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Season Recap: Lansing Lugnuts

Season Recap: Lansing Lugnuts

November 5, 2011

The Lansing Lugnuts (Low-A) finished the season in second place in the Midwest League’s Eastern division with a 77-60 record.

The Lugnuts unfortunately were defeated in the League Championship series by the Quad Cities River Bandits (affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals). The team did have many things to be proud of in 2011. In fact, they won an Eastern Division Title and had their manager, Mike Redmond, named manager of the year.


The team finished ninth in the league in batting average, producing an overall .250 average for the year. As a team, they hit 243 doubles (fifth), 44 triples (second), 88 homerun and 610 RBIs (second). They also scored 691 runs as a team which placed second in the league. They drew 545 walks which was second but did strikeout 1160 times which, unfortunately lead the league.

Many key players contributed to the success of this line-up including:

Jake Marisnick had an impressive year this season with the Lansing Lugnuts (photo credit: MWL Guide)

1) OF Jake Marisnick: The 20-year-old outfielder drafted in the third round in 2009, has been appearing in the top 10 prospects lists for various sources since signing. For a good reason too, he has legit 5-tool talent which is hard to find. Marisnick really excelled this year hitting .320, which ranked second in the league, hitting 27 doubles, six triples, 14 homeruns and drove in 77 runs (ranked seventh). He scored 68 runs and accumulated 37 stolen bases only being caught eight times. He was rewarded for his big season in a huge way he was named; MID Mid-season/Post season All-Star, Baseball America Low Class-A All-Star, Baseball America second All-star team and was rated the third best prospect in the Midwest league by Baseball America. Click here for Marisnick’s interview with JaysProspects.

2) OF Marcus Knecht: The Canadian 21-year old outfielder drafted in the 3rd round (B compensation) really made a name for himself in 2011. He was a big part of one of the most talented outfields in the minors which included Jake Marisnick and Michael Crouse. He hit for a .273 average, while showing tones of extra-base power by slugging 34 doubles (tied for third in the league), three triples, 16 homeruns and drove in 86 runs (ranked third in the league).  He scored 77 runs and accumulated just four stolen bases being caught three times. He was rewarded for a great season by also being named to the MID Mid-season All-Star team. Click here for Knecht’s interview with JaysProspects.

3) OF Michael Crouse: This young Canadian outfielder from Vancouver, B.C. really proved his abilities by having a breakout season in 2011. He showed promise of 5-tool talent down the road, by hitting for a .261 average while showed some extra-base pop hitting 26 doubles, five triples, 14 homeruns and drove in 55 runs. He scored 73 runs and accumulated 38 stolen bases (which lead the team) being caught only eight times. Much like his aforementioned teammates, he was rewarded for a breakout season by being named to the MID Mid-season/Post season All-Star team.

4) C Carlos Perez: Since joining the Blue Jays minor league system in 2008 as a 17-year-old Perez has done nothing but hit. He continued that this year, though took a dip from his career averages, for the Lugnuts hitting for a .258 average with 17 doubles, three triples, three homeruns and driving in 41 runs. He continued to prove his patience at the plate drawing 37 walks while striking out 74 times. He also showed decent speed for a catcher swiping six bags being caught twice.

5) 1B K.C. Hobson: Hobson is the son of former major-leaguer Butch Hobson, who played for the Boston Red Sox, California Angels and New York Yankees. He enjoyed a successful season with the Lugnuts hitting for a .250 average with 24 doubles, two triples, four homeruns and drove in 53 runs. He showed great patience at the plate drawing 61 walks and only striking out 73 times.

Honourable Mention: 3B Matt Nuzzo: A bit of a local hero in Lansing, Michigan for his playoff heroics which included a walk-off homerun to keep the Lugnuts playoffs alive, Nuzzo hit for a .267 average with 15 doubles, one triple, four homeruns and drove in 32 runs. He stole four bases without being caught once and showed great patience at the plate drawing 29 walks in 68 games.


Lansing placed ninth in the league in team ERA with a respectable 3.78, allowing 500 earned runs in just over 1189 innings pitched. They had a few key stats that contributed their pitching success, as a team allowed the third least homeruns with 72, tied for second least walks with 378 and tied for second least hit by pitches with 54. Many key players contributed to the success of this pitching staff including:

1) RHP Drew Hutchison: What else could be said about this 21-year-old right-handed pitcher, he succeeded at every level this year building off an impressive start to his professional career. He started his season for these Lugnuts going 6-2 with a 2.63ERA in 14 starts. In 72 innings, Hutchison struck out 84 batters only walking 19 and held opponents to a .245 batting average. He was a big part of the Lugnuts success before being promoted to Dunedin. He finished off the season playing a huge part in the Championship winning New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

2) RHP Casey Lawrence: Lawrence was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Albright College in June 2010. He had a successful start to his professional career going 7-2 with a 2.33ERA in 2010. He built of that success going 11-8 with a 3.08ERA in 22 games (21 starts) for the Lugnuts. He held opponents to a .252 average and struck out 97 batters only walking 22 in 125.2 innings pitched. He wasn’t a part of the team for the playoffs because of a promotion to Dunedin but played a big part in the regular season success. Click here for Lawrence’s interview with JaysProspects.

Barnes went 1-1 with a 2.15ERA over 22 games with Lansing (photo credit: MWL Guide)

3) RHP Danny Barnes: Barnes was a 35th round pick for the Blue Jays in 2010 out of Princeton University and has been used out of the bullpen exclusively in his professional career. He really impressed in his first professional season going 1-1 with a 2.15ERA over 22 games in 2010. Looking to build off that success Barnes posted a 5-1 record with a sparkling 2.32ERA for the Lugnuts in 44 games (two starts). He racked up 13 saves over the year while his most impressive stat was striking out an amazing 99 batters over 66 innings. He only walked 20 batters on the year and limited opponents to a .184 average. Click here for Barnes interview with JaysProspects.

4) LHP Sean Nolin: This tall left-handed pitcher enjoyed a breakout season with the Lugnuts after being drafted in the sixth round in the 2010 draft. He pitched well all year going 4-4 with a 3.49ERA in 25 games (21 starts). He struck out 113 batters compared to only walking 31 over 108.1 innings pitched and held batters to a .253 average.

5) RHP Marcus Walden: Walden was a ninth round pick back in the 2007 draft and enjoyed a successful comeback to Tommy-John surgery which caused him to miss all of the 2010 season. He went 6-6 with a 3.24ERA in 28 games (13 starts). In 100 innings pitched, he struck out 54 batters while walking 28 and held opponents to a .239 average.

Honourable Mention: RHP Brandon Berl: The 23-year-old right-handed pitcher was a 40th round pick in the 2010 draft. He has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen to start his professional career. He bounced back in 2011 to have a successful season after struggling in his first professional season. He went 3-5, saving 3 games with a 2.28ERA in 30 games for the Lugnuts. He struck out 42 batters compare to only 9 walks in 51.1 innings pitched and held opponents to a .256 average. Click here for Berl’s interview with JaysProspects.

That sums up the season of the Lansing Lugnuts, JaysProspects looks forward to seeing what young talent is coming next!

Stay tuned for the season recap of the Dunedin Blue Jays!