Kansas City T-Bones – 2019 American Association Mid-Season Report Card
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier examines the first half of the 2019 American Association season for the Kansas City T-Bones. This includes a recap of what has gone right and wrong for the team, as well providing the top pitcher and player to this point. Plus, a prognosis of what to expect in the remaining two months is included.
Kansas City T-Bones – Mid-Season Report
(League ranking is included in parenthesis)
Record: 30-29 (3rd in South, 7th in American Association)
Home Record: 16-17 (9)
Away Record: 14-12 (5)
Team Batting Average: .272 (6)
Team ERA: 4.82 (10)
Team Fielding Percentage: .980 (4)
Average: Roy Morales (.313)
Homeruns: Casey Gillaspie (7)
RBI: Casey Gillaspie (37)
Runs: Dylan Tice (36)
Stolen Bases: Dylan Tice (16)
ERA: Nick Lee (2.60)
Wins: Tommy Collier (6)
Losses: Tommy Collier (4)
Saves: Carlos Diaz (5)
Innings Pitched: Tommy Collier (65.2)
Appearances: Nick Lee, Robert Calvano (26)
It takes a lot to repeat in any league, and this has proven to be quite a daunting task for the Kansas City T-Bones. Much of the championship roster has moved on, and ace Tommy Collier spent about three weeks on the disabled list. Despite that, Kansas City finds themselves just a game behind Sioux City for second place in the South Division.
The Kansas City season can be summed up in just one sentence – five rain delays before the end of May. Bad weather led to a number of double-headers, and this team has struggled trying to get on a roll. The T-Bones finished May 7-6 and were a solid 14-14 in June, but there were clearly some concerns. The team ERA in June was 5.40, and Kansas City hit just .251.
They have stayed right at .500 in July, going 9-9, but one has to wonder if this is a team that is destined for a big run. At just 4.5 behind Cleburne for first place in the division, a streak of 8-2 could put them right back in the hunt.
What Went Wrong
Weather was obviously a big factor for this team early on. No matter how well a team can be equipped for any eventuality, having to play five double-headers in two weeks depletes a pitching staff and begins to wear on the entire club. That clearly took its toll early on, and it has looked like the T-Bones have not been able to create momentum as a result.
The bullpen has been a sore spot all season. Nick Lee has been phenomenal, but had his contract purchased and is headed to Mexico. Evan Korson was a solid addition, and has been outstanding since joining Kansas City. Carlos Diaz has been good in the closer’s role, but it has been a challenge after that. The same can be said of the starting rotation, which hasn’t delivered much beyond Collier.
What Went Right
The play of Roy Morales has been outstanding. The catcher has taken over his role and delivered an All-Star performance, hitting .313 and 37 games. It’s just another example of the great acquisitions that manager Joe Calfapietra always seems to make.
Dylan Tice has picked up right where he left off after being signed by the New York Mets last year. He is one of the best top-of-the-order guys in the American Association, hitting .310 in 46 game with a .392 on-base percentage and 16 stolen bases.
Mid-Season MVP: Roy Morales
With no disrespect to Tice, Morales has been just what the doctor ordered in Kansas City. Morales replaced the former Major Leaguer in Adrian Nieto and has been spectacular. Morales has a .313 batting average in 37 game with 22 runs scored and 16 RBI. He has 10 extra base hits, and has posted an impressive .375 on-base percentage.
Morales was held hitless in his last contest for the All-Star break, but had a nine-game hitting streak prior to it ending on Sunday. That included a four hit game against Lincoln on July 5.
Mid-Season Top Pitcher: Nick Lee
While Tommy Collier’s return has been essential for Kansas City to stay in the race, Lee has been a huge performer for this bullpen. Lee has a 2.60 ERA, and is 1-1 with two saves. In 27.2 innings pitched this season he has struck out 37 and allowed just 18 hits.
Lee had his contract purchased during the All-Star break and is headed to Mexico. That is a significant loss for Kansas City.
You never rule out a Joe Calfapietra team. The Manager proved last season that he can find pieces when he needs to, replacing 13 players on his roster in leading his team to the championship. The question is if the team is just too far back right now. Even at 4.5 games out, Cleburne is on a roll, and Sioux City is warming up as well.
The T-Bones are going to have their opportunity to win this division, as they play only three games against North Division teams. Right now this team is just not strong enough to overcome Cleburne and Sioux City, maybe not even to stay ahead of Sioux Falls. Look for the T-Bones to finish in fourth.
By Robert Pannier