The Swing of the Quad Cities have been turning up the burner in the last few days. Individually, Swing players are ranked in the top ten percent in several statistical rankings. In batting average, Brandon Buckman (.329), Mark Shorey (.294), and Luke Gorsett (.280) are among the league leaders. Buckman (.616) and Shorey ( .441) are also among the top in slugging percentage. When considering OPS (on base percentage plus slugging average), among the leaders Buckman (.988) and Shorey (.785) are joined by Christian Lopez (.729). Buckman (90) and Shorey (63) are also near the top of the total bases ranks.
There's a story that goes deeper than the stats, though. This isn't a two-man team. Just behind Buckman and Shorey are several other solid players who are more likely to be here in the Midwest League farther into the season than the two current leaders. Keep watching for names like Jim Rapoport, Jared Schweitzer, Jaime Landin, and Christian Reyes. This is a team that is coming together. I predict a first half championship here in the Quad Cities.
Let's take a look at pitching. With the ongoing tandem-starter experiment, it has been difficult for any one pitcher to stand out. PJ Walters, Brad Furnish, Brandon Dickson, and Tyler Herron have each had great starts in the first six weeks of the season for ERA. Walters, Shaun Garceau, Herron, Furnish, Blake King, and Elvis Hernandez are leading in strike outs. It would be a real error to fail to mention Kenny Maiques again. With 13 appearances on the mound for 13 innings, he has nine saves, and has allowed only two earned runs, for an ERA of 1.38. He deserves a shot at being a starter again.
This week's feature player is Kyle Sadlowski. I got a chance to get to know Kyle a little bit last spring before he finished the season in State College. He's one of only two players on this year's squad who played here last year. I sat down with him recently over a good burger and picked his brain for a while.
Jon: Kyle, tell me how different it is to go to the stadium as a job as compared to going to the game as a fan.
Kyle: Well, of course it's a job, but I wouldn't want a job that wasn't fun. I make every game and every trip as fun as I can.
Jon: What's the worst thing about playing baseball for a living?
Kyle: Fighting every day to keep your job. But I guess you do that with any job; it's just more up front in baseball.
Jon: If you had to give up baseball, what career would you pursue?
Kyle: I'd finish school—I have three classes left—and then coach for fun. I'm studying criminal justice to be a customs agent or work in narcotics. I don't want to be a cop.
Jon: What other player on the Swing are you most like as far as playing style?
Kyle: I'd say Mike Schellinger. We have the same mentality to get the job done.
Jon: As a kid, who was your favorite MLB team?
Kyle: In Pennsylvania, I was always a Phillies fan. We went to AA games in Reading.
Jon: What are some of your hobbies away from the game?
Kyle: I like fishing. When I can, I like to just relax and watch a movie.
Jon: Tell me about your best baseball game ever.
Kyle: When I was in high school I pitched seven innings, got 18 Ks and only gave up one walk. That was a lot of fun.
Jon: If you've been reading these interviews, you know I'm asking one tough question—in a best case scenario, when do you think you'll be pitching in St. Louis?
Kyle: That is a tough one. I hope I can get there in 3-5 years.
Jon: Thanks, Kyle. Go out there and win some games!
Swinging this week: As mentioned before, Buckman and Shorey are likely to be promoted soon, in this writer's opinion. The big question is how to make room up the line so they can move. I'm also keeping an eye on Gorsett, Landin, and Reyes. Rapoport has been up and down, but I've seen the "up" and I know he has what it takes. He just needs to get it consistently. It's becoming more difficult to choose two to three players who are doing well—it's becoming more and more of a team effort. Kyle Mura is on my radar screen this week, too. He has pitched 9.1 innings of relief with an ERA of 0.00 and 10 Ks.
Weather permitting, the Swing are here for a long home stretch.
Contact Jon with comments or suggestions at email@example.com.
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