Welcome to the fourth installment of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ baseball Week in Review. Each week, I will take a look back at the Pelicans’ performances, pull out some of those who stood out from the rest and provide a preview for the following week of baseball in the Carolina League.
The week that was…
It might not always be pretty, but lately the scrappy nature of the Pelicans has resulted in wins for the club.
Going into Sunday’s doubleheader — Myrtle Beach’s second of the week — the team was in danger of another losing week. However, a complete-game masterpiece by top prospect Oscar De La Cruz followed by a 13-inning walk-off win offered the Pelicans a salvageable week despite their loss to Buies Creek in the team’s opener to a four-game set on Monday.
Myrtle Beach earned a split at Winston-Salem, doing so with a gritty 9-7 win this past Thursday night. Despite opening its three-game set with Lynchburg in disappointing fashion by falling 3-1, the club tilted things back in its favor by sweeping Sunday’s double dip.
Heading into Tuesday night’s action, the Pelicans are 21-17, the third-best record in the Carolina League, and two games back of first place Buies Creek in the circuit’s Southern Division.
Player of the week
Right fielder Daniel Spingola: One wouldn’t expect Daniel Spingola’s bat to be the one with a certain pop to it in the Myrtle Beach lineup. But as of late, the Roswell, Ga., native has served as the most reliable bet for the Pelicans in the box, last week batting .360 with four runs and three RBIs. Included among a solid seven-day stretch was a 3-for-5 showing in Myrtle Beach’s 13-inning affair with Lynchburg. For his work over the past week, Spingola is now among the Carolina League’s best in terms of batting (.339), on-base percentage (.423) and slugging percentage (.580). Of the Georgia Tech alum’s 38 hits, nearly half have gone for extra bases.
Pitcher of the week
Right-hander Oscar De La Cruz: Longevity hasn’t proven to be a strong suit for Myrtle Beach starters in the opening month and a half of the season. Top prospect De La Cruz did his part to change that, going seven innings for the Pelicans in the first game of the team’s doubleheader with Lynchburg. The right-hander was rather efficient in the outing, scattering five hits while striking out one and walking none in a 7-0 win for Myrtle Beach. His outing is the longest thus far of anyone on the Pelicans’ rotation.
Welcome back, Eloy: He may not be around long, but Chicago Cubs top prospect Eloy Jimenez is hellbent on making his time back in the Carolina League worth his while.
A shoulder injury during spring training temporarily derailing his pursuit of the big leagues, he was activated from the disabled list on Saturday. Since seeing his first action Sunday afternoon in a doubleheader, he is 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound outfielder is listed as the Cubs’ No. 10 prospect, according to MiLB.com.
Strikeouts lacking, but not results: No pitching staff in the Carolina League has shut out more opponents through 38 games than the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
The club leads the circuit with five shutouts, the latest of which coming courtesy of right-hander Oscar De La Cruz on Sunday.
Myrtle Beach has done this without the benefit of a large number of strikeouts. In fact, the Pelicans are in the lower half of the league with 295 punch outs on the year.
Only Frederick, Lynchburg and Potomac are worse.
Sepulveda sidelined: Myrtle Beach infielder Carlos Sepulveda was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Monday. At the time of him being put on the DL, he was hitting just .196 in his 28 games, with two doubles and seven RBIs.
Taking his roster spot is infielder Andruw Monasterio, making the jump to the Class A-Advanced level from Extended Spring Training. He split time between Low-A South Bend and Short Season Class A-Eugene, batting .216 and .324, respectively at those stops.
The week ahead
On deck: Myrtle Beach seeks to gain ground on Buies Creek, taking on its Carolina League Southern Division nemesis in the last of a four-game set at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. Thus far, the Astros have owned their foes from the Grand Strand, winning 7 of the teams’ previous 11 matchups.
In the hole: The Pelicans make their first trip to Salem, Va., and a four-game set with the Red Sox. Salem currently holds the Carolina League’s best record (24-13), leading the Northern Division by five games. Third baseman Michael Chavis is among the circuit’s best hitters, possesses a .333 average going into Tuesday night’s action. He is tied for third in the Carolina League with seven home runs. Still, the club’s pitching staff has proven capable of being hit on, opposing batters racking up 343 hits en route to 182 runs being scored.