Minor League Baseball has a brilliant idea in 2021 with 6-game series and an off day on Monday. Is that me, the person who enjoys the idea of having a very specific day of light work throughout the baseball season speaking about this brilliant idea? Perhaps so. But it does make a lot of sense.
This year we’re going to have a series preview piece each Tuesday morning. With an off day on Monday it gives us a clean break from one series to the next and seems like a good time to look forward at the next week’s worth of games and who each affiliate will match up with. This is the first time we’re doing this, so things may evolve a little bit in the next few weeks as we see what works, what doesn’t, and what you guys and gals want to see here.
The Louisville Bats at Gwinnett Stripers
Louisville Bats (1-4)
The first series of the season didn’t go the Bats way. The team OPS of .655 ranks 16th of the 20 teams in the Triple-A East. Louisville’s pitching staff has had more success, posting a 3.80 ERA in their five games.
Alfredo Rodriguez, Scott Heineman, and Mark Payton are rocking an OPS of 1.172, 1.043, and .985. The next highest OPS on the team is .686. Everyone else is at .507 or lower. It’s no wonder that the Bats have scored just 16 runs in five games played – there’s been an early season slump for most of the lineup.
Gwinnett Stripers (5-1)
Gwinnett has the best record in Triple-A (tied at the top with three other teams at 5-1). Their team ERA is the tiniest bit ahead of Louisville at 3.79 through their six games played. The Stripers pitching staff is second in Triple-A in strikeouts with 74 of them in 57.0 innings pitched. But it’s the offense that’s been the difference maker with the Stripers leading Triple-A in runs scored with 58 across six games while hitting .288/.414/.541.
Gwinnett has five hitters with an OPS over 1.150. Orlando Arcia has five home runs. That’s four more than the entire Louisville Bats roster.
Chattanooga Lookouts at Montgomery Biscuits
Chattanooga Lookouts (4-2)
The opening series went well for the Lookouts. The starting pitchers were outstanding, posting a 2.60 ERA with 30 strikeouts and just six walks in 27.2 innings while posting a 0.83 WHIP. The bullpen, however, has the worst ERA in the Double-A South at 7.71 with 17 walks and 34 strikeouts in 23.1 innings and a 1.80 WHIP. As an entire staff the Lookouts lead the league in strikeouts with 64 in 51.0 innings.
It wasn’t just the starting pitching that’s been on a roll, though. The Lookouts offense is hitting .318/.407/.527 as a team. Their .934 OPS is second best in the league and more than 200 points better than their opponent this week, who has the third best OPS in the league.
Catcher Mark Kolozsvary has an OPS of 2.295, which leads the league by 642 points. Jose Garcia’s 1.168 OPS ranks 4th in the league, and TJ Hopkins joins them in 9th with a 1.055 OPS in the league.
Montgomery Biscuits (2-3)
The Biscuits only played five games last week and went 2-3 in the process. Their pitching staff posted a 4.71 ERA with just two home runs allowed, a league low 12 walks, but also a league low 39 strikeouts. Their bullpen struggled, giving up 16 earned runs and 22 total runs in 22.1 innings in the opening series of the year.
At the plate the Biscuits are 3rd in the league in OPS at .716, but as noted above that’s a distant 3rd in the league with Chattanooga and Birmingham 200+ points ahead of them. Four players on their roster have an OPS over .830, but everyone else is below the .700 mark.
Lansing Lugnuts at Dayton Dragons
Dayton Dragons (5-1)
The Dragons start to the year probably could have gone better, but not a whole lot better. Their lone loss was a 1-0 game that was halted in the middle of the 6th inning by rain. Dayton’s team ERA of 2.88 ranks 3rd in the High-A Central and the team is 2nd in strikeouts with 64 in 50.0 innings. They do lead the league in walks, too, with 43 of them – an area they hope to improve on.
Offensively the Dragons are also at or near the top of the league in multiple categories. They have scored 40 runs – nine more than any other team in the league. They lead the league in hits and home runs, and they are second in doubles and stolen bases. Their OPS of .805 ranks third in the league – just behind Fort Wayne and Cedar Rapids at .813.
Lyon Richardson is the only pitcher in the league to make two starts and not allow a run. Brian Rey leads the league in OPS at 1.318 and he’s the only hitter in the league with more than two home runs and he’s got four. That’s more home runs than six teams in the league, and as many as Quad Cities.
Lansing Lugnuts (3-3)
The Lugnuts lead the league in ERA by a wide margin, sitting atop the category at 2.33 through their six games played. They’ve allowed just one home run this season, walked 14 batters, and they’ve racked up 63 strikeouts in 54.0 innings. It’s been a full staff effort with both the starter and reliever groups posting ERA’s under 2.60 so far.
The Lansing offense is 4th in the league with a .727 OPS. They lead the league in doubles and are second in home runs. But they also are second to last in the league in walks, leading to a .315 on-base percentage.
St. Lucie Mets at Daytona Tortugas
Daytona Tortugas (4-2)
You change the name of the league and all of a sudden the league becomes hitter friendly? Well, maybe not – half of the league struggled to put runs on the board, but then you’ve also got Tampa scored 78 runs in the first six games of the year with a team OPS of 1.075.
Daytona didn’t quite get out to that kind of start, but at 4-2 their offense is 4th in the league with an .805 OPS while having the 2nd most home runs and having far and away the fewest strikeouts in the league (52).
The pitching staff has the 2nd best ERA in the league at 3.33 and the gap to the team in 3rd is 0.93. Daytona has allowed the fewest homers in the league, giving up just two in the first week of the season. The bullpen has 47 strikeouts and a 2.84 ERA in 31.2 innings.
Allan Cerda is 4th in the league in OPS at 1.444. Rece Hinds is tied for 2nd in the league with 3 home runs. Danny Lantiguea is 7th in the league with a 1.289 OPS and 3rd in league with a .474 average. Every out recorded by Stevie Branche has come via the strikeout (8).
St. Lucie Mets (4-2)
While Daytona’s 2nd in the league in ERA, it’s St. Lucie at the top with a 3.11 mark. They also lead the league in WHIP and are 2nd in walks with just 27 of them in 55.0 innings pitched (and they have struck out 69 batters). Their bullpen has helped carry them with a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 innings with 44 strikeouts.
The Mets are 2nd in the league in OPS at .870. They’ve hit .306 as a team and they’ve hit plenty of doubles, but only have three homers as a team. Their approach has been strong, walking 44 times with just 60 strikeouts. They are also 2nd in the league with 14 stolen bases.
5/11 Game Preview
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