In the first half of the season, The South Bend Silver Hawks came out of the gate to an abhorrent 2-14 start. Even though they went 31-22 (.585) in the remainder of the first half, the hole that they dug for themselves could not be overcome.
With their second half record reset, they are now 3-1 and are a real threat to make the postseason for a fourth straight year under the guidance of Mark Haley. The entire pitching staff has improved ever since Sean Coughlin came out of Extended Spring Training, and the All-Star catcher has contributed mightily with his bat as well. But offensively, the real stars have been table-setters Evan Frey and Mike Mee, who get on base so consistently that the team almost can't help but score runs.
There's a lot more excitement in South Bend, as high draft choices Dallas Buck and Daniel Stange are both coming back from Tommy John Surgery at that level. Buck wields a nasty sinker, while Stange boasts one of the organization's best sliders. Clay Zavada, who was recently acquired for power prospect Brad Miller in a groundbreaking trade, also joins the staff.
The Oaks, meanwhile, had been streaky throughout the first half. Their 34-36 record tied them for last in the tough North division, when it would have earned them second place in the South Division. They can hope for easier competition in the second half, but first they need to take care of themselves, as their 2-4 start to the second half doesn't inspire much confidence.
They are getting some great individual performances, however. Bryan Augenstein has been promoted from South Bend, and looks to join Cesar Valdez to form the best 1-2 punch in the California League. That could turn into a 1-2-3 punch if converted reliever Chad Beck, who also began the year at South Bend, can continue to flourish as a starter.
Offensively, however, the Oaks remain the PC show: Pedro Ciriaco and Peter Clifford have been the only exciting performers of late. Gregory Thomson, who finished his 2007 stint in Visalia with a 13-game hitting streak, is back to get more consistent at bats, and might be able to jump-start a very impotent offense.
Remember, these rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity, with the greatest emphasis placed on recent play, not the best prospects overall.
Note: Stats are accurate through the day games of Monday, June 23rd.
|1||1||3B Jaime D'Antona||Tuc||AVG has dipped to "only" .394|
|2||3||SP Bryan Augenstein||Vis||Promoted to Visalia after a scoreless outing in the MWL All-Star game|
|3||2||SP Cesar Valdez||Vis||Left his last start after three strong innings... let's hope he's okay|
|4||4||OF Evan Frey||SB||Six multi-hit contests over last 10 games|
|5||5||RP Evan Scribner||SB||Zero runs and five hits allowed in May and June combined: 19.2 IP now|
|6||7||RP Chad Beck||Vis||Two starts, 10 innings, one earned run|
|7||6||2B Emilio Bonifacio||Tuc||Excellent sign: Only one strikeout in his last 16 AB|
|8||8||RP Reid Mahon||Mob||Getting nearly four ground outs per fly outs in June with his power sinker|
|9||9||SS Pedro Ciriaco||Vis||Three 2-hit games, Two 3-hit games, and a 4-hit game this week|
|10||11||OF Peter Clifford||Vis||Batted .400 in the 10 games leading up to the All-Star Break|
|11||12||SP Matt Torra||Tuc||2.77 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in Tucson so far|
|12||13||OF Mike Mee||SB||17 more BB than K; .395 BA in last 10 games|
|13||14||SP Josh Collmenter||SB||Has allowed just 2 ER over his last 3 starts|
|14||21||2B Rusty Ryal||Mob||Incredible 5-for-5 with 2 HR on Friday|
|15||23||RP Jason Urquidez||Tuc||Skipped Mobile and promoted straight to Tucson|
|16||10||OF Gerardo Parra||Mob||Six errors already as a BayBear, but still hitting well|
|17||27||RP Kyler Newby||Vis||15 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 4 SV, and 0.79 ERA this month|
|18||18||1B Bryan Byrne||Mob||6-for-12 with a double and a homer in his last 3 games|
|19||24||SP Billy Buckner||Tuc||Gives the Sidewinders a chance to win every time he toes the rubber|
|20||17||RP Leo Rosales||Az||Tossed a scoreless inning following a shaky ML debut|
|21||-||RP Vince Bongiovanni||Mob||0.68 ERA over his last nine outings|
|22||19||LF/1B Astolfo Inciarte||DSL||BA dips to .400; no errors in 11 outfield games|
|23||15||RP Josh Ellis||Vis||Ellis has been human of late: a 4.50 ERA over his last 18 IP|
|24||16||1B Joshua Whitesell||Tuc||A 3-hit game highlighted an otherwise disappointing week|
|25||-||CF Ender Inciarte||DSL||.314 BA, .410 OBP, 6 SB thru 16 games|
|26||30||RP Connor Robertson||Tuc||Eight scoreless outings that span a dozen innings for deceptive reliever|
|27||-||C Sean Coughlin||SB||6-for-14 with 4 walks and 4 doubles since his All-Star appearance|
|28||29||SP Sammy De Los Santos||DSL||Tough-luck pitcher has 21 K and 1 BB|
|29||20||P Thomas Layne||SB||Allowed 2 inherited runners to score and charged with 3 other runs in long relief outing|
|30||28||OF Tim Raines||Tuc||Now that Raines remembers how to draw walks and steal bases, the BA is dipping|
Prospects To Watch:
- SP Tony Barnette (Mobile) is having more good starts than bad starts of late
- SP Dallas Buck (South Bend) is 1-0 with a 0.80 WHIP since his early return from Tommy John surgery
- RP Daniel Stange (South Bend) has tossed two shutout relief innings since his early return from Tommy John surgery
- RP Clay Zavada (South Bend) has tossed two shutout relief innings since coming over from an independent league team
- 3B Raywilly Gomez (DSL) is batting .419 with runners on base
- RP Cesse De Jesus (DSL) has 3 saves in 8 games and a 0.79 ERA
- SP Christian Beltre (22) allowed 10 hits in first outing of the 2nd half
- P A. J. Shappi (25) has not responded well in his return to a starter's role so far (8.22 ERA)
- SS Yunesky Sanchez (26) has not driven in a run since May 19th
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