Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bradenton Marauders Continue Their Torrid Pace

The Bradenton Marauders continue their torrid pace bringing their record to 6 wins and 2 losses in Florida State League play. Their .750 win percentage is tied only with the Jupiter Hammerheads for the best record in the League. Granted its early in the season but after last year with the Sarasota Reds I'm taking anything I can get!

Friday night the Marauders pulverized (with a capital P) the hapless St. Lucie Mets by the score 14-5. The Marauders scored in six of the eight innings they came to the plate. Unlike their first game where they had two 7-run innings last night the best they could muster was two 4-run innings.

The Marauders seem to be solid almost everywhere defensively and offensively. The only real hole in the offense or defense is 6'7" Calvin Anderson who as one of the off-duty Marauders pitchers sitting behind me last night collecting pitch speed data said "couldn't hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat" (and the pitcher failed to credit Kevin Costner's performance in Bull Durham for that line). Having watched Calvin for three home games and listened to two Marauder away games on the computer I'm starting to think that Calvin is the Marauders equivalent of David "Big Papi" Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. The Marauders committed three errors in their triumphant throttling of the Mets last night. Guess who committed all three?

The Marauders have three players who are really worth watching and whom I bet will be with the Double AA Altoona Curve or the Triple AAA Indianapolis Indians by the end of the season. If they are not something is terribly wrong.

Baseball America dot com claims that outfielder Starling Marte is one of the top ten prospects in the Pirates farm system. Through eight games Starling is batting a solid .345 with an on-base percentage of .457. That is nothing to sneeze at.

Another Marauder to watch is left fielder Quincy Latimore who was responsible for all four runs scored by the Marauders fourth inning with his grand slam homer. It was a tremendous blast to left field. What a hit! Quincy's batting average through eight games is .379 and his on-base percentage is .436. Not as good as Starling Marte but again nothing to sneeze at.

My pick for the best player on the Marauders and also my pick for the kid most likely to make it to the show is incomparable third baseman Jeremy Ferrell. This kid can do it all and he does it with grace. One thing he does remarkably well is tear the cover off the ball. Last night he went 1 for 5 but he flew out on three long balls to the outfield. If you saw the movie "Major League" you remember the people in the outfield yelling "too high, too high." That is what Jeremy did with those three long blasts last night. After eight games Jeremy's batting average is .310 and his on-base percentage is .394. Granted both Starling Marte and Quincy Latimore are doing better right now but I have a feeling about Jeremy so keep an eye on him.

Center fielder Robbie Grossman is another Marauder to watch as the season progresses.

The next game is at 6:00 p.m. tonight against the St. Lucie Mets and then tomorrow, Sunday, at 1:00 p.m. against the Mets. Heckling is sort of taking a lower priority this year because the Marauders keep winning and there is little to be gained by heckling a team that's already down. Mostly I've been on the case of the home plate umpire who has made some bone head calls. Last night's best heckle was yelling at him, after a particularly bad call of a strike on a pitch that was obviously a ball "Hey ump, I'm going to break your cane and let your dog run loose if this keeps up." It generated a couple of chuckles.

The Sarasota Reds left Sarasota last year and are now the Lynchburg Hillcats. Currently they have a .500 season with four wins and four losses. I have every confidence that the Hillcats will worsen as the season progresses.