The Saints exit the mid-season break just 2.5 games behind the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the North Division of the American Association, however, they have the best record of the teams that are not winning their division, and therefore are leading the Wild Card race. At 40-28 they have a 2.5 game lead over the Laredo Lemurs for the last playoff spot. The Saints were especially hot entering the break, despite losing their least two games. They had won the previous eight and nine straight at home, which has catapulted them into the race for the division crown and has earned them their wild card lead.
The Saints have gotten some especially hot hitting from their batters, who are fourth in the league with a .293 average. They rank fourth in runs scored as well, with 344 in 68 games, but their 48 home runs rank seventh in the league. This is not a speedy team either, as they rank last in stolen bases with just 27. They have received effective enough pitching, ranked seventh in the league at 4.26. This is right at the league average. Saints pitchers are tied for third at .259 in opponent batting average, and they are tied for third in saves with 18.
Top Saints Player: Several St. Paul players are having a big year at the plate, but none more than 1B Henry Wrigley. He is hitting .318 entering the final stretch of the season, with 14 home runs and 57 RBI. His 14 homers are tied for third in the American Association and his RBI total has him ranked second. Wrigley does not walk a lot, just 14 on the season, but he does not strike out a lot either, just 29 times in 233 at-bats. He makes good contact, and is a real threat in their lineup.
Top Saints Pitcher: Former Minnesota Twin Dan Sattler is the top pitcher for this team up to this point. In 29 appearances he has posted a very impressive 1.98 ERA with a 2-2 record and 16 saves. He has pitched in 31.2 innings with 20 hits and 12 walks, while striking out 46. Sattler has been on a roll lately, allowing no runs in his 11 appearances, and just one run in his last 18. In that time he has saved as many games as hits he has allowed (10), and has struck out 29.
Season Outlook: The St. Paul Saints have all that is needed to earn a berth in the playoffs. They have a solid lineup, a great starter in Anthony Claggett, plus two other starters having good years, and they have a good bullpen with a great closer. They not only could win this division still, but could make some real noise in the playoffs.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA