Winnipeg Goldeyes All-Star Break Review
Record: 27-34, Second Place, North Division, 19.5 Games Out
The Winnipeg Goldeyes entered the 2015 American Association season as reigning North Division champs, and were looking to repeat as division winners. Manager Rick Forney had made quite a few moves in the off-season, but the results were mixed early on. The Goldeyes were playing nearly .500 ball through the first 19 games of the season, going 9-10, but series with Sioux City, St. Paul, Gary and Ottawa sent the team spiraling. The team went 16-22 over their next 38 with the only big bright spot being a 6-4 record against Sioux Falls and Fargo-Moorhead.
It was a tough stretch, but taking three of four in Kansas City just prior to the All-Star break speaks well of good things to come. The club has a great deal of talent with the fourth best lineup in the American Association, and the return of Reggie Abercrombie has only made them better. Nick Hernandez is a threat to shut down any team on any night, and Forney has proven to be one of the best manager’s in independent baseball.
Top Player – Adam Heisler & Josh Mazzola
Put at the top of the Winnipeg Goldeyes batting order, Adam Heisler has flat out excelled. He is leading the team in batting average (.333) and his 24 stolen bases are fifth best in the league. He entered the break on an eight-game hitting streak, which includes a 5-6 day in the club’s last game before the break. During the streak he has 18 hits in 36 at-bats, and includes a 4-4 day to begin the streak.
I don’t usually like to pick two players as a “Top Player,” but Josh Mazzola has earned his way into this spot as well. The league leader in homers (16) is hitting .319 with 46 RBI, which ranks him seventh in the league. He also had a 5-6 day in the final game before the All-Star break and has seven RBI in his last three games.
Top Pitcher – Nick Hernandez
Nick Hernandez was the American Association’s top pitcher last season, and he continues to deliver quality starts this year. He is 7-3 in 13 starts which includes eight no-hit innings against Joplin. His ERA is 2.06, which is tied for fourth best in the American Association.
The chance at the North Division title is virtually non-existent, unless there is an epic collapse in St. Paul, which is nearly impossible. That puts Winnipeg looking for the Wild Card, and at seven games out, they have a real shot. Amarillo, Gary, and Kansas City are three of the five teams that are above them, and they open the second half with series against those three. This is make or break time in Winnipeg. If they can go 7-2 in those nine games that should give them the momentum to become the Wild Card leader. If they come away with anything less than six wins, they may be done.
By Robert Pannier