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
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:
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 Kelly, Mason 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
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 Kelly, Mason 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
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
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
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.
August 5 on field pregame interview
Walk off single on May 17
August 5 Home Run
Photos from the 2014 season
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
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!
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|
|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|
|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.