I don’t feel I’ve posted much non-Minor League Highlights content lately, so here goes. Fasten your seatbelts, yadda yadda yadda.
The offense appears to really be clicking right now, eh boys and girls? Ichiro, who was hitting .243 just two weeks ago, nearly has his average up to .300 (.297 entering today’s game). Of course, he’s still not walking — 12 for the season and just one since April 24th, for a so-so .351 OBP — nor is he hitting for power, with just 17% of his hits going for extra bases. That’s a really, really poor number, even worse than what he did the past two seasons (right at 20% both years). Still, though, things seem to be going well. Or are they? *Cue ominous music*
Hitter AVG OPS
Davis .271 .832
Wilson .276 .703
Olerud .273 .785
Boone .291 .876
Guillen .298 .785
Cirillo .245 .652
Winn .289 .762
Cameron .286 .928
Ichiro .297 .737
Martinez .348 1.056
Cameron’s second on the team in OPS? Wow. Anyway, this all breaks down pretty nicely. Edgar is incredible, more or less carrying the offense. Cameron has been pretty darned good, especially for his position. Boone’s probably in that category, too. Then you’ve got a slew of guys — Davis, Wilson, Olerud, Guillen, Winn, Ichiro — who are basically average hitters. That’s good and it’s bad. Average hitters don’t hurt you, but they’re not exactly pushing you towards a championship, either. The M’s will probably have a decision to make on Guillen this winter along those same lines. You know what you’re going to get, and you know it’s not hurting you, but you have to decide if it’s good enough for a championship caliber team.
Another thing to note is here is that the M’s are getting classic “empty batting average” performances from quite a few hitters. Wilson, of course, just like he did last season. Olerud to a lesser extent since he’ll actually take a walk, but that .417 SLG is pretty pathetic for a 1B. He only has two homers this year, putting him on pace for 8 over the course of the season, after averaging 20 over the past 7 years. Guillen isn’t hitting for much power either, but I have no complaints with his offense so far this year. Ditto Boone. I’ll take a .876 OPS from my 2B every day of the week. Winn’s utter lack of power is a bit troubling as well, not that I expected him to hit for much pop this year. LF is really a position where you should be able to play a big bopper, almost regardless of defense, but it’s really not a surprise the M’s prefer a guy like Winn. Then there’s Ichiro, who pretty much defines the term “empty batting average.”
You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned Cirillo yet. I know people are getting all excited with his recent hot streak and his .245 average, but should that really be anything to write home about? The only reason he looks even passable right now is because he was so awful last year — and the beginning of this year — that people have lowered their expectations about him to zero. Hooray, he’s hitting .245. He also has a marginal walk rate (hello, .322 OBP) and can’t hit for even moderate power (just 5 extra base hits out of 16, or 19%, for a pathetic .330 SLG). Needless to say, I’m far from sold on this idea that Cirillo is “back.” Right now, even after this hot streak, his numbers this year are right in line with what he did last year, when we all labeled him a huge disappointment. In other words, he’s still a huge disappointment.
Speaking of huge disappointments, how about this Freddy Garcia character?
Minor League Highlights for Wednesday, May 14
Tacoma had the day off, along with the entire Pacific Coast League, but will return to action today in Edmonton. RHP Rafael Soriano is scheduled to start for the Rainiers.
San Antonio 8, Round Rock 5 (10 innings). The Missions blew a 5-1 leading heading into the bottom of the 8th, as they allowed Round Rock three in the 8th and one more in the 9th to tie, robbing LHP Bobby Madritsch (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) of a win. RHP Jared Hoerman, who blew the save, stuck around and picked up the win as San Antonio scored three in the top of the 10th. 2B Rob Gandolfo, taking advantage of a rare start, went 3-4 with a triple and scored three runs. CF Michael Curry, SS Luis Ugueto and 3B Justin Leone each had two hits, including Curry’s first homer of the year. DH Chris Snelling continued his slide, going 0-5 in the game. Kevin Goldstein of the Prospect Report notes that Snelling has just two hits in his last 16 at-bats. Perhaps most troubling, he — Snelling, not Kevin — has drawn only two walks in ten games.
Inland Empire 6, Rancho Cucamonga 5. LHP Ryan Ketchner was shaky (5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K), but picked up his 5th win of the year thanks to solid run support. Leading the way was 3B Hunter Brown, who homered, singled, walked, drove in three runs and scored twice. RF John Williamson added and RBI and two hits in four at-bats, while 1B John Castellano and CF/RF Greg Jacobs each scored twice. LHP Justin Blood picked up his first save of the year with an impressive long relief outing (2 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Blood now sports a 2.20 ERA with 23 K’s in 16 1/3 innings on the season. After the game, Williamson was released to make room on the roster for David Cameron’s favorite player, OF Cristian Guerrero (see the last post from yesterday for details).
Wisconsin 7, Lansing 3. LHP Bobby Livingston worked his longest start of the season (8 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) to pick up his 5th win and lower his ERA to 2.66. He has pitched quite well so far in his first taste of full-season ball, and won’t turn 21 until September. Offensively the Timber Rattlers were led by 1B Jon Nelson, who homered and drove in three runs, and RF T.J. Bohn, who doubled and scored twice. Every Wisconsin starter had at least one hit in the game, as the team took a 6-0 lead after three innings and then cruised to victory.