American Association 2021 Mid-Season Report: Sioux City Explorers
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier looks at the first half of the season for the Sioux City Explorers, looking at top players, areas to improve, and where this team is likely to finish.
Sioux City Explorers Reach Midway Point
Record: 28-21 (2, 4) (Place in Division in parenthesis, followed by record overall)
(Overall ranking in American Association listed in parenthesis)
Average: .264 (6)
Homeruns: 53 (4)
Runs: 258 (7)
Stolen Bases: 57 (2)
On-Base Percentage: .371 (2)
Slugging Percentage: .424 (T-7)
ERA: 4.64 (7)
Strikeouts: 462 (1)
Opponent Batting Average: .243 (2)
Saves: 15 (1)
Fielding Percentage: .981 (T-2)
Errors: 32 (2)
First Half Recap
The Explorers had been at the top of the South Division most of the first eight weeks of the season, but a four-game losing streak drops the team in the second. This is a team that has not only had to deal with the transfers of players, but also has had several key injuries, including outstanding starter Tyler Beardsley.
It has been the bullpen that has been the key for Sioux City. This is probably the deepest group in the American Association, and they have helped turn contest into five inning affairs. The dangerous part is that even without closer Matt Pobereyko, this group could be just as good as they have been through the first half.
Jose Sermo is an MVP candidate. He has been outstanding, and has been the big power bat that has made this an extremely formidable offense. Chris Clare and L.T. Tolbert have been great additions helping Sioux City to have some table setters for Sermo.
Sermo was the 2018 league MVP, and he is having that type of season this year as well. Sermo is hitting .307 and is second in home runs with 17. He has scored 40 runs and driven in 42 in 44 games, Sermo has walked 41 times. Why he has not been picked up by an affiliate club is puzzling.
When it was announced that Michael Lang was returning to Sioux City, there was a lot of excitement. However, the veteran had a very tough beginning to the season. He is hitting .119 through his first 20 games and is currently on the inactive list. Because he is a veteran and requires a higher salary, Lang is going to have to step up his game should he return.
What They Need
To be honest what the Explorers need is to be left alone. No doubt manager Steve Montgomery is happy to see his player signed, but this club has taken a beating because of the key transfers. They should still be fine now, but should Sermo find himself transferred to an affiliate club, this team is going to struggle to stay in the top three.
What to Expect
There are a lot of things to like about Sioux City, but this recent slump may reveal chink in the armor of the Explorers. While the lineup is good, it is not an impressive, especially considering that some were expected to have huge seasons and have not lived up to expectations. I think this team will score enough runs to stay in the thick of things, but they are going to come up just short in their quest to make the playoffs.
By Robert Pannier