Thursday, July 30, 2015

Putting Things in Order, Biscuits/Southern League News

Look for the 2016 Southern League Schedule to be released as soon as today.  It has been approved by all the affiliate farm directors and is ready for public consumption.

I spoke with Biscuits GM Scott Trible and he was very optimistic about next year's schedule with the exception of one item in the month of June. Or rather, the lack of. The Skitz only get one Saturday game in the entire month!

The Biscuits drew Sunday July 3rd for their Independence Day celebration next summer - teams in the Southern league are assured a home game on either the 3rd or the 4th of July.

Star Wars night was very popular and will return in 2016. "Pretty much a permanent thing" on the calendar for the Biscuits, said Trible. It seemed a very popular theme and even the players got to have some fun with it. How popular? We may see a Biscuits version of the themed jerseys worn by other milb teams for their Star Wars promotional nights.
Mark Sappington engages the dark side

No word yet of the Biscuits appearing in the Rickwood Classic. After being rained out in 2006, Montgomery has yet to return to the scene of the annual throwback game to end all throwback games.
Montgomery v Birmingham, July 4 1906

The Bham team/Friends of Rickwood own the classic Montgomery uniforms that could be used, so its just a matter of getting the timing right for a recreation of the inaugural game played at the oldest ballpark in America, Rickwood Field.

Next summer when we are enjoying a southern sweet tea or perhaps an Arnold Palmer - a half-and-half mix of Lemonade and sweet tea from the Lemonade Stand, we can thank Dr.Miraculous for suggesting it.

Gm Trible said he was kind of surprised they hadn't offered it on the concourse already and calling it "a really solid suggestion" that should happen.

The Biscuits will be announcing their promotional schedule in the very near future and one of the big events that it includes is a "Fauxback Day" with a Biscuits throwback-style jersey. Of course the uniform tops will be auctioned for charity following the game.

In a clear nod to the Tampa Rays fauxback uniforms, this could be a recurring thing on the calendar if it draws fans attention. I am pretty excited about it, as it could be a great looking themed jersey that would return in the future.
Matt Moore in Rays fauxback uniform
The Biscuits front office have yet to finalize a decision on the Sherry Myers bobblehead giveaway.

The team will not be wearing "Miss Gravy" themed jerseys next year, in spite of me starting rumors to the contrary.

special edition

Look for me to make an appearance on the field at some point during the next week or two. I had asked around if I could help drag the infield and must have been convincing, I have been told it will happen!
 Its always cool to get a chance to get out onto the diamond, even more so if its during a game without security guards in pursuit (no that hasn't happened, at least not yet!)

Dayron Varona
When Dayron Varona batted second in the lineup Wednesday, a discussion erupted about the Biscuits and who should hit where in the lineup.

Roster sheets were passed around and an informal poll was taken, assigning numbers to each player as to where they should hit in the batting order. It was pretty much easily agreed, a consensus not hard to reach among the informed fans surveyed.

Here then, the results of the fan poll:

1 Rickard/Goeddel
2 Reginatto
3 Varona
4 Bauers/Seitzer
5 Leonard
6 O'Conner
7 Field
8 Coyle
9 Querecuto

The maths* seem to disagree with the fans choice in many instances, as we shall see!
*small sample size caveat 

Top of the Order

Joey Rickard
1 - Leadoff Man
Rickard/Goeddel - both getting votes for batting first and with good reason as both have spent time in the leadoff spot this year.

While enjoying the "Blanco Suave" nickname and having a great season, Joey Rickard's average is almost 15 points lower when leading off an inning. He is often employed as the Skitz leadoff hitter, but Joey Rickard has better numbers when batting second, hitting fifteen points higher than when he bats first.
Tyler Goeddel

The other popular fan choice for leadoff hitter, Tyler Goeddel hits .375 when batting either sixth or eighth in the order.

Voters love the speed from both these guys, but the digits indicate they both have better at bats when hitting lower in the batting order.

2 The Number Two Hitter
Leonardo Reginatto
Reginatto  - Reggie hits just .259 when leading off an inning, his batting average rises the lower he hits in the order from .250s batting second all the way to .368 when hitting seventh.

Decent speed and decent pop make fans want to see him hitting higher in the order but the Brazilian obviously prefers hitting in the second half of the lineup.

Dayron Varona
3 Third Man Up
Varona - as mentioned, the inspiration for the poll was Dayron Varona, who has been inserted up and down the batting order and hit everywhere. Varona was the nearly unanimous choice to hit third, though one informed voter was adamant that Dayron should be in the fifth spot in the batting order.

Batting .297 for Montgomery, the Havana Biscuit sees more time in the three spot than anywhere else. It looks like Brady Williams agrees with the crowdsourced batting order on this one, and so does the mathematics as Varona hits a robust .316 when batting third.

Heart of the Order

Jake Bauers
4 CleanUp Man
Bauers/Seitzer -with a pair of left-handed slugging first basemen, its tough to find at bats for both of them. Often one will be in the lineup at first base, with the other acting as the designated hitter while Brady tries to get them both on the field in some way.

Hot swinging Jake Bauers hits .322 batting sixth and hasn't occupied any other spot but that one since the start of the second half. With the StoneCrabs, Jake only batted 4th and posted a .267 average in the cleanup role.

Cameron Seitzer
The other cleanup hitter choice, Cameron Seitzer is a guy who can hit just about anywhere in the batting order, but the stats say he is best hitting third, where he posts a .341 average with six of his eight homeruns this year.

After skipping high-A, some high-expectation fans seem a little down on Cameron this year, but he is having a fine season hitting near .300 with eight homers so far. He would have higher totals but has had to share playing time first with Leonard and now with Bauers.

Patrick Leonard
5 The Protection Guy
Leonard - Patrick Leonard has turned it on of late, batting to a .367 clip since the AllStar break. Usually penciled in 4th or 6th in the batting order, we picked him as a good number five guy to drive in runs.

While Leonard does hit well in the five spot (.344) he has the best stats batting seventh where he posts a whopping .379 average in more than 15 games. If that ain't enough, his OPS when batting 7th is a very stout 1.046, so there.

6 The Six-Hitter
O'Conner - the catching prospect has played well and in the second half Justin O'Conner has really picked up the bat, swatting a .275 average since the break.
Justin O'Conner

Again the numbers tell us we are wrong to hit him where we would think he belongs, as he slugs just .410 batting sixth and one would expect a six hitter to be a doubles guy.

Stats say Justin is way better when hitting second! In seven games in the 2hole O'conner has a .300 average and a higher OPS there than when batting at any other place in the order.

Bottom of the Order

Johnny Field Jr
Field Jr - Since the homerun derby, the Biscuits slugger hasnt looked quite the same at the plate and the informal survey lists him lower in the order than it might have six weeks ago.

Johnny Field has been in the lineup at just about every spot, in part due to his versatility and in part in an effort to get him going again in the second half.

Most often he has batted fourth with success (.255/8hr/33rbi in 54 games) and when batting sixth he does better (.317/3hr/9rbi in 10 games). But when he is down in the 8th place in the batting order, he really hits (.391avg in 7 games). Batting in the seventh spot is the worst of the bunch (.133 in five games) so the fans choice doesn't float when the decision is figured with an abacus.

Tommy Coyle
8 The Eighth Spot
Coyle - the second baseman is having a tough summer, batting much below his ability. This likely affected voters opinion, some of whom voiced the opinion that he should be hitting near the top of the order if he were going right.

Often hitting 8th (.211avg) or 9th (.242avg) in Brady Williams batting order this year, Tommy Coyle should be in the 7th spot where he is hitting .289avg with a monster .936OPS.

9 NL Pitchers Spot/Second Leadoff Man
Juniel Q
Querecuto - struggling with the Skitz at just .202 this year, JuneQ has put the ball in play more often in July, hitting .242 this month. Still, Brady has not yet put him anywhere but the bottom of the order where he can utilize his speed as the "second lead-off man".

In Charlotte JuneQ hit leadoff in more than a dozen games and posted a solid .340 average. If you can't hit him first, it makes sense to hit him ninth and fans were in agreement with the stats on this one.

Jake Bauers hits better when behind in the count (.313) than he does when ahead in the count (.222).

Patrick Leonard is batting .500 is six extra innings at bats.

Since his promotion from Low-A Bowling Green where he had 18sb in parts of the last two seasons, Juniel Querecuto has only stolen one base.

Opponents hit .385 off of Matt Lollis when he falls behind in the count but have just a .185 batting average when the Big Show gets ahead in the count.

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