Tuesday, September 6, 2011
What's That? Playoffs? You Kiddin' Me?
As the 2011 Atlantic League season enters the home stretch, the Sharks sit in 3rd place in the Liberty Division, 1/2 game behind the Long Island Ducks and 3 1/2 games behind the Bridgeport Bluefish. Making the playoffs is a real possibility. But all that hinges on the success of a few key players, such as:
1. Danny Richar
In the lineup pretty much since the beginning of the season, Richar has really come on strong for the Sharks recently. In the past 5 games, he's batting a ridiculous .500, with an OPS of .823. He's OK at short, but I'd rather see Francia there. His baserunning skills need improvement. He'll be an integral part of the team's success if he stays hot.
2. Juan Francia
Another guy who's been hitting consistently well as of late, way down there in the nine hole. Francia's a guy who can steal once he gets on base, and he's improved his average by almost 10 points in the last ten games, but I think he could be a little more patient during his at bats. I've seen him make some amazing defensive plays at short this year, but he's also committed his fair share of errors.
3. Brian Burgamy
Burgamy has been something of a disappointment this season, though it's not entirely his fault. He's a versatile position player. With the departure of Mike Lamb, Drew Macias, Pedro Feliz and Raul Padron, he's been ping-ponged all over the lineup and has split time between first base, third base and left field. I think he hasn't had time to get comfortable anywhere. His average is way down, and he's prone to striking out. He can hit the long ball, and when he makes contact, it's with one of the sweetest swings on the team.
4. Ruddy Yan
Ruddy has settled nicely into the leadoff spot. He's clearly the fastest guy on the team, and should he reach base, Von's not afraid to send him under any circumstance. But good leadoff men are one thing and one thing only: patient. Ruddy's another guy that lacks patience at the plate. He's a solid outfielder who can track down fly balls better than anyone else on the Sharks.
5. JR Mathes
Mathes was a mid-season pickup who's been fairly effective, consistent and can give you a lot of innings. He's got decent stuff and I've seen him be unhittable at times. One of only two guys I'd be completely confident with on the mound, the other being...
6. Carlos Vasquez
Vasquez has the best record on the team at 10-4. He's got great breaking stuff. He'll give up a lot of hits, but he always seems to be able to pitch his way out of trouble. His 3.31 ERA is among the league's best.
7. Wilkin De La Rosa
I don't know enough about De La Rosa to form a complete opinion, I can only tell you what I saw Monday when he went 6 innings against the Bluefish. He gave up two runs on four hits while striking out six, and pitched his way, masterfully, out of a bases loaded no outs jam. Gets a lot of fly ball outs, which though effective, are not good for the old blood pressure.