Friday, August 8, 2008

Down on the Farm - 8/8

Before we get into how the Tampa Yankees are doing, kudos to them for holding Breast Cancer Awareness Night at GMS III Field on August 15. The players will be wearing blue jerseys with pink lettering, like that Joba guy once did, that will be auctioned off with partial proceeds going to the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

On a lighter note, the team is also holding a Jimmy Buffett tribute night on the 16th.

It's been an up and down season for the Florida St. Leaguers, who have had a number of winning and losing streaks. Their current two game slide has left them 58-57, 21-24 in the second half. They obviously miss the pitching of Eric Hacker (Trenton) and Al Aceves (Scranton), who were a combined 6-3, 1.98 before being promoted. Zach McAllister's 6-6 record doesn't reflect just how well he's pitched. The right-hander has compiled a 2.17 ERA in his 12 starts. Overall, between Charleston and Tampa, McAllister is 12-9, 2.30 in 22 starts. Jon Hovis has excelled in the closer's role, recording 10 saves, and has an 8:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Offensively, 1st baseman Kevin Smith leads the team with 50 RBI while posting a .283 average. DH Andres Perez has added 8 home runs and 41 RBI to a team that misses Edwar Gonzalez, who was promoted to Trenton after 27 games. Mitch Hilligoss, who hit in 38 straight games en route to a .310 season, has been a disappointment. The third baseman is batting just .241.

The Charleston RiverDogs battled a number of injuries to put together a fantastic 45-25 first half in the South Atlantic League. Things haven't gone so smoothly since, as the Dogs have put together just a 22-23 record. Granted, they have lost stars like starters McAllister and Jason Stephens to Tampa.

The big name on the RiverDogs is of course Jesus Montero. The 6'4" catcher fought off a bad May and came back strong, hitting .293 in June and .341 in July. He's topped that with a .387 average in 8 games in August. Montero has hit 13 home runs, 30 doubles, and driven in 69 runs in 430 at-bats. He's also done a good job of making contact, having struck out 69 times. He's also hit an impressive .350 with runners in scoring position and has an .844 OPS.

Montero is not alone, though. 3rd baseman Brad Suttle (.280-10-33, .828 OPS in 72 games), fellow catcher Austin Romine (.283-7-34 in 82 games), Justin Snyder (.290, 52 RBI), and Brandon Laird (17 HRs, 60 RBI) have all put together solid seasons.

Jon Ortiz has been a stud at closer, recording 28 saves, while striking out 73 batters in 52.2 innings. Starter Wil De la Rosa, a converted position player, has compiled a 7-3, 2.29 mark with 110 strikeouts in 90.1 innings. Dellin Betances and Lance Pendleton have each had solid seasons, with 7 wins apiece.

Tomorrow - the Staten Island and GCL Yankees

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