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Midwest League 1998

Fort Wayne Wizards


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This page is a profile of the 1998 Fort Wayne Wizards, a Single-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins 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 Wizards 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.


Fort Wayne, Indiana; affiliated with the Minnesota Twins.
Manager: Jose Marzan
Coaches: Ricardo Ingram, David Perez (pitching)

High Attendance: 5,675 (August 19)
Low Attendance: 1,353 (April 21)
Average Attendance: 3,062 (through end of season)
1997 Season Average: 3,336
Note: These unofficial numbers may have errors.


Post-Season Profile

Year after year, Fort Wayne has interesting teams. This year's team featured an exceptional array of offensive weapons and a really odd array of pitching talent.

Mike Cuddyer's a very strong hitter with some speed. On the other hand, he played a pretty poor shortstop this summer. Mike Ryan and Jon Schaeffer are also dangerous hitters, and most of the other players, in the lineup or coming off the bench, are threats. The offense featured both power and speed, and both were distributed widely.

The pitching staff was, well, strange. Joe Thomas and Brad Thomas aren't related, but Joe lead the league in wins (most of them for the Battle Cats, actually) and Brad's overall stats are fairly similar. Both are excellent starters. Another half-dozen pitchers were used in roles which weren't clearly defined, and while none of those have excelled, neither have they failed. Michael Cosgrove has an excellent closer's statistics, except they mostly used him before the game was on the line. I don't understand these facts, but the system worked....


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Profile

Season Summary

  • First Half: 41-31 (.569), 2nd place, 2.0 behind
  • Second Half: 38-30 (.559), 3rd place, 5.0 behind
  • Pitching: 79-61, 4.02, 34 saves, 1027 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .271, 742 runs, 90 HR, 117 steals
  • April: 13-8 (.619)
  • May: 16-14 (.533)
  • June: 14-12 (.538)
  • July: 18-12 (.600)
  • August: 13-13 (.500)
  • September: 5-2 (.714)
  • Playoff Round 1: Defeated Peoria, 2-1
  • Playoff Round 2: Lost to Rockford, 0-2

  • Best Player on the Team: Starting Pitcher Joe Thomas or Shortstop Mike Cuddyer

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Joe Thomas (15-8, 3.25, 131 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: bullpen by committee
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Jake Jacobs
  • Best Control Pitcher: Joe Thomas

  • Best Hitter: Mike Cuddyer (.276, 82 runs, 12 HR, 81 RBI, 16 steals)
  • Highest BA: Mike Ryan (.318)
  • Home Run Leader: Mike Cuddyer (12)
  • Best Baserunner: Dave Orndorff (30 steals)
  • Best Batting Eye: Ramon Borrego

July Profile

The Wizards put the MWL's best offense out there; the pitching's a mixed bag.

Shortstop Michael Cuddyer's the star in Fort Wayne, but third baseman Mike Ryan and first baseman Jon Schaeffer would stand out in other settings. Schaeffer, in particular, had a spectacular July. Baserunning is not a team strength, as I've noted before. On the pitching side, there's no dominant character, but there are few weak links. Michael Cosgrove, who's being used in one inning stints, shows lots of talent. (Late note: Joe Thomas, acquired from Michigan as part of a Twins/BoSox trade, is now this staff's ace.)

One more to watch: Outfielder Felix Pagan.


June Profile

The Wizards are an immensely talented squad; the question for this summer is whether they'll put the pieces together. They're a fairly young and unpolished team.

Shortstop Michael Cuddyer and third baseman Mike Ryan are two of the league's best players; they're supported by a squad of very good players who'd stand out in a less talented lineup. There's less talent on the pitching staff, but they can stop your team. Brad Thomas is a very good pitcher, and Michael Cosgrove and Lee Marshall show some real promise.

Manager Juan Marzan is using his pitchers strangely, probably because of a severe pitch limit. Like all Marzan teams, this one is not inclined to run.


May Profile

May was rough; although the Wizards won more games than they lost, and held on to first place, the month ended with a long losing streak.

This squad's offense is excellent; they're led by three very good hitters (Cuddyer, LeCroy, and Ryan), and have a fine supporting cast. Except for Orndorff, though, these are terrible baserunners. The pitching seems about league average; the best pitchers are appearing in middle relief.

Michael Cuddyer's being billed as a future star; he's a free-swinging youngster with a good fielding range. Matt LeCroy and Mike Ryan are probably more dangerous hitters at this point. The staff's best pitchers appear to be Danny Mota and Jake Jacobs, neither of whom is starting games.


April Profile

An excellent offense teams with good pitching in Fort Wayne this summer. As usual, the Twins have put a really young team in our league; they should mature into an exciting nine.


Pre-Season Profile

Manager

Manager Jose Marzan has managed in the minors for 3 years, entirely in short-season leagues. He's yet to manage a team which runs, and he does not like to issue intentional walks.

Where they played last season

The Twins have assembled this typically young Wizards team around last summer's Elizabethton crew, and supplemented them with a bunch of free agents and some of holdover Wizards.

Team         League            W/L    Place    Hitters Pitchers
                                     (Teams)
Fort Myers   Florida State (A) 81-58  3(14)       0       0
Fort Wayne   Midwest (A)       68-67  6(14)       1       5
Elizabethton Appalachian (R)   38-30  4(10)       6       6
Twins        Gulf Coast (R)    28-32  8(15)       2       2

Six of these players have not played professionally before; another played in another system last summer. No one on this team played above Class A last year. A few played for two teams and are counted twice in the table.

Team Age

This information is based on the opening-day roster.

  • Oldest Player:
    • Felix Pagan, 23 (6/12/75)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Michael Cuddyer, 19 (3/17/79)
  • Average Team Age:
    • Pitchers: 21.4
    • Position Players: 20.7
    • Team Average: 21.1

First Round Draftees

  • Michael Cuddyer (1997; 9th pick)
  • Matthew LeCroy (1997; 50th pick [sandwich pick for Travis Lee]; promoted, no longer with team)

Honors

  • Ramon Borrego
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for April 26-May 2
  • Matt Carnes
    • Baseball America 1997 Twins Draft Analysis: hardest thrower
  • Michael Cuddyer
    • Baseball America best Twins Prospects: #1 prospect, best hitter for average
    • Baseball America 1998 Post Season MWL Prospects: Number 5
    • Howe SportsData Teen Minor League Team: honorable mention
    • Howe SportsData All Prospect Team nominee
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
    • Baseball America Top Twins Prospects: #3 prospect
    • Baseball America 1997 Twins Draft Analysis: best pure hitter, best defensive player
  • Jamal Harrison
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Jake Jacobs
    • 1997 Gulf Coast League: saves leader, All-Star relief pitcher
  • Matthew LeCroy
    • Baseball America best Twins Prospects: #5 prospect
    • Howe SportsData Emerging Prospect
    • Baseball America Top Twins Prospects: #9 prospect
    • Baseball America 1997 Twins Draft Analysis: best power hitter drafted by any team
  • Danny Mota
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Dave Orndorff
    • 1997 Appalachian League: runs and hits leader, All-Star designated hitter
  • Mike Restovich
    • 1998 George M. Trautman Topps/NAPBL Appalachian League Player of the Year
    • Baseball America best Twins Prospects: #2 prospect, best power hitter
    • 1998 Topps/NAPBL Short-Season Star: outfielder (at Elizabethton)
    • Howe SportsData Teen Minor League Team: honorable mention
  • Juan Rincon
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Mike Ryan
    • Twins Minor League Player of the Month for May, 1998
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Jon Schaeffer
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
    • Baseball America 1997 Twins Draft Analysis: best pro debut by a Twins draftee
  • Brad Thomas
    • 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.