Another week down and another win for Jamestown Jammers starting pitcher Helpi Reyes, who advanced into the final 16 in an online contest on Minor League Baseball’s official website.
MiLB.com’s Moniker Madness is in its sixth year and is a fan vote to determine “Who has the best name in the Minor Leagues?” The tournament starts with 64 players, similar to NCAA Tournament and has now been trimmed down to the final 16.
“I was the first to notice when we were in Brooklyn,” said relief pitcher and social media-extraordinaire Beau Wright. “We’re aware, but it’s kind of on me to keep checking.”
Reyes defeated Roidany Aguila in the first round and Yogey Perez-Ramos in the second round to advance to the Natty Nattress Region semifinals.
Reyes, who turns 20 on Friday, is native of Cotui, Dominican Republic and doesn’t speak a whole lot of English. While some of his teammates are aware of contest, Reyes isn’t, but it’s hard to fault him on focusing on pitching instead of an online vote.
And the same goes for his teammates.
“I don’t think so,” said Wright referring to if his teammates are stuffing the ballots. “We just think its cool for him to be in it.”
Reyes will face Boss Moanaroa, a first baseman for the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League. That voting goes from July 24-26 with the winner to take on either Rougned Odor of the Hickory Crawdads or Zelous Wheeler of the Norfolk Tides. Quarterfinal voting will be this weekend, starting on Helpi’s birthday, July 27 and going through July 30.
“Pretty much I have been plugging it on the website and Facebook,” said Justin Michael, media relations officer for the Jammers. “But beyond that we haven’t made buttons or anything special like that.”
Fans can vote by simply logging onto milb.com and clicking on the Moniker Madness page. Once there, you only need to fill out winners for each matchup before filling out your name and birthdate.
Voting ends at midnight on Thursday
On the field, Reyes has been an important cog to the team. He’s 1-2 with a 3.26 ERA in seven starts this year. He’s allowing opponents to hit just .214 off him and has struck out 26 while only walking 14 batters this year.
In addition, Reyes has improved in a lot of categories this year versus his first stint in Jamestown last year when he went 1-6 with a 5.37 ERA.
“He is slated as our No. 1 starter in the rotation,” Michael said.
Elsewhere in the contest, in the Icicle Reeder Region, it’s top-seeded Caleb Bushyhead vs. Socrates Brito, and Bear Bay vs. Kevin Quackenbush. Winners will face each other next round.
In Farmers Works Region, top-seeded Duke von Schamann vs. Rock Shoulders and Jamodrick McGruder vs. Scooter Gennett.
Finally, in the Razor Shines Region, it’s top-seeded Forrest Snow vs. Tuffy Gosewisch and Michael Goodnight vs. Xander Bogaerts.
Nice come-from-behind win last night as the Jammers scored two in the ninth — after being no-hit through 7 — to walk-off with a 2-1 win over Batavia. Still early in the season, but the Jammers are just 2.5 games out of the wild card. They start a four-game set with Mahoning Valley tonight with the next two at home.
I’ve noticed a slight change in the everyday lineups, so let’s take a closer look at what’s been going on with the hitters.
Catchers: Well, after starting 10 of the first 16 games, Jose Behar now looks like the backup down here in Jamestown. He’s hitting .180 (9-for-50) with three RBI and is in a big slump, hitless in his last 19 at-bats. In his place has been Sharif Othman. Othman has started eight of the last 13 and getting back-to-back starts each time out.
After an atrocious start at the plate, he’s 4-for-15 with a triple and a homer in his last five games. Still, he’s hitting .135. Regardless, it looks like it’s Othman’s job for the time being. They’re both fairly similar behind the plate, but I’ve liked Behar a little more from what I’ve seen.
Brian Dice gets a spot start here and there. His .217 average shockingly leads the group.
1st base: It’s been mostly split between Viosergy Rosa and Felix Munoz, but Rosa has really been hitting the ball well lately. Of most importance, he’s vastly improved with plate discipline. He’s walked 14 times versus 16 strikeouts so far this year. Last year in Jamestow, it was 7 vs. 54.
He leads the team with a .297 average and has two homers and 10 RBI.
Munoz was off to a hot start but has cooled down recently, all the way down to .250. Part of that may have been due to Rosa getting 8 out of 9 starts in a recent stretch. Munoz is still a project, but looks like he has some potential. Neither have been all that good defensively.
Second base: It’s been a logjam lately, much as I thought it would be. Anthony Gomez started here but has moved to short since Austin Nola’s promotion. Yefri Perez, Ronny Peralta and Yeison Hernandez have all split time here with nobody really taking a stranglehold of the position.
Perez is hitting pretty well, and at .280, he’s only behind Rosa. Peralta is more of a utility guy and Hernandez needs to figure it out defensively before he gets another promotion.
Shortstop: Gomez is hitting just .229 but is probably the best defender out of the group (with the aforementioned three). I think his bat can still come around and he does a nice job putting the ball in play. He’s only struck out eight times in 83 at bats. Also shown some speed by swiping five bags.
Third base: It’s been a lot of Pedro Mendoza lately and I can’t fault manager Angel Espada for that. Mendoza has been utterly fantastic defensively and is doing a decent job putting the ball in play.
The problem is he has no power. He doesn’t have a single homerun in four professional seasons, but has hit four doubles in a short year this year since being taken off the DL. He’s hitting .274 while usually in the second hole.
The starter was Matt Juengel but he’s had a tough go at it defensively. The rookie already has seven errors this year and has really been relegated to DH and some spot starts at third. He’s hitting .216, but I still think he’s a little better of a hitter than that. Not sure he has the power to make it to the next level, though.
Left field: Kentrell Dewitt has shown some flashes, but he’s still hitting .176 and is striking out way too much (21 in 68 at bats). He has some speed when he can get on, swiping four bags without getting caught. He’s also shown good power with a team-high seven doubles and also a homer. But the average and OBP need to drastically improve.
Center field: Juancito Martinez was off to a hot start, hitting well over .300 for a good portion of the season. With his speed and OBP, I was curious why he wasn’t hitting leadoff, but Martinez has cooled down quite a bit since then. He’s down to .272, but with the CF job all his, he can put together a nice season and earn a promotion if he keeps doing what he’s doing.
Right field: Cameron Flynn has come on of late, bumping his average to .221, which is actually saying a lot from where he was. Back-to-back three hit nights last week jumped him from .170 to .250. He also fell a triple short of the cycle in one of those games. Still need to see more of him.
Finally, the roamer is Jesus Solorzano, the top-listed prospect here in Jamestown. He’s been playing all three outfield positions and actually doing a pretty good job at each. He’s hitting .240 with a team-high three homers. He’s second in RBI with 11.
Striking out is the main concern. He has 30 in 96 at bats. But, Solorzano still looks like the best prospect down here, even though he’s clearly not ready for a big promotion yet. He has that make of a five-tool player and is probably one of the best athletes down here. He’s been inserted into a bigger role, cleanup or fifth, lately too.
Who has the best name in minor league baseball? Well, it might just be Jamestown Jammers starting pitcher Helpi Reyes, who moved on to the second round in a fan vote held on the official website of Minor League Baseball, MiLB.com.
The sixth annual “Moniker Madness” is a 64-name bracket — identical to that of the NCAA Tournament, with seeding 1-16 — that allows fans to vote for the best name in the minors. Two players are pitted against each other with a fan vote solely deciding the winner all the way through the championship.
There is not a prize for the champion. It’s merely a softhearted game that gives some players recognition for nothing else than a fun name to say.
Reyes, a No. 3 seed, defeated Roidany Aguila, a catcher for the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona) in the first round. He’ll now face Yogey Perez-Ramos, a rookie outfielder playing for the Yakima Bears of the Northwest League.
You can vote for Reyes and on the rest of the bracket by logging on to MiLB.com. Round Two voting will go from July 17-23. If Reyes wins, he’ll move into the final 16 where he’ll face either Delta Cleary Jr. or Boss Moanaroa. That voting is only three days long and will go form July 24-26.
Among this year’s favorites are No. 1 seeds Caleb Bushyhead, Rougned Odor, Duke von Schamann and Forrest Snow. Odor and Snow made the final eight last year. My personal favorites such as Bear Bay and Rock Shoulders are also still alive in the voting.
The five previous winners are Seth Schwindenhammer (2011), Rowdy Hardy (2010), Dusty Napoleon (2009), Will Startup (2008) and Houston Summers (2007).
You can also keep up with Moniker Madness on both Twitter (@monikermadness) and Facebook (facebook.com/monikermadness).
ON THE FIELD
The Jammers snapped the three-game losing streak by defeating Batavia last night 5-3. Kentrell Dewitt broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run homerun in the 6th. Sharif Othman followed up with a back-t0-back homer to put the Jammers up three, which would be enough to win.
Nick Wittgren nailed down his eighth save of the year. In two innings of work, he struck out four and only allowed one baserunner, which reached on an error. Now, in 14 innings, Wittgren has allowed 9 hits, 1 walk and struck out 20. Opponents are hitting .173.
Jesus Solorzano went 2-for-4 to bump his batting average up to .250.
I’m working on a new usage chart, one a little easier to read. Look for that later in the week.
The Jammers finish up a mini two game set with Batavia tonight at home. It’s probably Matt Milroy tonight. He doesn’t usually follow Mason Hope in the rotation, but with the rainout and the doubleheader, things have been pushed around. He’s on his usual four days rest. Tomorrow is Helpi Reyes.
Quick notes here from Jamestown in between games as the Tri-City ValleyCats took Game 1 of the doubleheader by a final of 3-0. ValleyCats starter Brian Holmes had a no-hitter through 5 2/3, but Viosergy Rosa broke it up with a solid liner to right.
Ramon Del Orbe wasn’t bad for Jamestown. He allowed just five hits with no walks in six innings of work, but was let down badly by his defense. An unearned run in the fourth thanks to a missed catch fly ball by Jesus Solorzano — with two outs — ended up being enough for Tri-City. But, even the next batter Ryan Dineer hit a slow roller to third that scored the runner from second. Play was ruled a hit, but probably should have been made by Pedro Mendoza.
In the sixth, Austin Elkins ripped a one-out triple that scored a run. He came around to score on a sac fly. In all reality, Del Orbe only made two mistakes (both were triples to Elkins) and only one cost him. Regardless, he took the loss and is now 0-3 with a 4.61 ERA.
Not that the bats helped him, though. The Jammers loaded them up with back-to-back-to-back walks in the first inning, but Anthony Gomez grounded out to end the threat. After that, Brian Holmes sat down 14 in a row until the Rosa single. Solorzano worked a full count, but flew out to right to end the mini-threat. Jamestown then went down in order in the seventh against reliever Blake Ford.
We already know it will be Drew Steckenrider making his professional debut for the Jammers on the hill tonight. The rookie was activated earlier today.
The ensuing roster move sent Blake Logan to the disabled list. No word on why.
1. Rony Peralta – 3B
2. Anthony Gomez – 2B
3. Felix Munoz – 1B
4. Jesus Solorzano – RF
5. Kentrell Dewitt – LF
6. Brian Dice – DH
7. Jose Behar – C
8. Yeison Hernandez – SS
9. Juancito Martinez – CF
SP — Drew Steckenrider
Well, we’ve heard it a lot. And I’ve read it a lot. So with the Miami Marlins first round pick Andrew Heaney (No. 9) finally signing, I decided to do some research and see what the folks down in South Florida are talking about.
“Likely headed to Jamestown”
• In the Miami Herald, Clark Spencer wrapped up the late push for Heaney. He says he’s likely to be assigned to Jamestown.
• Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Marlins see him “as a top-of-the-rotation starter.” Capozzi says he’ll report to Jupiter before mentioning a certain city here.
• Over at the Sun-Sentinel, Juan C. Rodriguez has some quick notes about the signing. Basically the same as the previous two articles, but again “likely” and “Jamestown”.
• And where it was reported first, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has a video and a lengthy article about the rookie lefthander.
Should be a while still for Heaney. After being evaluated, then Miami will decide where to send him. Again, it’s likely Jamestown, but not definitely Jamestown. Should be at least two weeks.
On the field
Jammers won their sixth in a row yesterday by a score of 6-5. It’s now 9 of 12. So after starting 3-9, they went 9-3. They host the Tri-City ValleyCats for three starting tonight. Staff ace Helpi Reyes (1-0, 2.84) is on the mound.
And we’re still going streaking. Make that six in a row as the Jammers finished off the sweep of the Vermont Lake Monsters, holding on to win 6-5 after nearly blowing a 6-1 lead heading into the ninth.
But, Nick Wittgren came on — allowed a double and walk in a shaky ninth — to get the final out. It was Wittgren’s seventh save of the year despite not being his usual self. The walk was the first one he’s issued in the 2012 season after 12 innings.
Jamestown has inched all the way to .500 after a 3-9 start and are only 2.5 games out of the wild card. Granted, it’s only 24 games into the season, but considering where the Jammers were just two weeks ago, they are certainly alive and well in 2012 after a grim start. They’ll continue the homestand with a three-game set with Tri-City tomorrow night. The ValleyCats own the best record in the NYPL at 18-7.
The good: Another good all-around effort from the offense but a big two-out rally in the sixth won the game for the Jammers. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Juengel grounded into a home-to-first double play that appeared to kill the inning. But, Anthony Gomez lined a single that scored two runs and was followed by Flynn’s double that plated Gomez.
Jamestown tacked on in the seventh and eighth and looked to be in control until Jake Esch fell apart in the ninth. Hard to fault Esch. It was his fourth inning of work (Jamestown has 10 guys in the bullpen) and righthander ran out of gas. He’s been utterly fantastic for the club this year, though.
The bad: Jose Behar went hitless and is down to .191. The catching position is turning into a disaster offensively.
What does it all mean: Well folks, the Jammers aren’t nearly as bad as we thought. One week into the season, I was convinced they could hit, but didn’t have the rotation to compete. Then a week later, I was convinced they couldn’t do much of anything. Another week, OK, they can pitch, but simply can’t hit. Well this was another game where they found ways to score.
So, I think they can contend. These next two weeks will still say a lot, though. Tri-City is an excellent team and then it’s Batavia, Mahoning Valley and Auburn, the three best teams in the Pinckney Division. It’s not neccessarily now-or-never, but it’s an important stretch as I outlined earlier in the week. Regardless, 3-0 is a nice way to start it.
The Miami Marlins signed first round pick Andrew Heaney earlier today. The No. 9 overall pick will report to Jupiter and after the team judges where he is at physically, they’ll assign him somewhere. But, according to this Marlins beat writer, it’s “likely Jamestown.”
A happy Friday the 13th to all. For the Jammers, it’s been a happy July. They’re now 7-3 in the month and own a 5-2 lead over Auburn for a game that will be continued next Monday, July 23.
• Jamestown won it’s fifth in a row and eight out of its last 11 with a 12-6 thumping of Vermont last night at Diethrick. Jamestown hadn’t scored more than seven runs in any one game this year, but accomplished that before even registering an out in the fourth inning last night.
• A night after falling a triple short of the cycle, Cameron Flynn had another three hit night, including a double, and knocked in two runs. His batting average has now risen 80 points in two days.
• Viosergy Rosa hit his second homer of the year in the first inning, a two-run bomb that started the Jamestown rout. Rosa went 4-for-5 with nine total bases. He also knocked in three runs in what was definitely his best game of the year and arguably in a Jammers uniform.
• Jesus Solorzano went 3-for-5 along with his team-leading third homerun of the year.
• But, it was the top of the order, going 11-for-20 with seven runs scored and seven RBI that defined the night. Also, everybody in the starting lineup had a base hit.
• Pitching wise, starter Blake Logan finally allowed a run — two to be exact — but picked up the win. After not having a single win from their starters over the first 19 games, Jamestown starters now have three in their last four games. Logan’s ERA moved to 1.29.
• Jose Rodriguez made his 2012 Jamestown debut and threw two scoreless innings.
• Hard to believe, but Jamestown’s 3.07 ERA is only good for sixth in the league. Offensively, they’re up to .248, good for eighth in the NYPL.
• They’ll go for their second straight sweep tonight with Matt Milroy on the mound. Milroy is 0-2 with a 4.48 ERA. He hasn’t gone more than four innings in any one start this year. You would have to assume the goal is to get him through five tonight.