Daniel Bard: Bard earned a spot on the Eastern Division All-Star team by going 0-0 with a 1.08 ERA—fourth-best in the HWB—and whiffing 15 batters while allowing just eight hits and limiting opposing batters to a .140 average in 16 2/3 innings over 16 appearances. He enjoyed a scoreless streak of 13 1/3 innings over 12 appearances from Oct. 6-Nov. 11.
But Bard battled his familiar control woes, particularly late in the season. Bard walked 15 batters, including four over 1 2/3 innings in his final two outings, and hit five batters, including four over 4 2/3 innings in his final five appearances. Bard walked at least one batter in 11 of his 16 appearances. Conversely, he struck out at least two batters five times, including a season-high three over a season-high two innings Oct. 14.
Bard, whom the Sox selected out of North Carolina with the 28th pick of the 2006 draft, went 3-7 with a 7.08 ERA and walked 78 batters in 75 innings between Greenville and Lancaster this season. Because he didn't make his professional debut last season, he was not ranked in Diehard's 2007 prospect issue.
Jimmy James: James went 2-3 with a 3.31 ERA in seven starts for the Sharks. In 35 2/3 innings, he allowed 32 hits and 15 walks while striking out 43 and limiting opposing batters to a .241 average. James displayed a far better strikeout-to-walk ratio in the HWB than he did during the regular season, when he struck out 48 and walked 25 in 65 2/3 innings.
James lasted a season-high five innings four times. He struck out at least six batters four times, including a season-high eight Nov. 11. He opened the season by allowing just one unearned run in his first eight innings over his first two appearances before he gave up three earned runs in each of his next three outings and four of his next five overall.
James, whom the Sox signed as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2002, went 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 14 starts between short-season Single-A Lowell and Single-A Greenville this year. He was not ranked in Diehard's 2007 prospect issue.
Jason Place: Place hit .213 with four homers, eight RBI, 16 runs scored, two stolen bases and six doubles in 80 at-bats for the Sharks. He drew 13 walks and struck out 39 times in recording an on-base percentage of .330 and a slugging percentage of .438. Place led the Sharks in homers but also led the club—and ranked third overall in the HWB—in strikeouts.
Such free-swinging ways are nothing new for Place, who whiffed 160 times in 459 at-bats for Greenville this season. Place appeared to be making strides over his first 14 games with the Sharks, during which he drew 10 walks and struck out 17 times, but he had three walks and 22 strikeouts in his final 12 games. He recorded at least one whiff in 23 of the 26 games in which he received an at-bats for the Sharks and struck out in each of his last 12 games, during which he whiffed 22 times overall. He had at least two strikeouts in a game 12 times.
Place enjoyed a seven-game hitting streak from Oct. 12-19. His average reached a season-high .269 Oct. 17 and slipped as low as .211 Nov. 17—his lowest mark of the season outside of the first four games, when he had two hits in 10 at-bats.
Place, whom the Sox selected in the first round of the 2006 draft out of a South Carolina high school, hit .214 with 12 homers and 55 RBI this season for Greenville. He was ranked 11th in Diehard's 2007 prospect issue.
(For a recap of Argenis Diaz' HWB performance, please CLICK HERE
About the Sharks and the HWB: The Sharks, who were comprised of prospects from the Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, Orioles and Yankees as well as professional players from Japan, finished 17-20, 1 ½ games behind Waikiki (19-19) in the Eastern Division. The championship game Nov. 19 was cancelled due to rain and Western Division champion North Shore (26-12) was declared the league champion by virtue of its superior regular season record. The Sharks' manager was Dave Ingle, who is a minor league manager in the Braves chain, and Mike Cather—the pitching coach at Double-A Portland—filled the same role with the Sharks.
Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at email@example.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.
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