At the time that I went to see them, the Vermont Lake Monsters were 7-3 and in the second game of an eight-game win streak that saw them roll up an 18-5 record before they would lose consecutive games. After losing those two games, they ripped off three more wins to go to 21-7. They would not win two games in a row again until the final two games of the year, going 15-31 the rest of the way to finish at 36-38 and two games behind the eventual league champion Tri-City Valley Cats (coincidentally, the team I had visited the night before on my drive up).
Q: What the hell happened?
A: The pitching took a nosedive.
The top four starters had a combined ERA of 4.75, which is nearly a run higher than the league average of 3.80. The good news is that just one of those starters was a 2010 draftee; the rest of the 2010 draftees were relievers. The bad news is that two of the other three starters were from the 2009 draft.
As you might have already deduced (or guessed, Skipper), the hitting was in the top quartile of the league. As we’ve done the two reviews prior, let’s take a look at how Vermont compared to the rest of the league…
Bold = League Leader
As it was with the GCL, there is some hope in the strength of team’s hitting. Leading the league in walks drawn is something that should not be taken lightly, especially for college bats adjusting to the wood-bat game. Those eighty or so “extra” baserunners helped offset league-average hitting and power, enabling the Lake Monsters to score 31 more runs than the league average.
Likewise, there is also some hope in the relievers that helped offset the poor starting pitching, as four relievers posted sub-3.00 ERAs while throwing more than 20 innings. Not surprisingly, three of those four piled up Ks at a rate of 10.2/9IP or more.
As before, I’m listing the Top 12 hitters and pitchers in terms of plate appearances and innings pitched and using defensive games played for the listing of position. The full statistics for the team can be found here.
|Name||Age||Position(s)||G @ Pos||Fld%||Err||PA||GPA|
|Russell Moldenhauer||22||DH||1 @ 1B||1.000||0||162||.295|
Bold = 2010 Draftee Italics = 2009 Draftee * = DSL Graduate
Obviously, the thing that jumps out is the usage of Russell Moldenhauer, the team leader in slugging percentage. With two catchers to evaluate (Freitas and Leonida), it was clear that when one would catch, the other would DH or sit, which begs the question: Why weren’t Labrie and Moldenhauer rotating at first base? The most logical deduction is that Moldenhauer is a terrible fielder, given that Moldenahauer did not play defensively at all for University of Texas this year and only played enough to register 53 putouts in the three seasons prior to 2010.
Seven of these twelve hitters were sent to the Florida Instructional League; a good sign that they’ll be in Hagerstown in 2011 and perhaps one may even jump to Potomac (best guess: David Freitas). Folks in Hagerstown should have another decent season in terms of offense, especially as the GCL standouts are mixed in with this bunch.
On to the pitchers, and should you be reading this past 5 p.m., this might be the time to pour yourself a cold adult beverage…
|Matt Swynenberg||21||14/12||5-2, 0||4.60||62⅔||65||17||43||1.309||6||2|
|Taylor Jordan||21||13/13||2-3, 0||4.94||62||73||17||54||1.452||5||3|
|Bobby Hansen||20||13/12||3-2, 0||4.79||56⅓||72||19||51||1.615||7||7|
|Chad Jenkins||20||15/12||2-7, 0||4.67||54||40||34||52||1.370||13||3|
|Colin Bates||22||15/5||3-3, 2||5.40||48⅓||55||8||45||1.303||6||2|
|Wilson Eusebio*||21||16/0||2-1, 0||4.26||44⅓||44||26||32||1.579||3||11|
|Neil Holland||21||19/0||3-1, 3||2.20||32⅔||25||9||37||1.041||2||2|
|Ryan Demmin||22||14/1||2-1, 2||1.45||31||25||10||32||1.129||1||0|
|Dustin Crane||23||19/0||2-2, 2||4.60||29⅓||23||18||20||1.398||1||10|
|Cameron Selik||22||15/0||1-0, 1||2.54||28⅓||22||13||32||1.235||2||2|
|Christopher McKenzie||20||8/6||1-2, 0||8.54||26⅓||40||12||22||1.975||1||2|
|Mark Herrera||21||14/0||2-1, 1||2.88||25||20||8||31||1.120||2||4|
Digging deeper into the usage, it would appear that the m.o. was to use last year’s college guys to start, and this year’s guys to relieve. The three ’09 draftees each started last season in the GCL. Two (Jenkins and Swynenburg) were sent up to Vermont and did not respond well to the challenge and thus, they repeated. Therefore, we may have some tea leaves to read in terms of guessing who’ll be in Auburn next summer and who won’t.
OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
Finally, I can say I saw some of these guys (OK, maybe it was just once, but I can still say it). So here goes with the five bats and five arms to watch in 2011:
Top 5 Batters
1. David Freitas
2. Russell Moldenhauer
3. Wade Moore
4. Blake Kelso
5. Jason Martinson
Top 5 Pitchers
1. Neil Holland
2. Mark Herrera
3. Ryan Demmin
4. Taylor Jordan
5. Chad Jenkins