Over the course of the first-half of the DSL season, the Athletics' offense struggled mightily and the pitchers — half of them anyway — followed suit. With a record of 18-24, the DSL A's find themselves 6.5 games back of the Mariners in the SD North division with 30 games remaining.
With only 171 total runs scored this season, the A's are the 22nd-best — or 11th-worst — run-scoring offense in the league. The team batting average (.212) is equally abysmal: the sixth-worst in the league.
But for the A's, more confusing than the struggling offense is the Grand Canyon disparity between effective pitching and ineffective pitching. Of the 19 pitchers who have recorded statistics, six men have ERAs below three while nine sport ERAs higher than five (and of those, four are in double-digits). That leaves only four pitchers with ERAs in the three to five range. Ten pitchers recorded more strikeouts than walks through half of the season. Nine did not.
If the A's plan to overcome their offensive woes and catch the Mariners in the second-half of the rookie league season, the pitchers must erase the parabolic separation between solid and putrid outings. The unsuccessful pitchers must emulate the successful pitchers, such as Robinson De Los Santos, Luis Jose and Edward Almonte.
Names To Note
Robinson De Los Santos (2.09 ERA/ 38.2 IP/ 22 H/ 9 ER/ 0 HR/ 18 BB/ 49 SO/ .163 BAA)
Halfway through the season, the 21-year-old ace is holding batters to a .163 clip in 38.2 innings with an ERA (2.09) and WHIP (1.03) near the top of the league — despite being victim of two drubbings. If not for his two shaky starts, the lanky De Los Santos would be the league's best pitcher. The righty's line for his five other starts is close to perfect: 0.00 ERA/ 22.1 IP/ 7 H/ 10 BB/ 29 SO.
Luis Jose (2.52 ERA/ 25.0 IP/ 21 H/ 7 ER/ 1 HR/ 12 BB/ 24 SO/ .228 BAA)
The Athletics' most reliable setup man, Jose has gotten nearly twice as many strikeouts (24) as walks (12) in 25 innings of relief. The 6'4" righty converted both of his save opportunities without allowing a run and is manhandling righties with an ERA of 1.83 and 21 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.
Edward Almonte (2.45 ERA/ 40.1 IP/ 33 H/ 11 ER/ 1 HR/ 11 BB/ 20 SO/ .243 BAA)
The second-year righty may be the most versatile pitcher on the A's. He alternates between starting and relieving and the results are largely the same: he gets the job done and keeps the ball on the ground (1.56 GO:AO). In more than 40 innings pitched, Almonte has surrendered a single homer — a solo shot on July 19 and his first earned run since June.
Michael Soto (.246 AVG/ 14 R/ 5 HR/ 29 RBI/ 20 BB/ 30 SO/ .362 OBP/ .421 SLG/ 783 OPS)
The A's lone offensive star owns 29 RBIs — the fifth-best total in the DSL — despite playing for the 22nd-best offense in the league. The sturdy right-hander has batted in more runs than he has hits (28) thus far, and with 20 bases-on-balls he sports a solid OBP (.362). Soto can also drive the ball: his five homers are tied for second-best in the DSL.
Wilfredo Solano (.194 AVG/ 20 R/ 0 HR/ 9 RBI/ 29 BB/ 22 SO/ .344 OBP/ .210 SLG/ 554 OPS)?
In a lineup that averages a .212 batting clip, Solano's dreadful .194 is nearly on par. But, he compensates for a shaky bat with a solid eye: the 17-year-old righty and walking go together better than cream sauce and tortellini. With 29 bases on balls in 124 at-bats, Solano owns the fourth-best eye in the league — propelling his OBP to a standout .344 and securing his top spot in the batting order.