Results tagged ‘ Nick Garcia ’
We are at the halfway point of the first half of the Carolina League season. Rain has disrupted the schedule to the point where teams have played anywhere from 33 to 36 games. With the Dash set to play games 35 and 36 on the schedule tonight, this edition of Dashing Around Baseball will primarily be a first-half report card, with my predictions for the first-half season champions thrown in. Of course, a look around the White Sox system is in here as well.
The Northern Division has shaken out into a distinct hierarchy. Lynchburg has a 6.5 game lead over second place in the division with the three other teams sitting below .500. Here’s how it looks for each team at the midway point.
Lynchburg- The Hillcats have a potent offense and sit behind only the Dash in runs scored, hits, home runs and RBI in the Carolina League. First baseman Nick Garcia is hitting .359 on the season with 23 RBI and three home runs. He made his mark on Winston-Salem pitching when the teams met last weekend, batting .455 with a home run and four RBI in the series.
Wilmington- The Blue Rocks have a 15-21 record, and that is good enough for second place in the division. Wilmington has the pieces to put together a run in the second half, but the team’s talent lies in its youth. If starting pitcher Yordano Ventura can replicate triple-digit radar gun outings and the offense starts hitting, the Blue Rocks will mount a run.
Potomac- The Nationals have been dealt a brutal hand with the injuries to its core players. Prodigious infielder Anthony Rendon has been out since injuring his ankle in the second game of the season. There appears to be a discrepancy between Rendon and the Nationals organization but one definite is that he will not be back for the rest of the first half of the season. Potomac certainly would have been a division favorite with Rendon in the fold.
Frederick- The Keys are seventh in the league in team batting and pitching (Potomac is last in both). To make up an 8.5 game deficit in 35 games is certainly doable, but Frederick has only had one stretch where it has won more than two games in a row all season, and that occurred during the first week of the season.
PREDICTION: Wilmington puts it together and challenges Lynchburg, but the Hillcats offense and favorable schedule (9 games against Frederick in the first two weeks of June) carries them to the first-half division title.
The Dash are the class of this division so far, but an extremely competitive division has kept all four teams in contention of winning the crown at the halfway point. Here’s a look at Winston-Salem’s challengers.
Salem-The Red Sox (1.5 games back of the Dash) offense has explosive capability led by Jackie Bradley Jr., who leads the Carolina League in batting average and on-base percentage. Salem’s Travis Shaw is second in the league with a .366 average. Matt Barnes, Boston’s top pick in 2011 made his High-A debut against the Dash on May 5. It went pretty well. How long Barnes stays with Salem is unknown, but he has the potential to grab a win every time he makes a start. The Red Sox and Dash play seven more games before the first half of the season comes to an end, with all of these games taking place in Salem.
Carolina- Even after losing Clayton Cook to the DL and T.J House to Double-A Akron, the Mudcats pitching staff contends with Myrtle Beach as the best pitching staff in the league. Carolina is 2.5 games out of the division lead, but starters Francisco Jimenez and Mike Rayl are in the top five of the league for lowest ERA. Closer Jose Flores has six saves to lead all active pitchers.
Myrtle Beach-The Pelicans can pitch, but they can’t hit. Cody Buckel has the lowest ERA and most strikeouts in the league. He anchors a Myrtle Beach rotation that has a team ERA of 3.o4, also the best mark in the league. With four games against the Dash this week, we’ll find out if the Pelicans are built to contend for the division.
PREDICTION: The division stays close until the end, when the Dash hang on for the crown due to seven games against Potomac and Wilmington to end the first-half of the season. Carolina and Salem each finish within two games of the title.
AROUND THE FARM
- Adam Dunn might be on his way to AL Comeback Player of the Year. It’s still early in the season, but Dunn already has hit 12 home runs, one more than he hit all of last season. 2010 Dash alum Addison Reed picked up his third save of the season in the 7-5 win.
- The Knights had a marathon evening last Wednesday night. Charlotte had two walk-off wins in a double-header, including a game one contest that went 14 innings.
- 2011 Dash alums Tyler Saladino and Jared Mitchell have led Birmingham to a 21-18 record, two games back of division-leading Jackson. Mitchell leads the Southern League in triples, while Saladino is batting .258 with 15 RBI and a league-leading 28 runs scored.
- Kannapolis has struggled this season, falling 10.5 games back of first-place Greensboro. White Sox 2011 top draft pick Keenyn Walker hit his first career home run Saturday night in a 2-1 win.
A bit of a lengthy recap, but thanks for Dashing Around Baseball today. The Dash play two tonight, starting at 6 against Myrtle Beach. Join us for the Pregame Dash starting at 5:45.