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Midwest League 1997

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers


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This page is a profile of the 1997 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners 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.


Appleton, Wisconsin; affiliated with the Seattle Mariners.
Manager: Gary Varsho (#24)
Coaches: Omer Munoz (#11), Pat Rice (#20, Pitching)

High Attendance: 4,816 (August 16)
Low Attendance: 1,102 (April 21)
Average Attendance: 3,390
1996 Season Average: 3,771


Post-Season Wrapup

While the Rattlers' pitching staff was overshadowed by this year's West Michigan team, this staff would have been dominant in most years. Their 1220 strikeouts is a new league record. The team's hitting was respectable.

The Timber Rattler offense had an igniter--second baseman Adonis Harrison--and a bunch of capable but unexceptional players. Most were capable are poking the ball out, though none did that regularly, and most are competent baserunners. Outfielder Claudio Liverziani and shortstop Ramon Vazquez are unusually good at drawing walks.

This pitching staff throws strikes. Darn near every one of 'em. While their star pitcher, Denny Stark, was promoted in July, the remaining staff also pitched very well. And even the guys having bad years were hitting the strike zone most of the time.


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Leaders


  • Best Player on the Team: Adonis Harrison

  • Pitching: 76-63 (.547), 3.87, 2 CG, 13 Shutouts, 32 saves, 1220 Ks
  • Hitting: .259, 625 runs, 79 HR, 102 SB
  • First Half: 40-29 (.580), 1st, ---
  • Second Half: 36-34 (.514), 2nd (Tie), 2.0 behind
  • After August 1: 13-16 (.448)
  • Lost to Kane County in the first playoff round, 2-0 (Central Division)

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Dennis Stark (1.97, 6-3, 91 IP, 105 Ks)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Brian Fitzgerald (1.94, 3-1, 10 saves, 70 IP, 68 Ks)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Brian Fuentes (153 Ks in 119 innings) or Kyle Kennison (112 Ks in 80 innings)
  • Best Control Pitcher: Jeromy Palki (75 Ks, 18 BB in 65 innings)
  • Best Hitter: Adonis Harrison (.318, 61 runs, 27 doubles, 62 RBI, 25 steals)
  • Highest BA: Adonis Harrison (.318)
  • Home Run Leader: Mike Burrows and Rob Zachmann (12)
  • Best Baserunner: Adonis Harrison (25 steals, 6 triples)

July Evaluation

There's always a decent team in Appleton; this year's no exception. The 1997 edition has decent hitting and terrific pitching. The only thing these guys do poorly is run the bases. The Rattlers' quality batting lineup features third baseman Luis Figueroa and second baseman Adonis Harrison in starring roles; although outfielder Mike Burrows has a low batting average, he has both power and speed. And the pitching? Staff leader Denny Stark has gone to a better league, but the remaining staff is excellent; especially watch southpaw starter Brian Fuentes, who's luck's been worse than his pitching, and relievers Brian Fitzgerald, Kyle Kennison, and Jeromy Palki. This is a fun team to watch; they play a real heads-up game.


June Evaluation

Although they've been weakened a bit by callups, the Timber Rattlers have a very fine pitching corps. The hitters, as a group, run to extremes; in contrast, the pitching is consistently strong. Starter Dennis Stark is probably the league's best pitcher; other fine pitchers are relievers Brian Fitzgerald, Kyle Kennison, and closer Jeromy Palki. Outfielder Mike Burrows supplies the team with power, and Burrows, second baseman Adonis Harrison, and shortstop Ramon Vazquez are basepath threats.


May Evaluation

The Rattlers feature one of the league's best pitching corps; it's deep, and the guys throw strikes. The hitting is generally unremarkable, though the lineup has lots of balance and everyone contributes to the offense. Righty pitchers are the team's strength: Joe Mays is solid, and Dennis Stark can be brilliant.


April Evaluation

There's nothing exceptional about the batting lineup the Rattlers put out there, but the pitching's been very good. One strength is the bullpen; another is a marked tendency to throw strikeouts.




Where they played last season

This is the team which represented the Mariners organization in Everett last summer, plus the usual odds and ends and fillers. My guess is that this pitching staff has some real potential, but it hasn't been very successful so far.

Team           League         W/L   Place(Teams)  Hitters Pitchers
Lancaster      California     71-69     6(10)       4       0
Wisconsin      Midwest        77-58     2(14)       4       4
Everett        Northwest      33-42     6(8)        9       8
Peoria AZ      Arizona        29-27     3(6)        1       3

Many of these players played for two teams last summer and are counted twice in this table. One appeared for three teams. Two Rattlers seem not to have been active in professional ball last summer.


  • Oldest Player:
    • Kyle Kennison (P), born 8-10-72 (24)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Marty Weymouth (P), born 8-6-77 (19)
  • Average Team Age:
    This information is based on early-season rosters.
    • Pitchers: 21.3
    • Position Players: 21.4
    • Team Average: 21.3

  • First Round Draftee:
    • none

  • Baseball America Top 100 Minor League Prospects
    • Gil Meche (#82)
  • Baseball America Mariners Prospects (Post-Season)
    • Gil Meche (#2, best breaking ball)
    • Denny Stark (#5)
    • Jordan Zimmerman (#7)
    • Brian Fuentes (#8)
    • Carlos Maldonado (#10, best defensive catcher)
  • Baseball America Minor League All-Star/Top Prospects Teams
    • Denny Stark (MWL Prospects #7)
  • Baseball America Mid-Season Highlights
    • Denny Stark (best MWL pitching prospect)
  • All-Star Game, June 17, Lansing
    • Joe Mays (P)
    • Jason Regan (OF)
    • Dennis Stark (P)

  • Julio Ayala
    • July 29: 7 shutout innings
  • Mike Burrows
    • April 24: double, triple
    • May 3: double, home run
    • June 12: double, homer, 4 RBI
  • Cirilo Cruz
    • May 24: 4 for 5
  • Luis Figueroa
    • May 23: double, homer
    • June 27: 4 for 4
  • Brian Fuentes
    • April 5: 11 strikeouts
    • May 28: 6.0 shutout innings
    • July 1: 12 strikeouts
    • July 28: 8 shutout innings, 1 hit, 12 strikeouts
  • Jose Gonzalez
    • August 22: 6.1 shutout innings, 12 strikeouts (G1)
  • Adonis Harrison
    • June 10: 4 for 4
    • June 25: 3 doubles
    • June 28: 4 for 5
    • July 14: 4 for 5
    • July 23: 4 for 4, double, 2 homers, 6 RBI
    • August 23: 4 for 6
  • Jim Horner
    • April 6: 4 for 6
    • April 10: 2 doubles, homer
    • May 11: double, home run
  • Russell Jacobs
    • June 22: 6.0 shutout innings
  • Kyle Kennison
    • 0.00 ERA in July (20.0 IP)
  • Claudio Liverziani
    • April 28: 5 RBI
    • May 24: 4 for 5
    • July 20: triple, homer
    • August 9: 2 doubles, triple
  • Joe Mays
    • April ERA (1.23) was the fifth-best in the minors.
    • April 10: 6 innings pitched, no runs, 1 hit
    • May 27: 10 strikeouts, complete game
    • June 1: 7 shutout innings
  • Jason Regan
    • April 18: double, homer
    • April 20: 4 RBIs
    • April 21: double, homer
  • Matt Sachse
    • July 15: 2 homers, 5 RBI
  • Denny Stark
    • April 21: 6 innings pitched, no runs, 2 hits
    • April 26: 6 innings, no runs, no hits, 10 strikeouts
    • May 20: 12 strikeouts
    • June 10: 10 strikeouts
    • June 30: 4 hit complete game; 14 strikeouts
  • Scott Steinmann
    • May 1: 4 for 5
  • Ramon Vazquez
    • May 28: 4 for 4
    • June 28: 4 for 6, 3 doubles
    • July 14: homer, double
  • Josh Watts
    • April 10: homer, double
    • May 21: double, home run
  • Marty Weymouth
    • May 26: 8 shutout innings, 2 hits
    • August 13: 6 shutout innings, 1 hit
  • Rob Zachmann
    • June 15: 4 for 4
    • August 31: 4 RBI


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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.