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Hey, My Dad is Famous

The Vancouver Canadians returned home Tuesday after what could be described as both a successful, and mildly disappointing road trip. It was the C’s sixth series win in a row, yet in both losses of the five game series, Vancouver had the lead, including one ninth inning blown save. The bullpen closes those two out and the current three game deficit in the North Division would be one.

Another positive of the five game trip to Hillsboro was the pop the C’s bats flashed. I’ve been banging on a bit lately about this rosters lack of extra base power. Using ISO as my stat of choice. Of course, baseball is flush with stats, so is pretty easy to find one where your team might be lacking. And vice versa. For example, according to baseballreference.com the C’s are currently second in the league in runs scored per game. What would you rather have?

Despite that, advanced metrics do tell us, correctly, that extra base hits are more valuable than singles. Isolated power (ISO) is simply a measure of a players ability to hit for extra bases. If you calculate it by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage than you are eliminating the single from the result.

Over the final four games (of course, one went 19 innings, so effectively five games total) of the series with the Hops, Vancouver banged out nineteen extra base hits including three of their seven total home runs on the season. This increased the C’s ISO from .068 to .083. Still second last in the Northwest League, but slowly creeping towards the league average.

Two of the main contributors to the ‘power surge’ were David Harris and L.B. Dantzler. It’s tough to get a read on Harris, a 36th round pick in this year’s draft. He’s only played three of his eleven total games at the Nat, and in those three games he’s done right around nothing.

Think that pitch bouned (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Think that pitch bouned (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

He only had three hits in Oregon, but those three went for two home runs and a double. So I’m not going to make any presumptions until I see him in person.

I gave a brief scouting report on L.B. when I did a piece on the C’s new faces. His recent hot streak has upped his ISO from .047 to .167, which shows you how small the sample size is. Still, in his last five games he has ten hits, including six doubles and a home run. Add in three walks and his OPS over the week is a very healthy 1.179. Hopefully this is the beginning of a sustained run of power in the middle of the C’s order.

Notes from the Pressbox:

With the Boise Hawks in town there’s two rather famous names in the lineup. For Canadians, one more so than the other. Trevor Gretzky is in his second year of pro ball having been a seventh round pick by the Cubs in the 2011 draft. At 6’4″ 190 pounds he definitely looks as thin as his dad. At the plate, it was tough to scout him as, in three plate appearances, he saw a grand total of four pitches. On the night he went 1 for 3 with a single through the 5/6 hole.

In the outfield he made a few routine plays look a bit tougher than they should have been but he did flash a plus arm and some pretty nice speed. I’ll try and get a proper scouting report sometime this week.

Next to Gretzky, in center field, is the son of former Cubbies shortstop Shawon Dunston. Shawon Dunston Jr. was drafted in the eleventh round of the same ’11 draft. Having been promoted for nineteen games last year, you could say this is Dunston’s second go ’round of the Northwest league. So far he’s having a decent year, putting up a .305/.400/.427 slash line. In the loss Shawon went 2 for 3 with a walk.

Coming home cooled off L.B. Dantzler somewhat as he struck out his first three at bats. He did lead off the bottom of the eighth with a single, which led to the game winning run.

Canadian catcher Mike Reeves continues to rake, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a sac fly. Both the hits were seeing eye singles which contributes to his otherworldly .478 BABIP. The at bat that impressed me the most was the sac fly. With the potential go ahead run on third, Reeves pulled his hands in on a good inside fastball and placed it exactly where the runner would score, deep to left-center. And if we want to finish this piece on ISO, Mike’s is .019, so not a lot of extra base pop in his bat thus far.

It was good to see Reeves cash in that winning run as the C’s had gone three for fifteen with runners in scoring position, stranding fourteen on the night. If it had gone to extras, the C’s would have had themselves to blame.

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