Every year it seems that the Fort Myers Miracle pitching staff is going to carry the team, and so far in 2009, this statement is a reality. After finishing April with a 12-8 record, one must look at the team's 2.61 combined earned run average to see why the team is above .500 in the early going. Armed with arguably the top starter in the league, the Miracle staff has been incredible in the early going, and some of their position players have gotten off to a hot start as well.
The Miracle have three regulars who have batted over .300 in April, including two infielders and an outfielder. Rene Leveret and Chris Cates are tied for the team lead with a .333 batting average, though Cates has been more of a table-setter in the early going. Leveret is third on the team with ten runs batted in, and he is tied for second with 19 hits. Cates has played all over the infield, and has 15 hits thus far.
Estarlin de Los Santos batted .300 in April, scoring six times in the process. Joe Benson, who is one of the top prospects in the organization, has gotten off to a good start as well, and is tied with Leveret with 19 hits. Ben Revere, who leads the team with 24 hits, has been a catalyst at the top of the lineup, and already has 11 stolen bases in 2009.
But the big story has been the pitching, as Carlos Gutierrez has led the way in 2009. The right-hander made five appearances for the Miracle in April, including four starts, and posted a ridiculous 0.78 earned run average. In total, Gutierrez struck out 13 batters in 23.0 innings of work, and held the opposition to a .135 average. David Bromberg was also stellar in April, putting together a 2.70 earned run average in his four starts. The right-hander finished third on the team with 20.0 innings of work, and his 15 strikeouts were second.
Mike McCardell led the team with 16 strikeouts, as he went 2-2 in his four starts, and Deolis Guerra had a respectable 4.26 earned run average in his four appearances. Kyle Waldrop and Spender Steedley were both beasts out of the Miracle bullpen, as they each had earned run averages under 2.00. Waldrop, who was once a top starting pitching prospect, has taken a liking to the bullpen, and he could move quickly.
Steven Hirschfield is another reliever who has been phenomenal in 2009, and he has yet to allow an earned run. During April, he appeared in seven games, and held the opposition to a miniscule .057 batting average. Alex Burnett, who was a starter all of last season, struck out 14 in only 10.2 relief innings, and he notched two saves.
Top Prospect Watch: Chris Parmelee continues to struggle with the stick, and he really needs to cut down on the strikeouts. During April, Parmelee batted below .200, and he struck out 15 times in 16 games. However, he hit three of the team's seven home runs, and has tremendous upside at the plate. Some games he looks so locked in that it is scary. He should be able to right the ship in May.
Every year it seems that the Fort Myers Miracle pitching staff is going to carry the team, and so far in 2009, this statement is a reality. After finishing April with a 12-8 record, one must look at the team's 2.61 combined earned run average to see why the team is above .500 in the early going.
The Miracle got some great pitching in April.
Gutierrez was a monster in April.