Swing of the Quad Cities Report – May 10

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Swing of the Quad Cities of the Single-A Midwest League focuses on pitcher Mike Schellinger.

As I write this, I'm listening to the QC-Lansing game at Oldsmobile Park, wishing I was there watching. Brandon Buckman has just extended his league leading home run count to eight. The Swing have a team total of 20 bombs to lead the league. The team has been on the road again for what seems like a short off-season; I'm ready for them to come home again.

This week's interview is with Mike Schellinger. He's just coming off the disabled list and moving to the bullpen to make room for Eddie Degerman as a starter. (Brian Schroeder was released to make room on the roster.) Mike spent the entire 2006 season on the DL, recovering from surgery to repair micro-fractures in his right elbow.

Through Monday night this week, Mike had pitched in six games (three starts) with a record of 1-2 and an ERA of 3.45. He has struck out 22 batters in 21 innings.

Jon: Mike, what's the biggest difference for you in going to the stadium as a player instead of a fan? How much different is the game?

Mike: I always play better when I'm just playing for fun, but I remind myself everyday that this is a business and I have to give it my best.

Jon: What's the worst thing about playing professional baseball?

Mike: It has to be the uncertainty of your career. You never know from day to day if you'll be playing here, moving up, or being released.

Jon: If you had to change careers tomorrow for some reason, what would you do instead of baseball?

Mike: I'd coach, or conduct clinics like I do in the off season. I'd stay with the game somehow.

Jon: What other player on the team is most like you in playing style on the field?

Mike: It's got to be Kyle Sadlowski. He's got a "get the job done" work ethic. We both go out and do what we need to do.

Jon: As a child growing up, what was your favorite MLB team?

Mike: I have to blame my dad. He was a Yankees fan, so I grew up as a Yankees fan, too.

Jon: When you want to get away from the game and relax, what are some of your hobbies?

Mike: I watch movies and play a lot of video games. I like basketball in the off season, but I have to be careful not to get hurt.

Jon: Tell me about your best day of baseball ever.

Mike: It was a game when I played for the Watertown Wizards (New York Collegiate League). I pitched a one-hitter to take the team farther into the playoffs than we had ever gone before. That made me feel real good, the fans were really behind us. [Author's note: In a March 2007 fan poll, Mike was voted first among the fans' favorite player of all time.]

Jon: Now, here's the unanswerable question, but I want an answer… given a best-case scenario, when will you be called up to pitch at Busch Stadium?

Mike: That's not really a fair question, but if I have to answer, I'm hoping for about 3-4 years. I'm older than most of the guys on the team, so I need to progress faster than most of them.

Jon: Thanks, Mike, I'm looking forward to seeing you back on the mound soon.

Who's swinging this week:

As noted above, Brandon Buckman is knocking the cover off the ball. Through 30 games, he's hitting .325, with an OPS of .357, slugging percentage at .590, and an astounding .947 OPS. He has logged a league-leading 29 RBI, and a league-best ten doubles.

Christian Reyes has only been here for four games, but has posted an impressive .429 average over fourteen at bats.

Kenny Maiques has thrown a league-best eight saves in eight opportunities. His ERA stands at 0.82.

Kyle Mura gets my nod this week as the quiet giant. He has pitched eight innings of relief in a system that makes it somewhat difficult for mid-relievers to shine and hasn't allowed an earned run yet.

Missing this week:

Daryl Jones is still struggling at the plate with a .205 BA. Eighteen hits and eleven walks in 88 at bats isn't going to get much attention from the brass.

Jim Rapoport is improving, but still shaking off the effects of an extended slump. I think he's going to really have a great summer, but right now he's on my "concerned" list. I have to emphasize that his upside is MUCH bigger than his downside right now.

Tyler Herron needs to pull it together soon. He has "started" in seven games (four actual starts) and is showing a 4.97 ERA. He just earned his first win of the season. Like Rapoport, I'm expecting a dramatic turn-around from Herron, and I'm expecting it soon.

Coming up:

The Swing will be in Lansing through Thursday evening and then come home for a commuter series in Clinton for Friday through Monday. They are off next Tuesday before starting an eight-game homestand against Cedar Rapids and Beloit. Clinton, CR and Beloit are all battling with QC for the division lead, so these will be especially important games.

Jon can be reached by email at jon_p_qc@hotmail.com. Your comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.

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