| Seasons | 2003 | Teams | Kane County Cougars |
2003 West: | Beloit | Burlington | Cedar Rapids | Clinton | Kane County | Peoria | Quad City | Wisconsin |

2003 Scouting Report

Kane County Cougars

Major Change

2003 Teams
Battle Creek
Cedar Rapids
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Quad City
South Bend
West Michigan

This page profiles the 2003 Kane County Cougars, a Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics and a member of the Midwest League.


Post-Season Profile

The Cougars were the MWL's best team in 2003, even though their championship bid failed. The heart of the squad was the pitching staff, though the offense performed well and the defense was very good. This was a team with no real stars; it's also a team which continued to play well after their best pitchers and their excellent catcher were promoted to higher leagues. Kane County had a fine, fine season.

Catcher John Baker, who was promoted in mid-season, was easily the team's most productive player. First baseman Brant Colamarino and outfielder Nelson Cruz were this team's main power sources, though everyone who played regularly showed some power from time to time. DH Brian Stavisky was a similar hitter to Colamarino, though with less power and more walks. After Baker left, none of those remaining were stars, but they formed a solid offensive core. Shortstop John McCurdy and outfielder Marcus McBeth were the best of the remaining regulars. McCurdy and second baseman Francis Gomez were the best baserunners; speed wasn't the key to the KC offense, but everyone ran well.

The original starting rotation--Joe Blanton, Drew Dickinson, Bill Murphy, Shane Komine, and a committee--was perhaps the best in the league. The later rotation--Dickinson, Stephen Obenchain, Jairo Garcia, Derell McCall, and Matt Lynch--was noticably weaker than the original staff, but put up decent numbers. (Dickinson was a strong pitcher having a weak season.) Closers Edwardo Sierra and Jeff Muessig have weaknesses, but were fairly effective. The bullpen had no weak points; in particular, Shawn Kohn pitched very well, and Jared Burton looks like something special. One more thing: When Oakland last had a team in the MWL, at West Michigan, their pitchers were severely pitch-limited and complete games were truly rare. The Cougars, on the other hand, led the league in CGs.

Except where otherwise specified, all statistics are through the end of the season.

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • Second Half: 39-30, .565 (2nd place, 4.0 behind)
  • First Half: 41-29, .586 (1st place, 1.0 ahead--First Half Champion)
  • Pitching: 80-59, 3.22, 35 saves, 13 complete games, 966 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .252, 636 runs, 81 HR, 123 steals (71% success)
  • Defense: 134 errors (0.96 per game); .703 defensive efficiency
  • April: 18-8 (.692)
  • May: 18-12 (.600)
  • June: 12-14 (.462)
  • July: 16-13 (.552)
  • August/September: 17-12 (.586)
  • Playoff Round 1: 1-2 (.333)
  • Position Players used: 18
  • Pitchers used: 20

Leading Players

  • Best Player on the Team: Catcher John Baker

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Shane Komine (1.82, 6-0, 50 strikeouts) or Bill Murphy (2.25, 7-4, 87 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Edwardo Sierra (2.09, 3-5, 17 saves, 52 strikeouts)
  • Strikeout Pitchers: Joe Blanton, Jared Burton, Chris Dunwell
  • Control Pitchers: Joe Blanton, Shane Komine, Drew McCall, Matt Lynch, Shawn Kohn, Jared Burton

  • Best Hitter: John Baker (.309, 6 HR, 49 RBI [82 games]) or Brant Colamarino (.259, 19 HR,, 80 runs batted in)
  • Home Run Leader: Nelson Cruz (20)
  • High Batting Average: John Baker (.309)
  • High On Base Percentage: John Baker (.414)
  • High Slugging Percentage: John Baker (.457)
  • Notable Baserunners: John McCurdy, Brian stavisky, Francis Gomez, Kory Wayment, Jason Basil, J.P. Schmidt, Chris Tritle
  • Notable Batting Eye: none

The Cougars at Mid-Season

Kane County has scored 317 runs while permitting 256 runs. Webster Garrison uses 2.9 pitchers per game.

The Cougars slumped in June and are no longer the obviously-strongest team in the Midwest League. This remains a formidible aggregation, nonetheless; there's a fine pitching staff, and hitters who can inflict damage. The Cougars play excellent defense; they also run the bases well, but it isn't an important part of their game.

If catcher John Baker can develop some power, he'll be a very valuable player; he does many things very very well. Outfielder Nelson Cruz has power, and is this team's day-to-day star, but is a far less interesting talent. Infielders Brant Colamarino (first base), Francis Gomez (second), and Jason Basil (third) all contribute regularly. There's little on the bench, but most of the regulars hit pretty well.

The main rotation pitchers--Bill Murphy, Joe Blanton, Drew Dickinson, and Christian Gonzalez--are very talented. Murphy's very good. Blanton's had some bad luck; Dickinson and Gonzalez seem to be even better than their records. Jeff Muessig would be overwhelming except that he permits too many hits for a closer. With only a couple exceptions, the entire bullpen's very capable.

Promoted and missed: Shane Komine was probably the league's best pitcher for the season's first two months.

Worth watching: Utility pitcher Jared Burton.

May 15 Profile

Although the Cougars have slumped for the past few days, they remain the MWL's best team. The Cougars have few weaknesses; they lead the league in runs scored and have the second-best team ERA. The team features some excellent baserunners, too. Defensively, they have good range but bobble an occasional ball.

Catcher John Baker's a very fine hitter, with a bit of power and an impressive range of skills. Outfielder Nelson Cruz is the main power source, but swings at almost everything and pays for the home runs in the strikeout column. Third baseman Kory Wayment's a slap hitter who's pretty good at drawing walks. On the basepaths, Wayment, outfielder Nick Rogers, and second baseman Francis Gomez have been very effective.

The main pitching rotation--Drew Dickinson, Shane Komine, Joe Blanton, and Bill Murphy--is awesome, despite a weak fifth slot occupied mostly by Chris Mowday. Christian Gonzalez is doing quite as well in the swingman slot, and Jeff Muessig's been virtually perfect in the late innings. Even the middle relievers have posted excellent numbers; Jared Burton and Edwardo Sierra, both of whom double as closers, deserve particular mention.

April 19 Profile

The Cougars are off to a very fast start and just might prove to be the MWL's best team. Kane County brings a fine offense to the plate, and so far they've had the league's best pitching. The hitting centers around catcher John Baker and outfielder Nelson Cruz; Baker's a hit machine with a bit of power, while Cruz is proving to be explosive. J.P. Schmidt, also an outfielder, provides some speed.

While it remains too early to comment on individual pitchers, the staff has been excellent nearly from top to bottom.

Pre-Season Profile


On one season's evidence, Webster Garrison's a conventional minor league manager.

First Round Draft Selections

  • Joe Blanton (2002; 24th player selected)
  • John McCurdy (2002; 26th player selected)

Team Age Information

  • Average Team Age: 22.3
  • Pitchers: 22.3
  • Hitters: 22.4
  • Oldest Player on the Team: Jason Basil (August 5, 1978)
  • Youngest Player on the Team: Edwardo Sierra (April 15, 1982)

The average player in the Midwest League this season is about 21.7 years old.

Where they played last season

This summary was based on the team's opening day roster and will not be revised to reflect roster changes.

Although this team mainly played at Vancouver last season, the talent's leavened with players from elsewhere in the organization.

Team           League             W/L   Place    Hitters Pitchers
Modesto        California (A+)    78/62  2(10)      3      1
Visalia        Califormia (A+)    70/71  5(10)      3      3
Vancouver      Northwest (A-)     37/39  6(8)       9      9
Athletics      Arizona (R)        28/28 T3(7)       2      1

A few players appeared for two of these teams and are counted twice in this table. All played professionally last season, though one was working in another organization.

Kane County


Kane County
West Michigan

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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