Picks plus POTY=Perfect
Hey everyone. We’re back with our Picks-to-Click for the week. And remember, feel free to add your own suggestions right here and we’ll discuss them on the air (our show, Around the Minors, for the uninitiated, airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 12-1 p.m. ET on MLB Radio). After that, as promised, I’ve got a run-down of our Pitcher of the Year nominees. First, oru Picks-to-Click:
Lisa: Lake Elsinore-Lancaster, Aug. 21-23. The two teams are separated by a half-game in their division of the California League. It’s a classic hitting vs. pitching matchup (although Lancaster has been hit by some promotions of late). The JetHawks lead the California League with a .300 team batting average. The Storm lead the circuit with a 3.79 team ERA, one of only two teams (San Jose is the other) with an ERA under 4.00 in the hitter-friendly league.
Jonathan: Danville-Elizabethton, Aug. 25-27. The two teams lead their respective divisions in the Appalachian League. This not only could be a preview of the 2006 Appy League Championship, but it’s a rematch of last year’s title series, won by the E-Twins.
And quickly, our Pitcher of the Year candidates thus far:
Matt Garza, Twins: Put his big league debut aside and note these numbers — 14-4, 1.99 ERA, 135 2/3 IP, 87 hits (.179 batting average against), 32 BB, 154 K’s. Those were amassed across three levels in his first pro season.
Jason Hirsh, Astros: Put his big league debut…you get the point — 13-2, 2.10 ERA, 137 1/3 IP, 94 H (.193 average against), 51 BB, 118 K’s. He leads the hitter-friendly PCL in ERA and hasn’t lost a Minor League decision since the end of April.
Charles Lofgren, Indians: Yes, he should’ve been promoted to Akron a while ago, but the Indians are kind of stacked. But his numbers are still very impressive — 15-5, 2.46 ERA, 128 IP, 101 H (.219), 49 BB, 117 K’s.
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers: Now the top arm in the Brewers system, with all due respect to Mark Rogers. He’s just 20 and is at Double-A and dominating. His overall numbers — 10-5, 1.80 ERA, 140 IP, 94 H (.192), 45 BB, 172 K’s. He leads all of the Minors in strikeouts.
Kevin Slowey, Twins: Now pitching for Team USA in Olympic Qualifying, Slowey has been almost impressive as org-mate Garza, making the leap to Double-A in his first full season — 8-5, 1.88 ERA, 148 2/3 IP, 102 H (.188), 22 BB, 151 K. How’s that for a K/BB ratio???
Scott Elbert, Dodgers: Just so you didn’t think the Dodgers’ well of pitching prospects had run dry. Elbert is a lefty who just turned 21 and is in Double-A now and dominating there. Overall, he needs some work on command, but when that comes, look out. 10-8, 2.56 ERA, 130 IP, 82 H (.183), 74 BB, 161 K’s (good for third in strikeouts).