Sioux Falls Canaries Mid-Season Report
Place: 4th in the North Division (6 GB), 6th in the Wild Card (5.5 Game Lead)
Team Pitching (League Ranking Listed in Parenthesis): ERA: 4.40 (9), Strikeouts: 440 (8), WHIP: 1.40 (7)
Team Batting (League Ranking Listed in Parenthesis): Average: .268 (5), Home Runs: 61 (3), Slugging: .415 (4), Stolen Bases: 78 (2)
Sioux Falls Canaries First Half Recap
When the 2017 American Association season began, it looked like it was going to be another tough year for the Sioux Falls Canaries. After taking two of three from Sioux City to start the season, the Canaries dropped 14 of their next 18 games. Sioux Falls was just 6-15 and well out of the division race, but after taking the final game of their series against Cleburne, they won six of the next seven games and the tide quickly began to turn under first-year manager Mike Meyer.
Sweeps of Cleburne and St. Paul, helped the Sioux Falls Canaries to a 15-13 record in June, however, July got off to a bad start when the team was swept in Winnipeg and then lost two out of three in Kansas City before losing two out of three at home to Wichita. It looked like the lofty hopes of the Canaries were about to come to an end, but Sioux Falls became the first team to sweep a four-game series in St. Paul’s CHS Field to get them right back into the race, and a sweep of Texas before the All-Star break leaves them just six games out in the North Division.
Mike Meyer has done an incredible job in his first year as the Sioux Falls Canaries manager. It was a surprise when he did not get the job three seasons ago, but the team has quickly rectified that and he is proving to be one of the smarter and more innovative managers in the American Association.
This is a lineup that has some incredible pop, as Jabari Henry, Ty Morrison, Chris Jacobs, and Blake Schmit help to form one of the best top of the order groups in the league. Henry has been especially hot of late, raising his average nearly 30 points over the last 12 days. Henry and Jacobs are tied for the league lead in home runs (16).
The one reason why the Canaries are not doing better is a lack of consistency. They have had a few runs of three or four victories, but several streaks of three or four consecutive losses. Until this team can get on a run of eight or nine victories in a row they’re not going to challenge in the toughest division in the American Association.
Four pitchers on this staff are having outstanding seasons, but beyond that it’s a crap shoot for Mike Meyer each night as to what kind of outing he is going to get each night. There is only one starter who has an ERA under three, and the other four have ERAs better than 4.50. Unless they get better pitching they’re not going very far.
1st Half Most Valuable Player: Jabari Henry
Tied for the American Association lead in home runs (16), Henry is having an outstanding season. His .324 average is 10th in the league, and he has scored 42 runs and driven in 45. The team has played a lot better of late, and Henry has been the spark that has helped to make them more competitive.
1st Half Top Pitcher: Dylan Thompson
Thompson came out of nowhere to become one of the best two or three relievers in the league this season. In his 27 appearances, he has only been scored upon in five of those outings, and his 1.76 ERA is one of the best of any reliever in the league. He was chosen to represent Sioux Falls in the All-Star game and with good reason.
The Sioux Falls Canaries are competing in the North Division of the American Association for the first time in a few seasons. They open the second half against a red-hot Lincoln Saltdogs team, so we are going to know right off what position they are in. However, if they can take two of those games, they have an opportunity to really help themselves as they will play Fargo-Moorhead, Winnipeg, and St. Paul in 10 of their next 16 contests following the Lincoln series. If they can win eight of those games, don’t count them out as the North Division winner.
By Robert Pannier