The Mudcats’ upcoming homestand will be a big one, as they have eight games against a couple of the hottest teams in the Carolina League.
The Chicago Cubs affiliate Myrtle Beach Pelicans will be at Five County Stadium for the first three games, while Kansas City affiliate Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks will finish with the last five including a Sunday twi-night doubleheader.
Myrtle Beach is loaded with Cubs prospects, with four of the top 15 as ranked by Baseball America. The hottest have been right-hander Duane Underwood (4-0, 1.09), ranked No. 10, and outfielder Mark Zagunis (.306, 1 HR, 12 RBI), rated No. 15.
Wilmington southpaw 6-7 Eric Skoglund (2-1, 2.50), named the Royals’ No. 24 prospect, was picked in the third round of last year’s draft. Blue Rocks catcher Cam Gallagher (.189, 2 RBI), the No. 28 prospect, was a CL All-Star last season as he threw out 40 percent of all would-be base stealers.
He’s the ace: Through 35 games — that’s 25 percent of the season — Mudcats right-hander Steve Janas led the Carolina League in ERA at 0.56, WHIP at 0.53, lowest average against (.140), and fewest walks (0.56) and baserunners (5.06) per nine innings pitched.
Tough numbers: Both the Pelicans (.259) and the Rocks (.256) got off to fast starts at the plate, with the two tied for the CL lead while Carolina was fourth at .245 through its first 38 games. Myrtle Beach easily led the league in OPS at .707. ... Wilmington was last in scoring but best in the league in ERA at 2.82, just ahead of the Mudcats’ 3.05. The Blue Rocks also had struck out 332 in 38 games.
Muddies’ best leadoff man: Sean Godfrey was batting .316 with a .358 on-base and .461 slugging percentage when batting first in the lineup this season; he batted leadoff in 19 of the first 35 games. Everyone else combined was at .164/.250/.197 in the spot.
At Five County Stadium
Myrtle Beach vs.Carolina: Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m.
Wilmington vs. Carolina: Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday (doubleheader) at 5 p.m., Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m.