Our latest updates involving Cougar across Minor League and Major League Baseball…
The Cougars fell 1 game shy of making the Midwest League Playoffs in 2012. With Burlington dropping both games of a doubleheader on the final day of the regular season, a Cougars win that afternoon over Peoria would have put the Cougars in. Peoria, however, took the final game of the 2012 season and ended Kane County’s season prematurely. This was the first season since 2007 where the Cougars did not make the playoffs, ending a run of 4 straight years with bonus baseball.
Infielder Danny Mateo finished the season with 10 triples, putting him in a tie with Quincy Foster (’98) for the most 3-baggers in a season in franchise history. A total of 4 Cougars reached 50 or more RBI this season: Justin Trapp, Jorge Bonifacio, Michael Antonio and Danny Mateo. Bonifacio, despite missing the last 4 weeks of the season, finished with 61 RBI and was named Kane County Player of the Year.
Angel Baez, Kane County Pitcher of the Year, went 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA after coming to Kane County with a 0-15 professional record.
Fellow pitcher Kyle Zimmer had his season end prematurely with a minor surgical procedure to his elbow, pitched in 6 games and went 2-3 with a 2.43 ERA. Zimmer was the highest overall draft selection to play for the Cougars since Adrian Gonzalez, the first overall selection in the 2000 draft who patrolled first base during the team’s 2001 championship season.
Detroit outfielder Miguel Cabrera (’01) remains in the mix for the Triple Crown, which would be the first in baseball since Carl Yastrzemski. Entering play on Tuesday, Cabrera is 2nd in the American League with a .328 batting average (the Angels’ Mike Trout leads with a .328 BA), 2nd in RBI with 116 (the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton has 119), and has 35 home runs (Hamilton leads the AL with 40). Just 29 years old, Cabrera has a lifetime average of .318, along with 300+ home runs and 1,100 RBI., and has hit 30 or more home runs with 100 or more RBI for 9 straight seasons.
Another big bat in the AL this season has been Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham (’00-’01). Willingham has a career-best 102 RBI (3rd in the AL), and also has set a career best with 33 home runs.
Boston pitcher Andrew Bailey (’07), one of three former Cougars who have received a Rookie of the Year award, has made 10 appearances since coming off the disabled list in August. Teammate Scott Podsednik (’97) is batting .323 in 47 games.
Twins relievers Jared Burton (’03) and Jeff Gray (’06) have combined to make 104 appearances out of the bullpen.
Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle (’07), who made his MLB debut on June 5, has made 32 appearances for the A’s and has a 3.38 ERA. The A’s, who are 20 games over .500, feature numerous former Cougars including Pedro Figueroa (’09), Cliff Pennington (’05), Tyson Ross (’08) and Dan Straily (’10).
Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz (’03) is 7 RBI from setting a single-season best. Cruz currently stands at 81 RBI this season.
Arizona pitcher Trevor Cahill (’07) won his 10th game recently, and has hit the 10-win mark for each of his 4 big league seasons.
Cubs catcher Anthony Recker (’06) hit his first major league home run this past Sunday.
Houston pitcher Mickey Storey (’09), who made his MLB debut in August, has made 16 relief appearances for the Astros.
Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett (’00) is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA since being traded from Boston. Joe Blanton (’03) is one win away from reaching the 10-win mark for the fifth time in his career. Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier (’03) recorded his 1,000th big league hit last week.
Miami pitcher Ryan Webb (’05) has made 57 relief appearances this season.
Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett (’98) has 15 wins, the most in a single season for the right-hander since 18 wins with the New York Yankees in 2008.
San Diego closer Huston Street (’04) has been on the disabled list for nearly a month, but is expected to return soon. A first-time Major League All-Star this past July, Street is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 21 saves this season.
San Francisco pitcher Santiago Casilla (’03-’04) has 24 saves this season.
Washington outfielder Corey Brown (’08) hit his first big league home run in July and recently re-joined the Nationals after spending much of the season at Triple-A Syracuse.
Outfielder Brian Fletcher (’11) had a solid 2nd half of the season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Royals), batting .256 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI. Teammate Jon Keck (’11) made 28 relief appearances, and other former Cougars who spent all or a portion of the season there include Michael Liberto, Ryan Jenkins, Sugar Ray Marimon, Yowill Espinal, Justin Marks, Nick Rogers, Tim Melville and Yordano Ventura.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks advanced to the Carolina League Playoffs, and were managed by ’11 Cougars manager Vance Wilson. Infielder Orlando Calixte (’11-’12) spent the 2nd half at Wilmington and batted .281 with 4 home runs and 28 RBI for the Blue Rocks. Fellow infielder Cheslor Cuthbert (’11) batted .240 and drove in 59 runs. Pitcher Jason Adam (’11) posted a 3.53 ERA in 27 starts, while 2012 Midwest League All-Star Matt Ridings (’12) went 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 15 appearances. Robinson Yambati was another ’12 Cougar who finished strong at Wilmington, going 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 17 appearances.
Pitcher Travis Banwart (’07-’08) finished with a 9-5 record and 3.85 ERA at Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland). Several former Cougars posted solid seasons at Double-A Midland (Oakland), including infielders Anthony Aliotti (.292, 10, 76) and Conner Crumbliss (.257, 10, 45, .414 OBP).
Catcher Max Stassi (’10) finished with 15 home runs and 45 RBI at Class-A Advanced Stockton (Oakland).
Pitcher Justin Friend (’08) posted stats at Double-A Reading (Phillies) that are borderline unbelievable: 38 appearances, 39.2 innings of relief, and 1 earned run. That’s a 0.23 ERA.