Indy Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz
While many records were broken during the American Association’s 10th season, the most impressive probably was St. Paul’s shattering of the league attendance record, capitalizing on new CHS Field to draw 404,528 fans. The Saints held the previous mark of 297,834 set in ’07.
Capacity is listed as 7,140 at CHS Field in the American Association Media Guide (7,210 by the Saints), but that mark was broken virtually daily and in the season average of 8,091.
With St. Paul leading the way, league attendance improved by 121,359 over 2014 to 2,007,357.
Explorers Speed or Saints Power?
Since St. Paul’s first three starting pitchers for the long anticipated semifinal playoff series between the two record-breaking juggernauts went a combined 42-7 during the regular American Association season and new all-time wins champion Sioux City’s initial trio was 40-6 and most other key statistics were similar for the two teams the most interesting way to look at the best-of-five series is to see whether power or speed wins out.
The Explorers have the stolen base advantage with a new league record 188 thefts pitted against St. Paul’s 82, but the Saints have a huge power advantage with 104 homers to 49 for Sioux City.
Peralta at .383 for Last 17 Games
So while we await the results of the Sioux City-St. Paul series as well as the Wichita-Laredo match-up, hop aboard as we examine how some of the league’s recent players have handled play of late in affiliated leagues.
The biggest point of pride among position players in the major leagues continues to rest with Arizona outfielder David Peralta (Amarillo and Wichita). The cleanup hitter and left fielder has hit safely in his last six games and 15 of 17 with the longer period resulting in a .383 average (23-for-60). He is now hitting .307 with a .366 on-base percentage and has powered his way to 23 doubles, nine triples, 14 homers and 71 runs batted in.
Now Playing in Triple-A
Catcher Sean O’Connell, back where he started in the Chicago White Sox farm system after a summer of pitching in the Los Angeles Dodgers chain and the ’13 season in Lincoln, must have gotten a thrill from his last game of the season. He was promoted out of Class A and played one game for Triple-A Charlotte in the International League, going 1-for-4.
Righthanded pitcher Jared Mortensen scattered seven hits in 7.2 innings in his second start after Tampa Bay promoted him to Durham to get a 6-0 win over Norfolk (Baltimore) on the final day of the regular season. That gave the 27-year-old a 2-0 record in Triple-A and a season log with the Rays’ top two farm clubs of 9-5 with a 3.68 ERA. He is 18-7 since leaving Grand Prairie after 2013, which was his first professional season.
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.