Kansas City T-Bones All-Star Break Review
Record: 32-25, Second Place in the Central Division, Nine Games Out. Leading Wild Card Race
Talk about the biggest turnaround in the league. The Kansas City T-Bones looked dead in the water early on, after winning their first game of the season, they then dropped the next 10. Since then they have gone 31-15, a remarkable juxtaposition that has made manager John Massarelli the leading candidate for manager of the year along with Sioux City’s Steve Montgomery.
Massarelli has put together a formidable lineup that is third in the league in hitting at .290. The T-Bones do not have a lot of power nor are they are a threat to run, but they get quality at-bats and timely hitting to produce runs. The pitching staff is sixth in the league in ERA, but has gotten better each week, and if they can continue to improve this team can be as good as any in the American Association.
The T-Bones are 14-9 in July, but have tailed off a bit prior to the All-Star break. With six games against Sioux Falls and Winnipeg to start the second half, they have a chance to get back to winning baseball and put some distance between themselves and their Wild Card chasers.
Top Player – Ryan Cavan
With a .351 average and 52 runs scored, Ryan Cavan is the guy that gets the Kansas City T-Bones offense going. He is a guy that has some pop in his bat and can steal a base when needed, but most importantly he has gotten on base. Cavan enters the All-Star break with a ridiculous .444 on-base percentage, and was especially hot entering the break. He has a seven-game hitting streak in which he has gone 17-29 with 7 runs and 4 RBI.
Top Pitcher – Aaron Baker
There are a lot of guys who could be considered here, but this club would be in a world of hurt if not for the grunt work that Aaron Baker has done out of the bullpen for the Kansas City T-Bones. Baker has appeared in 22 games and has posted an outstanding 1-0 record with 2 saves and a 1.82 ERA. In 29.2 innings pitched he has yielded 24 hits and just 4 walks while striking out 23. He is the guy holding leads to get to the club’s closer.
The Kansas City T-Bones are an enigma of sorts. They start out 1-10, then go 22-7 to jump to the top of the Wild Card race, the position they still hold. It is a tough call to determine if the team was just cold at first or if they were playing above their true level during the hot streak. I am more inclined to believe the former. The T-Bones have an outstanding club, and I think they will be tough to catch. Take Kansas City battling Sioux City for the top spot but entering the playoffs as the Wild Card team.
By Robert Pannier