Batting average isn’t a fashionable stat, but there’s something to be said about the high-average Red Barons (Updated from earlier this morning).
For all that hitting, they don't have much to show for it. They're just 54-56 and stuck in the North Division basement. A team ERA of 4.55, fourth worst, doesn't help, but the hits they're producing aren't translating into runs. They're sixth in the league in runs scored.
Essentially, the Barons hit like David Bell, if Bell added a single to his box score every third game or so.
Still, entering Tuesday, they have an incredible league-best .287 team BA, nine points ahead of the next best team, Buffalo, with .279.
Before Ryan Howard was called up the second time, he was leading the league in hitting with a .371 BA. Following his lead, there are a number of minor league vets getting hits.
Leading the way is infielder Danny Sandoval with a league-best .338 BA. Sandoval got into one Phillies game as a pinch runner this season and was sent down a day or two later. Sandoval, acquired as a minor league free agent, hit this way last season at Double-A Tulsa, batting .319. Among others, Beerleaguer favorite Carlos Ruiz has warmed up over the last month or so, hitting .315. Scranton veteran Jim Rushford is hitting .314.
The problem, of course, is Sandoval, Ruiz and Rushford have only combined for 16 homers and bat in the heart of the order.
Rule 5 selection Shane Victorino has to be the biggest surprise, batting .296 with some good power numbers, including 17 homers. The Hawaiian-born center fielder hit the go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning to spark the Red Barons to a 3-1 victory over Rochester on Monday night.
In a poll conducted on the Red Barons web site, 57 percent of voters named Victorino team MVP. The next highest is Howard at 27 percent.
All these players aren’t spring chickens or considered prospects, but it’s nice to have ready options in case of injury. Aside from Jim Thome, the Phils have been extremely fortunate with minimal injury problems this season.
A ray of hope
Finally! Gavin Floyd had a great outing Sunday, tossing eight shutout innings against Rochester.
Floyd, now 4-6 with a 5.82 ERA on the year, struck out six and issued only one walk in his first dominant start in months. The former No. 1 pick has been receiving special pitching instructing from former Phils pitching coach Johnny Podres.