As the calendar turns to August, the final weeks of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League begin. The upcoming week will be a busy one for the players. Not only will they be playing their scheduled games, but they will also get a chance to be looked at by major league scouts. Three “camp days” are on tap for this coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons. This is a great way for players to get some feedback on where they are, and what they need to work as they head back to their schools. And for scouts, it’s a way to get a head start on putting together information for future drafts. Lots to digest, this week. Here is some of what went on between the lines.
As we head down the stretch toward the end of the regular season, it is worth pointing out that the top two teams in the final standings will be the teams that will fight it out for the league championship. Right now, those two teams are Worcester and Nashua. The Bravehearts are playing very good baseball at the right time. They are eight games above .500 at 15-7, have won two in a row, and have a two and a half-game lead over Nashua for the top spot in the standings. The battle for the other spot in the playoffs may come down to the very last game. The Nashua Silver Knights have lost their last couple of ballgames. At 14-11, the Silver Knights may need to pay attention to who is behind them as well as who is in front of them. That’s because the Brockton Rox have made this a race for the playoffs. The Rox have made it back to .500 at 12-12 by going 5-5 in their last ten games. Brockton finds themselves only a game back in the loss column to Nashua. Some scoreboard watching looks to be in order for the top three teams.
Brockton’s rise in the standings can be looked at in a couple of different ways. First, there is the offense of right-handed-hitting Joe Bramanti who is hitting a solid .286, and leads the team in both home runs with two and in RBI with 13. Of his total of 26 hits, nine of them have been of the extra-base variety. He has seven doubles to go along with the two big flies. He has scored 15 runs and stolen three bases as well. The Univ. of Maine infielder has put up good numbers since the season began slugging over .400 and with an OPS of .800. On the hill, the Rox have a couple of hurlers that have been doing quite well for themselves. First, there is Justin Garcia. The lefty out of Roger Williams leads the team in wins with three and is second in strikeouts with 33. Although Garcia has given up earned runs in four of his last five outings, the team has won three of those games. He has shown an ability to keep his team in games even if he does not have his best stuff. Then there is Nick Sinacola, the righty also from Maine. He leads the team in K’s with 36 and is third in ERA at 1.33. He has given his team innings this summer going more than four innings in his last three starts with two of those being seven innings outings.
It has been a tough summer for the Westfield Starfires at 9-14 in last place in the league. They have lost four in a row and seven of their last ten games. There is some good news to report. OF Mark Coley is having a fine season with the team. Despite a low batting average of .208, Coley does lead the team in home runs with four and is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 12. He does strike out way too much (30 times in 72 at-bats), but when he does make contact, the ball tends to go a long way. Coley will need to work on putting the bat on ball more often when he returns to Rhode Island for his college season. Despite his struggles, he is still slugging at .403. Nick Dombkowski leads the pitching staff in strikeouts with 24 and is third in ERA at 1.37. The left-hander out of Hartford has made four starts for Westfield and has only allowed an earned run in three of those starts.
Next week we will check back in to see how things are going in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.