Maryland Mounders

July Newsletter

 

At the halfway point of this inaugural Brassworld season, the Mounders find themselves atop the Mays Division with a 51-30 record, 3 games ahead of the powerhouse Aspen Rainmakers and just 6 games ahead of arch-rival Bill Ziemís West Oakland squad.The team has gotten this far largely on the backs of a good offense, which is #2 in the league in batting average (.278) and OB (.351), third in slugging (.448) and 4th in runs scored (422).The team is slow, but has 5 good bats at the top of the lineup, and usually goes 7 deep with decent hitters.Without much argument, Tim Salmon (.343 16 HR 62 RBI) is the team MVP for the first half, and he has been excellent all season long.Todd Helton (.314 11 64) and Jeff Kent (.309 15 54) have also been solid run producers in the middle of the lineup.Damien Miller, Matt Franco, and Quinten McCracken have contributed in part-time rolls, as the teamís bench has also been solid.

 

The pitching staff has also been solid, just not as noteworthy as the offense.The team is #6 in ERA (3.68), largely because the back end of the bullpen has been phenomenal (28 saves, second in the league.John Smoltz (1.14, 17 saves), Darren Holmes (0.84, 5 wins, 3 saves) and Alan Embree (1.29, 4 saves) have all been hot and helped pick up a mediocre middle relief core.In much the same manner, the top of the rotation (Nomo, 8-3, 3.45; Clement, 9-5, 3.73; and Redman, 11-3, 3.63) has made up for a weak back-end of the rotation, although Brad Radke (2-5, 3.67) probably deserves better than his record indicates, as he seems to be running up against the top pitchers in the league every time out.

 

July will be an interesting test, as the Mounders play Toontown, Virginia, Abilene, Buckeye, and other powerhouses, proving there is no soft part in the Brassworld schedule.

 

Things are also promising down on the farm.Late pick Lew Ford looks like he may be ready to contribute as a 5th outfielder next season, Alex Cintron looks ready to contribute to the SS mix soon, and Brad Lidge and Carl Sadler look like they will develop into solid fillers in the bullpen for Holmes and Embree, who will depart as free agents after this season. Management also has hopes that Victor Martinez will be able to step into at least a regular platoon role at catcher for next season, replacing free agent Roberto Machado.Obviously, Martinez is expected to be a big part of the future in Maryland.Matt Kinney, who has been horrible in middle relief this season, will be down in the minors working on another pitch (spitball, perhaps?) to be converted into a starter.

 

So, on balance, the team has been quite fortunate, at the major league and minor league level, so far this season.I will be squeezing hard on my lucky rabbitís foot the rest of the season hoping my good luck continues.