Sandgnats April and May Review

Updated: August 3, 2019

Sandgnats April and May Review
Updated: June 1, 2029 – 6:05 PM

By Howard Heskin, Gnats Beat Writer and ESPN PEBA Correspondent – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

At the end of May the Sandgnats are 9 games back of Fargo, who has continued its 2028 championship run through and into the first 2 months of 2029. The Gnats are tied for the wild card at 30 wins an 24 losses. While not lighting the league on fire, with 15 wins in April and 15 wins in May, the Gnats are out of the gate with a steady consistent pace.

Leading the way so far this season is RF Clarence Carpenter batting .317 AV and a league leading 40 stolen bases (caught only 3 times).
According to PEBA Baseball’s StatCast, Carpenter has the fastest sprint speed in the game. His average sprint speed — “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” according to PEBA — is 30.6 feet per second.

Where did his speed come from? “I don’t know, to be honest,” Carpenter said with a smile when I had a chance to catch up with him after the May 27th Yuma game where he notched 3 stolen bases. “I know my before my last season in AAA I didn’t really steal that many bases in pro-ball like I did in high school. My senior year of high school year, I stole 23 bases and got caught 3 times. Then my last AAA season before getting called up it just sort of took off,” Carpenter added. “I got some confidence stealing bases and then everything else fell into place. I’m going to continue playing my game like that.”

Sandgnats Manager Joe Matterson likes that mentality. “We’ve seen him make some spectacular plays, one that jumps to my mind is the lead-off batter of the game about a week ago. Carpenter dove in head-first and crashed into the right field wall and about knocked himself out. That, to me, describes who Clarence Carpenter is.”

Besides Clarence’s strong start to the season, Jim ‘Nitro’ MacCowan is quietly off to a hot start with a 2.68 ERA in 80.7 innings with 69 strike outs and walking only 5 batters in 11 starts. “Really, there’s not a lot of time to do anything else but baseball. We get to the field early; we get back to the hotel late and do the same thing over and over the next day,” stated Nitro when I caught up with him recently. Known for his worth ethic by the team as a whole, all the players are starting to look at his leadership now in his 6th PEBA season. He did however tell me a story about how competitive the guys in the rotation are. “You know one time Tony Cuellar beat me to our morning film session and it really got me fired up, until I realized he slept in the film room just to mess with me!”

The Gnats will have 3 important games against Fargo after the draft followed by 6 games (home and way) against both Reno and Okinawa. Gnats fans are anxious for Antonio Vega and Ray Kimball to finally get warmed up from their cold starts into the heat of summer. They will need to if the Gnats are to have any chance to catch Fargo and its lights out pitching.