| Seasons | 2003 | Teams | Lansing Lugnuts |
2003 East: | Battle Creek | Dayton | Fort Wayne | Lansing | South Bend | West Michigan |

2003 Scouting Report

Lansing Lugnuts

Midwest League Playoff Champions

Major Change

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

This page profiles the 2003 Lansing Lugnuts, a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and a member of the Midwest League.


Playoff Profile

The Cubs promoted a handful of key players during the second half, and the weakened Luggies struggled. This remained a team with exceptional pitching, a mediocre offense, and an ineffective defense. In the end things worked out well as the Luggies breezed through the championship playoff and walked off with their second MWL title.

Catcher Jake Fox arrived in mid-season, and was Lansing's best hitter through September; prior to that, DH Donnie Hood was the offensive engine until he was promoted. Slap-hitting shortstop Buck Coats was the best hitter who played all season. With just a bit of plate (and baserunning) discipline, center fielder Felix Pie could become a star; he's a spectacular outfielder who hits decently.

Lansing's Jason Wylie may have been the MWL's best closer this season, though other pitchers were selected as All-Stars. The rest of the staff was consistently strong, and surprisingly versatile. Jae-Kuk Ryu, Anderson Tavarez, Andy Sisco, and Carlos Vasquez all pitched well in the rotation; Yorkin Ferreras, who only pitched a few times, appears to have better tools. Richard Hill, Ryan O'Malley, and Mark Carter stood out in a deep and solid, though not flashy, bullpen.

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

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • Second Half: 31-39, .443 (4th place, 13.0 behind)
  • First Half: 38-27, .585 (2nd place, 0.5 behind--Playoff Qualifier)
  • Pitching: 69-66, 3.19, 31 saves, 5 complete games, 1018 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .253, 554 runs, 74 HR, 131 steals (67% success)
  • Defense: 171 errors (1.27 per game); .703 defensive efficiency
  • April: 13-10 (.565)
  • May: 18-10 (.643)
  • June: 13-13 (.500)
  • July: 9-21 (.300)
  • August/September: 16-13 (.552)
  • Playoff Round 1: 2-0 (1.000)
  • Playoff Round 2: 2-0 (1.000)
  • Championship Round: 3-0 (1.000)
  • Position players used: 24
  • Pitchers used: 22
    • This includes one appearance by a position player in a mop-up role, and one by a position player who has since been converted to a pitcher on the Cubbies' rookie league team.

    Leading Players

    • Best Player on the Team: Center Fielder Felix Pie or Designated Hitter Donnie Hood

    • Best Starting Pitcher: Anderson Tavarez (12-9, 3.24, 100 strikeouts) or Jae-Kuk Ryu (6-1, 1.75, 57 strikeouts)
    • Bullpen Stopper: Jason Wylie (1.38, 1-2, 29 saves, 54 strikeouts)
    • Strikeout Pitchers: Justin Jones, Andy Sisco, Yorkin Ferreras, Mark Carter, Wes O'Brien
    • Control Pitchers: Jae-Kuk Ryu, Anderson Tavarez, Andy Sisco, Yorkin Ferreras, Ryan O'Malley, Mark Carter

    • Best Hitter: Donnie Hood (.317, 9 HR, 32 RBI)
    • Home Run Leader: Kevin Collins (14)
    • High Batting Average: Donnie Hood (.317)
    • High On Base Percentage: none
    • High Slugging Percentage: Donnie Hood (.559), Francisco Salas (.480), Jake Fox (.490)
    • Notable Baserunners: Buck Coats,, Felix Pie, Keith Butler, Robinson Chirinos, Ryan Theriot, J.J. Johnson
    • Notable Batting Eye: none

    The Lugnuts at Mid-Season

    The Lugnuts have scored 290 runs and have permitted 238 runs. Julio Garcia uses 3.5 pitchers per game.

    The Cubs have been sending terrific pitching to Lansing's teams, and this year's version is clearly the best staff in the MWL. They're backed by a good offensive squad, and a more-or-less average defense. The Luggies are fairly aggressive, and reasonably effective, on the basepaths.

    DH Donnie Hood, who occasionally plays the corner infield positions, should get a few MVP votes; he arrived about a month into the season and has become the engine of this team's offense. Several of his teammates have some power--outfielder Jason Fransz, third baseman Robinson Chirinos, and first baseman Kevin Collins. Shortstop Buck Coats is your classic slap hitter. This is a squad with a fairly strong bench.

    Lansing's rotation isn't just strong: It has no apparent weak points. Jae-Kuk Ryu belongs in a better league; Anderson Tavarez is likely a better talent. Take them both away, and the rotation would be a very formidable Justin Jones/Andy Sisco/Carlos Vasquez/Richard Hill, with a couple strong role players. Jason Wylie's a reasonable candidate for the MWL's best closer. Hill, Ryan O'Malley, and Dan Foli have pitched well in mixed roles, and Mark Carter's been reliable in the middle innings. Despite throwing in a hitters' ballyard, this team has allowed only 16 home runs, and everyone I've listed has an ERA under the MWL average. There's a strange blemish: This staff has hit 56 batters in 65 games.

    Promoted and missed: No one essential.

    Worth watching: Utility pitcher Richard Hill.

    April 27 Profile

    It's the pitching. The Lugnuts pitchers have been terrific, so far; it's not really clear whether Andy Sisco or Justin Jones is the best starter on this team, as both have been pitching very well. Mark Carter's been quite as effective in a middle relief role. The hitting's balanced, but isn't producing runs; Donnie Hood, who's only appeared in a few games, has been hitting extremely well.

    On Easter Sunday, Justin Jones combined with Weston O'Brien and Mark Carter to throw a no hitter. During the same game, Donnie Hood hit for the cycle. Not a bad day at the ballpark.

    Pre-Season Profile


    Julio Garcia's a fairly conventional manager. Although his runners aren't asked to run wild on the basepaths, their success rate has been unusually poor.

    First Round Draft Selections

    • Chadd Blasko (2002 sandwich pick; 36th player selected)

    Team Age Information

    • Average Team Age: 21.1
    • Pitchers: 21.0
    • Hitters: 21.3
    • Oldest Player on the Team: Donny Hood (December 30, 1978)
    • Youngest Player on the Team: Felix Pie (February 8, 1985)

    These calculations are missing the birthdate for one player.

    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.

    These guys have a chance to be very good. The pitching's mainly drawn from last summer's excellent Boise team, while the hitters were collected from throughout the Cubs' system.

    Team         League             W/L    Place    Hitters Pitchers
    Daytona      Florida State (A+) 64/73   8(12)      1      1
    Lansing      Midwest (A)        74/65   5(14)      6      2
    Boise        Northwest (A-)     49/27   1(8)       8      9
    Cubs         Arizona (R)        35/21   1(7)       4      2

    A few of these players appeared for two teams last summer and are counted twice in this table. Four did not play professionally in 2002, while one brings a (exactly one) game of Double-A experience to the Luggie mix.



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.

Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.