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Midwest League 1998

Kane County Cougars


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1998 Teams
Beloit
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Kane County
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Michigan
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This page is a profile of the 1998 Kane County Cougars, a Single-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins 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 Cougars 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.


Geneva, Illinois; affiliated with the Florida Marlins.
Manager: Juan Bustabad
Coaches: Steve Luebber (pitching), Matt Winters

High Attendance: 14,047 (July 11)
Low Attendance: 3,044 (May 26)
Average Attendance: 7,079 (through end of season)
1997 Season Average: 6,614
Note: These unofficial numbers may have errors.


Post-Season Profile

Considered as a team, the Cougars were pretty average this year. There were some terrific individual performances, though, and the fans turned out to watch them.

The Cougars got outstanding hitting from Ross Gload and Matt Erickson. Gload showed more power, but Erickson's a patient hitter who can hurt you in many ways. Quincy Foster swings at too many bad pitches, but led the League in steals.

The pitching staff boasted three first round draft picks (Aaron Akin, Todd Noel, and Geoff Goetz), but the staff's star was A.J. Burnett, who was the League's best pitcher. Scott Comer demonstrated really impressive control, and Scott Henderson was very effective in short relief.


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Profile

Season Summary

  • First Half: 36-36 (.500), 2nd place, 4.5 behind)
  • Second Half: 33-35 (.485), tied for 3rd, 6.0 behind)
  • Pitching: 69-71, 3.98, 6 CG, 11 shutouts, 31 saves, 1093 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .257, 644 runs, 49 homers, 189 steals
  • April: 8-13 (.381)
  • May: 18-12 (.600)
  • June: 13-13 (.500)
  • July: 12-16 (.429)
  • August: 14-14 (.500)
  • September: 4-3 (.571)

  • Best Player on the Team: First Baseman Ross Gload or Pitcher A.J. Burnett

  • Best Starting Pitcher: A.J. Burnett (1.97, 10-4, 119.0 IP, 186 Ks)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Hector Almonte (3.95, 1-5, 21 saves, 43.1 IP, 51 Ks)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: A.J. Burnett
  • Best Control Pitchers: Tim McClaskey

  • Best Hitter: Ross Gload (.313, 77 runs, 12 homers, 92 RBI)
  • Highest BA: Matt Erickson (.324)
  • Home Run Leader: Ross Gload (12)
  • Best Baserunner: Quincy Foster (73 steals, 10 triples)
  • Best Batting Eye: Matt Erickson

July Profile

The Cougars are a puzzling bunch. Their best players are as good as anyone in this league, and there are only a handful of weak players. But they're playing win-a-game, lose-a-game baseball....

First baseman Ross Gload is an MVP candidate, and Matt Erickson is a fine and selective hitter. Outfielder Quincy Foster is exciting. Pitcher A.J. Burnett is the league's best pitcher, right now; Billy Putnicki and Scott Henderson are the best of a relief corps of mixed talents.

Two more to watch: Pitchers Scott Comer and Tim McClaskey.


June Profile

The Cougars are generally a good-hitting squad; their pitching staff is an interesting mix of excellent pitchers and pitchers with serious weaknesses.

Corner infielders Ross Gload and Matt Erickson are two of the league's very best hitters, while second baseman Raul Franco and outfielder Quincy Foster are merely excellent players. The remaining starting lineup contributes. Starter A.J. Burnett is worth a ballpark trip, while Scott Henderson and Hector Almonte are excelling in relief roles.


May Profile

The Cougars put a solid offense out there, but the pitching staff isn't particularly sound.

Ross Gload's as fine an offensive player as this league offers, and Matt Erickson and Quincy Foster are valuable. The other starting position players contribute, too. Except when Michael Tejera's on the mound, the pitching on this squad is pretty risky.


April Profile

The Cougars are running a solid lineup out to the plate, with a couple star players and several solid bats in supporting roles. All too often, though, they're betrayed by the league's worst pitching staff. The hitters are a patient lot, and draw a lot of walks.


Pre-Season Profile

Manager

Manager Juan Bustabad has managed in the minors for 3 years, entirely in short-season leagues. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about his game-strategy decisions.

Where they played last season

Most of the Cougars played at Utica last summer; many also played somewhere else in the system as the Marlins did a lot of player shuffling.

Team           League            W/L   Place    Hitters Pitchers
                                      (Teams)
Brevard County Florida State (A) 62-76 12(14)       3       1
Kane County    Midwest (A)       70-68  5(14)       3       6
Utica          New York-Penn (A) 36-38  7(14)      11      11
Marlins        Gulf Coast (R)    31-28  5(15)       4       3

One new Cougar played in another system last summer; another played part of the year for an independent team before signing a Marlins contract. There was lots of player movement within this system last year, so many of the players are counted in more than one place on the table.

Team Age

This information is based on the opening-day roster.

  • Oldest Player:
    • Billy Putnicki, 24 (12/21/73)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Brett Roneberg, 19 (2/5/79)
  • Average Team Age:
    • Pitchers: 20.5
    • Position Players: 21.6
    • Team Average: 21.0

First Round Draftees

  • Aaron Akin (1997; 12th pick)
  • Geoff Goetz (Mets, 1997; 6th pick)
  • Jon Garland (Cubs, 1997; 10th pick)

Honors

  • Aaron Akin
    • Baseball America Marlins Draft Analysis: hardest thrower
  • Hector Almonte
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Jorge Bautista
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for August 9-15
  • A. J. Burnett
    • Baseball America best Marlins Prospects: #1 prospect
    • Baseball America 1998 Post Season MWL Prospects: Number 4
    • Baseball America Marlins Post-Season Prospect Summary: best minor league pitcher
    • Howe SportsData All-Prospect Team: honorable mention
    • Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for August 30-September 7
    • Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for June 22-28
    • Howe SportsData Emerging Prospect
    • Cougars Pitcher of the Month for June
  • Rhodney Donaldson
    • Midwest League hitter of the week for August 16-22
  • Matt Erickson
    • 1998 Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Third Baseman
    • Topps/NAPBL Midwest League Player of the Month for June
    • Baseball America Best Tools: best defensive third baseman
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for May 24-30
    • 1997 New York-Pennsylvania League: on-base average leader
  • Quincy Foster
    • Baseball America best Marlins Prospects: best baserunner
    • 1998 Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Outfielder
    • Baseball America Best Tools: best baserunner
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Raul Franco
    • Baseball America Best Tools: best defensive second baseman
    • Cougars Player of the Month for June
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
    • 1997 New York-Pennsylvania League: batting average and hits leader; All-Star second base, #10 prospect
  • Geoff Goetz
    • Baseball America best Marlins Prospects: #9 prospect, best breaking ball
  • Ross Gload
    • 1998 Midwest League Post-Season All-Star First Baseman
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Brian Harper
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
    • Baseball America Marlins Draft Analysis: best defender drafted by any pro team; best pro debut by a Marlins draftee
  • Gary Knotts
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Nelson Lara
    • Baseball America best Marlins Prospects: #10 prospect, best fastball
  • Alex Melconian
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Todd Noel
    • 1997 Arizona League: #1 prospect, ERA champion, All-Star pitcher
    • Baseball Weekly 1997 Cubs Prospects: "Up and Coming"
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Prospects: #2 prospect
  • Nick Rizzo
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Michael Tejera
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection


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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.