Interview with Manager Joe Kruzel

Over the last two weeks we talked to a bunch of 2014 Chiefs players as they prepared for Spring Training. Today we talk to Manager Joe Kruzel. Kruzel returns for the 2015 season after leading the Chiefs to their most wins (72) in 2014 since the 2009 team made the playoffs as second half division champions. The 2014 Chiefs went 37-32 in the first half and 35-35 in the second half. In both halves the Chiefs were in a playoff spot until the final week and ultimately missed the post-season by one game in each half.

Thanks to Joe for the interview this morning. Below you’ll find some video interviews and photos from the 2014 season:

A pregame interview with Kruzel from June

Kruzel leads the Chiefs in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Here’s a photo gallery of Joe from 2014 season:

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Interview with Alex Reyes

The 2014 Chiefs player interviews continue today with RHP Alex Reyes. In case you missed any of the earlier posts, catch interviews with Rob Kaminsky, Carson KellyMason Katz Chris Perry and Jimmy Reed. Hoping to add to this list over the next week. Let me know in the comments who else you want to hear from!

A highly ranked prospect, Alex Reyes pitched for the Chiefs throughout 2014 going 7-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 21 starts. He finished the season with 137 strikeouts, the most by a Chiefs pitcher since Sean Gallagher struck out 139 in 2005, the 2nd most since 1996 and the 15th most in team history. He held MWL batters to a .207 average and in the month of August Reyes posted a 1.80 ERA in four starts while striking out 38 and walking just six batters in 25 innings.

Here is today’s interview with Alex as he prepares for Spring Training

Reyes beat Cedar Rapids on June 26:

A complete game win over Kane County on June 11

Pre-game interview from July

 

Reyes in photos from 2014

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Interview with Chris Perry

The 2014 Chiefs player interviews continue today with RHP Chris Perry. In case you missed any of the earlier posts, catch interviews with Rob Kaminsky, Carson KellyMason Katz and Jimmy Reed. Hoping to add to this list over the next week. Let me know in the comments who else you want to hear from!

Perry turned in one of the best seasons for any reliever in the Chiefs 32 year history. In 28 games he went 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA covering 49 innings of work. Perry saved three games, earned five holds and finished off eight contests. He struck out 80 batters while walking just 15 over his 49 innings. The numbers lead to a 0.90 WHIP, a 14.7 K/9IP ratio and a .165 opponents average against.

Here is the interview of Perry from this week:

More on Perry’s 2014 season with Peoria

At the time of his promotion on July 6, Perry ranked 2nd in the league in reliever K/9IP, 4th in reliever opponents average against and fourth in relievers WHIP.

If you sort the 32 year Chiefs history by pitchers who threw at least 49 innings (Perry’s total) you’ll get 302 names. There are 70 who like Perry, pitched only in relief. Of those 302, Perry is #1 in strikeouts per 9 innings and his 14.7 number beats the previous high by one full strikeout. Ben Julianel posted a 13.7 number in 2003 over 51 2/3 innings.

Perry’s 0.90 WHIP ranks fourth among relievers behind Jared Blasdell 0.75 in 2002, Alex Maestri 0.87 in 2007 and Brian Reed 0.89 in 1995. Of those three Maestri made four starts in 48 games and totaled 83 2/3 innings while Reed pitched 60 times for 61 innings and Blasdell threw 65 2/3 innings in 53 appearances.

Perry’s .165 average against is also fourth behind Brandon DeJaynes .151 in 2003, Blasdell at .155 in 2002 and Heath Slocumb .162 in 1989. 

Perry’s 80 strikeouts are tied for 8th among all Chiefs pitchers with zero starts. The other pitcher with 80, Keith Glauber, needed 64 innings in 1996 to rack up 80 strikeouts. How dominant are Perry’s K numbers? Well put it this way, Michael Sodders holds the Chiefs single season strikeout record at 177 in 1989. His K/9 IP ratio is 7.7, or nearly half of what Perry posted in 2014.

Perry closes out Kane County by striking out the side in the 9th (Starts at 2:40)

The on-field pregame interview with Perry from May 20

Photo Gallery of Chris Perry

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Interview with Jimmy Reed

The 2014 Chiefs player interviews continue today with LHP Jimmy Reed. In case you missed any of the earlier posts, catch interviews with Rob Kaminsky, Carson Kelly and Mason Katz. Chris Perry will be up next!

Reed, a 2013 6th round pick out of Maryland, made 13 starts for the Chiefs between Opening Day and June 20. The lefty posted a 3-3 record and a 3.88 ERA while striking out 62 batters and walking just 18 in 72 innings of work. In his final eight starts in the MWL he allowed three ER or less in all eight and posted an ERA of 2.05 in June. With Palm Beach, Reed was 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts and he struck out 35 and walked just seven in 55 1/3 FSL innings. He also went to Double-A Springfield for two starts, beating Tulsa July 28 and losing to Arkansas August 3. Overall for 2014 he was 10-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 24 starts with 103k/28bb in 138 1/3 innings.

Here is the interview with Jimmy Reed

Reed struck out 7 against Kane County on June 12, here’s video of three of those strikeouts

Jimmy Reed Photo Gallery from 2014

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An Interview with Mason Katz

Today our interview series continues as I chat with 2014 Chiefs infielder Mason Katz. If you missed the first two parts of the series take a listen to interviews with Rob Kaminsky and Carson Kelly. Up next this week are Jimmy Reed, Chris Perry and Alex Reyes.

Katz played in 75 games for the Chiefs in 2014 and led the team in home runs with 14. He had a team-high 43 RBI and 26 extra-base hits at the time of his July 1 promotion to Palm Beach. Katz hit .212 with 29 walks and a .432 slugging percentage in Peoria while starting 49 games at second base and 27 at first base. As you’ll hear in the interview, there is a new position in the works for Mason in 2015. A fourth round pick out of LSU in 2013, Kats hit six homers and drove in 28 more runs in Palm Beach. In 49 games in the Florida State League he batted .276 and slugged .442.

Here is my phone interview with Mason Katz: 

Mason Katz walk-off home run against Clinton June 15:

The double play Mason references in the interview

Katz hit HR 13 and 14 on June 29

Diving Catch at first

Pregame Interview from May

2014 Photo Gallery

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An Interview with Carson Kelly

In case you missed it, LHP Rob Kaminsky was first up in our series of 2014 Chiefs interviews and today we chat with 3B-turned-C Carson Kelly. Later this week Mason Katz, Jimmy Reed, Alex Reyes and others will join in on the fun.

In 2013 Carson Kelly played third base for the Chiefs as an 18-year-old for the first half of the season before helping State College to the NYPL Finals in the second half. He transitioned to catcher in the 2013 off-season and was one of only two players to get behind the plate for the Chiefs in 2014. He led the MWL in double plays as a catcher (10) and was fifth in throwing out base-stealers at 33.1 percent. At the plate Carson hit .248 in 98 games with 17 doubles, six homers, four triples, 49 RBI and 41 runs scored. He walked 37 times with only 54 strikeouts and finished the season with an on-base percentage of .324 and a slugging percentage of .366. This off-season he has been ranked as the Cardinals #10 prospect by both Baseball Prospectus and Top Prospect Alert and he finished 2014 as MLBPipeline.com’s #11 Cardinals prospect. Here is the interview with Carson, followed by 2014 video highlights and a photo gallery.

Audio:

August 5 on field pregame interview

Walk off single on May 17

August 5 Home Run

Photos from the 2014 season

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Interview With Rob Kaminsky

Today we are joined on the blog by 2014 Chiefs standout, LHP Rob Kaminsky. Rob was recently invited to the Cardinals STEP program before spring training and has consistently been ranked in the top 5 Cardinals prospects in multiple national publications and was ranked #87 on the ESPN.com top 100 while just missing the MLBPipeline top 100. He was recently featured on MiLB.com as well. My thanks to Rob for his time today and next week I’ll be chatting with 2014 Chiefs Alex Reyes, Jimmy Reed, Mason Katz, Chris Perry, Carson Kelly and others so keep an eye on the blog for those interviews!

Kaminsky was great for the Chiefs in 2014 going 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 18 starts. He covered 100 2/3 innings and struck out 79 while walking 39 for a WHIP of 1.01 and an opponents average against of .194. Kaminsky never lost in Peoria going 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA in nine home starts. In 55 1/3 innings at Dozer Park he allowed 48 base runners and struck out 46. Kaminsky ranks top five on the Chiefs career list for ERA, WHIP and opponents average for all pitchers with at least 100 innings.

Highlights as Kaminsky shuts out Quad Cities over seven innings on June 30

7th strikeout on August 21 vs. Wisconsin

June 25 pre-game show interview on the field at Dozer Park

2014 Photo Gallery of Kaminsky with the Chiefs

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Talking Prospects with Jim Callis

Again this off-season I was fortunate to chat with Jim Callis from MLBPipeline.com and a senior write with MLB.com. Make sure you follow Jim on twitter for all the latest prospect news and notes! For roughly 20 minutes on Wednesday Jim and I chatted about the Cardinals prospects, former Chiefs and even hit on a few potential 2015 Chiefs. After the interview you’ll find an article from Thursday on Alex Reyes and some video of Jim and Jonathan Mayo chatting about Reyes and Marco Gonzales. My thanks to Jim for his time and I hope you enjoy our chat!

 

If the video won’t play off the embed, here is the link.

And here is Jim’s article on Reyes. Be sure to check out where he ranks on the Cardinals list when it is released in March!

Former Chiefs as MiLB Free Agents

Yesterday we took a look at where Chiefs from the last few seasons ranked on National and Cardinals prospects lists. Today we’ll take a look at MiLB Free Agents who have come through Peoria in their careers and where they have landed heading into 2015. To compose this list over the off-season I have used Baseball America’s transactions page and free agent tracker along with MiLB Transactions and Twitter updates.

Player Yr in Peoria Old Team New Team Notes
Jim Adduci 2007 Texas Lotte Giants Korea. MLB 2013-14
Mitch Atkins 2006 Atlanta Unsigned. MLB 2009-11
Austin Bibens-Dirkx 2009 Toronto Resigned
Ryan Buchter 2009 Atlanta LA Dodgers Made MLB debut in 2014
Alberto Cabrera 2008-09 Chi Cubs Detroit Pitched in MLB 2012-13
Tony Campana 2009 Arizona/LA Angels Chi White Sox MLB 2012-14
Russ Canzler 2007 Philadelphia Resigned MLB 2011-12
Yusuf Carter 2006-07 Toronto Unsigned.
Rafael Dolis 2006 SF Giants Detroit MLB 2011-13
Eduardo Figueroa 2009 Chi Cubs Unsigned
Erik Hamren 2009 Texas Unsigned. MLB 2011
Marcus Hatley 2009-11 Chi Cubs St. Louis AAA-Iowa in 2014
Jay Jackson 2008 Pit & Milwaukee San Diego Playing for Mexico in Caribbean Series.
Josh Kinney 2001 Pittsburgh Unsigned. MLB 2006-12
Blake Lalli 2006-08 Arizona Resigned MLB 2012-13
James Leverton 2010 Miami Resigned Injured in 2014
Marcos Mateo 2008 Chi Cubs San Diego MLB 2010-11. MVP of Dominican Winter League
Mike McCoy 2003-04 Boston Unsigned. MLB 2009-12
Jesus Montero 2013 St. Louis Unsigned
Jonathon Mota 2006-10 Chi Cubs Unsigned
Matt Pagnozzi 2004 Milwaukee Arizona MLB 2009-14
Dae-Eun Rhee 2008 Chi Cubs Chiba Lotte Marines Japan
Jose Rosario 2012 Chi Cubs Resigned
Marquez Smith 2007-08 Cincinnati Unsigned. Playing for Mexico in Caribbean Series
Nick Struck 2010 LA Dodgers Unsigned
Donnie Veal 2006 Chi White Sox Atlanta MLB 2009-14
Ildemaro Vargas 2013 St. Louis Resigned Palm Beach/Springfield in 2014
Josh Vitters 2007-08 Chi Cubs Unsigned
Yao-Lin Wang 2012 Chi Cubs Unsigned

Also of note, the Atlanta Braves signed 2013 Chiefs LHP Dail Villanueva in January. Villanueva has not pitched in the minors since being released by the Cardinals in 2013 while he was on the Chiefs roster.

Another former Chiefs pitcher, Robert Hernandez (2008-10), has resurfaced. The Yankees signed 26-year-old Robert Hernandez as an outfielder after he hit .264/.350/.358 in 20 games for Zulia in his native Venezuela this winter. The outfielder bit is key because he worked as a pitcher in the Cubs system from 2006 through 2009, making it as far as low Class A Peoria as a starter, but he hasn’t played affiliated ball in any of the past five seasons

Other former Chiefs to switch teams this off-season on the MiLB side: Tyrell Jenkins (2013) traded to Atlanta, Brett Jackson (2009) to SF Giants in Rule V MiLB phase, Andrew McKirahan (2012) to Marlins in Rule V MLB Phase, Nate Samson (2007-08) to Dodgers in Rule V MiLB phase, Luis Flores (2008-10) to Astros in Rule V MiLB Phase. Plus of course the MLB trades of Josh Donaldson (2008) from Oakland to Toronto and Jeff Samardzija (2006) from Oakland to the White Sox.

Former Chiefs on Prospect Lists

Alex Reyes finds himself ranked top 4 in the Cardinals system. Photo by Dennis Sievers

Alex Reyes finds himself ranked top 4 in the Cardinals system. Photo by Dennis Sievers

With the Super Bowl over, most publications have released their top 100 MiLB prospect lists and organizational top 10 lists. Plus with Spring Training starting soon, a lot of teams are signing MiLB free agents. Today, let’s take a look at how former Chiefs are ranked nationally and in the Cardinals system, Later this week we will catch up on MiLB Free Agency.. Over the next few weeks we’ll start to preview the 2015 season by talking to Prospect experts from around the country and diving into potential 2015 Chiefs player profiles as well so keep an eye on the blog for some fun interviews.

PROSPECT RANKINGS

Nationally, Alex Reyes (77) and Rob Kaminsky (87) made Keith Law’s top 100 over at ESPN.com. Former Chiefs OF Jorge Soler was ranked #14 for the Cubs and RHP Tyrell Jenkins, now with the Braves was ranked #82. Of these four only Soler (22) was ranked on the MLB Top 100 released on the MLB Network Friday Night. Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America have yet to release their overall top 100.

ORGANIZATIONAL RANKINGS

Player MLB (top 20) BP(top 10) BA(top 10) TPA (top 20)
Alex Reyes (2014) 4 3 2 2
Rob Kaminsky (2014) 2 5 5 5
Charlie Tilson (2013) 7 6 9 9
Sam Tuivailala (2013) 13 8 8 13
Carson Kelly (2013-14) 11 10 NR 10
Juan Herrera (2013-14) 9 NR NR 15
Rowan Wick (2014) 16 NR NR 17
Breyvic Valera (2013) 19 NR NR 19
Patrick Wisdom (2013) 12 NR NR NR
Zach Petrick (2013) 14 NR NR NR
Nick Petree (2013) 17 NR NR NR
Jacob Wilson (2013) 18 NR NR NR
Chris Perry (2013-14) 20 NR NR NR
Lefty Rob Kaminsky is getting national attention after his great 2014 Chiefs season. Photo by Dennis Sievers

Lefty Rob Kaminsky is getting national attention after his great 2014 Chiefs season. Photo by Dennis Sievers

MLB Pipeline ranks the top 20 prospects for each team, Baseball prospectus (Subscription needed) ranks the top 10, Baseball America (Subscription needed to read player profiles) ranks the top 10 and Top Prospect Alert ranks the top 20.

In addition to these national sites, Cardinals blogs have updated their rankings as well. The Cardinal Nation has a great top 40 list put together by Brian Walton with four former Chiefs in the Top 10. John Nagel has a former Chiefs P #1 overall in his top 50 at Cardinals Farm!

Future Chiefs are also ranked. P Jack Flaherty is top 6 in all four national lists, with a 4 ranking at BP and TPA. INF Oscar Mercado is #15 in MLB and #20 with TPA. OF Magneuris Sierra is #10 at BA and #14 at TPA. SS Edmundo Sosa is #16 TPA and P Austin Gomber is #18 TPA. Sierra and Sosa also get a “On the Rise” tag at BP as does 2B Malik Collymore.

 

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