Results tagged ‘ Akron Aeros ’
When Matt Wickswat made his first 2012 appearance with the Dash Wednesday night, Winston-Salem finally did something that all big league squads took care of within the season’s first few weeks.
The Dash finally used a left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen.
It took Winston 90 games, but the club finally pulled off the feat. Shockingly, one other full-season minor league team still has not used a lefty out of its bullpen. The Akron Aeros, Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League, have played 90 games without using a southpaw as a reliever.
For what it is worth, both the Dash (53-36-1) and the Aeros (52-38) have the best records in their leagues.
The state of Ohio does not like lefties, it seems. The only two other full-season squads who have used a left-handed reliever less than 10 times are in the state of Ohio. Low-A Dayton (Cincinnati) has used a lefty reliever four times, while Low-A Lake County (Cleveland) has done so on eight different occasions.
Wickswat is only the third lefty to work for the Dash this season. Wednesday night’s starter Blair Walters is the only other one still on the roster, while Spencer Arroyo made 14 starts before a promotion to Double-A Birmingham.
I wouldn’t expect other teams to adopt the “don’t use a left-hander out of the bullpen” philosophy, but it has worked well for the Dash. And Wickswat did post a perfect eighth inning of relief, so southpaw bullpen arms are working on a perfect season in Winston-Salem.
The baseball season is officially a month old next week, but the changing of the calendar serves as a good marker to take stock of a team’s progression through the season. In edition to highlighting the significant news in the Carolina League and White Sox system, this edition of Dashing Around Baseball will analyze the seven other Carolina League teams and offer a quick prediction for how they will fare this month.
Call-up Season-Minor league teams evolve throughout the season with the inevitable rise and fall of players through their organizations. We have hit the point where early season performers are being rewarded with promotions.
Lynchburg’s Evan Gattis was leading the Carolina League in batting average, home runs, RBI, hits and extra base hits before being called up to Double-A Mississippi Monday.
Gattis also had a slugging percentage of .821, (anything in the .600 range is considered elite). We had already started engraving his name in the Home Run Derby Trophy for the California-Carolina League All-Star Game, alas he likely will not be in Winston-Salem come June 19th.
Myrtle Beach lost reliever Chad Bell to Double-A Frisco after the left-hander compiled a 1-0 record and 1.59 ERA in four appearances with the Pelicans. Bell struck out 12 batters in 11.1 innings.
The Mudcats also lost one of their best arms when southpaw T.J. House was bumped up to Double-A Akron. House went 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts with Carolina, striking out 26 batters in 25 innings. He is scheduled to debut tonight (Tuesday) for the Aeros.
May Musings-As the month progresses, Brian and I will delve more into first-half division championship contenders and give input on players who will be critical to their team’s chances. For now, here is a quick breakdown of each team:
- Carolina-At the start of the year, the Mudcats had one of the best pitching staffs in the league with Clayton Cook, Mike Rayl and House. Now, Cook is on the DL and House is in Double-A. Center fielder Tyler Holt is hitting .347 and has a league-leading three triples to anchor the Carolina offense.
- Frederick-The defending Mills Cup champions have struggled to emerge from the departure of a core of stars to Double-A. Salvation could arrive in the form of top prospect Dylan Bundy, who has pitched to near perfection at the Low-A level.
- Lynchburg-The Hillcats are tied with the Dash for the fewest losses in the league thanks to a five-game win streak to open the season. Lynchburg has a gaping hole in production with the departure of Gattis, but the middle infield combo of Nick Ahmed and Tommy LaStella have the bats to keep the offense afloat.
- Myrtle Beach-Arguably, the Pelicans have the best rotation in the Carolina League. The Pelicans 3.14 ERA is the lowest in the league. Cody Buckel, following in the form of best friend Trevor Bauer, has compiled a 2-1 record and 1.65 ERA in five starts. The Pelicans offense has talent, but is extremely young and has struggled so far at the plate.
- Potomac-The Nationals are struggling but injuries have stripped this team of its best players. Anthony Rendon was the best player in the league before suffering an ankle injury, while highly touted pitchers Matt Purke and Robbie Ray are rehabbing prior injuries in extended spring training. When healthy, Potomac could be dangerous.
- Salem-The rotation received a huge boost with the recent arrival of Matt Barnes. The Red Sox top pick in 2011 posted a 0.34 ERA in five starts with Low-A Greenville. Barnes also has laser-like control with 42 strikeouts to just four walks in 26.2 innings.
- Wilmington-The Blue Rocks were inept at the plate for most of the month with one of the lowest slugging percentages in all of Minor League Baseball. But Wilmington put together a four-game win streak to climb into second in the Northern Division. The lineup has the ability to break out of its slow start.
Around the Farm
- MLB’s White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin provides a comprehensive recap of the first month of the season for the White Sox. Jake Peavy’s dominance has led a reliable Chicago rotation. Peavy turned in back-to-back complete games in his last two outings and is holding batters to a .162 average.
- The Knights have made the biggest news off the field as the proposed stadium in uptown Charlotte is becoming a near reality. The Knights recently announced a founding partner and naming rights deal for the ballpark.
- Jared Mitchell is in the midst of a breakout season for Double-A Birmingham. The former White Sox top draft pick has a league-leading 20 RBI in 24 games. He also leads the league with a .471 on-base percentage and five triples.
- Kannapolis recently lost seven-straight games and has fallen six games back of first in its division. One bright spot is Ross Wilson. The infielder is batting .341 with four home runs and and 13 RBI’s in 11 games with the Intimidators. Wilson also had a career night on Friday, hitting three home runs and driving in eight of the nine Intimidator runs in a 9-5 win.
Thanks for taking the time to Dash Around the Baseball. Keep checking the blog for updates on the Dash’s eight-game win streak. Tune into the Pregame Dash at 6:50 tonight to see if the Dash can continue their streak.