Friday, November 20, 2009


DANVILLE, IL. The Danville Dans have named former major leaguer, Steve Bieser, Dans Head Coach for the 2010 Prospect League Season.

Drafted as a catcher by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1989, Bieser played thirteen years of professional baseball for six different Major League organizations, two years at the Major League level with the Mets and the Pirates, and eight at the AAA level. In 1997 he was named New York Mets Rookie of the Year.

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Coach Bieser is currently employed by St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood, MO as an upper level math teacher and Head Baseball Coach. During his tenure, he has led Vianney to two State Championships and holds
a career record of 120-34.

He is the founder and president of the Saint Genevieve Baseball Club and the Head Coach of American Legion Summer Teams with records that include two State Championships (2007, 2008) and a National Championship (2008).

Coach Bieser has coached five players selected in the first year major league player draft (1st, 5th, 22st, 22nd, & 42nd rounds). Over 80% of his high school players have gone on to play college ball with 12 playing at the Division 1 level, 4 attaining freshmen All-American status, and one named a two-time All-American.

Bieser will bring his experience, directing The Pro Edge Baseball Camps, to Danville Dans campers and individual players, sharing his expertise in the areas of hitting, fielding and pitching. He has had an excellent reputation of producing top notch catching prospects as well.

Coach Bieser is married to the former Diahann Lynn Dunlap. The couple has four children, Cole (18), Whitley (15), Briley (11), and Carley (3).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Danville Dans alumni Chris Coghlan has been named National League Baseball Rookie of the Year. The following article appears on this morning.

By Alden Gonzalez /

It's been more than eight years since that fateful summer of 2001, when Chris Coghlan's father was killed just days before the Marlins infielder-turned-outfielder's 16th birthday.

On Monday afternoon, when he was named the winner of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award for the National League, Coghlan couldn't help but think of his dad, Tim Coghlan, and how he must be beaming with pride about his son right now.

"I know my dad is watching from heaven with a smile on his face," Coghlan said. "It makes me smile outside and inside, because he was the one who instilled the work ethic in me and taught me the game."

A lot of tears were shed when Coghlan suddenly lost his father in a fatal car accident. But there were plenty of smiles to go around on this day.

This was the day Coghlan's astonishing adjustments to a new fielding position and spot in the lineup received its due diligence, the day everything he's been taught about baseball throughout his entire young life -- lessons from coaches, teammates and, of course, his dad -- came to fruition.

With Monday's announcement by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Coghlan -- the Marlins' prized prospect from Tarpon Springs, Fla. -- joined American League winner Andrew Bailey of the Athletics, other Marlins honorees in Dontrelle Willis (2003) and Hanley Ramirez ('06), and former ROY winners like Ryan Howard, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki.

Time will tell whether this award vaults him onto a career path as successful as those of Howard, Jeter, Pujols and Suzuki. But Coghlan isn't one to get ahead of himself.

He didn't do it when trying to adjust to left field after a lifetime of playing second and third base, or when he moved to the leadoff spot for the first time in his professional career this season, or even when on the phone with reporters in a conference call on Monday.

"For right now, I can tell you what it means, and that's an honor," Coghlan said.

"To be in that same sentence for the same award, it's an honor, and I feel very blessed to be in this position and the platform I've been put on."

Coghlan's platform is pretty high right now.

The 24-year-old, called up from Triple-A New Orleans on May 8, beat out a talented slate of promising first-year players that seemingly didn't have a favorite going in.

But in the end, Coghlan and the second-place J.A. Happ finished well above the pack.

Coghlan received 17 first-place votes along with six for second and two for third to give him 105 points. The Phillies' left-hander, meanwhile, scored 94 points after receiving 10 first-place votes. Then, falling pretty far back were Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (two first-place votes each) and Brewers infielder Casey McGehee (one first-place vote).

"We're very proud of him, no doubt," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said in a phone interview. "We thought he was the Rookie of the Year for quite some time, and it was cemented today."

Coghlan, a lefty contact hitter, posted back-to-back 47-hit months -- becoming the first NL player with 94 hits in a two-month span since Dave Parker in 1978 -- finished sixth in the NL in batting average (.321) and led Senior Circuit rookies in runs (84), hits (162), total bases (232), doubles (31) and on-base percentage (.390).

His batting average was the highest ever by a Marlins rookie -- easily topping the .292 clips of Ramirez and Jeff Conine -- and he is just the eighth Major League rookie in the past 50 years to hit .321 or better.

"He had a great year and deserved the award," Marlins infielder Gaby Sanchez said via text message. "The numbers are just half of what he did. He played great outfield, especially for never playing the position."

In the second half of the season, Coghlan helped keep the low-payroll Marlins in contention with a Major League-leading 113 hits -- 11 more than Jeter -- and added a .372 batting average -- 14 points higher than eventual American League batting champion Joe Mauer.

His hits total in the second half matched Juan Pierre in '04 for the franchise record and was the most in the Majors since 1965.

And through it all, his focus was on one thing: winning.

"At no point when I was playing was my goal to win Rookie of the Year," said Coghlan, the first rookie since Kirby Puckett in 1984 to have 150-plus hits while playing in 130 games or fewer.

"It's an individual accomplishment, and what you're trying to accomplish during the course of the year is winning games. And, so, that wasn't my focus at the time. At the end of the year, I knew that I put myself in a good position to win."

The Marlins were set at the leadoff spot when they had Ramirez hit there the previous three years. But this season, Florida wanted to put its shortstop in a premium run-producing spot in the lineup, and the No. 1 position initially suffered.

That is, until Coghlan took over at that spot on a full-time basis on May 30 and finished leading the NL in batting average (.336) and on-base percentage (.397) as a table-setter.

"You never expect rookies to have those types of years," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming said in a phone interview. "There's a learning process. We expected him to be a really good hitter, and it just happened a little faster than, I think, you would anticipate."

Coghlan was stopped from playing his natural position of second base because of two-time All-Star Dan Uggla. But that can change next year. The Marlins are reportedly interested in dealing the high-priced Uggla this offseason, and that can open up a return to the infield for Coghlan.

"Hopefully we can retain Danny, but you never know," Coghlan said.

"If there is a change, I think that's something I would like to be looked at or in consideration to move back [to second base]."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dans Coghlan Honored by USAToday

USAToday Tabs Dans Alum Chris Coghlan National League's Top Rookie

Former Ole Miss third baseman and current outfielder with the Florida Marlins, Chris Coghlan was named the National League's top rookie by USAToday, the publication announced in its Sports Weekly publication.

The selections were made by a panel of 12 writers from USAToday Sports Weekly and the votes were compiled before the playoffs began.

Coghlan had an outstanding season for the Marlins after moving up to the big leagues on May 8, promptly shifting from the infield to the outfield for the Florida franchise. The converted outfielder moved into the top of the batting lineup and adjusted to his new role quickly.

Coghlan hit .321 for the season to lead all rookies in batting average and also posted a .390 on base percentage. He converted that on base percentage into a solid scoring output as he scored 84 runs on the year.

The Baseball Writer's Association will name its postseason awards beginning November 16, with the announcement of their Rookie of the Year winners from both the National and American leagues.

Coghlan played for the Dans in 2004.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This article is from ESPN sports. Those fans wishing to vote for Chris for Rookie of the year can vote at:

Chris played for the Dans in 2004. Bill and Pat Westphal were his host family, and he was coached by Bill Ferrari.

NL: Chris Coghlan, Marlins

Chris Coghlan
#8 LF
Florida Marlins

It isn't every year that two rookie starters as sensational as J.A. Happ and Tommy Hanson swoop in and go 12-4 and 11-4, respectively, with sub-3.00 ERAs for teams that needed every pitch they threw. But who is the last rookie hit machine remotely like Chris Coghlan? Ichiro? Derek Jeter? Nomar Garciaparra? Well, if those are the names we're comparing this guy to, that pretty much ends the debate about this trophy, wouldn't you say? Coghlan has cranked out more hits (157) than all but three men in the entire National League since his May 8 debut, has more hits (108) than anyone in the sport since the All-Star break and has the highest average (.332), on-base percentage (.394) and OPS (.861) of any NL leadoff hitter for the season. His 48 hits in September were the most by any rookie in 81 years (Chuck Klein, 1928). His 95 hits in August and September combined are the third-most in back-to-back months by any NL player in the expansion era, behind only Pete Rose and Dave Parker -- and the most by any rookie in 62 years (Dale Long, 1947). Five months ago, a lot of people thought the Marlins were crazy to drop this guy into their leadoff hole and a position (left field) he'd played for one day in his pro career. Needless to say, they don't look so nuts anymore. Do they?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This month's Reader's Digest has a letter in their "React" section noting the Danville Dans, in reaction to a letter on the high cost of attending a major league game. It goes, "Soon after moving to Illinois in 1990, I wanted to take my family to Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs. After checking prices for parking, admission, and meals, however, we realized the closest we'd ever get to the Cubs was the TV in our living room. Nowadays, we drive two and a half miles to watch the Danville Dans, a great bunch of guys who pay for the love of the game, not a seven-figure paycheck. Rooting for the Dans is just as exciting as watching a pro game-and a lot less expensive. No, Sean, it's not just you." Jack Nallett. Thanks Jack, and thanks Deb Wolgomot for drawing this to our attention. We are grateful to the fans and to our sponsors, who enable us to provide affordable entertainment to our community.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moreland named minor league Player of the Year

From, in a year where Chad Tracy knocked in a Frisco-record 107 runs and Mike Bianucci led the organization with 30 home runs, Danville Dan 2005 alumni Moreland got the nod for minor league Player of the Year because of his remarkable consistency.

Moreland didn’t post a batting average below .296 in any of the minor league regular season's five months. In fact, his next lowest monthly average was .325, which he accomplished in his first full month at Double-A Frisco.

In all, Moreland combined to bat .331 with 38 doubles, 16 home runs and 85 RBIs between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco.

The 24-year-old had little problem sustaining his success after he was promoted to Frisco. Moreland played in 73 games with the RoughRiders, hitting .326 with 19 doubles, three triples, and eight home runs.

Moreland has a line-drive stroke, but he also has above-average home run power. Even with the power, the Mississippi State product is patient and he doesn’t often swing at pitches out of the zone. In 471 official at-bats this season, Moreland struck out just 68 times–seemingly a rarity in today’s game.

For the second consecutive year, the left-handed hitter was more than effective against his fellow southpaws. Between the two levels, Moreland posted a .350/.430/.561 slash line against lefties. More specifically, he had 16 walks and 16 strikeouts in 123 official at-bats.

Moreland’s outstanding 2009 season turned him into one of the top position prospects in the Rangers’ system, and he could get a shot at the Major Leagues at some point next season.

For the time being, Moreland will try to raise his stock even more in next month’s Arizona Fall League. As Moreland told Lone Star Dugout in his interview yesterday, he expects to play about 75 percent of his games with the Surprise Rafters as an outfielder.

2009 BAK (A+)/FRI (AA) .331 471 38 16 85 85 2/3 44 68 .391 .527

11-1-09, Mitch is currently hitting .397 playing for the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wherever he’s needed, Dans Kaczrowski shines in field

YAKIMA, Wash. — Before Dan Kaczrowski embarked on his first professional baseball journey, his college coach made a suggestion.

“He told me it might be a good idea to bring an outfielder’s glove,” Kaczrowski said. “Even though I’d played the infield my entire college career, he said, ‘You never know.’”

It turned out that Jason Verdugo, head coach of the Hamline University Pipers of St. Paul, Minn., was on the right track. He might also have recommended a first baseman’s mitt.

“I didn’t bring one of those, either,” Kaczrowski, a Bears utilityman, said during a recent interview.

Yakima's Dan Kaczrowski warms up to bat as his team plays the Tri-City Dust Devils on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009. (Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald-Republic)
And who knows? By the time the Northwest League season ends on Sept. 6, Kaczrowski might need to borrow someone’s catcher’s gear. Or maybe he’ll be summoned to the pitcher’s mound.

Kaczrowski has, after all, played all seven positions other than pitcher or catcher this summer, impressing Yakima manager Bob Didier and others among the Arizona Diamondbacks system.

“He’s also been a DH,” Didier said. “So I guess you’d have to count that, too.”

Have glove, will travel.

That the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Kaczrowski has played so many different positions is one thing. That he’s played each of them well — appearing as well-rehearsed in left field as he has at shortstop or second base — is quite another.

“He’s a baseball player,” Didier said. “I guess that’s the best way to describe him.”

Especially if you trace Kaczrowski’s baseball roots.

The Yakima Bears's Dan Kaczrowski runs for second base as his team plays the Tri-City Dust Devils on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009. (Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald-Republic)
“I played everywhere except first and the outfield,” he said of his days at St. Anthony Village High School, located between Minneapolis and St. Paul. “I caught through JVs, and then I was our closer in high school.”

At Hamline (pronounced HAM-lynn), the player known as Kaz to friends and teammates played second base his first two years, then moved to shortstop as a junior and senior.

Early this season Didier, who has a knack for tapping previously unrealized potential, gave Kaczrowski a start in left field. In one of his first games there Kaz made two head-first, diving catches.

“The thing about diving for a ball,” he said, “is you have to know when to do it and when not to. If there are runners on base and you’re in a close game, you don’t want to let the ball to get by you so one or maybe all of them can score. With two out and no one on base — that’s when maybe you dive for one.”

Subsequent moves to center and right revealed similar success. He seems a natural at tracking fly balls, has the speed to reach drives to the gaps and the hands to hang on once he gets there.

Third base, meanwhile, is not called the hot corner for nothing.

“The ball gets on you quick,” Kaczrowski said. “It’s pretty much just reacting.”

His favorite position? “Probably second,” he said.

“The thing with me is, though, that I don’t really care as long as I’m in the lineup. As long as I’m playing — somewhere, anywhere.”

Said Didier, “The good thing about him is has enough arm to play short or third or in the outfield. You can pinch-run him (he began Wednesday night’s game with 10 stolen bases in 12 tries). He has some work to do on his hitting — still tries to pull the ball a little too much (though he had hiked his batting average to .273 prior to Wednesday’s game).

“He’s probably been overlooked some because of his size. But with his versatility, which makes him more valuable to any organization, he has a very bright future.”

And now, a wider selection of gloves.

From sports

Dan played for the Dans in 2008, hitting .389 and winning Player of the League honors.