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Midwest League 1999

Michigan Battle Cats


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This page profiles the 1999 Michigan Battle Cats, a Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros and a member of the Midwest League.

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

  • Battle Creek, Michigan.
  • Affiliated with the Houston Astros.
  • Manager: Al Pedrique.
  • Coaches: Bill Ballou (pitching), John Massarelli.

Post-Season Profile

The Cats had a frustrating summer. Although they featured perhaps the most potent offense this league's ever seen, played excellent defense, and had some promising pitchers, they rarely played the kind of baseball that array of talent promises. Still, there were lots of bright spots: Aaron McNeal's season was among the MWL's very best ever. Although Aaron Miles slumped in August, he set the table for McNeal all summer. Tyler Turnquist, Colin Porter, Derek Nicholson, Scott Chapman, and Luis Lopez all hit well enough to star, though they were camouflaged by McNeal's brilliant season. Bobby Alleyne finally showed some sign he'll deliver on his potential, too. Roy Oswalt and Tim Redding pitched consistently well, and Jake Whitney, Gabe Garcia, and Johan Santana showed flashes of brilliance.

This team should have run away from the field, both halves, and swept through the playoffs. Maybe next year, at Kissimmee....


MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • First Half: 35-34 (.507), 2nd place, 2.5 behind
  • Second Half: 41-28 (.594), 1st place, 2.5 ahead
  • Pitching: 76-62, 4.82, 37 saves, 1055 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .284, 810 runs, 141 HR, 105 steals (61% success)
  • Errors: 153 (1.11 per game)
  • April: 12-8 (.600)
  • May: 15-14 (.517)
  • June: 10-15 (.400)
  • July: 17-11 (.607)
  • August: 20-10 (.667)
  • September: 2-4 (.333)

  • Best Player on the Team: First Baseman Aaron McNeal

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Roy Oswalt (13-4, 4.46, 143 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Tim Redding (8-6, 4.97, 14 saves, 141 strikeouts)
  • Strikeout Pitchers: Tim Redding, Doug Sessions, Dave Glick, Tim Hamulack
  • Control Pitchers: Jacob Whitney, Doug Sessions, Dave Glick

  • Best Hitter: Aaron McNeal (.310, 38 HR, 131 RBI)
  • Home Run Leader: Aaron McNeal (38)
  • High Batting Average: Aaron McNeal (.310), Aaron Miles (.317), Tyler Turnquist (.309), Derek Nicholson (.319)
  • High On Base Percentage: Derek Nicholson (.402)
  • High Slugging Percentage: Aaron McNeal (.588), Aaron Miles (.474), Tyler Turnquist (.467), Colin Porter (.512), Scott Chapman (.500), Luis Lopez (.475), Roberto Alleyne (.461)
  • Notable Baserunners: Kevin Jordan, Colin Porter
  • Notable Batting Eye: Derek Nicholson

July Profile

The Battle Cats have scored 617 runs while allowing just 539; you'd think that differential would result in a better won/lost record. This team has enormous potential. July wasn't a bad month, but this team ought to dominate the league. It just isn't delivering.

This offense has lots of strengths, but it revolves around two infielders named Aaron: Aaron Miles (often the DH, and in his third MWL season) and first baseman Aaron McNeal (in his second). Miles is a free-swinger with a high batting average, some speed, and enough power to do damage. McNeal's an astonishing power hitter who's within reach of the league's home run and RBI records (42 [Jeff Jones, CR, 1982] and 136 [James Zapp, Paris, 1952]); I expect he'll be MVP.

Starter Roy Oswalt's a wicked and delightful pitcher, while Johan Santana's raw skills are terribly impressive. Jacob Whitney and Tim Redding--spot starters and long relievers--are sometimes unhittable. Gabe Garcia's coming around after a shaky beginning. But the rest of the bullpen's very bad.


June Profile

Not a good month for Battle Creek's team. The main story remains the strong offense; they play excellent defense, too. They run poorly, and although the pitching's improved, it's still not up to snuff. The pieces aren't working well, and the team's been playing poorly.

First baseman Aaron McNeal continues his impressive offensive season and remains the leading MVP candidate in our league. Second baseman Aaron Miles, DH Derek Nicholson, and third baseman Tyler Turnquist are strong hitters with excellent batting eyes, while catcher Scott Chapman and center fielder Colin Porter have very good offensive skills.

This team has no outstanding pitcher, but several have done well, so far. Johan Santana's the best-looking starter, while Roy Oswalt's been very effective. Jacob Whitney and Tim Redding, both working long relief with spot starts, are potentially dominating pitchers, but neither's pitched well.

Notable mid-season losses: None.

Also worth watching: Reserve catcher Josh Dimmick.


May Profile

The Battle Cats play high-scoring games: This is easily the most potent offense in the Midwest League, but the pitching staff, while it shows promise, isn't doing its part. This team can't run, and doesn't often try; their defense, on the other hand, is impeccable. All-in-all, a potentially great team, but not playing up to potential.

First baseman Aaron McNeal would win MVP honors if the vote were held today, but outfielders Colin Porter and Derek Nicholson are similarly valuable, though differently dangerous, hitters. So is third baseman Tyler Turnquist. And they keep coming at you....

Starter Johan Santana looks like a staff ace, but hasn't been overwhelming. Roy Oswalt throws some nasty pitches, but his strong won/lost record owes a lot to his teammates' strong hitting. Darwin Peguero and Mike Nannini are passable starters. The bullpen's awful: Only Jacob Whitney looks promising, and he's been ineffective so far. John Blackmore's now in the closer role, but needs to prove he can deliver.


April Profile

Fine defense, excellent power on offense, and adequate pitching: The Battle Cats had a pretty good April. The hitters like to put the ball into play. This team's most obvious weakness is its baserunning.


Pre-Season Profile

Manager

Manager Al Pedrique has managed for three seasons, in short-season leagues for the Royals organization. On that evidence, he's a pretty conservative manager: His teams don't run much, rarely sacrifice, and are not likely to issue intentional walks.


Where they played last season

These comments and table are based on opening day rosters.

This team is based on last year's Auburn Doubledays, who were Champions of the New York-Penn League. Most of the rest of the players were in Quad City.

Team      League             W/L    Place   Hitters Pitchers
                                   (Teams)
Kissimmee Florida State (A+) 64-75  12(14)     2      1
Quad City Midwest (A)        77-62   4(14)     5      3
Auburn    New York-Penn (A-) 43-32   3(14)     5      8
Astros    Gulf Coast (R)     22-38  14(14)     2      2

Several of the new Battle Cats played for more than one team and are counted twice in this table. One player played for an independent team last summer, and one did not play professionally. None played above Class A.


First Round Draft Selection

  • Mike Nannini (1998, 37th pick)

Returning to the Midwest League

Members of last summer's Quad City team.

  • Bobby Alleyne (76 games)
  • Scott Chapman (82 games)
  • Pat Cuttshall (114 games)
  • Aaron McNeal (112 games)
  • Aaron Miles (108 games)
  • Johan Santana (P, 2 games)
  • Brandon Smith (P, 8 games)
  • Garrett Zyskowski (P, 14 games)

Oldest & Youngest Battle Cats

On opening day, the average age of the Battle Cats was 21.8 years. Follow this link for more information about MWL team ages.

  • Oldest player on the team: Pat Cutshall (born October 29, 1974)
  • Youngest player on the team: Mike Nannini (born August 9, 1980)


Battle Creek
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Overview


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.


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