| Seasons | 1999 | Teams | Clinton LumberKings |
1999 West: | Burlington | Cedar Rapids | Clinton | Quad City |

Midwest League 1999

Clinton LumberKings

Major Change

1999 Teams
Cedar Rapids
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Quad City
South Bend
West Michigan

This page profiles the 1999 Clinton LumberKings, a Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Midwest League.

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

  • Clinton, Iowa.
  • Affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Manager: Freddie Benavides.
  • Coaches: Andre Rabouin (pitching), Marlon Allen.

Post-Season Profile

This is one of the most interesting teams I've ever followed. The consistent, season-long pattern was that the LumberKings sent good pitchers to the mound, but the offense give them no support. The second half featured lots of player moves, which certainly didn't help performance; many of the "promotions" were to nominal MWL competitor Rockford. Phil Merrell starred on the mound before being promoted out of the league; the other rotation pitchers (Jose Acevedo, Tim Birdsong, and Clint Brewer) all pitched very well. Reliever Brandon Puffer had an incredible season. But only Jamie Goudie contributed on offense.

The first half was a masterpiece; manager Freddie Benevides got excellent results from a flawed team. But they fell into a black hole after the All-Star break.

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • First Half: 41-27 (.603), 1st place, 3.5 ahead
  • Second Half: 27-42 (.391), 4th place, 12.5 behind
  • Pitching: 68-69, 3.91, 37 saves, 964 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .255, 666 runs, 75 HR, 157 steals (68% success)
  • Errors: 220 (1.61 per game)
  • April: 8-9 (.471)
  • May: 18-11 (.621)
  • June: 20-9 (.690)
  • July: 10-17 (.370)
  • August: 11-18 (.379)
  • September: 1-5 (.167)

  • Best Player on the Team: Starting Pitcher Phil Merrell or Closer Brandon Puffer

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Phil Merrell (8-3, 2.20, 87 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Brandon Puffer (1-2, 34 saves, 1.99, 60 strikeouts)
  • Strikeout Pitchers: none notable
  • Control Pitcher: Jose Acevedo

  • Best Hitter: Jaime Goudie (.321, 4 HR, 50 RBI)
  • Home Run Leader: Samone Peters (15)
  • High Batting Average: Jamie Goudie (.321)
  • High On Base Percentage: none notable
  • High Slugging Percentage: Jamie Goudie (.457)
  • Notable Baserunners: Andrew Beattie, Wilmy Caceres, Jamie Goudie, Alejandro Diaz
  • Notable Batting Eye: none notable

July Profile

The LumberKings have only permitted 441 runs to score; on the other hand, they've only scored 487 runs themselves. They remain a team with excellent pitching and unremarkable hitting, but are now playing at that level.

The offense consists, still, of second baseman Jamie Goudie, catcher Braxton Whitehead, and second baseman Andrew Beattie; first baseman Ben Broussard looks very promising. Goudie remains the team's only offensive star, though he's still not showing much power.

The pitching star is closer Brandon Puffer, who's leading the minors in Rolaid points. Merrell's been promoted, so Clint Brewer's the best starter in the rebuilt rotation. Jose Acevedo's still a strong talent who's thrown some bad pitches (I'm repeating myself, here). The pitching staff has no seriously weak links; they're very hard to beat.

June Profile

Despite this team's strange relationship with the Rockford squad--they're effectively a farm team for that franchise--the LumberKings have played exceptional baseball this summer. The balance has changed a bit--the hitting's somewhat better, and the pitching's been noticeably weaker. The defense remains very poor. I still don't think they're this good, but I'm not about to deny their success.

Second baseman Jamie Goudie's a fine hitter. Most of the others are average. The problem with the Clinton offense is that the hitters run out too soon; the last two or three hitters on the lineup card are a black hole. Every night.

The pitching's been terrific. I still like Phil Merrell a whole lot, though Jose Acevedo's raw talent level seems higher. Clint Brewer's won almost every time he's started. Brandon Puffer's leading the league in saves. These are all guys with real skills, but they no longer seem so dominant. I'm still watching to see how this all turns out; it's a very interesting team.

Notable mid-season loss: Brian Rose has moved to Rockford.

Also worth watching: Catcher Francisco Rivera.

May Profile

This is a test: The LumberKings are finding out whether excellent pitching's enough to carry a team. This team has the best pitching in the Midwest League; it's hitters are among the League's worst. The defense deteriorated during May. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all works out.

Second baseman Jaime (Jamie) Goudie's a very good hitter, but there's no supporting cast. His double-play partner, Wilmy Caceres, has a decent batting average and has 22 steals, but there's no power and he rarely takes a walk. Outfielder Blane Layton seems to have a good skills, but we'll need to see how they develop.

Phil Merrell's the best pitcher in the League, and Tim Birdsong would be the best pitcher on most MWL staffs. Jose Acevedo's got raw talent, but bad pitches and bad luck have hurt him. Closer Brandon Puffer's got a dozen saves, and is pitching very well; other notable relievers include Clint Brewer, who's been incredible in long relief, Ryan Schurman, who's deadly in short relief, and Brian K. Rose (not Boston's Rose; the other one.) This is an excellent pitching staff. Too bad about the rest of the team.

April Profile

The LumberKings have decent pitching, an atrocious offense, and an excellent defensive squad. I don't think you can win big with that pattern, but so far the pitchers have kept the team in the game.

Pre-Season Profile


This is Freddie Benavides' first stint managing in professional baseball.

Where they played last season

These comments and table are based on opening day rosters.

This team resembles the team the Reds put in Billings last summer. The rest of the squad was mainly drawn from the Charleston, West Virginia, team.

Team        League             W/L   Place    Hitters Pitchers
Burlington  Midwest (A)        63-77 13(14)       3      1
Charleston  South Atlantic (A) 44-96 14(14)       4      5
Billings    Pioneer (R+)       40-34  4(8)        7      4

The Reds don't move their players around much, so only a handful are counted twice in this table. Four of this year's LumberKings played in other organizations last summer, and another had a brief stint in Double-A ball.

First Round Draft Selection

  • none

Returning to the Midwest League

Members of last summer's Burlington team.

  • Kevin Baderdeen (59 games)
  • Wilmy Caceres (35 games)
  • Damien Hart (P, 19 games)
  • Terry Hayden (P, 20 games @ Michigan)
  • Marc Suarez (61 games)

Returning to Low-A Ball

Members of last season's Charleston, WVA (South Atlantic League) team.

  • Jose Avecedo (P, 25 games)
  • Wilmy Caceres (103 games)
  • Tye Levy (P, 34 games)
  • Phil Merrell (P, 26 games)
  • Johnny Oliver (115 games)
  • Brandon Puffer (P, 29 games)
  • Dustin Robinson (P, 25 games)
  • Ryan Schurman (P, 17 games @ Macon)
  • A. J. Thorpe (128 games @ Macon)
  • Chris Toomy (18 games)
  • Braxton Whitehead (116 games)

Oldest & Youngest LumberKings

On opening day, the average age of the L-Kings was 21.8 years. Follow this link for more information about MWL team ages.

  • Oldest player on the team: Randy Stegall (born February 16, 1975)
  • Youngest player on the team: Wilmy Caceres (born October 2, 1978)




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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