With DP creating his weekly feature following the Columbus Clippers, I decided to create my own weekly review for my hometown Akron Aeros. The Aeros are off to an incredible start this season, and this is no surprise to Akronites that have witnessed the team make the Eastern League finals three of the last four years, and win two championships in the last seven years overall.
The Indians farm system has always been stacked, and 2009 is no different as current organizational studs Carlos Santana, Matt McBride, Beau Mills, Hector Rondon and Jeanmar Gomez are on the Aeros right now. Without any futher ado, here is a double dose of Double-A baseball with two Boot Ups and two Boot Downs for the week that was for the Akron club.
This Week: 5-3 (.625); Lose 1-3 Monday vs. Bowie, Lose 4-7 Tuesday vs. Bowie, Win 2-1 Wednesday vs. Bowie, Win 7-0 Thursday at Altoona, Win 5-3 Friday at Altoona, Lose 0-8 (7) Saturday at Altoona, Win 8-2 Sunday (7) at Altoona, Win 9-2 (7) Sunday at Altoona
Current Record: 27-8 (.771); first place in Southern Division 5.5 games ahead of Erie. Overall, Akron is 1 game ahead of the double-A Birmingham Barons and 1.5 games ahead of the Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees for the best record in professional baseball.
Boot Up: LF Nick Weglarz – The 2008 Olympian and Canadian sensation has been tearing it up in the month of May after a horrible start to the season that saw him begin 3-48 and shave his head along with 1B Beau Mills after their shared early season struggles. Since that point, Weglarz has been building up his batting average, and in the month of May he is leading the team while hitting .444 (20-45) in 14 games played. In the month, he has holds the team’s best mark with 20 hits, six doubles, 10 walks, a .544 on-base percentage, a .778 slugging percentage, and most staggeringly of all, 20 runs batted in. For the year, the #2 prospect in the organization is now hitting .248 and leads the team with his 26 runs batted in. UPDATE: WEGLARZ HAS WON PLAYER OF THE WEEK FROM THE EASTERN LEAGUE.
Boot Up: IF/OF Jerad Head – Mr. Utility in every single possible way, the native of Topeka, Kansas has been a phenomenal surprise this year for the Aeros. He came into the season under the radar, as he was only the #95 prospect in the organization as rated by Indians Prospect Insider and in 240 career games played coming into 2009, Head had hit only .247 with a .333 on-base percentage. Things have turned around very nicely for the 26-year-old who has played right field in 8 games, 11 at third base and 7 at second base, as he is second in the entire Eastern League with a .368 batting average. He has done tremendous at every single position in the field, picking up only two errors while playing 27 total games. Head is still not an Aeros regular, but because of his versatility and production he is finding his way up the prospect list and up the league leader board.
Boot Down: Silly Doubleheaders - I started working for the Aeros on Monday, May 4th, and on that Sunday afternoon game in Bowie the Aeros were rained out. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night in Altoona, Akron had postponed games as well before finally playing Thursday and bringing a very long list of doubleheaders to the plate for later in the season. As of right this second, the Aeros have only two more scheduled twin bills but have now played four entire ones, and in those eight games their record stands at 6-2 (.750). I know that I will get tired of these upcoming doubleheaders very soon, and I am just looking forward to the second half of the season when it looks like we should be clear of any possible postponed games due to rain. And this leads into my next point about the rotation…
Boot Down: Spot Starters – Akron has had a revolving door in the starting rotation early on this season as through 35 games the Aeros have had nine different starting pitchers. The current starting rotation includes Jeanmar Gomez, Ryan Edell, Josh Tomlin, Chuck Lofgren and Erik Stiller, but only Tomlin and Lofgren began the year in that position. Gomez was promoted to take the rotation spot of Steven Wright who was sent to the bullpen, Edell was demoted from Columbus when the Indians moved Rondon to the pen, and Stiller is a newly converted reliever who came in when Frank Herrmann was promoted to become a reliever in Columbus. Meanwhile, the Aeros have three relievers in Steven Wright, Carlton Smith and Zach Putnam that had been starters throughout their entire careers, and now are coming out of the bullpen. Got it? I know it is nuts and near impossible to follow, but the Aeros are a much better team when their starters are working late into games, and the revolving door must end so Akron can keep the pressure on second place Erie.