Hot Rod of the Day 4/30/14: Darryl George

By Fletcher Keel

The Bowling Green Hot Rods won their fifth game in their last eight they have played yesterday, in a game that nearly broke a team record in time played (I’ll say this – it took 90 minutes to play three innings). Finally, things came to a close, and the Hot Rods escaped with an 11-9 victory over the South Bend Silver Hawks.

The Hot Rods scored in six of the nine innings played, including three innings each of three runs (the first, fourth and fifth), and the Bowling Green ‘pen held the Silver Hawks off just enough to take the victory. While the pitching was shaky, the offense was outstanding – four of the starting nine had a multi-hit game, and the first five spots in the order accounted for all 11 of Bowling Green’s runs. Crossing the plate more than anyone else on the day is our Hot Rod of the Day, mister Darryl George.

George signed with the Rays in May of 2011 at the ripe age of 17, and is a native of Australia, so it should come as no surprise that he spends time Down Under in the off season with the Australian Baseball League. He has completed as many ABL seasons as he has here stateside (three), but unlike in America, George has been on a steady team (as opposed to moving from the Gulf Coast, to Princeton, to Hudson Valley to now be with Bowling Green).

During the winter (which is really Australia’s summer), George is an infielder for the Melbourne Aces, which are one of six members of the ABL. The Aces were founded in 2009, but played their first season over the 2010-2011 campaign. In that time, Melbourne has become a solid contender, having made two appearances in the ABL championship series, but have yet to capture the Claxton Shield.

Since playing with the Aces in 2011, George has ended each season with a batting average of .231, .211 and in his most recent season, .217. Last year did see George set an ABL career high in home runs (2), and has a total of 3 spanning his three seasons. He has totaled 22 RBI over his three seasons as well, including two seasons each of 8. (Those numbers in no way translate into U.S. success–he had 28 RBI in Princeton, as well as 18 in Hudson Valley.) George has seen more and more at bats in his Aussie career (he ended 2011 with only 78 and had 138 this past year), and all that work has translated well into the Rays system, and George helped Melbourne nearly make the playoffs, but missed out due to a tie breaker with the Canberra Calvary. George, yesterday, had a 3-for-4 day, with a home run, three RBI and those aforementioned four runs batted in. He is hitting .328 in the early going in 2014.

If you haven’t ever paid attention to the ABL before, take notice. Not only is Daryl George in their system, but last year saw four Hot Rods play for the Brisbane Bandits – Tyler Goeddel, Patrick Leonard, Joey Rickard and Justin O’Conner. If the Rays like what the ABL does with their prospects, and in turn the ABL like what they receive from the Rays, we might see a new trend, and add six more teams into the winter baseball mix.