1. Ground Sloths (16-8, – GB); Week: 3-1, W1
Schedule: 5-1 W vs Merchants, 7-4 W vs BlueCaps, 0-3 L vs Bobcats, 5-4 W vs Merchants
Description: The Ground Sloths continued rolling this week as they went 3-1 and solidified themselves as the top team. Their only loss came on July 3rd to the Bobcats. Their bats stayed hot, as they pretty much have all season, but their pitching was phenomenal. The former pitcher of the week, Joey Wilmoth, pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and got a win. Sloths’ pitchers in general allowed just 9 earned runs for the week. On the other side of the ball, the Sloths were helped out by a pair of ISU players: JP Gauthier and Daniel Pacella. Gauthier played in only one game but contributed a home run and pair of RBIs to go along with it. Pacella played in three games, and also contributed a home run and three RBIs. Cole Nelson quietly contributed, as he got on base often and scored three times, more than any other Sloths player this week. Another interesting thing to note is that the Ground Sloths remained undefeated in extra inning Home Run Derbys. Peyton Dillingham hit a derby home run this week to walk off the Merchants, who they beat two times this week. In the home stretch of the season, the Ground Sloths continue to prove that they are contenders for the KCL championship.
Platinum Glove Nominee: #19 Luke Lawrence, C (ISU Commit) – 118 TC (13 A, 104 PO, 1 E), 2 DP, .992 FPCT, .222 CS%, 80 cINN
Luke Lawrence plays perhaps the hardest defensive position on the diamond, and he does it to borderline perfection. Out of 118 total chances behind the plate, he has only made one error, giving him a 99.2% fielding percent. Out of those chances, he has assisted on 13 outs and has 104 putouts. In addition to these stats, he has thrown out 22.2% of runners stealing this year, which is very impressive. On top of all of this, he has only allowed one passed ball all year, out of hundreds of pitches and a variety of different pitchers.
Projected Depth Chart
Note: If a player changed positions they are underlined. If a player’s positional depth changed, but they remained at that position their name is italicized. Additionally, all depth charts are designed with the intent that each non-pitcher is a starter or primary backup for at least one position. Players who have not played in 3+ weeks may not be included.
|C||Luke Lawrence||Tyler Woltman|
|1B||Daniel Pacella||Davey Fitzpatrick|
|2B||Matt Armstrong||Eli Moore||Cale Steinbaugh||Noah Campbell|
|3B||Davey Fitzpatrick||Cole Nelson||Eli Moore||Noah Campbell|
|SS||Cale Steinbaugh||Noah Campbell||Cole Nelson||Eli Moore|
|LF||JP Gauthier||Quinn Willard||Evan Jones||Bryce Bishop|
|CF||Gavin Gonzalez||Chase Adams||Quinn Willard||Bryce Bishop|
|RF||Peyton Dillingham||Evan Jones||Bryce Bishop||Quinn Willard|
|DH||Bryce Bishop||Peyton Dillingham||Evan Jones||Davey Fitzpatrick|
|SP||Austin Baker||Keegan Gagliardo||Ryan Behling||Evan Jones||Garrett Swingler|
|RP||Logan Wombles||Ben Dickerson||Trey Krause||Nate Righi||Joey Wilmoth|
|CL||Isaiha Immke||Richie Snider||Alex Smith||Bryce Lohman||Logan Wombles|
Below is a list of the odds of being in sole possession or holding a tie for first, second, third, and fourth place based on 20000 Season Simulations (Odds will be greater than 100%).
1st Place: 100% (Guaranteed to finish at least tied for first place)
2. Bobcats (11-13, 5 GB); Week: 2-2, L1; Tiebreakers: 4-4 vs. Merchants, -6 Run Differential (120 RF, 126 RA)
Schedule: 0-4 L vs BlueCaps, 5-4 W vs Merchants, 3-0 W vs Ground Sloths, 2-3 L vs BlueCaps
Description: The Bobcats went 2-2 this week, which was good enough to move into second place by the end of the week. First up was a 4-0 loss to the BlueCaps on Friday. The Bobcats quickly bounced back with a win during the game of the week on Saturday against the Merchants. The Merchants led the entire game, but the Cats scored 1 to tie it up 4-4 in the seventh and took the game to a home run derby. Auggie Rasmussen stepped up and won the home run derby for his team 1-0 on Born in the USA night in front of the largest crowd of the summer at the Corn Crib. The Bobcats carried the momentum forward and shut out the Ground Sloths the next day, winning 3-0, which took them into second place. The Cats then lost 3-2 against the BlueCaps on Monday. The Cats were down 2-1, but came back and tied it in the sixth, only to fall behind as the Caps went back ahead in the bottom half of the inning. Alec McGinnis gave his team a chance in the seventh by getting into scoring position, but his team was unable to knock him in to tie the game.
At the plate, the Bobcats were a bit quiet this week. After averaging 5.5 runs per game coming into this week, the Cats only scored 2.5 runs per game this week. They were led by Alec McGinnis, who went 5 for 13 with a walk, HBP, 1 RBI, and 3 runs. He either scored or knocked in 40% of his team’s runs this week. Other contributors were Colin Kalinowski with a home run, Evan Hutson who went 2 for 5 with a double and an OPS of 1.171, Bryce Hazzard who went 2 for 4 with an OPS of 1.167, and Auggie Rasmussen who had 2 RBIs and a .364 OBP. On the mound, the Bobcats had a strong week. Coming into the week giving up 5.75 (5.35 earned) runs per game, but this week the Cats only allowed 2.75 (1.75 earned) runs.
Leading the way this week for the starters was Brady Banker. Banker pitched 4 dominant innings against the league-leading Ground Sloths, picking up the win and fanning 7 while only giving up 1 hit, the only baserunner he allowed. Will Jackson, pitched 5 strong innings against the BlueCaps on Monday, striking out 6 while giving up 2 runs (1 earned). Thomas Harper also had a strong start, going 4 innings and striking out 4. He did give up 4 runs, but only 1 was earned. Mitchell Sampson was the other starter for this past week, and went 4 innings of 2-run ball, striking out 7 and only giving up 2 hits and 2 walks. The bullpen rebounded from last week quite nicely, only giving up 3 runs in 10 innings of work. Standouts from this week were Nick Barlow going 2 shutout innings in the win against the Sloths, Christian Badorek going 1.2 innings of shutout ball, Tommy White striking out 3 in 1.2 shutout innings in the win against the Merchants, and Logan Antrim pitching a scoreless inning in the win against the Merchants. Ryne Willard deserves a special shout-out here, as he came into the Merchants game with runners on first and second and got the last out, sending the game to the home run derby that the Bobcats would win, as well as pitching a scoreless final inning against the Ground Sloths to pick up his league leading 5th save of the season. If the Bobcat bats can get hot again next week and the pitching staff can carry this momentum forward, the Bobcats will have a good chance to lock up second place in the last 5 games of the season.
Platinum Glove Nominee: #27 Evan Hutson, 1B(Illinois Wesleyan Sophomore) – 108 TC (6 A, 102 PO), 8 DP, 1.000 FPCT
Although many consider first base to be one of the easiest defensive positions to play, Evan Hutson has made it look so easy that he is the Bobcat’s Gold Glover for the season. Hutson has 6 assists and 102 putouts in 108 chances, not committing a single error. Hutson is one of only 2 players with over 48 total chances not to commit an error and the only one with over 72 total chances with no errors. He has had the third most total chances and is the only one of seven players with over 74 chances who is not a catcher, a position that normally receives the most chances. Hutson has also been a part of 8 double plays this season. A model of consistency and reliability, Evan Hutson is worthy of a KCL Golden Glove award.
|C||Hayden Stork||Lucas Ryan||Colin Kalinowski||Bubba Mote|
|1B||Evan Hutson||Colin Kalinowski||Bubba Mote|
|2B||Jackson Blemler||Alec McGinnis||Eli Hensley||Dan Mosele|
|3B||Bubba Mote||Dan Mosele||Alec McGinnis||Shai Robinson|
|SS||Shai Robinson||Alec McGinnis||Jackson Blemler||Dan Mosele|
|LF||Brady Alexander||James Duncan||Parker Mathieson||Tyson Mickie|
|CF||Auggie Rasmussen||Parker Mathieson||Tyson Mickie|
|RF||Bryce Hazzard||Parker Mathieson||Tyson Mickie||Brady Alexander|
|DH||Eli Hensley||Tyson Mickie||Dan Mosele||Bryce Hazzard|
|SP||Will Jackson||Tommy White||Mitchell Sampson||Brady Banker||Jack Bach|
|RP||Chase Gockel||Brendan Short||Logan Antrim||Drew Martin||Christian Badorek|
|CL||Ryne Willard||Thomas Harper||Nick Barlow||Seth Hotze|
1st: 0.45% , 2nd: 56.77% , 3rd: 32.61% , 4th: 6.63%
3. Merchants (11-13, 5 GB); Week: 0-4, L5; Tiebreakers: 4-4 vs. Merchants, -9 Run Differential (121 RF, 130 RA)
Schedule: 1-5 L vs Ground Sloths, 4-5 L vs Bobcats, 2-8 L vs BlueCaps, 4-5 L vs Ground Sloths
Description: After starting the season 7-1, the Merchants have gone 4-12 since June 5. The Merchants went 0-4 this week losing to the Ground Sloths twice (5-1, 5-4), Bobcats (5-4), and BlueCaps (8-2). Cade Sharp pitched a great game on Friday night, going six innings, giving up two runs while striking out six. Addison Fletcher pitched well against the Bobcats going four innings and giving up only one earned run. Monday, Nathan Garard also turned in a good start going five innings, giving up two runs while striking out six. Offensively, Derek Botaletto (4-7) and Karter Hostetler (5-13, 3 RBIs) led the Merchants this week. The problem with the Merchants over the last month has been late game execution. The bullpen, late-game offense, and defense have allowed for plenty of comebacks from the opponents. The Merchants are still championship contenders even at 11-13, but now is a perfect time to get on a run to enter the playoffs on the right foot.
Platinum Glove Nominee: #18 Logan Van Heuklon, C/1B/3B/DH/RHP (Carl Sandburg Freshman) – 104 TC (9 A, 93 PO, 2 E), 3 DP, .981 FPCT, 61.1 cINN, .217 CS%, 1 PIK
Logan Van Heuklon has had a stellar year defensively for the Merchants. With 61+ innings behind the plate, Van Heuklon has thrown out 6 base runners for a 21.7% caught stealing rate which compares to current top MLB catchers like Omar Narvaez. In his 15 games played, he has only committed two errors in 104 chances. Being reliable behind the dish and in the field, gives the pitchers confidence to throw certain pitches and pitch to contact knowing Van Heuklon can field the ball and make the right play.
Projected Depth Chart
|C||Karter Hostetler||Demetrius Schupp||Logan Van Heuklon|
|1B||Anthony Martinez||Logan Van Heuklon||Karter Hostetler||Chris LeCrone|
|2B||Camden Porter||Beau Durbin||Chris LeCrone|
|3B||Chris LeCrone||Jack Kuethe||Anthony Martinez||Logan Van Heuklon|
|SS||Derek Botaletto||Camden Porter||Beau Durbin|
|LF||Jack Shields||Kaiden Rixner||Nathan Garard||Anthony Martinez|
|CF||Zach Otten||Jack Shields||Jack Kuethe||Nathan Garard|
|RF||Jack Kuethe||Travis Lutz||Nathan Garard||Kaiden Rixner|
|DH||Logan Van Heuklon||Travis Lutz||Karter Hostetler||Demetrius Schupp|
|SP||Nathan Garard||Cade Sharp||Addison Fletcher||Wes Hunt||Luke Markunas|
|RP||Ryan Bredeson||Evan McAfee||Parker Brodine||Kaiden Rixner||Nick Hainline|
|CL||Logan Van Heuklon||Jesse Hake|
1st: 0.38% , 2nd: 56.03% , 3rd: 30.76% , 4th: 9.24%
4. BlueCaps (10-14, 6 GB); Week: 3-1, W2
Schedule: 4-0 W vs Bobcats, 4-7 L vs Ground Sloths, 8-2 W vs Merchants, 3-2 W vs Bobcats
Description: The BlueCaps are 5-2 in their last seven games, heating up with 5 games left before the playoffs start and only one game back of the second place. This week the BlueCaps beat the Bobcats twice (4-0, 3-2), lost to the Ground Sloths (7-4), and beat the Merchants (8-2). On the pitching side, Will O’ Gorman went five innings with one earned run and three punchouts. Kolby Pemberton pitched four innings, gave up no runs, and also struck out three. Offensively, the ‘Caps were led by Ben Karpowicz (5-10 2B and 2 RBIs) and Joey Hagen (5-11 2HR and 4RBI’s). The ‘Caps have spent most of the season in fourth place but have three of their remaining five games against the two-second place teams in the Bobcats and Merchants. Regardless of how the ‘Caps finish, they are a team nobody will want to face especially when Griffin McCluskey, one of (if not the best) starting pitchers in the league gets the start in the first round.
Platinum Glove Nominee: #3 Gage Wolfe, 2B/SS (WIU Commit) – 48 TC (30 A, 18 PO), 6 DP, 1.000 FPCT
Gage Wolfe has been spectacular in the field for the BlueCaps, committing zero errors in 48 chances, Wolfe has got most of his playing time in the middle infield with double play partner Liam McGill. The BlueCaps will need Wolfe to keep up the amazing defensive play en route to a potential championship run.
Projected Depth Chart
|C||Trevor Davis||Dom Ferrari|
|1B||Patrick Mulcahey||Zach Carpita||Dom Ferrari|
|2B||Gage Wolfe||Jayden Comia||Mitch Murphy||Liam McGill|
|3B||Mike Maloney||Zach Carpita||Jayden Comia||Mitch Murphy|
|SS||Liam McGill||Jayden Comia||Gage Wolfe||Hunter Brewer|
|LF||Ben Karpowicz||Hunter Brewer||Ty Coartney||Mitch Murphy|
|CF||Joey Hagen||Sean Lynch||Hunter Brewer||Mitch Murphy|
|RF||Mitch Murphy||Ty Coartney||Hunter Brewer||Joey Hagen|
|DH||Dom Ferrari||Mike Maloney||Patrick Mulcahey||Ty Coartney|
|SP||Griffin McCluskey||Keegan Buksa||Kolby Pemberton||Cameron Glick||Julius Sanchez|
|RP||Graham O’Gorman||Shane Moore||Braden Roesch||Mason Telford||Ryan Borberg|
|CL||Nick Sharp||Aaron Agee||Will O’Gorman|
1st: 0.00% , 2nd: 16.96% , 3rd: 30.95% , 4th: 45.95%
Hitter of the Week: BlueCaps #8 Joey Hagen, OF/RP/DH (EIU Freshman) – 5/11, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, .455/.571/1.571
His walk-up song says he “looks real good today,” and boy did Joey Hagen look good at the plate this week. Hagen was 5 for 11 with a slash line of .455/.571/.1.000 and was the league leader in home runs (2), RBIs (4), runs (5), and OPS (1.571) among players who played at least 2 games this week. Not only were his numbers eye-catching, but he was also consistent throughout the week, as he had at least one hit in every game. In the Friday win against the Bobcats, Hagen went 1 for 3 with 2 walks and 2 runs in a 4-0 victory, scoring half of the Caps’ runs. He went 1 for 4 in the loss against the Sloths. Then, against the Merchants, he went 2 for 3 with a home run, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, and a walk, a large reason why the ‘Caps won that game 8-2. He hit a three-run bomb that gave the ‘Caps the lead against the Merchants, setting the tone for the game, and causing the BlueCaps to never look back. Finally, he went 1 for 3 with a home run that helped to make the difference in a 3-2 win against the Bobcats. Joey Hagen had a tremendous week, helping the BlueCaps go 3-1 and pull within a game of second place, making him an easy choice for the hitter of the week.
Pitcher of the Week: Bobcats #26 Brady Banker, LHP (Illinois Commit) – 4 IP, W, 1 H, 0 ER, 7 K
Brady Banker of the Bobcats earns pitcher spotlight honors after absolutely dealing against the Sloths on July 3rd. He went 4 innings and allowed one hit. He struck out 7 batters and got the win as well. Due to his stellar outing, the Bobcats were able to shut out the red hot Sloths, something that no other team has done in over a month. Looking at some more stats only proves that Banker had the best week of any other pitcher, for example, he threw 11 first pitch strikes out of the 13 batters he faced. Not to mention he did not allow a single walk, meaning he allowed only one runner to reach base safely. One more crazy stat is that 30.8% of the batters he faced were retired in three pitches or less, as well as three innings where he retired the side 1-2-3. Banker’s outing was nothing short of dominance, and he could be the missing piece that vaults the Bobcats into second place going into the last couple of weeks.
Last Week’s Predicted Game of the Week and Actual Game of the Week: Bobcats 5 Merchants 4, Saturday, July 2 Game 1
For once the predicted game of the week turned out to be the actual game of the week. After the first inning ended 3-1 on all unearned runs, including a two-run single by Karter Hostetler, it looked like the KCL might be in for a high-scoring affair to kick off Born in the USA Night. However, both starting pitchers settled in, for the most part, Thomas Harper for the Bobcats and Addison Fletcher for the Merchants, each giving up one earned run through four innings of work. These runs came off a solo shot by Colin Kalinowski in the second to make it 4-2, and a Beau Durbin RBI triple in the fourth to lengthen the lead back to 3. Relief pitchers entered the game for both teams in the fifth inning and while the Merchants would be done scoring for the day behind stellar relief appearances by Logan Antrim (1 IP, 1 H), Tommy White (1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 K), and Ryne Willard (.1 IP, 1 pitch), the Bobcats found a way to come back behind small ball baseball. In the fifth, a Hensley single was followed up by a two-base error and groundout to make it 4-3, before, in the seventh, a Mathieson single, Hensley sacrifice, and McGinnis single tied the game at four a piece. After being shut down in the seventh, the Merchants also couldn’t get a ball over the fence in the derby, allowing Auggie Rasmussen to get the Derby win for Bobcats 5 to 4.
Next Week’s Game of the Week: BlueCaps at Bobcats, Saturday, July 9, 5:00 PM (Harry Potter Night)
The Ground Sloths have virtually clinched the regular season championship, while the Merchants have struggled to find their stride up late, leaving the two most interesting teams in the KCL with five games left as the BlueCaps and the Bobcats. Their final regular season matchup will occur this upcoming Saturday with the BlueCaps holding a 5-3 head-to-head record, meaning it is crucial for the Bobcats to finish ahead of the BlueCaps, as they have already lost the tiebreaker. While the Bobcats are currently tied for second place, the BlueCaps are only a game behind in last, meaning that by the time this game is played, these teams both have the chance to be either second, third, or fourth. Additionally, if the Merchants continue their slide, this could be a potential 2 vs. 3 playoff preview matchup. The last time they faced off, the BlueCaps squeezed out a 3-2 victory on July 4 behind a go-ahead RBI single by Trevor Davis in the sixth. Each team will be donning specially made Harry Potter-themed jerseys themed around the four Hogwarts houses with the BlueCaps representing Gryffindor and the Bobcats representing Slytherin, making this not only one of the biggest rivalry matches in the KCL but also the biggest rivalry match in Hogwarts.
How To Pick a Cy Young: An In-Depth Analysis of KCL 2022’s Top Pitchers by Jeffrey Brover (https://cornbeltersbaseball.com/pick-a-cy/)