Image: (Tim Phillis – TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains)

It was another fruitful week for Lake County with a 5-1 stretch that has them 9-4 and tied for first place in the High-A Central. There’s no playoffs in 2021, so if teams finish in first place, that’s what they hang their hats on. Once again, efforts from the starting pitching, from Tanner Burns and Logan T. Allen followed up their first darts with stellar second starts, Mason Hickman throwing five no-hit innings and the return of Raymond Burgos throwing three dominant innings his first start back. Matt Turner also turned in a stellar outing as well. The rotation continues to throw strikes and make life easy for the offense to come through late. Jose Tena, Brayan Rocchio, Aaron Bracho and others are getting timely hits and this team’s base running (25 steals, four times caught through Monday) continue to make them an offense that can find other ways to score runs.

The one major note from this week is that George Valera left the game on 5/13 early after a throw in left field. Captains manager Greg DiCenzo said Valera felt something after making a throw. He was supposed to have the 5/14 game off and then be re-evaluated Friday. As of Tuesday evening, there’s been no update on Valera and he hasn’t played since. 

Week in Review

5/12 5-3 W vs. Fort Wayne – W: Allen (2-0); L: Waldron; S: Gallagher (1)
5/13 8-2 W vs. Fort Wayne – W: Coulter (2-0); L: Martinez (0-1)
5/14 W 8-2 vs. Fort Wayne – W: Kelly (1-0); L: Minjarez (1-2); S: Rholl (2)
5/15 L 4-3 vs. Fort Wayne – W: Feole (1-0); L: Gallagher (0-1): Loewen (2)
5/16 W 3-0 vs. Fort Wayne – W: Ocker (1-0); L: Keating (0-2); L: Herrin (1)
5/18 W 10-6 at Great Lakes – W: Enright (1-0); L: Gamboa (0-2); S: Kelly (2)

Player of the Week

RHP Mason Hickman: 1 GS – 5IP, 0H, 2BB, 7K

Any time you can start a game and get 15 outs without giving up a hit, it’s hard to find a better performance than that in the minors. Hickman’s profile as a 2020 draft pick doesn’t quite match up with the hype fellow draft picks Tanner Burns and Logan T. Allen have received, but don’t forget Hickman was Vanderbilt’s Friday night starter in 2020 ahead of likely 2021 draft first rounders Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. He had six strikeouts in his first outing but lasted just 3.2 innings. But that puts him at 13 whiffs so far through 8.2 innings in his career. Five of his strikeouts were swinging, which is good for Hickman’s stuff as he is more of a command over stuff guy mostly.

Who’s Hot:

INF Jose Tena – 8-20, 3 HR, 2B, 6 RBI, 1-1 SB

Tena has played some second and third but has mostly been at shortstop thus far and he’s hit first second this in the lineup. He hit his first homer of the season on May 12 and then the next night game out with two more homers and 10 total bases on the night. He’s played well at shortstop and has been an offensive catalyst wherever he’s hit in the lineup. It’s worth noting he had five strikeouts and just one walk this week as he is an aggressive hitter. But he gets it done with the bat regardless.

INF Brayan Rocchio – 6-21, HR, 3B, 5 RBI, SB

Like Tena, Rocchio has seen time at short, third and second. He broke out the thump a little this week with his first homer of the season as well and has shown great fundamentals on the bases and in the field hitting atop the lineup as well.

INF Aaron Bracho –  5-15, HR, 2 RB, 5 RBI

Bracho continues to play 2B, 1B and DH some and popped his first homer this week as well. He’s fared much better as a left handed hitter so far but it’s early and we’ll see how that develops.

RHP Tanner Burns: 1 GS – 4IP, H, 2ER, BB, 7K

LHP Logan T. Allen: 1 GS – 5IP, 5H, 2BB, 7K

Get used to seeing these two names quite a bit as they spend time in Lake County. Both throw a ton of strikes and are missing bats at a good rate for their shorter stints thus far. These are two advanced college pitchers overwhelming advanced minor league hitters.

Who’s Not

OF Austen Wade: 2-16, 2K, 2 RBI, 2BB

With George Valera and Quentin Holmes down, Wade has been part of the OF rotation that has picked up some playing time and thus far isn’t off to a good start. He was on the squad in 2019 and played pretty well before a hip issue sidelined him and he hasn’t been the same since. But it’s early.

RHP Kevin Coulter: 2G, 6.2 IP, 4ER (all in one appearance), 6K, 4BB

Coulter threw four scoreless innings and struck out five on May 13 as a piggyback arm and looked good with some added velo up in the zone. His second outing wasn’t great. He, Jared Janczack, Tim Herrin and a few others have followed one good outing with an outing following a starter where they’ve allowed three runs or more. Who’s not could be a few of them right now.

5/18 – C Bryan Lavastida placed on IL (wrist sprain)
5/18 + C Joe Donovan added to roster

Coming Up

5/19 AT Great Lakes
5/20 AT Great Lakes
5/21 AT Great Lakes
5/22 AT Great Lakes
5/23 AT Great Lakes
5/24 OFF
5/25 AT West Michigan

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.