| Seasons | 2001 | Teams | Michigan Battle Cats |
2001 East: | Dayton | Fort Wayne | Lansing | Michigan | South Bend | West Michigan |

Midwest League 2001

Michigan Battle Cats

Major Change

2001 Teams
Cedar Rapids
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Quad City
South Bend
West Michigan

This page profiles the 2001 Michigan Battle Cats, a Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros and a member of the Midwest League.

Except where otherwise specified, all statistics on this page are through the end of the 2001 season.

  • Battle Creek, Michigan.
  • Affiliated with the Houston Astros.
  • Manager: John Massarelli.
  • Coaches: Stan Boroski (pitching), Pete Rancont.

Post-Season Profile

The Battle Cats had their usual strong team and put up a good fight for the MWL title. The Astros blessed Manager John Masserelli with a complete baseball toolkit--speed, power, starting pitching, relief pitching, and defense--and Massarelli got excellent results.

Don't walk hitters! While the Cats had only a couple strikeout artists, the entire staff throws strikes. Chad Qualls had the best season, but the rotation pitchers are all similar. James Lira, then Miguel Saladin, and finally Edwin Aguilar served in the closer role. Footnote: Outfielder Mark Hamilton pitched in 10 games for the Cats, usually in the last inning. While no one would mistake him for a real pitcher, he was surprisingly effective--again, by throwing strikes.

The regular lineup for Battle Creek's team has a wonderful skill set: Jason Maule and Henri Stanley were always on base; Stanley, Garett Gentry, and T.J. Soto were power threats; Maule, Stanley, Soto, Anthony Acevedo, Chris Burke, and Gavin Wright are excellent baserunners. This team had lots of ways to hurt, and often succeeded. They played excellent defense, to boot.

No stars on this squad, though Garett Gentry and Chris Burke have star potential. Just excellent baseball.

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • Second Half: 44-25, .638, 1st place, 3.0 ahead
  • First Half: 38-30, .559, 2nd place, 2.0 behind (playoff qualifier)
  • Pitching: 82-55, 4.22, 36 saves, 948 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .273, 764 runs, 125 HR, 222 steals (77% success)
  • Errors: 154 (1.12 per game)
  • April: 15-9 (.625)
  • May: 16-12 (.571)
  • June: 15-11 (.577)
  • July: 18-9 (.667)
  • August: 16-13 (.552)
  • September: 2-1 (.667)

  • Best Players on the Team: Catcher Garett Gentry and Starting Pitcher Chad Qualls and Utility Infielder Jason Maule

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Chad Qualls (3.72, 15-6, 125 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stoppers: James Lira (1.72, 12 saves, 2-2) & Miguel Saladin (2.93, 11 saves, 7-3)
  • Strikeout Pitchers: James Lira, Edwin Aguilar, Mark Hamilton (!), Monte Mansfield
  • Control Pitchers: Chad Qualls, Mike Burns, Juan Campos, Mark Hamilton (!), Jeremy Ryan, Mike Gallo

  • Best Hitter: Henri Stanley (.299, 14 HR, 76 RBI) or Jason Maule (.347, 1 HR, 63 RBI; 101 runs scored; 56 steals)
  • Home Run Leader: Garett Gentry (24)
  • High Batting Average: Jason Maule (.347), Chris Burke (.300), Cristian Berroa (.325)
  • High On Base Percentage: Jason Maule (.448), Henri Stanley (.408)
  • High Slugging Percentage: Garett Gentry (.567), Henri Stanley (.524), T.J. Soto (.542)
  • Notable Baserunners: Jason Maule, Garett Gentry, Henri Stanley, Anthony Acevedo, T.J. Soto, Mark Hamilton, Gavin Wright, Jon Helquist, Chris Burke, Jon Andrianoff
  • Notable Batting Eye: Jason Maule

July Profile

The fans in Battle Creek are again blessed with a terrific team. Unfortunately, they've not noticed....

After a brief stutter in early June, the Cats have resumed their .700 winning pace. They've done this with a pair of emerging stars and a solid supporting cast. This team does many things right, and they're a fun group to watch.

Chad Qualls has emerged as a dominant starter; he's the best pitcher in the Midwest League this summer. The rest of the Battle Cat rotation is pretty weak, but a strong bullpen and a strong offense are helping cover that weakness.

At catcher, we find one of our League's best prospects, Garett Gentry. Utility infielder Jason Maule's having an unexpectedly strong season, and Henri Stanley's been surprisingly valuable in right field. That's the strongest set of three players in the MWL. This team has speed, power, and defense. (Too bad about the fans.)

Also worth watching: Shortstop Chris Burke.

June Profile

Credit manager John Massarelli with deploying his forces well. Although there's some fine talent on the Battle Creek squad, there's less depth than the team's record suggests. This team features the league's best defense, and wins games on the basepaths.

Catcher Garret Gentry's putting up terrific numbers, with good support from infielder Jason Maule and outfielder Henri Stanley. Beyond those three, first baseman T.J. Soto's a power source and several players run very well.

While Michigan's pitching rotation is solid, and the best relievers are fine, there's less depth than the team's record suggests. Chad Qualls is an exceptional talent, and James Lira's among the best MWL closers. Mike Burns and Juan Campos are better than their records, and Jory Coughenauer has done very well as a spot starter.

Notable mid-season loss: Cristian Berroa.

May Profile

Michigan brings fine pitching, excellent defense, good base running, and adequate offense to the baseball grounds each night. They play solid, but generally unexciting, baseball.

Garett Gentry, T.J. Soto, and Jason Maule form a very solid nucleus for this club; all are hitting well. Another offensive force would make this team more consistent; if the big three fail, there's not much help from the bench.

The Cats pitching rotation is anchored by Chad Qualls and Juan Campos. For the most part, the bullpen is excellent.

April Profile

Once again the Astros appear to have sent a strong team to Battle Creek, though it's not yet clear who might develop into a star player. These guys play good defense, have fine pitching, and are very aggressive on the base paths. For our league, this group is fairly old.

Pre-Season Profile


Former Battle Cat coach John Massarelli returns to C.O. Brown Stadium as manager; this will be his second season in that role. At Auburn in 2000, Massarelli's team was very aggressive on the basepaths. No 2000 Auburn pitcher threw a complete game.

First Round Draft Selection

  • Chris Burke (2001, 10th player selected)

Team Age Information

  • Average Team Age: 22.3
  • Pitchers: 22.2
  • Hitters: 22.4
  • Oldest Player on the Team: Brandon Buckley (born 1/25/77)
  • Youngest Player on the Team: Garrett Gentry (6/27/81)

The average player in the Midwest League is 21.6 years old. Average ages were calculated from the opening day roster; age as of July 1, 2001.

This website has more information about team ages.

Where they played last season

This is a brief portrait of how the team was put together. These summaries are based on the team's opening day roster and will not be revised to reflect roster changes.

The 2001 Cats were drawn about equally from last year's teams at Michigan, Auburn, and Martinsville.

Team           League             W/L    Place   Hitters Pitchers
Kissimmee      Florida State (A+) 73/66   6(14)      1       0
Michigan       Midwest (A)        82/56   2(14)      4       3
Auburn         New York-Penn (A-) 32/42  11(14)      4       3
Martinsville   Appalachian (R+)   30/36   8(10)      5       3

No player on the opening day roster appeared for two of these teams last summer. One played for another organization, and one did not play professionally. One of the new Cats appeared in one Double-A game in 2000.

Battle Creek


Quad City

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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