May in Bakersfield

Team Overview   The Blaze are 31-23, in 3rd place in the North Division, 3.5 games behind the San Jose Giants (and half a game back of the Stockton Ports of the hated A's).  The league is scoring 4.98 runs per game, with Bakersfield at 5.15.  4th in avg. (.271), 4th in OBP (.342), 6th in slg.(.392), team OPS is about league average at .734.  The bats are in the middle of the pack in most counting stats.

Pitchers are pretty close to league average, allowing 4.92 runs per game, with a team WHIP of 1.38 and an ERA of 4.24, good for 4th.  The staff is in 2nd place with 406 K's, but in the middle of the pack with 185 BBs in 468.2 IP.



  • Julio Borbon  OF  April - .282/.305/.346; May - .362/.427/.495  Borbon is 5th in the league in batting avg. at .330.  His walk rate doubled in May, and he hit 11 doubles and his first HR to go along with a 83% SB success rate in 23 attempts.  May be on his way to Frisco soon.  Now those who are skeptical of his value can see for themselves.  I'm on the fence right now, but it's been an encouraging month. 
  • John Whittleman  3B  April - .261/.358/.457; May - .287/.408.416  Whittleman consistently walks 15-18% of his PA's which is nice.  But few think he's going to stay at 3B and I don't see enough power to move to a corner OF position.  Not sure what we've got here, a future Mike Simms?
  • Manuel Pina  C   April - .213/.290/.262; May - .313/.470/.438   Future backup Pina had probably his best month ever as a pro. 
  • Marcus Lemon  SS  April - .293/.431/.366; May - .289/.426/.447  I like a middle infielder who has 25 BB's and only 16 K's.  And, not much power, but his ISOP has ticked gradually upward over the last year and two months.  And he's still one of the youngest players in the league.  Plenty of time for his defense to come around.  Out of all the position players in Bakersfield right now, I might put my money on Lemon as the one who has the best chance of reaching the big leagues as at least a role player.
  • Grant Gerrard  OF  April - .308/.365/.471; May - .230/.264/.437   I got slightly hopeful about Gerrard in April, but he slid a bit this month.  At 24 in high A-ball he needs to do very well this year to be considered a prospect.
  • Jose Vallejo  2B  April - .333/.379/.500; May - .255/.323/.464  After a torrid April, Vallejo slumped badly in early May, but has picked again of late.  In addition to solid plate discipline (18/24 BB/K) he is 19 of 22 in SB attempts.


  • Evan Reed  6-2, 3.86 overall; 4-2, 5.15 in Bakersfield.  Reed has been inconsistent, allowing too many walks and a .303 BAA.  The hitter-friendly Cal league has something to do with this but we'd like to see more ground balls and fewer walks.
  • Kasey Kiker  3-1, 5.09   These numbers aren't sexy but I'm not real worried.  His walk rate is a solid 5.1%, and his K rate nearly doubled in May.  Put him in a less hitter friendly environment and that ERA is probably in the mid 4's.  I think we'll see his number gradually improve this year, with some bumps along the way.
  • Zach Phillips   4-3, 4.99   Phillips also pines for Clinton.  His walk rate is up a bit, and he's allowing extra base hits at twice the rate as 2007.  The ground ball rate is still strong, though, and I doubt he'll continue to allow HR's at 3 times the rate of his last two seasons.
  • John Bannister   2-4, 4.41 overall; 1-4, 3.72 in Bakersfield.  Good news:  A stellar 2.06 GB/FB ratio overall, and not many extra base hits.  Bad news:  40 BB in 49 IP thus far (23 in 36.1 Cal league innings).
  • Ryan Falcon  3-2, 3.38   Bullpen lefty Falcon has maintained a solid K/BB ratio (4-1) though not quite as good as 2007 in Spokane, where he K'd 1 out of every 3 batters faced.  Not bad for a 29th round pick.  Anyone know what he throws?
  • Omar Poveda   0-0, 4.11   Still on the DL, get well soon.
  • Beau Jones   1-3, 5.30  Also still on the DL. 


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