New Britain struggled through the month of July, putting together an 11-18 record, as they got just could not get all their starters on track at the same time. Starters Cole Devries, Matthew Fox, and Deolis Guerra all had earned run averages over 5.00, and they combined to go 4-10. Yohan Pino was the most consistent starter for the Rock Cats, posting a 1.77 earned run average in four starts, but he has since been shipped to Rochester. Ryan Mullins had a great month of July, making four starts, and he was second among starters with a 3.47 earned run average.
Alex Burnett, who was one of the better starters in the organization last season, was lights out from the bullpen in July. The right-hander made 14 appearances for New Britain, putting together a 1.47 earned run average, and he picked up two saves. Overall, he struck out nearly a batter per inning, and batters hit only .131 against him. Jose Lugo, who also has been shipped to Rochester, was a key lefty for the Rock Cats, striking out better than a batter per inning.
Frank Mata and Kyle Waldrop were also key for the Cats in July, with Waldrop putting up staggering numbers out of the bullpen. The former top prospect had a 1.69 earned run average in 11 games, and did not allow a home run. Mata, who also made some starts for the Cats, had a 2.49 earned run average, and notched 13 strikeouts.
As a team, the Rock Cats batted only .253, but a handful of prospects had a good month. Erik Lis, who always hits, led the team with a .310 batting average in July, and showed some great pop. He hit seven of the team’s 13 home runs in the month, drove in 16, and led the team with 31 hits. He could be ready for Rochester very soon. Steven Singleton, who was promoted from Fort Myers, batted .396 after his promotion, and really filled a void in the Cats lineup.
Toby Gardenhire hit close to .300 in his 20 games for New Britain in July, and was fourth on the team with nine runs batted in. Juan Portes hit only .239 for the month, but was second on the team with three home runs.
Batter of the Month: Erik Lis
Pitcher of the Month: Yohan Pino
Rock Cats Notes: The Rock Cats got former Major Leaguer Mark Grudzielanek this past week, as the former National League All-Star went 0-4 in his debut. A 2006 American League Gold Glover, Grudzielanek has a great chance to make his way to the Twins by the end of the season. As of August 2, the Rock Cats are dealing with some big injuries, as they currently have top prospect Wilson Ramos, Oswaldo Sosa, Jay Rainville, and Mike McCardell on the shelf.