Monthly record: 15-15 (28-25 overall, 1/2 game behind Carolina for wild-card in Southern Division of Carolina League; 2 games behind Buies Creek for first place)
Average – Daniel Spingola – .293
OBP – Eloy Jimenez .468
HR – Matt Rose – 8
RBI – Eddy Martinez – 26
IP – Adbert Alzolay – 53
ERA – Justin Steele – 2.55
Saves – Craig Brooks, Scott Effross, James Norwood – 3
K’s – Thomas Hatch – 51
Is Back-to-Back-to-Back Possible?
The Pelicans ended the month just a half game behind in the wild card race in the Southern Division of the Carolina League. If they can overcome that deficit, they would be in the playoffs for a chance to win their third consecutive Mills Cup Championship. To do that, they are going to have to beat the juggernaut known as Buies Creek, an Astros affiliate that is new to the league. Until two weeks ago, Buies Creek looked like they would run away from the pack, but that lead is down to two games.
Right now, three-fifths of the Pelicans’ starting rotation is pitching extremely well. Justin Steele, Oscar de la Cruz, and Adbert Alzolay lead the way, with Thomas Hatch coming around and Ryan Kellogg still shaking off the WBC hangover. In the bullpen, newcomer Michael Rucker has been amazing since his first appearance and Dillon Maples appears to have resurrected his career as a shutdown closer.
As for the offense, the Pelicans still have Eloy Jimenez in their employ, though I don’t think he is going to be around when the playoffs begin. Should the Pelicans make the playoffs, they will do so with anywhere from three to five new players.
Even without Jimenez, this team will be in capable hands with the hitting of Daniel Spingola and Bryant Flete. Jesse Hodges, Matt Rose, Eddy Martinez, and Tyler Alamo have also provided timely hitting.
De la Cruz, Alzolay, and Jimenez are the only three prospects who will legitimately move up to Tennessee later this month. Spingola and Flete have earned it as well, but I don’t think there is any room for them in AA just yet.
Player to Watch
The key for Jimenez in June is simply to stay healthy. I suspect he will be in AA by the June 20, which is the Pelicans’ All-Star Break. He is close to being ready, very close. Right now, he is getting pitched around and walked a lot, which is not the most productive environment for his development. Half the league played against him last year and they know what he can do with a bat, so a move to Tennessee will provide new challenges.
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