Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2011 Week 3

The Cardinals' 2011 New York-Penn League club posted a 6-1 week three as Romulo Ruiz led the offense.

Current Record:  12-10 (Pythagorean 12-10)

Current Standing:  Batavia gained two games in the standings this week and is now tied for third with Auburn (Washington).

Pinckney Division - As of 07/09/11
Club  W  L  PCT  GB  ELIM Home  Away  L 10  Streak
Jamestown 14 8 0.636 - - 10-4 4-4 6-4 W2
Mahoning Valley 13 9 0.591 1 54 10-4 3-5 4-6 W2
Auburn 12 10 0.545 2 53 5-4 7-6 4-6 L2
Batavia 12 10 0.545 2 53 6-4 6-6 8-2 W5
Williamsport 10 12 0.455 4 51 8-2 2-10 5-5 L2
State College 5 17 0.227 9 46 4-5 1-12 3-7 L6


Roster Moves:

2B Garrett Wittels – The infielder was signed as an undrafted free agent on July 2nd and assigned to Batavia.  Brian Walton covered his signing in this The Cardinal Nation article:  link


RHP Kevin JacobSt. Louis and the right-hander drafted in the 31st round came to terms this week and he was assigned to Batavia.  Jacob comes out of the Georgia Tech program and The Cardinal Nation's Josh Jones included a scouting report in his Hot News posting:  link



Of Interest:

As was reported by Brian Walton on July 4th, infielder Yunier Castillo is currently out of action with a hip flexor injury.  Although he has not officially been placed on the disabled list, he is not expected to return until mid-July. 


Also on the Not Playing list is infielder Danny Stienstra.  This year's 12th-round selection out of San Jose State has not played in over two weeks although there has been no league transaction that indicates he is injured.


Right-handed starter Jose Almarante was named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for the period June 27 through July 3.  Almarante received a co-Hot nod this week here as well.


Batavia's rotation currently consists of right-handers Almarante, Seth Maness and Todd McInnis plus lefty Pat Daugherty.  The fifth slot is in a bit of flux.  Righty Drew Benes started through last week's report but southpaw Jonathan Cornelius started in Benes' slot on July 4th.  He went four innings and Benes followed him, going three innings.  That was Cornelius' first start of season.  Friday evening, the 8th, also saw lefty Hector Hernandez start and pitch the first inning of Daugherty's scheduled start.  That was Hernandez' first appearance since June 22nd.  Daugherty followed and went two ineffective innings in Batavia's win over State College.


New Muckdogs pitcher Kevin Jacob's professional debut on July 7th was blissfully uneventful.  Jacob pitched a scoreless frame against State College (Pittsburgh), gave up no hits, walked a batter and struck out two.


Unfortunately, new Muckdogs infielder Garrett Wittels' first professional week has been similarly uneventful.  Wittels is 0-for-8 in three games so far.


Batavia's bullpen needs to work on not allowing inherited runners to score.  Muckdogs relievers have come into 15 games to date with runners aboard and runners have scored in nine of those games.  The most egregious offender is reliever Ricky Martinez.  He is a "perfect" seven-for-seven in four games in allowing inherited runners to score.  Twice he needed one out and both runners scored and twice needed two outs and all runners scored.  



Who's Hot: 

Corner infielder Romulo Ruiz had the best stats of the three players posting a 1.000+ OPS this week.  Ruiz went 12-for-24 with three doubles and two home runs for a line of .500/.556/.875/1.431 in six games.  He drew two walks, stole a base and struck out six times.  Ruiz also stole a base.


Honorable mention goes to first baseman David Medina and designated hitter/left fielder Mike O'Neill.  Medina, last week's ‘Hot' recipient, continued his torrid pace by going .429/.429/.821/1.250, 12-for-26 in six games.  He hit five doubles and two home runs but did strike out eight times. 


O'Neill, week one ‘Hot' bat, got back on track this week with a line of .364/.517/.545/1.063 with four doubles and six walks against just two strike outs. 


Jose Almarante's July 5th start against Mahoning Valley (Cleveland) earns him co-‘Hot' honors.  The right-hander held the Scrappers to one run/earned on five hits and no walks through six innings.  He struck out four.  Almarante sported a 0.83 WHIP, 1.87 FIP and held the opposition to a .208 batting average.  He had a .250 BABIP.


Seth Maness, last week's ‘Hot' pitcher, repeats this week as well.  In two starts this week, Maness gave up just two unearned runs on four hits and three walks in 13 innings.  He struck out 10, held opposing batters to a .093 batting average and had a .108 BABIP.  Maness had a 2.58 FIP and has yet to give up an earned run in 22 innings so far this season.



Who's Not:  

Shortstop Cesar Valera is struggling, going .130/.231/.130/.361, 3-for-23 in six games.  The 19-year-old did walk twice and stole two bases against five strike outs.


Reliever Eric Binder and starter Pat Daugherty are both ‘Not Hot' this week.  Binder appeared in three games this week, allowing five hits (one home run) and two walks in two and one-third innings.  The results for the right-hander were four runs, earned, with an 11.75 FIP, 15.38 ERA, 3.42 WHIP, .455 BAA and a .333 BABIP.  Binder struck out one.


Daugherty receives his second consecutive ‘Not' notice by lasting only two and two-thirds innings in his July 3rd start against Mahoning Valley.  He allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits and three walks against just two strikeouts.  The lefty had a 5.07 FIP, 20.22 ERA, 3.75 WHIP, .500 BAA and a .467 BABIP. 



How They Stack Up:

Corner infielder Romulo Ruiz is among the league leaders in several offensive categories:  batting average of .350 (second), .420 on-base percentage (eighth), .583 slugging percentage (third) and 1.004 OPS (fourth).  Outfielder Mike O'Neill is fifth in the league in batting average (.338), first in on-base percentage (.466) and eighth in OPS (.917).  His eight doubles place him second in the league in that category.  O'Neill and teammate Nick Martini are tied for second in the league with 15 walks.  First baseman David Medina has the league's ninth best slugging percentage (.532).  He is two separate four-way ties:  for first place with four home runs and for third place with seven doubles.


Seth Maness is tied with Hudson Valley (Tampa Bay) right-hander Parker Markel for first place in Earned Run Average (0.00) although Maness has pitched one and one-third more innings than Markel.  Not much difference there.  Maness' 0.45 WHIP places him second behind Hudson Valley's Jason McEachern and his 0.40 WHIP.  Batavia does not strike out many batters as a team so Maness' team-leading 17 strikeouts is good for only 20th in the league.


Team  AB  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS  R  H 
Batavia 720 0.253 0.338 0.389 0.727 103 182
Lg Standing - 3rd T-6th T-4th 3rd 4th 3rd 3rd
League Lead 755 0.291 0.356 0.440 0.796 128 220
Team - Aub Aub Aub Aub Aub Aub Aub
Affiliation - Wsh Wsh Wsh Wsh Wsh Wsh Wsh
  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB 
Batavia 46 5 14 86 82 169 21
Lg Standing - 2nd T-7th T-3rd 4th 1st 10th 9th
League Lead 54 9 17 120 - 127 37
Team - Aub SC Lwll Aub - Ct MV
Affiliation - Wsh Pitt Bos Wsh - Det Clv

Looking at team batting stats, Batavia is in the top 30% in ten categories, including leading the league in walks with 82.  That should come as no surprise since Batavia has two of the league's three best walkers in Mike O'Neill and Nick Martini.  The Muckdogs are not in the bottom 30% in any category although they are very close in both strikeouts (10th) and stolen bases (9th).


Batavia 3.19 3.10 -0.09 186.1 1.26
Lg Standing - 4th 3rd   4th 4th
League Lead 2.58 2.98   189.2 1.15
Team - Brkln Brkln   MV Hd Vly
Affiliation - NYM NYM   Clv TB
  H/9 IP HR/H BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Batavia 8.65 1:29.8 2.66 7.10 2.67:1
Lg Standing - 9th 1st 2nd 10th 5th
League Lead 7.45 - 2.60 9.43 2.94:1
Team - Lwll   Hd Vly St Islnd MV
Affiliation - Bos   TB NYY Clv

The Batavia pitching staff ranks in the top 30% in seven categories and leads the league in fewest home runs/hits allowed with one home run for every 29.8 hits allowed.  That goes along with their team Ground-Out/Fly-Out ratio of 2.51:1.  The most homer-prone staff belongs to Vermont (Oakland) who allows a home run every 12.2 hits.  This staff also has good command as they average 2.66 walks for every nine innings pitched which places them second.  But if you are looking for the strikeouts then you will need to look to another team.  Batavia's pitchers primarily induce ground balls, not strikeouts and that is shown in their 10th place showing in strike outs per nine innings pitched.  They are also giving up a few too many hits, ninth place. 



The Games:

Batavia won six of seven games this week while facing the extremes in the Pinckney Division, first-place Mahoning Valley and last-place State College.


Saturday saw the Muckdogs travel to Mahoning Valley to take on the first-place Scrappers in a two-game set.  Todd McInnis, a 25th-round selection, picked up his first professional win in his second start of the season as Batavia won 8-3.  The right-hander held the opposition to just one run, earned, on three hits and a walk while striking out three over five frames.  David Wallace, Mahoning Valley's manager, had this to say about McInnis:  "He's good. He pounded the plate with his fastball, and he's very quick to the plate, which I think made it tough on our timing," Wallace said. "He's got good stuff. He throws his off-speed pitches for strikes, and then throws fastballs to both sides of the plate." (Warren Tribune Chronicle)  Eric Binder and Corey Baker pitched in relief of McInnis with southpaw Danny Miranda notching his third save in as many tries by tossing a scoreless one and one-thirds innings.


The Muckdogs got on the board in the first inning against infielder-turned-pitcher Joseph Colon when four consecutive singles by Roberto Reyes, Jeremy Patton, David Medina and Romolo Ruiz plated two runs.  A bases-loaded walk to Nick Martini forced across the final run of the inning.  Batavia added a single run in the third and seventh innings.  Jeremy Patton led off the third with a ground-rule double and subsequently scored on Nick Martini's force out.  Joey Bergman singled to right to lead off the seventh and advanced all the way to third on a fielding error.  Bergman later scored on a wild pitch.  The Muckdogs scored their final three runs in the ninth, the result of three free passes, a David Medina double, a force out and a throwing error.  Medina, Patton and Ruiz all had multi-hit games for Batavia.


Mahoning Valley won Sunday's contest 12-11 link (Scrappers-oriented write-up that includes game video clip)


Batavia came home to host the Scrappers for two games after splitting a two-game series at Mahoning Valley.  The Muckdogs swept the short series, winning 3-2 on the 4th link and 2-1 on July 5th link.  The Batavian has some excellent photos of the July 4th game: link.  (partial photo identification:  First action shot is catcher Juan Castillo, #44 is right fielder David Medina, pitcher is either Eric Binder or Drew Benes, last photo is third baseman Joey Bergman with (likely) shortstop Cesar Valera behind him)


The Muckdogs' five-game home stand continued on Wednesday as they hosted the last-place State College Spikes for three games.  Batavia took the opener with yet another one-run win, this time by a 2-1 score. link


The Muckdogs secured a home series win by thrashing the Spikes 16-3 on Thursday. link 


Batavia swept the Spikes out of town with a 9th-inning comeback win on Friday as the Muckdogs triumphed 4-3. link


What's Next: 

Batavia heads to State College for three games before returning home to face Tri-City (Houston) in a three-game series.

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