Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2011 Week 7

Todd McInnis leads the staff, but the Cardinals' New York-Penn League club is falling off the pace in the Pinckney Division.

Current Standings:

Pinckney Division W  L  PCT  GB  Elim  Home  Away  L 10  Streak
Auburn 29 19 0.604 - - 14-8 15-11 8-3 W7
Mahoning Valley 28 20 0.583 1 28 17-9 11-11 7-3 L1
Williamsport 27 21 0.563 2 27 16-6 11-15 7-3 W2
Jamestown 26 22 0.542 3 26 17-11 9-11 5-5 L2
Batavia 23 25 0.479 6 23 10-10 13-15 3-7 L1
State College 18 30 0.375 11 18 12-11 6-19 7-3 W3


Roster Moves:

Scott Bittle – Bittle's time at Batavia was brief as the right-hander was released on Tuesday, July 26th.  Bittle was drafted in the fourth round of the June 2009 First-Year Player Draft but did not pitch until 2011 due to shoulder issues.


Manuel De La Cruz – The left-handed reliever was promoted from Johnson City on July 27th and pitched a scoreless inning that same day.  De La Cruz was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 28.


Phil Cerreto – The infielder/outfielder was transferred from the Palm Beach disabled list to Batavia on Friday. He had been rehabbing in the Gulf Coast League.



Of Interest:

Pat Daugherty took Seth Maness' turn in the rotation on July 22nd and has remained there.  Maness' first appearance since his one-inning start on July 17th came on July 29th against Staten Island (New York Yankees) when he pitched one and two-thirds innings in relief of Todd McInnis.  Maness started the second game of Thursday's double-header with Hudson Valley and did not figure in the decision.


Shortstop Yunier Castillo has been switched to right-handed pitcher Yunier Castillo.  He picked up his first professional win in the second game of the aforementioned double-header on the 4th.  That appearance, and lots more, was covered in Brian Walton's eye-witness report: link.  Brian also covered Castillo's positional switch in an August 2nd article: link.


Javier Avendano returned to action on July 24th and took the loss in a relief role.  The right-hander had been out since a June 21st start.  Avendano has appeared in four games since his return, all in relief, absorbing two losses and picking up his first save on August 4th. 


Infielder Jeremy Patton has walked (22) more than he has struck out (20) so far this season.  That works out to an average of one strikeout every 8.6 plate appearances and a walk every 7.8 plate appearances.  His walk rate is second on the team behind centerfielder Nick Martini who walks an average of once every 6.6 plate appearances.


This week's qualifiers for batting Hot and Not are:  infielder Joey Bergman, outfielder Virgil Hill, infielder Jeremy Patton, right fielder Roberto Reyes, corner infielder Romulo Ruiz, shortstop Cesar Valera and infielder Garrett Wittels.  Qualifiers had 75% of the maximum number of plate appearances for the reporting period.  The stats in this report are from July 21st through August 4th.


The team-by-team comparison is not possible this week due to the lack of timely availability of key data. 



Who's Hot: 

Batavia's two hottest bats over the past two weeks are Joey Bergman and Virgil Hill.  Both posted an OPS in the .900 range with Bergman going .341/.396/.500/.896, 15-for-44, with four doubles, a home run and four walks against twelve strikeouts.  Hill's line for the period:  .295/.340/.568/.909, 13-for-44, with two each of doubles, triples, home runs and walks.  Hill struck out 17 times or an average of once every 2.75 plate appearances.


Todd McInnis is the only Muckdogs starter to pitch consistently well over the past two weeks.  The 25th-round selection this past June, McInnis posted a 0.96 WHIP on 15 hits and only one walk in 16.2 innings over three starts.  The right-hander had a 2.36 FIP, 3.24 ERA, and struck out 15 while holding the opposition to a .227 batting average (.275 BABIP).


Honorable mention goes to reliever Cory Baker who threw almost as many innings in four appearances (10) as some of the starters did.  Baker gave up nine hits and a walk while striking out eight for a 2.20 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 1.80 ERA, .243 BAA and .290 BABIP.  Baker was selected in the 49th round in the June 2011 draft.



Who's Not:  

Shortstop Cesar Valera continues to struggle against older opponents.  He went .167/.250/.167/.417/. 6-for-36, with three walks and 11 strikeouts (1:3.64 K/PA ratio).  Valera did steal three bases. 


Unfortunately, there are many from which to choose for the pitching ‘Not' notice for this report with the main candidates being starters Jose Almarante, Pat Daugherty and Hector Hernandez.  The most consistently underperforming pitcher, however, is southpaw Daugherty.  He averaged less than four innings per start, 11.2 IP in three starts, while posting a 4.83 FIP, 1.89 WHIP (14 hits and eight walks), 9.26 ERA and .298 BAA with a .289 BABIP.



How They Stack Up:

Joey Bergman is fourth in the league in batting average (.336) and tied for fifth in on-base percentage at .414.  David Medina is in the league's top 10 in batting average (.304, 10th), OPS (.881, 10th) and home runs (7, tied for 3rd).  Virgil Hill is tied for eighth in the league with a .493 slugging percentage. 


Todd McInnis' 2.12 ERA is good for fourth in the league and his 0.92 WHIP ranks him second behind Hudson Valley's Parker Markel who has a 0.81 WHIP.  Closer Danny Miranda's eight saves places him in a three-way tie for third with Connecticut righty Daniel Bennett and Jamestown right-hander Alfredo Buret.  Miranda is the youngest of the three by almost two years.



The Games: 

When last reported upon two weeks ago, Batavia was contending for the division lead but that has evaporated by them having gone 4-9 since then.  Not coincidentally, four of Batavia's five starters had a FIP and ERA over 4.00 during that time span.  Coverage of the most recent seven games appears below.


The Muckdogs dropped the first two of a three-game road series against the Connecticut Tigers (Detroit), losing 5-4 and 8-2:  link


Batavia salvaged the final game of the series with a 5-3 win over Connecticut on Monday:  link


The Muckdogs continued their six-game road trip with a three-game set at Hudson Valley (Tampa Bay) and dropped Tuesday's opener 7-3: link


Batavia played a double-header on Thursday, August 4th due to Wednesday's rain-out.  The Muckdogs split, falling 3-2 in the opener but taking the nightcap 2-1:  link


While Batavia came home for a brief two-game home stand against Williamsport, they brought their losing ways with them, this time falling to the Crosscutters 5-3 in 10 innings on Friday: link



What's Next: 

Batavia is at home against division rivals and third-place Williamsport (Philadelphia) on Saturday, August 6th, for the second of a two-game series before facing that same team on the road for another two-game set.  The Muckdogs then come home for a six-game home stand against second-place (McNamara Division) Brooklyn (26-22) (New York Mets) and first-place (Stedler Division) Vermont (24-23) (Oakland)

Note: Team records and standings are as of August 6th.

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