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Captains notebook: Bautista making noise in Lake County

Captains notebook: Bautista making noise in Lake County
On-Deck with the Captains
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Claudio Bautista isn't a high-profile ballplayer. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, Bautista isn't a big name infielder -- not when guys by the names of Francisco LindorJoe Wendleand Jose Ramirez are around. That said, Bautista has quietly crafted a solid season with the Lake County Captains, though manager Mark Budzinski begs to differ.

"Not quietly to us," Budzinski said.

The Captains infield juggles a trio of second basemen who switch off -- Bautista, Paul Hendrix and Torsten Boss -- but Bautista is defensively sound. He moves well to both sides and charges ground balls with instinct and ease.

"Defensively, he's solid as a rock out there," Budzinski said.

Through 81 games with the Captains, Bautista has hit .261 with nine home runs, 39 RBI and a .717 OPS. He hit .309 in the month of June and his July average presently sits at .349. He can come through in the clutch and handle pressure situations as he's hitting .297 with runners in scoring position.

Bautista is an aggressive hitter, which may be reflected in his 70:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's working on learning the strike zone, but his discipline has developed since the start of the season, Budzinski said. Bautista also has a surprising amount of pop. 

"He's got quick hands," Budzinski  added. "He can hit a fastball." 

Smooth Sailing

Nellie Rodriguez, 1B
6 G, 25 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, .350 BA, .350 OBP, .617 SLG, .967 OPS, 3:0 K:BB

Nellie Rodriguez was named the Captains Player of the Week, and rightfully so. Through his last 10 games, Rodriguez has hit .419 with five home runs. Defensively, Rodriguez has been sound this season, so it seems like he’s finally started to put everything together. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Rodriguez now that Mike Papi has joined the team.

Clint Frazier, CF
6 G, 24 AB, 13 H, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, .500 BA, .542 OBP, .811 SLG, 1.350 OPS, 5:3 K:BB

Frazier had one of the best weeks of his pro career and the numbers speak for themselves. His season strikeout-to-walk ratio is a bit uneven at 100:32, but high strikeouts are to be expected from a guy with power. Like Rodriguez, Frazier seems to be figuring things out, which comes at an ideal time as the Captains seek a playoff run in the second half.

Jordan Milbrath, RHP
1 G, 6 IP, 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 5:3 K:BB

Milbrath has crafted two-straight solid starts, a nice shift in momentum from what was a rough month in June. He’s had a tendency to struggle with runners on base, but he surrendered nine hits and three walks during his July 9 start, and none of those runners came around to score.

Walking the Plank

Luis Lugo, LHP
1 G, 0-0, 5 IP, 5.40 ERA, 5 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 HR, 7:3 K:BB

If it hadn’t been for the back-to-back home runs he surrendered in the 5th inning, Lugo’s outing wouldn’t have been so bad. Lugo never seems to have trouble striking guys out as he leads the team with 104, but he struggles to locate his fastball at times, which probably explains all the hits.

Caleb Hamrick, RHP
2 G, 1-1, 9.1 IP, 8.16 ERA, 11 R, 8 ER, 15 H, 3 HR, 2:5 K:BB

The past week did not treat Hamrick well, which is a shame considering the month of June was fantastic for him. Hamrick didn’t allow a single earned run in the month of June. As soon as July came around, things started to go south. The strikeouts aren’t high for Hamrick, and they level with his walks at 35 apiece. Hamrick isn’t an overpowering arm, and it seems he isn’t fooling many batters,

Taking On Water

Infielder Torsten Boss was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a strained left calf.

Boarding Ship

First baseman Mike Papi was assigned to the Captains from the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers June 16. Papi, the Indians first round competitive balance pick this year, spent just two games with the Scrappers and hit .222 in nine at-bats.

Leaving Port

No Captains were reassigned to other teams this week.

On the Horizon

The Captains complete their distant road trip in Cedar Rapids and Quad Cities before returning home June 23. There, they’ll host the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for three games.

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.

User Comments

July 17, 2014 - 6:22 PM EDT
Hi Stephanie, Enjoyed your write but have a couple of questions. First, I thought Papi was going to be groomed as a corner OF. Do you know for sure he is being to 1B? It makes some sense if LC is adding a certain CF from MV because Frazier is capable of playing either corner. I assume Ruiz is the odd man out since Paulino has more ceiling but 1B will still be a bit crowded IMO since Nellie is not really ready for Carolina from what I see. What am I missing?

What has happened to Santander? I know he was injured earlier but I am a believer in his ceiling as I am in Paulino. He has disappointed but the big blow injury wise has been Aviles. Any word on those two and the 2nd best LHP, IMO, Kenny Mathews?

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