Winnipeg Goldeyes Mid-Season Report
Place: 1st in the North Division (1 Game Lead)
Team Pitching (League Ranking Listed in Parenthesis): ERA: 4.35 (7), Strikeouts: 451 (6), WHIP: 1.42 (9)
Team Batting (League Ranking Listed in Parenthesis): Average: .296 (2), Home Runs: 59 (4), Slugging: .444 (3), Stolen Bases: 71 (5)
Winnipeg Goldeyes First Half Recap
After winning the American Association championship, the Winnipeg Goldeyes have not taken their foot off the gas in any way this season. Winnipeg finds himself with a one-game lead coming out of the All-Star break, thanks to a July that has seen the team go 15-6.
The season got off on the right foot after the Goldeyes split four games with the Cleburne Railroaders then swept Salina. After taking two of three from Wichita and taking two of the first three games of a four-game set with the Sioux Falls Canaries, Winnipeg moved into June with a 9-4 record. It was outstanding hitting that was propelling this team, as they scored 84 runs through the first 13 games.
June turned out to be a rather tough month for the Goldeyes. After starting June by winning three of the first four games they played, they would drop two before playing 10 straight games alternating wins and losses. After losing two of three at home to St. Paul and dropping two of three in Lincoln, Winnipeg was swept by the Saints before dropping two of three to Gary. They were just 10-16 through June 29, but a victory over Sioux Falls started to run that has the Goldeyes in front in the North Division.
They have already had four win streaks of at least three games in July, including a five-game win streak that started on July 11 and ended July 15. They swept the Saints at home moving the team to three games up in the division before dropping two of three in Kansas City, giving them a one-game lead in the North.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes have one of the most potent offenses in the American Association. Entering the All-Star break three of the top six hitters in the league wore a Winnipeg uniform, with Wes Darvill leading the way with a league-leading .350 average. Shawn Pleffner is second in batting and David Bergin sixth. It is a potent lineup that few in the league can match which has enabled a struggling pitching staff to make a few mistakes without having to worry about hurting the team’s chances of winning.
The bullpen has been absolutely brilliant for the Goldeyes. Victor Capellan has a 1.84 ERA in 31 appearances and Ryan Chaffee is among the league leaders in saves while also posting a 2.00 ERA. Add to it the fact that Kevin McGovern is having his best year as a starter (7-2, 2.16) and it isn’t surprising that this team enters the second half of the season on top in their division.
Beyond McGovern and Edwin Carl the starting staff has struggled mightily. This included Zac Nudding, who was released by the team just prior to the All-Star break. Mikey O’Brien has not been his usual self, but did look better in an outing just before the break.
If there is one area where the Winnipeg Goldeyes need a great deal of improvement it is in their fielding. The team is 10th in the league in fielding percentage and second in errors committed. Those are not the kind of numbers that championship teams are built on, and one has to wonder if the hitting can continually make up for miscues in the field.
1st Half Most Valuable Player: Wes Darvill
Darvill may not just be the Goldeyes MVP, but could very well be the American Association one as well. While everyone in this lineup has gone through peaks and valleys, the Winnipeg third baseman has consistently hit, maintaining an average at or above .350 all season long. Add to it the fact that he has 21 steals, 16 doubles, and 34 runs driven in and it’s easy to see why he is in the running for league MVP.
1st Half Top Pitcher: Kevin McGovern
While enough good things cannot be said about this Winnipeg Goldeyes bullpen, the truth is that this staff would be in a very bad way had it not been for the performance of McGovern. He is giving Manager Rick Forney a lot of confidence that his team is going to win each night that the left-hander takes the mound. With a 2.16 ERA, a 7-2 record, and only 74 hits allowed in 91.9 innings pitched, it is clear that McGovern is having one of the best seasons in the league.
Despite the issues with the fielding of this team, the Winnipeg Goldeyes have just about everything that it takes to be considered the favorite in this division. Add to it the fact that Rick Forney has been a master at making big moves as the trade deadline is approaching and is easy to believe that Winnipeg is the favorite to win this division.
By Robert Pannier