Godzilla Garcia is not only threatening to hit .400 but he is actually raising his average as this past week saw his batting line go from .420 to .423. In last evenings contest he went 3 for 4 against the Neptune’s with a double. Toledo managed to win 6-1 as their challenger for the batting title, Carl MacNiven went 2 for 4 with his own double to ease his average back up to .389, yet at the same time quieting conversation about whether he might hit .400.
Sourface MacNiven is hitting .107 points above his average for last season and still has a shot at .400.
If this were a horse race you might hear the announcer using the classic vernacular of the sport something akin to ‘they are around the far turn’ and you would know that these two batting giants are about to head to the stretch. But, if you were not paying attention you might miss some activity, say, ‘coming up from the rear’.
Not to be out done, the face of the GLBL is making his own bid for another batting crown as the two time Lake Superior Award winner and two time Lake Erie Award winner, and seven time all star (aka every year) is preparing for the stretch run with a vengeance.
Shotgun Time! He was hitting .256 near the end of April but he’s been classic Silas since then and is now batting .375. So the question is as we head to the stretch, ‘who can go the distance’?
When you are 23 years old and playing at the GLBL level you are usually riding the bench hoping for an opportunity for a spot start here and there always with the hope that you impress the manager enough to give you another opportunity, hopefully in the form of a start. Less likely, but still possible, you might be the benefactor of a long term injury to a player that moves you up the depth chart (Google Wally Pipp).
In the case of Guillermo ‘Godzilla’ Garcia he has already eclipsed the status described above as he is now the starting RF while spending some time in CF. He’s 4.8 ZR combined. But, we are not here to talk about his glove, or his arm (7 assists).
It’s the bat that carries his .416 batting average. 89 hits in 214 at bats qualifies him as a legitimate challenger to ‘Sourface’ McNiven of Toledo for the leagues highest batting average in 2021. And, you don’t want to face this guy in a matinee contest as he hits .445 during the day hours. In 316 AB’s he hit .341 in 2020. In the current season he has posted 0 HR’s and 1 triple and appears to be the classic slap and hit batter who uses his speed to beat out infield hits. No question, Godzilla is a legit candidate to lead the league in batting for quite some time.
After 59 games he was hitting .395. Having played 106 games Carl is now at .396 and definitely capturing the attention of stat freaks all over the Great Lakes area. Is the 36 year old second sacker distracted with all the media attention?
Carl had this to say. ” Are you serious? We’ve got a pennant to win. Anything else is back seat stuff, mister.”
We know where the man is physically located….at the Bay of Quinte mid way between Kingston and Toronto. This little fishing village is home to the AAA Herons where Walt plays his baseball these days. But, it wasn’t always this way for James as but two years ago he was east of this sleepy village stealing bases, hitting extra base hits and posting a 3.8 WAR for the Kingston Comets, part of the GLBL.
A year later the Architects claimed him off waivers from Kingston but his stay was short in Chicago as his 7 AB’s hardly constituted a cup of coffee, to quote the iconic former catcher Joe Garagiola. The Waveriders inked him to a one year deal on April 1 (you can read whatever you want into that signing date) but Owen Sound did not get what they thought they were buying as Walt totaled 20 hits in 109 AB’s with this batting line: .183/.217.211. Having committed just 1 error his entire career, short as it’s been, this guy could flash the D, definitely run, and hit better than the virtual replacement player by a long shot. Just 32, one can only wonder what went wrong.
Tied for the league with 24 is Dave ‘Mustache’ Teague. He’s been an All Star every season, won 3 Lake Erie Awards, was twice the MVP in the Canadian Playoffs, is hitting .304 with a .974 OPS, and plays three different positions. Throw in 47 BB/ 50 K ratio and you have quite an offensive force. Teague has a lifetime 124 dingers and has hit less than 20 just one time. Many pick him to win the home run crown while vying for League MVP.
His main competition comes from an unlikely source. Tied with 24 homers is Jim Copeland of the Kingston Comets. The Scouting Book on Copeland is that he is a not a leader, not very smart, not loyal, and has poor work habits. He batted .180 last season and is hitting .214 with a .262 OBP. Copeland has walked 24 times and fanned 97. His WAR to date is 0.6. But, he is a masher. With 71 RBI’s to go with the 24 big flies he is on pace to hit 35 homers and bat in 104 runs. Most prognosticators don’t favor him to win any award but the reality is he can’t be ignored.
On July 16, 2021 Jean Vilain handcuffed the TC Bears striking out 11, walking but 2, and allowing 0 hits in the 2-0 No-No for the Waveriders. For Jean, it was deja vu all over again as two years ago, while pitching for the Toronto Maples, he shut down the Windsor Vigilantes racking up 6 K’s, yielding 2 walks, and allowing 0 in the hit column.
With 7 No Hitters in the 6 year history of the GLBL Vilain now owns two of them.
Roberto Nieto is on his way to the GLBL as the 7th overall prospect is rising through the minors at a meteoric pace. The 2021 first round 6th overall pick has already graduated from AA in half a season and is now raising eyebrows at AAA Pointe Pelee.
Nine HR’s in 166 AB’s, 36/44 W/K rate, a .417 OBP. and a .506 SLG., and 2/2 stolen bases all points to a 4 tool player in the making (slow afoot). His 6 assists in the OF speak to the potential for a cannon for an arm. Look for Oakdale, Minnesota native, and graduate of Western Ontario to make his mark sooner rather later in the GLBL.
Kevin ‘Wino’ Thomas at the age of 35 continues to demonstrate the ability to read the pitches and determine whether to swing or take the free pass. This year K.T. has worked the walk 48 times and fanned but 28. His lifetime BB/K ratio: 502 to 330. With his .351 batting average he is a force to reckon with batting out of the #2 hole. With speedster Ben Wotherspoon batting lead-off you might say the hit & run is a pretty nice option for GM David Jones.
59 games played and 223 At Bats logged and the GLBL has a player hitting .395. Cal McNiven, has flown under the radar of many having played for a team that is not very often in the mix for a playoff berth. He’s a prankster that keeps the Neptunes loose in the dugout but in the batters box he’s anything but funny to the opposing pitchers. Cal has hit .344 and .355 (2017 & 2018) but this season he is eclipsing even those stellar performances. Think he can’t do it? He’s had 2 hits or more in 7 of the last 8 contests. A long shot? Yes. But with each week his average is going up, not down.
The Duluth Sea Gulls won their first ever USA Championship with an 82-62 record than rallied from 0-2 to finally overtake back to back GLBL Champs, the Chicago Architects in a tight 7 game series for the rights to represent the USA League Having scored 563 runs they had offense enough to get the job done, but would the pitching hold up?
From the Canadian League the Mounties steam rolled the Owen Sound Waveriders, winners of the most games in the GLBL in 2020, by surprising outscoring them 27-12 in the four game sweep. Only Chicago of the USA League has notched more W’s than Hamilton but still the Mounties had not one a championship in the brief 6 year history of the league.
When Duluth won the first 3 games of the series it looked pretty much over as scores of 2-1, 4-1, and 3-1 didn’t make much of a case for a Hamilton miracle and many thought Tate Cosby’s 1-0 shutout in game 4 was only a stall for what surely would be a Duluth championship.
Eyebrows were raised when Hamilton won Game 5 by a 5-2 score. And, when Dave Teague hit his 2nd homer of the post-season in a 4-1 win at Duluth many wondered if the GLBL was not primed for yet another 0-3 deficit on way to a championship.
In Game 7 Norm Blooms 2 run single helped the Mounties cling to a 2-1 league. But, when Mr. Teague launched a solo shot in the top of the 9th it really did appear that the Mounties were destined to win their first championship.
Randy Costello was called on to close it out for Hamilton but when the first two batters singled you could feel the hope swell in Sea Gull Ball Park as it now seemed entirely possible that Duluth might come back. Danton flew out bringing on pinch hitter Karl Swerdlove who ripped a pitch into the gap and just like that 2 runs scored and the game was tied, 3-3. Blashill saved the Mounties from a 9th inning walk off but having lost the lead so late in the game could they rally, again?
In the bottom of the 11th Jim Danton doubled with 1 out putting runners on second and third with one out. After the intentional walk Jerry Gauthier a .207 hitter during the year, but a .308 one in the post-season grounded a ball past 3rd base and into left field giving the Sea Gulls the 4-3 win.