| Seasons | 1998 | Teams | Rockford Cubbies |
1998 Central: | Beloit | Kane County | Peoria | Rockford | Wisconsin |

Midwest League 1998

Rockford Cubbies

Major Change

1998 Teams
Cedar Rapids
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Quad City
South Bend
West Michigan

This page is a profile of the 1998 Rockford Cubbies, a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and a member of the Midwest League. The main object of this page was to give clues about which players you should watch when the Cubbies visited each team; this page was first published in April and was updated through the season.

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

Rockford, Illinois; affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.
Manager: Ruben Amaro
Coaches: Manny Trillo, Stan Kyles (pitching)

High Attendance: 3,244 (August 21)
Low Attendance: 382 (May 6)
Average Attendance: 1,181 (through end of season)
1997 Season Average: 1,422
Note: These unofficial numbers may have errors.

Post-Season Profile

The Cubbies were a mediocre team for the first half of the season, but played excellent baseball for the second half. They and Peoria staged a fine pennant race in the season's late weeks. Statistically, this is an average team--except on the basepaths; like all squads managed by Ruben Amaro, these guys run, and they run well.

Derrick Bly, Mike Amrhein, and Jaisen Randolph are quality hitters of very different talents: Randolph's a speedster, Amrhein's a power hitter, and Bly's talents are mixed. The rest of the lineup is composed of role players, though late additions Tydus Meadows and Tony Schrager show some promise.

Kyle Lohse's a quality pitcher, though he was overshadowed by the League's unusually strong pitching crop this summer. In general, though, this is an average MWL staff made up of pretty much average hurlers. Chris Piersoll, who's mainly used in middle relief, gave the Cubbies some fine innings and is worth your attention.

MWL Fan's Guide

Team Profile

Season Summary

  • First Half: 32-39 (.452), 5th place, 8.0 behind
  • Second Half: 39-29 (.574), 1st place, 1.0 ahead
  • Pitching: 71-68, 3.97, 39 saves, 939 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .255, 637 runs, 61 HR, 203 steals
  • April: 9-12 (.429)
  • May: 13-16 (.448)
  • June: 15-12 (.556)
  • July: 15-14 (.517)
  • August: 15-12 (.556)
  • September: 4-2 (.667)
  • Playoff Round 1: Defeated Wisconsin, 2-1
  • Playoff Round 2: Defeated Fort Wayne, 2-0
  • Championship Series: Lost to West Michigan, 3-1

  • Best Player on the Team: Catcher Mike Amrhein

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Kyle Lohse (13-8, 3.22, 121 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Thomas Waligora (0-4, 4.81, 18 saves, 32 strikeouts)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Chris Booker
  • Best Control Pitcher: Chris Piersoll

  • Best Hitter: Derrick Bly (.292, 64 runs, 4 HR, 65 RBI, 10 steals) or Mike Amrhein (.317, 61 runs, 9 HR, 87 RBI, 7 steals)
  • Highest BA: Mike Amrhein (.317)
  • Home Run Leader: Mike Amrhein (9)
  • Best Baserunner: Felipe Jimenez (36 steals) or Jaisen Randolph (32 steals, 9 triples)
  • Best Batting Eye: Tony Schrager

July Profile

As anticipated, the Cubbies returned to form for July. This team's best players are very, very good; they just don't have enough of those players.

Third baseman Derrick Bly is not a candidate for league MVP, but he's probably the best player in the next tier. Outfielder Jaisen Randolph would be a valued player on any MWL team, as would catcher Mike Amrhein. Most of the starting position players can help the team win; there's a wide range of skills in this lineup. Pitcher Mike Meyers hasn't appeared in many games, but looks to be the rotation's best, while closer Thomas Waligora shows fine stuff (I love it when my predictions hit). The starters are, in general, adequate; the bullpen's a mixed bag....

One more to watch: First baseman Carlos Yedo.

June Profile

While the Rockford team started the season as a mediocre bunch, at best, they've turned things around and developed into an presentable squad. There are some fine players on this squad, but there are gaping holes in the talent structure and their recent success seems unlikely to continue.

Third baseman Derrick Bly's the team's star; he's not especially fast, but he does everything well. Outfielder Jaisen Randolph is the team speedster; power sources include catcher Mike Amrhein and infielder Nelson Abreu. On the pitching side, several folks require mention: Closer Thomas Waligora has only a few appearances to his credit, but he's been real impressive so far. Todd Noel and Nate Teut are comparable talents, though Teut's been more successful this year. Noel gets more hype, though.

May Profile

The Cubbies' pitching is now around the league's average, and the hitting has collapsed almost completely; nonetheless, they played a tad better in May than April. Such is baseball....

Derrick Bly's having a terrific season, but Nelson Abreu's a more rounded and probably better hitter. Abreu's also by far the better prospect. Neither, though, is showing any power and neither runs much. Other players on the squad do run, with some success. The pitching's a mixed bag. Reliever Barry Fennell's doing very well, but likely isn't quite that good; starter Todd Noel, on the other hand, is a better pitcher than his record shows. Chris Piersoll gives up way too many hits, but half his outs are strikeouts; interesting numbers....

Chris Gissell got his promotion, by the way.

April Profile

This team's got terrific pitching and adequate hitting, but the pieces aren't falling together right. Todd Noel's a potential major league all-star, and returning players Chris Gissell and Derrick Bly are proving they should have been assigned to Daytona. Regardless, the team's losing....

Pre-Season Profile


Manager Ruben Amaro has managed in the minors for 6 years, in a variety of leagues. This will be his second MWL season. Amaro really likes to let his players run, and calls for bunts quite regularly.

Where they played last season

Many of the 1998 Cubbies position players appeared on the Williamsport roster last season; the pitchers, in contrast, played in a number of arenas.

Team         League            W/L   Place    Hitters Pitchers
Daytona      Florida State (A) 65-73 10(14)       1       0
Rockford     Midwest (A)       66-66  9(14)       6       3
Williamsport New York-Penn (A) 29-46 12(14)      10       6
Mesa         Arizona (R)       34-20  1(6)        2       4

Two of the players were acquired from other systems since last summer, and one did not play professionally. Another spent last summer on the disabled list with an injury. One Cubbie made a brief excursion to AA ball last summer. The system had quite a bit of movement during 1997, and several players are counted under more than one team on the table.

Team Age

This information is based on the opening-day roster.

  • Oldest Player:
    • Derrick Bly, 24 (9/19/74)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Jon Garland, 18 (9/27/79)
  • Average Team Age:
    • Pitchers: 20.3 [no birthdate for one pitcher]
    • Position Players: 21.1
    • Team Average: 20.8

First Round Draftees

  • Jon Garland (1997; 10th pick) (traded; now with White Sox organization)
  • Todd Noel (1996; 17th pick) (traded; now with Kane County)


  • Mike Amrhein
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for August 30-September 7
  • Derrick Bly
    • Midwest League Hitter of the Week for June 22-28
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Todd Fereday
    • 1997 Arizona League: All-Star third baseman
  • Franklin Font
    • 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game selection
  • Jon Garland
    • 1997 Arizona League: #3 prospect
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Prospects: #4 prospect
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Draft Analysis: hardest thrower drafted by the Cubs; 3rd closest to majors of all high school players in entire draft
  • Chris Gissell
    • Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for April 19-25
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Prospects: #5 prospect
  • Kyle Lohse
    • Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for August 9-15
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Prospects: #12 prospect
  • Todd Noel
    • 1997 Arizona League: #1 prospect, ERA champion, All-Star pitcher
    • Baseball Weekly 1997 Cubs Prospects: "Up and Coming"
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Prospects: #2 prospect
  • Jaisen Randolph
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Draft Analysis: 4th fastest runner in the entire draft, best athlete drafted by Cubs
  • Jason Smith
    • Baseball America 1997 Cubs Prospects: #6 prospect, best infield arm
  • Shane Sullivan
    • 1997 Arizona League: saves leader, All-Star relief pitcher



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.

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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