Cutter Dykstra – The second baseman may never want to leave Reading the way he hit over the two-game weekend set in Pretzel City. Dykstra clubbed his first two AA home runs in the series and led the Senators to a 10-3 victory on Saturday evening as he went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. He has adjusted well to his first taste of Double-A as he’s hitting .309/.367/.491 in 13 games and is proving to be a spark plug near the top of the batting order.
HGH – Neil Holland, Matt Grace, and Tyler Herron have been spectacular out of the bullpen for the Senators in 2014. They’ve put up tons of zeroes and eaten up a lot of innings in the early going. Best yet, this trio of holdovers from last season is doing their best work with runners on base as they’re holding opposing hitters to a .129 batting average in that situation.
Wheels Under the Hood – Destin Hood’s resurgence is not just at the plate, but on the basepaths as well. Through 12 games, the outfielder has already stolen six bases without being caught. That total already equals his output from last season and puts him well ahead of his career-best of 21 bases in a season which he accomplished at Potomac in 2011.
Can the Game Just Begin in the 2nd? – To say the Senators have had first inning struggles would be an understatement. Out of the 74 runs the Senators have given up so far, 27 (or 36%) have come in the first frame in 12 of the 14 games played. Those are all stats that have been widely reported and commented on. But would you believe that the starting pitchers’ earned run averages in the first inning is 16.07 while the rest of the time it is 4.09? The starters need to do something different.
Matt Purke – One of those starters, Purke, came into the season ranked as the Nationals’ eleventh rated prospect in their system. Through three early starts, he has labored with his command and efficiency. The southpaw gets good run and sink from his delivery angle which produces a ton of groundball outs (26 so far), but when he’s up in the zone he’s also allowed a flyball rate of 47%. Purke has averaged 19 pitches per inning which isn’t going to see him go deep into too many games.
Colin Bates – The UNC product has scuffled in his first go-round at Double-A. Bates has been scored on in each of his four appearances and even though it’s a small sample size, opposing righthanded batters are posting an OPS of 1.296 against him. For comparison sake, the last three seasons he has held those same hitters to a ridiculously consistent .593, .594, and .599. Bates has the talent to stick and thrive here, he just needs to get his feet under him and trust his stuff can play at this level.