Fishing For Mudcats: "The road goes on forever..."
By Jim Pete
May 2, 2012
From the Bait Shop:
There are clearly two versions of the Carolina Mudcats. You see, there’s this version that plays at home, and it’s a version that can hit .300 as a team, drive the ball into gaps, manufacture runs, and just wreak havoc on teams coming into town. Then there’s this other team that takes over when the team heads out on the road. This is the team that resembles the past High A Tribe affiliate in that they can’t hit very much, and can barely manufacture a walk, let alone a run.
Unfortunately, Carolina spent most of the week on the road.
Offensively, this team couldn’t do much of anything. In seven games, they managed to score 27 runs. In their three wins, they scored 18 of their total runs, which doesn’t leave many for their four losses. They did manage to hit six homers, but would only walk 18 times, against 49 K’s. That’s just not going to get it done. Last week, the team hit .295 on the week, playing most of their games in the friendly confines of Five County Stadium. This week, they managed a .229 average, playing most of their games on the road.
Last week, the Mudcats’ starters were dominance, while the bullpen got laid out. So, of course, this week, the starters got beat up a bit, while the relievers pitched extremely well. Overall, Mudcats’ pitchers went 57 innings overall, giving up 52 hits and 27 earned runs, while walking 28 and striking out 50 batters. They had a 4.26 ERA overall, while the starters carried the bulk of that with 19 of the 27 earned runs. The most alarming stat for the starters were their 19 walks, versus only 23 K’s on the week.
Clearly the Mudcats are trying to find themselves. Are they the offensive juggernaut that resides in Five County Stadium, or are they the patsy’s that roam the Carolina League ballparks outside of Zebulon. Are the starters the strength of the team, or are the relievers?
Truth be told, there’s been so much upheaval in Carolina, it’ll be hard to say until sometime around July…just in time for that yearly influx of draft picks.
Let’s get fishing, before I start humming a Willy Nelson tune…
Where We Stand After Week #4:
Week #4 Games:
1 @ Lynchburg, W 5-2 (WP: J. Reichenbach; LP: D. Delgado; SV: S. Armstrong)
(Completion of game suspended on 4/30/12)
This Week’s Transactions:
Anthony Gallas is the homegrown kid who got out and actually did something in professional baseball, with nine hits, three runs, two doubles, a homer and three RBI on the week. You have to love undrafted free agents who proves to be one of the better hitters in the system. Gallas opened up the year in 2011 lighting up Lake County with similar numbers before tapering off later in the season. Gallas started off the season slowly this year, but judging from his .409 average this past week, he’s clearly found his swing.
Jeremie Tice hasn’t played much this week, but did manage to go 5-for-7, with two runs, two double, two homers and five RBI in his two games. I’m not sure if the kid is hurt or not, but congrats on being one of the hottest players in the system. Tice is injury prone though, so this doesn’t look good for the DH/1B.
…The Bad and the Ugly…
Ronny Rodriguez doubled Toole’s weekly hit output this past week. Of course, Toole only had that one hit. Rodriguez went 2-for-26, with a run and a double, one RBI and two K’s on the week. Rodriguez is one of the top prospects in the system, but will certainly need to figure things out at High A to continue in that role.
Jake Lowery is one of the better offensive catchers in the system, but had a reality check this week, going 4-for-22, with two runs and a double. Lowery has struggled with his approach, and it really reared its head this week, as he struck out eight times in his six games, against only two walks.
T.J. House made his final start at Carolina, and put out another solid effort in getting his second and last win of the season. He went six solid innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs, while walking three and striking out four. It wasn’t his best start, but again, it provided a glimpse at his current floor. That’s a bad game for House, who just isn’t the same pitcher he was over the past two seasons.
Kyle Blair got blitzed in Lake County in his last extended appearance, but was handled very effectively afterwards. He replaced House in the rotation, and promptly went four solid innings. The former fourth round draft pick could start to make some noise as a potential middle-of-the-rotation type of starter.
Dale Dickerson had been getting lit up this season, but had two solid appearances this week, including a win. Dickerson is a middling prospect at best, and hasn’t done much this season to think he’ll be anything different.
…The Bad and the Ugly…
Francisco Jimenez has been hopping back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation. This week, he just hopped right off the field after getting bashed as a starter, going 4 2/3, while giving up five earned runs and four walks, while striking out two batters. He’s better than that, but doesn’t really have anything special with regards to an out pitch. He’ll have outings like this between solid appearances, but I can’t imagine he has much to offer looking forward to Akron.
Kyle Petter was electric for Lake County this year, but has been a completely different pitcher in his time with Carolina this year. This week, he’s given up four hits and three earned runs in four total innings, and just can’t seem to get it together. There’s something there going forward, but maybe the call-up was a bit pre-mature.
Week #4 Awards:
Here Comes Week #5:
Jim is currently the co-site editor, the ATF/Carolina Mudcats/Indians/General Site Columnist, and the co-host of IPI's weekly online radio show, Smoke Signals. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IPI, or contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.