This whole player development concept is great and all, but it sure can get in the way of winning baseball games.
Not that Fran Riordan is going to say that.
The Beloit Snappers have to consider it a success story when two of their own, Yairo Munoz and Trent Gilbert, both earn midseason promotions from the Oakland A’s to high A ball.
But with the two All-Stars out of the lineup, others are going to have to seriously step up if the team has any chance of making a playoff run in the second half of the Midwest League season.
“Those two guys were a big part of our team — the middle of our infield,” Beloit manager Riordan said after an 11-4 loss to the Quad Cities Bandits started off a six-game homestand Tuesday night at Pohlman Field. “But we have guys who are here and ready to make contributions.
“(Shortstop) Mikey White had a really nice game in his debut here and Tim Proudfoot (at second) has been playing well. We’re like any organization. Guys who are asked to perform need to perform and the guys who leave, you wish the best.”
Beloit dipped to 12-15 in the second half and 40-61 overall. The Bandits improved to 19-13 in the second half and 64-36 overall.
“They just keep reloading,” Riordan said.
The Snappers aren’t exactly in that mode. They weren’t tearing the cover off the baseball with Munoz and Gilbert around, but that duo did provide much of the team’s offensive sparks before earning a ticket to High A Stockton.
Gilbert, a 15th round draft pick in 2014, is headed back to California. He grew up in Torrance, so he’s heading to his home state. He had knocked in 44 runs with the Snappers, hitting .267 with 15 doubles, two triples and five home runs.
Munoz wasn’t consistent, hitting .236, but he showed flashes why he is considered the No. 8 prospect in the A’s system. He had 14 doubles, three triples and nine homers while driving in 48.
“Munoz was streaky,” hitting coach Lloyd Turner said. “At the same time, he has a lot of tools.”
The A’s filled one of the vacant spots on the Beloit roster by promoting White, their second round pick in the 2015 June Draft. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder started every game in his three years at the University of Alabama.
He was off to a good start with the Vermont Lake Monsters hitting .315 with 10 doubles, two homers and 16 RBIs.
Tuesday night, he picked up his first hit as a Snapper.
“From first look he seems to be fundamentally sound and has a good idea of hitting,” Turner said.
It won’t be an easy task for the Snappers this homestand, facing Quad Cities and then Peoria.
“We have been playing a lot better baseball in the second half,” Riordan said. “If we continue to do that and go on a little streak where we win 7-of-10 we have a chance to get in the playoffs. The first half is behind us. Having six games at home against two pretty ballclubs is a good test for us.”
Junior Mendez (3-8) started on the mound for Beloit Tuesday night and allowed six runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one in 4 2/3 innings. Kevin Johnson and Lee Sosa allowed two runs each. Michael Fagan was the only Snapper pitcher to not give up a run.
Christian Powell went six innings for QC, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings. Michael Freeman pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
The Snappers scored first with Sandber Pimentel driving in Jose Brizuela with a single after Brizuela belted a double. The Bandits took the lead with two in the third. Kristian Trompiz had an RBI double and Jason Martin an RBI single.
Pimental drew a walk in the fourth, took third on a single by Max Kuhn and came home on Iolana Akau’s sacrifice fly.
The Bandits put up five runs in the fifth to take a commanding 8-2 lead.