Daily Dish: Sept. 5
See also: Weekend Daily Dish
Today spells the end of our Daily Dish coverage, though we will be updating playoff information as it happens on a daily basis, both here and in our Baseball America Prospect Report if you want to check out how your favorite playoff-bound prospects perform from day-to-day.
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While the short-season leagues will still play on until later this week, all the full-season circuits came to a close yesterday--with the exception of the International League Western Division, as Triple-A Toledo and Indianapolis finished the regular season in a tie for the division lead.
As far as individual winners go, the biggest story was Kevin Kouzmanoff. And not for joining an elite club historically by hitting a grand slam in his first major league at-bat on the first pitch he saw over the weekend, but since his callup, Kouzmanoff could not hang on to the minor league batting title, which is part of our wrapup of the minor league overall leaders . . . Batting: James Loney, 1b, Triple-A Las Vegas.
Heading into the weekend, Kouzmanoff was ahead of Loney with a .380 average. Loney went 4-for-8 in his final two games to finish at .380 before being called up. Kouzmanoff, meanwhile, saw his Triple-A average drop to .353 by going a combined 2-for-10 over his final two games at Buffalo--and despite riding a seven-game hit streak. The result: Loney finished at .380; Kouzmanoff at .379.Hits: Chris Rahl, of, high Class A Lancaster
Rahl finished 11 hits better than teammate Emilio Bonifacio--this despite Rahl collecting going 2-for-23 over the weekend compared to Bonifacio's 11-for-27, which included a 5-for-8 performance in his final game.Home Runs: Kevin Witt, 1b, Triple-A Durham
Witt held onto his home run lead despite being in the big leagues since Aug. 25. Double-A Frisco first baseman Nate Gold finished with 34, hitting three homers since Aug. 27 and seven players hit 30 or more.Doubles: Seth Smith, of, Double-A Tulsa/Joey Votto, 1b, Double-A Chattanooga
We figured it'd be a safe bet Smith and Votto would challenge Cal Leaguers Rahl and Chris Nowak, and both sluggers tied for the minor league lead with 46.RBIs: Jon Knott, 1b/of, Triple-A Portland
Knott drove in five runs over the weekend, while Joe Koshansky totaled one RBI and was overtaken for second by low Class A Kane County third baseman Jeff Baisley. Knott, 28, finished with 113 RBIs and 13 players drove in 100 or more runs this season. Double-A Montgomery shortstop Reid Brignac wound up one shy of the century mark, despite homering in his final regular-season game.Stolen Bases: Eric Young Jr., of, low Class A Asheville
Ho-hum. Young had this title wrapped up three weeks ago, finishing with 87. The second-place finisher, low Class A West Virginia outfielder Darren Ford, had 69.Extra-Base Hits: Brooks Conrad, 2b, Triple-A Round Rock
In the "Thanks For Being So Patriotic, Brandon Wood" department, Conrad outpaced the Angels shortstop by eight extra-base hits--79 to 71. But if Wood hadn't left Double-A Arkansas to play for Team USA on Aug. 15, the 21-year-old likely would have repeated his extra-base hits title. That's not to take anything away from Conrad, however. The 26-year-old switch-hitter finished the year with 40 doubles, 15 triples and 24 home runs.Runs Scored: Fernando Perez, of, high Class A Visalia
Perez finished strong for the Oaks, going 11-for-23 with seven runs scored over his final five games. Eleven players topped the century mark, the most interesting being Alex Gordon, whose run total declined after slugger Billy Butler left for Team USA. Gordon finished with 111 runs scored, but only crossed the plate 12 times in 18 games after Butler's departure. Compared that to July--Gordon's last full month with Butler in the lineup--when he scored 34 runs.Wins: Chuck Lofgren, lhp, high Class A Kinston/Jason Windsor, rhp, Triple-A Sacramento
Both Lofgren and Windsor won their final outings, finishing in a tie with 17 wins apiece. Not that playoff numbers count statistically speaking, but Lofgren will have the chance to pitch in the Carolina League playoffs at least Wednesday, when he faces high Class A Salem righthander Jimmy Barthmaier.ERA: Scott Lewis, rhp, high Class A Kinston
While Lofgren share the wins title, Lewis was the easy winner of the ERA title. He went 3-3, 1.48 in 116 innings. His wins total was held down, as the Indians kept him on a strict pitch count, but he easily led the minors in ERA.
--CHRIS KLINEBig Win For Indy
Triple-A Indianapolis needed to do more than win Monday to make the International League playoffs. They needed Toledo to lose, too.
The Indians took care of their end by winning 5-1 at Louisville behind six strong innings from lefthander Shane Youman. They allowed the Bats just two hits. Meanwhile, Columbus righthander Steven White limited the Mud Hens to a single run in seven innings of work in the Clippers' 4-1 win at Toldeo.
Indianapolis travels to Toledo for a one-game playoff tonight at 7 p.m. to determine the Western Division champion. In a battle of veteran righthanders with big league experience, the Indians are expected to send Britt Reames to the mound, with the Mud Hens answering with Colby Lewis. Toledo won the season series 10-6.No Tiebreaker In PCL
Nashville and Iowa finished with identical 76-68 records in the American Conference of the Pacific Coast League's Northern Division, but unlike their IL counterparts, the two Triple-A squads will not play a tiebreaker. Nashville won the playoff spot outright by virtue of their 9-7 record versus Iowa.
Iowa second baseman Eric Patterson would not let the Cubs go quietly, however, as he ripped a two-run home run and a triple in his team's 4-3 win at Omaha. Nashville had clinched the division title Sunday and were blown out at home by Round Rock 10-4.
"You measure it against wins and losses and you'd like to be in the playoffs, so it wasn't quite as good as we'd have liked," Iowa manager Mike Quade told the Des Moines Register. "We've sent a ton of guys to Chicago, maybe more than I can ever remember, and you're always proud of that."