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1998 Central: | Beloit | Kane County | Peoria | Rockford | Wisconsin |

Midwest League 1998

Peoria Chiefs


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1998 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 1998 Peoria Chiefs, a Single-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and a member of the Midwest League. The main object of this page was to give clues about which players you should watch when the Chiefs visited each team; this page was first published in April and was updated through the season.

Except when another date is specified, statistics on this page are through the end of the season.


Peoria, Illinois; affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Manager: Jeff Shireman
Coaches: Tony Diggs, Gary Buckels (pitching)

High Attendance: 5,073 (August 29)
Low Attendance: 613 (April 27)
Average Attendance: 2.347 (through end of season)
1997 Season Average: 2,358
Note: These unofficial numbers may have errors.


Post-Season Profile

The Chiefs ran the best player in the League out there every night, and probably had the best MWL offense. Unfortunately, the pitching was about as bad as the hitters were good, and the results were a team which won about half its games.

Pablo Ozuna was the MWL's Most Valuable Player and won the prize for Best Prospect, too. David Kim, a probably stronger but less-complete hitter, is only a short step weaker, and Andy Bevins, Luke Quaccia, and Robert MacCrory were among the League's finest hitters. This impressive collection of talent cost themselves a few runs on the basepaths, but finished high in most offensive categories.

Rich Ankiel started his season in Peoria, and was clearly the best pitcher this League's hitters faced this summer; after a few weeks, the Cards moved him to a more competitive league. Gene Stechschulte took the League's award for Best Reliever. Lance Franks throws good pitches, and Rick Gonzales and Otoniel Lanfranco had good seasons. Past this point, danger.


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Profile

Season Summary

  • Pitching: 72-68, 4.30, 37 saves, 896 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .274, 748 runs, 82 HR, 162 steals
  • First Half: 34-38 (.472), 4th place, 6.5 behind
  • Second Half: 38-30 (.559), 2nd place, 1.0 behind
  • April: 9-10 (.474)
  • May: 13-19 (.406)
  • June: 13-14 (.481)
  • July: 17-11 (.607)
  • August: 18-9 (.667)
  • September: 2-5 (.286)
  • Playoff Round 1: Lost to Fort Wayne, 1-2

  • Best Player on the Team: Shortstop Pablo Ozuna

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Otoniel Lanfranco (7-1, 2.60, 51 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Gene Stechschulte (4-8, 2.59, 33 saves, 70 strikeouts)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Gene Stechschulte
  • Best Control Pitcher: Lance Franks

  • Best Hitter: Pablo Ozuna (.357, 122 runs, 9 HR, 62 RBI, 62 steals)
  • Highest BA: Pablo Ozuna (.357)
  • Home Run Leader: Andy Bevins (18)
  • Best Baserunner: Pablo Ozuna (62 steals, 10 triples)
  • Best Batting Eye: Taber Maier

July Profile

The Chiefs have a handful of truly wonderful players, but the supporting cast isn't particularly helpful. The pitching, especially, is not enough. Most weeks, these guys lose more games than they win.

Shortstop Pablo Ozuna is the league's best prospect (ignoring pitchers), is probably our most exciting player, and quite likely the best player, too. Outfielder David Kim's fine season is getting lost in Ozuna's glare; several other position players make real contributions on this squad. Pitcher Tristan Jerue is leading the minors in wins; he's not that good, but he's a solid starter. Lance Franks and Gene Stechschulte are performing brilliantly in relief roles for this squad.

Two more to watch: Pitcher Otoniel Lanfranco and third baseman Taber Maier.


June Profile

The Chiefs are a mediocre ballclub, but they're fun to watch. They do a lot of things well, yet manage to lose more games than they win.

Shortstop Pablo Ozuna might be the league's best player; he's certainly the most exciting guy out there. He's a spectacular defensive player, and has been incredibly successful at the plate all summer. Outfielders David Kim and Andy Bevins are the power sources in this lineup; most of the hitters are contributors. The pitching rotation is generally solid, with Tristan Jerue the staff ace. Lance Franks, who's being used in a short relief role, appears to be a real talent. Gene Stechschulte is shining in the closer role at Pete Vonachen Stadium.

The Chiefs run a lot, but are really quite awful on the paths.


May Profile

Although the Chiefs have a very productive offensive lineup, their pitchers haven't shown that they can win in our league. That's how the league's third best scoring machine compiles a losing record....

Pablo Ozuna's having a terrific year at shortstop; he's fast, he's got power, he's really very valuable. Outfielder David Kim is just a notch below Ozuna; another worthwhile contributor. The rest of the regular position players are productive. But that pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired; only reliever Lance Franks looks dependable.


April Profile

This team has decent pitching and some excellent hitters; they could be fun to watch this summer. The one weakness is that this squad is awful on the basepaths. The pitching staff's better than their won/lost record.


Pre-Season Profile

Manager

Manager Jeff Shireman has managed one prior minor league team, at New Jersey in the New York-Pennsylvania League. If he manages Peoria like that team, don't expect a lot of strategic moves this summer.

Where they played last season

Most of the Chiefs played short season ball in the Cards organization last summer. New Jersey and Johnson City are both heavily represented.

Team           League            W/L    Place    Hitters Pitchers
                                        (Teams)
Prince William Carolina (A)      69-70   3(8)        1       1
Peoria         Midwest (A)       70-69   8(14)       0       1
New Jersey     New York-Penn (A) 35-39   8(14)       7       7
Johnson City   Appalachian (R)   23-45  10(10)       5       4

Two of this year's team members didn't play professionally last summer, and a third spend the year on the disabled list. No members of this team played above Class A last summer. Only a couple team members were moved within the season last year; they are counted twice in this table.

Team Age

This information is based on the opening-day roster.

  • Oldest Player:
    • Gene Stechschulte, 24 (8/12/73)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Rick Ankiel, 18 (7/19/79)
  • Average Team Age:
    • Pitchers: 22.3
    • Position Players: 21.9
    • Team Average: 22.0

First Round Draftee

  • None.
  • Second round pick Rick Ankiel received an extremely large signing bonus. (Promoted; no longer with team.)

Honors

  • Rich Ankiel
    • 1998 Topps/NAPBL Class A Star: pitcher (mostly with Prince William)
    • Baseball America 1998 Minor League All-Star: starting pitcher
    • Baseball Weekly 1998 Minor League All-Star: starting pitcher
    • Baseball America 1998 Class A All-Star: starting pitcher
    • Baseball America 1998 Post Season MWL Prospects: Number 2 (also rated Number 1 prospect in Carolina League....)
    • Baseball America Cardinals Post-Season Prospect Summary: best minor league pitcher
    • Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 1998
    • Howe SportsData All-Prospect Team: pitcher, teenager of the year
    • Howe SportsData Teen Minor League Team: pitcher
    • Baseball America Best Tools: best pitching prospect (also selected in Carolina League!)
    • 1998 Prospects, Projects, and Suspects Minor League All-Star (NL 1st team)
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
    • Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for May 3-9
    • Baseball America Cardinals Prospects: #1, best breaking ball
    • Baseball America Cardinals Draft Analysis: closest high school player to the majors in the entire draft; hardest thrower
  • Pablo Caruso
    • 1997 Appalachian League: All-Star shortstop
  • Derek Feramisco
    • 1997 Appalachia League: All-Star outfielder
  • Lance Franks
    • 1997 Appalachian League: saves leader
  • Tristan Jerue
    • 1998 Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Right Handed Starter
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • William Ortega
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for May 31-June 6
  • Pablo Ozuna
    • Baseball America best Marlins Prospects: #4 prospect, best hitter for average
    • 1998 George M. Trautman Topps/NAPBL MWL Player of the Year
    • 1998 Topps/NAPBL Class A Star: shortstop
    • Baseball America 1998 Minor League All-Star: shortstop
    • Baseball America 1998 Class A All-Star: shortstop
    • Baseball America 1998 Post Season MWL Prospects: Number 1
    • Baseball America Cardinals Post-Season Prospect Summary: best minor league player
    • Cardinals' Minor League Player of the Year for 1998
    • Howe SportsData All-Prospect Team: shortstop
    • Howe SportsData Teen Minor League Team: shortstop
    • 1998 Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Shortstop
    • Baseball America Best Tools: best batting prospect, best defensive shortstop, most exciting player
    • Howe SportsData Emerging Prospect
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Luke Quaccia
    • Baseball America Cardinals Draft Analysis: best raw power hitter
  • Gene Stechschulte
    • Baseball Weekly 1998 Minor League All-Star: honorable mention
    • 1998 Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Right-Handed Reliever
    • Baseball America Best Tools: best reliever


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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.