Ugh. Talk about a train wreck. Erie has the second worst record in the Eastern League this year. The SeaWolves slated to be a dead zone for most of Detroit's best talent even from the beginning of the year, but this is just ridiculous.
Erie SeaWolves: 45-66, 19.5 GB, Eastern Lg. West
Pythagorean Record: 50-60
Look up "non-existent" in the dictionary and you may just find a picture of Erie's hitting ability. Last in batting average, 10th in on-base percentage, eighth in slugging and ninth in OPS, Erie hasn't exactly done anything besides drive the ball, and they've barely done that. A slugging percentage of .392 isn't much to brag about. They've also struck out 80 more times than anyone else in the Eastern League. Amazingly, they're eighth in walks and first in stolen bases but there's a caveat to the stolen base number insofar as they've been caught stealing more than any other club as well.
They're first in errors and last in fielding percentage, but that's not exactly a fair estimate of their fielding ability. Taking a look at individual players, however, kinda bears that out. The only plus defenders on the 'Wolves are Cale Iorg at shortstop and Andy Dirks in left (he was drafted as a center fielder). You also have a player like Audy Ciriaco who has moved to third base from shortstop, which means fielding percentage and team fielding ability is bound to drop.
The team is 8th in the Eastern League in ERA, and has allowed the most homers of any team in the league. But they're 5th in terms of free passes and 7th in terms of strikeouts, which puts them right around league average there. They're also 10th in terms of wild pitches, so at least the Erie staff seems to have okay control.
Team MVP: Andy Dirks
You could make a case that this award should go to Cesar Nicolas, who hit better in every category. To which I would respond by pointing out that Nicolas was suspended for amphetamine usage. The numbers therefore point to Dirks as the best hitter, with an OPS of .767 in 434 plate appearances. He's hitting .278/.342/.425, which isn't horrible, and as a good defender in left, he's the closest thing that Erie has to a star. In the long run, he may end up as a fourth outfielder for Detroit, but that's his ceiling.
Best Pitcher: Brooks Brown
Yes, the best pitcher has an ERA of 4.19, but his fielding independent stat is nice, at 3.36, and he has one of Erie's best walk-to-strikeout ratios. Brown keeps the ball on the ground about 48 percent of the time, which is OK. But he's supposed to be a sinker baller. (He was the return in the Jamie Skelton trade with the Diamondbacks) and he seems to be stagnating in AA. Good organizational arm though.
Team Relief Pitcher of the Year: Brendan Wise
I'm going to give this one to Wise (even though I really like Zach Simons) in part because he fascinates me. Wise is more of a contact guy. He strikes out about 3.7 batters per nine innings and walks about two per nine innigns. What makes him so interesting is his ground ball rate is 67 percent. His FIP (3.06) is so low because hitters just can't do anything with the ball. Also consider that in 40 innings, Wise has not allowed a home run. I don't know if he can sustain such a low homer rate, or get by striking out less than four batters per nine innings but he's an intriguing player because of all the grounders.
- Everyone's favorite goat, Cale Iorg, is hitting .207/.246/.315. In his defense, he does have a good glove. But still, Shortstop of the Future!?
Rawley Bishop, who mashed at Lakeland, is struggling in Erie. He's only hitting .243/.338/.419 with 37 strikeouts in 136 at bats. He walks a lot though, and still has time to turn things around.
- Zach Simons has radically outperformed his FIP (2.36 to 3.67) but he's still striking out almost a batter per inning.
- Luis Marte isn't exactly having a great year if you judge him on his ERA (5.62) but he's striking out a batter per inning (and walking one every two innings) and has a FIP of 4.20.