Little Appy Astro and I went to Pioneer Park last night and caught the last game of the season. It is always a bitter sweet time of the year. You can tell the players are ready to go home and see family and friends. And having experienced being away from home, I understand where they are coming from. However, as a baseball fan, it means the season is drawing to a close. And a disappointing season at that.
I had high hopes for this edition of the G-Stros. Some of the players I thought would do well, didn't. However, that doesn't mean there wasn't some development that took place. Let's take a look at who showed some growth during the final month of the season.
Josh Magee turned his season around in a big way in the month of
August. In June and July, he played in 30 games and was 20 for 99 at
the plate (.202). He got sizzling hot in August including one stretch
where he hit in 12 straight AB. He finished the month hitting .376 (32
of 85) and that brought his season average up to a respectable .283. He
is a good example of a player who develops over a short season. He
raised his OBP at least .100 points each month.
Jordan Scott was the MVP of the G-Stros this season. He hit .337 on the season but hit .366 for the month of August. He also hit his first HR of the season. He will turn 20 on 9/22/11. Look for him to be in LF in Lexington next season.
Jean Batista joined the G-Stros around the middle of August. He appeared in 12 games and got off to a hot start. The 19 year old SS hit .333 and also hit two HR during his brief stay in Greeneville.
On the mound, there were also some positive developments:
Frances Ramirez was called up from the GCL and made four starts in G'ville in August. In those four starts, he put up a 2.89 ERA in 18 2/3 IP. He only allowed 12 hits and two walks while striking out 11 batters during that span.
Tyson Perez put together a solid last month of the season. His ERA for August was 3.54 in six starts but he fanned 29 batters in 28 innings pitched. Prior to this month, he had only fanned 20 in 27 IP.
Chris Lee, the highest draft pick at the start of the year, showed some signs of development. He fanned 26
batters during his last 23 2/3 IP. While he still gave up way too many
walks, he was getting more swings and misses and more ground balls.
Jeremiah Meiners was one of the most solid arms out of the pen all season. He finished with a 2.90 ERA and never had a month where his ERA rose to the 3.00 level. In 40 1/3 IP, he fanned 42 batters and only walked 10. He didn't get enough IP to qualify among the league leaders (14 1/3 short), but his WHIP of 1.09 would have been in first place. He showed significant growth over his 2010 season in the GCL (6.95 ERA).
Zach Dando didn't have the best of months for August but despite an ERA of 4.97, he held opposing batters to a .196 average. He had more Ks (35) than IP (33).
Matison Smith was one of the older players on the roster. At 23, he put together a nice August out of the G-Stros pen. He put up a 1.42 ERA in 9 appearances (12 2/3 IP). During that span, he fanned 20 batters.
Scott Zuloaga, had an impressive August. The side winding lefty posted a 2.45 ERA for the month that was less than half of his previous month's 5.68. During August, he appeared in 12 games and fanned 8 batters in 7 1/3 IP. He also induced ground balls at a higher rate. His season ERA is deceptively high due to his 36 ERA in August.
Most Likely To Return
Last year, I predicted that Cotton & Batista would return to pitch in G'ville. Here are the players, I feel will be back in Greeneville next year. It will be a larger number than were here this year.
Possible returnees include:
Ariel Ovando - raw talent still has a great deal of work to do in the field and on the bases.
Darwin Rivera - made a big jump to the Appy after only 13 games in the DSL over 2 years.
Garen Wright - injuries hampered this season for another raw outfielder.
Chan Moon - really started to shine at SS later in the season. Had a few flashes at the plate as well.
Adrian Houser - don't see him ready for older competition yet.
Jose Perdomo - if he is not hurt, I could see him back for a 2nd year. Didn't pitch after 7/18.
If those six players return, that would be a solid foundation for a good team for 2012. Because there is always next year.