Thursday, April 24, 2008

Signs of Progress

Following their slow start, the Kinston Indians went 4-6 over their last 10 games. The progress didn't come without more disappointment. The K-Tribe only took one game in Wilmington to finish off their first road trip, and lost three out of four to Myrtle Beach to start a season-long 11-game homestand. The success began to show up in spurts this week, as Kinston won their first series of the year, taking two out of three against the Salem Avalanche, the team that held first place in the South Division going into the series. The pitching problems Kinston faced earlier in this young season seem to have been partially rectified. The K-Tribe bats, however, have gone cold.
The Indians' Beau Mills, thought to be one of the hottest prospects at the Single-A level can't seem to get on base. He went 1-for-12 in the Salem series, and is 2-for-27 on the current homestand with 2 walks. His average has dropped to .193 going into Thursday's action, not what is expected for a player ranked the #3 prospect in the organization by Baseball America player has more than one round-tripper on the year. Mills is not the only one in a hitting slump, in fact there is a team-wide power outage. The Indians have hit only four home runs in their first 16 games, and haven't visited souvenir city (courtesy Eric Young, Baseball Tonight) since April 12th, an 11-game drought. No Kinston player has more than one round tripper on the season. One bright spot of the Kinston offense is outfielder Johnny Drennen, who has been on-base in all 16 games this season. Also, Nick Weglarz is leading the league in on-base percentage at .484.
While the starting rotation continues to find itself, the Indians are finding great relief in the bullpen. The rotation has yet to pick up a win, going 0-7 with a 6.53 ERA. The organization standard 75-pitch limit to starters means that the relievers play a greater role in the outcome of a game. One of those relievers is Luis Perdomo, who in five appearances (8.0 IP) this season, has yet to allow a run. Dan Cevette has been a good addition to the 'pen since his call-up from extended Spring Training on April 17th. Cevette has struck out six batters in five innings of work.
K-Tribe radio voice and colleague Chris Hemeyer says the past week has been encouraging, and if the Indians have a respectable road trip, the fan base will take notice that this team can compete. Even as it stands now, the Indians are only four games out of first place in the South. The Indians finish up the homestand with a four-game series against the only North Division team they have not faced, the Lynchburg Hillcats. Kinston follows up the long home stretch with a lengthy road trip, with visits to Salem, Lynchburg, and Fredrick. Look for the next post at the end of the Salem series for a look back of the Indians' play in April and a May preview. Remember you can catch all the action on the Kinston Indians Radio Network or online at

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Week to Forget

This is the first of what will be weekly reviews of Kinston's play until I go down there and see for myself. It will analyze the stats, games, players, and what the voice of the K-Tribe, Chris Hemeyer tells me in our many conversations.

A 1-5 start might not seem like the end of the world to some fan bases, but when it happens to a team that has won more games than any team in Minor League Baseball, it's more than a blip on the radar screen. The Kinston Indians lost 2 out of 3 to Fredrick, after their opening series against Winston-Salem was washed out and before being swept at Potomac. Three of the five losses were one-run games, and the K-Tribe had a lead in two of them.
The young pitching staff seems to be going through some growing pains, because Steven Wright, Kinston's opening day starter, is the only pitcher with any college experience. Hector Rondon was roughed up in his first two starts last week, giving up 12 runs in just 7 and one-third innings. Paolo Espino gave up 10 runs in the series opener against Potomac, taking the 12-5 loss. Wright picked up a no-decision in his only start of the year against Potomac, as Kinston blew a 7-0 lead to lose 8-7.
None of this is new for manager Chris Tremie, who managed many of these same players at Low-A Lake County last year. Tremie himself also 14 years of playing experience in the minor leagues, so he knows how fragile this situation is working with young players and a fairly new team. He also strives discipline, though, as Chris Hemeyer told me the team got an early wakeup call Sunday, in order to do some early batting practice before Sunday's matinée, a move not usually done for day games.
The hitting is coming from the usual sources; Beau Mills is hitting over .400 and the combination of Jared Goedert and Jered Head has both players in the top-five in on-base percentage on the team. The Indians have received a big spark behind the plate in free agent pickup Alex Castillo, who is hitting .417 with a homer and four RBIs.
Hemeyer thinks once the pitchers stop using the kid gloves and adjust to the new level of hitters, they will settle in. He feels that Fredrick and Potomac have two of the more stacked lineups in the Carolina League, plus the K-Tribe had to deal with Ross Detwiler of Potomac, the priced blue-chip draft pick of the Nationals farm system. I saw him pitch in person in college and in his September call-up with the Nationals. From watching the kid, he has talent that's ready for the Major Leagues.
This week the Indians finish out their first road trip in Wilmington against the Blue Rocks, before beginning an 11-game homestand on Thursday. Kinston will face Myrtle Beach for four games, Salem for three, and Lynchburg for four. Remember you can catch every Kinston Indians game on the Kinston Indians Radio Network or online at To find your affiliate or listen online go to That's this week's K-Tribe roundup, Let the comments roll on in.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Welcome to the Blogosphere

This site has been dormant since I've created it, and finally after much procrastination, let's start the party.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Will Palaszczuk and I will join Chris Hemeyer this year on Kinston Indians radio broadcasts. I grew up watching Carolina League baseball with the Potomac Nationals, back when they were the Prince William Cannons. I watched the K-Tribe on a couple of occasions in Woodbridge, but not enough to garner any comparisons to the current team on the field.

Moving to Kinston for the summer will be a new, challenging, but hopefully fun experience. I hope I can bring you the best coverage of the Indians by seeing them everyday.

For fans, feel free to come up to me and ask me anything, and for friends of mine who read this page, feel free to critique (within reason) what you think about the work I do.

This will be my first job in play-by-play, so I'm asking you to take my first few innings with a grain of salt.

I will be posting game recaps for the first month or so until I get down to Kinston on May 23rd, and observations I hear of from Chris. Once I get to Kinston I hope to post game notes, lineup cards, recaps, and audio highlights from every game I see. It might seem like a lot, but it's a labor of love. Baseball is a passion of mine and being able to work in it is a dream come true for me.

Look for my season preview with the next post, Catch Chris with the first pitch Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Grainger Stadium as the Indians open up with the Winston-Salem Warthogs.

Lastly, thank you for welcoming me to the blogosphere, it's gonna be a fun ride.