Sunday was "Rockies Affiliation Day" in New Britain, so it was apropos the Rock Cats barely got in the last game of their homestand before the wind and torrential downpours commenced. New Britain came into its most recent home stretch an excellent 14-4 at New Britain Stadium and won its series against the Altoona Curve (Pirates) before losing two out of three to New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) over the weekend.
Although the Rock Cats won the series against the Western Division leading Curve, it came with a significant cost. An in-game collision caused a scary on-field situation during last Thursday's game when David Dahl and Juan Ciriaco collided going after a ball.
Dahl was severely injured and ruptured his spleen in the crash. For medical reasons, Dahl ultimately decided to have it surgically removed and miraculously could even be back on the field again in 2015. Even if Dahl returns in a few months it will be the second year of his young professional career that he will miss significant time due to an injury. It's another bad bit of luck, but Dahl remains positive. We here at Purple Row wish David all the best for a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the field soon.
The Rock Cats enter June with a 4.5 game lead over the Reading Fightin' Phils (Phillies) despite a 4-6 slide in their last ten games. They have been in first place in the Eastern Division since April 24th and are the only team in the Eastern League with 30 wins. The team is off to the the best overall start in Rock Cats history (eat your heart out Twins) and managed a 13-game winning streak to start the month of May; New Britain has only lost two series at home all season and return to New Britain on Friday.
Trevor Story remains the team leader in batting average (.371), runs (34), runs batted in (30) and trails only Tom Murphy in home runs ----- Murph has eight home runs to Story's seven. Story continues to bounce between shortstop and second base, though he predominantly is playing short. In the time I've seen Story, he has has easily fielded all the balls hit to him but has showed limited range going to his left, particularly deep in the hole closer to second base.
Fangraphs Kiley McDaniel suggested to me that Story's bat was the biggest question mark but he described him as "a fine shortstop". Ben Badley of Baseball America also expressed the sentiment that Colorado is committed to sticking with Story at short, though New Britain manager Darin Everson has started him in several games at second base to give the team (and Story) some additional versatility.
Last month there was a promotion of note, as Yohan Flande was promoted from New Britain to Albuquerque and made three (less than stellar) appearances for the Rockies. Flande pitches to contact but managed to dominate the Eastern League in six starts and a total 39.2 innings. During his time in a Rock Cats uniform, Flande had a 1.36 earned run average and a .190 batting average against. Though he is a non-prospect, he could give the Rockies additional innings out of the bullpen.
Steven Martano is a Contributing Prospect Writer for Purple Row & a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano.