Snappers and A’s extend their affiliation through 2020 season

Herschel “Boog” Powell is among the Oakland A’s prospects who played for the Beloit Snappers before later reaching the major leagues. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Beloit Snappers and the Oakland Athletics have extended their player-development contract through the 2020 season, keeping intact an affiliation that has been in place since 2013.

That leaves the Kane County Cougars as the only Midwest League team without a PDC in place for next season. Their contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks expired at the end of the 2018 season.

There are three MLB teams without Low-A contracts in place: the Diamondbacks, the Chicago White Sox, and the Seattle Mariners (whose 10-year affiliation with the LumberKings is over after Clinton announced its pairing with the Miami Marlins on Thursday). The Seattle Times reported that the Mariners will align with the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League, though that move hasn’t been formally announced. That leaves the Diamondbacks and the White Sox, with (unconfirmed) rumor saying Arizona and Kane County will renew their contract.

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Posted in Beloit Snappers, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, South Atlantic League, West Virginia Power | Leave a comment

Ex-Whitecaps OF Stewart hits 1st two MLB HRs in Tigers win

Detroit Tigers rookie Christin Stewart bats for the West Michigan Whitecaps during a game in 2015. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Former West Michigan Whitecaps outfielder Christin Stewart hit his first two major-league homers and drove in six runs to lead the Detroit Tigers to an 11-8 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

Stewart’s six RBI are a career high, eclipsing his previous personal record of five RBI in a game for the Whitecaps in 2015. He batted .286 with seven homers, nine doubles, four triples and 31 RBI in 51 games with West Michigan.

Thursday’s game was Stewart’s 11th in the major leagues. He went 35 at-bats before homering. The last Tigers rookie to hit his first two homers in one game was Brent Clevlen, who did it on Aug. 1, 2006. Clevlen played for the Whitecaps in 2003, batting .260 with 12 homers, 22 doubles, seven triples and 63 RBI in 138 games. The outfielder played 59 games in the major leagues.

The last Detroit rookie to collect six RBI in a single game was Ryan Raburn, who drove in seven runs for the Tigers on July 25, 2007. He played 56 games with the 2002-03 Whitecaps, batting .256 with nine homers, 17 doubles and 40 RBI. He played parts of 12 seasons in the majors, most recently with the Washington Nationals last year.

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Clinton signs two-year affiliation deal with Marlins

The Clinton LumberKings will be affiliated with the Miami Marlins for the next two seasons. (Photo graphic courtesy of the LumberKings)

The Clinton LumberKings will have a new parent club next season after announcing Thursday night that they’ve signed a two-year player-development contract with the Miami Marlins.

The LumberKings were affiliated with the Seattle Mariners the past 10 seasons. The Marlins are the 15th MLB team to affiliate with the Clinton ballclub, dating back to the franchise’s origin in 1937. Miami is the first National League team to affiliate with Clinton since the LumberKings ended their tie to the Montreal Expos in 2002.

This is only the second time the Marlins have had a Midwest League affiliate. They were Kane County’s parent club from 1993 to 2002, during which time future major-leaguers Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar Renteria, A.J. Burnett and Dontrelle Willis were among those who suited up for the Cougars. Current Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria was Kane County’s skipper in 1999, when he was named the MWL Manager of the Year and led the Marlins affiliate to the second round of the MWL playoffs.

The Marlins left the Midwest League for the South Atlantic League, where they were affiliated with the Greensboro Grasshoppers for the past 16 seasons. Greensboro won three playoff berths, two division titles and a league championship during that time.

The Beloit Snappers and the Kane County Cougars are the only two Midwest League teams currently without player-development contracts in place for the next two years. They were affiliated with the Oakland Athletics and the Arizona Diamondbacks, respectively, this past season.

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Clinton LumberKings, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, South Atlantic League | Leave a comment

Ex-Hot Rods hurler Snell wins 20th game of season for Rays

Former Bowling Green Hot Rods hurler Blake Snell collected his 20th win of the season for the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Former Bowling Green Hot Rods hurler Blake Snell collected his 20th win of the season for the Tampa Bay Rays in the team’s 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Snell is the first 20-game winner in the major leagues since Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and J.A. Happ each reached the mark in 2016.

This is Snell’s third MLB season. He is 20-5 with a 1.97 ERA, 200 strikeouts and 58 walks in 169 innings/29 starts for the Rays.

The lefthander pitched for the Hot Rods in 2013 and 2014, making 31 starts in the Midwest League. He went 7-11 with a 3.55 ERA, 148 strikeouts and 92 walks in 139.1 innings.

Snell’s father, Dave, pitched in the Midwest League, too. You can read my post about him here.

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Hot Rods win their first Midwest League championship

Tyler Day

Tyler Day was one of three Hot Rods relievers who pitched a scoreless inning in Bowling Green’s title-clinching win Sunday. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Bowling Green Hot Rods took another early lead against the Peoria Chiefs in Game 4 of the Midwest League Championship Series, and it was enough for the Kentucky cars to cruise to a 7-2 win that gave them their first MWL title.

The Hot Rods scored once in the 1st inning, five times in the 2nd, and one more time in the 3rd to take an early 7-0 lead. The Chiefs eventually answered with two runs of their own in the 6th, but that proved to be a blip along the way for Bowling Green’s pitchers, who were dominant in all the other innings. Starter Paul Campbell gave up those two runs along with five hits and a walk in six innings. Tyler Day, Jhonleider Salinas and Matt Seelinger each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Hot Rods.

BG’s Taylor Walls and Peoria’s Dennis Ortega each drove in two runs. Trey Hair homered and doubled for the Hot Rods.

Posted in 2018 Playoffs, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment