On-Deck With the Captains: 8/22/14-8/27/2014
The Lake County Captains are going to the playoffs. It was a rough first half for the team, so rough that any thought of a playoff bid seemed long gone. Instead, the team bore down and crafted a successful second half, clinching a playoff spot on Aug. 27. The pitching has stepped up and the bats have produced, an obvious recipe for success. Now, the Captains will close the season out at home before they seek a Midwest League championship.
Mitch Brown, RHP
2 G, 12 IP, 2-0, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 15 K
Season: 8-8, 3.31 ERA
If anyone deserved to be the winning pitcher of record when the Captains clinched, it was Brown. Brown stepped up huge this past week, but moreso over his past nine games. Since two rough starts in early July, Brown has been locked in. His control has noticeably improved and hitters are no longer hitting him as hard.
Nellie Rodriguez, 1B
6 G, 26 AB, 9 H, 4 R, 8 RBI, 9:1 K:BB
Season: .265 BA, .348 OBP, .468 SLG, .816 OPS, 135:59 K:BB
Rodriguez picked just the right time to get hot. He’s hitting .351 over his last 10 games and .298 in August. In July, he hit .320. Rodriguez’s time in Lake County started rough, dating back to last season when he was sent back to short-season ball to work on some things. His work has proved to be beneficial as he’s showed timely hitting and power, something that was missing last year.
Claudio Bautista, INF
5 G, 19 AB, 7 H, 4 R, 2 RBI, 4:2 K:BB
Season: .251 BA, .278 OBP, .410 SLG, .687 OPS, 97:12 K:BB
Bautista has quietly been an essential component to this Captains team. His numbers don’t speak enough for him, and his defense is probably overshadowed by some infielders ahead of him in the system, but Bautista has become a nice infielder with the ability to provide some timely hits. He’s hit safely in each of his last five games, including a three-hit night Aug. 27.
Walking the Plank
Luis DeJesus, RHP
2 G, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 1 HR, 5:0 K:BB
Season: 3-3, 5.45 ERA
DeJesus has spent the year toggling between Mahoning Valley, Lake County and Carolina, and he’s only pitched well with the Scrappers. Home runs were the Achilles of DeJesus’ 2013 season as he led the Midwest League in home runs allowed with 24. Through seven games with Lake County, he’s surrendered two. It’s not fair to see DeJesus’ All-Star season in 2012 was a fluke, but his lack of progression over the last two years is concerning.
Mike Papi, OF
6 G, 19 AB, 3 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, 4:7 K:BB
Season: .193 BA, .315 OBP, .303 SLG, .617 OPS
There were high expectations for Papi this year, but he hasn’t quite met them. To be fair, it’s nice to see he’s been patient enough at the plate to draw seven walks in his last 19 at-bats, and he’s had some big home runs. It’d be nice to see Papi get hot, especially with a playoff run.
Taking on Water
No Captains were newly added to the disabled list. Relieves Kenny Mathews, Matt Whitehouse and Jimmy Stokes all remain on the seven-day disabled list, along with outfielder Anthony Santander.
No Captains were reassigned to other teams this week.
Catcher Shane Rowland was added to the Captains roster to replace Eric Haase, who departed for high-A Carolina.
On the Horizon
The playoffs will prolong the season, but the Captains are still looking to finish the regular season strong. They’ve got two on the road remaining with the Great Lakes Loons before they close out the regular season with the Dayton Dragons. The last game is Sept. 1.
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.