This year, the Western Division is a tightly bunched group at the half way mark, with only five games separating 1st and last place.
Hopefully, the short break for the Eastern League All-Star Game will benefit the team in the long run. If Erie is going to make a run at the top two spots in the division, the ‘Wolves will need to improve their offensive output. Just before the break the SeaWolves have started to flex their offensive muscle and look to continue doing so after the break.
Jamie Johnson has been one of those ‘Wolves who has started to flex his offensive muscle. When fans or scouts see Jamie Johnson they might not think offense, but watch him at the plate and their minds quickly change. Johnson is a 5'9 outfielder who is known for solid defense and is just now starting to be known for what he can do with a bat. He is not a power hitter with flashy numbers but can get on base. In his last 45 games, Johnson has hit safely in 41of those games.
The SeaWolves need base runners to boost their run production and Johnson is a guy the team can rely on to get on base. He is currently in the top three for the team in runs, hits, and walks. Johnson looks to continue his amazing streak at getting on base safely and helping his club produce runs any way he can.
The MLB Futures Game was this past Monday night and showcased two current players and one former player. Bruce Rondon and Nick Castellanos represented the club in Kansas City along with former catcher Rob Brantly. If these players are the future for the Tigers then the future looks bright.
Castellanos led the way for the U.S. Team by going 3-for-4 with one walk, scoring three runs along with driving in three runs. To cap off such a great offensive night, Castellanos was named the 2012 Futures Game MVP, truly a great accomplishment by a SeaWolves player. Castellanos displayed his ability to handle big game situations against the best arms in the minors Monday night and only increased his buzz as one of the top prospects within the Tigers organization.
On the opposite side of the ball pitcher Bruce Rondon, who played for the World Team, showed off is blazing fastball speed by making a brief appearance in the Futures Game for 2/3 of inning giving up no hits or walks while registering triple digits with every fastball he tossed. Buzz around Rondon's speed and ability to shut down opposing teams has increased since he has been in Erie and as result of the Futures Game his stock has only risen.
Former catcher for the ‘Wolves, Rob Brantly had a nice night as well by going 1-for-3 with one run batted in.
These three young players showcased the direction and the future of the Tigers organization on Monday night. By having a farm system that can develop and nurture these young talents into Major League players could make for an exciting and successful future for the Tigers.
That's Not All the Stars
The SeaWolves organization also had the distinction of having four players named to the Eastern League All-Star Game. Pitchers James Avery and Kenny Faulk along with position players Jordan Lennerton and Niuman Romero got the honor to play for the West Team in the EL All-Star Game.
Jordan Lennerton was the shining star of the Erie players by belting one homerun and driving in three runs in the West Team's 4-5 loss to the East Team.
Down the Stretch
With the second half of season beginning tomorrow, Erie looks to its All-Star players to lead the club on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
The howlers will start the next half of the season on the road in Binghamton for a four game series.