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May 13, 2007 May 13, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Patriot-by-Patriot: Here’s a look at the Somerset Patriots 2007 season so far, with player by player analysis of the 22 guys left…

CATCHER

Travis Anderson (3 GP, .400, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Games played. Once the inevitable signing of Michel Hernandez happens, Anderson’s going to be relied on to carry the load for this team. When that happens, he’s going to have to improve on his 2006 season which featured his lowest Atlantic League batting average (.248) in four seasons and the worst slugging percentage (.333) of his career. So far, so good.

Michel Hernandez (6 GP, .250, 0 HR, 4 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Runners thrown out. Hernandez is 5-for-7 (.71.4%) in throwing baserunners out, one of the best in the league in doing so. One of the most versatile catchers the Atlantic League has seen in years, the former Yankee can cover a lot of the strike zone with his bat and is also a legitimate threat on the basepaths. It’s very likely he’s the next Patriot to get picked up.

INFIELD

Danny Garcia (.250, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Stolen bases. Garcia has yet to be thrown out by an Atlantic League catcher, going a perfect 4-for-4. However, he’s going to need more than speed to get out of the league, and he hasn’t been consistent enough in any other area. The former Met had a lot of buzz surrounding him in Spring Training, but that’s started to dissipate now that the season is a week and a half old.

Todd Leathers (.261, 1 HR, 1 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Games played by position. Leathers has yet to establish an everyday position, playing a few games at first and a few as a DH. Extra-base hits might be something else to keep an eye on, as Leathers’ longball is the only one he’s got to date.

Jeff Nettles (.290, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Errors. After just 14 of them in 100 games at third base last season, Nettles has four in his first eight games this year. Considering he had seasons of 32, 34 and 19 E-5’s during his first three seasons in Somerset, having four this early in the year is reason for concern. On the plus side, Nettles (6) has more than half of Somerset’s team doubles (11).

Teuris Olivares (.304, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Errors. This is Olivares’ first regular playing time at shortstop since he played for Double-A Trenton in 2003. As a shortstop, he has two seasons of 37 errors, but only made 11 all of last season with the Road Warriors while primarily playing at second base.

Josh Pressley (.409, 0 HR, 3 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Home runs. Where are they? Pressley has given Somerset just about everything but the longball. Considering he hit 22 of them just two seasons ago, I don’t think anyone expected that he’d still have a zero in the HR column eight games into the season. Considering he leads the team in batting average, there’s really nothing else to complain about.

OUTFIELD

Elliott Ayala (.385, 0 HR, 2 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: All of them. Can he really keep this hot start up? Ayala has easily been the team’s biggest surprise, starting in the first seven games after being signed as a utility player. He leads the team in hits with 10.

Pat Boran (.143, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Stolen bases. The former Red Sox draft pick is really the only player on the roster who isn’t a regular or wont soon be one. But he is a very valuable asset on Sparky Lyle’s bench, as he can play pretty much any position and can provide speed at any given time. You won’t see him in the lineup too often, but he can change the game when he’s in there.

Anton French (.222, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Strikeouts. French’s seven whiffs lead the team, and he’s been somewhat of a disappointment at this point of the season. With one steal and one extra-base hit, the speedy former Duck has yet to show what he can really do on the basepaths. Considering he was sick over the past few days, he gets a free pass…

Mike Lockwood (.250, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: RBI. Watch them pile up as he continues to hit in the three spot in Lyle’s lineup. His seven runs batted in lead the team, and he may be a darkhorse to get picked up by an organization if he continues to prove he’s a complete player.

Jose Morban (.231, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

STAT TO WATCH: Games started. While he’s played in all eight games, he’s started only three of them. That may be the weirdest stat you’ll find on this year’s Patriots team. The former Oriole got off to a rough start, but you can’t really blame him considering the lack of regular playing time. What to do with Morban may be the biggest dilemma Lyle has right now, as he clearly has the skill to be an everyday player not only in the Atlantic League, but in the higher levels of the minors as well.

STARTING ROTATION

Brian Adams (2-0, 1.93 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Games started. Yesterday’s start by Adams was his first in five seasons and his longest outing since his rookie season in 2000. Brett Jodie had absolutely no intentions of using him in his starting rotation, but that all changed when two pitchers left on the first day of Spring Training. Ideally, the former Boston farmhand comes out of the bullpen, so keep your eyes peeled for where he falls when Jon Cannon, Brandon Knight and Jeff Urban are brought in.

Brian Reith (0-1, 1.50 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Innings pitched. Coming off of shoulder surgery, Reith did not pitch in all of 2006. While he appears to have the best stuff of anyone on the staff, he only went four innings in his last start — although that came just four days after a two inning relief outing. Today’s outing should be a real barometer of what Reith can do, and he may be another Patriots pitcher on his way to a brighter future.

Chris Rojas (0-2, 1.80 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: WHIP. He’s given a free pass to six batters in ten innings of work so far this season. Combine that with nine hits allowed, and you’ve got a WHIP of 1.50 — while you can’t argue with just two earned runs allowed, that number has got to come down.

Andy Van Hekken (1-0, 1.64 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Strikeouts. The former Tigers lefty has 10 in his first 11 innings of work, and has made a remarkable turnaround from his struggles in 2006. Probably the closest thing to a power pitcher that Somerset has in the rotation, Van Hekken has established himself as the leading candidate to get picked up out of any pitcher.

BULLPEN

Casey Cahill (0-0, 6.35 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Innings pitched per game. Cahill has gone no less than one and two thirds innings in each of his first three outings, and perhaps that’s not the best way to use him. A graduate of nearby Immaculata High School, the ex-Orioles draft pick might be better served coming in for an inning or to get out a specific hitter or two to get his confidence back up. Currently, his 6.35 ERA his the second-worst on the team, behind only Phil Norton — and Norton has only 1.2 IP under his belt.

Sam Marsonek (2-0, 0.00 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Strikeouts. Marsonek hasn’t allowed a run in his first three outings, and has picked up the win in two of them, but has yet to record his first Atlantic League strikeout. The former first team High School All-American entered this season with 564 career K’s compared to 254 walks.

Phil Norton (0-0, 10.80 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: ERA. It’ll come down. After a flawless first outing with the team, Norton struggled in his second, allowing two runs on a hit and two walks. Norton easily has the most Major League experience on the pitching staff (92 games; Reith is the next closest with 73) and he got there for a reason, so there’s really not much to worry about here.

Jason Richardson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Hits allowed. Richardson has given up only three hits in five innings of work. Last season, while in Single-A Wilmington and Triple-A Pawtucket, the 26-year-old allowed 84 hits in 75.1 IP, so he’s certainly on pace to better those numbers this year.

Saul Solveson (0-0, 2 saves, 2.70 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Saves. Once/if Brandon Knight comes in, Solveson may move back to his more familiar role as the guy who gets the team out of jams. Right now, he’s been doing an excellent job closing out games, but it would be hard to say for sure that he’s definitively the team’s closer at this point.

R.D. Spiehs (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

STAT TO WATCH: Games. In the first eight games the Somerset Patriots have played, Spiehs has five outings of one inning each. With only ten pitchers on the active roster right now, it would be easy to overwork someone. While Spiehs has proven to be reliable, he can’t keep up this pace and expect to be fresh towards the end of the season.

Fun with Recaps:

Newark 8 @ Bridgeport 1

At 6-2, the Newark Bears have the best record in the Atlantic League.

Let me repeat that.

The Newark Bears have the best record in the Atlantic League.

Newark has NEVER finished an Atlantic League season with the best overall record (see bottom of page). I’m not suggesting that will change this season, but still…

Bears starter Jeremy Hill left the game after five innings with a no-hitter intact, and the rest of the bullpen combined to allow only two hits over the next four frames to continue their great early-season run against Bridgeport.

Javier Colina was 2-for-4 with two runs, three RBI and a home run.

Bobby Darula and Jay Caligiuri got the only hits for the Bluefish, who are now 4-4 after winning their first three games.

The elusive Bobby Brownlie will likely make his second start this afternoon.

York 3 @ Somerset 7

Brian Adams, perhaps inspired by Brian Adams, made his first start in five years on Saturday. (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

One of their best pitchers left before the game. They made four errors, it rained and was ridiculously cold. And yet, the Somerset Patriots managed to send their fans home happy with a 7-3 win over the York Revolution.

Jeff Nettles was the star for Somerset, driving in four runs — including a three-run bomb to left field.

Brian Adams also gave the Patriots more than what they expected, going five innings and allowing just one earned run in his first start in five years.

He also, and I kid you not, threw his warmup pitches in the first inning with a Brian Adams song blaring in the background.

For York, the ever-filthy Tike Redman drove in two.

Road Warriors 1 @ Camden 2

Brad Strauss and Justin Singleton each had an RBI in the Riversharks 2-1 win over the Road Warriors.

Anthony Ferrari went four innings in his debut for Camden, allowing two hits and striking out five in his strong first outing.

Estee Harris was 1-for-2 with a run scored and two walks in the loss.

Lancaster 1 @ Long Island 6, G1

Ray Navarrete continued his hot start, hitting a home run and scoring two runs in the Ducks game one win over Lancaster.

Gustavo Martinez went five innings in his Barnstormers debut, but was outpitched by Ducks starter Randy Leek.

Lancaster 3 @ Long Island 6, G2

The Ducks took the second game of the doubleheader as well, completing their first ever sweep of the Barnstormers.

Long Island sent 11 batters up in the second inning against ‘Stormers starter Derek Griffith, who was making his AL debut.

Carl Everett and Edgardo Alfonzo each drove in two runs in the victory.

Sharks Sign Two: The Camden Riversharks have signed P Ryan Schurman and P Erick Burke. Schurman you’re likely familiar with, but Burke is a 29-year-old lefty with three seasons of Triple-A experience. There may be a big league pitcher on the way as well, so stay tuned…

Bergeron Mysteriously Absent: Ryan Dunleavy has an update on why York OF Peter Bergeron has missed the entire series against Somerset.

Best Overall Records:

1998: Bridgeport, 64-36
1999: Bridgeport, 78-42
2000: Nashua/Long Island, 82-58
2001: Somerset, 83-43
2002: Atlantic City, 71-53 (BPT finished 71-55 and CAM was 71-54)
2003: Camden 78-48
2004: Camden 76-49
2005: Atlantic City/Camden, 80-60
2006: Bridgeport, 75-49 (Lancaster finished 75-51)

(Three times in the league’s previous nine seasons but not since 2001, the team with the best overall record — or a share of it — has won the league championship. Bridgeport did it in 1999, Nashua in 2000 and Somerset in 2001.)

Ashmore Sunday Photo Gallery:

Patriots starter Brian Reith prepares in the bullpen

York starter Chris Steinborn

Ex-Met Danny Garcia at-bat in the first

Elliott Ayala on the bench

Former Patriots bullpen catcher John Evans

Hitting coach Kevin Dattola models his pink jersey and hat…

Former Yankees backstop Michel Hernandez

Phil Norton getting loose during the fourth inning

Sparky Lyle threw balls to several youngsters before the game

Todd Leathers stretching prior to today’s game

Yesterday’s News: Dave Elder to Mexico…Kaz Tanaka batting stance photo…Pats try out Korean pitcher…Urban among three arms headed to Somerset…and more. – Mike Ashmore

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