The best thing the Stockton Ports can say about the first half of the 2016 season is that it is over. The Ports suffered through a disappointing start to the season, finishing in second-to-last place in the North Division, with a 27-43 record. Stockton will look to reverse their fate in the second half and make a push to the post-season.
Stockton finished the first half on a bit of an up note, winning six of their final eight games. That mini-run pushed Stockton out of the cellar and ahead of the last-place Modest Nuts in the North.
As a team, the Ports posted a .266 average during the first half, good for second-best in the league. The Ports were only sixth in team OPS (735), however, and they hit the third-fewest number of homeruns in the league as a team (44). The Ports were second in walks and team OBP, but sixth in slugging percentage. They also struck-out the second-most of any team in the league. The Ports were second in the league in doubles but last in triples. Stockton wasn’t particularly active or efficient on the bases, stealing 34 bags in 61 opportunities.
On the mound, Stockton struggled as a collective unit. Their team 4.50 ERA was third highest in the Cal League. The Ports allowed the most hits and walked the second most batters. They also finished second-to-last in strike-outs and last in WHIP. The Ports allowed the second most homeruns as a team (although the team that allowed the most homeruns allowed 24 more than Stockton and the team that allowed the fewest allowed just 20 fewer than Stockton).
The Ports and the rest of the California League are now officially on their All-Star break. Outfielder James Harris represents Stockton in this year’s mid-summer classic. Regular season play resumes on Thursday when Stockton takes on San Jose at home.
Comings and Goings
June has been relatively quiet on the transaction front for the Ports. First baseman John Nogowski returned to Stockton on June 6 after a few weeks in Double-A. To make room for Nogowski, the A’s released outfielder Alex Glenn, who struggled with knee injuries that impacted his ability to play everyday. Last week, reliever Victor Veliz was sent to Low-A Beloit. The A’s haven’t yet replaced Veliz on the Stockton roster. Expect several changes during the first few weeks of the second half, as the A’s weave their new draft picks into their system.
The Ports hosted a trio of rehabbing A’s players in June: pitchers Henderson Alvarez, R.J. Alvarez and Liam Hendriks. Only Hendriks has made it back to the A’s active roster. Henderson Alvarez continues to struggle with shoulder soreness and R.J. Alvarez was placed on waivers and claimed by the Chicago Cubs.
Stockton utilityman Joe Bennie has been one of the hottest hitters in the California League during the month of June. Bennie is batting .374/.444/.611 with four homers and seven walks thus far this month. For the season, Bennie has an 816 OPS, good for second on the team. He is second in the Cal League in RBI with 51.
The Stockton team leader in OPS is first baseman Sandber Pimentel, who has put together a strong month of June, as well. Pimentel has a .317/.397/.540 line for the month. He is leading the team with 11 homeruns and an 844 OPS on the year. He is tied for sixth in the league in homeruns and 12th in the league in OPS.
Outfielders James Harris and B.J. Boyd have each done a solid job hitting for average and getting on base in June. Harris is hitting .279 with a .410 OBP in June. He has 14 walks. Boyd is batting .281/.356/.406 in June. Boyd is fourth in the Cal League in batting this season with a .315 average and Harris is ninth (.302). Both are candidates for a second-half promotion to Midland if there is system movement around the trade deadline.
When Daniel Gossett earned a promotion to Double-A in late May, it left Heath Fillmyer as the only Stockton starter who has performed consistently well this season. The hard-throwing Fillmyer has a 2.82 ERA and 76 strike-outs in 76.2 innings this season. In June, his ERA is 1.17 and he has 26 strike-outs in 23 innings. He is sixth in the Cal League in ERA and third in strike-outs.
Kyle Friedrichs replaced Gossett in the Stockton rotation. The right-hander had a disastrous debut with Stockton, allowing nine runs in 1.2 innings. Since then, Friedrichs has given up just seven runs in 19 innings (3.32 ERA). During that three-start stretch, he has not walked a batter and has struck-out 23. Between Stockton and Beloit, Friedrichs has a 57:7 K:BB in 71 innings this season.
Long reliever Joey Wagman is also having a strong month of June. In 15 innings, he has a 1.80 ERA and an 11:4 K:BB.