On-Deck with the Captains: 4/4/14 - 4/15/14
Eleven games into the season, the Lake County Captains post a 4-7 record. The bats appear to have some more pop than last year’s early team, but the starting pitching has had some rough starts. The team currently rides a six-game losing streak that they’re looking to overturn during the current homestand.
Jordan Milbrath, RHP
2 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 11 IP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 H, 8:4 K:BB
Milbrath baffled the Lansing Lugnuts lineup April 5 in a shortened, seven-inning game due to a double-header. He surrendered just two hits -- one bloop single to shallow left and one infield grounder -- and punched out five. As of April 15, Milbrath’s is the only complete game the league has seen this year. The tall righty tossed another scoreless four innings April 11, recording a .162 opponent batting average.
Grant Fink, 3B
10 G, 34 AB, .353 BA, .463 OBP, .500 SLG, .963 OPS, 7 R, 9 RBI, 1 HR, 13:7 K:BB, 4 E
Fink’s seen a hot start as he leads the team in average. The 23-year-old hit well last season in Mahoning Valley after spending most of the year with the AZL Indians. Despite four errors already, Fink has played a nice third base and has hit well with runners in scoring position -- he’s had a hit in seven of 10 opportunities.
Nellie Rodriguez, 1B
11 G, 36 AB, .306 BA, .419 OBP, .611 SLG, 1.030 OPS, 4 R, 6 RBI, 3 HR, 9:7 K:BB
One of the biggest questions going into the season was whether or not Rodriguez was show some of the power that was touted when he was drafted. The power never came during his 2013 showing with the Captains, though he completed the year with nine home runs in Mahoning Valley. Rodriguez is still young, 19, and it seems spending time in short-season proved beneficial. He’s a teenager in a 30-year-old’s body, so the power seems imminent, and it appears he’s starting to unleash it.
Walking the Plank:
Dace Kime, RHP
2 GS, 6.1 IP, 0-2, 17.05 ERA, 16 H, 2 HR, 6:4 K:BB
It’s still plenty early in the season, but Kime hasn’t had the start that expectations called for. He pitched great last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, but that success hasn’t yet carried over into the Midwest League.
Anthony Santander, DH
9 G, 33 AB, .121 BA, .237 OBP, .152 SLG, .388 OPS, 1 R, 1 RBI, 12:5 K:BB
It should be noted that Santander is still aiding an injured shoulder, which is why he has yet to play the field. That said, he’s had a fair opportunity to swing the bat, which hasn’t resulted well. His injury might be partially to blame for this, but when his role is solely to hit, it’d be nice to see him contribute offensively. Santander is only 19, so he has plenty of time to develop his talent, but this is his second stop in Lake County and the Captains still have yet to face some of the Midwest League’s best pitching.
7: Dorssys Paulino’s errors so far. Defense was Paulino’s Achilles last season as he led the league in errors. Hopefully he gets the mistakes out of his system early before the whispers about shifting his position begin.
11: The number of team home runs. This ties the lead in the Midwest League with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, which is a refreshing contrast to last year’s squad. Rodriguez and Cody Ferrell lead the team with three home runs each.
5.73: The team’s collective ERA. This is the worst in the league, in contrast to the Dayton Dragons who hold a 1.92 team ERA. Fifty-six of the team’s 65 runs allowed have been earned.
Catcher Ryan Battaglia was reassigned to the high-A Carolina Mudcats April 7.
Outfielder Josh McAdams was activated from the 7-day disabled list April 13.
On the Horizon:
The Captains were rained out in Peoria, Ill. on April 15, which results in a double-header April 16. The team will complete its current homestand as it hosts the Burlington Bees April 17-19 before enjoying an off-day Easter Sunday.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.
Haven't they already started?