The end of the 2015 Midwest League regular season means it is time to look at who led the league in major statistical categories, along with some other noteworthy items.
Kane County Cougars middle infielder Ildemaro Vargas won the batting title with a .321 average. Two of his teammates, first baseman Marty Herum and outfielder Colin Bray, finished first and second with 155 and 151 hits, respectively. The Cougars led the Midwest League in team batting average with a .275 mark that set a new franchise record.
First baseman Bobby Bradley, who spent the majority of this season with the Lake County Captains, led the league with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. According to Baseball America, Bradley’s 27 homers are the fourth-most hit by a teenager in a single Midwest League season since 1962. (Prince Fielder also hit 27 for the 2003 Beloit Snappers.) The three teens who went deep more times were Bob Gorinski (30 for the 1971 Wisconsin Rapids Twins), Larry Walker (29 for the 1986 Burlington Expos) and Miguel Sano (28 for the 2012 Snappers).
Captains outfielder Greg Allen scored the most runs (83). He finished second in stolen bases (43) behind Peoria Chiefs shortstop Oscar Mercado, who swiped 50 bags.
Arguably the best pitcher in the Midwest League this season, Chiefs lefty Austin Gomber led the MWL with 15 wins, 140 strikeouts, and a 0.97 WHIP. His 2.67 ERA was sixth-best in the league. He finished the regular season by winning his last 14 decisions; he hasn’t lost a game since April 29 against the Snappers.
Chiefs RHP Matt Pearce and Dayton Dragons RHP Tyler Mahle shared the ERA title with a 2.43 mark. Mahle finished second in wins (13) and third in strikeouts (135).
West Michigan Whitecaps RHP Spencer Turnbull did not allow a home run in 116.2 innings, making him the only qualified starting pitcher with a 0.00 HR/9 IP ratio in at least a decade. (Hat tip to Matt Eddy of Baseball America for this stat.)
Cougars LHP Zac Curtis led the league with 33 saves, which is a new franchise record for Kane County.
The Quad Cities pitching staff led the Midwest League with a 2.65 team ERA, the lowest mark posted by the QC franchise in its 56 years as a MWL team. The River Bandits finished with the best overall record in the league (88-50) and the best winning percentage among full-season Minor League Baseball teams (.638). Only the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Double-A Texas League finished with more wins (89); both Corpus Christi and Quad Cities are Houston Astros affiliates.
The Clinton LumberKings finished with the worst overall record in the Midwest League (46-93) and were the only MWL team to win less than 50 games. By winning their last game of the year, they avoided tying their franchise record for most losses in a season.
Late last month, Lansing Lugnuts first baseman/designated hitter Ryan McBroom was named the Midwest League’s Most Valuable Player, and South Bend Cubs shortstop Gleyber Torres was named the MWL Prospect of the Year. (Read more here.)