The Greensboro Grasshoppers were almost perfect at home during the recent 8 game home stand. The Hoppers went 7-1 against the likes of Asheville and Kannapolis. The Grasshoppers took 3 of 4 from the Tourists and swept the Imtimidators. The Hoppers were red hot at home and after Monday’s 12:30 pm 6-1 win over KI the team sports a 17-7 home record for 2006.
Ryan Tucker got his first win of the year on Monday and for the series Kris Harvey was killing the ball with 6 homeruns in eight days. Harvey has been on a tear and the entire team continues to get it done and finds itself just a few games out of first place as the first half heads down the stretch.
The Hoppers will begin a road stretch on Tuesday taking the bus to Greenville, South Carolina to face the Drive. You gotta hope the Hoppers can transfer the home success to the visiting venues and that the Greensboro boys will find a way to keep the victories coming on the road.
The Hoppers are in the hunt and they have already lost one player to advancement up the minor league ladder as Daniel Barone is long gone to Jupiter to join the Hammerheads and take his spot in the starting rotation for the Marlins high class A club in Florida.
Who will be the next player to move up and take his place in the spotlight? Many fans are pointing to Gaby Sanchez with his 13 HR’s and 37 RBI’s and the word on Sanchez is not if, but when he will be out of here. Doug Cockman and Jim Modlin have touted Sanchez as the Marlins superstar of the future and I hope that D&J are corret in their evaluations.
Pitcher David Humen spent time here in Greensboro last year and he might be ready to take the trip South once he gets some more work in and has enough innings to be ready to make that jump. If Kris Harvey keeps on doing what he has been doing in right field and at the plate he will be a candidate to go to the next level. Harvey has a cannon for an arm in right field and was a pitcher in college(95-97 mph) at Clemson, so this kid should get a long look as the season moves along.
Blake Jones has looked sharpe coming out of the bullpen and he was with Jupiter last season and he was sent to Greenboro this year for some seasoning and with him approaching 10 saves already out of the pen Jonesie might be your man to join the staff at Jupiter.
There are a lot of candidates and another that gets a strong nod for the All-Star team and a shot at the higher level before this season is over is the shortstop Augustin Septimo. Septimo has been amazing at short and Brandon Hyde the Hoppers skipper, says we had another player at short a few years back by the name of Robert Andino that reminds him of the current SS Septimo. Andino is now in the Marlins starting lineup at the top level due to some injuries with the parent club but if you ask me, Septimo looks smoother at short than Andino did here back in 2004. We have come to expect Septimo to make every play and so far he has not disappointed the fans or the guys in the ties and white shirts.
Septimo has been the money-man in the field for the Hoppers and he deserves a chance to show his stuff at the next level some time soon. It will be Septimo Time before you know it and he will be a fond memory for everyone that had a chance to watch him play at First Horizon Park. Septimo is also out-hitting Andino if you look at both players at the same stage here on the farm in low class A ball.
There will be other Hoppers that will get looks and chances to move up this season as long as the team keeps putting winning numbers on the board. I would expect to see the young 19 year old pitching staff stay here together all season long and that would be a good thing. The Marlins should send the older players(Humen and Jones) up to Jupiter and keep the young guns here and let them develop together for another season. Volstad, Thompson, and West are looking real solid and Ryan Tucker is coming around and is proving he can be a winner too if he gets the necessary run support.
It’s fun watching the Hoppers when they are winning and they have been doing plenty of that as of late. Keep the W’s coming and we might still see this team in the playoffs before this campain is complete.