Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2012 Week 2

The Cardinals' New York-Penn League affiliate had a much-improved second week, going 5-2.

The Batavia Muckdogs went 5-2 in the second week of the season against the Jamestown Jammers (Marlins) and State College Spikes (Pirates). Highlighted by a 17-inning 5-2 win Thursday against the Spikes, the Muckdogs faced tough competition in the form of Pirates pitching prospects Luis Heredia on Monday (7-4 loss) and Clay Holmes (6-2 loss) Wednesday. But Batavia, which leads the New York-Penn League in batting average (.272), was able to avoid the one-run losses that plagued them in week one.

Breyvic Valera continues to separate himself as a very good player at this level. Scouts say that the middle infielder has 80 grade speed – the highest possible rating for any player; one went on to say that the 19-year-old would be a top-10 player in major league baseball speed-wise right now. In week two, Valera went 10-for-30 with a double, including a 4-for-5 night against Jamestown in an 8-1 win Friday. The Venezuela native also draws rave reviews for his defense because of excellent range, instincts and footwork and he has the ability to make difficult plays look easy at second base.

Another infielder, Garrett Wittels, had a strong week at the plate, going 9-for-23 with two doubles, a triple and four RBI. In Thursday's 17-inning 5-4 win at Dwyer Stadium, it was Wittels' 11th inning run-scoring triple that re-tied the game for the Muckdogs to keep the game alive for six more innings. The 22-year-old has been working with hitting coach Roger LaFrancois for the second straight season and appears to be regaining consistency at the plate after a disappointing .208/.279/.273 performance with Quad Cities to start 2012. As an everyday player with the Muckdogs, the repetition has helped the Florida International alumnus regain his confidence.

On the mound, Tim Cooney pitched 9 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs and no walks with four strikeouts. Scouts say that the third-rounder from Wake Forest is an elite pitcher for this level because he throws three pitches (fastball, curveball, slider) consistently for strikes. As a piggyback starter, the left-hander was only out for 5.0 and 4 1/3 innings respectively this week, but he has been efficient and consistent.

Team Transactions

6/28 - LHP Daniel Bibona released. The 24-year-old missed all of last season due to injury issues and spent significant time on the DL in 2012 as well. He allowed five earned runs and seven hits in 9.0 innings with five strikeouts and four walks before his release.

6/28 - LHP Adam Bileckyj released. The 2011 non-drafted free agent pitched 38.0 professional innings for the Muckdogs over the last two years with a 5.21 ERA and a 40/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Coming Up

The Muckdogs face Jamestown to wrap up a three game series Saturday, then travel to State College. On the fourth, Batavia returns home to face Connecticut – the fourth opponent they've seen this year.

© 2012 The Cardinal Nation, and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories