Lakeland MLN: One Run Games Highlight Week

It was a week of tight battles for the Flying Tigers this past week, with Lakeland having four games decided by a single run en route to a 3-3 record over the past seven days.

Luke Putkonen helped impact two of the team's games this past week, leading the team to a win in the final game of the week, while turning in a strong pitching performance in his first start, that resulted in the first of the three one-run losses.

Between the two starts, Putkonen yielded ten hits and three runs over 12 innings of work. He also walked five and struck out eight. Putkonen leads the club in innings pitched and is one of the four horses that has helped drive the Flying Tigers rotation.

Rawley Bishop cooled off some after an incredibly hot week, but life is relative, and that definitely applies to Bishop. In six games, he hit .304 with a home run, three doubles and six RBI. Hard to consider that "cooling off", but that's what happens when you've been as hot as Bishop has been.

However, even Bishop's line isn't completely perfect. While his season on-base percentage remains outstanding at .418, Bishop actually has yet to take a walk in the month of May, while striking out ten times. That K:BB ratio (indefinable since he hasn't taken a walk) is a far cry from his April line, when he walked almost as much as he struck out; nine walks to 11 strikeouts. Bishop's hot hitting is making all of it irrelevant right now, but when his bat slows down, he'll need to see a return of his patience if he hopes to keep among the top hitters in OPS in the Florida State League.

Moving beyond the standout performers, plenty of focus has been on center fielder Daniel Fields, who made the jump from extended spring training all the way to High-A ball when injuries necessitated the move. Fields was expected to remain in extended spring for the first couple months of the year before joining one of the summer teams when they started playing, depending on his performance.

Many were concerned the move might overwhelm the youngster, especially as he was in the process of learning a new position. But through the first few weeks, he has more than held his own.

Fields is hitting just .232, but given his lack of experience against the level of competition he's facing, that's not terribly surprising.

Instead, what's very encouraging is the fact that Fields is maintaining an outstanding walk rate (11 walks in 69 at-bats), while showing off a little bit of gap power.

This performance shouldn't shift the expectations on Fields – he's likely still quite a few years away from being able to move up the ladder and be a serious consideration for the big leagues. But the fact that he's held his own in a very challenging assignment certainly bodes well for Fields' future.


The Flying Tigers will wrap up their series with Charlotte in Lakeland over the next two days, before playing a quick home-and-home series with Tampa. After that, the Flying Tigers will embark on a four game set in Jupiter, who currently sits in last place in the South division.

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