Captains Lead League In Home Runs With 83 Home Runs
The Lake County Captains (42-52) play in the Class A Midwest League. In that league the season is separated into two halves with a playoff spot awarded to the first half division winner.
The entirety of the playoff procedure and seeding is too cumbersome to detail here but if you would like more information click here.
The main takeaway is that even though the Captains struggled in the first half of the season finishing with a record of 27-43 finishing a full 14 games behind the Eastern Division leading West Michigan Whitecaps they still have an opportunity with a strong second half to capture a playoff spot this September.
The second half playoff chase is off to a good start and thanks to a current six game win streak they have posted a 15-9 record and trail the South Bend Silver Hawks by only a single game.
The season has seen some key players earn their promotions and have also have lost a key player to injury.
Starting pitcher Adam Plutko (11th Round, 2013) made 10 starts posting a record of 3-1 with a 3.93 ERA before being promoted to the Indians High-A affiliate Carolina Mudcats.
Ben Heller (22nd round, 2013) appeared in 28 games for the Captains (all in relief) posting a record of 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA striking out 64 batters in 37 innings of work. He struck out 43.2% (64 of 148) batters he faced.
Robbie Aviles (7th round, 2010) was one of the best comeback stories in the organization posting a 1-1 record with a 2.16 ERA through his first 13 appearances (8 starts). Unfortunately, he has been out of action since June 12th.
There have been several players who have performed well and if they don’t earn a promotion in 2014 they’ve positioned themselves to take that next step to Carolina next season.
The Captains boast a very powerful lineup and lead the Midwest League with 83 home runs. Individually, they are led by first basemen Nellie Rodriguez who is second in the league with 16 homers, catcher Eric Haase is fourth in the league with 14 homers, Clint Frazier and Paul Hendrix are tied for eighth in the league with 10 homers, and Grant Fink and Claudia Bautista are tied for ninth in the league with nine home runs each.
Nellie Rodriguez (15th round, 2012) just turned 20 years old June 12th and has posted a triple slash line of .258/.335/.475 with 16 homers, 18 doubles, and a pair of triples. Since June 1st he has a slash line of .323/.380/.615 with 9 homer and 30 runs driven in.
Paul Hendrix (18th round, 2013) is a little older than the average player in the Midwest League (0.5 years above average) but that shouldn’t be taken as a negative as he has never had to repeat any level. He got off to a blazing start in April and May before slumping in June where he posted a triple slash line of .190/.277/.310. He has rebounded thus far in July hitting .308/.404/.538 through 11 games. Overall, he is batting .290/.385/.480 with 10 homers, 13 doubles, and four triples. He has appeared all over the infield for the Captains appearing in 16 games at second base, 27 at third base, and 31 at shortstop.
Eric Haase (7th round, 2011) is a 21-year old catcher who is developing both behind the plate and in the batters box. He is spending his second season with the Captains and is currently batting .266/.338/.519 with 14 home runs spanning 260 plate appearances. He has also thrown out 35% of the runners attempting to steal against him (29 of 54).
Clint Frazier (1st round, 2013, #5 overall) is only 19 years old and is in the middle of his first year of professional baseball. He struggled early in the year posting a .241/.335/.329 with one home run and 12 runs driven in during April and May spanning 197 plate appearances. He has turned around his season since June 1st posting a .313/.353/.563 with nine home runs 22 RBI spanning 153 plate appearances. Overall he is batting .274/.343/.436 with 10 home runs and 34 runs driven in.
Dace Kime (3rd round, 2013) started slowly posting a record of 0-7 with a 6.70 ERA in April and May and the opposition hit .316 against him. He has fared much better over his last eight starts posting a 5-3 record with a 2.18 ERA (14ER/45IP) while striking out 46 hitters and holding the opposition to a .228 average against.
Jordan Milbrath (35th round, 2013) has been the hard luck member of the Captains. He has a record of just 3-9 but has an ERA of 3.38 (33ER/88IP). His success did not go unnoticed as he was one of three Captains (Eric Haase, Robbie Aviles) to be named to the Midwest League All Star Team.
The Captains will have a new member of the team moving forward as Mike Papi (1st Round, 2014, 38th overall) was promoted to the squad from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers where he played two games.
— Lake County Captains (@LCCaptains) July 16, 2014