Savannah Sand Gnats June Review
In June, the Savannah Sand Gnats were crowned champions of the South Atlantic League Southern Division for the first half of the season. They have picked up where they left off in the second half, starting out 7-1, currently riding a 6-game win streak. They have lost a few guys who were promoted, but they still have plenty of prospects worth watching:Yohan Almonte: After missing most of May, Almonte made 6 starts in June and has bounced back nicely, posting a 3.41 ERA, which is nearly a full point below his April ERA. He doesn’t have the strikeout rate that he needs to have, but he also hasn’t had a lot of base runners, which has helped him greatly.Ryan Fraser: Despite winning 3 games in June, Fraser took a step back, giving up more hits and more walks than he did earlier in the year. He had a couple real good outings early in the month, but has struggled in his last 3 starts, so for Fraser it’s all about consistency.Gonzalez Germen: Germen has been hit hard in his last 2 starts, failing to even complete 3 innings, which was a striking contrast to the previous 2 starts, which were fantastic. Perhaps he’s tiring out, or perhaps the league is making adjustments to him, or perhaps he’s just struggling with consistency.Erik Goeddel: He’s still on the DL with a shoulder strain and hasn’t pitched since May 23rd.Taylor Whitenton: Still waiting on that promotion, but Whitenton continues to pitch well, with an occasional rough outing every now and then. His walks were way up in June, but he has the stuff to succeed.In the bullpen, Savannah lost Josh Edgin, but they are till loaded with great lefties. Hamilton Bennett keeps getting better as he takes over the closer’s role. His June ERA was a point and a half lower than his May ERA; for the year it’s at 2.20. Chase Huchingson is having his innings monitored closely, but in 15 innings in June, he allowed 10 base runners, struck out 16 and posted a 0.60 ERA. Adam Kolarek is new to the Savannah ‘pen but he was 3-0 in June, striking out guys at a rate better than 1 per inning, while also having an ERA of 1.46. Angel Cuan has been steady, but he has slipped a little back to mediocrity instead of the force he was in May.Darrell Ceciliani: There’s been steady improvement from Ceciliani throughout the season. He raised his average 34 points from what he hit in May and his OBP 41 points. At the midway point, his development doesn’t leap off the page, but it’s noticeable.Alonzo Harris: Harris hit .318 in June, which is nice, but walked just twice so his OBP was just .333. He’s shown some promise, and he has some good athleticism, but being his second year in the Sally, he needs to show something in the second half.Joe Bonfe: After being a big part of Brooklyn’s success last year, Bonfe is finally starting to get regular playing time at the next level. In 14 games in June, he hit .319, and both his slugging and OBP were over .400. If he continues to get an opportunity to play, it will be interesting to see what he does with it. His defensive versatility should allow that.Aderlin Rodriguez: No homeruns all June long stands out, after hitting 9 bombs over the first 2 months. He also took much fewer walks than he did in May. The plus is that his average was .253 in June, which brought it up to .221 for the season. There’s no need to be alarmed at his age, but you don’t like seeing the power disappear completely from a kid with his kind of power.Wilfredo Tovar: Tovar’s bat disappeared for a while, but he made adjustments and turned it around big time, cutting down on his strikeouts and hitting .319 in June. He has already surpassed his walk total from a year ago. The progress is very evident for the defensive whiz who is still a teenager.Blake Forsythe: His average is up a tad, and his strikeouts are down a little, but the improvement from last year’s third round pick has been very mild. Forsythe went homerless for the second straight month, which is disappointing. He needs a breakout second half more than just about anybody in the organization.Albert Cordero: His approach is much better at the plate, leading to a .274 average and .333 OBP in June, which is a big improvement, and a great thing to see. Defense is more of Cordero’s specialty, and so far this season he has thrown out over half of attempted base stealers. If he can keep up the hitting at that pace to go along with his defense, he could be a real nice catching prospect.