All-Stars, Newcomers, and Monday’s News & Notes
Exciting news was received today by Jackie Bradley, Jr., Travis Shaw, Xander Bogaerts, and Mike Olmsted, all four of whom were named Carolina League All-Stars!
All four were obvious picks, in my opinion, and guys like Matt Barnes and Michael Almanzar also are very deserving omissions.
With one week remaining in the half, the Salem Sox have picked up a couple of Double-A reinforcements, with Shannon Wilkerson and Heiker Meneses both returning to the Roanoke Valley. Wilkerson hit .329 in 38 games with Salem to begin the season, while Meneses raked at a .356 clip in 26 games with Salem last year. Both prospects made the journey from Portland to Potomac to rejoin the Sox, and each is in the lineup tonight against Wilmington.
One week remaining in the half, and the Sox are three back with seven to play… Very little margin for error as the Sox and Rocks commence Dr. Suess’ favorite Carolina League series tonight at 7:05 at Frawley Stadium…
Game notes are below, and the broadcast begins at 7:03 on NewsTalk 960 AM & FM 107.3 WFIR and www.salemsox.com.
June 11, 2012 7:05 PM Salem Red Sox (35-27-1) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (28-35) Game #64
Frawley Stadium Wilmington, DE Road Game #33
Probable Starters: RHP Miguel Celestino (4-2, 2.84) vs RHP Tyler Sample (1-6, 5.04)
One Week: Salem has seven days to overcome a three-game deficit; otherwise, the Winston-Salem Dash will be crowned champions of the Southern Division in the first half. The Dash have won the first-half race in two of the last three seasons, while the city of Salem has never tasted a Southern Division first half title, last winning a first half crown as a member of the Northern Division back in 1988. Having gone 5-4-1 against the Dash, the Sox do have the tiebreaker in the event the teams finish with the same record. Entering Monday, Winston’s magic number to clinch is five.
Thanks That Was Fun: Brandon Jacobs and Xander Bogaerts helped Salem avoid a 1-4 weekend in Woodbridge by belting back-to-back solo homers in the eighth inning on Sunday, lifting Salem to a 3-2 victory and a 2-3 weekend at Pfitzner Stadium. While run scoring was at a premium on Sunday, baserunners were plentiful, as were missed opportunities. The Sox and Nats each went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, combining to leave 15 men on base. Salem finished its first half schedule against Potomac with a 5-5 record. Bizarrely, the Sox have gone .500 or better against every team in the league except for Frederick, the squad that sports the circuit’s worst mark.
Some Fantastic: On Monday, the Carolina League All-Star team was officially announced, and the Salem Sox will be sending three starters and the league’s #1 closer to the festivities in Winston-Salem on Tuesday, June 19. First-baseman Travis Shaw, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and center-fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. will all be in the Carolina League’s starting lineup, while reliever Mike Olmsted, who owns the league-lead with 12 saves, will help to anchor the back end of the bullpen. Salem is the only Carolina League club with three position player starters.
Life in a Nutshell: If any All-Star ballot somehow omitted Jackie Bradley, Jr., that ballot should have been invalidated. With two more hits and two more walks on Sunday, Bradley’s numbers, in many cases, have lapped the field in the Carolina League. The Richmond-native is #1 in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, walks, runs scored, extra-base hits, and sacrifice flies, and perhaps his defense has been better than his offense. His .377 average is fourth best in the minors, while his .489 on-base percentage is #1.
Easy: Many times this season, Xander Bogaerts has made playing the game look simple. Take into account his youth, and his performance has been nothing short of astonishing. With four homers in his last eight games, including two over the weekend in Potomac, Bogaerts now owns eight dingers on the season. Since May 22, no one in the Carolina League has more extra-base hits than Salem’s 19-year-old shortstop, who has seven doubles, one triple, and five homers in this 22 game span. Interestingly, Bradley and Shaw both have 12 extra-base hits since May 22, tied for second in the league behind Bogaerts. Salem enters Monday night with the second-best overall batting average in the league and the second-best ERA. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Salem also has the second-best overall record.