The Charleston RiverDogs have been consistent on both sides of the game in different ways. The pitching staff is among the South Atlantic League’s best in ERA while the hitting is toward the bottom of the league as far as runs scored. That mixed result has led to a 19-23 record, good for fifth place, eight and a half games behind first-place Augusta in the first half Southern Division standings.
The reason for the struggles on offense is an influx of younger players on this year’s roster. “The hitters, they’re here for a reason. They earned their spot to be on this team. They’ve only been in professional baseball a couple of years. It’s not that, ‘I got to fix everything today.’ It’s a process that they have to go through and I think like I always tell them, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Some guys are making a huge improvement on the individual objectives that they have. I can see it slowly, but I can see the improvement from those guys and I believe they will get better and the season’s going to be fun when it comes down to that,” RiverDogs manager Julio Mosquera said.
Heading into Sunday’s clash against the Columbia Fireflies, the RiverDogs rank 13 out of 14 teams in the league in runs scored. Conversely, the RiverDogs pitching staff have posted a 2.92 ERA, which is good for third in the league.
“We have a pretty good group of pitchers. Obviously, we have some guys that went up already and they earned the right to move up to a higher level. We have a group of young guys who are learning how to play the game. I think it’s been beneficial and I think they’re going to learn. It’s different than playing in extended and Rookie ball. It’s a long season so they gotta adjust. Some guys have started slow but seem to be picking it up a little bit. They keep getting chances to develop and learn how to play the game the right way. I think on both sides of the ball we’re making strides slowly but we’re making strides,” Mosquera said.
Mosquera also talked about the depth of the Yankees system helping out his young crew in Charleston. “We believe in developing players and that’s why the young guys in the big leagues we have are so good. If you put the time with them to try and develop them and if the big league team is doing pretty good with such a young group, it allows us in the minor league level to be more patient with these guys. Give them more opportunities. I think that’s helpful. I think if the guys at the big leagues were in the bottom, then you have to rush guys and when you rush guys, a lot of times you put them in bad situations and at a level they shouldn’t be. I think these guys are at the level they need to be right now to get better and it helps out the team in our big leagues doing such a good job and everybody’s staying healthy and it helps us to help develop these guys down here with more consistent playing time and they feel comfortable being in a good situation in order to succeed,” Mosquera said.
The RiverDogs have not dodged health issues completely though. Starting pitcher Glenn Otto was placed on the disabled list on April 18 after having surgery to remove a blood clot from his shoulder. The Yankees do not comment on health issues with their minor league players.
The RiverDogs split their four-game homestand against the Columbia Fireflies Sunday with a 2-1 victory highlighted by Dermis Garcia‘s opposite-field shot in the bottom of the seventh. The RiverDogs hit the road to play the Augusta GreenJackets for four games and Hickory for three games. They return home May 29 against the Fireflies.