Today, it was 95 degrees at my house, which means it was somewhere near a billion degrees at Mavericks Stadium, and it is one of the hottest months of the year, July. The third hottest month of the season? June. We got to watch the MLB Draft and see where certain players landed after signing, and we're still waiting in California for some brand new prospects. There isn't much new with this High Desert Mavericks team except some faces gone, and some new. The Seattle Mariners Class-A Advanced affiliate are still steadily right at that .500 range, and can't seem to budge from it positively, or negatively.
Right now though, the Mavericks are still sitting pretty on the wildcard chase for the California League playoffs.
CLASS A-ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS
13-13 record (40-40 season record), 3rd place in the California League Southern Division (2nd place in the California League Southern Division Wildcard)
Cal League ranks (10 teams)
Hitting: 2nd in R/G (5.95), 2nd in OPS (.802), 2nd in HR (93), 3rd in BB (298), 3rd in Ks (608)
Pitching: last in ERA (5.15), 7th in WHIP (1.46), t-8th in HR (82), 5th in BB (257), last in Ks (612)
Taylor and Choi are gone! The Mavericks are relying on guys that aren't necessarily "bigger" prospects anymore, and now don't have a guy batting better than .300. However, and oddly enough, pitching is reasonably keeping this team in the playoff hunt. The Mavs have been shutout this past month twice (once at home), and eight times this past month have not put more than two runs on the board. I mentioned it last month but the consistent inconsistencies need to stop. If this team wants to make a run for the California League title and have the players on this team improve, they need to start playing with the most important part of the game in mind... consistency.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER(S): Kevin Rivers, OF
Rivers may not be the expected star of this Mavs team, but he is a hidden gem that has been consistently good all season. Rivers is batting .275 which is near the team lead, and the big number is that he's the only qualified batter on the road to be batting over .300, with the second most at bats. He reaches home 45.7% of the time he's on base, and is a great guy to have at the plate with runners on with his .350 OBP%, 52 RBI, and he's only hit into one double play this entire season. Rivers needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and contact could be improved on, but the guy hits the ball hard, possibly the hardest on the team, which could lead the a great career in the minors and potentially in Seattle.
TOP PITCHER: Dominic Leone, RHP
The kid is lights out! Leone is perfect while coming into the game late with 10 saves in 10 opportunities. His WHIP is nearly sub one, at 1.02 (best on team for pitchers over 20.0 IP). His earned-run-average is near the best on the team at 2.80, and batters are really struggling against Leone batting .214 (.192 vs. right handed batters). Along with that, control is not an issue with just 9 walks over his 35.1 IP (2.29 BB/9) and has struck out 33 batters over that same span (8.40 K/9).
TOUGH STRETCH: Steven Baron - C and George Mieses - RHP
I had him here last month, and I have him here again. Steve Baron is a great catcher, but just can't put up offensive numbers. He's batting .226, doesn't walk a lot (6 BB), and just can't seem to make contact with the ball very well. He's striking out 28.6% of his plate appearances, and is batting .181 in 94 at bats on the road, which is really showing that the High Desert may be improving his already weak numbers. Now many Mavs pitchers love having Baron behind the plate calling games, but the offensive numbers really show that he is really struggling this season.
As much as I hate saying this, George Mieses is having some pretty serious struggles. From May 25th, to June 15th, he allowed 18 runs in just 9.2 innings of work (17.61 ERA). George has simmered down lately, but his season earned run average is still 8.05 and he also has a WHIP of 1.71. George is a good personal friend who invited me to his wedding this past summer in the Dominican Republic, so I can only hope that he will have an outstanding second half of the season.
TRAINING ROOM: Jabari Blash, OF and Mayckol Guaipe, RHP
It's always a secret as to what's going in injury wise when it comes to the Mavericks Front Office and coaches. Jabari Blash seems to just be on the Disabled List once a month, almost enough to where it's a joke. The guy is such a talented athlete and has the raw power to hit at a major league level, but I'm not sure about his health. Mayckol Guaipe has been having struggles recently, and it may have possibly been because of his newly announced move to the DL. The injury has not been specified.
The Mavericks are still sticking around, and hopefully are ready for the long haul of the second half of the season. This team has talent enough to keep up with the teams that are becoming standouts in the California League. Now is the time though to step up that talent and make it consistent enough to win games every night.
On a sad note, Mike McGee decided his run in professional baseball was done on June 20th, as he announced his retirement. McGee was a special player that many scouts believed could be a fifth outfielder for the Mariners in the future. Mike is a great guy with a smile on his face every time he walked out on the field. I can only wish him the best with what he goes on to do with the rest of his life.
Stay tuned to SeattleClubhouse for updates from me throughout the season on the Mavs!
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