Sioux City Explorers Mid-Season Review: Explorers Express
The Sioux City Explorers limped into the mid-season break as losers of seven of their last ten. They are in last place in the Central Division of the American Association. The Explorers are 12.5 games behind Gary Southshore, and are 28-42 overall, a .400 winning percentage. This is a team with the slimmest of chances of winning the division, and if they are going to make a move it would need to be right now.
Sioux City is 10th in the AA in hitting with a .263 average, and are 10th in runs scored with 315. Where they are really struggling is in the power game, as they rank dead last with 30 home runs in 70 games. It is the lack of power that is really stymying their offense, especially considering they are not a team that easily manufactures runs. While the hitters are struggling, the pitching staff has been doing their part. They are ranked third in the American Association in ERA at 4.14, and have the second lowest opponent batting average at .257. The one major area that their staff is struggling is in walks, ranked 10th overall.
Top Explorers Player: No one player on the team is having a great season. There are a few that are playing well, and so the Explorers Express selects OF Rene Tosoni as the top player so far this season. At .289 he is the team leader in batting for those who qualify, and his six home runs and 39 RBI are second on the team. He also leads the team in walks (34), doubles (21) runs scored (40) and extra base hits (30). He is not having an incredible season by any stretch of the imagination, but is playing very well.
Top Explorers Pitcher: While it is a bit of a challenge to find a hitter who is having a season that is worthy of being called the team’s MVP, there are five or six pitchers that could easily lay claim to the team’s top hurler. Most of these players come from the bullpen, which has been absolutely outstanding.
The average ERA in the league is 4.26; their bullpen has seven guys on its staff with ERAs less than this, so the top pitcher on the Explorers is actually going to their bullpen as a whole. That may seem like a cop out to make a decision in this way, but how is Chris Bodishbaugh’s ten saves any more important than Geoff Broussard’s six wins, or Rob Wort’s 1.25 ERA in 20 appearances and 14.6 K/9IP? Their staff is loaded in the bullpen, and if they could get some hitting going, watch out!
Season Outlook: The Sioux City Explorers are most likely not going to pull this out. They have a long way to climb, and not enough in their arsenal to make it happen. There are two things they can do however: they can make it hard for the other teams in the league to win and they can look to the future with a very solid bullpen for next season. If they are able to keep this group intact, and add two quality bats to their lineup, they have a real shot at winning this division next season.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA