Reyes undergoes TJ surgery, will miss upcoming season

St. Louis Cardinals RHP Alex Reyes pitched for the Peoria Chiefs in 2014. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

St. Louis Cardinals prospect Alex Reyes pitched for the Peoria Chiefs in 2014. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes is expected to miss the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery Thursday. The procedure was necessary after an MRI showed the former Peoria Chiefs hurler had a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Reyes is considered one of baseball’s top prospects. Baseball America has him ranked No. 4 overall, behind Boston Red Sox outfield prospect Andrew Benintendi, Chicago White Sox infield prospect Yoan Moncada, and Atlanta Braves shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson.

Reyes pitched for the Chiefs in 2014, going 7-7 with a 3.63 ERA, 137 strikeouts and 61 walks in 109 innings (21 starts). He made his major-league debut last year and went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 23 walks in 46 MLB innings (12 games/five starts).

Posted in Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Ex-Midwest Leaguers lead Brisbane to ABL title

Former Peoria Chiefs pitcher Ryan Searle picked up a two-inning save in the title-clinching game for the Brisbane Bandits. (Photo from perthnow.com)

Former Peoria Chiefs pitcher Ryan Searle picked up a two-inning save in the title-clinching game for the Brisbane Bandits. (Photo from perthnow.com)

The Brisbane Bandits won their second consecutive Australian Baseball League title Saturday, with several former Midwest Leaguers playing key roles.

The biggest contribution came from starting pitcher Kramer Champlin, who gave up only one hit — a solo homer by Cody Jones — while striking out four batters and walking none in seven innings of the title clincher. Now an indy-league hurler, Champlin pitched in the Toronto Blue Jays organization from 2011 to 2014. He pitched for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2012 and 2013, going 10-5 with a 3.87 ERA, 150 strikeouts and 35 walks in 151.1 innings (55 games/5 starts).

Ryan Searle struck out four and walked none for a two-inning save. The Bandits closer is a former Chicago Cubs farmhand who pitched for the Peoria Chiefs in 2010. He went 7-8 with a 4.38 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 37 walks in 109 innings (22 games/19 starts) in the Midwest League.

Minnesota Twins prospect Logan Wade, a Brisbane native, was named MVP of the championship series. He played for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2014, batting .233 with 7 HR and 38 RBI in 75 games.

Tampa Bay Rays prospect David Rodriguez ended the ABL season (including the playoffs) with a 24-game hitting streak. The catcher played with the Bowling Green Hot Rods last year, batting .240 with 9 HR and 62 RBI in 112 games.

Posted in Australian Baseball League, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Cubs trade Dewees to Royals; Nats acquire Romero

Donnie Dewees bats during last year's Midwest League All-Star Game. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Donnie Dewees bats during last year’s Midwest League All-Star Game. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Chicago Cubs traded minor-league outfielder Donnie Dewees to the Kansas City Royals for right-handed pitcher Alec Mills on Wednesday.

Dewees split the 2016 season between two Class-A levels, including 94 games in the Midwest League. He batted .282 with 3 HR, 54 RBI and 17 SB for the South Bend Cubs. He reached base three times (on two hits and a walk) in the MWL All-Star Game.

Mills did not pitch in the Midwest League. He made his major-league debut last year.

Nats get Romero from Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays traded left-handed pitcher Enny Romero to the Washington Nationals for right-hander Jeffrey Rosa, who pitched in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year, on Tuesday.

Romero pitched for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in 2011, going 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA, 140 strikeouts and 68 walks in 114 innings (26 starts). He made his MLB debut in 2013. Last year he made 52 relief appearances for the Rays, going 2-0 with a 5.91 ERA, one save, 50 strikeouts and 28 walks in 45.2 innings.

Napoli, Rangers reach deal

First baseman Mike Napoli reportedly has agreed to a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. He batted .239 with 34 HR and 101 RBI in 150 games with the Cleveland Indians last year. He previously played for the Rangers in 2011-12 and 2015.

Napoli played with the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2001 and 2002. He batted .246 with 15 HR and 68 RBI in 149 MWL games.

Posted in 2016 All-Star Game, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Chavez replaces Schulze as Snappers pitching coach

A change has been made to the previously-announced assignments for the Beloit Snappers coaching staff.

Don Schulze, who served as the team’s pitching coach last year, is now assigned to the Double-A Midland RockHounds. Midland’s skipper is Fran Riordan, who managed the Snappers the past two seasons.

Carlos Chavez is now assigned as pitching coach for the Snappers. The former minor-league hurler served as a pitching coach at lower levels in the Oakland Athletics farm system the past four years.

Scott Steinmann, a former manager of the Clinton LumberKings and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, will manage the Snappers in 2017. You can read more about him and the rest of his previously-announced coaching staff here.

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Posted in Beloit Snappers, Clinton LumberKings, Midland RockHounds, Midwest League, Texas League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Bolivar promoted to manager of Dayton Dragons

New Dayton Dragons manager Luis Bolivar was the team's hitting coach the past three seasons. (Photo courtesy of the Dayton Dragons)

New Dayton Dragons manager Luis Bolivar was the team’s hitting coach the past three seasons. (Photo courtesy of the Dayton Dragons)

Luis Bolivar, who served as hitting coach for the Dayton Dragons the past three seasons, will manage the Midwest League team in 2017, the Cincinnati Reds announced Thursday.

It is Bolivar’s first regular-season assignment as a manager, though the former Reds minor-leaguer previously served in that role for Cincinnati’s Fall Instructional League program in Arizona. He played 180 games with the 2003-04 Dragons, batting .233 with 13 HR, 66 RBI and 37 SB. He was a Midwest League All-Star in 2004.

He is replaced as hitting coach by former major-leaguer Daryle Ward, who enters his second year as a coach in the Reds organization. He batted .263 with 90 HR and 379 RBI in 948 MLB games spread over 11 seasons. He did not play in the Midwest League, but his father, Gary Ward — also a former major-leaguer — did. The elder Ward batted .261 with 26 HR and 78 RBI in 126 games with the 1974 Wisconsin Rapids Twins.

Derrin Ebert returns for a second season as pitching coach for the Dragons. He pitched 11 seasons in the minor leagues and made five major-league appearances for the Atlanta Braves in 1999.

Dayton’s bench coach will be Kevin Mahar, who played seven seasons in the minor leagues and appeared in seven games for the Texas Rangers in 2007. He grew up in Midland, Mich., home of the Great Lakes Loons.

Last year’s Dragons manager, Dick Schofield, will serve as bench coach for Cincinnati’s Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Posted in Dayton Dragons, Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Southern League | Leave a comment