Jimenez named Midwest League MVP and Prospect of Year

South Bend Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez is the 2016 Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

South Bend Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez is the 2016 Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year.

South Bend Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez was named the Midwest League’s Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year on Tuesday.

Jimenez is batting .337 with 12 home runs, 38 doubles, three triples and 77 RBI in 106 games, with 13 games left in the regular season. The Chicago Cubs prospect won the Top Star Award for his performance in this year’s Midwest League All-Star Game, and less than a month later, starred on a national stage in the All-Star Futures Game.

His manager, Jimmy Gonzalez, was named the league’s Manager of the Year. South Bend is 78-48, the second-best record in the Midwest League. The team won the first-half Eastern Division title, and has the best record in the division during the second half, too.

The Midwest League also announced its Postseason All-Star Roster, which was selected by the field managers of the league’s 16 teams. The postseason all-star players are:

First Base – Will Maddox of the West Michigan Whitecaps (.341 BA, 1 HR, 55 RBI, 24 SB in 113 games)

Will Maddox's .341 batting average is second-best in the Midwest League.

West Michigan Whitecaps first baseman Will Maddox’s .341 batting average is second-best in the Midwest League.

Second Base — Luis Arraez of the Cedar Rapids Kernels (.347 BA, 3 HR, 59 RBI in 103 games)

Cedar Rapids Kernels second baseman Luis Arraez's .347 batting average leads the Midwest League.

Cedar Rapids Kernels second baseman Luis Arraez’s .347 batting average leads the Midwest League.

Third Base – Kevin Padlo of the Bowling Green Hot Rods (.221 BA, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 14 SB in 104 games)

Shortstop – Isan Diaz of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (.276 BA, 19 HR, 72 RBI, 11 SB in 124 games)

Outfield – Eloy Jimenez  of the South Bend Cubs, Connor Marabell of the Lake County Captains (.311 BA, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 11 SB in 95 games), and Magneuris Sierra of the Peoria Chiefs (.300 BA, 3 HR, 55 RBI, 29 SB in 111 games)

Peoria Chiefs outfielder Magneuris Sierra is tied for first place in the Midwest League with 69 runs scored.

Peoria Chiefs outfielder Magneuris Sierra is tied for first place in the Midwest League with 69 runs scored.

Catcher – Austin Allen of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (.309 BA, 7 HR, 57 RBI in 103 games)

Fort Wayne TinCaps catcher Austin Allen had a 24-game hitting streak this season.

Fort Wayne TinCaps catcher Austin Allen had a 24-game hitting streak this season.

Designated Hitter – Trevor Mitsui of the Kane County Cougars (.291 BA, 4 HR, 59 RBI in 115 games)

Kane County Cougars first baseman Trevor Mitsui drove in two runs with this swing in the Midwest League All-Star Game.

Kane County Cougars first baseman Trevor Mitsui drove in two runs with this swing in the MWL All-Star Game.

Right-handed Starting Pitcher – Preston Morrison of the South Bend Cubs (9-4, 2.24 ERA, 85 Ks in 17 games/92.1 IP)

Left-handed Starting Pitcher – Angel Perdomo of the Lansing Lugnuts (3-7, 3.54 ERA, 135 Ks in 24 games/109.1 IP) and Evan Manarino of the Beloit Snappers (8-5, 2.15 ERA, 103 Ks in 22 games/121.2 IP)

Evan Manarino

Beloit Snappers LHP Evan Manarino

Right-handed Reliever – Nathan Greip of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (1-2, 2.28 ERA, 21 saves, 47 Ks in 44 games/51.1 IP)

Left-handed Reliever – Spencer Herrmann of the Clinton LumberKings (0-0, 1.73 ERA, 3 saves, 45 Ks in 28 games/41.2 IP)

*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler

Posted in 2016 All-Star Futures Game, 2016 All-Star Game, 2016 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Landon, Harber named MWL players of the week

Photo of Logan Landon courtesy of the Great Lakes Loons

Photo of Logan Landon courtesy of the Great Lakes Loons

Great Lakes Loons outfielder Logan Landon and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers RHP Conor Harber respectively were named the Midwest League offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of Aug. 15-21.

In seven games during that period, Landon batted .476 (10-for-21) with two homers, three doubles, five walks, six runs batted in, and seven runs scored. In 104 games this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers prospect is batting .259 with 9 HR, 44 RBI and 20 SB.

In two games last week, Harber went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, eight strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. He gave up only one hit and hit a batter. The Milwaukee Brewers prospect is 3-3 with a 3.28 ERA, one save, 60 strikeouts and 16 walks in 46.2 innings (18 games/five starts) this season.

Posted in Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

LumberKings chop down Chiefs for 8th straight win

Logan Taylor hit his 8th home run of the season for the Clinton LumberKings on Sunday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Logan Taylor hit his 8th home run of the season for the Clinton LumberKings on Sunday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Good pitching and a pair of home runs helped the Clinton LumberKings win their eighth consecutive game Sunday, a 2-1 victory over the Peoria Chiefs.

Not only have the LumberKings won their last eight games, but they have come away victorious in 16 of their last 17 contests. Clinton now has 80 wins this season, the first time the team has reached that mark since 1993. Their 80-46 record is the best in the Midwest League, with the Eastern Division-leading South Bend Cubs next at 77-48. The second-best record in the Western Division belongs to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, who are 68-57.

The LumberKings got solo homers from Dalton Kelly and Logan Taylor, which was enough for the win Sunday. Five Clinton pitchers held the Peoria offense to one run on two hits and five walks. LHP Jake Brentz got the win in relief, improving to 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances. He has 11 strikeouts and three walks in 7.1 innings.

Kivlehan homers in MLB debut

Former LumberKings third baseman Patrick Kivlehan is doing his best to make a great first impression in the big leagues. After going 2-for-4 with a home run in his major-league debut Saturday, the San Diego Padres rookie reached base in all four of his plate appearances Sunday. He went 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored in his second game.

Only one other Padres player reached base six times in his first two MLB games: Anthony Rizzo (2011), who is now the star first baseman for the Chicago Cubs.

Kivlehan played for the LumberKings in 2013, batting .283 with 3 HR and 31 RBI in 60 games.

Patrick Kivlehan breaks for third base during a Clinton LumberKings game in 2013. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Patrick Kivlehan breaks for third base during a Clinton LumberKings game in 2013. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Vargas strikes out 17 in Cougars’ 4-2 win over Bandits

Kane County Cougars RHP Emilio Vargas struck out 17 and walked none in a dominant performance over the Quad Cities River Bandits at Modern Woodmen Park on Saturday.

The only blemish for Vargas occurred in the 9th inning. He gave up a leadoff triple to Jake Rogers — only the second Quad Cities hit of the game — before a fielding error by shortstop Sergio Alcantara allowed Rogers to score. Vargas was then taken out of the game. The River Bandits scored one more run before reliever Austin Mason completed the save for a 4-2 Cougars victory.

In 12 starts for the Cougars this season, Vargas is 4-6 with a 3.56 ERA, 63 strikeouts and 18 walks in 65.2 innings.

The Midwest League record for most strikeouts by a pitcher in a single game is 22. Decatur Commodores LHP Bob Sprout did it against the Waterloo Hawks on Aug. 18, 1960.

Posted in Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment

Loons’ winning streak snapped at six games

Bowling Green Hot Rods 3B Kevin Padlo hit his 16th home run of the season Friday. (Steve Roberts Photography)

Bowling Green Hot Rods 3B Kevin Padlo hit his 16th home run of the season Friday. (Steve Roberts Photography)

The Hot Rods beat the Loons 5-2 at Bowling Green Ballpark on Friday, ending Great Lakes’ winning streak at six games.

Hot Rods third baseman Kevin Padlo hit his 16th homer of the season, tying him with former Beloit Snappers first baseman Chris Iriart for second-most in the Midwest League. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers shortstop Isan Diaz leads the league with 19 home runs.

Bowling Green has a healthy lead in the race for a second-half Eastern Division playoff berth. The Hot Rods are a half-game behind the Cubs in the second-half standings, but South Bend already clinched a postseason berth by winning the Eastern Division in the first half of the season. The Lugnuts are 7.5 games behind the Hot Rods, while the Loons and the Lake County Captains trail Lansing by 1.5 games.

Griep sets Rattlers record for saves

RHP Nate Griep set a new Wisconsin Timber Rattlers single-season record for saves Thursday when he notched his 20th of the year.

Griep’s mark eclipses that of former Timber Rattlers closers John Thompson and Greg Holle, who each had 19 saves in a season (in 1995 and 2011, respectively).

Griep has a 2.31 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 16 walks in 50.2 innings (43 games) this season.

More ex-MWLers make MLB debuts

Three former Midwest League pitchers made their major-league debuts Friday.

Ex-Timber Rattlers lefty Brent Suter made his debut in a start for the Milwaukee Brewers. He took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks in 4.1 innings versus the Seattle Mariners. He struck out two.

Suter pitched 23.2 innings (six games/three starts) for the 2012-13 Timber Rattlers, going 0-1 with a 1.90 ERA, two saves, 24 strikeouts and eight walks.

At Coors Field, Felix Pena and Rob Zastryzny made their MLB debuts for the Chicago Cubs in the team’s 11-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies. Pena, a righty, struck out two in a 1-2-3 9th inning. Zastryzny, a lefty, pitched a scoreless 10th inning despite giving up two singles and a walk.

Pena pitched 10 innings in six relief appearances for the 2012 Peoria Chiefs, giving up five runs and five walks while striking out 10. He returned to the Midwest League the following season, going 4-7 with a 3.92 ERA, one save, 77 strikeouts and 32 walks in 103.1 innings (21 games/17 starts) for the 2013 Kane County Cougars.

Zastryzny briefly pitched for the 2013 Cougars, giving up one run and four walks while striking out six in 9.2 innings (three games) for the 2013 Cougars.

Future SB Cubs set NWL record

The Eugene Emeralds, a Class-A short-season affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, set a new Northwest League record by winning their 15th consecutive game Friday. (The 2011 version of the Emeralds, who were affiliated with the San Diego Padres, held the previous NWL record of 14 wins in a row.) The team is 45-15.

Shortstop Zack Short and third baseman Wladimir Galindo each drove in three runs for the Emeralds. Winning pitcher Pedro Silverio scattered two hits and two walks while striking out six in five scoreless innings.

Those are some players you may see in the Midwest League next season because South Bend is the next level up from Eugene. Galindo leads the team with 8 HR, 35 RBI and 39 runs scored in 52 games, and is batting .249. An Emeralds pitcher of note is lefty Manuel Rondon, who is 6-0 with a 1.11 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 16 walks in 48.2 innings (10 starts).

LHP Manuel Rondon is 6-0 with a 1.11 ERA in 10 starts for the Eugene Emeralds this season. (Photo by Ryan Kang/The Register-Guard)

LHP Manuel Rondon is 6-0 with a 1.11 ERA in 10 starts for the Eugene Emeralds this season. (Photo by Ryan Kang/The Register-Guard)

Posted in 2016 Playoffs, Beloit Snappers, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Eugene Emeralds, Great Lakes Loons, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Northwest League, Peoria Chiefs, South Bend Silver Hawks, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | 1 Comment

Hot Rods, Rays extend PDC through 2018

The Bowling Green Hot Rods and the Tampa Bay Rays extended their player-development contract through the 2018 season, the teams announced Wednesday.

The Hot Rods have been affiliated with the Rays for their entire existence, beginning when Bowling Green was established as a South Atlantic League club in 2009. The team moved to the Midwest League the following year.

The team has reached the Midwest League playoffs three times (most recently in 2013) and is in strong contention for a second-half berth this year.

Twenty-four former Hot Rods players have reached the major leagues, including eight who made their big-league debuts this season.

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Blake Snell is one of the former Bowling Green Hot Rods players who made his MLB debut in 2016. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Blake Snell is one of eight former Bowling Green Hot Rods players who made his MLB debut in 2016. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in 2013 Playoffs, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Midwest League, South Atlantic League | Leave a comment