By Zane Miller
In the 24-season long history of the Lansing Lugnuts, the team has gone 2 for 4 in championship finals appearances, to go along with making 14 postseason appearances in total. As of this writing, Lansing’s best regular season record came in 2012 at 82-55, while their worst came in 2009 at 54-84. These are the top five single seasons by starting pitchers that I felt have stood out the most during the team history of the Lugnuts.
In total, the team has won two championships, coming in 1997 and 2003.
5. Todd Wellemeyer (2001)
The 103rd overall pick of the 2000 draft out of Bellarmine by the Chicago Cubs pitched to a 13-9 record with the Lugnuts in 2001, going 147 innings while giving up 14 home runs, 68 earned runs and 165 hits, taking an ERA of 4.16. Lansing went 65-75, reaching the 2001 playoffs in spite of their losing record. However, they would be defeated by the Dayton Dragons two games to none in the first round. Wellemeyer would make his major league debut in 2003 with the Cubs.
4. Carlos Zambrano (1999)
An amateur free agent signed in 1997 by the Cubs, Zambrano took a 13-7 record with the Lugnuts during the 1999 season, pitching 153 and a third innings with nine home runs, 71 earned runs and 150 hits, claiming a 4.17 ERA. Lansing claimed a 73-67 record on the season to go into the 1999 playoffs. The team took down the Michigan Battle Cats two games to none in the first round, before being swept by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers two games to none in the second round. Zambrano would make his major league debut in 2001 with the Cubs.
3. Justin Pederson (1998)
The 1,391st overall pick of the 1996 draft out of Minnesota by the Minnesota Twins went 13-5 with the Lugnuts in 1998, going 154 innings with just nine home runs, 59 earned runs and 132 hits, grabbing a 3.45 ERA in the process. Lansing finished the season at 71-69, failing to qualify for the 1998 playoffs.
2. Carlos Marmol (2004)
After being signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1999, Marmol pitched to a 14-8 record in 2004, allowing 15 home runs, 55 earned runs and 131 hits in 154 and two-thirds innings for a 3.20 ERA. Lansing nabbed a 77-63 record to make the 2004 playoffs, losing to the West Michigan Whitecaps two games to one in the first round. Marmol would make his major league debut in 2006 with the Cubs.
1. Blaine Mull (1996)
The 163rd overall pick of the 1994 draft out of Freedom High School in North Carolina by the Kansas City Royals picked up a 15-8 record with 174 and two-thirds innings pitched, giving up nine home runs, 63 earned runs and 186 hits for a 3.25 ERA. Lansing scored a 68-71 record in their debut season to push their way into the 1996 playoffs, losing to the Whitecaps two games to one in the first round.
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