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1997 Central: | Beloit | Kane County | Peoria | Rockford | Wisconsin |

Midwest League 1997

Peoria Chiefs


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1997 Teams
Beloit
Burlington
Cedar Rapids
Clinton
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Lansing
Michigan
Peoria
Quad City
Rockford
South Bend
West Michigan
Wisconsin

This page is a profile of the 1997 Peoria Chiefs, a Single-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and a member of the Midwest League. The profile was first published in early April and was revised periodically; this final revision was completed in early September.

All statistics quoted on this page are through the end of the season.


Peoria, Illinois; affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Manager: Joe Cunningham (#37)
Coach: Gary Buckels (#33) (Pitching)

High Attendance: 4,808 (July 20)
Low Attendance: 723 (May 7)
Average Attendance: 2,358
1996 Season Average: 2,973


Post-Season Wrapup

Here's how the games went: The starting pitcher gave up a lot of runs. The offense scored a lot of runs. The relief staff stopped the other guys cold. About half the time, this worked....

There's no bench, but the starting lineup was murderous. They had all the tools: players with good average, players with power, and players who can run. While shortstop Brent Butler was clearly this squad's star, the supporting cast--outfielder Luis Saturria, DH Joe Frietas, first baseman Bryan Britt, outfielder Todd Hogan, and others--was excellent.

If they could get the game to relievers Adam West and/or Kevin Crafton, odds are the Chiefs would win. Reliever Jose DeLeon pitched better than his ERA shows. But the rest of the staff ranged between adequate and awful; not a good team foundation. They deserved a lot of their losses.


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Leaders


  • Best Player on the Team: Shortstop Brent Butler

  • Pitching: 70-69 (.504), 4.69, 6 CG, 10 Shutouts, 38 saves, 1001 Ks
  • Hitting: .252, 662 runs, 120 HR, 125 SB
  • First Half: 34-35 (.493), 4th, 6.0 behind
  • Second Half: 36-34 (.514), 2nd (Tie), 2.0 behind
  • After August 1: 16-13 (.552)

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Jose Villafana (2.82, 5-3, 61 IP, 28 Ks)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Kevin Crafton (1.96, 7-2, 29 saves, 55 IP, 59 Ks)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Adam West (83 Ks in 66 innings)
  • Best Control Pitcher: Kevin Crafton (59 Ks, 18 BB in 55 innings)
  • Best Hitter: Brent Butler (.306, 81 runs, 37 doubles, 15 homers, 71 RBI, 6 steals)
  • Highest BA: Brent Butler (.306)
  • Home Run Leader: Joe Frietas (33)
  • Best Baserunner: Todd Hogan (28 steals, 3 triples) or Ken Cameron (21 steals, 4 triples) or Luis Saturria (23 steals, 5 triples)

July Evaluation

While the Chiefs have some exceptional individual performers, the team's overall statistics are unremarkable. Overall, both the hitting and pitching are weak; nonetheless, the Chiefs win nearly half their games. Shortstop Brent Butler is probably the best prospect in the MWL. First baseman Bryan Britt, third baseman Jose Leon, and (especially) designated hitter Joe Frietas provide serious power, while outfielders Ken Cameron, Todd Hogan and Luis Saturria are all threats to run on the basepaths. Reliever Kevin Crafton is having a very fine season, partially because the remaining staff gives him lots of opportunities.


June Evaluation

Last summer the Chiefs came at you with weak hitting and ferocious pitching; this season's pattern is reversed. This is a good-hitting, effective, offense; the pitching is pretty sad. Shortstop Brent Butler is the team's star; outfielder Joe Frietas is the best of a set of sluggers. Closer Kevin Crafton's having a fine season and is the only bright light in this pitching staff.


May Evaluation

The Cardinals have replaced last year's excellent Peoria pitching staff with a generally terrible crew. The hitting, on the other hand, is extremely good, mixing power and speed to good effect. Shortstop Brent Butler looks to be something special; keep your eyes on him.


April Evaluation

All around, the Chiefs probably have the best hitting in the league; they feature both power and basepath speed. There's nothing to distinguish the pitching staff, which is about average for the league.




Where they played last season

This team is largely drawn from last season's Cardinals farm clubs in Johnson City (Rookie, Appalachian League) and New Jersey (Short Season A, New York-Penn League).

Team           League         W/L   Place(Teams)  Hitters Pitchers
St Petersburg  Florida State  75-63     4(14)       2       0
Peoria         Midwest        79-59     1(14)       3       2
New Jersey     New York-Penn  28-47    14(14)       5       6
Johnson City   Appalachian    42-26    2T(14)       9       5

Several players are counted on two teams. Two players spent part of last season in other organizations.


  • Oldest Player:
    • Travis McClendon (C), born 10-22-72 (24)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Brent Butler (SS), born 2-11-78 (19)
  • Average Team Age:
    This information is based on early-season rosters.
    • Pitchers: 21.8
    • Position Players: 21.4
    • Team Average: 21.6

  • First Round Draftee:
    • none

  • Baseball America Top 100 Minor League Prospects
    • Brent Butler (#69)
  • Baseball Weekly Minor League Prospect Report
    • Brent Butler (#1 shortstop prospect)
  • Baseball America Cardinals Prospects (Post-Season)
    • Brent Butler (#4, best hitter for average)
  • 1997 Topps/NAPBL Class A All-Star Team
    • Brent Butler (shortstop)
  • Baseball America Minor League All-Star/Top Prospects Teams
    • Brent Butler (shortstop, Single-A All-Stars; MWL Prospects #2)
  • Cardinals' Minor League Position Player of the Year
    • Brent Butler
  • USA Today Baseball Weekly Minor League All-Star Team
    • Brent Butler (shortstop)
    • Joe Frietas (outfielder "worth watching")
  • Howe SportsData Post Season Wrapup
    • Brent Butler (shortstop, All-Teenager Team)
  • 1997 Midwest League All Stars
    • Brent Butler (shortstop, best prospect)
    • Jose Leon (third base)
  • Baseball America Mid-Season Highlights
    • Brent Butler (midseason minors dream team [SS], MWL's most exciting player)
  • All-Star Game, June 17, Lansing
    • Brent Butler (SS starter)
    • Joe Frietas (OF starter)
    • Steve Reed (P)

  • Corey Avrard
    • June 19: 6.0 shutout innings, no hits
    • July 4: 7.2 shutout innings
  • Bryan Britt
    • April 30: homer, double
    • May 23: 4 for 6, double, 2 homers
  • Brent Butler
    • June 5: double, home run
    • June 25: 4 runs batted in
    • August 9: double, home run
  • Ken Cameron
    • June 24: 3 steals
  • Billy Deck
    • April 5: 3 doubles
  • Matt DeWitt
    • July 11: 7.1 shutout innings
    • July 22: 7.0 shutout innings, 1 hit, 13 strikeouts
    • August 17: 7.0 shutout innings, 2 hits
  • Joe Freitas
    • April 20: homer, triple
    • May 6: 2 homers
    • June 11: 2 homers, 4 RBI
  • Keith Gallagher
    • May 17: 6 innings pitched, 2 hits, no runs
  • Chris Haas
    • May 5: 4 for 4
    • May 13: double, home run
  • Todd Hogan
    • April 15: triple, home run
    • May 17: triple, home run
    • June 22: 4 for 5
  • Jose Leon
    • April 7: double, homer
    • April 13: 4 RBIs
    • June 24: double, homer
    • July 5: 3 homers, 5 RBI
    • August 28: homer, double
  • Mark Nussbeck
    • April 19: 5 hit shutout
    • April 30: 7 consecutive strikeouts
    • May 27: complete game shutout
    • August 28: 7 shutout innings, 3 hits
  • Jay Reames
    • May 20: 1-hit shutout
    • July 7: complete game win
  • Steve Reed
    • July 14: 10 strikeouts
  • Luis Saturria
    • April 29: 2 homers, 6 RBI
    • May 5: 4 for 5
    • May 22: 2 doubles, home run, 4 RBI
    • June 29: 4 for 5, 2 homers
    • August 26: 2 homers
    • August 31: 4 RBI
  • Jose Villafana
    • August 24: complete game loss


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The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

Disclaimers:
This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.


Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.