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Single-A: 2017 Midwest League Preview
- Updated: April 6, 2017
The Minor League baseball season is upon us and the Midwest League looks poised to be full of young talent for yet another season. Sixteen Major League teams have affiliates in the consistently deep Single-A league and with first pitch later on tonight, it’s time to give fans of the Midwest League, and fans of their parent clubs, the teams and players to look out for in 2017.
Bowling Green Hot Rods – Tampa Bay Rays
Bowling Green, Kentucky
2016 Overall Record: 84-55 (1st in Eastern Division)
The Hot Rods were eliminated in the first round of last year’s playoffs despite posting the second best overall regular season record, tied with with South Bend and two games behind Clinton, in the entire league. With a prospect heavy lineup, they may find themselves near the top again in 2017.
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. Fort Wayne
Dayton Dragons – Cincinnati Reds
2016 Record: 47-93 (8th in Eastern Division)
Dayton posted by far the worst record in the league last year as their overall mark ended up being 12 games worse than the second to last place team. However, with four of the Red’s top 16 prospects set to start the season in a Dragon’s uniform, and they are four good ones, there is reason to have a more positive outlook on baseball in the Gem City for 2017.
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. Lake County
Fort Wayne TinCaps – San Diego Padres
Fort Wayne, Indiana
2016 Record: 62-78 (7th in Eastern Division)
After finishing seventh in the eastern division overall standings in 2016, the TinCaps are looking to an improved Padres farm system to help them take a step forward on the field in 2017.
Opening Night: 4/6 @ Bowling Green
Great Lakes Loons – Los Angeles Dodgers
2016 Record: 65-75 (6th in Eastern Division)
Your 2016 Midwest League Champions finished with an overall record ten games under .500 and finished in seventh in the first half with a record of 29-41 before finishing third in the division in the second half with a record only two games above .500 at 36-34. The Loons got hot at the right time and ended up going 7-3 in the playoffs en route to their 2016 Midwest League title.
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. Lansing
Lake County Captains – Cleveland Indians
2016 Record: 72-68 (4th in Eastern Division)
The Lake County Captains missed the playoffs by half a game when they finished third in the first half standings in 2016. Lake County hopes that this crop of young Captains can lead them to the promised land. There is so much talent on this year’s roster that I don’t think they will have to worry about missing out on the playoffs in 2017.
Indians Top Prospects on Roster: #5 Brady Aiken LHP, #12 Juan Hillman LHP, #16 Shane Bieber RHP, #20 Gabriel Mejia OF, #21 Aaron Civale RHP, #22 Logan Ice C, #29 Micah Miniard RHP, #30 Conner Capel OF
Opening Night: 4/6 @ Dayton
Lansing Lugnuts – Toronto Blue Jays
2016 Record: 69-71 (5th in Eastern Division)
The 2016 edition of the Lansing Lugnuts was a relatively middle of the road team during the duration of the entire season when they finished fifth in the first half and fourth in the second half. There will be plenty of excitement in 2017 as they have some big name prospects coming their way this season including the Blue Jays number one prospect.
Blue Jays Top Prospects on Roster: #1 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B, #9 Bo Bichette SS, #10 Justin Maese RHP, #13 J.B. Woodman OF, #15 Joshua Palacios OF, #17 Patrick Murphy RHP, #19 Zach Jackson RHP, #26 Osman Gutierrez RHP
Opening Night: 4/6 @ Great Lakes
South Bend Cubs – Chicago Cubs
South Bend, Indiana
2016 Record: 84-55 (2nd in Eastern Division)
The South Bend Cubs fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps in the opening round of last year’s playoffs two games to one. They won the Eastern Division in the first half of the season and finished in second during the second half. The Cubs were the only team to win 40 games in both halves of the 2016 season. They look to continue that success in 2017.
Opening Night: 4/6 @ West Michigan
West Michigan Whitecaps – Detroit Tigers
Comstock Park, Michigan
2016 Record: 71-65
The team that snuck in the playoffs a year ago over Lake County, the Whitecaps actually won a playoff series before being eliminated in the semi’s by the eventual champions, Great Lakes. The Tigers will send some outstanding talent to Michigan this season, including a couple of guys to watch out for on the bump.
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. West Michigan
Beloit Snappers – Oakland Athletics
2016 Record: 59-80 (8th in Western Division)
It was a long second half to 2016 in Beloit when the Snappers finished out their season at 27-43 after finishing just five games under .500 in the first half. The Snappers will have a good right arm to look forward to on the mound, but outside of that, most of their top prospects will be seeing time in more advanced leagues.
Athletics Top Prospect on Roster: #14 Dakota Chalmers
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. Cedar Rapids
Burlington Bees – Los Angeles Angels
2016 Record: 68-72 (5th in Western Division)
The Bees near .500 record was a reflection on both halves as they stayed relatively close to that mark all of last season. The Angels have a lot of top prospects in extended spring training who are still awaiting assignment, but the eyes of all Angels fans will be on Burlington as the number one prospect in the organization is set to join the Bees for 2017.
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. Peoria
Cedar Rapids Kernels – Minnesota Twins
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2016 Record: 78-61 (2nd in Western Division)
The Kernels made it to the semi’s in 2016 after posting two halves above .500 as well as the second best overall record in the Western division. After falling to Clinton in the playoffs, the Kernels will look to their plethora of young talent to lead them to another playoff run. They may be a little thin on the mound, but the lineup should be able to produce some good offensive numbers.
Opening Night: 4/6 @ Beloit
Clinton LumberKings – Seattle Mariners
2016 Record: 86-54 (1st in Western Division)
The team with the best 2016 overall record in the Midwest League tore through the second half with a 47-23 mark before coming up short in the finals against Great Lakes. Most of the players from that dominant team have moved up, but don’t sleep on the LumberKings, they have plenty of talent coming into Clinton this year.
Opening Night: @ Kane County
Kane County Cougars – Arizona Diamondbacks
2016 Record: 65-75 (6th in Western Division)
Kane County posted nearly identical marks in last year’s two halves when they won 33 games in the first and 32 games in the second. Despite not having the best farm system, the Diamondbacks will still send some highly talented young ball players for fans in Geneva to look forward to seeing.
Diamondbacks Top Prospects on Roster: #3 Jasrado Chisholm SS, #8 Jon Duplantier RHP, #9 Anfernee Grier DH, #19 Cody Reed LHP, #22 Jhoan Duran RHP, #23 Jose Herrera C, #25 Wei-Chieh Huang RHP, #29 Tyler Mark RHP
Opening Night: 4/6 vs Clinton
Peoria Chiefs – St. Louis Cardinals
2016 Record: 73-66 (3rd in Western Division)
Due to a strong first half in 2016, Peoria locked up a playoff spot before getting swept in the first round by Clinton. The outfielders will be the group to watch in Peoria this year as the Chiefs will field three prospects on the Cardinals top 30 list in their outfield to start the season.
Opening Night: 4/6 @ Burlington
Quad Cities River Bandits – Houston Astros
2016 Record: 61-78 (7th in Western Division)
The team in Davenport finished towards the bottom of the standings in both halves of last year’s season. The roster will be filled with some pretty talented position players as well as a top pitching prospect to look out for. Forrest Whitley is a 6’7 righty that many scouts are excited about.
Opening Night: 4/6 vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Milwaukee Brewers
2016 Record: 71-69 (4th in Western Division)
The Timber Rattlers snuck into the playoffs last year with a 37-33 second half record that ended up being good enough for a third place finish in the Western Division. They didn’t hang around long though when they were swept by Cedar Rapids in the first round of the playoffs.
Opening Night: 4/6 @ Quad Cities
You can also reach out to Jake at email@example.com
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