First half record: 47–18 and a playoff spot clinched
A South Division first half championship is a good way to start the year for the Pelicans. An even better way is to have the best record in all of minor league baseball, which they did. Using a very good rotation, an excellent but older bullpen, and some young studs, the Pelicans displayed one of the most dominating half seasons I’ve seen in a while all the while Charleston, who had the second best record in minor league baseball, was nipping at their heels up until the final second.
Whether it was Devers and Hodge, who were the pitchers of the month in April and May, or Pete Crow Armstrong, Kevin Alcantara, James Triantos, or Kevin Made, they were always in a game. They had no qualms about being down five runs and they often came back a lot of times to get the win.
Very slowly, the roster has been changing without much fanfare. Most of the original bullpen is now in South Bend. Three of the key players on offense are also in South Bend in Pete Crow-Armstrong, Yeison Santana, and BJ Murray. Alcantara, Made, and Triantos are probably going stick around for another 4 to 6 weeks until after the draft. They are still fairly young at 19.
Most of the starting rotation should be staying in Myrtle Beach to start the second half outside of Devers who is already in South Bend. Outfielder Ezequiel Pagán is the most likely position player to move first. You never know though; whoever the Cubs think is ready for the next level is going to be the player that moves.
Second half thoughts
In the first couple games after the halves switched, the Pelicans’ offense kind of looked anemic. They struggled to score runs and the pressure to win may have created some bad habits. That post-championship hangover did not stay very long as Charleston came to town and the ‘Birds were back in business.
Hopefully, Christian Franklin can get healthy along with Parker Chavers and both can come in and take over the outfield for a couple of players that move up. Neither neither of them are playing in Arizona right now, so who knows when that’s going to happen. We could see a few players come up from Mesa eventually but college draft picks are more likely.
Still, there are going to be some changes over the next few weeks and especially the trade deadline.
If the Pelicans need pitching help until then, pitching coach Clayton Mortensen is going to have his work cut out for him because that’s not exactly the strength of the Complex League team in Mesa.
What kept Myrtle Beach going the last two weeks of the first half was their starting pitching and bullpen. If they lose much more to South Bend, it could be a rough learning experience for Buddy Bailey’s crew until the draft picks arrive in August…or not. You never know about these things, especially with Buddy at the helm. It will be interesting to see how this team is put together come August 1.
Thanks for reading today!