Guide to the 2017 Midwest League coaching staffs

As the start of the 2017 Midwest League season draws near, you may be wondering who the coaches are for each team this year. Here are links to my posts about all of them:

Beloit Snappers pitching coach rest of coaching staff

Bowling Green Hot Rods coaching staff

Burlington Bees coaching staff

Cedar Rapids Kernels manager rest of coaching staff

Clinton LumberKings coaching staff

Dayton Dragons coaching staff

Fort Wayne TinCaps coaching staff

Great Lakes Loons coaching staff

Kane County Cougars coaching staff

Lake County Captains coaching staff

Lansing Lugnuts coaching staff

Peoria Chiefs coaching staff

Quad Cities River Bandits coaching staff

South Bend Cubs coaching staff

West Michigan Whitecaps coaching staff

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers coaching staff

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

Rays sign ex-Hot Rods OF Kiermaier to 6-year, $53.5M contract

Kevin Kiermaier during a spring training game earlier this month. (Photo by Charlie Kaijo/Tampa Bay Times)

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Monday that they signed outfielder Kevin Kiermaier to a six-year, $53.5 million contract through the 2022 season, with a club option for 2023. The former Bowling Green Hot Rods player’s existing contract was set to expire after the 2020 season.

Kiermaier, a native of Fort Wayne, was drafted by the Rays in the 31st round (No. 941 overall) in 2010. He played in the Midwest League the following year, batting .241 with 4 HR, 39 RBI and 27 SB in 120 games with the Hot Rods. He made his major-league debut in September 2013, and has since established himself as one of baseball’s best defensive centerfielders. He won Gold Glove awards the past two seasons.

Posted in Bowling Green Hot Rods, Gold Glove Awards, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Dinger Dog wins Timber Rattlers’ Food Fight contest

The Dinger Dog is the winning entry in the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ Fan’s Choice Food Fight contest this year. (Photo courtesy of the Timber Rattlers)

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will add the “Dinger Dog” to the menu at Fox Cities Stadium for the upcoming season after the specialty sausage won this year’s Fan’s Choice Food Fight contest.

The Dinger Dog is a bacon-wrapped Cher-Make hot dog covered with nacho cheese sauce, crispy fried onion rings and barbecue sauce, all on a toasted pretzel bun. It overwhelmingly beat four other finalists (BLT Hot Dog, Beer Cheese Pretzel Burger, Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, and Poutine Hot Dog) by getting 50 percent of online votes cast in the contest. The five finalists were chosen from 75 fan submissions.

The Dinger Dog will be available at the Brew City Grill on the first-base side of the concourse.

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

Lugnuts unveil new baseball caps

The new cap designs unveiled Wednesday by the Lansing Lugnuts.

The Lansing Lugnuts on Wednesday unveiled a trio of new baseball caps to be worn during the upcoming season.

They are part of a new look for the Lugnuts, who will also unveil new home, road and batting practice uniforms during their “Opening Day Block Party” event at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Cooley Law School Stadium. The event, which begins three hours before the team’s home opener, will include appearances by the team, autographs, a Battle of the Drum Lines, a live concert by local band Global Village, and other entertainment.

“I love the new look,” general manager Nick Grueser said in a press release. “For the first time since 2004, the Lugnuts have a revamped logo, caps and uniforms. It has everything feeling new and re-energized heading into our 22nd year in Lansing.”

Here is a description of the new cap designs (and two returning ones), courtesy of the Lugnuts:

The new Lugnuts road cap features a gray crown serving as the background for Luggie the Lugnut’s familiar face, paired with a black brim. An alternate red Luggie paired with a black brim will serve as the team’s new batting practice cap.

The ‘Nuts will also wear a special script L cap, featuring a stylish gray L shadowed in red on a black background and paired with a red brim. The cap will be worn as the first of two alternate caps, showcased during select games.

Two familiar Lansing Lugnuts baseball caps return: The previous road cap, with a black brim, red crown, black L, and Luggie, will now be worn during home games at Cooley Law School Stadium. The previous home cap, an all-black model featuring Luggie the Lugnut, will be worn as the second alternate cap.

On a personal note, I’m glad the cap with a gray Luggie on an all-black background will still be used, as that’s one of my favorite Midwest League hat designs. I even bought a toddler-sized version (which also features a red L) for my daughter to wear when her head grows big enough for it!

In the mood to hear the Lugnuts’ catchy team song, “Go Nuts!”? I linked to it in this previous post.

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Lindor, Baez go deep for Puerto Rico in win over Mexico

Former Lake County Captains shortstop Francisco Lindor circles the bases after hitting his second homer for Puerto Rico in Saturday’s game vs. Mexico. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Associated Press)

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor homered twice and Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez added a late-inning dinger to help lead Puerto Rico to a 9-4 win over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday.

Both players drove in three runs, and teammate Carlos Beltran had three hits and a run batted in.

Lindor, runner-up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2015, played for the Lake County Captains in 2012. He batted .257 with 6 HR, 42 RBI and 27 SB in 122 games.

Baez played in the Midwest League that same season, logging 57 games with the Peoria Chiefs. He batted .333 with 12 HR, 33 RBI and 20 SB.

As noted in my last post, Beltran briefly played for the Lansing Lugnuts in 1996, batting .143 (6-for-42) in 11 games.

Mejia goes granny for Indians

Indians catching prospect Francisco Mejia hit his first home run of the spring Saturday, clubbing a grand slam to cap a seven-run 7th inning for Cleveland in its 7-6 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Mejia is best known for his 50-game hitting streak last year. The hitting streak — baseball’s longest since 1954 — began when he was playing for Lake County, and ended in High-A after he was promoted to the Lynchburg Hillcats 24 games into the streak.

He batted .347 with 7 HR and 51 RBI in 60 games with the Captains last year before his promotion to the Hillcats. He also played for Lake County in 2015, batting .243 with 9 HR and 53 RBI in 109 games.

Posted in Carolina League, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Lynchburg Hillcats, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, World Baseball Classic | Leave a comment