NEW ORLEANS ZEPHYRS:
It was an up-and-down week for the third place team in the PCL American South. The Zephyrs kicked off the week with a 7-5 victory over Round rock, but failed to win consecutive games the rest of the week, finishing the last seven days with a 4-3 record. In victory, the club received quality pitching as the staff did not give up more than one run in victories over the Iowa Cubs on April 15th and 17th.
Fernando Tatis: 8-19, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, BB
It was an explosive week for the third baseman who provided the pop this week for the Zephyrs. He entered the week with four home runs on the season but was mired in a contact slump to start the season. However, he kick started the week with a fourth inning two-run home run last Monday against Round Rock. His biggest impact came on Saturday night when his sixth inning two-run home run gave the Zephyrs separation in a close 2-1 game. He added another solo shot in the 8th inning to give the bullpen some insurance. After the entering the week with a sub-.200 average, he now sits at .268, eight points shy of his .276 average in 2007.
Adam Bostick: 0-1, 12.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 2 K, 6 BB
The Zephyrs southpaw had a fairly stable week, making two starts and giving up three earned runs in each appearance. His first start came last Sunday in which he pitched five innings but demonstrated inconsistent command as he walked four against four hits; he took the no-decision for his work. He followed that effort up with a tough-luck loss after a quality start on April 18 against the Iowa Cubs. After giving up an early two-run home run, he pitched into the eighth inning but Tim McNab allowed an inherited runner to score, chalking up Bostick for a loss—his first of the season.
The biggest question for the B-Mets was whether or not the unconscious production from the heart of the order could continue. After scoring 36 runs in three games from April 10-12, Binghamton welcomed the Akron Aeros and the first-place Portland Sea Dogs to the NYSEG Stadium. The B-Mets split the series with Akron, with the loss coming in another double-digit slugfest [they lost 11-10]. The club did not find much success against Portland, dropping the first three games of the series heading into Sunday.
Nick Evans: 6-26, HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 3 2B
After raising his batting average close to .500, the first baseman came back down to Earth somewhat last week, including his first consecutive hitless games since the opening week of the season—he went 0-for-8 in the first two games versus Portland. However, his home run this week as a big one as his sixth inning three-run blast against Akron last Monday tied the ballgame after the B-Mets trailed 3-0. The home run catapulted Binghamton to a 6-3 victory. His best game of the week came last Thursday in the series closer versus Akron when he smacked three doubles, driving in two runs and scoring two more. His season average now sits at .355 after climbing as high as .444 last week.
Daniel Murphy: 8-23, HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 BB
Murphy, like Evans, rocketed to a strong start at the season’s onset and continues to swing a hot bat. Also like Evans, Murphy had his average reached near .500 [.474 as of last Sunday], but since he has kept his average above .400 thanks to numerous multi-hit games. His best game of the week came in that 11-10 battle, when he went 3-4 and cracked his first home run of the year, a solo shot. He also hit two doubles, drove in two more runs and scoring a run.
Bobby Parnell: 5 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 6 K, 0 BB
The 23-year-old right-hander made his best start of the year on April 16 against Akron though he picked up the no-decision. After a poor season debut, and an even worse outing following that, he rebounded by demonstrating his best control of the season by walking none after walking eight in hitter’s in his first 8.1 innings pitched. Parnell continues to survive on the ground with a 2.22 groundball/flyball ratio and a .229 opponent’s batting average. Right-handers are hitting just .185 off Parnell.
Jonathon Niese: 0-1, 8.1 IP, ER, 8 R, 11 H, 7 K, 3 BB
Niese had a very peculiar week as his he was able to keep his earned run average run 1.00 [0.93] and his opponent’s batting average under .200 [.187], but still ended the week with his first loss of the year. He still has been very strong this season with a 17/5 strikeout-to-walk ratio and only 14 hits allowed, but the defense has not been behind him as his team committed six errors in his two starts. The left-hander currently ranks sixth in the Eastern League in ERA.
ST. LUCIE METS:
The High-A Mets continue to struggle this season as the young team has minimally enjoyed the feeling of victory. The lack of not only consistency, but run production, from the just about the entire lineup has the Mets mired in a five-game losing streaking after starting the week with a win. Following last Sunday’s victory, St. Lucie was swept in two home series, first by the Brevard County Manatees in three games, then by the Vero Beach Rays in two games.
Lucas Duda: 10-24, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB
The big left-handed first baseman continues to be the leading source of power and production in the lineup. His best game this week came in an 8-6 loss to Brevard County on April 17 when he posted a 4-for-5 game [four singles] with four RBI. He hit his second home run of the year the previous day with a third-inning two run shot. Strikeouts continue to be a problem for Duda despite his .423 on-base percentage, as he has recorded 17 whiffs in 16 games. Coming into Sunday, he ranks second in the Florida State League in RBI  and is tied for sixth in the league in batting average [.359].
Dylan Owen: 5 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 K, 3 BB
The right-hander made his third start of the season, picking up a no-decision in another quality outing. He left the game with a 2-1 lead but the St. Lucie bullpen could not hold onto a one-run lead to give Owen his second victory [such has been the scenario for the St. Lucie rotation]. Right-handers are hitting just .190 off Owen and just one of his 12 strikeouts on the season has come against left-handers. The opposition is hitting .224 off Owen and he ranks 10th in the Florida State League in ERA [1.69].
SAVANNAH SAND GNATS:
The Sand Gnats had an up-and-down week, but recorded it’s first .500 week of the year as they picked up an 11-7 victory last Sunday against the Columbus Catfish before taking the finale against the Charleston RiverDogs and splitting the first two games of a four-game set against the Rome Braves. The bad news for Savannah was the injuries. The club lost Raul Reyes to a fractured right ankle—Reyes was hitting .298 before the injury. Additionally, after a tough start to his first long-season, the club put left-hander Nathan Vineyard on the disabled with a strained throwing shoulder. Vineyard was 0-2 with a 14.63 ERA in two starts.
Jordan Abruzzo: 13-23, 3 RBI, 4 R, 2 2B, BB
The 23-year-old catcher made it to Savannah after appearing in just 15 games during his rookie season in 2007. Seven games into his second year, he is making his case for more playing time with the Sand Gnats as his average sits at .542. He recorded just one at-bat before last Sunday so the outburst is even more notable considering how much time has spent on the bench before this week. He is currently on a six-game hit streak which included 3 three-hit games.
Angel Calero: 0-1, 10 IP, 7 ER, 14 H, 11 K, BB
The 21-year-old has been steady so far this season for Savannah, but endured his toughest outing of the year on April 13 against Columbus when he went five innings and surrendered six earned runs. Yet, he rebounded in his next effort by allowing just one earned run on six hits in five innings against Rome. Unfortunately for Calero, a second run was unearned forcing Calero to pick up a tough-luck loss for his efforts. To his credit, Calero has demonstrated very good control so far this year as he walked just three batters against 16 strikeouts.