The Beavers went 3-and-3 on the week, keeping their season record.500 overall at 12-and-12. The squad lost a game to division-leading Salt Lake and now sits three back.
The offense surged this week, scoring 40 in six contests to move them in a tie for third in the league with 90 runs. The leap coincides with the break-out performances of Jack Cust and Paul McAnulty, who combined to drive in 17 and score 14 more. Cust now owns the second-best on-base percentage in the league at .473 and has a PCL-best 24 runs scored. Although Justin Leone has cooled a bit, he still is among leaders for average, OBP and slugging, and paces the league with 8 homers. Freddy Guzman has run his way to a tie for the lead with nine stolen bases.
While the offense has improved, the pitching staff – which already sported the worst earned run average in the league – took several poundings to raise their combined ERA to 5.82. Jon Adkins, with four saves, is the only positive appearance among league leaders for the staff, but Aquilino Lopez gave up another homer to remain second on the circuit.
Adkins has yet to allow a run in eight innings of work for Portland, but lefty Erick Burke is the only other pitcher on the staff with an ERA below 4.00. Burke, who has allowed just 11 hits in 15 innings, posted a 3.07 mark at two levels in the Phillies’ system last year.
Names of note: Brian Sikorski has yielded a run in three of his last four appearances to raise his ERA to 4.15, but the righty who pitched in Japan for the last three years is racking up the strikeouts. In 17.1 innings of work, he has whiffed 28 and he is holding opponents to a .218 average … Jon Knott continues his early-season struggles, hitting just .170 overall. The right-handed slugger has struck out in 16 of his 53 at-bats, well above his career pace. … Reliever Jason Anderson threw four shutout innings over three appearances this week to continue to bring his ERA down. Excluding one brutal outing against Sacramento early in the year, he would have a 3.14 mark.
The BayBears split four games with Mississippi after finishing a dreadful series against Huntsville to go 2-and-3 on the week and move their season record to 9-15. The club now sits five and a half games behind the South division leaders Jacksonville.
Mobile continues to sit near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, including a .229 team average that is better than just one Southern League foe. Drew Macias (.307) and George Kottaras (.303) have both moved into the top 10 for average, and Kottaras leads the league in both on-base percentage (.432) and slugging (.682). Brett Bonvechio’s two triples also have him on the leader boards.
While the pitching staff has brought their ERA down for the second straight week, the 3.73 mark remains second-highest in the Southern League, almost a full run behind Carolina. The squad has yielded just 11 homers and 74 walks – both among league leaders – but opponents have hit a healthy .260 against them.
Jared Wells remains a force. He ranks sixth with a 2.03 ERA and is tied for the league lead with three wins in four decisions. He also owns one of four complete games tossed thus far. Roger Deago, who also has three victories, has been even better, allowing just two runs in 19.1 innings for the league’s second-lowest ERA. Reliever Paul Abraham’s 10 appearances are fourth on the circuit.
Names of note: Brett Bonvechio was 6-for-16 on the week to raise his average to .222. While he has drawn 16 walks to lead the team, he also has struck out 27 times. … For the second consecutive year, Luis Cruz is off to a slow start with the BayBears. After a promising showing in Mexico this winter, the middle infielder has just a .189 average in Mobile and has committed four errors in the field. … Cesar Carrillo has allowed just 29 runners in 28 innings of work. The righty has recorded 20 strikeouts while posting a 2.57 ERA.
The Storm went 4-3 in an inconsistent week. They swept division-leading Rancho Cucamonga, but turned around and dropped three straight to Bakersfield before opening their current series with a 7-4 victory over Inland Empire. The squad is now 13-11 and half a game behind the Quakes.
Even with Dirk Hayhurst leading a shutout effort during the week, the pitching staff saw their team ERA rise to 3.10, moving them down one spot to second in the Cal League. Starters Mike Ekstrom and Evan Meek rate fourth and fifth individually, although Meek continues to lead the league with 18 walks. Ryan Klatt and Jonathan Ellis, with 12 and 11 appearances respectively, have the top two totals in the league.
Storm hitters continue to strike out at a prolific pace, with their 212 strikeouts outpacing their hit count through 24 games. Skip Adams leads the team with 29 whiffs in 76 at-bats, but Chase Headley (25) and Tim Brown (23) are close behind him.
Colt Morton is third in the league with nine doubles and 19 runs scored, but no other Elsinore hitter is on the board.
Names of note: Tim Turner, playing every day with three members of the Storm outfield on the disabled list, struck out 12 times in 30 at-bats during the week, while drawing no walks. On the positive side, he did swipe five bases, as the team got as many in the week as they had total through the first two and a half. … Tim Brown was 8-for-26 on the week to raise his average to .215. The lefty slugger has yet to hit his first homer, but does have eight doubles on the year. … The bullpen received a boost not just from closer Neil Jamison, but from righty Richie Daigle, who signed as an undrafted free agent last year. Daigle has yielded only one run in 10 innings of work after his promotion from extended spring training and is holding opponents to a .152 average.
The Wizards were just 1-and-4 last week before having two straight contests with Beloit washed out. They have dropped four straight to even their record at 11--11 and now sit five and a half games behind division-leading Lansing.
The club’s .269 team average continues to lead the league, and a little better timely hitting helped them take over first place with 127 runs scored as well.
Will Venable (.355) and Seth Johnston (.351) remain in the top five for average. While Johnston also ranks among leaders for hits, RBI and doubles, Venable is one of three Wizards in the top five for on-base percentage. Blanks has more doubles (11) than anyone else in the league and is second with a .595 slugging percentage, while Daryl Jones is reaching base at a .415 clip.
While the offense continues to produce, the pitching staff had a tough week which saw their ERA rocket up nearly half a run to 4.30, moving them down to 12th in the Midwest League. No Fort Wayne pitcher is in the top five for any category.
Names of note: While the team’s 29 errors is well below the league average, they have surrendered 20 unearned runs through 22 games. Shortstop Ray Chang has a team-high eight errors, including three in three games this week. … Lefty Brandon Higelin continues to dominate. He has a 1.35 ERA through 13.1 innings with 15 strikeouts, and has yielded just two hits in 20 at-bats by left-handed hitters. …Third baseman Chad Steiner was 7-for-20 on the week to raise his average to .263. Although he’s often lost in the shuffle among Fort Wayne’s offensive leaders, his 15 RBIs are good for second on the club.