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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:28 pm 
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Another Rookie Turns Heads But Will it Last?

Kelsey van Wingerden is the Coqui's newest rookie sensation but it is wise that fans are cautious to jump on his bandwagon just yet. Rookie flash-in-the-pans are the norm for this team.

Last week the 26-year old outfielder hit .406 with four doubles and three home runs to lift his batting average to .314 and his slugging percentage to .512. The Dutch native struggled when called up in late May. At the end of April he was hitting below .200. But the San Juan organization stuck with him and that faith is paying dividends in July.

San Juan is starved for power hitters and van Wingerden fits the bill having slugged 32 in AA ball a year ago.

The outfielder's rise has overshadowed another rookie, Pete Scammell, who has posted an 0.46 e.r.a. in his three starts after coming off the disabled list. The lefty has allowed just one run on 12 hits and no walks in his last 20 innings.

However, rookie sensations are nothing new in San Juan. Just this season the team got excited about another rookie outfielder, Caspar Gray, who won the leadoff and centerfield spots after hitting .297 in April. He is now in a 1-for-25 slump after a .172 June.

And last year there was outfielder Mike Rose, who has turned out to be a decent contributor (.364 OBP) but not the same guy who debuted with a home run in each of his first seven PEBA games. In fact, he has hit just five in the subsequent 56 games.

There also was Fernando Castro, who threw a no-hitter in his big league debut. Castro is a modest 16-22, 4.00 for his career.

There is one rookie everyone feels comfortable anointing though and that is 33-year old Luis Bonilla. The Chilean first baseman has gotten progressively better as the season has gone and now stands at .279, .321 with 24 doubles and 20 home runs. He is second in the Imperial League with 77 RBI, 33 more than any teammate.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:55 pm 
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Signs of Playoff Fever in San Juan

According to Google reports, "PEBA playoff format" has been the top search emanating from the island over the last week. One can forgive San Juan fans for not knowing how many teams make the playoffs or how the seeding works. The team has never been in a wild card race before.

The last time the Coqui had a serious shot at the postseason it was 2025 when it was vying for the division title in a weak Trans Atlantic and wound up two games back. The last playoff appearance came in 2023 when the team was still in Rio Grande, the year before moving to Puerto Rico.

The Google searches came as the Coqui took five of six at home versus its two top wild card rivals (as of last week), Kentucky and New Orleans. The Coqui are now 62-50 and have a six-game lead on the final wild card, and are just a game-and-a-half behind Scottish for the top wild card.

Third baseman Bob Vollmer came out of a midseason slump to lead the charge, hitting .524 on the homestand.
But overall it has been Luis Bonilla leading offensively, hitting .345 with four home runs in his last nine games. He has matched the all-time San Juan season high (25) in home runs. And with 28 doubles he seems on pace to be the organization's first 30-30 guy since it entered the PEBA. Despite being 33 years old, Bonilla seems a lock on the Rookie of the Year honors having taking the monthly nod three times this season.

However, the truer rookie sensation has been Kelsey van Wingerden who has eight doubles and nine home runs since being called up in late June. Hitting .333 on the homestand, he is now at .299 for the season.

On the mound, it has been a breakout season for 27-year old Mito Nomura, who shrugged off his all-star snub by going 4-0 since the voting came in. He stands 13-2, 2.61 for the season with quality starts at 73%.

Meanwhile, the team has won the last five starts of another rookie, Pete Scammell, whose e.r.a. has dropped to 2.42.

FROM THE MINORS: Teammates in Kingston (A) are joking that 22-year old Mike Parker is the slouch of the Suns pitching rotation. Parker, who went undrafted, is 4-2. 3.29 as a starter since coming in from the pen (where he had three saves). While respectable, the rest of the rotation is fairing far better. Seong-chae Somun is 15-2, 1.66; Jesus Luna is 10-2, 1.38; Barney Stone is 7-4, 2.12; and 2029 4th rounder Tetsuzan Shimada is 4-3, 1.67.

Not surprisingly, Kingston is in first place with a 67-35 mark.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:47 pm 
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Fun to see the Coqui in the mix!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:00 pm 
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Badgers wrote:
Fun to see the Coqui in the mix!


I agree! :clap:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:15 pm 
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Keeping an Eye on Pitching Talent in the Minors

A look at some minor league arms the San Juan organization is high on:

SANTO DOMINGO (AAA)

The Coqui are counting on Robbie Parker and Jorge Pagán to make the jump to the PEBA next year but both have stalled in AAA at the moment. The 23-year old Parker, a first round supplemental pick in 2027, has had a couple dead arm incidents this summer while posting 9-4, 3.72 numbers. His first two pro seasons, in A and AA, he had been 23-5 with an e.r.a. in the mid-2s. He got a good look in spring training but control issues left him off the big league roster. His BB/9 in AAA is 3.6.

Pagán, who had to bounce back from a torn ligament that ended his 2028 season, is solid but unspectacular at 6-4, 3.45, but he is still just 21 years old. The Cuban native has had a quick rise up the ranks, first impressing as a 17-year old starter at Homer (SA), continuing to shrug off hitters as a teenager in A ball and being named an all-star in AA at age 20.

“We generally like to see some dominance at a level before promoting guys,” said Coqui General Manager Mike Best. “But both of these guys are young for AAA, have had some health issues this year, and I expect should be a greater force by next season.”

SANTURCE (AA)

Twenty-one year old lefty Seong-chae Somun will get his first AA start this week. Somun has gone 15-2, 1.71 in A ball after a 10-5, 1.29 pro debut in SA. Somun already throws four solid pitches: a curve, splitter and forkball to go with a 99 mph fastball. The knock on him is that he has some control problems and hitters get good wood on him (only 48% groundballs) but whether either will affect him as he climbs the ladder remains to be seen.

“There has been an unfair report that he doesn’t work hard but we haven't seen it,” said Best. “He has developed four pitches and his move to first is as good as anyone in the big leagues. Those are things one has to work at to be good at. He also has an arm that doesn’t quit.”

KINGSTON (A)

After a rought stint in AA, 23-year old Barney Stone has quietly put together a solid season since being sent down to Kingston (A). The right-hander has allowed just seven earned runs in his last 11 starts with a couple two-run homers being his only blemish in the last six games. Hitters simply haven’t been getting good wood on him. His BABIP is .172, the lowest of any starting pitcher in A ball. A second rounder in 2027, Stone is now 8-5 with a 2.03 e.r.a.

HOMER (SA)

Offense is down in general in the Surf and Sun Amalgamation and two pitchers taking advantage of that for Homer are 12th-round draft pick Carlos Gutiérrez and equally unheralded Columbian scouting discovery Salvador Chacón. Gutiérrez completed a two-walk no-hitter last week to drop his e.r.a. to 2.11 in 10 starts (his record stands at 4-5). Meanwhile, Chacón is on a 22-inning scoreless streak. He moved into the rotation on July 25 and has a 0.83 e.r.a. in four starts. He is 3-0 on the season, which includes a 1.62 e.r.a. in 16 innings of relief work.

Word is that former four-time PEBA all-star Alfredo Velázquez has emerged as a great teacher in his first managerial stint. “At least a dozen pitchers hang on his every word,” said one scout.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:35 pm 
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New Marks Set for San Juan in 2029

Although in the race until the final week, San Juan, for the 18th time in the 22-year history of the organization, failed to make the playoffs. Since moving to Puerto Rico in 2024, the Coqui have yet to qualify, although its 86 wins this season were the best since the move.

“We are clearly disappointed in the final outcome although we did surprise some people this year,” said General Manager Mike Best. I don’t think we could have asked more of most of our players.”

Fans took notice as well as attendance increased 13.4% to 33,497 a game and revenue jumped 9%.
In addition to the .531 winning percentage, some other milestones were set:

First baseman Luis Bonilla, a 33-year old rookie, set a team record with 117 RBI surpassing Roberto Cuevas’ 113 in 2014.

Shortstop Roberto Salazar set a team record for stolen bases (55) surpassing a mark Jack Speed tied last year at 45 with Carlos Cavazos in 2013. Salazar completed the feat in 99 games, having stolen another 23 before obtained from Canton.

Pitcher Mito Nomura tied a team record with 17 wins, matching Toyoharu Yamaguchi in 2009 and Akihisha Yamamoto in 2007.

Reliever José Gómez broke former teammate Jorge Núñez’ team record for saves by one with 42.

Not impressive records but one has to consider the franchise’s all-time leader in hits, runs, total bases, WAR, stolen bases, triples and walks is its current and fairly mediocre second baseman Shigekazu Shimizu.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:37 pm 
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Kingston Comes Up Short Again

Kingston (A) has won its division four of the last six seasons but none have ended with a NAFTA Trophy. This year the Suns went down in game seven of the final series to Rosarito Monjas del Vuelo, a team that has had the opposite postseason success, winning the title five of the last six seasons.

Shutouts ruled the day for the Suns in the playoffs; 10 of its 18 postseason games involved a goose egg. Suns pitchers collected six of them but unfortunately its batters were shut out in three of the final four games causing the team to blow a 2-0 lead in the Trophy series. In fact, the Suns only scoring in its last 40 innings was a two-run homer.

The proliferation of shutouts are no surprise. The two NAFTA leagues saw league-wide batting averages of .215 and .216 this season. While the Suns managed a league-leading team e.r.a. of 2.28, its batters hit just .227.

The Suns finish 86-42, the third time they have won 84 or more games since Manager Jesus Gonzalez took over five years ago. Its pitching staff held opponents to a .171 average and allowed the fewest walks in the league. The Suns also stole a league-leading 151 bases although no starter had more than 25. Utility backup Nick “The Fly” Kennedy actually led the team with 29.

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