.

The Bowling Green Hot Rods used 11 hits and two walks to beat the Lake County Captains 4-3. Hot Rods SS Cristian Toribio led the way with three hits and a run batted in.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Peoria Chiefs, Southern League, Tennessee Smokies, West Michigan Whitecaps, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Guide to 2015 Midwest League coaches and prospects

Need help finding my posts about each Midwest League team’s prospects and coaching staff? The links below will take you right to them!

Beloit Snappers Coaches Prospects

Bowling Green Hot Rods Coaches Prospects

Burlington Bees Coaches Prospects

Cedar Rapids Kernels Coaches Prospects

Clinton LumberKings Coaches Prospects

Dayton Dragons Coaches Prospects

Fort Wayne TinCaps Coaches Prospects

Great Lakes Loons Coaches Prospects

Kane County Cougars Coaches Prospects

Lake County Captains Coaches Prospects

Lansing Lugnuts Coaches Prospects

Peoria Chiefs Coaches Prospects

Quad Cities River Bandits Coaches Prospects

South Bend Cubs Coaches Prospects

West Michigan Whitecaps Coaches Prospects

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Coaches Prospects

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, 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 | Leave a comment

Miller limits Clinton to 1 hit in 6 innings

Kane County Cougars LHP Jared Miller’s first start of the season was forgettable, but his second start was memorable.

Miller took a no-hitter into the 6th inning against the Clinton LumberKings on Wednesday, having given up only a 4th-inning walk at that point. He lost both the no-hitter and the shutout on a one-out homer by second baseman Gianfranco Wawoe. Two subsequent errors and a sacrifice fly allowed another (unearned) run to score in that inning.

Miller’s final line: 6 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. It was a big improvement from his first start, in which he gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter in three innings against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

The Cougars won Wednesday’s game 5-2.

Kernels lose, Timber Rattlers and TinCaps win

The Kernels lost their first game of the season Wednesday, dropping a 3-2 contest to the Peoria Chiefs in 12 innings. Cedar Rapids is now 6-1, while Peoria’s fifth consecutive win gives the Chiefs a 5-2 record.

The last two Midwest League teams without a victory finally broke into the wins column Wednesday. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (1-6) beat the Burlington Bees (4-3) 4-0, and the Fort Wayne TinCaps (1-3) staved off a comeback attempt by the South Bend Cubs (3-4) to win 10-7.

Power outage causes MWL game suspension

Wednesday’s night game between the Beloit Snappers and the Quad Cities River Bandits was suspended in the bottom of the 5th inning because of a power outage that couldn’t be resolved. Here is a description of what happened from the River Bandits’ game story:

In a 2-2 tie entering the bottom of the fifth inning, Snappers third baseman Edwin Diaz lifted a fly ball to right field, but River Bandits rightfielder Ryan Bottger drifted away from the ball toward right-center field, later reacting when the ball dropped in right field, allowing Diaz to reach second base. With a light bank on the first-base side of the ballpark out, the umpires took both teams off the field. The lights were shut off and then turned on again, but the malfunctioning lights were not restored. The game was then suspended.

The game — Beloit’s home opener — will be resumed Thursday, with a 7-inning game to be played afterward.

Pillar scales wall to rob homer

Watch this amazing catch by Toronto Blue Jays leftfielder Kevin Pillar, who scales the outfield wall to rob Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Tim Beckham of a home run Wednesday at Rogers Centre.

Pillar was the Midwest League MVP in 2012, when he batted .322 with 5 HR, 57 RBI and 35 SB in 86 games with the Lansing Lugnuts. He tied a Midwest League record when he collected six hits in a game against the Dayton Dragons on May 12, 2012.

Kevin Pillar played for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2012. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Kevin Pillar played for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2012. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

On a side note, I got to see Pillar homer in both Buffalo Bisons games I attended during my Cooperstown road trip last year. Here is a photo I took of him being greeted by teammate Darin Mastroianni after hitting one of his roundtrippers.

Former Lansing Lugnuts OF Kevin Pillar is greeted at the plate by teammate Darin Mastroianni after Pillar clubbed a 2-run homer for the Buffalo Bisons during a game last July. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Former Lansing Lugnuts OF Kevin Pillar (right) is greeted at the plate after homering for the Buffalo Bisons during a game last July. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

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

Gillaspie, pitchers lead way in BG’s 1-hit win over LC

Bowling Green Hot Rods pitchers Chris Pike and Kyle Bird combined to one-hit the Lake County Captains in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday, with 1B Casey Gillaspie leading the way offensively for Kentucky’s only Midwest League team.

Gillaspie, younger brother of Chicago White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie, went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, 4 RBI, and three runs scored in Bowling Green’s 7-0 victory. He is ranked by Baseball America as the Tampa Bay Rays’ No. 11 prospect. RF Justin Williams, Tampa Bay’s No. 14 prospect, doubled in two runs.

Pike earned the win after giving up only one hit and striking out four in five innings. Bird struck out two in his two perfect innings.

Captains SP Jordan Milbrath took the loss after giving up six runs on seven hits and a walk in 4.2 innings. He struck out eight batters.

The Captains rebounded for a 2-1 win in the second game of the doubleheader. Their starting pitcher, Sean Brady, got the win after giving up one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four in six innings. Hot Rods SP Enderson Franco took the loss after giving up two runs on six hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out three batters.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Leave a comment

VanMeter undergoes leg surgery; 4-month rehab expected

The Fort Wayne TinCaps issued a press release this afternoon updating the status of infielder Josh VanMeter, who was injured during Monday’s game at Parkview Field.

TinCaps second baseman Josh VanMeter underwent a successful surgery on Tuesday morning after fracturing his left fibula during Fort Wayne’s game against Lansing on Monday night at Parkview Field.

“I’m overwhelmed by all of the love and support,” VanMeter said. “Thanks to everyone. You guys don’t know how much it means. This is a minor setback for a major comeback.”

VanMeter, who grew up in nearby Ossian, Ind., was taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne after the game. His surgery was performed by doctors at Ortho NorthEast (ONE).

No timetable has been set for VanMeter’s return. The surgery typically takes about four months of rehabilitation. VanMeter was placed on the disabled list Tuesday, while infielder Nick Vilter was added to Fort Wayne’s roster.

“We value all of our fans and their concerns, thoughts, and prayers for Josh,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said. “He’s in great spirits and he’ll be back and better than ever. Josh is a team leader and tremendous player and performer. We thank everyone for their notes, texts, calls, and comments. I assure you all that Josh is doing well and will put in the necessary work to play again as soon as possible.”

The injury occurred during the top of the fourth inning. With one out and Lansing’s Rowdy Tellez at first base, Danny Jansen hit a groundball to TinCaps shortstop Franchy Cordero. Cordero fielded the ball and flipped it to VanMeter, who stepped on second base and threw to first to complete a 6-4-3 double play. In the process, Tellez’s slide made contact with VanMeter, leading to an awkward fall and the injury.

“Our family is extremely appreciative for everyone who’s expressed their thoughts and concerns for Josh’s health,” said Greg VanMeter, Josh’s father. “We know he’s in great hands with the Padres athletic training staff and the medical specialists in Fort Wayne.”

VanMeter was selected by San Diego in the 5th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Norwell High School, where he led the Knights to a 3A State Championship.

“Unfortunately, injuries are part of baseball,” TinCaps manager Francisco Morales said. “But Josh works as hard as anyone in the entire Padres organization, so it’s not even a question that he’s going to come back stronger than before. He’s a great kid with the mental toughness to overcome this.”

After debuting for the Padres in the Rookie-Level Arizona League in 2013, VanMeter was a starting middle infielder for the TinCaps in 2014. He’s the only everyday player in Fort Wayne history from the region.

Last year VanMeter was a key contributor in leading the TinCaps to the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series.

“Everything happens for a reason,” VanMeter said. “Everything will be okay.”

Tuesday afternoon game results

There were four matinee games in the Midwest League today.

Lansing Lugnuts 6, Fort Wayne TinCaps 4

Lugnuts SP Sean Reid-Foley pitched well in his MWL debut, giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out six in three scoreless innings. Lugnuts LF Chris Carlson went 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base, and a run batted in. TinCaps LF Edwin Moreno went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI.

Great Lakes Loons 6, West Michigan Whitecaps 0

Loons CF Alex Verdugo led the Great Lakes offense with a 3-for-5 performance that included a double and 2 RBI. Whitecaps SP Fernando Perez took the loss despite giving up only one unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out seven in five innings.

The Loons improved to 3-0.

Kane County Cougars 4, Burlington Bees 3

Bees SP Sean Newcomb gave up two runs (one unearned) on five hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings. Cougars SP Brent Jones gave up three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out eight in 6.2 innings. Both got no-decisions. The winning hit was a pinch-hit, two-run double by Stryker Trahan in the top of the 8th inning.

Peoria Chiefs 7, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 1

Chiefs 1B Justin Ringo went 3-for-5 with a triple, a stolen base and 3 RBI. Chiefs RF Collin Radack went 4-for-5 with a stolen base and a run batted in. Chiefs SP Will Anderson got the win, scattering seven hits and a walk while striking out six in six scoreless innings.

SS Jake Gatewood hit his first home run for the Timber Rattlers, whose record fell to 0-6.

Posted in 2014 Playoffs, Burlington Bees, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, West Michigan Whitecaps, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Jorge strikes out 10 as Kernels improve to 5-0

The Cedar Rapids Kernels extended their season-opening winning streak to five games after beating the Beloit Snappers 9-0 Monday.

Kernels SP Felix Jorge was dominant, giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters in seven scoreless innings. He was backed up offensively by SS Nick Gordon and RF Max Murphy, who each had three hits; 2B Pat Kelly, who doubled and hit a 3-run homer; and 1B Tyler Kuresa, who singled and hit a 2-run homer.

Snappers SP Junior Mendez gave up eight runs on 13 hits, including two home runs, in 3.1 innings. He struck out six batters.

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

Medeiros pitches 6 no-hit innings in MWL debut

Brewers pitching prospect Kodi Medeiros threw six no-hit innings and struck out seven in his Midwest League debut  Sunday. (Photo by Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

Brewers pitching prospect Kodi Medeiros threw six no-hit innings and struck out seven in his Midwest League debut Sunday. (Photo by Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers LHP Kodi Medeiros lived up to his billing as one of the top pitching prospects in the Midwest League this year, tossing six no-hit innings in his MWL debut Sunday. He didn’t get a win to show for it, however, as the Peoria Chiefs rallied for 11 runs in the last two innings for an 11-1 victory.

Medeiros struck out seven and walked one. He was taken out after the 6th inning, after throwing 63 pitches.

He was the Brewers’ top draft pick (No. 12 overall) last year. The Timber Rattlers have Milwaukee’s top three 2014 draft picks on their roster.

Another one of them, centerfielder Monte Harrison (2nd round, 50th overall), drove in Wisconsin’s lone run on an RBI double in the 5th inning. He also walked twice. First baseman Dustin DeMuth had three of the team’s six hits.

But that was it for the Timber Rattlers. The rest of the game’s offensive highlights came from the Peoria Chiefs, who scored seven runs in the 8th inning and four runs in the 9th inning. Shortstop Oscar Mercado homered and drove in three runs. First baseman Alex De Leon had two hits, including a double, and drove in a pair of runs.

It was the home opener at Wisconsin’s Fox Cities Stadium. That fact, along with the day of the week, nice weather (68 degrees and sunny at game time) and a Jonathan Lucroy bobblehead giveaway, helped draw a record 5,954 fans to Fox Cities Stadium.

Posted in Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment