Minor League Baseball in Ohio in April is a tough sell
I’m in beautiful Eastlake, Ohio, today to at Classic Park, home of the Lake County Captains. It’s a beautiful night, the Captains have the best record in the Midwest League and I think there may have been more people in my wedding party than are in attendance tonight.
I don’t say this to knock the Captains or the fans in this area. I’ve been to this wonderful park several times with large crowds in attendance. But tonight, not so much. It’s April, the weather in Eastern Ohio can be iffy (though it’s nice, albeit a little chilly tonight), and school is still going on. Teams like this inevitably draw better once the summer hits.
I came here to see a few guys with the visiting Great Lakes Loons, the Dodgers’ affiliate. The story is that the roster is chock full of guys with MLB bloodlines (look for a story on this in the future). Last names that stand out are Wallach (dad is Tim) and Yount (uncle is Robin). There are more, but you’ll have to wait for the story.
Coincidentally, the best hitter on Lake County, which is in the Midwest League for the first time and leads the circuit in hitting, is Bo Greenwell. That’s right, Mike’s kid. The outfielder entered tonight’s game fourth in the minors with a .468 average, first with 20 RBIs, third in total bases and among the leaders in a host of other offensive categories.
There aren’t any elite prospects here — none in the Top 50 — but that’s ok. I did get to see 2009 fourth-round pick Angelo Songco with the Loons. Just for kicks, I went and looked at his Draft Report. This is the line that stood out:
He’s got big-time legitimate power to all fields.
That was certainly on disiplay in the fourth inning of this game. Facing lefty Chris Jones from Lake County, Songco took what looked like a hung changeup and tattooed it out to right field. It was only his second homer of the season, but it will be interesting to see how he develops. I always find it intriguing to see if guys who have power as an amateur continue to do so as they transition to the pro game. Last year, Great Lakes had Kyle Russell, who was older as a senior sign, but the power did translate to the tune of 26 homers and 102 RBIs. Lets see if Songco can follow suit.
Also here is second-round pick Blake Smith, who’s made a number of fine catches in right field (Indians fans, I’m not ignoring you — 2009 Draftee Joe Gardner is here, but he’s not pitching today). Smith’s off to a good start, hitting .357 over his first 11 games. Smith was a two-way player at Cal who some liked on the mound, but the Dodgers are having play the outfield full-time.
This is why I love coming to Minor League games. Even when there aren’t “big-name” prospects, there’s plenty to see.