Quad Cities pitching staff breaks MWL strikeouts record

Patrick Sandoval struck out 71 batters for the River Bandits this season. The Astros traded him to the Angels late last month. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Quad Cities River Bandits pitching staff broke the Midwest League record for strikeouts in a single season Friday, and have 16 more games left to go.

River Bandits starting pitcher Leovanny Rodriguez’s third strikeout of the game was QC’s 1,308th punchout of the year — one more than the Fort Wayne TinCaps pitching staff collected last season. Quad Cities struck out 11 batters Friday, bringing its strikeout total to 1,316. QC’s previous franchise record for strikeouts in a season was 1,275 (in 2017).

Despite breaking the record, the River Bandits still lost the game, 8-3, to the Kane County Cougars.

Perez 4-for-4 in MWL debut

Wenceel Perez went 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in his Midwest League debut for the West Michigan Whitecaps, who beat the Lansing Lugnuts 5-0 Friday.

Perez was one of two Detroit Tigers prospects added to the Whitecaps roster before Friday’s game, taking the place of Kody Clemens and Brock Deatherage, who were promoted to the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers. Clemens batted .302 with 4 HR and 17 RBI in 41 games with the Whitecaps. Deatherage batted .313 with 14 extra-base hits, 18 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 46 games with West Michigan.

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Posted in Florida State League, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Kane County Cougars, Lakeland Flying Tigers, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Montero, Lewis earn top Midwest League honors

Former Cedar Rapids Kernels shortstop Royce Lewis is the 2018 Midwest League Prospect of the Year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

With less than three weeks left before the playoffs begin, the Midwest League announced its postseason awards Friday. Former Peoria Chiefs third baseman Elehuris Montero was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, former Cedar Rapids Kernels shortstop Royce Lewis the Prospect of the Year, and Bowling Green Hot Rods skipper Craig Albernaz the MWL Manager of the Year.

Montero, who turns 20 Friday, batted .321 with 15 homers, 28 doubles and 69 RBI in 102 games with the Chiefs before being promoted to High-A on August 7. The St. Louis Cardinals prospect was named the Midwest League Player of the Month for July, during which he batted .359 with five homers, 10 doubles and 20 RBI in 25 games.

Montero is the third Chiefs player to win the league’s MVP award. The others were Albert Pujols in 2000 and Pablo Ozuna in 1998.

Lewis, who turned 19 in June, batted .315 with nine homers, 23 doubles, 53 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 75 games with the Kernels this season before being promoted to High-A last month. The Minnesota Twins prospect was last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick.

Albernaz is in his first season as manager of the Hot Rods, who currently have the best record in the Midwest League (78-44). Bowling Green won the first-half Eastern Division title.

Of the 16 MWL teams, only six are represented on this year’s end-of-season All-Star team. In addition to the Chiefs, Hot Rods and Kernels, postseason All-Star honors also went to players from the Kane County Cougars, the Dayton Dragons and the Fort Wayne TinCaps. (One of the pitchers, Tommy Romero, currently pitches for the Hot Rods, but began the season with the Clinton LumberKings.) The full list is as follows, with their MWL stats as of Friday (except for the two players already mentioned above):

First Base: Peoria’s Yariel Gonzalez (.308 BA, 10 HR, 32 XBH, 61 RBI in 102 games)

Second Base: Bowling Green’s Vidal Brujan (.313 BA, 5 HR, 28 XBH, 41 RBI, 43 SB in 95 games)

Third Base: Peoria’s Elehuris Montero

Shortstop: Cedar Rapids’ Royce Lewis

Outfield: Cedar Rapids’ Alex Kirilloff (.333 BA, 13 HR, 38 XBH, 56 RBI in 65 games), Kane County’s Ernie De La Trinidad (.311 BA, 8 HR, 56 RBI in 91 games) and Bowling Green’s Moises Gomez (.277 BA, 13 HR, 47 XBH, 67 RBI in 107 games)

Catcher: Bowling Green’s Ronaldo Hernandez (.287 BA, 18 HR, 38 XBH, 73 RBI in 97 games)

Designated Hitter: Dayton catcher Hendrik Clementina (.268 BA, 17 HR, 52 RBI in 82 games)

Right-handed Starting Pitcher: Bowling Green’s Tommy Romero (9-4, 3.01 ERA, 122 Ks in 113.2 IP/22 starts)

Left-handed Starting Pitcher: Fort Wayne’s Osvaldo Hernandez (11-4, 1.81 ERA, 94 Ks in 109.2 IP/21 G/19 starts)

Right-handed Relief Pitcher: Dayton’s John Ghyzel (3.49 ERA, 52 Ks, 18 saves in 38.2 IP/38 G)

Left-handed Relief Pitcher: Fort Wayne’s Travis Radke (1.74 ERA, 77 Ks, 14 saves in 57 IP/35 G)

Former Clinton LumberKings/current Bowling Green Hot Rods pitcher Tommy Romero was named an end-of-season MWL All-Star. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs | Leave a comment

Navarro, Hernandez named MWL players of the week

Lansing Lugnuts infielder Jesus Navarro and Fort Wayne TinCaps LHP Osvaldo Hernandez respectively were named the Midwest League’s offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of August 6-12.

During that time frame, Navarro batted .650 (13-for-20) with four doubles, two walks, three runs batted in, and seven runs scored in six games. The Toronto Blue Jays prospect is batting .273 with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBI in 42 games with the Lugnuts this season.

Hernandez made one start last week, during which he gave up only one hit, struck out five and walked none in six shutout innings on the road vs. the Lake County Captains. The San Diego Padres prospect is 11-4 with a 1.81 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 27 walks in 109.2 innings (21 games/19 starts) for the TinCaps this season. His ERA leads the Midwest League by a significant margin, with Beloit Snappers RHP Mitchell Jordan in second with a 2.45 ERA.

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Early 10-run inning helps Bees coast to 16-4 win over Cougars

The Burlington Bees scored 13 runs in the first four innings — including 10 in the 2nd inning — to set the tone early for an easy 16-4 win over the Kane County Cougars on Sunday.

All nine players in the Bees starting lineup had at least one hit and one run scored. Eight of them drove in at least one run.

The offense was led by Tim Millard, who went 5-for-5 with a solo homer, two runs batted in, and three runs scored in his fifth Midwest League game. A 35th-round draft pick this year, the Los Angeles Angels farmhand was promoted to the Bees last week after batting .299 with seven homers, 10 doubles, 21 walks and 29 RBI in 41 games with the rookie-level Orem Owlz.

Kiki Menendez, who hit a 3-run homer during the 10-run frame, and Julio Garcia each drove in three runs for the Bees.

Julio Garcia on deck

Burlington Bees infielder Julio Garcia stands on deck during a game at Fox Cities Stadium earlier this season. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Cougars starting pitcher Mack Lemieux took the loss, dropping to 2-9 with a 4.23 ERA in 22 starts this season. The 21-year-old lefty was charged with 11 runs (six earned), gave up 11 hits and one walk, and struck out two batters in 1.2 innings.

Jose Caballero and Yoel Yanqui homered for the Cougars.

MWL alumni change teams

Several former MWL players changed MLB teams in the past couple days, including:

Infielder Giovanny Urshela (2011 Lake County Captains), whom the New York Yankees acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash.

RHP Drew Hutchison (2010-11 Lansing Lugnuts), whom the Texas Rangers signed to a one-year deal.

RHP Tyson Ross (2008 Kane County Cougars), whom the St. Louis Cardinals claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.

RHP Shawn Kelley (2007-08 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers), whom the Oakland Athletics acquired (along with cash) for international slot money from the Washington Nationals.

Standings update

There is approximately one month left in the second half, and I wrote about the playoff races on my Patreon site tonight (reflecting the standings heading into Monday’s games).

Posted in 2018 Playoffs, Burlington Bees, Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Orem Owlz, Pioneer League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Hunter Greene out for season with elbow sprain

Cincinnati Reds prospect Hunter Greene pitches during a game at Fox Cities Stadium last month. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Cincinnati Reds prospect Hunter Greene won’t be lighting up radar guns anymore this season.

Greene, whom I saw pitch for the Dayton Dragons against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last month, is out for the rest of the season after being diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. The injury doesn’t require surgery, but the triple-digit fastballer will rehab at the Reds’ spring training facility in Arizona.

The right-hander, who turns 19 on Monday, was the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft and has spent this season in the Midwest League. Although he started slow with the Dragons, he made the necessary adjustments to turn things around and finish strong before the injury occurred. Overall he went 3-7 with a 4.48 ERA, 89 strikeouts and 23 walks in 68.1 innings/18 starts for Dayton, but those numbers are deceiving since the first third of his season was so poor compared to the dominance he showed the rest of the way. As MiLB.com’s Sam Dykstra noted in this story, Greene had a 10.06 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 10 walks in his first seven starts (17 innings), but posted a 2.63 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 13 walks in his next 11 starts (51.1 innings).

This was Greene’s first full season as a pro.

Nichols approaches milestone

Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols will soon announce his 4,000th minor-league game. This is his 31st season as a baseball broadcaster and his 11th with the Dragons. You can read more about his career in this IndianaRBI.com story by Steve Krah.

Posted in Dayton Dragons, Midwest League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment