Monday, May 11, 2015

Big Bats Emerge

Wrap, Box,

Five home runs aren’t enough, and an intentional walk plus an unintentional walk lost the game.

Season: 19-12; Trip: 2-1

Bulls hitters hit three more home runs (Mahtook, Dykstra, and Arencibia), but this time the pitchers matched them with solid performances.

Enny Romero made his 2015 debut with the Bulls after a long getting-ready stretch that goes back to spring training. We were not particular fans of Mr. Romero last year, but he certainly had a solid performance yesterday. How long he sticks with the Bulls is likely to be the subject of intense speculation down St. Petersburg way.

Alan Dykstra has built an odd record since joining the Bulls. The 6’5“ switch-hitter has only had 3 hits in his 10 games for a batting average of .088. However, those three hits are a double and 2 home runs plus he’s managed 10 walks (including at least one intentional walk). That leads him to an extraordinary batting average/OPS gap. His OPS is .590.  He carried an OPS of .930 with Las Vegas of the PCL last year, with 74 RBI. Yesterday he followed up Saturday’s 2 run shot with a solo one in the 5th inning. We’ve been skeptical of Mr. Dykstra. Could we have been wrong?

Overlooked in the offensive stats was how often the defense made a difference yesterday. It was a double play that closed the deal in the Bulls favor on Friday. Yesterday it was three of them that made big differences.

Outside the game —
  • The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Grant Balfour has an end-of-May opt-out to his minor league contract. That certainly means that he won’t be around Durham after this month. 
  • The Process Report has a nice profile of Andrew Bellatti written by Adam Sobsey, one of the co-authors of Bull City Summer*.

The Bulls rode over to Buffalo yesterday for a rematch with the Bisons tonight. And, yes, it was just a couple of days since the Bulls were playing them at the DBAP. Interesting to see what’s happened to their numbers since we last looked prior to that series. The Bulls have gone from 9th to 6th place in batting average ranking, from 5th to 3rd in OPS rankings, and from 4th to 3rd in ERA. Meanwhile, the Bisons went from 5th to 10th in batting average, 7th to 13th on OPS, and from 1st to 2nd on ERA. But we still need to remember that this is early in the season and rosters are in  turmoil. Very hard to detect meaningful trends. But the Bisons have been on a tough run, losing their last six games.

*Possibly the best book available on minor league baseball. On the shelf at Quail Ridge Books and on half-price sale down in the ballpark store.

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