Tennessee Smokies Mid-Season Review

Standings

First Half, 27-43, 5th place (of 5 teams), 14 games back
Second Half, 11-4, 1st place

It's good to see the Smokies start off the second half of the season strong, after a terrible first half of their campaign. With a steady flow of callups from the recent draft classes (which are generally better than a few years ago), they have the ability to continue their winning ways.

All Stars

Donnie Veal

Veal is the long representative from the Smokies in the All Star game, scheduled for July 14th. Having the worst record in the Southern League for the first half will do that.

Positional Player of the 1st Half

This was difficult, because there wasn't much to choose from. But 1-sack/OF Doug Deeds stood out above the rest. Deeds was the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal, and many Cubs fans (including those at TD) were not pleased with JH for acquiring a 27 year old who had yet to crack the Bigs after being drafted in '02. But Deeds has impressed, at least for AA. He is hitting .335, good for 3rd in the Southern League, with an OBP of .402. His 7 HR's are tied for the team lead (with Tyler Colvin). His 36 RBI's and 6 SB's both rank second among the Smokies.
Pitcher of the 1st Half

This one comes down to a numbers game. Do you take the guy with the better ERA, or the guy who has some better numbers once you move past ERA? It was a hard choice, but I went with the latter and picked Mitch Atkins (7th round, 2004) over Donnie Veal. I should start off with the statement that this was difficult. It was difficult for me to pick Atkins with a 4.03 ERA over Veal, whose ERA is 3.43. But hear's why I did. Atkins has record an 8-6 record, doubling the win total of Veal. Atkins averages over 6 innings per start, while Veal is less than 5 and 1/3. Atkins has 17 more K's than Veal, despite one fewer start and has a 3.27 K/W ratio to Veal's 1.37. Atkin's WHIP is over 2 tenths of a point lower. What does this all mean? It means that Veal has the inate ability to work himself out of jams, while Atkins doesn't. But Atkins has produced more Smokie W's (mmm....Smokie W's) and has gone deeper into the games.

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