Minor League Roundup: San Antonio

RHP Clint Nageotte (Getty Images)

Double-A San Antonio just relentlessly continues to roll along like a bowling ball in an alley with no gutters and a black hole where the pins usually sit.

A 5-2 week keeps the dominance alive for San Antonio as they outscored their opponents 38-16. The Missions' entire 25-man roster seems to produce whenever in the game and rarely does one player's mishap get noticed.

Instead, great pitching or an offensive outburst tends to cover up the error, making it hard to remember that it eer happened.

The pitching rotation is good enough to win games by itself and when the offense is on its game the defending Texas League Champions are truly as unbeatable as any team in minor league baseball in recent years.

It's possible that the 2003 team is even better than the title winners of a year ago.

Last week, the offense was led by SS Jose Lopez, CF Mike Curry, and was even helped out late in the week by newly promoted OF Greg Jacobs, who went 3-8 in his first two games in Double-A.

Lopez went 7-27 (.259) with three homeruns, six RBI and five runs scored. Lopez is flashing the power of late and now has 11 homeruns to go with the speed and batting eye that we all know about.

Leadoff man Mike Curry, 27, is having a fantastic season and probably should get a shot at AAA Tacoma before long. Curry's 44 steals leads the Texas League by a wide margin. The fleet of foot centerfielder went 8-27 this week with seven runs scored, three doubles, a steal, five RBI, and had four consecutive hits with runners in scoring position.

Jacobs, 26, finally got his much deserved promotion and in the first two games made the most of it with three hits in eight at bats.

The Missions offense was clearly crowned with the dominant display of hitting by 3B Justin Leone. Leone, 26, has come into his own this season and is beginning to look like maybe he could be an answer at 3B in 2004 for the M's. The slugger had the system's best week all season when he finished with 13 hits in 26 at bats with five homeruns and 13 RBI. He also added two triples and seven runs scored to his resume and is a surefire candidate for insideThePark.com Player of the Week honors.

Leone is hitting .301 with 17 homeruns and 77 RBI on the year. Furthermore, the six-foot one-inch, 200 pound right-hander leads the league in runs scored (79), doubles (31), slugging percentage (.570), walks (60), On-Base Pct. (.433), is third in RBI (77), and fourth in homeruns (17).

San Antonio continues to lead the league in team average, homeruns, and steals, as well as runs scored. The total and complete domination can be seen in any number of statistical reviews.

The pitching was led by the newest member of the En Fuego Five, 23-year-old right-hander, Cha Sueng Baek. Baek went 7.1 scoreless innings during the week and allowed just two hits and one walk with nine strikeouts.

Clint Nageotte had a solid week. In 13 innings he allowed just six hits and four earned runs, walking six and striking out 11. Nageotte continues to lead the league in strikeouts while staying among the league leaders in wins and ERA.

Travis Blackley, 20, made a solid start, allowing only two earned runs in 6.2 innings. He added eight strikeouts in the game. The left-hander remains the league-leader in ERA and wins and is the youngest starting pitcher in the Texas League.

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