AUSTRALIA – The Perth Heat are leading the ABL at the All-Star break with a record of 18-6. Away from home, the Heat are almost unbeatable going 11-1 so far this season.
With the season on a break, its time to look at the first half of the season and see who is hot and who is not.
The Heat are leading the league by 4 games over the Adelaide Bite. They are being led by out fielder James McOwen who is 2nd in the league in hitting at .354. There are several other hitters who are going well for Perth 4 others hitting .300 or better (Tim Kennelly – .341, Alex Burg – .318, Mychal Givens – .312, and Mitchell Graham – .300).
This is why the Heat are leading the league in hitting at .293 as a team. They also lead in on-base-percentage at .389 and slugging at .472.
Alex Burg is tied for the league lead in home runs with 7, Mitchell Graham (6) and Aaron Barker (5) are close behind as well.
The Heat are pitching well too. Their ERA of 3 is leading the league by almost a full run and they are 2nd in the league in WHIP at 1.28.
Geoff Brown is 3rd in the league in ERA at 1.29 in 21 innings pitched. He is also tied for the league lead in wins with 4 with teammate Daniel Schmidt (3.09 ERA). Warwick Saupold is 4th in ERA at 1.55 in 6 starts going 3-1. Closer Ben Grice is tied for 3rd in the league in saves with 3 while posting a 2.08 ERA and a 1-1 record.
Sitting in 2nd place at 14-10 are the Bite who have won 3 games in a row. While they have struggled some with the bats hitting .249 as a team, they have been pretty good on the hill posting a 3rd best team ERA of 3.99 and lead the league in saves with 8.
Denny Almonte is leading the team in pretty much every offensive category. Almonte is leading the league in hitting at .359, home runs with 7, and RBI with 27. Throw in his league leading OPS of 1.112 and Almonte is having an MVP type season.
Calvin Anderson has chipped in with 5 home runs and 15 RBI, but no other hitter other than Almonte is hitting over .300.
Starter Paul Mildren has pitched well going 2-2 with an ERA of 3.38 over 6 starts. Closer Ryan Beckman has 5 saves and an ERA of 1.10 over 16.1 innings.
Sydney Blue Sox
The hottest team in the league is the Sydney Blue Sox who have won 7 straight and moved into 3rd place with a 13-12 record. The Blue Sox are 2nd in the league in ERA at 3.80 but last in the league in hitting at .243 and have hit the fewest home runs with only 8 so far.
Tyler Collins is leading the way offensively with a .311 average, 3 home runs, and 14 RBI. First baseman Alex Johnson (.276) leads the team in RBI with 15, and tied with Collins for the lead in home runs with 3.
Craig Anderson is back pitching well again through 7 starts going 2-1 with an ERA of 2.52. Chris Oxspring is pitching well too with an ERA of only 2 through 27 innings. Reliever Matthew Williams has been lights out through 17.1 innings with an ERA of 0.52 in 9 appearances.
The Cavalry are tied with Melbourne with a 10-15 record and have lost 5 in a row.
Canberra is hitting well at .266 which ranks 2nd in the league. They are hitting home runs (17) and are 2nd in the league in slugging as well at .395. The Cavalry are in the middle of the pack pitching wise with an ERA of 4.43 and a WHIP of 1.57 (last in the ABL).
Brian Burgamy is doing a great job with the bat hitting .344/3/15 to lead the team in all 3 categories. Mike McGuire has pitched really well in 7 games (6 starts) going 2-2 with an ERA of 1.24. Hayden Beard (3-2/2.32) has done well too so far this season.
Melbourne is tied with Canberra at 10-15. They are 2nd to last in ERA at 4.50 and 2nd to last in WHIP at 1.43. They are doing a bit better with the bats though. They rank 3rd in the league in hitting at .255 and 3rd in home runs with 18.
Brad Harman is having a good year at the plate so far hitting .357 in 14 games and leads the team in home runs with 4 and RBI with 13. Justin Huber is also doing well at the plate hitting .333 playing in all 25 games. He has chipped in with 3 home runs and 12 RBI as well.
The pitching has struggled more however. Nic Ungs has been off to a good start though going 2-1 with an ERA of 3.25 through 5 starts
In last place, 9.5 games behind are the Bandits at 9-16. They are tied with Sydney for the lowest batting average at .243 and have the worst on-base-percentage at .301. They aren’t fairing much better on the hill with the lowest ERA in the league at 4.61.
Brad Dutton (.306/1/10), Joshua Roberts (.301/3/17), and David Sutherland (.299/3/16) are leading the team offensively. The Bandits have also gotten some offensive production from Japanese catcher Ayatsugu Yamashita in part time duty (.340/2 home runs) but he will be heading back to Japan for the remainder of the season.
Japanese pitcher Yohei Yanagawa has been the best starter so far going 2-1 with an ERA of 2.52, but he will be heading back with the rest of the Japanese players to Japan for the remainder of the season.
The league will kick of the 2nd half of the season on the Thursday December 29th with the top two teams facing off as Perth travels to Adelaide for a weekend series.
For more information on the ABL, visit www.theabl.com
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.