Joplin Blasters Mid-Season Report
Record: 25-44, Fourth in the South Division, Eleventh Overall in the American Association
It has been a tough season for the Joplin Blasters, but it did not really begin that way. The team lost their first two games, then won four straight, including a 19-10 thumping of the Wichita Wingnuts. Since then, it has not been going very well for the Blasters. They are last in their division and came within one-game of tying the American Association record for losses in a season when they dropped 14 in a row.
Joplin has had a lot of pop in their bats, but the pitching staff has been a real trouble spot. They are last in ERA and were struggling to get a consistent performance out of their rotation. Most starters have struggled in the early innings, only to rebound as the game moved along, but by then it was too late.
Since the losing streak ended the team has been playing quite well. The Blasters are 10-10 in that span, and have looked a lot better with each outing. Manager Gabe Suarez is really doing a good job in getting this team on the winning side a lot more often, and this could look promising for next year.
Mid-Season MVP: Geraldo Valentin
While the Joplin Blasters have failed to consistently win games, Valentin has handled himself like a true professional and the results have been seen on the field. Valentin is hitting an impressive .333, fifth best in the league. In 66-games he has scored 51-runs and has driven in 47, both of which lead the team, as does his 10-homeruns. Valentin has played all over the diamond this season and has been the biggest bat of all for the Blasters.
Mid-Season Top Pitcher: Victor Capellan
This has been a very tough season for the Joplin pitching staff, but Capellan has been a big plus for the team. The right-hander has appeared in 30-games and posted a 2-1 record with 6-saves and an impressive 2.52 ERA. There will be a lot of teams looking to acquire the right-hander heading into the playoffs. If he does not remain with the team, he will most certainly garner a treasure chest of options for next season.
At 19 games out of first place, the season is pretty much over, however they play 10-games against Laredo, four against Lincoln, and four against Wichita. The Blasters will have a huge impact on the playoff race, but they can do much more than this. This is their opportunity to really gain some momentum heading into the off-season, which will hopefully draw some enthusiasm in the city. The Blasters can be a great organization; hopefully the fans will embrace that.
By Robert Pannier