Results tagged ‘ Peoria Chiefs ’

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’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

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Chiefs Playoff Race Update…Monday Edition

There are six teams in the 2nd half playoff race for two spots. Here is a schedule matrix for what each team has left:

a 12 a 14-16 a 17-20 a 21-23 a 24-27 a 28-30 a 31-s2 H R
Burlington v. Bel v. KC at QC at Peo v. QC at Bel v. Wis 11 10
Clinton v. Peo v. QC at KC v. Wis at Bel at Peo v. CR 10 11
Kane County v. CR at Bur v. Cli v Bel at Wis at CR v. Peo 11 10
Peoria at Cli at Wis v. CR v. BUR at CR v. CLI at KC 10 11
Quad Cities v. Wis at Cli v. Bur v. CR at Bur at Wis v. Bel 11 10
Wisconsin at QC v. Peo at Bel at Cli v. KC v. QC at Bur 10 11

And here are the standings heading into Monday’s game.

W L Pct GB  Wild Card Games Left
Quad Cities 30 18 0.625  —  — 21
Peoria 25 24 0.510 5.5  — 21
Clinton 23 26 0.469 7.5 2 21
Wisconsin 21 28 0.428 9.5 4 21
Burlington 19 30 0.387 11.5 6 21
Kane County 17 31 0.354 13.0 7.5 21

Quad Cities and Kane County had a game rained out that will NOT be made up. The Chiefs hold the tiebreaker over Quad Cities and Wisconsin while currently leading the season series against Burlington and Kane County but trailing against Clinton.

The Chiefs do have 8 games against Cedar Rapids, the best record in the West all season, but the other 13 games left are against teams behind Peoria in the standings. The Chiefs are 7-5 against Cedar Rapids in 2013, 2-1 at home and 5-4 in Iowa.

We all know the St. Louis Cardinals are in the National League playoff race and currently lead the Wild Card race by 7.5 games (+2 on Cincinnati for the top spot). But in case you haven’t looked at all Minor League Standings, check this out:

Memphis Redbirds – AAA Pacific Coast League – 2nd place, 1 game back
Springfield Cardinals – AA Texas League – In a 3-way tie for 1st place
Palm Beach Cardinals – A+ Florida State League – Tied for 1st place
State College Spikes – SS NY-Penn League – 2nd place, 2 games back, Lead Wild Card
Johnson City Cardinals – Rookie Ball Appalachian League – 3rd place
GCL Cardinals – Rookie Gulf Coast League – 2nd place

All of the Cardinals affiliates are in a top 3 spot, though Johnson City and GCL Cardinals have long shots to make the playoffs as they are both at least seven games back. It is very possible that come September, the Cardinals will have multiple MiLB teams in the post-season and could realistically have as many as five along with the parent club. It is going to be a fun three weeks following all these races!

Tonight is a big game for the Chiefs finishing the series in Clinton. Peoria has done well in 2013 in the rubber match of a 3-game series going 6-2 (3-2 on the road). Tune in online or through the smartphone Apps and TuneIn Radio as we go on the air at 6:45. As always you can follow on twitter as well. Have a great Monday!

Tonight’s Lineup

For the exhibition game against Bradley, here is Casey Kopitzke’s lineup:
Hak-Ju Lee SS
Logan Watkins 2B
Matt Cerda 3B
Richard Jones LF
Jovan Rosa C
Justin Bour 1B
Greg Rohan DH
Alvaro Ramirez RF
Jose Valdez CF
Su-Min Jung P

Jung is schedule to throw 3 innings followed by Trey McNutt for 2 and Andres Quezada for 2.

We will not be airing the game on 96.5 ESPN but a FREE Bradley stream will be available starting at 5:45 central. Bradley students will be broadcasting and I will join them for innings 3 and 4.Tickets are still available at the Box Office for $6 General Admission.

Opening Day Pitching Matchup

A pair of collegiate, 8th round draftees from the Northeast will duel
on Opening Day as the Peoria Chiefs travel to Iowa and face the Clinton
LumberKings in the opener of a three-game series. RH Rob Whitenack will
start for the Chiefs against LH Jimmy Gillheeney for the LumberKings.

Whitenack, 21, was drafted by the Cubs in the 8th round last June out
of SUNY-Old Westbury as the first Division III player selected. A
two-time Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year, Whitenack was 0-4 last
season for Boise in 12 starts and 15 total outings.

Whitenack_Interview.jpgGillheeney is a native of Rhode Island and was an 8th round pick last June by the Mariners out of North Carolina State. He spent the 2009 season with Rookie-A Pulaski going 0-3 with a 4.84 ERA in six games and four starts. Before heading to NC State, Gillheeney was a high school teammate of Chiefs lefty Jeff Belliveau at Hendricken High in Warsaw, RI, the alma mater of Rocco Baldelli.

Next Two Bios: Robert Whitenack and Nick Struck

began his professional career with the Boise Hawks last June after being
drafted in the eighth round out of SUNY- Old Westbury. He struck out 33 batters
over 54 1/3 innings and allowed just one homer while featuring a knuckle-curve.
Whitenack appeared in 15 games and started 12 including a stretch from June 28
to August 26 where he started exclusively. The right-hander struck
out a
career-high four batters July 14 against Vancouver and matched that total two
more times. On three occasions last season Whitenack went five innings and left
with a lead but the Hawks couldn’t hold on to get him a win. He tossed a
career-best six innings on August 21 against Yakima while allowing one run on
three hits. Whitenack was the fi
baseball player ever drafted from SUNY Old Westbury and is the school’s
single-season strikeout leader with 79 in 67.1 innings. As a junior last season
for Old Westbury he was 5-2 with a 2.81 ERA while being named the ECAC Pitcher
of the Year. He was the first of 19 Division-III players drafted in 2009 after
leading his Panthers to a 27-13 record last season. Whitenack tossed a
14-strikeout n
o-hitter in 2008 against Polytechnic Institute of NYU and was a
two time Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year. A 21-year-old native of North
Massapequa, NY, Whitenack graduated from Plainedge High School and had his
number 10 retired by SUNY-Old Westbury

was drafted by the Cubs in the 39th round of the 2009 draft out of
Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, OR. He was 9-0 with a 1.17 ERA at Mt.
Hood as a freshman in 2009 earning NWAACC first-team honors and leading the
school to a 26-4 overall record. The former Clackamas High School star turned down
a scholarship offer to pitch at the University of Hawaii in order to sign with
the Cubs in August. Struck was the 2008 Oregon 6A Player of the Year while
leading Clackamas to its first state title in any sport in 2009 while also
playing shortstop on days when he didn’t pitch. He was 12-1 with a 1.08 ERA as
a senior at CHS while striking out 119 and walking 11 in 84 1/3 innings. Struck
also led the team in hitting (.455), RBI (45) and extra-base hits (21). Struck
pitched for the Portland Lobos in the West Coast League last summer going 5-1
with a 1.10 ERA while also hitting .400 as a second baseman for the league


Chiefs Announce 2010 Roster


The Chicago Cubs have announced the players who will comprise the 2010
Opening Day roster for the Peoria Chiefs, barring any injuries in the
final Spring Training game on Sunday. Headlining for the Chiefs this
year are the Cubs #6 prospect Hak-Ju Lee, #7 prospect Logan Watkins, and former fourth round pick Matt Cerda. Jovan Rosa, Jeffry Antigua, Jeff Beliveau, Mario Mercedes and Jose Valdez are the only five returning Chief players from 2009 while Jordan Latham
pitched for the Chiefs in 2008. The initial roster has one remaining
opening with a pitcher expected to be added on Wednesday before the
regular season begins. Full Roster is Here

Overall the 24-man roster includes four 19-year-olds, four
20-year-olds, four 21-year-olds, four 22-year-olds, six 23-year-olds
and two 24-year-olds. Lee is the youngest player having turned 19 in
November while Quezada is the oldest with his 24th birthday in March.
The roster features 13 American born players, six Dominican natives,
two South Koreans, two Venezuelans and one Puerto Rican born player in
Jovan Rosa who now lives in Connecticut.

The Chiefs players and their coaches will arrive in Peoria
Monday night April 5 and will practice at O’Brien Field Tuesday April
6. The Chiefs will host Bradley University Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in an
exhibition game with tickets available at the O’Brien Field Box Office
for $6. The regular season begins Thursday, April 8 at Clinton to start
a nine-game road swing through Iowa and Wisconsin. The Chiefs home
opener is Saturday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m. against the Burlington Bees
and tickets are available at the O’Brien Field Box Office, by calling
1-888-MYTICKET or online.

Tonight Is Chiefs Night with Rivermen as Season Nears

Finally the off-season is almost over! Tonight (Saturday) most of the Chiefs front office staff and a handful of interns will be passing out pocket schedules at the Peoria Rivermen game against the Houston Aeros at 7:00. Homer will be there as well participating in on-ice events pre game and between periods.

You can also hear me with Brendan Burke, the Voice of the Rivermen during the first period intermission. Hockey has been growing on me this winter so I’m looking forward to watching Brendan work. He used to broadcast for the Lakewood BlueClaws, a Phillies affiliate in the South Atlantic League. The game can be heard on 101.1 FM in the Peoria area or online at Im sure Brendan and I will have some fun. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow but come join us for Chiefs Night at the Rivermen and grab a pocket schedule fresh off the presses!

Welcome to the Peoria Chiefs Blog

I know, I know, it’s about time the Peoria Chiefs entered the blogosphere. Well, here we are! Twenty-six days before the start of the season and just in time for the launch of the new which should happen sometime this week after MILB and BAM change it all over. I hope you enjoy the new look!

As for the blog, I plan on using it for a behind the scenes look at the Chiefs from the players to the front office and the travel throughout the Midwest League. We will have audio, video, images and stories. You’ll find out what movies we are watching on those long bus rides, what restaurants to enjoy in MWL cities, what is going on at the ballpark, scoops on the lineups before we go on-air and of course highlights and interviews. Its also a great way to link to other stories around the league from other great blogs put out by Wisconsin, Clinton, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Burlington among others. I’ll get those links up soon. And as always your suggestions and feedback are very much appreciated. Check back often for new content, and welcome to Playing In Peoria – the Official Peoria Chiefs Blog!

Josh Vitters Leads Cubs Past White Sox Again

 vitterspic.jpgIt’s fitting that my real first blog entry would come on Josh Vitters since the Cubs 2008 1st round draft pick led the excitement around Peoria and O’Brien Field last season. Well each of the last two days I found myself turning into the Cubs/White Sox games from Las Vegas on Comcast Chicago. Both teams sent split squads and all week all I had seen about the Cubs was who wasn’t going to Vegas (Piniella, Zambrano, Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, etc) and nothing about who was going. But given the 21 former Chiefs on the Cubs spring roster I figured the odds were good that some would be playing. Even I was amazed at the amount of former Chiefs who got into the two games and the impact they had.
     Let’s start with Friday which had Len Kasper, a fellow Marquette alum who has always been gracious with his time to me, working solo. Bob Brenly, a good friend to the Chiefs last season with his son Michael as our catcher, was back in AZ recovering from knee surgery. The Cubs were down 4-3 heading into the 7th after former Chiefs pitcher Jay Jackson allowed three runs in the 6th. With 2009 Cubs first rounder and former Chief Brett Jackson pinch-running at first, and Micah Hoffpauir on second, Vitters stepped to the plate and ripped a triple to the right-center wall scoring two and putting the Cubs up 5-4. Vitters scored moments later and the Cubs finished off the Sox for a 6-4 win. Video of Vitters triple.
     Overall 12 former Chiefs played in the first Vegas game: Sam Fuld started, made two great running catches and was 0-5 at the plate; DJ LeMahieu was 1-1, as was Kyler Burke who also added an outfield assist; Vitters was 1-2 with a triple, run and 2 rbi; Jackson was 0-1 with a run and outfield assist; Matt Camp was 0-1 as were Ryan Flaherty and Wellington Castillo. On the mound, Jay Jackson allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning while Mitch Atkins gave up a hit and struck out one in 1/3 of an inning. Hung-Wen Chen gave up a hit in a shutout inning and Blake Parker walked two and struck out one in the ninth. Atkins picked up the win while Parker nailed down the save.
    Saturday’s game was also on Comcast but featured the White Sox broadcast team of Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone. While Stone definitely knows his stuff, he was not kind to some of the former Chiefs playing so I’ll ignore him for the time being, and you either love or hate the Hawkeroo, who’s mid-game interview with Ozzie Guillen was unwatchable. Ten former Chiefs played in this afternoon contest and at one point seven of the nine hitters in the lineup were former Peoria stars.
    Again the Sox led late, taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning.  But the Chiefs, er I mean Cubs, batted around in the eighth and scored four times to take the lead for good. With one out in the inning, Jackson drew a walk and scored easily on a double by Hoffpauir. Brad Snyder singled to put runners on the corners and Flaherty tied the game with a single to right. After a pitching change, Vitters came to the plate with runners on the corners and grounded to shortstop. After Flaherty was forced at second, Vitters beat the relay throw to first allowing Snyder to score for a 7-6 Cubs lead. Castillo followed with a double and Camp walked. Vitters scored to make it 8-6 as LeMahieu reached on a White Sox error. Former Chiefs hurler Justin Berg allowed an unearned run but earned the save in the 9th as Vitters recorded the final out.
     Former Chiefs on Saturday: Fuld 0-2, run, outfield assist (Threw out Andruw Jones at plate to end 4th inning); LeMahieu 1-3; Burke 0-2, rbi; Jackson 0-1, bb, r; Vitters 0-2, r, game-winning rbi; Flaherty 1-2, rbi; Robinson Chirinos 2-2, rbi, 2b, bb; Castillo 1-1, 2b; Camp 0-1, bb, e; Berg 1ip, 0h, 1bb, 1r, 0er, 1k, Save.