One of the most exciting things to happen this week in the Midwest League was the return of baseball to Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You might have missed the news over the winter that Fifth Third Ballpark had a huge fire this offseason that burned down about 40% of the stadium. The West Michigan WhiteCaps started the season on the road but returned home this week to a rebuilt park.
Yesterday also featured the longest game of the year (so far) in the Midwest League with an 18-inning game that the Burlington Bees managed to come out on top of with a 7-5 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps. The game featured 16 pitchers including Fort Wayne’s starting right fielder Ronny Richardson who not only was on base seven times (3/5, 4 BBs) but ended up being tagged with the loss, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in one inning of work.
The Kane County Cougars are 10-3 and have the best record in the MWL and are riding a seven-game winning streak.
Great Lakes Loons have the best offense in the league with 82 runs in 13 games. They’ve got a four-game winning streak and look like they’re getting a bit more consistency from their pitchers. While their offense doesn’t rely on home runs as much as other teams, they do lead in total bases and OPS.
The Dayton Dragons also have a seven-game winning streak and lead the Eastern Division. Their pitching has been the class of the league with a 1.73 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
Clint Coulter leads the league in OPS thanks to his .455 OBP and .735 SLG. He’s got four home runs for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Mitch Garver hit a couple of his five home runs this week and is second in the league in OPS. Garver leads the league in home runs and has a .415 OBP to go with the dingers.
There have been a lot of great pitching performances. The pitcher with the most scoreless innings so far is Eddie Campbell of the Clinton LumberKings. He’s thrown 14 1/3 innings with seven hits allowed but he’s also walked 10 and struck out 14.
Aaron Blair of South Bend is chewing his way through the Midwest League with 25 strikeouts and only five walks 17 2/3 innings.
The Bowling Green Hot Rods have the worst record in the league at 2-10 and in all kinds of trouble right now, having lost 10 games in a row. The Lansing Lugnuts have a six-game losing streak and are 3-9 on the season.
Dace Kime is off to a rough start for the Lake County Captains with a 13.06 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.
With a .079 batting average and 21 strikeouts in just 38 at bats, Bowling Green’s Yoel Araujo has earned a special place on the “Cold” list. Interestingly, Cedar Rapids’ Brian Haar is only three strikeouts behind Araujo on the league leaders list but is hitting .349 with four home runs and a 1.117 OPS.