Hello, all! Yes, it’s Monday and you know what that means: it’s time for another edition of Mondays With Torgy!
Sorry about not having a report, last week. Missed some good stuff. The fine professional debuts of Nick Akins, Mario Songco, Stephen Ames and Joseph Paxson. Also missed a great week by the ‘topes’ pitching staff as they found the joy of the humidor. With the exception of the PCL, all leagues began their second half of the season. None of the Dodger franchises took a first half title, so let’s hope that we get some continuation of the good play that finished the first half on the farm.
The Topes still lead the PCL American South with a 42-39 record and a 2.5 game lead over the RedHawks. Just for those who want to know, the Topes are 61 games from clinching. They are also in the midst of the three game winning streak, even though two of their last three games have been rained out. It is still pitching that is carrying the Topes. Jason Schmidt has managed to win his first two starts for the Topes and even more exciting, his arm is still attached to his body. Mind you, he is giving up plenty of hits, but he he is controlling the strike zone and keeping the ball in the park. Most reports have him working in the 90-91 range – much better than the 80-83 he was tossing, last year. Josh Lindblom made his first start at AAA and went six, picking up the victory. His command is still a bit spotty, but he keeps the ball in the park and I am thinking of moving up his ETA to September, after hedging my bets and thinking that next June or July would be more reasonable. Scott Strickland continues to amaze as a closer. He picked up his sixteenth save this week and has lowered his ERA to mid threes and his WHIP is down to 1.2. Lastly, on the pitching end, Charlie Haeger continues to impress. I am pretty chomping at the bit to see his knuckleball in the show.
The offense has been less than spectacular. With Hector Luna and Xavier Paul still nursing injuries and Mitch Jones in DFA Purgatory, the Topes offense has been mostly JD Closser (.396), Jamie Hoffman (.352) and Dee Brown (.306 with two bombs and eleven rbis). Still very disappointed in the offensive showings of Chin Lung Hu (.252/.297/.313) and Blake DeWitt (.246/.343/.406). As scary as it sounds, aside from Hoffman, Jason Repko might be the only other player worth a September call-up.
The Lookouts are in middle of the pack of the SL North with a 7-7 record in the second half. They are two games back of the DiamondJaxx. Lucas May finally came off of the DL and in today’s game, the Lookouts opened up the king size can of Whipass as Lambo, Russell Mitchell, Tommy Giles and Eduardo Perez all went yard. Quietly, Giles is having a very nice month after getting a fair amount of splinters sitting the bench. His numbers against right handed pitching are terrific. Unfortunately, his numbers against southpaws are nearly as bad as Ethier’s. Lambo is having an interesting last eight games. He is has a hit in each game he has started (he walked in his only at bat as a pinch hitter, four days ago), while cutting his strikeouts down (only two k’s over the past ten days) and he has shown some power. Also, newly signed Ramon Nivar (formerly of the Rangers and Orioles) is belting the ball all over the yard at a .412 clip and James Tomlin is having his usual mid-season renaissance by hitting nearly .400 over the past two weeks.
The problem with the Topes is that they are short-handed on starting pitching. Travis Chick, Jesus Castillo and James Adkins are the only pitchers who could be called starters with Alberto Bastardo and Tim Corcoran getting run out by necessity rather than skillset. The pen is still doing surprisingly well as it appears that Matthew Sartor has won the closer’s job. Victor Garate and JD Durbin have been strong as set up men, but Javy Guerra has struggled mightily with his command as he has walked twice as many has he has struck out since his call up.
The Sixers are off to a good start, this half. They are tied for first with the Mavericks in the Cal League South with a 7-4 record. There good start is based on a strong combination of improved hitting and some decent pitching. Leading the offense has been Scott Van Slyke and Elian Herrera, who are both hitting well over .400 for the past two weeks, while Trayvon Robinson has been on a power kick and Steven Caseres continues to impress with his plate discipline and power. Pedro Baez was named to the US/World All Star game. He wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice from the Dodgers, but he is having a good year and has quieted the talk about moving him to the mound.
On the pitching side, Tim Sexton is getting some support and has won his past three starts. Steven Johnson and the recently called up Alberto Bastardo were also very strong over the past few weeks. Chris Withrow, who had a run of five very good starts has now had three straight stinkers where he has not made it past the fifth inning. The Sixers are also suffering from a paucity of able starting pitchers as they have even had to run out the very awful Mario Alvarez and his one-pitch repetoire to take some starts.
The Loons are off to a bad start, 4-6 and five games back of the Tincaps. Right now, the problem is the hitting. Aside from Dee Gordon, the bats have gone pretty silent. Kyle Russell is still putting up a good season, but he also has reached a hundred strikeouts with Jaime Pedroza really close to catching up. I suspect they will get some reinforcements from Ogden and the AZL shortly. Recently signed Jeremy Wise along with Jerry Sands and Mario Songco shouldn’t waste too much time in the Pioneer League.
The pitching has been decent as Josh Walter, Jon-Michael Redding and Nathan Eovaldi have been very good over the past month, but it has been a bad month for Ethan Martin (walking nearly as many as he strikes out), Robert Boothe (his ERA against right handed hitters is over six) and Jordy Pratt (his usual June swoon that will likely continue until September). Geison Aguasviva and Cole St. Clair have taken over the closing duties since Javy Guerra got the call.
The Raptors, after starting the season 0-3 have won seven of their last ten games to be two games back of the Chukars at 7-6. Surprisingly enough the pitching has been better than I expected. Elisaul Pimentel has been very strong on the hill posting a ERA of two, while relief pitchers Joseph Paxson, Stephen Ames, Daigoro Rondon and Greg Wilborn have gotten off to impressive starts out of the pen Of course, anything below six is a good ERA in the Pioneer League.
The offense, as to be expected, has been strong. Jerry Sands and Mario Songco lead the team with five bombs, each. Brian Carvazos-Galvez and Austin Yount have also gotten off to good starts with Yount having a four rbi game this week and Galvez showing some speed to go along with his power. Jeremy Wise went 2-4 in his debut and also threw out a runner at second, leading me to believe his stay in Ogden will be short.
Lastly, the AZL Dodgers are tied for first in the AZL West with the Rangers and Mariners. The bats have been very good for the Dodgers, especially Nick Akins (.415/.467/.732), Pedro Tavarez (.500/.564/.529), Clay Calfee (.968 obs) and Michael Pericht (.348/.531/.739). The pitching has been fairly good, also. Carl Webster and Carlos Frias have been great in their first two starts while Roberto Feliciano and Bolivar Medina have good,
although it is a small sample size.
Thanks, Torgy. Until next week, this has been another week of “Mondays With Torgy!”