There’s no shortage of goings on with the first half of the season coming to an end. Playoff spots are being filled, All Star rosters are intact, and the end of the first half is only the beginning for Idaho Falls and Burlington.
Though Brady Singer and Daniel Lynch both made the Carolina League roster, neither will appear due to promotion and injury, respectively. However, there will be no shortage of Blue Rocks in the Carolina League All Star Game. Jackson Kowar will join M.J. Melendez and the late-inning bullpen duo of Tad Ratliff and Tyler Zuber.
Not to be outdone, Lexington also has a host of players represented in the South Atlantic League All Star Game. Michael Gigliotti and Chase Vallot will be joined by Jon Heasley, Austin Cox, and Jonathan Bowlan.
Tickets Punched for the Postseason
Its been a long time coming but Wilmington officially locked up a playoff spot on June 8. It will be The Blue Rocks’ first postseason appearance since 2015. Coming into the season the expectations were very high for this group. The majority of the roster is made up of last year’s champions with Lexington. Finishing the first half with a record of 44-25, the Blue Rocks just couldn’t be matched in the Northern Division, closing out the division race with an 11 game lead.
Conversely, Lexington spent most of April and May hanging right around .500. Everything started clicking in June as The Legends went 13-4 to close out the first half and edge their way into the playoffs; winning the SAL Southern division by just half a game.
Rookie Leagues Open Up
The Idaho Falls Chukars began the 2019 campaign by sweeping Billings in a three game set last weekend. Their roster includes four pitchers selected in the 2018 draft. On Sunday they serendipitously formed something of a quartet for the Chukars, accounting for the entirety of the team’s pitching.
Zach Haake Returns! – 6/17/19
4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Haake made a rehab start for Idaho Falls Monday night and will likely rejoin Lexington later this week. Haake was placed on the IL on May 6 after getting off to a dominating start with Lexington.
The Burlington Royals’ roster was released Monday but the amount of shuffling still happening is a little tricky to keep track of. We do know that Kaufman and Bryant have been added to the Burlington roster. Keep up to date by following @RoaylsFarm on Twitter and check back here next week as the rosters should start to stabilize.
In late May, Kowar had a couple of rough starts and the inevitable comparisons to Singer and Lynch started pouring in. Some segments of the fanbase were thrown into a tizzy, but Kowar’s struggles were more average than awful. Of late, Kowar has gotten back on track.
Jackson Kowar – 6/13/19
7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Navigating 7 innings on just 86 pitches, Kowar earned his fourth quality start in his last six outings. Of the Royals’ minor league pitchers, Kowar currently leads in innings pitched. It will be interesting to see how much longer he remains in Wilmington. If his current success continues into the second half, he could be in Double-A sometime in July.
Brady Singer – 6/13/19
3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Brady Singer is struggling in Double-A. There’s no optimistic spin that can be applied. There are no esoteric statistics that tell a story of veiled success. He’s made three starts with NWA and we have yet to see the pitcher that was mowing down batters in Wilmington. NWA’s first half concludes on Sunday, so Singer will make at least one more start before the break. Rather than unpack the numbers let’s give it time see where he is in a week.
Austin Cox – 6/14/19
8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Austin Cox just keeps improving. Last Friday may have been his best start of the season. His 8 innings and 119 pitches are season highs. Lexington’s rotation is loaded right now but Cox may be next in line for a bump to Wilmington.
Cox with a 1.79 ERA over his last 8 starts:
Jon Heasley – 6/16/19
6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Much like Cox, Jon Heasley’s consistency over the last month has been impressive. Six of his last seven outings are quality starts. Heasley has a 0.96 WHIP with an 11.1% K/9 in that stretch.
With Lexington’s overflow of pitching talent and the rookie leagues underway, we should expect some movement in the coming weeks. As always, stay current by following @RoyalsFarm and check back here next week as the second half gets rolling.
Photo Credits: Ryan Griffith (@ryanrgriffith)