Australian Update

The Australian League has lost many of its Asian players to the holidays so it is time to replace them.  You can get a list of the new players and their teams here:

The most intriguing of those new players is Takayuki Nakano.  So what Japanese team does he play for?  He doesn’t.  Takayuki was playing in an Australian local club league and scouted by one of Melbourne’s staff.  He was asked to attend a tryout and it appears he has made the team.

A summary of the league below:

Perth Heat (4-2) 19-6

The defending champion Heat continue to dominate and appear to be on their way to being one of the final four teams in the playoffs.  They are only 8-6 since their 11-0 start so the league is catching up with them.  They easily top the league in both hitting, i.e. batting average, homeruns and runs scored and pitching (ERA) so it is no wonder that they are in first place.  Their biggest accomplishment is their 12-1 away record.  They play much better on the road than they do at their home park, except when that road trip is in Taiwan.

They have four players on the team who have driven in more than 20 runs, Mitchell Graham (.298, 7, 25), Alex Burg (.319, 8, 21), Tim Kennelly (.323, 2, 20) and Aaron Baker (.256, 5, 20).  They are second through fifth in RBIs.  James McOwen (.337) is their table setter with his 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts leads the ABL.  Mychal Givens (.325) has a poor walk to whiff ratio (2/13) but he has been hitting enough to make up for it.  His eight steals in 11 atempts is second on the team and third in the ABL.  He is also tied with McOwen in runs scored with 18.  They will be getting another big bat in Twins major league Luke Hughes to close out the season.

The pitching staff is led by All star Warwick Saupold (3-1, 1.55).  The opposition is only hitting .177 against him.  Makes me wonder why no major league team has tried to ink him to a contract, but perhaps there is a line outside his house with teams wanting him to sign.  He is third in the league in ERA, but the two pitchers above him are no longer pitching in the ABL.  Brendan Wise is a new face that will take over the closer responsibility.  He has already picked up two saves in his first two appearances.  The previous closer Benn Grice (1-1, 2.08, 3 saves) will move into a setup role.  Jack Frawley is one of the newer faces in the rotation and in his first start he gave up just one run in six plus innings of work.

Adelaide Bite (3-2) 14-11

The Bite’s big bat continues to be Denny Almonte (.365, 9, 30) who leads in about every ABL offensive category.  He has also scored a league leading 24 runs and has added five stolen bases in eight attempts to his resume.  After Denny the offense drops significantly.  Calvin Anderson (.277, 6, 17) provides some pop in the order and has gone deep in his last two games.  In his last ten games he is hitting .417 and has an RBI streak of five games in a row, going deep in three of those five games.  Chin-Ling Hu (.287) provides defense, veteran leadership and a consistent bat.  He is hitting .381 in his last nine games.  They hope to add some pop with new comer Stefan Welch to share first base with Calvin.

Their ace continues to be local boy Paul Mildren (2-2, 3.38).  The closer is Ryan Beckman (1-1, 2.08, 5 saves) who just took his first loss against Perth yesterday.  His five saves are tied for the ABL lead.  Rinku Singh (1-0, 2.19) continues to ride his 15 minutes of fame and has been a pretty good set up man for the Bite.

Sydney Blue Sox (5-1) 14-12

The Blue Sox have been the best team in the ABL over the last 10 games, winning nine of them.  They are shown as having an eight game winning streak, but myworld’s last update showed them at 9-11.  This wouldn’t be the first time I messed up, but perhaps the game they lost was a makeup game and did not count towards the streak.  They’ve played most of their games at home where they have done well, so how they do in the future road schedule will be critical to their playoff run.

A farily recent addition, Brandon Barnes (.359, 2, 10) has been leading their offense.  He is the only player on the team who is hitting above .300 and his production has occurred over a period of ten games.  Their leading homerun hitters are Tyler Collins (.298, 3, 14) and Alex Johnson (.276, 3, 15) and Brandon has almost equaled their production is less than half their games.  He has been a big reason for their resurgence.  They are hoping that recent addition and Australian native Mitch Dening (.250) can also contribute to the offense.  Despite his vanilla average he has already driven in five runs in just eight games.

The Blue Sox have a strong trio of starters in Vaughan Harris (2-2, 3.26), Aidan Francis (3-2, 3.44) and Craig Anderson (2-1, 3.63).  With the addition of Brad Thomas to their bullpen they have been able to move last year’s ace Chris Oxspring (2-2, 2.00) back to their starting rotation.  This makes a terrific trio a fearsome foursome.  The ageless veteran Dae-Sung Koo (0-2, 4.35, 5 saves) should remain their closer despite the arrival of Thomas.  Koo had a couple poor outings early in the season, but he has not given up a run in his last five appearances, picking up three of his saves.  All five of the earned runs he has given up came in one outing.

Brisbane Bandits (2-3) 10-16

Not much to say about the Bandits brand of baseball.  Their bats are a bit silent and they have lost a couple of their big Japanese import bats for the season.  With the Japanese imports gone they hope to get a shot from some of the newer kids.  So far the new kids have combined for a 2 for 15 start.  Only the Sydney team has scored fewer runs and has a lower batting average than the Bandits.

The biggest addtion may be their newest rotation member, Ryan Searle of the Twins organization.  He lost his opening start, giving up three runs in four plus innings, but he did strike out seven.  Because of a heavy work load last year with the Twins, his arrival with the Bandits was delayed so he could rest his arm.  They lost their Japanese ace Yohei Yanagawa so they will have to rely on Searle and their Italian ace Alex Maestri (3-2, 2.82) to take up the slack.  Alex got a good start with that by pitching a complete game 2-hitter, giving up only one unearned run in his start yesterday.

Canberra Cavalry (0-5) 10-16

The Cavalry have taken the biggest slide since our last update.  Their losing streak is at six and they have only won one of their last 10 games.  They have also been lacking quality bats, with Brian Burgamy (.333, 3, 15) the best of the bunch currently on the roster.  Kenny Wilson (.281, 3, 15) is tied with Brian for the team lead in homeruns and RBIs, despite a batting average that is more than 100 points less.  The Cavalry should get a charge with the return of last year’s batting champ Michael Collins.

Hayden Beard (3-2, 2.32) and Mike McGuire (2-3, 2.35) make for a good duo in the rotation.  After that it gets a bit sketchy.  Steven Kent (3-1, 3.66, 3 saves) is their closer.

Melbourne Aces (2-4) 10-16

They hold up the rear of the ABL, but the good news is that their remaining schedule has a number of home games.  Not that they have been playing particularly better at home.  The veteran Justin Huber (.319, 3, 12) is their big bat.  Brad Harman (.344, 5, 15) is back in the lineup and should provide some protection for Huber.  Dominic Ramos (.288, 2, 7) is normally their table setter, leading the team in runs scored with 21, but he hit two homeruns in his last game, the only two he has hit all year.

The Aces are anything but, appearing last in the league in ERA.  Nic Ungs (2-1, 3.15) and Shane Lindsay (0-2, 3.74) are the stalwarts of the rotation after the departure of Yusei Kikuchi (1-2, 4.38).  Bubbie Buzachero (2.35, 1 save) is one of the new arrivals that should take over the closer role.  Markus Solbach is a German pitcher in the Twins organization that had an impressive minor league season (1.91 ERA) that has recently been added to the Aces pitching staff.  He should be an interesting pitcher to watch.                         

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