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

2003 Scouting Report

Fort Wayne Wizards

Major Change

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

This page profiles the 2003 Fort Wayne Wizards, a Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres and a member of the Midwest League.


Post-Season Profile

Fort Wayne's 2003 Wizards were an oddly-constructed, but quite successful, squad. That they won the first-half title, and played well in the second half, is a tribute to the pitching staff. It also attests to manager Gary Jones' oft-proven ability to coax excellence from his charges. Gifted with a strong pitching staff, the team succeeded despite scoring far fewer runs than any other MWL team.

Outfielder Kennard Jones, a speedster with good on-base skills, and first baseman Paul McAnulty, a well-rounded talent with no outstanding strengths, were this team's best position players. Third baseman Brian Burgamy contributed speed, while outfielder L.J. Biernbaum and shortstop Luis Cruz were the best power sources (neither, though, was a true power hitter). Many of Fort Wayne's players were pretty good at drawing walks.

Starter Gabe Ribas was probably the most talented pitcher in the MWL this season. The best remaining pitchers--starters Brian Whitaker and Thomas Lipari, closer Dale Thayer, and relievers Bryan Edwards & Wilmer Villatoro--were exceptional, though the talent fell sharply at the far end of the 'pen.

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

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • Second Half: 31-38, .449 (3rd place, 12.5 behind)
  • First Half: 40-28, .588 (1st place, 0.5 ahead--First Half Champion)
  • Pitching: 71-66, 3.02, 43 saves, 3 complete games, 1064 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .233, 520 runs, 47 HR, 75 steals (56% success)
  • Defense: 184 errors (1.33 per game); .703 defensive efficiency
  • April: 17-8 (.680)
  • May: 15-15 (.500)
  • June: 12-13 (.480)
  • July: 16-13 (.552)
  • August/September: 11-17 (.393)
  • Playoff Round 1: 0-2 (.000)
  • Position Players used: 26
  • Pitchers used: 22
    • This includes one appearance by a position player in a mop-up role.

    Leading Players

    • Best Player on the Team: Pitcher Gabe Ribas

    • Best Starting Pitcher: Gabe Ribas (13-3, 2.25, 116 strikeouts)
    • Bullpen Stopper: Dale Thayer (2.06, 1-3, 25 saves, 72 strikeouts)
    • Strikeout Pitchers: Gabe Ribas, David Pauley, Dale Thayer, Eudy Morel
    • Control Pitchers: Brian Whitaker, Gabe Ribas, David Pauley, Jon Huber, Luke Steidlmayer, Dale Thayer, Eudy Morel

    • Best Hitter: Paul McAnulty (.273, 7 HR, 73 RBI)
    • Home Run Leader: L.J. Biernbaum (10)
    • High Batting Average: Kennard Jones (.307)
    • High On Base Percentage: Kennard Jones (.407)
    • High Slugging Percentage: none
    • Notable Baserunners: Kennard Jones, Brian Burgamy, Virgilio De Leon, Rashad Smith
    • Notable Batting Eye: none

    The Wizards at Mid-Season

    The Wizards have scored 286 runs and have permitted 271 runs.Gary Jones uses 3.3 pitchers per game.

    The Wizards have a very fine pitching staff, two strong hitters, and a generally solid lineup, albeit with little power. This team's baserunning is remarkably poor, and the Wizards ground into double plays more than any other MWL team. The defense has good range, but makes quite a few errors. On balance, despite the weaknesses, this just might be the MWL's best team.

    Outfielder Kennard Jones has become a delight; this is a fine player, even if he's an embarrassing baserunner. First baseman Paul McAnulty is also making day-in, day-out contributions. Outfielders Steve Baker and L.J. Biernbaum are the main power sources on this team, though neither would be called truly strong.

    If I could pick one MWL pitcher to anchor my rotation, that pitcher would be Gabe Ribas. Brian Whitaker has been nearly as strong. The rest of the rotation--David Pauley and Luke Steidlmayer--have also been very effective. The bullpen's been similarly excellent: Dale Thayer's leading the league in saves, and a half-dozen pitchers have done well in middle relief or mixed roles. These pitchers consistently throw strikes.

    Promoted and missed: DH Josh Tranum, starting pitcher Jon Huber, spot starter Thomas Lipari, and (especially) middle reliever Kevin Beavers.

    Worth watching: Middle reliever Darwin Soto.

    May 11 Profile

    Fort Wayne's team has a really obvious strength: The pitching staff doesn't make any serious mistakes. A less obvious strength is a defense which stops most balls before they can do harm. The hitting needs some work, but isn't quite as bad as it looks at first glance.

    The core of the offense is the outfielders. Steve Baker's an all 'round talent, L.J. Biernbaum's a decent power source, and Kennard Jones is a patient hitter who works pitchers for walks. (Jones' value is reduced significantly by his baserunning.) Beyond these three, there's more promise than delivery.

    Gabe Ribas is the best talent on the pitching staff, though Brian Whitaker and perhaps David Pauley have had better success in the rotation; Jon Huber's also pitched well. Dale Thayer continues the Fort Wayne/Padres tradition of always having a clearly-defined specialist closer, with Kevin Beavers (still unscored-upon), Bryan Edwads, and Darwin Soto pitching well in middle relief. In general, these guys throw strikes and depend on the excellent defense. It's been a very good formula thus far.

    April 21 Profile

    The Wizards got off to a quick start, but have slowed down against more capable competition and have slipped from the division's lead. They've proven pretty good at scoring runs, and their pitchers are leading the league in strikeouts, but on the whole this is a fairly average team.

    Outfielder Kennard Jones has been the team's star, so far; he gets on base well, but has shown no power and is reckless on the basepaths. OF/DH L.J. Biernbaum and infielder Brian Burgamy are the best power sources, though neither would yet be taken for a slugger. The third outfielder, Steve Baker, leads the team in RBIs but has not actually played well. The best pitchers have been relievers; middle reliever Kevin Beavers has been flawless, and closer Marc Dulkowski's usually cashed in on his opportunities.

    Pre-Season Profile


    There's nothing particularly remarkable about Gary Jones' management habits, except perhaps a tendency to call for sacrifice bunts. His teams used to be pretty aggressive on the basepaths--as was Jones, when he played--but that is no longer the case. Generally speaking, this man's teams win.

    First Round Draft Selections

    • none

    Team Age Information

    • Average Team Age: 21.8
    • Pitchers: 21.8
    • Hitters: 21.8
    • Oldest Player on the Team: Josh Tranum (May 26, 1978)
    • Youngest Player on the Team: Luis Cruz (February 10, 1984)

    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.

    The 2003 Wizards mix returning players, players promoted from Eugene, and a handful of players from other places. With Gary Jones in charge, this looks like it could be a strong team.

    Team          League             W/L    Place    Hitters Pitchers
    Lake Elsinore California (A+)   75/65    3(10)      2      0
    Fort Wayne    Midwest (A)       69/68    8(14)      4      4
    Eugene        Northwest (A-)    41/35   T3(8)       6      8
    Idaho Falls   Pioneer (R+)      32/44    8(8)       3      2

    A few of these players appeared for two Padres farm clubs and are counted here twice. One player had two appearances at the Double-A level, one played in another organization last season, one played in an independent league, and two did not play professional ball in 2002.

Fort Wayne


Fort Wayne

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.