The Midwest League is one of the two full-season Class-A leagues in the minors and always features interesting baseball, mainly because this league is where teams usually send their top prospects for their first taste of full-season ball. It makes for some fascinating competition because you’ll have young (as young as 18 years old or younger) high school draftees and Latin American international free agents competing with older college players and you can see how far talent alone will get players.
Players of the Week
One of those college players, the Lansing Lugnuts’ Kendall Graveman, flirted with destiny, showing his poise and experience, going 8 1/3 innings in his start last week and giving up only one hit before coming out of the game. It was an infield hit that was bobbled by shortstop Dawel Lugo and Graveman came away from the game with no runs allowed and just one hit and one walk on the ledger while striking out seven batters.
The offensive player of the week was Fort Wayne’s Fernando Perez, a high schooler who was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 2012 draft. The 20-year-old third baseman hit .458/.481/.708 with a home run and three doubles in six games last week.
The Great Lakes Loons have slugged their way to the top of the Eastern Division thanks to a 9-1 run in their last 10 games. They’re especially good on the road (8-2 so far) and lead the division by a game over the South Bend Silver Hawks (who are riding an eight-game win streak of their own). The Loons are averaging 6.37 runs per game (almost two above the league average) and are second in the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. Thankfully, their hitting has been excellent because their pitching really hasn’t been great, allowing the third most runs per game in the league.
The Kane County Cougars boast the same 13-6 record that the Loons do to lead the Western Division. The Cubs’ affiliate is excellent at home with a 7-2 record there as well as a 7-3 record in their last 10. Kane County may not be the best in any one category but they’re generating well over a run more per game than they’re allowing (5.00 R/G scored vs. 3.74 R/G allowed).
Clinton’s Marcus Littlewood is tied atop the batting average board with Dane Phillips of Fort Wayne. They’re both hitting .383 in 47 at bats and Joey Curletta of the Great Lakes Loons is next with a .373 average in a much more robust 75 at bats.
In the cool weather of the Midwest, the ball hasn’t been flying out of the park and Mitch Garver (Cedar Rapids) still leads the league with five dingers, not having hit one this week.
Nick Petree of Peoria is now the only qualified pitcher who hasn’t allowed a run. He’s gone 17 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts and nine walks. Kendall Graveman is second on that list with just one run in 20 1/3 innings and has only allowed 12 base runners (eight hits and four walks) with 18 strikeouts for the best WHIP in the league (0.59).
Thanks to his 11 strikeout performance yesterday, Dayton’s is second in the league in WHIP at 0.69 and has only allowed three runs against in 23 1/3 innings.
Your Midwest League strikeout leader is Aaron Blair (South Bend) who has 31 punch outs in 24 2/3 innings. He’s been good with his control too, having walked only seven batters.