Image: Dane Gardner Photography
In what should be a surprise to nobody, Lake County’s pitching has carried the club in the early going of the season. A staff of Gavin Williams, Doug Nikhazy, Lenny Torres Jr., Tanner Bibee, Tommy Mace and more has kept things low scoring early on, of course with cold weather making it harder. What is just as unsurprising is the Captains offense being streaky and low scoring at times to start the season. The pitching staff is loaded with experiences, talented college arms, while the position player group is very young and mostly high school or international hitters. And of course, mother nature already forced two more double-headers in the first month of the season, along with a third that was pre-planned due to Easter Sunday. So through 10 games, that’s two postponements due to weather, and three double-headers.
4/9/22: Lake County Captains 3, Lansing Lugnuts 0 (Game 1)
Lake County Captains 7, Lansing Lugnuts 5 (Game 2)
4/10/22: Lansing Lugnuts 6, Lake County Captains 5
4/12/22: Lake County Captains 5, Dayton Dragons 1
4/14/22: Dayton Dragons 4, Lake County Captains 2 (Game 1)
Lake County Captains 12, Dayon Dragons 5 (Game 2)
4/15/22: Dayton Dragons 4, Lake County Captains 3
4/16/22: Dayton Dragons 4, Lake County Captains 3 (Game 1)
Dayton Dragons 2, Lake County Captains 1 (Game 2)
4/19/22: Great Lakes Looks 3, Lake County Captains 1
Player of the Week
RHP Gavin Williams: (2 GS), 8.2IP, 3H, 3ER, 3BB, 17K
This was tough. It could have come down to Williams, RHP Tanner Bibee or 1B Joe Naranjo, who has been the best offensive performer so far. But Williams has been dominant each time out. He’s overpowering with his fastball and has a big breaking ball and slider, sitting 94-99 and dropping those in to follow. He shouldn’t be in Lake County long. He probably shouldn’t be in Lake County at all. If they can clear up room for him to pitch in Akron, he should be there.
1B Joe Naranjo: 8-17, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7BB/9K
Naranjo looks like a different player early this year compared to 2021. Just shy of being 21 in under a month, Naranjo has added some bulk to his frame, looks like he’s picked up some bat speed and just overall looks more comfortable in getting the ball in the air with more loft. He needs some power to add to the profile because he’s always been hit>power, and let’s not suggest he’s going to have a major power gain to his profile, but this has been good to see in a short sample.
RHP Tanner Bibee: (2 GS) 8.2IP, 7H, 3R (0ER), HR, BB, 13K
Bibee did make two errors on one play that ended up costing him those three runs, but he’s shown a good curve, a solid low-90s fastball that’s getting play in the zone and above it and solid control so far that was expected of him.
OF Alexfri Planez: 1-17 (.059/.111/.059) 6K/1BB
Planez is an aggressive hitter who struggled to find his footing in Low-A last year and had a nice second half. So it shouldn’t be too shocking to see him struggle against better pitching (or the same pitchers just improved?) in the early going of 2022. He’s got the tools, but his swing decisions and patience need a lot of work over the course of this season.
INF Christian Cairo: 2-24 (.083/.313/.083) 3 RBI 14K/6BB
It’s early, so a lot of stats thus far could be just noise. But it is surprising to see Cairo striking out so much. He was a solid player a year ago and got on base at a nice clip with a solid approach. We’ll see if he tones down the strikeout rate, but it is a bit surprising to see that from a player with Cairo’s profile.
4/20-4/24 AT Great Lakes
4/26-5/1 HOME vs. Lansing
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