Results tagged ‘ Erasmo Ramirez ’

Franklin, Ramirez Named Post-Season All-Stars

In case you didn’t see it via…

Clinton, IA – Clinton LumberKings shortstop Nick Franklin and right-hander Erasmo Ramirez have been named Midwest League Post-Season All-Stars by the Field Managers of the league’s 16 teams.  The entire list was announced today by president George Spelius from the Midwest League office in Beloit, WI.


Both Franklin and Ramirez were voted as mid-season All-Stars and join the likes of Matt Adams (Quad Cities), Scooter Gennett (Wisconsin), Ian Krol (Kane County) and league Prospect of the Year and MVP Mike Trout (Cedar Rapids) on the list of the league’s best.


The 19-year-old Franklin, Seattle’s first-round pick (27th overall) out of Lake Brantley High School (FL) has enjoyed a memorable first full season in professional baseball.  Ranked the ninth-best prospect in the entire Mariners’ organization prior to the season by Baseball America, Franklin has gone on to hit .284 (129-for-454) with 20 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs (2nd most in the MWL) and 57 RBI and has stolen 23 bases in 34 attempts.  The Longwood, FL native is just two homers shy of tying Clinton’s own single-season franchise record of 22, set back in 1961.


Ramirez, 20, came to the LumberKings in mid-April after an award-winning 2009 campaign.  He was the Mariners’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, going 11-1 with a 0.51 ERA with Aguirre of the Venezuela Summer League.  In 2010, Ramirez has proved worthy of All-Star status as the league’s top right-handed starter.  He’s 10-4 with the league’s second-best ERA of 2.75 and also ranks amongst league leaders in WHIP (2nd at 1.04), fewest walks per 9.0 innings for starters (2nd at 1.17) and fewest baserunners per 9.0 innings for starters (3rd at 10.36).


Great Lakes Loons’ manager Juan Bustabad took home the Manager of the Year award.  A full list of the All-Star selections can be viewed at

I’ll be talking about the All-Star selections on tonight’s pregame show in lieu of an interview (I’ve interviewed both Franklin and Ramirez recently, as well as their manager John Tamargo).  One thing I MIGHT bring up is the double selection of South Bend’s Matt Davidson as both the third-baseman and DH.  He’s certainly deserving of ONE selection, but what about the now-forgotten Jerry Sands of the Loons for DH?  Or Clinton’s own Vinnie Catricala?  It’s worth thinking about.

There’s plenty to catch up on in tonight’s Game Notes following last night’s 3-1 win over Peoria.  Left-hander Nick Czyz tossed seven innings of one-run baseball and Catricala went 3-for-4 with the game-tying home run and an RBI single for insurance.  Mickey Wiswall had the game-winner on a seeing-eye single, and the bullpen combo of right-hander Jonathan Arias (H, 1) and Forrest Snow (S, 4) held on to the slim margin.

The Notes: 
8.24.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (3-1, 2.55) has a key fifth start tonight as he looks to prove that the 4.2-inning, six-run blowup from his last outing is only a brief misstep in his magical 2010 season.  He’s on the hill for the finale against the Chiefs tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen online at


Tonight’s Interview: Nick Franklin (Vol. 4)

franklin3.JPGThe LumberKings won for the 14th time in the last 20 games last night, hanging on for a 6-4 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits last night.  Clinton amassed an early 5-0 lead and did just enough to protect it against the hard-charging Bandits, winning for the fifth time in their last six games at Modern Woodmen Park.  Right-hander Taylor Stanton improved to 10-6 with the win, becoming just the fifth MWL pitcher to reach a double-digit win total.

The Kings were able to grab that early lead off right-hander Eric Fornataro thanks to a breakout performance from shortstop Nick Franklin.  In what was amazingly just his second four-hit game this season, Franklin recorded three singles and his 19th double, finishing 4-for-5 with two runs scored in the #2 spot in the order.

Franklin had an eye-opening first half, hitting .299 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI to earn a midseason All-Star selection.  Since then, the 19-year-old first-round pick has come down to earth a bit, hitting .244 with five home runs and 17 RBI.  Pitchers have started to change their approach to Franklin in using more offspeed pitches, but he as well has started to adjust as a hitter.

Those adjustments have come in a multitude of ways, which Nick talks about on the pregame interview tonight.  From extra cage sessions with hitting coach Terry Pollreisz to “fight the virus” to using an old high school drill (hitting lima beans with a broomstick) to increase his visual acuity to pumping himself up with — get this — Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” (which I incorrectly identify as a Genesis song).  Those topics and more are discussed tonight.

Listen Here: 
Franklin Interview 8.20.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.20.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (10-4, 2.60) will have a difficult time reprising his 12-strikeout performance from his last start in the Quad Cities, but the LumberKings would certainly be happy with six good innings and a series win in his 20th start tonight.  The game begins at 7:00 PM, listen online at


Special Guest: Bowen Hobbs

The seven-game winning streak saw its end last night as the LumberKings fell behind 7-3 and ultimately lost 9-6 to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  Mickey Wiswall, Blake Ochoa and Vinnie Catricala all homered in the losing cause for the Kings, who remain 1.5 games ahead of Beloit for the West Division Wild Card.

For tonight’s interview, I’ve decided to air and post a conversation I recorded recently with
bowenhobbsrattlerlogo.jpggraphic designer Bowen Hobbs.  You’ve probably seen his work if you follow the Midwest League, as Bowen was the artist who created the 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game logo when we hosted the event last season.  He also designed both logos for the LumberBlog.

In addition to those designs, Hobbs has also been working on creating new logos and uniform schemes for all kinds of professional teams.  He’s redesigned many of the logos of teams in our league, including tonight’s series opponent, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (pictured). 

My personal favorite logo is the one he recently posted on the Erie SeaWolves.  For more of Bowen’s original designs and critiques of existing logos and uniforms, visit his blog at

Listen to our conversation here: 
Bowen Hobbs Interview 8.1.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.10.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The series ends with Wisconsin tonight as right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (9-4, 2.54) makes his 18th start of the season looking for the series win.  Listen beginning at 6:45 PM on


A Busy Start to August

100_1952.JPGThe final full month of the 2010 season begins today as your LumberKings continue the series in Wisconsin.  The Kings beat up Rattlers’ right-hander Eric Arnett for seven runs last night, cruising to the 10-0 win.  Matt Cerione homered for the fourth time and fell a triple shy of the cycle, while Blake Ochoa victimized his old team with a towering drive to left for his fourth home run as well.

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez fired 6.2 scoreless innings to extend his scoreless streak to 14.2 and the bullpen kept the shutout in-tact.

I would love to have caught either Cerione or Ramirez prior to today’s 1:05 PM game, but a lot of other things have kept me busy.  For one, the LumberKings’ roster has been changing.  Ace lefty Jimmy Gillheeney and right-hander Ryan Moorer were both promoted to high-A High Desert yesterday, but the move had not been announced until today.

Furthermore, the Kings have received 26-year-old right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, who is expected to start in the series finale in Wisconsin tomorrow night.  Wilhelmsen’s story is an intriguing one, and I will get to that in another post/interview.

The moves haven’t stopped there.  After tossing 5.2 scoreless innings in triple-A Tacoma’s 8-2 win over Reno last night, right-hander Yoervis Medina was sent down three levels and will join Clinton today.  I doubt he’ll be available to pitch, but you never know.

Plenty of things to read about in today’s Game Notes: 
8.1.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Taylor Lewis (3-1, 6.37) makes a spot start in place of injured righty Nolan Gallagher today, first pitch scheduled for 1:05 PM.  Listen online at!


Sunday Interview: Blake Ochoa

It’s been a busy Sunday for me as I’ve gone the extra mile and recorded two interviews today.
Ochoa.Blake.jpg  Last night’s action here in Lansing forced my hand.  The big story heading into the contest was the John Tamargo Sr. vs. John Tamargo Jr. managerial battle, and I’m happy to say I have both video of their lineup card exchange (be it from long-distance) AND an interview with both JT’s as well.

As much of a broadcast golden nugget as that conversation is, I’m saving it for tomorrow’s pregame show.  Why?  Because one Blake Ochoa did something last night that I’ve never seen a LumberKing do.  He drove in seven RBI on the strength of two home runs (one of which was a grand slam) and provided all of the offense in an otherwise forgettable 12-7 loss.


Yes, the Kings have lost five-straight games, including the first four on this trip, but Ochoa’s attempt to bring his team back from 5-1 and 11-3 deficits is nothing short of amazing.  He easily could have had nine to 10 RBI in the contest as his first RBI came on a sacrifice fly to center field.  Kenny Wilson saved his liner from one-hopping the wall with a diving catch, allowing only one of the three baserunners to score.

Ochoa made sure no outfielder would catch his next two hits, dropping his second home run of the season onto the berm in left in the fifth inning before absolutely destroying a ball onto the street in left for the slam in the sixth inning.  Both homers came off of right-hander Ryan Shopshire of Lansing, who must have seen Blake in his nightmares last night despite improving to 7-8 with the win.

I’ve been doing my best to look back in the Clinton history books for the last time a player has driven in seven runs, but have been unsuccessful so far.  At least we know Ochoa is the most recent, and today we’ll hear more about just how he did it on the pregame interview.

Listen Here: 
Ochoa Interview 7.25.10.mp3

Today’s Game Notes: 
7.25.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (6-4, 2.90) looks to snap this five-game losing streak and get the Kings back to .500 in his 15th start of the season today.  First pitch in Lansing is scheduled for 1:05 PM central time, listen online at


Pack the Park with Game Notes

100_1918.JPGAdmittedly, I normally get to the ballpark at about 10:00 AM daily to begin the day’s work.  Since today’s game STARTS at 10:00 AM for the annual “Pack the Park with Kids Day”, I’ve been here since 7:00 AM.  I’m happy to report that I’ve finished just about everything, save for copying JT’s lineup.

Today’s Game Notes were completed at roughly 1:00 AM, before I got approximately 5 1/2 hours of sleep.  I hope you enjoy them: 
7.19.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Yes, I know a lot of people work earlier and get less sleep…and do things less baseball related.  I can’t complain too much.  I certainly can’t complain about right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (6-3, 2.71) on the hill in search of a sweep of the South Bend Silver Hawks. 

Again, gametime is 10:00 AM.  Have your coffee, have your donut and listen to the LumberKings…and feel free to email me at if it sounds like I’m falling asleep during the broadcast.


Off the Diamond: Mitch Butz

butz.JPGThe LumberKings (as well as the rest of Minor League Baseball) had off yesterday for the MLB All-Star Game.  Clinton currently sits alone in fourth in the West Division after Monday night’s 7-5 loss in Kane County.

For tonight’s LumberBlog feature, it’s time for yet another “Off the Diamond” segment. The behind-the-scenes look at some of your favorite LumberKings’ staffers takes its turn featuring the former Director of Promotions and current Director of Operations, Mitch Butz.

The Ashford, University grad has taken on numerous new responsibilites in his first year as a full-timer (third overall with the organization), including ticketing, online merchandising, season and group sales and everything else under the sun.  He’s also a world-class handball player.  Ok, everything is true but the last part.  Get to know the man we call “Bootsie” on tonight’s pregame interview.

Listen Here:  
Mitch Butz OTD Interview 7.14.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
7.14.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The Kings open a three-game series against the East’s cellar-dwelling West Michigan Whitecaps tonight.  Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-3, 2.80) puts his sixth-best ERA on the line tonight against a ‘Caps offense ranked 13th in the Midwest League.  First pitch on this steamy Wednesday night is 7:00 PM, listen online at


Off the Diamond: Tyler Hildreth

You haven’t seen much from the LumberBlog the last two days, and you can blame Mother
Hildreth_TylerDSC_0009(edit4x6).jpgNature.  The Kings were rained out in the finale at Peoria on Tuesday night, then saw last night’s game suspended by rain at Alliant Energy Field in the fourth inning with Quad Cities leading, 1-0.

Last night’s game resumes tonight with another seven-inning contest to follow.  Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-3, 3.01) will start the second game.  Read more in tonight’s Game Notes: 
7.8.10 kingsnotes.pdf

With no new player/coach to interview, I figured it’s high time to renew the “Off the Diamond” segment.  Tonight, I catch up with LumberKings’ clubhouse manager Tyler Hildreth.  A member of the staff since 2007, Hildreth has seen the likes of MLB All-Star Neftali Feliz, Justin Smoak, Derek Holland and Craig Gentry pass through Clinton on their way to the Major Leagues.  He’s also a diehard Miami Heat fan and will weigh in on his excitement over the pending LeBron James decision.

Listen Here: 
Tyler Hildreth OTD Interview 7.8.10.mp3

The resumption of last night’s game begins at 6:00 PM with the pregame show starting at 5:45 PM.  Listen online at


Odds and Ends from the All-Star Game

parkview entrance.jpgThe 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game took place at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night, and in case you missed it, the East continued its run of dominance with a 6-2 win over the West.  Great Lakes’ Jerry Sands — the league home run leader — belted a first-inning opposite-field shot that proved to be the difference, helping him earn the “Star of Stars” award.  You can read plenty more about the game and also check out the final box score here:  Sands Powers East to All-Star Win

I spent part of the game shooting video from Press Row in the luxury suites, part of it on the radio with Mike Maahs of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (I might have audio of my sixth inning play-by-play, including Nick Franklin’s infield single to post in the near future) and part of it down in the seats behind home plate.  I must say, the TinCaps put on an excellent show and impressed a lot of folks.

I captured some video on your Kings in action, but it’s going to take some time to edit before it’s ready.  In the meantime, enjoy some photos and a pre-All-Star interview with the derby rep himself, Nick Franklin.

Listen Here: 
Franklin ASG Interview 6.22.10.mp3

catricala asg 1.jpg

Vinnie Catricala takes some cuts during the optional West Division batting practice.

franklin asg 1.jpg

Franklin gets in some BP as well.

Erasmo Ramirez, Brian Moran, Catricala and Franklin

asg anthem.jpg

More video (hopefully) to follow in the next few days.  Oh yeah, and the LumberKings start the second half on Friday.  No rest for the weary.


2010 Midwest League Home Run Derby

I had the fortune (and media credential) of enjoying last night’s Midwest League Home Run Derby from the West Division dugout at Parkview Field, and what a show it was.  Clinton’s own Nick Franklin hit a combined six home runs while lasting into the second round, but ultimately it was the smooth right-handed strokes of Wisconsin’s Khris Davis and Fort Wayne’s own Nate Freiman that produced the most clouts last night.

Davis ended up winning in a pretty impressive final round over Freiman.  Both launched several to deep left field that seemed to get completely over the back wall of the stadium.  I have video to prove it, which you will see within the next few days (or later today if I get the time to edit).

For now, here’s some pictures from last night:

ParkviewField ASG 1.jpg

Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

autograph line.jpg

Brian Moran (seated on the very end) of your LumberKings takes part in the pregame autograph session.

in the dugout.jpg

Inside the West Division dugout during the Skills Contest.

franklin derby 1.jpgNick Franklin prepares for the Home Run Derby.

ramirez catricala moran.jpg

Erasmo Ramirez, Vinnie Catricala and Brian Moran of your LumberKings.

franklin derby 2.jpgMike Trout
, Franklin, Davis and Matt Adams represent the West.

Thumbnail image for franklin derby 3.jpgFranklin swings in the first round.  He had four blasts and moved on to the second round.

franklin derby 4.jpgFranklin watches the flight of one of his two second-round homers.

freiman derby.jpgNate Freiman
of the East puts on a display for his home fans.  While he didn’t win, his home runs easily traveled the furthest to left.

davis derby.jpg

Wisconsin’s Khris Davis talks to reporters following his derby victory.


 More to come after tonight!