Vermont Notebook: Second Half On Horizon

The New York-Penn League All-Star game is tonight in Ohio and four members of the Vermont Lake Monsters will be participating in the game. When league play resumes on Wednesday, the Lake Monsters will be looking to break a losing streak and get back into the playoff hunt.

Team Overview

The Vermont Lake Monsters have reached the All-Star break portion of their New York-Penn League schedule. Four Lake Monsters are participating in Tuesday's mid-summer classic – John Wooten, Chris Bostick, Kris Hall and Austin Booker.

The Lake Monsters have had a rough go of things of late, dropping their last six games heading into the All-Star break. The losing streak has put the Lake Monsters six games under .500 and a whopping 16 games back of first-place Tri-City. Vermont has struggled on the road, in particular. Vermont is 15-9 in Burlington and 9-21 everywhere else. The Lake Monsters will need a strong second-half push to get into the playoffs. They are currently 10 games out of the wild card spot.

As a team, the Lake Monsters are batting .247 with an OPS of 652. The 652 mark is the fifth-lowest in the league (out of 14 teams). Vermont has the second-fewest homeruns in the league (15) and the second-fewest number of stolen bases (30 in 55 chances). They are in the middle of the pack in terms of both walks (169) and strike-outs (388) and are dead-last in runs scored (205).

On the mound, the Lake Monsters rank seventh in team ERA (3.62). They are second in the league in strike-outs with 459 and seventh in walks with 180. The Lake Monsters have yet to throw a shutout this season.

After the break, the Lake Monsters will look to end their losing streak. They will be home for six games, with three against the Staten Island Yankees and three against the Brooklyn Cyclones, before heading back on the road on August 21.

Comings And Goings

There have been several high-profile additions to the Lake Monsters' roster over the past few weeks. Top prospects Addison Russell, Daniel Robertson, Nolan Sanburn and Michael Ynoa have all joined the team from the A's Rookie League squad. Russell, Robertson and Sanburn are all members of the A's 2012 draft class and Ynoa is pitching outside of Arizona for the first time in his professional career. Ynoa came into this season having pitched only nine innings in his career, a career that has been marked by injuries. After tossing 10 innings in the Arizona Rookie League, Ynoa has made three starts with Vermont. In 7.2 innings, he has a 7.04 ERA and a 3:8 K:BB ratio.

Chad Lewis and Jensi Peralta were sent back to Arizona to make room for Russell and Robertson. Catcher Diomedes Lopez was promoted to High-A Stockton this week to take the place of injured Ports' backstop Max Stassi. Reliever Nate Eppley also received a promotion this month, moving up from Vermont to Low-A Burlington (Iowa).

Who's Hot

A's 2012 top pick Addison Russell blitzed through the Arizona Rookie League and he is having similar success in the New York-Penn League. In 10 games, he has a .333/.391/.548 slash line with five extra-base hits. In 36 games between the AZL and the NY-Penn League, Russell has a .392/.461/.669 slash line with seven homers and 10 stolen bases.

All-Star John Wooten has also been hot of last. He has an 841 OPS over his last 10 games, raising his overall season OPS to 771. Wooten leads the team with a .302 average and he has four homers and 30 RBIs, good for 14th-best (tied) and sixth-best (tied) in the league, respectively.

Fellow All-Star Austin Booker is second on the team with a .292 average and first among the team's regulars with a .367 OBP. 2012 second-round pick Bruce Maxwell is batting .275 on the year with a .358 OBP. Chris Bostick, also an All-Star, leads the team with nine stolen bases and he is fourth on the club with a .260 average.

On the mound, Nolan Sanburn has gotten off to a fast start to his professional career. In his first two outings, he has allowed only a walk and two hits in five innings. He has struck-out five.

Kris Hall earned an All-Star berth by posting an 0.73 ERA during the first half of the season. He has held opposing batters to a .161 average and has 23 strike-outs against 12 walks in 25 innings. Hall, who has made eight relief appearances and three starts, has yet to allow a homerun.

Omar Duran was sent down to Vermont after a brief stint with Low-A Burlington, and he has responded to the demotion with a dominating performance for the Lake Monsters. In 9.2 innings, Duran has allowed only two hits and he has struck-out a remarkable 20 batters. The left-hander has continued to struggle with walks, however, allowing 10 free passes.

2012 draft picks Ryan Dull and Austin House are making strong first impressions on the A's brass with their performances for Vermont to date. Dull has a 1.08 ERA and a 22:3 K:BB ratio in 16.2 relief innings for the Lake Monsters. House, who has also pitched out of the bullpen exclusively this year, has a 28:7 K:BB ratio in 21.2 innings and he leads the team with four saves.

Tucker Healy, another 2012 draft pick, is also opening eyes with his strike-out numbers. In 20.2 innings, Healy has 33 strike-outs. He has walked nine, however, but he has a 3.48 ERA and no homeruns allowed. Seth Streich (26 strike-outs in 21 innings) and Stuart Pudenz (23 strike-outs in 20.2 innings and a 1.02 WHIP) are two more 2012 draft picks who have had notable first-half performances for the Lake Monsters.

Starters Brent Powers and Andres Avila lead the team in strike-outs with 44 and 40, respectively. Avila has a 40:13 K:BB ratio and a 4.30 ERA in 46 innings this season. This is the first year the native of Mexico has pitched above the Arizona Rookie League level.

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