In And Out Season for Catfish

This was the third year that the Dodgers operated their low-A club at Columbus. It was the same old, same old; some moments of brightness but no playoffs. The Catfish went 37-33 in the first half of the South Atlantic League season, then 35-35 for the second half. At no time were they a true contender.

It well could have been better except for the movement of some of their best up to Vero Beach. They lost four of their starting pitching staff - Alberto Bastardo, Brent Leach, Cory Wade and Marlon Arias- plus their leading home run hitter, Sergio Pedroza and their hit leader, Drew Locke, among others. So while they kept Vero pretty well stocked (and to no avail, really), they gave up too many players that could have been their mainstays.

The departure of Pedroza and Locke, who was among the league's top hitters with a .335 average when promoted, cut out the heart of their offense although newly drafted Bridger Hunt came in to do well.

Anthony Harper, who took over as the regular catcher, carried the load for a time, then slumped to wind up at .287.

Shortstop Ivan De Jesus, Jr., was steady in the field and did well on offense, hitting .277, while Luke May started hitting for distance down the stretch to wind up with 18 homers.

Outfielder Adam Godwin also came on after spending a great deal of his time moving in and out of the lineup. He wound up with a .269 mark and showed why he previously had been the NCAA stolen base king with 30 steals for this season.

First baseman David Sutherland stayed around the whole year to hit .268 while third baseman Russell Mitchell provided considerable power with 32 doubles and 15 homers before he, too, was promoted. \par\par The pitching was extremely erratic, particularly after both Bastardo and Leach, who had done well early, were moved up. Righthander James McDonald began the year in the bullpen, then was brought into the rotation.

The results weren't too heartening for awhile, then he came on and although he wound up an unspectacular 5-10, 3.98, he finished with a flourish, reeling off 17 scoreless innings.

Mario Alvarez (7-10, 5.89) had some good moments and some bad ones. Jon Meloan did quite well in relief ( 1-1, 1.54 with 41 strikeouts in 23 innings ) before he also was whisked off to Vero. On the other hand, Ramon Troncoso came back and proved to be the closer needed as he posted a 4-0, 2.41 record with 15 saves.

Arismendy Castillo (8-5, 4.59) was another of the sometimes on, sometimes off pitching brigade. Matt Gomez de Segura (4-3, 4.94) showed improvement.

This was a team that was a bit better than average with nothing great to cheer about but nothing too depressing, either.

Team Leaders:

Average- Harper .287
Hits- DeJesus 134
HR- Pedroza 21
RBI- Pedroza 75
SB- Godwin 30

Pitching:\par Wins- Castillo, Jordan Pratt, each 8\par Innings- McDonald 142.1
ERA- McDonald 3.98
SO- McDonald 146
Saves- Troncoso 15

Most Surprising- Hunt. You really can't expect ninth-round draft choices to hit as well as he did at this level. That he did, though, - .314.

Most Disappointing- 2b Travis Denker. Not that he did that badly here because he was okay-.268 with 11 homers but, rather, the fact that he was here at all for he was supposed to be a mainstay at Vero but flopped there (.220) and was demoted.

Best Prospect- DeJesus, who looks like a good shortstop who'll hit enough. He was just ahead of McDonald whose late-season exploits are worth noting.