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Old 09-12-2019, 05:45 PM   #14
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May 2055

  • 26-31 (15-14 this month)
  • Runs scored: 250 (6th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 239 (10th)
  • Def: .704 (11th)

Central Division standings
Albany Firefoxes 33-24
Annapolis Mustangs 33-24
Richmond Eagles 26-31
Columbus Heatseekers 24-33
Indianapolis Wildcats 24-33
Trenton Colts 23-34

Month summary
  • Our steady .500 play continued throughout May, although arguably we were unlucky not to do better, as we’re 3 games below our Pythagorean record. We are 7 GB of a wildcard.
  • Our young pitchers have had a good month. The rotation has been much more effective and started going deep into games, while Justin Dodson, Gerardo Rivera and Wes Adams have made the late innings into low-scoring affairs. I hope for even better as the season progresses and our youthful arms continue to improve.
  • It’s the lineup where the problems have been biggest. Our reasonable tally of 250 runs scored masks a .224 team batting average - ranking us 30th out of 30 SCL teams. We walk a lot, but our team OBP of .313 is only league average. Neither catcher is hitting. And while we have some excellent defenders, we also have a lot of holes. I am considering how to address this; well, that is my job, after all.

Who’s hot?
  • SP Butch Davis (4-5, 2.96 ERA, 2.82 FIP) delivered a string of quality starts this month and has become the anchor of the rotation. That contract extension I agreed with him is looking like a very cost-effective move.
  • MR Wes Adams (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 12.79 K/9) is having a terrific rookie season and has been promoted into a setup role. His stuff is filthy, and if he just had more movement on his 98mph fastball he’d be nearly unhittable.
  • 1B Robert Numbers (.242/.354/.533, 12 HR) is only a year into his major league career, but he’s carrying our offense on his back right now.

Who’s not?
  • C Pedro Rivas (.201/.269/.299, 3 HR) continues to stink the place up. Unfortunately backup Jorge Flores has been no better in recent weeks. I yearn for a catcher like Ernesto Solís who I had in Des Moines. But I must look forward with this team rather than harking back to past glories elsewhere.
  • SS Jesús Torres (.162/.227/.230, 1 HR) is in a dreadful slump. Ed Shelton is replacing him at SS two or three times per week. I’m loathed to promote veteran infielder Paul Jackson and take playing time away from a young player like Torres, but would he benefit from more seasoning in the minors?
  • SP Manny Clemons (3-5, 4.37 ERA) has been inconsistent rather than outright bad. But I’m giving him just a couple more starts before deciding whether it might be better for him to pitch out of the bullpen for a while.

Biggest worry
  • 42-year-old David Miller (.243/.401/.384, 4 HR) had a much better May than April, but along with Pedro Rivas and Ryan Hurley is one of a trio of costly veterans on expiring contracts who aren’t delivering the goods. The fans would hate to see Miller and Hurley traded, but moving them before the deadline may be in the best long-term interest of the franchise. Hurley, however, has 10/5 rights.

Trades and transactions
  • 3B Fernando Galván has agreed a 3-year extension worth $2.5m through to 2058. That’s in total, not annually. Galván was likely to be a super-2 qualifier for arbitration after this season, and has the potential to be very, very good, so this could be an absolute bargain contract for us. He’ll have one year of arbitration left when the deal expires.
  • Backup C Jorge Flores (.731 OPS, 50% CS) has signed a 1-year extension for next season worth $2.6m. He’s a good reserve catcher and a great influence in the clubhouse.

Roster moves
  • A 14-4 thrashing by Augusta saw a calamitous performance from the bullpen, who collectively allowed 9 runs from 4.2 IP. My patience snapped. Relievers Mark Forrest (6.14 ERA, 5.5 BB/9) and Pancho Jaimes (6.91 ERA, 5.92 FIP) were demoted. 21-year-old prospect Joe Mathis was called up to the majors to replace Forrest as the lefty middle reliever. Winter signing Don Rich replaced Jaimes.
  • I gave MR Héctor Alvarez a spot start at the end of the month in a game against Providence, and it didn’t end well. Alvarez came out in the 6th inning with what was subsequently diagnosed as a ruptured tendon in his index finger, and he’ll need 3 months of rehab. Jaimes was recalled to the active roster and given the chance to redeem himself.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 3 May: MR Héctor Alvarez made his first start of the season and threw a superb complete game: 9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. RF José Arroyo also hit a grand slam in a 12-2 victory.
  • 5 May: Batting leadoff, DH Robbie Smith hit 4-5 against Trenton. 1B Robert Numbers hit his 10th homer - he jointly leads the league.
  • 6 May: SP Haden Monroe (4-2, 2.70) won a classic pitchers’ duel against the Wildcats’ Dave Reed. He threw 8 scoreless with just 1 hit.
  • 12 May: SS Ed Shelton hit 4-5 with 2 doubles in a 10-4 win versus Tallahassee.
  • 18 May: MR Joe Mathis made his major league debut as a spot starter against Augusta. He was sensational, throwing 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. But he didn’t also get the ‘W’ he deserved, as we lost 2-1 on a run in the 16th inning.
  • 25 May: SP Butch Davis beat Nashville with 8 scoreless innings, where he allowed only 5 hits and gave up no walks.

News from around the league
  • Salem’s über-talented young outfielder Dale Hollingsworth broke a bone in his elbow and is out for the season. That’s vital development time that will be missed by one of the league’s top prospects.
  • Madison (22-32) seemed to throw in the towel on their season by trading fan favourite and 8-time all-star closer Wynn Fleming to Salem for four prospects, headlined by the SCL #88 prospect 1B James Fulton. Brown Bears supporters were unhappy with the return.
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