Former Chiefs in Spring Training: Week 4 Update

The St. Louis Cardinals saw minimal action in Spring Training this week with a rain out on Monday and an off day on Tuesday. However, former Chiefs outfielder Charlie Tilson scored the game-winning run in a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

The Chicago Cubs went winless in the fourth week of Spring Training, but former Chiefs outfielder Matt Szczur has continued to play at an elite level. Szczur went two for five this week with a triple and is now batting .355. In his first at-bat of Spring Training, former Chiefs outfielder Pin-Chieh Chen recorded a double.

Elsewhere around the league, former Chiefs have been tearing up Spring Training, especially Albert Pujols. Pujols clubbed another two homers this week, including a mammoth shot off of fellow former Chief Jason Motte:

Former Chiefs infielder Marquez Smith, now with the Cincinnati Reds, arguably had the game of his career on Thursday. Six days after his 30th birthday, Smith was two for two with a double, a homer, and four RBI.

The homer was Smith’s first ever in his Spring Training career:

Josh Donaldson continued his red-hot Spring Training by belting out his third homer. Donaldson is now batting .333 with six RBI.

Chris Archer - 2009 Chiefs, 3rd in AL ROY

Chris Archer – 2009 Chiefs, 3rd in AL ROY

Former Chiefs hurler Chris Archer tossed his second straight start without yielding an earned run. Archer is 1-2 with an impressive 1.93 ERA in Spring Training and has reportedly been named the Rays’ Opening Day starter for the upcoming season. Archer is the first Opening Day starter for the Rays not named James Shields or David Price since 2007.

Opening Day is only nine days away so make sure to check out our update of former Chiefs in the final week, and our overall recap, of the 2015 Spring Training.

Former Chiefs in Spring Training: Week 3 Update

Week three of Spring Training is behind us and Opening Day is less than two weeks away. Some veteran former Chiefs are fine-tuning their skills for the regular season, while other, younger, former Chiefs are working harder then ever to achieve that coveted Opening Day roster spot.

Batting in 2013 (Dennis Sievers/Sievers Photgraphy)

Wilson Batting in 2013 (Dennis Sievers/Sievers Photgraphy)

The St. Louis Cardinals are 9-7 thus far in Spring Training and are currently tied for third in the Grapefruit League. Former Chiefs 2B Jacob Wilson’s bat has yet to slow down. The 24-year-old enters his fourth season with the organization and is definitely proving his worth. The workhorse has yet to sit out a game and is batting .323 with a homer and four RBI. Former Chiefs catcher Yadier Molina has found his stroke and has boosted his average to an impressive .308.

On the hill for the Cardinals, Zach Petrick has logged the most innings for former Chiefs, compiling an 0-1 record with a 4.91 ERA, three walks, and five punch outs over seven and a third innings of work.

Another week down, same story for former Chiefs batters sporting Cubs uniforms; they are tearing up Spring Training. Welington Castillo, Junior Lake, Jorge Soler, and Matt Szczur are playing outstanding. Castillo is batting .375 with a pair of homers and seven RBI. Lake is batting a solid .310 with five RBI. Soler is batting .353 with two homers and five RBI. Szczur rounds out the red-hot former Chiefs with a .346 average to go along with three homers and four RBI.

Below is Szczur’s third homer:

Elsewhere around the league, former Chiefs SS Darwin Barney has been sporting an impressive Spring Training. Barney, in his first full season with the Dodgers, is batting .321 with a homer and four RBI. That home run, was only Barney’s fourth in eight years of Spring Training. Former Chiefs infielder Albert Pujols has regained power to his bat over the past week, cranking out his first two homers of Spring Training.

An absolute bomb off the Dodgers for his first:

Followed up by a blast off the reigning World Series MVP for his second:

On the hill, 33-year-old veteran, and former Chiefs RHP, Dan Haren impressed in his latest start against the Braves. He allowed one run off four hits, walked two, and fanned four in five innings of work. He is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts, and only two walks over 14 innings of work thus far.

Below is the aforementioned performance against Atlanta:

Lastly, former Chiefs catcher Josh Donaldson has finally found the sweet spot of his bat. After a slumping first week, he started to raise his average in the second week, and has now taken off into a red-hot hitting streak during the third week. Donaldson is now batting .355 with two homers and five RBI.

His latest homer, a go-ahead blast against the Phillies:

We are in the home stretch of Spring Training and a ton of former Chiefs are heating up as we approach April 5. Lucky for us, that night features a showdown between two rivals who are each loaded with former Chiefs talent. The Cubs and Cardinals will square off at Wrigley Field to commence the 2015 season.

Former Chiefs in Spring Training: Week 2 Update

With week two of Spring Training nearing its end, certain things are becoming clear about former Chiefs. Jacob Wilson can hit, Tyrell Jenkins can make the pros look dumb at the plate, and Sam Tuivailala’s fastball has not slowed one bit.

This GIF  from Thursday night demonstrates Jenkins’ ability as he fools Carlos Beltran.

The St. Louis Cardinals are now 5-3 in Spring Training. Wilson has been hitting everything thus far, batting .438 with a homer and two RBI. Wilson has played in every Spring Training game. Former Chief Yadier Molina has played in half those games and is batting .222 with an RBI.ReyesPitch2

On the mound, former Chief Alex Reyes saw his first action in yesterday’s 8-2 win over Baltimore. Reyes tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Former Chief Zach Petrick has yet to allow a hit in four innings of relief. Former Chief Mike Mayers improved to 1-0 after tossing two scoreless innings of relief in a 5-2 win over the Marlins on Sunday.

Numerous former Chiefs have gotten off to a red-hot start at the plate for the Chicago Cubs. Jorge Soler has already cranked out two homers. Javier Baez, Welington Castillo, and Matt Szczur have also each blasted out one.

We got to witness something special in Tuesday’s game against the Indians that really demonstrated the lethalness of Baez and Soler in the same lineup:

On the hill for the Cubs, former Chief Zac Rosscup has yet to yield a baserunner while fanning four batters over three innings of work. Former Chief Jason Motte, now in an unfamiliar Cubs uniform, has allowed two runs off four hits, walked none, and struck out two in an inning and two-thirds of work.

Elsewhere around the league, former Chief Ryan Buchter has compiled a 2-0 record with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first start, now sporting the south side of Chicago’s team uniform, former Chief Jeff Samardzija surrendered two runs off three hits, walked one, and struck out one as he notched a win over his former team from last season, the Oakland Athletics.

Albert hitting for the Chiefs in 2000

Albert hitting for the Chiefs in 2000

Former Chiefs Marwin Gonzalez and DJ LeMahieu have each gone deep once in these first two weeks of Spring Training. Albert Pujols is batting an incredible .471, but they have, surprisingly, all been singles. Josh Donaldson seems to be getting back into rhythm, batting .286 with a homer and three RBI for the Blue Jays.

Back-to-back-to-back homers for the Cubs young prospects, Pujols not yet recording an extra-base hit, and Samardzija besting his former team wraps up an exciting week two update of your favorite former Chiefs in Spring Training

Former Chiefs in Spring Training: Week 1 Update

Spring Training is under way for the 2015 baseball season and, with it, comes a lot of differences. Some notable former Chiefs have switched uniforms, while other former Chiefs are just trying to make a major league squad. Lets update you on the action of the opening week of Spring Training.

The St. Louis Cardinals opened up their Spring Training with an impressive 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday. Former Chiefs Yadier Molina and Jacob Wilson both went 0-2 at the plate; Wilson had two strikeouts. As for on the mound, former Chief Mike Mayers saw an inning of action in the eighth and gave up the only run of the game off two hits, walked one, and fanned two.

The Chicago Cubs started off one of their most hyped-up seasons in the past decade with an 8-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday; they blew a 5-0 lead. Later in the day, The Cubs Split Squad team tied the Athletics 2-2.  An absolute load of former Chiefs got playing time on Thursday. Javier Baez, Junior Lake, and Matt Szczur all went 0-2 at the plate. Arismendy Alcantara notched an RBI with a sacrifice fly. Welington Castillo, Wes Darvill, Bijan Rademacher, and Jorge Soler each collected one hit. Pitcher Hunter Cervenka was saddled with the loss to the Giants after giving up five runs off four hits, and walking two in only a third of an inning pitched. Austin Kirk had to come in and retire the next two batters to end the inning.

Some former Chiefs, elsewhere around the league, that have gotten off to a hot start at the plate include Colorado Rockies’ second baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu was perfect at the plate going two for two in the Rockies opening game loss to the Diamondbacks. Houston Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez cranked out a home run to help propel them to a victory over the Phillies. Robinson Chirinos started off his Spring Training with a two for three day with a RBI, but the Rangers fell to the Royals 5-4.

On the hill, former Chief Al Alburquerque is looking forward to a productive 2015 season with the Detroit Tigers. Albuquerque tossed a scoreless inning with a strikeout in the Tigers 5-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday. Pairing up with Albuquerque in Detroit is former Chief Rafael Dolis. Dolis spent the entirety of his career in the Cubs system before spending 2014 with the Giants, playing for Triple-A Fresno. Now, Dolis is playing for a spot on the Tigers active roster and has been off to a good start. Dolis has tossed two scoreless innings, allowing only one baserunner thus far.

Former Chiefs Josh Donaldson and Dan Haren started this Spring Training with a completely new team. Donaldson, who will now play home games in a different country, was hitless with a walk in the Blue Jays 8-7 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday. Haren, now with the Marlins, gave up two runs off three hits, struck out one, and was charged with the loss in their matchup with the Cardinals on Thursday.

That wraps it up for the first couple days of an exciting Spring Training. We will be sure to keep you posted weekly on all of your favorite former Peoria Chiefs in Spring Training

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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