Congratulations to D.J. LeMahieu on being named the BCB May Minor League Player of the Month. I'm sure it will rank right up there with getting called up to the majors in May.
Now it's time to look at the pitchers of the month for May. Again, we're looking at their performance for the month and not at their status as a prospect.
LHP John Gaub. Pitching in Iowa has been pretty horrific this month, but Gaub was pretty solid in May as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. In 11 games in May, Gaub pitched 12.1 innings and turned in a 2.92 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .178 batting average. He walked too many as he issued seven free passes, but he also struck out 16, so that's a pretty good ratio.
RHP Robert Whitenack. Whitenack was our pitcher of the month for April. He wasn't quite as good in May and he finished the month on the DL. But before that, he was still pretty impressive for the Smokies, going 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA in six starts. In 31.2 innings, he struck out 19 and walked 17.
RHP Nick Struck. Struck was a big reason for Daytona's long win streak, and his pitching down in Florida got him promoted to Double-A Tennessee at the end of the month. In 25 innings at Daytona, he had a 2.88 ERA and struck out 24 and walked 9. He had one start in Double-A and allowed only one run in a six-inning no-decision.
RHP Frank Batista. The 22-year old Dominican has been a shut-down closer all season long for Daytona as he's saved 13 games and blown only one chance. For May, Batista had a win and eight saves in 11 games. He pitched 12.1 innings and allowed only one run all month long. He held opposing batters to a .163 batting average. Batista walked five batters and struck out 11 in May.
LHP Austin Kirk. Kirk turned 21 in May and celebrated by pitching 34.1 innings over six games with a 2.10 ERA. Most impressive was his control of the strike zone where he struck out 27 batters and walked only four for Peoria.
Five Daytona Cubs were named the the Florida State League All-Star Game today: Pitchers Frank Batista and Aaron Kurcz, first baseman Justin Bour, outfielder Evan Crawford and shortstop Junior Lake. Lake is up with Double-A Tennessee, so he won't play in the game barring a demotion.
This "Year of the Pitcher" stuff seems to have skipped the Pacific Coast League. Or at least the Iowa Cub games. Tonight the Iowa Cubs were drowned out by the Nashville Sounds (Brewers), 15-11.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx started tonight and was staked to an 8-2 lead, but only lasted four innings. Bibens-Dirkx allowed six runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out two.
The loss went to Marco Carrillo, who got hit for eight runs on nine hits over only 1.2 innings. Carrillo walked one and did not have a strikeout. Hey, only six of the eight runs were earned.
The I-Cubs hit three home runs for the second night in a row. The first one was hit by catcher Welington Castillo, who cranked a solo home run to lead off the second inning. Castillo was 2 for 5 tonight. He now has four home runs this year.
The second homer was hit by second baseman Bobby Scales, who hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Scales went 2 for 4 with a double and four RBI tonight. He also walked once. Scales has four home runs this season, all in the past six games.
First baseman Bryan LaHair hit a solo home run in the eighth inning. He now has 13 home runs this year. LaHair also doubled in a 2 for 5 night. LaHair scored twice.
Right fielder Fernando Perez was 2 for 5 with a double. He scored once and had two RBI. First baseman Scott Moore went 2 for 4 with a double. He had one RBI and one run scored.
The Smokies outshined the Huntsville Stars (Brewers), 3-2.
Starting pitcher Trey McNutt only went two innings tonight. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk. He did not have a strikeout.
The Smokies bullpen shut down the Stars the rest of the way. Jeff Beliveau collected the win with two innings of shutout baseball. Beliveau only allowed one hit. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Right fielder Nelson Perez swung the big bat for the Smokies tonight as he went 3 for 3 with a triple. Perez scored twice and had one RBI.
The Daytona Cubs were hammered by the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays), 10-1.
Starter Aaron Kurcz took the loss. He left the game after loading the bases with no outs in the second inning and all three of those runners came around to score. Kurcz pitched two plus innings and allowed five runs on three hits. He walked four, hit a batter, and only struck out one. Only two of the five runs were considered earned.
First baseman Justin Bour was 2 for 3 with a double. Center fielder Evan Crawford was 2 for 4.
The Peoria Chiefs threw a wrench into the plans of the Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) 11-5.
Starter Dallas Beeler (no, really this time) pitched 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits. One of the two runs was unearned. Beeler struck out six and only walked one.
Casey Harman got the win when the Chiefs exploded for two runs in the eighth and four in the ninth. Harman did not allow a run over 2.1 innings. He gave up only one hit. He did not allow a hit and struck out four.
The first six hitters in the Chiefs lineup all had at least three hits tonight. Center fielder and lead-off hitter Matt Szczur had four hits, including his third home run of the year, all hit in the past five games. It was a solo home run in the sixth inning. Szczur scored three times. He also stole his 14th base.
First baseman Ryan Cuneo hit a two-run home run in the third inning. It was his second homer of the year. Cuneo was 3 for 4 with two walks. He scored three runs and had four RBI.
Shortstop Arismendy Alcantara was 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Third baseman Greg Rohan was 3 for 5 with a walk. He scored twice and had one RBI.
DH Richard Jones had two doubles in a 3 for 6 game. Jones had two RBI and scored once. Catcher Micah Gibbs was 3 for 4 with two walks.