Weekly Record: 1-6
Overall Record: 20-29
Standings: 3rd (12.5 GB Arkansas)
This was a dismal week for the Naturals. They averaged fewer than 3 runs a game going 1-6 on the week. Just last week I was singing their praises for going 6-1 and making a run on moving up in the standings. Then, phhhhbt.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
The first half playoff race is basically over for the Naturals. It’s time to start looking at some momentum for the second half. It sounds like they are going to get a jolt with a fresh face coming out of Wilmington. Brady Singer is set to make his debut with the team and will be with them making a start in Springfield this weekend. Count me as stoked for him to be here! If Singer can give them a real chance to win every start he makes for the rest of the first half, it could give them some energy and a run into the second half. When the rest of Kowar, Lynch, and Bubic get here it’ll be a glorious day for our rotation.
Arnaldo Hernandez hasn’t looked like the Arnaldo of last season. His velo is down and his stuff isn’t sharp according to eye witness reports. What could be going on with him? Is there an injury they are trying to have him pitch through? Did he do a poor job preparing for the season? Either way, he has taken a turn and not for the best. That being said, he still hadn’t given up an earned run after his start on the Monday. The same can’t be said for Saturday as Tulsa tagged him for 5 ER in just 5.0 innings. Hopefully we’ll figure something out with him and get him back on track soon.
Conner Greene did not look good in his start either giving up 7 ER in just 3.1 innings against the Drillers. Andres Sotillet stopped the bleeding in relief giving up just 1 ER in 3.2 innings.
Jace Vines gave up 5 ER in 5.1 innings as well. He didn’t have a good one either unfortunately.
Gerson Garabito was okay working through 10 base runners to give up just 3 runs in 5.0 innings. It wasn’t his best start, but he limited the damage with that amount of men on base.
Ofreidy Gomez went 5.0 innings allowing just 1 ER with 6 strikeouts. He is a guy that is having a quietly good season. I need to write about him one of these days.
JC Cloney played escape artist in the other start going 5.0 innings but not giving up any runs. He did allow 5 hits and 3 walks resulting in 8 base runners though. However, none scored so he was okay striking 4 out as well.
Nick Heath showed signed of life with a couple multi-hit games and stole a few more bases making his total 29. If Heath could just get the bat going full time like it was in the Fall League he’d be moving up the board. But without hitting, it’s tough to move him regardless of his speed.
Khalil Lee continued to sputter striking out 11 times while producing just 3 hits. Something has to change in his approach or he is going to continue to tumble down in the rankings. Lee is a fantastic gap to gap hitter with some pop. He has to get it out of his head that he is the second coming of Ken Griffey, Jr. and just play. He is athletic enough and has enough bat speed that there will be home runs and extra base hits in his future. He is still stealing bases notching his 20th this week.
Gabriel Cancel struggled on the week with just 1 BB and 4 hits. He has 16 doubles and 8 home runs and has some pop in his bat. He just needs to keep hitting and be consistent.
Emmanuel Rivera has adjusted to the level at a decent rate and is hitting just over .260. He had a slow week though as most of the Naturals seemed to have done.
Anderson Miller’s average plummeted 42 points this week to .304 as he only had 2 hits this week. Miller had been tearing it up to this point so this is his first real struggle of the season. I expect Miller to get out of the funk and keep swinging and take that average back towards .315 or .320. The strikeouts have been his nemesis but he has done a good job this year controlling that. He only had 5 on the week, perhaps the most he’s had in a week this season.
Meibrys Viloria and Xavier Fernandez are both hitting under the Mendoza line. X moved up to Omaha to fill in for an injury so he’ll be up with Esposito filling his ABs in NWA.
Angelo Castellano bumped his average up to .393 in his 11 games at NWA. Don’t expect that to continue but it’s nice while it’s lasting.
Travis Jones is now down to .240 on the season. Jones has some speed in his game stealing 12 bases so far.
DJ Burt came off the IL with some hits knocking 8 in 6 games. He also walked 4 times and stole 7 bases last week.
Kort Peterson is not hitting like he is capable either. He is just over .200 on the season although he is still getting some extra base hits.
I didn’t get into the relievers but let’s just say this team had a bad week. They need to turn things around and get back on a winning streak to build some momentum for the second half. Like I said, I hope Singer brings them some life because they need it.