Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2012 Week 5

The Cardinals' short-season New York-Penn League club is in second place in the Pinckney Division.

The Batavia Muckdogs stumbled a bit this week following a nine-game win streak that the team put together earlier in July. With a 3-4 record in Week 5 (18-11 overall), Batavia has dropped four of five games, and despite seven one-run losses this season, still maintains second place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division behind the Auburn Doubledays (Nationals). Week 5 began with a three-game series win against Aberdeen (Orioles), followed by two losses on the road to Jamestown (Marlins) and a split of two contests with Auburn.

Batavia continues to lead the NYPL in batting average (.266), OPS (.721) and doubles (74), while ranking third in both home runs (16) and RBI (131). In terms of pitching, the Muckdogs rank last in walks allowed (58; league-leader Aberdeen has issued 155), and second in earned-run average (2.69).

One of the week's best performances came from pitcher Kyle Helisek, who threw six shutout, no-hit innings against Jamestown July 18. The Villanova alumnus has a 2.45 ERA this season and has looked comfortable with his control while inducing many ground balls. Following an uninspiring senior season with the Wildcats last year in which the left-hander posted a 6.23 ERA and a 1-9 record, his identity as a pitcher is apparent and his control has seemingly improved.

Ben Freeman struck out a season-high nine batters in a five-inning shutout effort against Auburn July 19. The 2010 11th-round pick demonstrated his curveball as an effective out pitch, as he used it for more than half of his strikeouts in the nine-K outing. Scouts say he's reminiscent of left-handed Twins' pitcher Scott Diamond who, like Freeman, stands of third base side of the rubber, turns his back on hitters to add deception and throws over the top.

Outfielder Jordan Walton is simply a tough out. With good speed and a knack for singles-hitting, Walton plays the game hard – fitting the role of underdog as an undrafted player. As an example, Walton entered Friday's game against Auburn in a pinch-hit situation and succeeded. Hitting .228/.354/.356 with four doubles in 21 games as a Muckdog, the 22-year-old has been a consistent presence in left field this season.

Another outfielder, Matthew Young, has just been just as consistent for the Muckdogs at the plate and in center field. With a .250/.365/.345 line in his first professional season, Young is most known for his unusual stance in which his legs are so spread out and he's crouched so low, his feet seem to touch the front and back of the batters' box simultaneously. But he should also be known for his patience. Although the 2012 20th-round draft pick has 24 strikeouts in 26 games, he's also walked 17 times which leads the team. Even when he gets down in the count, he has a propensity to work it back into his favor.

Other Week 5 Notables:

Steven Ramos has gone 4-for-20 this week with one extra base hit, no walks and no RBI. In the three most recent games, the outfielder is 0-for-10 with five strikeouts.
• Another struggling position player is Gary Apelian, who, in the last 10 games is hitting .103/.235/.276. In the four most recent games, Apelian has gone 0-for-10 with four strikeouts.
Dyllon Nuernberg can't shake a six-plus ERA despite two scoreless outings this week. Opponents are hitting .353 against the right-handed reliever, and though he has a 6/1 K/BB, Nuernberg has allowed six runs on 12 hits in 8 2/3 innings.
• Catcher Jesus Montero continues to rake. He's hitting .356/.429/.517 with three home runs and five doubles and is the team-leader with 17 RBI.
• Arguably the largest player on the team, first baseman David Washington, (listed at 6'5", 200 lbs.) leads the Muckdogs in doubles (13); while arguably the smallest, Breyvic Valera (5'11", 160 lbs.) is in second (9).
• Right-hander Brandon Creath continues to excel for the Muckdogs. He's allowed just one run in 16.0 innings while striking out 23 and walking six.


7/17 - RHP Kyle Barraclough transferred from Batavia to Quad Cities: In just four games with the Muckdogs, the 22-year-old established himself as one of the most developed pitchers on the team. He throws 95 miles per hour but displayed great command with a 12/0 K/BB in 18.0 innings.

7/17 - INF Anthony Melchionda transferred from Batavia to Quad Cities: The 2012 14th-round draft pick is back with the River Bandits after he hit his first career home run at Kane County July 6.

7/17 - INF David Bergin transferred from Batavia to Quad Cities: Bergin showed off his raw power in Batavia with a .532 slugging percentage. He hit five doubles and two home runs in 13 games with the Muckdogs and is currently 1-for-6 with a walk and an RBI with the River Bandits.

7/17 - INF Roberto De La Cruz transferred from Quad Cities to Batavia: The 21-year-old has played two games for Batavia going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts. De La Cruz appeared in 62 games for Quad Cities this season with a line of .207/.229/.306.

7/18 - C Adam Lewis transferred from Quad Cities to Batavia: The 2012 undrafted free agent made his Muckdogs' debut in Friday's 4-3 loss and made an out on the first pitch as a pinch hitter.

7/20 - INF Danny Stienstra returned from rehab injury assignment and activated from Batavia's disabled list: The 23-year-old played for the Muckdogs in 2011, hitting .258/.315/.308 in 33 games.

Coming Up

The Muckdogs continue a home series with Auburn on Saturday then play the Doubledays again on the road Sunday. After that, Batavia travels to State College for a two-game series with the Spikes (Pirates) and then hosts Brooklyn (Mets) for a three-game set.

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