Batavia Muckdogs Notebook: 2010 Week 11

Jonathan Rodriguez continues to swing a hot bat as the Muckdogs clinch their division and prepare for the playoffs.

Current Record:  44–28     (Pythagorean 43–29)

Current Standing:  First, Pinckney Division Champions

Three games ahead of Williamsport (Philadelphia) and three and one-half games ahead of Jamestown (Florida)

 

Roster Moves:

Friday, August 27th – Outfielder Ross Smith activated from the 7-day Disabled List at class A Quad Cities and re-assigned to Short-season A Batavia

 

Smith's stay on Batavia's roster was brief – see his September 1st transaction below

 

 

Tuesday, August 31st – Right-handed pitcher Javier Avendano called up from Rookie League GCL Cardinals

 

Avendano has not yet appeared in a game for Batavia although that might change now that Batavia has clinched the division title outright.

 

 

Wednesday, September 1st – Outfielder Ross Smith re-called to class A Quad Cities

 

Smith was returned to Quad Cities after Matt Adams, the River Bandits' top bat, suffered a fractured elbow, thus ending his season.

 

 

Friday, September 3rd – Catcher Geoff Klein called up to A-Advanced Palm Beach

 

This transaction reverberates all the way from Double-A Springfield where catcher Charles Cutler broke his foot, thus ending his season.  Springfield called up The Wanderer, catcher Luis De La Cruz, from Palm Beach.  Palm Beach turned around and snagged Geoff Klein from Batavia.  Klein had a hot bat this past week, going 10-for-18 in five games with four doubles, four runs batted in, three runs scored and a walk.  His line:  .556/.579/.778/1.357.  He caught one game and was the designated hitter in the other four games. 

 

 

Of Interest:

Alanna Stage of The Daily News has an informative two-part interview with Ben Hayes, the President of the New York-Penn League, that covers Batavia's future in the league, the future of other small market teams and the league's competitive balance.  Part 1 and Part 2

 

August is finished and it's time to look at the monthly stats, starting with the offense.  The six players whose names are italicized had the minimum number of plate appearances needed to be considered a team leader in any given category.

Player G  AB  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS  BABIP
Joey Bergman 27 90 0.311 0.426 0.378 0.804 0.400
Pat Biserta 26 81 0.333 0.363 0.407 0.770 0.403
Juan Castillo 13 41 0.317 0.356 0.415 0.770 0.361
Yunier Castillo 21 68 0.265 0.306 0.294 0.600 0.327
Chris Edmondson 24 101 0.307 0.343 0.455 0.798 0.341
Jon Edwards 14 31 0.032 0.143 0.032 0.175 0.091
Geoff Klein 7 24 0.375 0.375 0.542 0.917 0.500
Nick Longmire 29 110 0.255 0.344 0.391 0.735 0.321
Adam Melker 8 24 0.208 0.259 0.208 0.468 0.278
Mike O'Neill 13 10 0.200 0.273 0.200 0.473 0.222
Audry Perez 12 40 0.275 0.362 0.475 0.837 0.321
Jonathan Rodriguez 29 100 0.320 0.414 0.620 1.034 0.382
Victor Sanchez 29 106 0.321 0.410 0.519 0.929 0.372
Ross Smith 2 3 0.000 0.250 0.000 0.250 0.000
Matt Valaika 20 71 0.155 0.268 0.211 0.480 0.172
Colin Walsh 4 14 0.071 0.222 0.286 0.508 0.000

 

Centerfielder Nick Longmire, third baseman Jonathan Rodriguez and first baseman Victor Sanchez all played 29 games in August, the most on the team.  Longmire also had the most at bats and plate appearances.  Pat Biserta's .333 batting average was the top average and only Nick Longmire hit below .300 for the month of the six qualifiers.  Joey Bergman led the team with a .426 on-base-percentage and Jonathan Rodriguez' .414 was second.  Rodriguez led fellow infielder Victor Sanchez in the slugging race, .620 to .519 and Rodriguez' 1.034 OPS was the team's best. 

 

Player PA BB  SO  BB/PA K/PA ISO
Joey Bergman 109 16 20 6.8 5.5 0.067
Pat Biserta 92 6 14 15.3 6.6 0.074
Juan Castillo 47 2 5 23.5 9.4 0.098
Yunier Castillo 74 3 13 24.7 5.7 0.029
Chris Edmondson 108 4 12 27.0 9.0 0.129
Jon Edwards 35 2 20 17.5 1.8 0.000
Geoff Klein 24 0 6   4.0 0.167
Nick Longmire 128 16 27 8.0 4.7 0.118
Adam Melker 27 1 6 27.0 4.5 0.000
Mike O'Neill 11 1 1 11.0 11.0 0.000
Audry Perez 47 6 10 7.8 4.7 0.200
Jonathan Rodriguez 116 15 26 7.7 4.5 0.270
Victor Sanchez 122 10 18 12.2 6.8 0.189
Ross Smith 4 1 1 4.0 4.0 0.000
Matt Valaika 84 11 7 7.6 12.0 0.042
Colin Walsh 18 3 1 6.0 18.0 0.214

Second baseman Joey Bergman walked an average of once every 6.8 plate appearances which was tops in that category.  Outfielder Chris Edmondson had the best strikeout rate among the qualifiers.  Edmondson struck out an average of once every nine plate appearances.  Finally, Jonathan Rodriguez had the best isolated power numbers at .270.

 

 

Now to look at the complete August 2010 pitching stats which have been divided between the rotation and the bullpen.

Rotation
Pitcher IP H SO BB SO/9 IP BB/9 IP H/9 IP
Justin Edwards 28.2 34 23 6 7.2 1.9 10.7
John Gast 31.0 23 33 7 9.6 2.0 6.7
Nick McCully 27.2 34 16 10 5.2 3.3 11.1
Andrew Moss 23.1 22 17 7 6.6 2.7 8.5
Zack Russell 30.1 23 27 16 8.0 4.7 6.8
               
Pitcher ERA FIP R/ER WHIP BAA BABIP K/BB
Justin Edwards 4.08 3.34 21/13 1.40 0.296 0.323 3.8
John Gast 1.74 2.26 6/6 0.97 0.219 0.278 4.7
Nick McCully 7.48 4.65 26/23 1.59 0.301 0.292 1.6
Andrew Moss 3.86 4.14 10/10 1.24 0.244 0.244 2.4
Zack Russell 3.56 3.63 14/12 1.29 0.215 0.224 1.7

Batavia used the same rotation the entire month except for a couple of spot starts necessitated by double-headers.  John Gast barely nudges out Zack Russell for the most innings pitched for the month with 31 versus 30.1.  Gast also leads in the strikeouts-per-nine-innings pitched column with 9.6 SO/9 IP with fellow lefties Russell and Edwards in second and third at 8.0 SO/9 IP and 7.2 SO/9 IP respectively. 

 

Edwards edges out Gast in the fewest walks-per-nine-innings pitched category with 1.9 BB/9 IP to Gast's 2.0 BB/9 IP.  When you look at Edwards' hits allowed and its corresponding batting average against, however, his low walk rate may be more an indication that he is leaving the ball over the plate and the opposition is hitting it. 

 

The fewest hits allowed every nine innings category is another close contest between Gast (6.7) and Russsell (6.8).  But Russell's lack of control, he walks almost five batters every nine innings, may be a factor in his lack of hits given up.  Generally speaking, though, batters at this level usually have not developed a great deal of plate discipline and often swing if it is anywhere near the plate. 

 

Russell trails Gast significantly in both Earned Run Average and Fielding Independent Pitching with Russell's control issues being the main factor in the FIP difference.  In fact, Justin Edwards' 3.34 FIP is second with Russell's 3.63 FIP being third.  Gast had the best WHIP for August at 0.97 while Russell's .215 batting average against is the lowest in the rotation.  Finally, John Gast had the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the rotation at 4.7:1. 

 

Going over the bullpen stats, two of the listed pitchers barely pitched during August:  Anthony Ferrara and Jose Rada.  Ferrara came off the disabled list late in the month while Rada was promoted to Quad Cities early in the month.  Neither pitcher will be a part of the discussion that follows.

 

Bullpen
Pitcher IP H SO BB SO/9 IP BB/9 IP H/9 IP
Keith Butler 12.0 10 22 6 16.5 4.5 7.5
Chris Corrigan 12.0 11 2 3 1.5 2.3 8.3
Anthony Ferrara 3.0 7 2 0 6.0 0.0 21.0
David Kington 11.1 7 11 3 8.7 2.4 5.6
Travis Lawler 18.2 11 20 7 9.6 3.4 5.3
LaCurtis Mayes 9.1 9 7 1 6.7 1.0 8.7
Matt North 11.0 17 6 10 4.9 8.2 13.9
Jose Rada 1.0 1 2 2 18.0 18.0 9.0
Chase Reid 12.2 8 14 3 9.9 2.1 5.7
Houston Summers 8.1 14 6 8 6.5 8.6 15.1
Justin Wright 6.2 2 10 2 13.5 2.7 2.7
   
Pitcher ERA FIP R/ER WHIP BAA BABIP K/BB
Keith Butler 3.75 2.87 5/5 1.33 0.217 0.300 3.7
Chris Corrigan 3.00 3.87 4/4 1.17 0.244 0.234 0.7
Anthony Ferrara 6.00 1.87 2/2 2.33 0.438 0.500  
David Kington 0.79 2.05 2/1 0.88 0.171 0.212 3.7
Travis Lawler 0.96 3.20 3/2 0.96 0.177 0.196 2.9
LaCurtis Mayes 2.89 3.41 3/3 1.07 0.250 0.276 7.0
Matt North 9.00 6.56 12/11 2.45 0.362 0.308 0.6
Jose Rada 9.00 5.20 1/1 3.00 0.250 0.250 1.0
Chase Reid 3.55 2.96 5/5 0.87 0.186 0.212 4.7
Houston Summers 5.40 5.00 7/5 2.64 0.389 0.359 0.8
Justin Wright 0.00 1.55 0/0 0.60 0.091 0.133 5.0

Travis Lawler pitched the most innings in August but that number is somewhat inflated by an August 26th spot start in which he went four innings.  Current closer Keith Butler averaged 16.5 strikeouts every nine innings with southpaw Justin Wright's 13.5 SO/9 IP second.  Current River Bandit LaCurtis Mayes averaged only one walk every nine innings for August prior to his promotion but that average is much lower than his seasonal average of 3.25 BB/9 IP.  Among the current staff, Chase Reid had the best walk rate average at 2.1 every nine innings with David Kington second at 2.4.  Lawler returns to the top of the hit parade by averaging 5.3 hits every nine innings.  Kington was second with 5.6 hits, just ahead of Reid's 5.7.    

 

Justin Wright was not scored upon in his six and two-thirds innings of work which was the best on the staff for Earned Run Average.  He also had the best FIP at 1.55 with Kington second with a 2.05 FIP.  Four relievers had a sub-1.00 WHIP headed by Wright at 0.60.  The other three were Reid (0.87), Kington (0.88) and Lawler (0.96).  (You notice a pattern of which relievers' names get mentioned?)  Wright held the opposition to just two hits in six and two-thirds innings for a .091 batting average against.  Kington was second with a .171 batting average against.  Mayes' 7:1 K/BB ratio was best in the bullpen for August while Wright's 5:1 ratio is best among the current staff. 

 

Kington is a 34th round selection out of the 2009 draft and will turn 23 in December.  This is his first season at this level.  Lawler is also a 2009 draftee, 32nd round and he also appears at this level for the first time.  Lawler turned 22 in June.  Reid, who is about a month older than Lawler, was drafted in the 41st round in 2010 out of Vanderbilt.  Wright signed near the August deadline.  The just turned 21-year-old was drafted in the 47th round out of Virginia Tech. 

 

 

Who's Hot:  Third baseman Jonathan Rodriguez and First baseman Victor Sanchez // Lefties Zack Russell and Justin Wright

 

Rodriguez continues to tear up New York-Penn League pitching with this week's line being .419/.455/.806/1.261, 13-for-31 in seven games, with three doubles, three home runs, two walks, nine runs driven in, a stolen base and five strikeouts.  Rodriguez was charged with three errors this week to bring his total for the season to eight.  He had a .435 BABIP and .387 ISO. 

 

Sanchez gets his second straight ‘Hot' nod with a line of .433/.528/.633/1.161, 13-for-30 in seven games, with three doubles, a home run, two walks, six runs driven in and one stolen base in two attempts.  He was also hit by a pitch four times and had a .500 BABIP.

 

Russell bounced from last week's ‘Not' to this week's ‘Hot' with his performance against State College on August 29th.  He scattered eight hits and just one walk over seven innings and allowed two runs, one earned, with six strikeouts.  Russell had a 1.91 FIP and 6:1 K/BB ratio.

 

Justin Wright has been money since his first game appearance on August 20th.  He has yet to be scored upon and that includes the four runners he inherited.  Two of the four inherited runners were in scoring position.  Wright's line since August 20th:  4 G, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 1 HB, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.55 FIP, 0.60 WHIP, .091 BAA, .133 BABIP, 13.5 SO/9 IP.

 

 

Who's Not:  Outfielder Chris Edmondson and Catcher Audry Perez //  Left-handed starter Justin Edwards

 

Edmondson did not connect very often this week, going 8-for-34 for a .235 batting average, but when he did it was for extra bases.  Half of his eight hits were for extra bases:  two doubles and two triples.  He did not draw a walk but was hit by a pitch and, overall, went .235/.257/.412/.669 with two strikeouts and a .250 BABIP.

 

Perez went just .222/.267/.444/.711, 6-for-27 in six games but two of his six hits were home runs, including a grand slam.  He did walk twice against five strikeouts with a .200 BABIP.  Perez has struggled since his return from the disabled list, going .244/.327/.422/.749, 11-for-45 in 13 games, with two doubles, two home runs, six walks and 12 strikeouts.

 

Edwards has been a bit uneven and this week saw two of his lesser performances.  He made two starts and only went five innings in each, allowing a total of eight runs, all earned, on 10 hits including three home runs.  The southpaw walked five and struck out 11.  He had a 7.20 ERA, 6.40 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, .256 BAA and .233 BABIP.

 

 

How They Stack Up:

Joey Bergman's .302 batting average is 13th in the league and his .403 on-base-percentage is seventh.  Jonathan Rodriguez has moved up to seventh in slugging with a .492 slugging percentage.  Interestingly, Nick Longmire held the seven slot in slugging last week.  He has dropped to a tie for tenth with a .477 slugging percentage.  In what may be a sign of the of the play-offs outcome, Brooklyn holds the top three OPS slots:  23-year-old Rylan Sandoval is tops at .950, outfielder Cory Vaughn is second at .945 and centerfielder Darrell Ceciliani is third with a .930 OPS.  Batavia's top three in OPS are Nick Longmire at .848 (12th), Jonathan Rodriguez at .826 (14th) and Victor Sanchez at .813 (17th).  Rodriguez is third in the league with 12 home runs, behind Jamestown's Marcel Ozuna's 21 and Brooklyn's Cory Vaughn with 13. 

 

Batavia's team offensive numbers have generally improved from two weeks ago.  They are now in the top four teams in 11 of the 14 listed categories which is up one.  (The Muckdogs moved up into a tie for fourth place in home runs.)  Overall, Batavia improved their ranking in nine categories, remained at the same rank in three and fell in two.  Further, the gap between Batavia and potential play-off opponent Brooklyn (New York Mets) narrowed in every category in which Brooklyn is currently first.  Batavia's team OPS rose from .736 to .744 while Brooklyn's fell from .799 to .785.

 

Link to Team Charts – Chart A

 

The Muckdogs now lead the league in fewest strikeouts-per-plate appearance with an average of a strikeout every 5.5 plate appearances.  That number is just ahead of Williamsport (Philadelphia) who K's an average of once every 5.4 plate appearances.  Batavia is tied with Auburn (Toronto) for third in walks-per-plate appearance with a walk every 10.3 plate appearances.  Vermont (Washington) leads with a walk every 8.5 plate appearances.  Offensive powerhouse Brooklyn strikes out once every 5.1 plate appearances and walks once every 12.7 plate appearances, on average.

 

Link to Team Charts – Chart B

 

Batavia's team pitching stats are virtually unchanged from two weeks ago although their team rankings slid a notch in FIP, IP, WHIP and K/BB ratio.  They did improve somewhat in both Home-Runs-per-Hits and Strikeouts-per-Nine-Innings Pitched.  The Muckdogs are not in either the top four or bottom four teams in any category.

 

 

 

The Games: 

Batavia went 6-1 this week to clinch the division title while rivals Williamsport and Jamestown went 5-2 and 3-4 respectively.  

 

The Muckdogs defeated the Spikes 10-6 on Saturday to take both games of the short two-game road series.  A game write-up from the Centre Daily Times which covers the Spikes. (Box)

 

Batavia downed State College 6-4 on Sunday in the first of three home games against the Spikes.  The Batavian has the game write-up including some nice action shots.  (Box)

 

The Muckdogs won 6-2 over State College on Monday.  The Centre Daily Times' write-up.  (Box)

 

Batavia won its fifth straight game but this one took extras as they downed State College 12-11 in a slugfest that took 11 innings.  The Daily News has a Batavia-oriented write-up that is fairly generic, while The Daily Collegian has a Spikes-focused game story that includes quotes.  (Box)

 

Batavia came from behind twice against Jamestown to win 10-5 on the road and clinch a tie for the Pinckney Division title.  The Daily News write-up.  (Box)

 

Batavia fell to Jamestown at home 5-4 to snap a six-game winning streak and lose for only the second time in the past 11 games.  The loss featured some unexpected fireworks as Muckdogs got tossed from the contest for the second straight game.  The Daily News write-up.  (Box)

 

Batavia downed Auburn 8-5 at home on Friday to ensure the best record in their division.  The Daily News write-up.   (Box)

 

 

The Race to the Play-Offs:

Batavia clinched a statistical tie for the Pinckney Division title on Wednesday but was declared the division champion due to winning a series of tie-breakers.  Until Friday's win, however, the Muckdogs could have ended the season with an identical record to the wild card team.  That is no longer the case.  The post-season begins on Tuesday as a best-of-three series at the home of the Stedler Division champions, either Connecticut or Tri-City.  The final two games of the series will be hosted by Batavia.  Brooklyn, the McNamara Division champions, will take on the wild card winner, either Williamsport or Jamestown.  Connecticut is up by a half game over Tri-City and Williamsport leads Jamestown by the same margin with two games to play. 

 

Looking at the rotation for the first round, it appears manager Dann Bilardello will have some rotation decisions to make.  If the rotation remains on its regular schedule, ace John Gast would miss the entire first round.  He is scheduled to pitch today (Saturday, the 4th) with Nick McCully going on Sunday.  That would leave Andrew Moss for the opening game, Justin Edwards for game 2 and Zack Russell for game 3, if necessary.  The second round of the play-offs will begin either on Friday, September 10th or Saturday, September 11th, depending on how long each first-round series goes.  Moss, Edwards and Russell are all capable of winning under pressure but all are uneven in their performances.  Gast has been very steady on the mound.  Skipping him in the first series, however, would leave him available to pitch game 1 of the League Championship series, if Batavia gets that far.  If Gast ends up being held to pitch in the League Championship series, that would force Bilardello to either go with #5 starter Nick McCully for game 2 or pitch Andrew Moss on short rest.  Decisions, decisions. 

 

 

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