In American Association Daily, this is the unofficial All-Star break in the American Association, so Robert Pannier takes a look at Wichita Wingnuts and how they have performed to this point in the season and take a look at what to expect as the American Association heads to its stretch run.
A Look at the Wichita Wingnuts: Summary
Record: 38-23, Third (6.5 Out in South Division)
Team Batting: Avg: .279 (4th), HR: 45 (7th), R: 320 (4th), SB: 84 (1st)
Team Pitching: ERA: 4.04 (6th), Saves: 23 (1st), WHIP: 1.43 (7th)
Batting: Logan Watkins (.335)
Home Runs: Tony Thomas (17)
RBI: Tony Thomas (51)
Runs Scored: Tony Thomas (48)
Stolen Bases: Zach Nehrir (25)
Wins: Casey Harman (7)
ERA: Felix Carvallo (2.18)
Saves: Daniel Tillman (16)
IP: Casey Harman (80.2)
The Wichita Wingnuts Highlights
This is a team that loves to run, and they have been extremely successful at it recording 84 stolen bases. Most impressive is that they have only been caught 16 times, an 84 percent success rate. Zach Nehrir leads the American Association in stolen bases.
Daniel Tillman is the only closer who has been dependable in the league virtually every time he’s gone out. He leads the American Association with 16 saves and it has been surprising that no affiliate club has opted to sign the closer. You would think that 37 strikeouts in 25 innings while only walking five batters would be enough to entice someone.
Wichita is not all about stolen bases, as Tony Thomas leads the American Association in home runs with 17. Thomas is first in total bases, first in RBI, and third in runs scored. Plus, the average has continually crept up over the last four weeks.
The Wichita Wingnuts Low-Lights
While Tillman has been lights out in the closer’s role, the rest of the bullpen has struggled to preserve leads. Travis Banwart has been the one who has suffered the most through the struggles, having four leads blown. This group was expected to be a big strength heading into the season but has looked mediocre at times.
The city of Wichita still seems resolved to let this team get away. It truly is a head scratcher how idiotic the mayor of the city has been. How the team responds to this as the season winds down to its final games should be something to keep an eye on.
Top Player – Zach Nehrir
Zach Nehrir has done everything you can expect this season. He is second on the team in batting average at .324, second in runs scored (43), and has 22 extra-base hits. Nehrir has knocked in 38 runs, walked 23 times, and has been one of the best defensive outfielders in the American Association. This young man has done at all, including playing in all 61 games, and should have already earned a return to affiliate ball.
Top Pitcher – Casey Harman
While Banwart has arguably been the best pitcher, Casey Harman has been the most effective. He boasts a 3.01 ERA and leads the team in victories with seven in his 13 starts. Plus, in 80.2 innings pitched the left-hander has allowed just 69 hits and 18 walks. He has been outstanding this season, especially considering that he took three years off in a semi-retirement before deciding to return to the game. It was not known how he would respond this season after returning, but Harman has been everything the Wingnuts could have hoped for and more.
Is this the swansong for the Wichita Wingnuts? That still remains up in the air, but this is a team that has all of the pieces to make a serious run. They only trail Kansas City by 1.5 games, so it would not be surprising to see them battle back and earn a playoff berth. The bullpen has to be better, however, for them to be able to reach the postseason.
By Robert Pannier