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Jammers win 6th in a row

July 13, 2012 Leave a comment

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.

Marlins News

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.”

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Jammers First Quarter Report Card

July 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones marked the Jammers 19th game of the season, and more importantly, the one-quarter point of their 76 game schedule. The Jammers finished off the weekend by sweeping the first-place Cyclones and sit at 9-12 and in fifth place in the Pinckney Division. It’s the first time since the first week of the season that Jamestown had crept out of the basement.

With one quarter of the season out of the way, the Jammers — and the rest of the NYPL — had the day off Tuesday before picking back up Wednesday. The next scheduled day off is July 31.

So, it’s time for some grades here at the end of the first quarter.

Starting Rotation: C+. This would actually be much worse if not for the last week of action. The Jammers starters still have an ERA of 4.32 with a record of 1-7, but solid outings from Helpi Reyes and Ramon Del Orbe on Sunday and Monday, respectively, helped that out. Reyes’ win on Sunday was the first by a Jamestown starter.

Also, only six of the 21 starts have lasted five innings or more and Reyes has three of them. None of them have lasted into the seventh inning, although you do rarely see that by any pitcher in the NYPL.

Group MVP: Reyes

Where it can improve: Blake Logan was inserted into the rotation in Ryan Newell’s spot. All Logan has done is throw seven scoreless innings in two starts and allowed one hit. If Del Orbe can find some consistency, and Hope can build off his last start, the rotation can actually be pretty good.

Bullpen: A+. There’s really no other way to put this; the Jammers would be well under .500 and probably own the league’s worst record if it was not for the bullpen so far. Even though the 8-5 record doesn’t look overly great, the team also owns seven saves. Think about it this way: Jamestown’s starters have one win, so the bullpen is grabbing the win and the save every night.

But, the 2.26 ERA says it all really. Plus the fact the bullpen has thrown 115.2 innings compared to the 81.1 of the starters. It’s usually the other way around.

Where to start? Closer Nick Wittgren has been tremendous. His five saves are second in the league, behind Tri-City’s Blake Ford. In seven games, Wittgren has thrown 10.2 innings and allowed just one run for a 0.84 ERA. He’s also struck out 14 while walking nobody. Exactly what you want from a closer.

Setup man Jheyson Manzueta has been excellent as well. He holds a team-high three holds and is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. He’s struck out 18 batters in 14 innings.

Long-man Jake Esch is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings. Beau Wright and Frankie Reed have been quality lefties with ERA’s under 4.00 as well.

Group MVP: Wittgren

Where it can improve: Really, it can’t. If this group can do this all year, Jamestown will compete for a playoff spot.

Catchers: C-. The offensive numbers aren’t there, but Jose Behar and Sharif Othman are doing a fine job behind the plate, and at this level, that’s all you can ask for right now. Behar is hitting .205 with three RBI in 12 starts behind the plate. I like his arm and he’s shown pretty good range, too.

Othman is hitting just 1-for-22 (.045) this year with a RBI. He wasn’t used much this year until he started three out of four game during the road trip.

Brian Dice seems to be the third option behind the plate. He’s hitting .267 (4-for-15) with a homerun in three starts. Also started at DH.

Group MVP: Behar

Where it can improve: More at bats for Behar should drive that average up a little.

Infielders: B-. The Jammers lost arguably their top prospect Austin Nola to Greensboro a week ago. He had started 15 of the 16 games he played in while in Jamestown.

Taking over for him at shortstop has been fellow rookie Anthony Gomez. Pedro Mendoza has also got plenty of at-bats since being activated. In addition, the team lost middle infielder Yeison Hernandez to Greensboro.

First base has been between Viosergy Rosa and Felix Munoz. But, the other gets the start at DH sometimes. Rosa, a holdover from last year, is hitting .255 with a homer and six RBI in 12 starts. Munoz has nine starts and is hitting .283 with two homers.

Gomez was the guy at second before getting switched back to his natural position at short. Returnees from last year Yefri Perez and Pedro Mendoza have been at second since the switch and have both done a good job.

After playing in just two of the first nine games, Perez has started 10 of the last 12 and is batting a team-high .345.

Matt Juengel has pretty much been the everyday guy at third base with 11 starts and is batting .213 with five RBI.

Group MVP: Perez.

Where it can improve: With Perez and Mendoza at the top of the order, the offense has been better. We’ll see if it holds.

Outfielders: C+. It’s a four-man group, but centerfielder Juancito Martinez has been the mainstay each night. Martinez, my team MVP, has started a team-high 18 games and leads the club with 21 hits and nine steals and two homers. He’s hitting .318 with a .400 on-base percentage.

The rest of the group has struggled. Returnee Kentrell Dewitt is hitting .185 in 15 starts in left field. Cameron Flynn is hitting .170 in 13 starts in right field.

The utility man is Jesus Solorzano with 17 starts in all three outfield positions. He was considered one the Marlins top prospects by Baseball America in January, but the 21 year old is hitting just .209. He does have a team-high two homers and eight RBI.

Group MVP: Martinez.

Where it can improve: The three besides Martinez need to start hitting. Solorzano is the key.

 

Pitching Report: June 26

June 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The bats have gone cold lately as Jamestown’s team batting averaged has dipped down to .254 (sixth in the league still). But, the Jammers pitching staff actually was on a decent roll until getting hit hard Monday night.

As reported earlier in the week, Drew Steckenrider was placed on the temporary inactive list. Today, Jamestown activated Blake Logan, a 13th round pick this year. I’m not sure how he’ll be used, but Logan was a starter as a sophomore this season at Eastern Oklahoma State.

Tuesday, June 26 at Auburn

Starter: Ryan Newell. He threw just two innings in his debut last week. Allowed a hit, walked two and let one run score. I’m sure he’ll be extended tonight.

Relievers: Jake Esch went four innings in relief of Newll last time out and hasn’t pitched since. I would expect to see Esch get at least an inning tonight. Closer Nick Wittgren has had three days off (all Jammers losses) and would likely see action tonight if Jamestown is ahead late. Besides that, Miguel Fermin, on two days rest, is likely to go tonight.

Wednesday, June 27 at Auburn

Starter: Matt Milroy or Blake Logan. It’s Milroy’s turn in the rotation, but I just figured he’d be a reliever for these guys. He only threw two innings last time out so there’s no reason to think he’s a fixture in the rotation. Logan, with starting experience, was just activated and should probably get some work soon.

Relievers: Whoever doesn’t start should probably get work anyhow. Brian Ellington and Bryan Berglund probably due for some work as well.

Thursday, June 28 at Batavia

Starter: Helpi Reyes. Reyes has a 5.63 ERA in two starts this year and is the de facto ace. Three innings on Opening Day. Five in his second. Espada will certainly expect at least five from him.

Relievers: They could go anywhere but from a pure schedule standpoint, Jheyson Manzueta might be targeted for Thursday. He threw three innings Sunday and I can’t imagine him going before then. Frankie Reed and Ellington — if not used Tuesday or Wednesday, which is unlikely for both — make sense here too.