Thursday, June 12, 2008

Huntsville Update

Huntsville Stars (Double-A):
Record: 40-26
Currently in first place in the Southern League's North Division (and has a game on West Tennessee and Birmingham for the best record in entire Southern League)

Team BA: .302 (1st)
Team ERA: 3.92 (3rd)

Team Leaders:
BA (more than 5 ABs): Mat Gamel (.376)
HR: Matt LaPorta (18)
SB: Alcides Escobar and Michael Brantley (T-17)

ERA (starters): David Welch (3.11)
ERA (relievers): Patrick Ryan (1.16)
SO: Steve Hammond (73)

Double-A Hardware for Welch and Gamel
Following his seven-inning no hitter Huntsville pitcher David Welch was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 2-8. Welch went 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA during the week.

Third baseman Mat Gamel also grabbed honors recently, as he was named Southern League Player of the Month for the month of May. During the month Gamel hit .387 with 8 HR, 28 RBI, along with 11 doubles and a league leading 48 hits/83 total bases. Beyond May, Gamel is leading the Stars in most offensive categories, including: Runs (60), Hits (100), 2B (21), 3B (5), RBI (60), Total Based (173), OBP (.443), SLG (.650), AVG (.376) and OPS (1.094). Unfortunately, Gamel is also leading all Stars players in fielding errors (15) - which may be the primary reason he has yet to take the hot corner spot vacated by Russell Branyan at Triple-A Nashville.

LaPorta Flying Through the Minors
At this time last year Huntsville OF Matt LaPorta was in the process of signing his contract with the Brewers who, days earlier, drafted him in the first round of the MLB First Year Player Draft. Since then, LaPorta has climbed the rungs of the minors faster than you can say "Ryan Braun." In what will almost undoubtedly be his only season at the Double-A level en route to the bigs, LaPorta has clubbed a team-leading 18 homers. He's also posted 71 hits, a .298 average and a Gamel-like 1.029 OPS. Both he and Gamel (and possibly Escobar) are safe bets to receive September call-ups to Milwaukee. Furthermore, a popular theory puts LaPorta in a corner outfield spot in Milwaukee for much (or all) next season if the crew doesn't pick up current CF Mike Cameron's 2009 option.

Other Odds and Ends
- The Stars have been a team since 1985, but have only been an affiliate of the Brewers since 1999. Prior to partnering with the Brewers, Huntsville served as a form team for the Oakland Athletics organization. The have won 3 League Championships, but just one with connection to Milwaukee (2001).

- The organization has helped groom the likes of big league stars like Jose Canseco, Miguel Tejada, Mark McGuire, Jason Giambi, Tim Hudson and Eric Chavez along with current Brewers boppers Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and Bill Hall and current and future aces Ben Sheets and Yovani Gallardo.

- The Stars are managed by renowned Brewer Don Money. In 2007 Money was named the Southern League Manager of the Year.

- Backup IF Michael Garciaparra is the 25-year-old brother of ex: Cubbie/disabled list regular Nomar Garciaparra.


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