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Midwest League 1998

South Bend Silver Hawks


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This page is a profile of the 1998 South Bend Silver Hawks, a Single-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks 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 Hawks 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


South Bend, Indiana; affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Manager: Roly de Armas
Coaches: Rich Schu, Mike Parrott (pitching), Jim Reinebold

High Attendance: 6,936 (July 4)
Low Attendance: 1,101 (April 20)
Average Attendance: 2,981 (through end of season)
1997 Season Average: 3,141
Note: These unofficial numbers may have errors.


Post-Season Profile

The Hawks lost 100 games this year; no MWL team's ever done that before, and the only team in League history which seems comparable were the 1952 Mattoon Indians. While the Hawks obviously didn't have lots of talent, the team had a few interesting players.

Jackie Rexrode started the year here, and was a legitimate choice for the mid-season All-Star game. Wyley Steelmon, another All-Star, had an extended stay on the DL, but was very productive when he was healthy. Carlos Urquiola eventually filled Rexrode's lineup slot, and hit very well.

As you might expect, the Diamondbacks auditioned a lot of pitchers in South Bend; most didn't last, and most who stayed didn't pitch well. By season's end, a couple did show some promise: Christopher Cervantes and Chris Bloomer might be real. So might Charlie Jones.

South Bend's about due for a good team; this miserable year was their fourth in the division cellar. Maybe next year?


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Profile

Season Summary

  • First Half: 21-51 (.292), 5th, 22.0 behind
  • Second Half: 19-49 (.279), 5th, 24.0 behind
  • Pitching: 40-100, 4.41, 2 CG, 5 shutouts, 19 saves, 919 Ks
  • Hitting: .237, 537 runs, 60 HR, 94 SB
  • April: 6-14 (.300)
  • May: 11-20 (.355)
  • June: 7-19 (.269)
  • July: 8-22 (.267)
  • August: 5-21 (.192)
  • September: 3-4 (.429)

  • Best Player on the Team: Pitcher Chris Bloomer

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Jason Jensen (4.18, 4-11, 153.0 IP, 115 Ks)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Chris Bloomer (2.79, 2-6, 10 saves, 42.0 IP, 46 Ks)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Chris Bloomer
  • Best Control Pitcher: Chris Bloomer

  • Best Hitter: Carlos Urquiola (.319, 0 HR, 16 RBI)
  • High BA: Carlos Urquiola (.319)
  • Home Run Leader: Abraham Nunez and Wyley Steelmon (9)
  • Best Batting Eye: Abraham Nunez
  • Best Baserunner: Carlos Urquiola (10 steals, 4 triples)

July Profile

The Silver Hawks are the league's worst team; if anything, they got worse in July. Maybe next year.

Outfielder Brian Gordon's a decent player, and first baseman Wyley Steelmon is a fine hitter when he's healthy. There are one or two other passable talents on offense. The pitching's more interesting; I'd be happy to have Chris Bloomer and Jamie Puorto on my team, and Jeff Andrews is pitching well. Some of the other pitchers are arsonists, though.

Two more to watch: Pitcher Christopher Cervantes and second baseman Carlos Urquiola haven't played much, but they look promising so far....


June Profile

Pity South Bend's fans: Year after year, they get the league's worst team. First the Sox didn't care; now the D'backs can't deliver. This is a team with few strengths, but some promising talent. These guys don't hit, and the defense is dreadful. The pitchers have some ability, but poor luck.

Outfielders Abraham Nunez and Brian Gordon, and corner infielders Wyley Steelmon (who's injured) and Keith Jones are decent offensive players; beyond those four, Jamie Sykes shows promise, and no one else seems likely to star. (Rexrode's gone.) The pitching's a bit better. Closer Chris Bloomer is a fine pitcher. Jamie Puorto's lost a bunch of games, but not because he's pitched poorly; this man's a real talent. Jason Jenson is doing OK, as was Ynocencio De La Cruz before he was injured in an on-field brawl. In general, the pitching's adequate; it's the Hawk position players who are failing.


May Profile

The Silver Hawks are the worst team in the league, but it's a little hard to say why. The hitting's pretty bad, and the pitching's substandard, but many of the players have obvious skills.

Jackie Rexrode's one of my favorite ballplayers, this year; a patient hitter and a heady guy. Lots of walks and good speed, but no power. Wyley Steelmon's posting decent stats, and Brian Gordon and Keith Jones have some power. There's no one on the bench, though. Relievers Jamie Puorto and Chris Bloomer are real talents, and some lesser talents are throwing decently. But they ain't winning.


April Profile

Ron Calloway's a solid ballplayer, but you can't build a winning team around him; the rest of the offense is pretty weak. The pitching shows quite a bit of promise, though; it'll be interesting to watch them sort this squad out.


Pre-Season Profile

Manager

Manager Roly de Armas has managed in the minors for 15 years, mainly in short-season leagues and usually in the Philadelphia organization. He's an extremely conservative manager, by any standard; his teams don't steal, don't bunt, don't give intentional walks, and the starting pitchers rarely finish their games.

Where they played last season

This year's South Bend team was assembled by combining some of last season's squad with a good portion of the Lethbridge club.

Team        League         W/L   Place    Hitters Pitchers
                                (Teams)
High Desert California (A) 83-57  1(10)       1       0
South Bend  Midwest (A)    54-83 14(14)       6       5 
Lethbridge  Pioneer (R)    39-33  4(8)        8       6
Phoenix     Arizona (R)    27-29  4(6)        3       2

Two of the Hawks played in other systems last summer, and one was recruited from an independent team. One of these players made a brief appearance in AA ball. The Diamondbacks moved players around a lot last summer; many players are counted on more than one team in this table.

Team Age

This information is based on the opening-day roster.

  • Oldest Player:
    • Brad Allison, 24 (11/24/73)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Abraham Nunez, 18 (2/5/80; youngest player in the league)
  • Average Team Age:
    • Pitchers: 21.3
    • Position Players: 21.0
    • Team Average: 21.1

First Round Draftee

  • none

Honors

  • Jeff Andrews
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Jack Cust
    • 1998 Topps/NAPBL Short-Season Star: outfielder (at Lethbridge)
  • Lance Downing
    • 1997 Arizona League: All-Star first baseman
  • Brian Gordon
    • 1997 Arizona League: doubles and extra base hit leader
  • Ben Norris
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Abraham Nunez
    • Howe SportsData Emerging Prospect
  • Mark Osborne
    • Baseball Weekly: 1997 Diamondbacks Prospects: "Up and Coming"
    • Baseball America: 1997 Diamondbacks Prospects: #7 prospect
  • Jackie Rexrode
    • Howe SportsData Teen Minor League Team: honorable mention
    • Howe SportsData Emerging Prospect
    • 1998 Prospects, Projects, and Suspects Minor League All-Star (NL second team)
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Miguel Rodriguez
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for August 23-29
  • Renny Rojas
    • 1998 Prospects, Projects, and Suspects Minor League All-Star (NL second team)
  • Wylie Steelmon
    • 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
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