Fishing for Mudcats: A tale of two weeks
From the Bait Shop:
It’s never good to go from first place-to-last place in a week, even if it’s only the second full week of the Carolina League season. The only good newsfor the Mudcats is that it is only the second week of the season, and the Muddies are only three games out of first place.
Things will definitely need to improve quickly after they went 1-6 this week.
The offense had high points, but overall, it just wasn’t any good. They struggled getting on base, and struggled scoring runs. They did manage 13 doubles on the week, but only one homer and 20 runs overall in their seven baseball games. When your pitching is busy giving up 39 runs, you know it’s going to be a hard week.
The pitching wasn’t much better. The starters could manage only one win, and while there were a few notable performances, there wasn’t any consistency, which was needed with the poor output. In other words, nothing was really clicking for the Muddies in what turned out to be a moving week for the team.
The Mudcats do remain second in the league in hitting, with a .273 average overall, but that’s mainly based on their first week’s offensive explosion. They have dropped to last in the league in homers, and to the middle of the pack in doubles, RBI and runs scored. They are second to last in the league with 100 K’s, and second in the league with 56 walks, and second in the league in stolen bases.
On the pitching side, things aren’t much better. Their ERA is middle-of-the-road and north of 4.00 at 4.14. their equally middling in hits, runs and earned runs, but dead last in K’s, but have only walked 40 batters, which is a league best.
Where we stand after Week #2:
|2013 Carolina League Current Standings|
|Carolina League Northern|
|Frederick Keys (BAL)||9||6||0.600||-||W1|
|Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL)||7||7||0.500||1.5||L2|
|Potomac Nationals (WSH)||7||8||0.467||2||L1|
|Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC)||7||8||0.467||2||L3|
|Carolina League Southern|
|Winston-Salem Dash (CWS)||9||6||0.600||-||W4|
|Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX)||8||7||0.533||1||W2|
|Salem Red Sox (BOS)||6||8||0.429||2.5||W2|
|Carolina Mudcats (CLE)||6||9||0.400||3||L2|
Week #2 Games:
|14 @ Winston-Salem, L 2-15 (WP: T. Marin; LP: W. Roberts)|
|15 @ Wilmington, L 3-4 (WP: A. Cruz; LP: O. Dew; SV: A. Triggs)|
|16 @ Wilmington, L 3-4 (WP: C. Fassold; LP: J. Reichenbach; SV: R. Yambati)|
|17 @ Wilmington, L 2-6 (WP: S. Patton; LP: J. Lee)|
|18 vs. Myrtle Beach, W 5-1 (WP: S. Morimando; LP: J. Eickhoff)|
|19 vs. Myrtle Beach, Postponed: Rain|
|20 vs. Myrtle Beach, L 2-3 (WP: A. Asher; LP: W. Roberts; SV: A. Mavare)|
|20 vs. Myrtle Beach, L 3-6 (WP: R. Harvey; LP: O. Dew; SV: J. Edwards)|
This Week’s Transactions:
No official league transactions listed…
April 14th-April 20th
|Joseph Wendle, Joseph||0.375||6||16||1||6||2||0||0||3||6||3||0||0||0.542||0.500||1.042|
Charlie Valerio really is about as under-a-radar guy as you can get on a team with both Francisco Lindor andTyler Naquin. This week, he was second on the team with six hits, had a double, and tied for the team-lead with three RBI on the week. He’s not really an offensive threat, but when you get a week like this, it’s icing on the cake. Unfortunately, when the team is struggling overall, the icing becomes the cake, and that was the problem in week two. He’ll never be counted on to be the leader of the team, but he’s good glue to have in the lineup and behind the plate.
Jake Lowery is another guy to keep an eye on as the season progresses. He only played in three games this week, but he did hit the team’s only home run. It will be interesting to see if he gets more at bats as the season progresses. It’s clear he’s fallen down the totem pole, but if he can muster up some good power numbers in this league, he could at least be interesting to watch.
Todd Hankins is basically a speed guy on this team, who can play the middle infield, third, and even some outfield in a pinch. The deal with him is pretty basic for an all-speed guy, and that’s getting on base. He struck out 107 times in 2012, and his career OBP is only .324. If he gets on base, he becomes a major issue. The problem is, he just doesn’t get on base all that much.
This week, he hit .357, and his OBP was through the roof at .471. He tied for the team lead in runs with Tyler Naquin with four on the week, and managed to steal two bases as well. He has four stolen bases on the year, which is second on the team, but I have a feeling that he’s just warming up. He’s not an upside guy, but likely falls into the same category as a guy like Delvi Cid as a minor league fill candidate, but I always love speed, and you just never know. Like Valerio though, if Hankins is one of the only guys on this list of favorables, your team likely isn’t playing well overall.
Francisco Lindor continues his more-than-solid High A debut. He hit .286 on the week, which would be a great end of the year number for the defensive-minded future-star. Overall, Lindor is hitting .346 though, which is eight in the league. He’s in the top 20 in every offensive category. He’s fifth in hits, tenth in on base percentage and twelve in OPS.
He’s also tops in the league with three triples and seven stolen bases. The speed is unquestionable at this point, and just another tool in this advanced prospects arsenal. It will be interesting to see how long he can sustain this level of play offensively, and if he can continue to grow defensively. He’s spectacular, but can make simple errors at times.
As his stamina grows though, you have to believe that he’s going to be something special.
Offensive Player of the Week: Joseph Wendle
Mr. Wendle is owning the Carolina League. Let’s get right to it. He’s leading the league in average, on base percentage, hits and OPS, and has to be one of the early surprises in the entire organization early on in the season. No, the fact that he’s hitting the ball isn’t a surprise, but the fact that he’s arguably the league’s best hitter at this point really is.
Wendle, 23, can hit, and while he’s not old by any stretch, compared to many of the stars on this team, he is a bit advanced. He still has a way to go to prove that he can continue to be a plus hitter for the rest of his time in Carolina, and beyond. Right now, he’s just another up-the-middle option that the Indians have, and because he has such an advanced bat, he could advance a bit if he continues to hit the ball. He definitely has some bodies ahead of him, but he just adds to surplus of middle infielders that this team has.
I can’t help but think that they may have similar style player in mentality, minus the power, as Jason Kipnis.
Hitter of the Week 1: Bryson Myles
In the Mud:
Jordan Smith continues to struggle in the early part of 2013. It’s far from concerning as of yet, but he did only manage to hit .083 this week, and is hitting only .151 on the season. He will surely come around, but it will be interesting to see how he comes out of this early season slump. Bryson Myles also regressed a lot in the second week after being our week 1 offensive player of the week. Tyler Naquin struck out eight times this week, andTony Wolters still hasn’t found much offensively. When you consider what he did last May April though, you have to feel pretty good where he is. He’s only caught in one game, and played second in one game, so the fact that he’s the primary DH right now is a bit disconcerting, as he’s only hitting .200 on the year.
Jeff Johnson has been lights-out for the Indians so far this year, even though he hasn’t had many save opportunities early in the season. He’s the only Muddie with a 0.00 ERA, and he’s been near perfect in his five innings of work this season, giving up only one hit. He gave up the hit this week, which has been the only chink in his armor.
The Muddies have surely had some good closers come through here in the past two or three years.
Jordan Cooper has been one of what we can probably call the Big 3 with regards to the starters. He started one game this week, and did a really nice job, only giving up one run, five hits and two walks in his six innings. His overall ERA is 1.64, and he is seventh in ERA with regards to starters in the Carolina League. He’s an interesting starter going forward, but will have a lot to prove in Akron and Columbus before he’s considered legit. I like what I’ve seen so far though.
Rob Nixon was perfect in his one inning of work in week 2, and while you never jump up and down with glee about one inning, you need performances like that from guys you don’t expect it from. Francisco Jimenez would fall into that category as well, but he only gave up a run in four innings of work. Jimenez can be extremely effective at times, but doesn’t have an overwhelming arm. He is what he is, and will have good weeks and bad weeks.
Pitcher of the Week: Shawn Morimando
What Morimando has never been is a pure strikeout pitcher, so if that’s what you are expecting, don’t. I suppose that puts him down on the list of potential breakout starters down the line, but as a lefty, it does make him a potential prospect for sure. He was solid in the Arizona Rookie League, with a 3.00 ERA in three appearances out of the pen in 2011. He was solid in Single A, going 7-6 with a 3.59 ERA. He’s had a really big start to 2013, going 1-1 early, with a 1.29 ERA.
He was the only Mudcat to get a win this week, and struck out three, without giving up a walk. He held the opposition to a .190 average to top it all off.
Pitcher of the Week1: Cody Anderson
In the Mud:
Michael Goodnight and Owen Dew both made two appearances, and both put up ERA’s over 11. Enosil Tejedarolled out a 9.00 ERA in his only inning ove work, and Will Roberts made two starts, and gave up 12 total runs, with six of them earned. Grant Sides improved on last week’s dismal performance, but not sure a 6.00 ERA is anything to shout about.
Next Week’s Fishing Expedition:
|21 vs. MyrtleBeach, 2:00 PM|
|22 vs. Potomac, 7:15 PM|
|23 vs. Potomac, 7:15 PM|
|24 vs. Potomac, 7:15 PM|
|25 vs. Potomac, 7:15 PM|
|26 @ Frederick, 7:00 PM|
|27 @ Frederick, 2:00 PM|
The View Astern:
Jerrud Sabourin was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Week last week, and it was much deserved. While he scuffled a bit this week, he was leading the league in hitting for much of the first 1 ½ weeks of the season. A lot is made of his lack of “power,” but that power production is homer power. He has gap power.
Carolina has stranded 114 runners on base, which is the second most in the league.
Low and High A baseball always has swings like this with regards to wins and losses. These players are young, and many haven’t been in the organization for much longer than a year. The key at these lower levels is always the bullpen, as starters rarely go more than five or six innings this early in the season. Right now, Carolina’s isn’t all that good.
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Off the subject, but I am going to visit Williamsburg, V A for two weeks starting Saturday, 4/27. We would like to see a Mudcats game if there is one within reasonable distance from Williamsburg. The schedule is all over and I have no idea what the difficulty is in the stadiums or their locations. Can you give me some help if this is reasonable? I am disabled with limited walking ability since an automobile accident in November. Thanks.