The Bowling Green Hot Rods will be well represented in a couple of weeks in West Michigan, as the Midwest League announced their All-Star rosters and five Hot Rods were honored. Kean Wong, Granden Goetzman, Jake Faria, Ryne Stanek and Ian Kendall will represent the Hot Rods and Rays in the MWL All-Star Game, which will take place on June 17th. Both Wong and Goetzman are also slated to be in the Eastern Division’s starting line up.
Wong, the youngest member on the Hot Rods team at 19, is currently fifth in the MWL in batting average, hitting .320, and has reached base safely in 34 of Bowling Green’s 44 games played. His power numbers aren’t eye popping (zero home runs and 10 RBI), but they should come along as he matures. Also, Wong currently has the best fielding percentage in the MWL (.989), having committed just two errors at second base all year.
Goetzman has been hot this season, and is not a surprise to be making the trip to West Michigan. The Hot Rods’ outfielder is third in the league in batting average at .323, and has 24 extra base hits so far, which is also good enough for third in the league. The Rays 2011 2nd round pick has 22 multi-hit games this year, and has four home runs with 22 RBI as well as 33 runs scored. Goetzman has played exclusively in left field so far, where he has only made three errors and has a fielding percentage of .963.
The other three Hot Rods honorees are arms. Jake Faria, who was the Hot Rods’ Opening Night starter, is 3-3 with a 3.91 ERA through 10 starts. He has also been good…very good…early, having gone nearly perfect through five innings on three occasions. Faria was even a two-out double away from a seven-inning perfect game late in April against South Bend. So far he has racked up 42 strikeouts to only 18 walks and a WHIP of 1.094 after 53 innings of work.
Another starter in Ryne Stanek will join the Eastern squad after just five Bowling Green starts. In that time, the 2013 1st rounder has gone 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA. He has also allowed no more than one run in four of his five outings. Stanek’s 22 strikeouts to seven walks (in just 27.1 innings of work) and an upper 90’s fast ball has landed him on the All-Star roster despite so few outings.
Rounding out the Hot Rods’ contingent is reliever Ian Kendall. Kendall has appeared in 16 games, and has a 2.57 ERA while holding batters to a .167 average. With many Low-A pitchers rarely going long enough to constitute for a win, Kendall has the best record of the three pitchers headed to West Michigan, with a 3-1 record and a save.
The Hot Rods have turned things around tremendously since that putrid opening three weeks, and are now just three games under .500. And, while one could argue for the placement of a guy like Johnny Field, Darryl George or Jesus Araiza on an All-Star team, the five guys who did get the nod have been a big help to the turn around, and are huge reasons why 2014 might not be a season to forget after all.