(GAME DATE — Jan 1, 2020) — Last month, the Lake League MVP and 2018 Rookie of the Year, Les Groves, inked a 2-year extension that will see the 29-year-old Aussie catcher stay in a Milwaukee Hops uniform for at least two more seasons after 2020.
Hops GM Josh Clough is said to be excited to keep the Lake League’s most talented catcher in his lineup for the near future.
Groves, who was entering his arbitration eligibility period, will now see a guaranteed salary of $11.93 million for each year starting in 2021, plus bonuses of $650K if he repeats his MVP success, and another $140K for each all-star appearance.
“The General”, as he was known when he played in the now-defunct Bull Oceanic League, earned his MVP nod after leading the Lake League in hitting with a .362 average, his second season in a row as batting champion. He added 36 home runs and 102 RBIs, numbers that sufficiently convinced the voting GMs to elect him as the 2019 Carl Simms MVP Award winner for the Lake League.
The voting had been close, as Ohio’s Tyrone O’Saurus placed 2nd in the balloting after hitting 52 home runs, 121 RBIs, and slugging. 651, all to lead the league.
The Hops narrowly missed the playoffs last season in an exciting race down to the wire, but finished with a franchise best .525 win percentage after going 85-77 on the season. The team could be on the verge of exploding with success, as they have managed to assemble the 6th ranked minor league system and are sitting on a pile of budget room rumored to be more than $30 million large, which could go a long way in solving some infield and pitching deficiencies.