Results tagged ‘ Lake County Captains ’

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.

songco.JPGThat 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.

Power outage in West Virginia

I’m here in Charleston, West Virginia, for the opening game of the South Atlantic League playoffs between the Lake County Captains and the West Virginia Power. the Captains (Indians organization) won the first half title of the Northern Division, while West Virginia taking the second-half crown.

Things didn’t start off so well for the home team as the Captains jumped out to a 7-0 lead through five as West Virginia’s pitchers had a wee bit of trouble finding the strike zone … or finding too much of it. Things looked bleak, even for Toastman. A great moment: Lake County’s No. 9 hitter, Juan Valdes, awaits on deck for his turn at-bat. For those of you not familiar, Toastman sits near the visiting on-deck circle and basically ridees that player mercilessly. Valdes’ particular crime was that this was his third tour in the South Atlantic League and he was reminded just how well Toastman knew him. Valdes responded by hitting a three-run homer in the third inning. After he crossed home plate, he pointed right at Toastman, which, to his credit, drew a smile from the Power’s biggest fan.

To the Power’s credit, they didn’t give up. Lake County starter Joey Mahalic came out after five shutout innings and West Virginia jumped all over the Captains bullpen for four runs in the sixth. Still a long way to go with the way this thing is going, but at least we have a ballgame now…

By the way, we’re all over the playoffs for the next couple of weeks. Kevin Czerwinski’s covering the IL’s Pawtucket-Scranton series and he’s been blogging about it. And Lisa Winston will be checking out some Florida State Leauge action this weekend and then on to the Texas League. So be sure to check out got milb? for her thoughts when the time comes.

Of course, we’ll have lots of stories and multimedia on as well. Already, Kevin C’s written a story on Pawtucket starter Adam Mills and I’ve contributed a feature on Lake County reliever Rob Bryson, who went from the Brewers organization to the Indians, and thus from West Virginia to Lake County, in the C.C. Sabathia trade. This is his first trip back to Appalachian Power Park since the trade.

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