Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2011 Week 10

The Muckdogs have been effective in the NY-Penn League spoiler role as the season winds down. Hitting has lagged behind pitching, with Corey Baker currently throwing well. Cesar Valera injury update included.

Current Record:  33-33, Pythagorean 33-33


Current Standings – New York-Penn League, Pinckney Division:

Club  W  L  PCT  GB  ELIM #  Home  Away  L 10  Streak
Auburn 41 25 0.621 - - 23-11 18-14 8-2 W2
Williamsport 38 29 0.567 3.5 7 23-8 15-20 5-5 W1
Mahoning Valley 35 31 0.530 6 4 19-14 16-17 3-7 L3
Batavia 33 33 0.500 8 2 17-16 16-17 7-3 L1
Jamestown 33 33 0.500 8 3 18-15 15-18 4-6 W2
State College 25 41 0.379 16 E 15-18 10-23 3-7 L2

Roster Moves:

Vance Albitz – had his contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned to Batavia on the 24th.  The shortstop was playing with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the Independent American Association.  He played his college ball at the University of California-San Diego where he was named the NCAA Division II National Defensive Player of the Year in both 2009 and 2010.  Albitz was signed the day after shortstop Cesar Valera injured himself in a game (see the Valera entry below for more information).


Jonathan Cornelius – was placed on the Disabled List on the 24th.  Cornelius' rotation turn was pushed back from the 19th until the 22nd but he was pulled after just one-third of an inning.


Manuel De La Cruz – the southpaw reliever went back on the Disabled List on the 25th, reasons unknown.


Victor Encarnacion – was promoted from GCL Cardinals on Sunday, the 21st.  He appeared in 32 games for the Cardinals and played all three outfield positions:  eight in left, five in center and nine in right. 


Roberto Reyes – the outfielder went on the Disabled List on Wednesday, the 24th, with a right ankle sprain suffered due to a collision with Victor Encarnacion during a game on the 22nd.  Reyes was batting .400/.448/.720/1.168, 10-for-25, over his last eight games.  He had two doubles, two home runs, three walks and four strikeouts.  Reyes is expected to miss the remainder of the season.


Reggie Williams – was re-called from the GCL Cardinals on the 24th to take Roberto Reyes' roster slot.  The outfielder began the season with Batavia but was transferred to the GCL Cardinals on June 29th.  Williams' season was derailed in March when he fractured a hamate bone in his hand.  He went 4-for-7 with a double in two games since his return to the Muckdogs.



Of Interest:

Ryan Sheriff's short-A debut came on the 20th when he started against Mahoning Valley (Cleveland).  The lefty went a crisp five innings, allowing four hits and a walk which resulted in one run/earned with three strikeouts.  Free agent signee Ethan Cole relieved Sheriff and gave up two runs, one earned, in his inning of work which allowed the Scrappers to tie the score.  It was Cole's first appearance in a St. Louis organization game.


Shortstop Cesar Valera has had his best offensive output of the season recently, going .296/.367/.444/.811, 8-for-27 with two doubles, a triple, two walks and four strikeouts in his last nine games.  Valera rolled his ankle during a game on Tuesday and has been held out of action since then.  He fell three plate appearances shy of qualifying for the ‘Hot' and ‘Not'. 


The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle had a Q&A with Garrett Wittels this week:  link


Last week, we took at look at the pitching performances over the past month or so.  This week it's the hitters' turn and the picture is not pretty:

Vance Albitz 2/9 0.111 0.111 0.222 0.333
Joey Bergman* 9/35 0.257 0.333 0.314 0.648
Juan Castillo 18/64 0.297 0.343 0.375 0.718
Virgil Hill 12/43 0.256 0.298 0.488 0.786
Nick Martini 16/44 0.182 0.294 0.250 0.544
David Medina 20/60 0.267 0.384 0.317 0.700
Kevin Moscatel 8/25 0.160 0.192 0.200 0.392
Jeremy Patton 18/64 0.313 0.389 0.469 0.858
Casey Rasmus 8/25 0.120 0.120 0.120 0.240
Roberto Reyes 15/44 0.295 0.385 0.500 0.885
Romulo Ruiz 20/75 0.227 0.284 0.440 0.724
Danny Stienstra 16/59 0.322 0.375 0.356 0.731
Cesar Valera 16/48 0.208 0.309 0.313 0.622
Reggie Williams 2/7 0.571 0.571 0.714 1.286
Garrett Wittels 15/59 0.305 0.344 0.356 0.700
Vance Albitz 1 0 1 0.125 0.111
Joey Bergman* 9 4 9 0.346 0.057
Juan Castillo 19 4 11 0.340 0.078
Virgil Hill 11 2 22 0.450 0.209
Nick Martini 8 5 5 0.205 0.068
David Medina 16 12 20 0.390 0.050
Kevin Moscatel 4 1 6 0.211 0.040
Jeremy Patton 20 8 9 0.352 0.156
Casey Rasmus 3 0 7 0.167 0.000
Roberto Reyes 13 7 11 0.344 0.205
Romulo Ruiz 13 6 13 0.237 0.213
Danny Stienstra 19 5 3 0.339 0.034
Cesar Valera 10 6 11 0.270 0.083
Reggie Williams 4 0 0 0.571 0.143
Garrett Wittels 18 4 8 0.346 0.051

*Promoted to Quad Cities on August 12th


Reviewing the stats, only two players with over 10 at bats posted an OPS over .800:  Jeremy Patton and Roberto Reyes.  Six players had an OPS between .700 and .799:  Juan Castillo, Virgil Hill, David Medina, Romulo Ruiz, Danny Stienstra and Garrett Wittels.  Joey Bergman (while he was there) and Cesar Valera both posted an OPS between .600 and .699.  Center fielder Nick Martini's dismal season continues with a .544 OPS while Kevin Moscatel (.392) and Casey Rasmus (.240) bring up the rear.  Vance Albitz and Reggie Williams have under ten at bats so get a pass.


This lack of offense puts a great deal of pressure on the pitching to be perfect and Batavia's pitching has been far from stellar, as we saw last week.  (Caveat:  Batavia's pitching did an excellent job this week but it's a case of too little-too late.)


This week's qualifiers for batting Hot and Not are:  Catcher Juan Castillo, outfielder Nick Martini, first baseman/left fielder David Medina, second baseman Jeremy Patton, corner infielder Romulo Ruiz, infielder Danny Stienstra and infielder Garrett Wittels.  Qualifiers had 75% of the maximum number of plate appearances for the week.  Stats cover the period 08/11/11 through 08/25/11.



Who's Hot: 

Second baseman Jeremy Patton is currently swinging Batavia's hottest bat, .371/.450/.571/1.021, 13-for-35, with four doubles and a home run.  Patton has more walks (five) than strikeouts (four) and has a .400 BABIP.  For the season Patton is walking an average of once every 8.4 plate appearances and striking out once every 8.7 plate appearances.


Corey Baker is making the most of his new starting assignment and is pitching ‘Hot' right now.  Baker pitched 10 innings in two game starts, and allowed ten hits.  However, the right-hander did not walk a batter and produced a 2.40 FIP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .256 BAA and .286 BABIP.  He struck out four.



Who's Not:  

Infielder Garrett Wittels' batting average for the past two weeks is .278 but that is the most positive thing that can be said about his offense.  Wittels went .278/.316/.306/.621, 10-for-36, with one double and two walks against seven strikeouts.  His power was almost nonexistent and he had a .345 BABIP to top it off.


Reliever Adam Bileckyj has not been very good recently.  The southpaw's most recent three appearances resulted in eight hits and five walks against three strikeouts in three and a-third innings pitched.  The end result was 13 runs allowed/seven earned, for a 13.71 FIP, 18.92 ERA, 3.90 WHIP and .400 BAA.  Bileckyj had a .400 BABIP.



The Games: 

The Muckdogs played eight games in six games this week due to a postponement on Sunday that resulted in back-to-back double-headers on Monday and Tuesday and went 6-2 for the week.


They began the week at home with a 5-4 win over Mahoning Valley on Saturday and a rain postponement on Sunday:  link


Batavia split Monday's twinbill with Mahoning Valley, winning the opener 3-2 but falling 11-3 in the nightcap:  link


The Muckdogs proceeded to put a real damper on Williamsport's division title hopes by sweeping the Crosscutters (Philadelphia) in a four-game home series.  Batavia won both ends of Tuesday's double-header by identical 2-1 scores:  link


On Wednesday, Batavia held on for an 8-7 victory:  link


Batavia finished the sweep with a 2-1 win on Thursday:  link


The Muckdogs traveled to Auburn (Washington) on Friday for an away-home-away series with the Doubledays.  They lost 2-1:  link



What's Next: 

Batavia plays division rivals for the rest of the season.  They host first place Auburn on Saturday and travel to Auburn on Sunday.  They come home to play last place State College (Pittsburgh) for two games before heading to State College for another two games.  The Muckdogs finish the week at Auburn on Friday.




BABIP (Batting Average for Balls In Play) – measures how many balls that are put into play go for hits, excluding home runs.  The average BABIP is from .290 to .320 and is impacted by the team's defense, changes in talent level and luck.  Certain individual factors, such as a player's speed, impact that hitter's BABIP but generally speaking extreme variations from the average BABIP should eventually move closer to the average range.


GB %, LD %, FB % - the percentage of how many of the hitter's balls in play are groundballs versus line drives or fly balls.  A groundball produces .05 runs/out (R/O), line drive = 1.26 R/O and a fly ball = .13 R/O.  Therefore, a batter wants to hit more line drives while a pitcher wants to induce more ground balls.


OPS+ (On-Base Plus Slugging Plus) – takes OPS (the combination of on-base percentage and slugging percentage) and normalizes it for such things like park factor.  This allows us to then compare players on different teams and different years.  League average is 100+ and each point above or below equals one percentage point.  A player with a 95 OPS+ for the season was 5% below the league average, for example, while a player with a 115 OPS+ was 15% above the league average.


wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) – starts with the idea that not every type of hit is equal which is how Batting Average works.  Weighted On-Base Average combines all of the different hitting areas (hitting for average, hitting for power, having plate discipline) into one metric and weighs them proportionally according to their actual run value.


- The formulas used to calculate statistics such as BABIP and FIP are from The Hardball Times.

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