Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2012 Week 4

The Cardinals' short-season New York-Penn League club is coming off a nine-game winning streak.

After stumbling out the gates with five one-run losses to start the season, the Batavia Muckdogs have continued to turn talent into wins. Moving into second place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division at 15-10, Batavia went 4-2 in week 4. Despite losses on Thursday and Friday, Batavia wrapped up a season-high nine-game win streak that extended into this week. Opponents included State College (Pirates), Connecticut (Tigers), Lowell (Red Sox) and Hudson Valley (Rays).

The Muckdogs overpowered opponents with both great hitting and pitching. Batavia ranks first in the NYPL in batting average (.270), doubles (58) and slugging percentage (.396); and in terms of pitching, Batavia ranks second in earned-run average (2.42) and first in fewest walks allowed (48; leader Aberdeen (Orioles) has walked 131 as a team).

Yunier Castillo – the converted pitcher – has closed six games for the Muckdogs, accumulating three saves. But what's notable is his 0.75 ERA through 12.0 innings this season. The 23-year-old has allowed one earned run over nine appearances and has a 13/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Sitting between 92-94 miles per hour, Castillo pounds the outside corner of the plate which has been especially effective against right-handed hitters who are batting just .188 against him this season.

It's also notable to point out Castillo's 3.0 innings this week because he has surpassed his appearance total from 2011, when he started the transition. That season, Castillo made 10 appearances allowing nine earned runs in 9.0 innings with a 6/5 K/BB. Starting as a hard-throwing, All-Star shortstop, Castillo has put in the time to become a quality reliever. It's his third year in the NYPL – which is rare – but he seems to be progressing and adjusting on the mound.

Tyler Melling has the third-highest ERA amongst starters on the team behind Joey Cuda and Kyle Barraclough (2.05). The 2011 39th round pick has walked just two batters in 22.0 innings with 15 strikeouts. In even more numerical terms, that's a 7.50 K/BB – an astronomical number. Even though that's a difficult pace to maintain, Melling has a tremendous asset that shows this isn't just luck: control. The 23-year-old simply throws strikes. Melling's two-seamer moves a lot and the coaching staff seems to be emphasizing fastball location in his development.

David Bergin stood out this week for position players by going 7-for-15 at the plate with four doubles, a home run and six RBI, highlighted by a 3-for-3, three-double night July 9 against Lowell. Scouts say the 2011 30th round pick is an all-or-nothing swinger with plus power: example A - he has 13 strikeouts in 12 games, but seven of his 14 hits are for extra bases. His line in Batavia is up to .302/.380/.558, including a .942 OPS in the last 10 games. However, scouts also say his defense needs to improve at first base.

Other notables from week 4:

2012 4th round pick Alex Mejia played his first full week as a professional (7-for-27, 2B, RBI, K, BB in five games this week). The University of Arizona alumnus played five games at shortstop and one at designated hitter for the Muckdogs.

Patrick Wisdom – the No. 52 overall pick in this year's draft was just 6-for-21 in week 4; but he's still hitting .273/.385/.409 this season.

Dyllon Nuernberg has struggled with Batavia after being promoted from Johnson City on June 30. It's the 21-year-old's first time out of rookie-level ball in his third professional season. After a scoreless outing July 13, his ERA stands at 7.71.

Second baseman Breyvic Valera continues to excel at this level. In 23 games, he's hitting .349/.369/.434.


7/10 - INF Anthony Melchionda transferred from Springfield to Batavia. The 22-year-old homered in a game with the River Bandits where he was first promoted July 5 – the first of his professional career. He also was promoted to Double-A Springfield on July 7, but did not enter a game. Melchionda is hitting .219/.260/.342 with six doubles and a 18/3 K/BB in 16 games with the Muckdogs this season.

Coming up

After losing two in a row to follow up a nine-game win streak, the Muckdogs will look to get back on track on the road against Aberdeen in a three-game series starting on Saturday. Then they take on Jamestown (Marlins) and Auburn (Nationals).

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