January 2014

Chiefs Chatter #4 – Meet SS Oscar Mercado

As February (and then Spring Training) approaches we are going to use this blog space to introduce you to potential 2014 Peoria Chiefs players. We do not have any inside information on our roster and nothing will be official until the end of March. But with spring training on the way it is time to get familiar with some faces and names that we could see on the diamond in Peoria this summer. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at 2012 and 2013 draftees plus foreign born players who excelled in State College, Johnson City and GCL Cardinals in 2013 plus some possible players returning to Peoria. If you missed any of our previous installments, meet: Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly (who played for us last year) and Rob Kaminsky.

Today we introduce you to Oscar Mercado

Oscar Mercado SS Ht: 6’2 Wt: 180 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Date of Birth: 12/16/94
Twitter: @osc_merc
Resides: Tampa, FL
Acquired: Drafted in 2nd Round (57th overall) in 2013 out of Vivian Gaither High School

Preseason/Offseason:

  • Participated in the Cardinals Fall Instructional League
  • Ranked by TheCardinalNation.com as the Cardinals #22 Prospect
  • Reporting to Spring Training early as part of Cardinals Minor League STEP camp

 2013:

  • Played in 42 games for the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Cardinals batting .209 with four triples, 14 RBI and 18 runs scored
  • Stole 12 bases in 16 attempts and collected five doubles
  • Hit his first professional home run on August 22 at Nationals
  • Hit .247 in home games and .232 against right-handed pitching
  • Hit .237 in August with six extra-base hits, 11 RBI and nine runs scored
  • Batted first or second in the lineup in 38 of 42 games
  • Hit .286 with runners in scoring position over 42 at-abts and was 2-for-5 with three RBI with the bases loaded
  • Stole two bases in each of his first two professional games
  • Collected first pro hit on June 27
  • Had three hits and three runs scored with a double, triple and walk on July 3 at Nationals
  • Collected three hits again on August 20 with three RBI against the Mets
  • Had two five-game hitting streaks, both in August
  • Drove in a run in three straight games August 20-22.

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HS:

  • As a senior at Gaither High School hit .286 in 2013 in 63 plate appearances
  • Was ranked by Baseball America as one of the top three defensive high school shortstops in the 2013 draft
  • Participated in the East Coast Pro Showcase in 2013
  • Named an Under Armour All-American and Perfect Game All-American in high school
  • Played in the Perfect Game All American Game at Petco Park in San Diego
  • As a junior in 2012 hit .370, drove in 29 runs, and hit one homerun
  • As a sophomore in 2011 Mercado hit .338 and drove in 23 runs
  • As a freshman, Mercado hit .310 and scored 15 runs in 42 plate appearances
  • He was committed to Florida State University
  • Actress Brittany Snow and former MLB catcher Kevin Cash graduated from Gaither HS
  • Actor Channing Tatum attended Gaither before graduating from Tampa Catholic HS.

Misc:

  • Born in Cartagena, Colombia, the country’s fifth largest city
  • Orlando Cabrera and Julio Teheran are from Cartagena
  • Moved to Florida with his family at the age of eight
  • Played in the South Brandon Little League…Played travel ball with the Tampa Bay Warriors.

Professional Career Highs
Hits: 3, July 3 at Nationals & August 20 vs. Mets
Runs: 3, July 3 at Nationals
Home Runs: 1, August 22 at Nationals
RBI: 3, August 20 vs. Mets
Doubles: 1, many times
Triples: 1, many times
Walks: 2, last August 22 at Nationals
Strikeouts: 4, August 2 at Marlins
Stolen Bases: 2, many times, last July 15 at Nationals
Hit Streak: 5, August 3-9 & August 19-23

Video of Oscar signing with the Cardinals plus comments from Cardinals Scouting Director Dan Kantrovitz

prospect Video

Read More about Oscar: 

Chiefs Chatter #3 – Meet LHP Rob Kaminsky

As February (and then Spring Training) approaches we are going to use this blog space to introduce you to potential 2014 Peoria Chiefs players. We do not have any inside information on our roster and nothing will be official until the end of March. But with spring training on the way it is time to get familiar with some faces and names that we could see on the diamond in Peoria this summer. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at 2012 and 2013 draftees plus foreign born players who excelled in State College, Johnson City and GCL Cardinals in 2013 plus some possible players returning to Peoria.

To start with we are going to look at the three players who are ranked among the Cardinals top 10 prospects on various lists. Today’s blog is Rob Kaminsky and if you missed the earlier entries meet Alex Reyes and catch up with Carson Kelly.

Rob Kaminsky, Left Handed Pitcher
Ht:
5’11. Wt: 190. DOB: 9/02/94
Twitter: @Kaminsky21 Instagram: Kaminsky21
Hometown: Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Acquired: Drafted in 1st Round (28th overall) in 2013 out of St. Joseph Regional High School
Throws: Fastball (92-95), Curveball, Changeup

Preseason/Offseason:

  • Attended the Cardinals Instructional League in Jupiter, FL in September & October
  • Reporting to Spring Training early as part of Cardinals Minor League STEP camp
  • Ranked by Baseball America as the Cardinals #9 prospect
  • Ranked by Baseball America as the #8 prospect in the Gulf Coast League
  • Ranked by TheCardinalNation.com as the Cardinals #5 prospect
  • Ranked #100 in all of Minor League Baseball by Keith Law on the ESPN.com Prospect List.

2013:

  • Made five starts and eight appearances for the Rookie Level GCL Cardinals going 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA
  • Struck out 28 batters and walked nine in 22 innings of work
  • Made his pro debut with a start on July 4 against the Nationals with one shutout inning and three strikeouts
  • Did not allow a run over first four outings and didn’t allow an earned run in first five outings
  • Struck out four over two innings on July 23 against the Mets with just one hit allowed
  • Threw four innings in a start on August 5 against the Nationals allowing three unearned runs with four strikeouts
  • Allowed first earned run on August 12 over three innings while suffering the loss
  • Threw four innings of relief on August 17 and struck out five but allowed three runs, including his first home run allowed at any level since 2011
  • Threw four innings in his final start on August 22 allowing career-highs in runs (6), hits (7) and earned runs (5) while also striking out a career high (7)
  • Went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in four July outings
  • Held lefties to a .190 average and zero RBI in 21 at-bats
  • Only allowed one hit in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs
  • Struck out at least four batters in four of his six outings that were longer than one inning.

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High School:

  • At St. Joseph’s Regional as a senior he posted a 9-0 record with 128 strikeouts and five walks in 64 innings while allowing just one earned run
  • As an outfielder he hit .506 with three home runs and 19 RBI
  • Led St. Joseph’s to a 29-2 record and to the finals of the New Jersey, Non-public State tournament, fanning 11 batters in a three-hit shutout over St. Peter’s Prep in the semi-finals
  • Was a Rawlings first team All-American Northeast and earned the Gatorade New Jersey High School Player of the Year for the second straight season
  • Ranked as the No. 21 prospect in the 2013 draft by Baseball America
  • In 2012 as a junior he went 8-2  with a 0.20 ERA, allowing 12 hits while striking out 103 in only 52 innings pitched
  • Garnered the title of New Jersey State Player of the Year for his performance
  • In summer of 2012 he fanned eight batters over four frames against Team USA at the annual Tournament of Stars
  • Pitched two perfect innings in the Perfect Game National Showcase (held at the Metrodome) while striking out seven
  • Has has his own charitable foundation for children stricken with cancer, raising more than $30,000 for the Pediatric Cancer ward at Englewood Hospital by getting his strikeouts sponsored
  • Volunteered as an EMT and at a food pantry in high school
  • Former MLB catcher John Flaherty played at St. Joseph as did NFL players Devin and Jason McCourty
  • Grew up a New York Yankees fan
  • Had signed to pitch at North Carolina before being drafted
  • Was the first 1st round pick out of high school in New Jersey since Mike Trout

Professional Career Highs
Innings Pitched: 4.0, last August 22 at Nationals
Strikeouts: 7, August 22 at Nationals
Low Hit Start: 1, in 3 innings, July 30 at Mets
Walks: 2, last August 22 at Nationals
Hits: 7, August 22 at Nationals
Runs: 6, August 22 at Nationals
Earned Runs: 5, August 22 at Nationals
Current Streak: Lost 3

Read more about Rob Kaminsky:

Perfect Game Baseball has some video of Rob from High School:

And Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold posted an interview last summer when Rob signed at Busch Stadium

Chiefs Chatter #2 – Catcher Carson Kelly

As February (and then Spring Training) approaches we are going to use this blog space to introduce you to potential 2014 Peoria Chiefs players. We do not have any inside information on our roster and nothing will be official until the end of March. But with spring training on the way it is time to get familiar with some faces and names that we could see on the diamond in Peoria this summer. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at 2012 and 2013 draftees plus foreign born players who excelled in State College, Johnson City and GCL Cardinals in 2013 plus some possible players returning to Peoria.

To start with we are going to look at the three players who are ranked among the Cardinals top 10 prospects on various lists. Today’s blog is Carson Kelly, and if you missed the 1st entry meet Alex Reyes.

First off, about 12 minutes of audio from an interview I did with Carson Wednesday.

Carson Kelly C Ht: 6’2 Wt: 200 Bats: Right Throws: Right
DOB: July 14, 1994
Twitter: @carskelly
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Acquired: Drafted in 2nd Round (86th overall) in 2012 out of Westview High School  

Preseason/Offseason

  • Converted from third base to catcher during Fall Instructional League
  • Ranked by TheCardinalNation.com as the Cardinals #9 Prospect
  • Ranked by Baseball America as the Cardinals #10 prospect
  • Ranked by Baseball America as the #5 prospect in the New York Penn League.
  • Invited to Major League Spring Training as reported in mid-January

 2013 

  • Made his season debut with the Chiefs on April 20
  • Played in 43 games at third base and DH batting .219 with two homers, six doubles, 18 runs scored and 13 RBI…Hit .242 in 27 May games with 10 RBI
  • First MWL home run was on May 17 against Clinton
  • Had back to back 2-RBI games on May 16 and 17
  • Five-game hit streak from May 25-29
  • Homered on June 7 against Clinton, his last hit with the Chiefs
  • Sent down to State College for the start of the New York-Penn League
  • Drove in runs in each of his first two games with State College
  • Overall hit .277 for the Spikes with four homers, 16 doubles, 35 runs scored and 32 RBI
  • Drew 20 walks to just 32 strikeouts with State College with a .340 OBP
  • Finished fourth in the NYPL in at-bats and second in lowest K/PA ratio
  • Consistently hit .278 against LHP and .276 against RHP
  • After a slow start he hit .317 in July with 14 RBI in 26 games
  • Hit .258 at home…Drove in three runs with a homer on June 22 and again on August 6
  • Had three straight multi-hit games July 17-19 as part of a seven-game hit streak July 15-22 that moved his average from .224 to .298…Collected four hits on August 22
  • Had at least two hits in five straight games August 21-25 going 13-for-22 in that stretch
  • Homered in the NYPL playoffs and drove in five runs in six games
  • His home run came in game two of the first round series against Jamestown.

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2012

  • Made his pro debut on June 19 for the Johnson City Cardinals and was 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Batted .225 with nine homers, 10 doubles, 25 RBI and 24 runs scored in 56 games in the Appalachian League
  • After four hitless games to start his career, Kelly was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI on June 24
  • Hit his first pro homer on July 7 and homered again the next day
  • Hit safely in nine straight games from June 29 to July 9
  • Collected three hits on June 30 against Burlington
  • Drove in three runs on July 14 against Kingston
  • Collected two RBI in back-to-back games on August 16 and 17
  • Hit .313 against lefties…Hit .279 in July with seven homers, five doubles and 13 RBI in 22 games
  • Hit .298 with runners in scoring position and was 2-for-5 with three RBI when the bases were loaded
  • Had the most home runs of any 2012 high school draftee

Pre-Pro career

  • Played at Westview High School in Portland, Oregon which also produced former Indians first round pick Trevor Crowe…
  • Played third base, shortstop and pitched in high school
  • Named Gatorade’s Oregon Player of the Year after both his junior and senior seasons
  • As a senior in 2012 he hit .398 with five home runs and 26 RBI while slugging .747 with a .514 OBP
  • He was also 6-3 with a 1.09 ERA while striking out 80 batters in 58 innings with just seven walks
  • Named the 2012 Brian T. Meehan Oregon Baseball Player of the Year
  • Hit 14 homers with 48 RBI in 32 games as a junior while also going 9-1 with a 1.72 ERA
  • In 2010 as a sophomore he hit .458 with three homers, seven doubles, two triples and 31 RBI
  • He helped USA Baseball’s 18U National Team to a Gold Medal at the 2011 Pan American Games while going 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21 innings
  • Played in the 2011 Area Code Games and 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase
  • Ranked by MLB.com as the top prospect from the Pacific Northwest before the draft
  • Signed a National Letter of Intent in November 2011 to play baseball at the University of Oregon
  • Was the first Oregon high school player to be drafted in the first three rounds since 1998…

Professional Career Highs
Hits: 3, June 30 vs. Burlington
Runs: 3, May 31 at Wisconsin
Home Runs: 1, many times, last August 27 vs. Danville
RBI: 3, July 14 vs. Kingston
Doubles: 1, many times, August 22 vs. Bristol
Triples: None
Walks: 2, June 1 at Wisconsin
Strikeouts: 4, April 29 at Bowling Green
Stolen Bases: None
Hit Streak: 9, June 29 – July 9

Photo of Carson’s catching equipment in Instructs. Want a look at Carson behind the plate? Here’s video he posted on his Instagram in November of him behind the plate while working out at home

Carson’s first Chiefs home run of the season on June 7.

and his second HR in a Chiefs uniform was also at home against Clinton

Get to Know Potential 2014 Chiefs P Alex Reyes

As February (and then Spring Training) approaches we are going to use this blog space to introduce you to potential 2014 Peoria Chiefs players. We do not have any inside information on our roster and nothing will be official until the end of March. But with spring training on the way it is time to get familiar with some faces and names that we could see on the diamond in Peoria this summer. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at 2012 and 2013 draftees plus foreign born players who excelled in State College, Johnson City and GCL Cardinals in 2013 plus some possible players returning to Peoria.

To start with we are going to look at the three players who are ranked among the Cardinals top 10 prospects on various lists: Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly & Rob Kaminsky. Today’s blog is Alex Reyes. 

Alex Reyes RHP Ht: 6’3 Wt: 185
DOB:
8/29/94 Hometown: Elizabeth, New Jersey
Twitter: @AlexReyes_67
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent on December 13, 2012
Throws: Fastball (92-95 mph), Curveball (12-to-6), Changeup

Preseason/Offseason:

  • Ranked by Baseball Prospectus as the #98 prospect in all of baseball heading into the 2014 season
  • Ranked as the Cardinals #4 prospect by Baseball Prospectus and the #7 prospect by Baseball America
  • Ranked by Baseball American as the #7 prospect in the Appalachian Rookie League
  • Chosen by The Cardinal Nation as Johnson City’s Starting Pitcher of the Year and ranked as the Cardinals #6 prospect in the TCN poll.
  • Participated in the Cardinals Instructional League in September/October 2013

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2013:

  • Spent his first pro season with the Johnson City Cardinals in the Appalachian Rookie League
  • Went 6-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts
  • Struck out 68 and walked 28 in 58 1/3 innings
  • Finished tied for third in the APPY with six wins, fifth in strikeouts and 14th in ERA
  • Was second in the league in strikeouts per 9 innings for a starting pitcher
  • Held opponents to a .249 average and only allowed one home run in 253 batters faced
  • Made his pro debut on June 20 at Kingston and allowed three runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings in shortest outing of the season
  • Earned first pro win in second start against Bristol on June 26 with six shutout innings of one-hit baseball and a career-high 11 strikeouts
  • Allowed three earned runs or less in all 12 starts
  • Went at least five innings in eight starts including six consecutive starts to end the season
  • Struck out at least five batters in eight starts and eight or more four times
  • Threw a career-high seven innings on July 29 in a no-decision against Princeton in which he struck out eight and allowed one run
  • Won four straight starts August 4-23
  • Went 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA in seven home starts
  • Finished the season going 4-1 with a 3.42 ERA over final five starts
  • Held right-handed batters to a .216 average and a .268 slugging percentage over 153 at-bats
  • Opponents were 0-for-5 with the bases loaded against Reyes and hit just .207 with runners in scoring position and two outs
  • Finished sixth in ERA among all Cardinals Minor League starting pitchers who met their league’s minimum innings standard (0.8 ip/game)

Personal:

  • Grew up in Elizabeth, NJ just outside of Newark but moved with his family to the Dominican Republic in 2011 so he could train year round
  • His father Tomas is from Palenque, San Cristobal in the DR and Reyes lived with his grandparents in the Dominican
  • Attended Alexander Hamilton Prep HS from 2009-2011.
  • Hamilton doesn’t have athletics so Reyes played for Elizabeth H.S. in Union-County. Struck out 69 batters in 49 innings in 2011 while also playing shortstop and  batting .409 according to a June, 2011 NJ.com article.
  • Won three state championships in four years with the North Elizabeth Little League.
  • Former NBA player Chris Gatling and current St. Louis Rams DB Jerome Murphy played at Elizabeth HS.

Career Highs
Innings Pitched: 7.0, July 29 vs. Princeton
Strikeouts: 11, June 26 vs. Bristol
Low-Hit Game (Min 5ip): 1, June 26, vs. Bristol
Runs Allowed: 4, July 23 at Greeneville
Earned Runs Allowed: 3, last August 29 vs. Burlington
Hits Allowed: 8, August 29 vs. Burlington
Walks: 5, last August 23 at Burlington
Win Streak: 4 – August 4-23
Losing Streak: 2 – July 4-11
Current Streak: Lost 1

Media
Check out an article on Reyes from Brian Walton and The Cardinal Nation that includes an interview with Reyes and nearly three minutes of Audio.

MLB.com profiled Reyes after his 11-strikeout game on June 26 against Bristol

And here is some video of Reyes on the mound through Baseball America.

Cardinals Caravan Audio & Pictures

On January 19-20 the Peoria Chiefs co-hosted the 2014 Peoria stop of the Cardinals Caravan with JMP Media. I had the opportunity to interview the participants: Kevin Siegrist, Greg Garcia, Ryan Franklin and Chiefs pitching coach Jason Simontacchi. Below are each of those interviews, each running 3-5 minutes.




Here is a slideshow of the two days including photos by Dennis Sievers, Sievers Photography from the Embassy Suites event Sunday night, staff photos from the luncheon at Dozer Park Monday and the Children’s Hospital of Illinois visit.

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How the Chiefs Fared Against Top 100 Prospects in 2013

Last night on MLB Network, MLB Pipeline and MLB.com released their top 100 Prospects for 2014. In today’s first blog post I took a look at the four former Chiefs on the list. This afternoon lets take a look at the  15 of the top 100 players who faced the Chiefs in Midwest League action in 2013.

#100 Pierce Johnson RHP Kane County (Cubs): Johnson faced the Chiefs in Peoria on May 24 in an 8-1 KC win. The former first round pick out of Missouri State held the Chiefs to one run on six hits over  6.2 innings. The righty struck out eight, walked two and hit one while earning the win. He gave up one extra-base hit, a double to Ildemaro Vargas

#94 Taylor Guerreri RHP Bowling Green (Rays) Guerrier faced the Chiefs in Kentucky on April 29 in a 4-3 11-inning Hot Rods win. The 201 first round pick from Columbia, SC allowed two runs on five hits over five innings while striking out five and walking one. He allowed a solo home run to Jacob Wilson in the fourth inning and a RBI double to Alex Mejia in the fifth inning.

#93 Roberto Osuna RHP (Blue Jays) The Chiefs did not face Osuna in their three-game series at Lansing

#90 JO Berrios RHP (Twins) Despite facing the Kernels 20 times in 2013, the Chiefs never say Berrios

#88 DJ Peterson 3B (Mariners) In an August 10-12 series in Iowa, Peterson batting .500 (6-12) against the Chiefs with two runs scored and one RBI. He went 3-for-4 in the August 10 game. Peterson missed the late August series in Peoria after suffering a season ending injury when he was hit in the face by a fastball.

#79 Braden Shipley RHP (Diamondbacks) Shipley joined South Bend in August so he did not face the Chiefs.

#64 Julio Urias LHP (Dodgers) When Urias faced the Chiefs on July 15 he was just 16 years old. The Mexican native allowed one run on two hits over two innings before reaching his pitch count. Urias struck out two and the Chiefs scored  in the top of the first as Jordan Walton doubled home Charlie Tilson

#52 Lance McCullers Jr RHP (Astros) Of all the pitchers on this list, the Chiefs saw McCullers the most. The 41st overall pick of the 2012 draft started against the Chiefs three times going 1-0 with a no-decision. On May 11 in Davenport he allowed one run on four hits over five innings with three walks and six strikeouts. McCullers gave up a RBI single to Jacob Wilson and a double to Charlie Tilson but took a no-decision as Quad Cities rallied for a 3-2 win.  In June 28 in Peoria, McCullers allowed two runs on four hits over four innings with two walks and three strikeouts. The Chiefs scored both runs in the fourth on RBI from Jesus Montero & Jeremy Schaffer who also had a double. The Chiefs won 4-2 but McCullers again took a no-decision. He earned the win on August 1 as part of a four-game River Bandits sweep in Iowa. CJ McElroy drove in two runs and Charlie Tilson had a triple but Quad Cities rallied for a 5-3 win. McCullers allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits over six innings. 2

#43 Max Fried LHP (Padres) In the Chiefs three-game sweep of the TinCaps, they did not face Fried.

#34 Corey Seager SS (Dodgers) The younger brother of Seattle infielder Kyle, Corey was 3-for-8 in three games against the Chiefs in July. He had two doubles in the July 15 game and drew four walks in the series with two runs scored.

#19 Robert Stephenson RHP (Reds) The Chiefs handed Stephenson his final Midwest League loss on April 26 in Dayton. Jacob Wilson homered in the first inning and Stephenson left down 2-0 after 5.2 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts. The Chiefs won 3-0 and Stephenson went 5-0 before a late July promotion.

#18 Albert Almora OF (Cubs) The Cubs 2012 first-round draft pick made his Midwest League and 2013 debut in Peoria on May 22 going 3-for-4 with a double and a RBI. The next night in an extra-inning game he was 4-for-7 with two doubles and a RBI. Overall in six games, all in Peoria, Almora hit .423 (11-for-26) against the Chiefs with three doubles, two RBI, three walks and three strikeouts. He missed the final season of the season with a leg injury.

#17 Mark Appel RHP (Astros) The #1 overall pick of the 2013 draft faced the Chiefs in Davenport on July 31  in a no-decision. With the two teams separated by one game in the race for first place, Appel limited the Chiefs to one run on six hits over 4.2 innings before hitting his pitching limit. He struck out three and hit one batter while allowing a double and single to Trevor Martin. Appel left with the bases loaded but took a no-decision as the Bandits escaped and rallied to win 4-3 on a walk-off double.

#8 Carlos Correa SS (Astros) The third Quad Cities played on this list, Correa faced the Chiefs more than any other player on this list in 2013. The #1 overall pick from the 2012 draft, who hit .320 overall last season. was held to a .278 average (15-for-54). He scored seven runs against the Chiefs and drove in three with four doubles, seven walks and a stolen base. Correa struck out 14 times against Peoria pitching and had three multi-hit games.

#1 Byron Buxton OF (Twins) The 2013 Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year is also the MLB.com #1 Prospect in all of Minor League Baseball. The Chiefs faced Buxton six times in 2013, three games in each city. He hit .308 (8-for-26) with a triple, two runs scored, two RBI, three steals, four walks and six strikeouts. Buxton had three 2-hit games against the Chiefs before a July promotion.

Ten of the players above were in the MWL Prospect Card set submitted in mid-May. Their cards are in this slideshow:

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A Look at the Four Former Chiefs on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List

Last night on MLB Network, MLB Pipeline and MLB.com released their top 100 Prospects for 2014. The Chiefs were represented with four former players: Javier Baez (#7), Jorge Soler (#49), Hak-Ju Lee (#84) and Arismendy Alcantara (#89). Our parent organization, the St. Louis Cardinals were represented by three players: Oscar Taveras (#3), Kolten Wong (#58) and Stephen Piscotty (#98). In addition 15 of the top 100 players played in the Midwest League in 2013 showing off the talent level that comes through Peoria year in and year out. (more on them later)

Javier Baez hit 12 home runs with the Peoria Chiefs in 2012 and was one of the most exciting players in recent memory to come through Dozer Park. In 57 games with the Chiefs he hit .333 with 41 runs scored with 33 RBI and 27 runs scored. Last season Baez rocketed up the prospect lists with a 4-homer game in Daytona and he finished the season in Double-A with Tennessee. Overall this past season Baez hit .282 with 37 home runs and 111 RBI in 130 games while slugging .578. Here is video (at the 16 second mark) of Baez’s final home run in Peoria from July 27, 2012.


Jorge Soler missed most of 2013 with a stress fracture but still hit .281 with eight homers and 35 RBI in 55 games for the Daytona Cubs. With the Chiefs in 2012 he appeared in 20 games in August & September batting .338 with three home runs, five doubles and 15 RBI. Soler’s first blast in a Chiefs uniform came in Beloit with his first career grand slam:


Hak-Ju Lee who is now with the Tampa Bay Rays missed most of the 2013 season with an ACL injury but is still ranked #84 on this MLB list. In the 15 games he played before the injury at Triple-A Durham, Lee hit .422 with 13 runs scored, five extra-base hits, six steals, 11 walks and a .536 OBP. With the Chiefs in 2010 Lee hit .282 with 27 extra-base hits, 85 runs scored, 32 steals, 40 RBI and 49 walks. He was traded to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal in January 2011.

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Arismendy Alcantara succeeded Lee at shortstop with the Chiefs in the 2011 season and batted .271 with 21 extra-base hits, 37 RBI, 45 runs scored and eight steals in 99 games. He took big strides as a prospect in 2012 batting .301 at Daytona while stealing 25 bases and adding to his power numbers. In 2013, Alcantara represented the Cubs on the World Team in the Futures Game with Baez and clubbed 15 home runs for Double-A  Tennessee. He hit .271 last season with 36 doubles, 69 runs scored, 69 RBI and 31 stolen bases.

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An In-Depth Look at the Four 2013 Chiefs Invited to Cardinals Spring Training

The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Tuesday their 18 non-roster Spring Training Invitees. Jenifer Langosch has the full list over at Cardinals.com and rightfully focuses on Marco Gonzales, the team’s top pick in the 2013 First-Year player Draft. Here at Playing in Peoria we are going to focus on the four members of the 2013 Chiefs team who will head to Jupiter in just a couple of weeks for their first Major League Spring Training.

Let’s start with the no-brainer on the list, Cardinals 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Zach Petrick. What a brilliant 2013 season for the non-drafted Free Agent signee from Morris, IL. Petrick began the season in the Chiefs bullpen and ended the year as a starter in Double-A Springfield. With the Chiefs he was 1-0 with seven saves and a 0.83 ERA in 16 games while striking out 46 and walking just eight in 32 2/3 innings. He was promoted in May to Palm Beach and went 3-0 with one save and a 0.27 ERA in nine games while striking out 32 and walking four in 33 1/3 innings. Petrick moved on to Springfield for the second half and also moved into the starting rotation. In nine Double-A starts he was 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA and 44 strikeouts to just 15 walks over 47 1/3 innings. Overall in 2013, Petrick was 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 34 games and nine starts. He struck out 122 and walked just 27 in 113 1/3 innings with a 1.02 WHIP.

Zack Petrick pitching for the Chiefs in April 2013

Zach Petrick pitching for the Chiefs in April 2013

Next on the list are two catchers, Casey Rasmus and Carson Kelly Rasmus, like Petrick, started the season with the Chiefs and finished in Double-A. With the Chiefs in 25 games he batted .296 with two doubles, a triple, 13 runs scored, four steals and six RBI. Behind the plate he had just one error and one passed ball while throwing out 37% of would-be base stealers. A concussion sidelined Rasmus in May and after being cleared by the training staff in Florida, he was promoted to Palm Beach for 12 games in which he hit .310 with 10 RBI. Rasmus moved on to Springfield and hit .292 with seven runs scored and four RBI over the final 15 games. Overall in 2013 he hit .298 with four doubles, 21 runs scored, 20 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 52 games.

Casey Rasmus tagging out an opponent in 2013.

Casey Rasmus  recording an out against Wisconsin in 2013.

For Carson Kelly, 2014 will be his first season behind the plate in professional baseball. Though he caught and pitched in high school, Kelly played third base for Johnson City in 2012 and with the Chiefs and State College in 2013. Kelly joined the Chiefs in mid-April and hit .219 with two homers, six doubles, 18 runs scored and 13 RBI over 43 games. He moved down to State College at the MWL All-Star Break and helped the Spikes to the New York-Penn League Championship Series. Kelly hit .277 with four homers, 16 doubles, 35 runs scored an 32 RBI with State College. Overall he hit .257 last season with six homers, 22 doubles, 45 RBI, 53 runs scored and a .322 OBP. The 2012 second round pick began catching in September at Instructional League and will be behind the plate during Spring Training and possibly for the Chiefs in 2014.

2014 will be the first behind the plate for Carson Kelly

2014 will be the first behind the plate for Carson Kelly

Speaking of third base, that’s where the fourth Non-Roster Invitee, Patrick Wisdom spent most of the 2013 season for the Chiefs and Palm Beach. Wisdom, a first round pick in 2012 out of Santa Clara, played for the Chiefs from Opening Day 2013 until the first week of August. He hit .231 with 13 home runs, 62 RBI, 20 doubles, four triples and 54 runs scored before a promotion to Palm Beach. Wisdom finished the season with 25 Florida State League games in which he hit .250 with two home runs, four doubles, eight runs scored and 11 RBI. Overall in 129 games last season he hit .235 with 15 homers, 24 doubles, 62 runs scored, 73 RBI and a .401 slugging percentage. Wisdom tied the Chiefs single-season and career records with two grand slams in 2013.

Patrick Wisdom was a fixture in the middle of the Chiefs lineup in 2013

Patrick Wisdom was a fixture in the middle of the Chiefs lineup in 2013

Pitchers and catchers will report to the Cardinals’ spring complex in Jupiter, FL., on February 12. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for February 18. The first game in the Grapefruit League is scheduled for February 28 against the Marlins and the Cardinals Minor League players will report to the complex in early March.

Maddux Chiefs Game by Game 1985

Looking through my various spreadsheets I was able to get the result of 24 of Greg Maddux’s 1985 Chiefs starts. I didn’t have full box score lines on all of them but an hour with Microfilm at the Peoria Public Library allowed me to get all 27 results and box scores from the Peoria Journal Star archives. So here is the Greg Maddux Game by Game lines from 1985. Also includes an exhibition game in which Maddux pitched for AAA-Iowa against the Cubs, the Midwest League All-Star Game and a post-season start.

Date              Result            Opponent                 Line
April 12       W 4-1         vs. Springfield         8ip, 4h, 0r, 1bb, 12k. Team record K in debut
April 17      L 3-2             at Appleton              6ip, 3h, 3r, 2er, 2bb, 3k, E. Lost on UER.
April 22     W 8-1            vs. Beloit                   7ip, 5h, 0er, 4bb, 9k. Win (2-1)
April 28     ND W 6-5    at Springfield          7ip, 7h, 5r, 1bb, 7k. Chiefs win in 9th
May 3         W 3-2            at Springfield          CG 9ip, 7h, 2r, 2bb, 2k. Double at plate
May 8         W 8-3            vs. Burlington         6.1ip, 6h, 2er, 4k. Win (4-1)
May 14      W 2-1            vs. Cedar Rapids    CG 6ip, 1h, 1r, 2bb, 3k. Rain shortened
May 20      L 7-3             at Madison                5.2ip, 10h, 7r, 4er
May 25      W 6-2            vs. Madison            CG 9ip, 8h, 2r, 2bb, 6k Win (6-2)
May 30*   L 5-1              vs. Chicago              3ip, 3r. First 2 IP Sho. Ron Cey 2r 2b.
June 4       L 3-1              at Quad Cities         7ip, 6h, 3r, 2er, 6k. Dante Bichette 2-3 2b
June 9       W 9-7            at Quad Cities         8.2ip, 9h, 7r, 6er, 5bb, 7k
June 14    L 4-1              at Beloit                    7ip, 9h, 4r, 3er, 2bb, 6k
June 20    W 9-4            vs. Wisconsin        6.1ip, 10h, 4r, 1bb, 2k
June 25    W 11-6           at Springfield        6.1ip, 9h, 6r, 5er, 1bb, 3k. 3-4, rbi
June 30    W 4-1            vs. Cedar Rapids  CG 9ip, 5h, 1r, 0bb, 8k
July 5        W 12-2          at Waterloo           CG 9ip, 7h, 2r, 3bb, 6k
July 8**   ND L 4-2      Midwest League   1ip, 0h, 0r, 0bb, 0k
July 13     ND W 5-4     vs. Madison           5ip, 7h, 4r, 3bb, 3k
July 18     ND L 4-2 (12)  at Madison        8.1ip, 7h, 2r, 1er, 0bb, 2k
July 23    L 8-7                vs. Quad Cities     4.1ip, 7h, 6r, 3bb, 2k. QC scored 6 in 4th
July 28    W 6-2             at Burlington        6.1ip, 5h, 2r, 2bb, 4k
Aug 2       L 1-0               vs. Clinton             8ip, 7h, 1r, 2bb, 3k
Aug 7       L 4-1               vs. Wausau       6ip, 4h, 3r, 1er, 3bb, 6k. Mickey Mantle in att
Aug 13 G2 ND L 3-2    at Wausau             5.2ip, 6h, 2r, 1er, 4bb, 1k
Aug 18    W 8-3              at Clinton              5.2ip, 6h, 1r, 2bb, 6k Win (13-7) last win
Aug 23    L 5-4               at Burlington        6.1ip, 7h, 4r, 3er, 2bb, 1k
Aug 28    ND W 9-8     vs. Quad Cities     5ip, 9h, 5er, 4k. Chiefs clinch Division title
Sept 2     L 4-1                vs. Quad Cities    CG 9ip, 3h, 4r, 0er, 2bb, 5k
Sept 7*** L 5-3             vs. Kenosha         4.1ip, 8h, 5r, 1k. Game 2 MWL Finals

*exhibition game between the Iowa Cubs & Chicago Cubs in Des Moines, IA
**Midwest League All-Star Game in Cedar Rapids, IA
***Midwest League Finals Game 2 vs. Kenosha

Microfilm of 1985 files for the Peoria Journal Star

Microfilm of 1985 files for the Peoria Journal Star

Greg Maddux By the Numbers & Pictures

As the first former Peoria Chiefs player ever elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, here is a tribute to Greg Maddux by the numbers and with pictures. Congrats Greg!

1 – Hits allowed by Maddux against Cedar Rapids on May 14 at home in a rain-shortened six inning game.

2 – Round in which Maddux was drafted by the Cubs in 1984 out of Valley High School in Las Vegas, NV

4 – National League Cy Young Awards won by Maddux and NL ERA titles won.

8 – National League All-Star Selections.

10 – Maddux ranks in the Top 10 on the Chiefs single season list for Wins, Innings Pitched, Starts and Complete Games

12 – Number Maddux wore with the Chiefs in 1985

13 – Wins for Maddux in 1985 with the Chiefs. He was 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA and 125 strikeouts. Maddux finished fourth in the Midwest League in wins and starts, fifth in innings pitched and 13th in ERA.

18 – Maddux’s age on Opening Day 1985 when he started against Springfield in a 4-1 Peoria home win with a franchise debut record 12 strikeouts over 8 innings of work.  The #18 also represents the number of Gold Gloves Maddux won, more than any player to ever play in the Majors.

21 – At-bats for Maddux in 1985 with the Chiefs (pre-DH). He hit .238 with a double and a RBI.

27 – Starts for Maddux with the Chiefs in 1985

31 – Number he wore in the Major Leagues, retired in Peoria, Chicago and Atlanta.

35 – MLB playoff appearances for Maddux

72 1/3 – NL record in 2001 for Maddux without issuing a walk

95 – Wins for Maddux as a Cub before signing a free agent deal in Atlanta in the winter of 1992.

97.2 – Percent of Hall of Fame ballots with Maddux’s name listed. Tom Seaver (98.8) in 1992 holds the all-time record.

300 – Win #300 came on August 7, 2004 against the San Francisco Giants

355 – Career wins, 8th all-time. One more than Roger Clemens and the most in MLB history since Warren Spahn retired in 1965 with 363.

546 – Career putouts. Most ever for a pitcher in MLB history.

740 – Career starts, 4th all-time.

999 – Career walks. Maddux is one of two pitchers (Fergie Jenkins) with more than 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks issued.

1986 – Maddux debuted with the Cubs the season after he pitched in Peoria. His MLB debut came in the 17th inning of a September 2 game against Houston when he pinch ran for future Chiefs manager Jody Davis.

1988 – Maddux’s breakout season for the Cubs going 18-8

1992  - The first of four Cy Young Award seasons and the first 20 win season for Maddux.

1995 – The 1995 season was magical for Maddux and the Braves as he won his fourth straight Cy Young Award with one of the best pitching seasons in the last 40 years and the Braves won their first World Series in Atlanta. In 28 starts in 1995, Maddux issued just 23 walks and posted a 19-2 record with a 1.63 ERA.

2004 – Return to Chicago with a 16-11 season and a 4.02 ERA

2008 – Maddux’s final season. Split between San Diego and Los Angeles, Maddux made his final appearance in Chicago in game one of the NLDS with an inning of work against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He then threw twice in the NLCS against the Phillies, which his final outing in game 5.

2010 – Maddux has his number 31 retired in Peoria on June 11.

3000 – Strikeout #3000 came against the Giants on July 26, 2005

3371 – Career strikeouts, 10th all-time.

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