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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Walk through the Minors: High-A Salem

After 32 games, the Salem (Va.) Avalanche sit at the bottom of the Carolina League Southern Division at 13-19, 9.5 games behind the Kinston Indians. Run production has been a struggle for the Avalanche, now that sluggers like Hunter Pence and Ben Zobrist have made the jump to Corpus Christi. C Lou Santangelo is the only Avalanche regular with a SLG over .400 (.402). Guys like Beau Torbert, Scott Robinson, Santangelo and Francisco Carabello who all had success at Lexington in 2005 have gotten off to slow starts this season in Salem.

Two of the Astros' most prized arms are pitching in Salem to start the season. Jimmy Barthmeier, the Pitcher of the Year for the Legends in 2005, is 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA thus far in 2006. He has allowed only 1 HR in 36 innings pitched, but he is struggling with his command (19 BB). Most importantly in the eyes of most fans is young Troy Patton, who is currently 0-4 with a 4.73 ERA. Much like Barthmeier, Patton has kept the ball in the park but had trouble finding the plate (1 HR and 15 BB in 26+ innings pitched). Chad Reineke has been the stud of the rotation so far, going 3-1 out of the gate in six starts with a 1.77 ERA. Reineke has a WHIP of 0.95 and has struck out 37 batters in 35+ innings of work. Reineke is a 24 year old RHP out of Miami (OH) University who pitched very well at each of his first two stops, Tri-City in 2004 and Lexington in 2005. He may very well be the first of the three horses at Salem to get the call up to Double-A.


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