The big news of the week actually happened yesterday as the Tennessee Smokies clinched their second straight playoff berth! They still have six games left to go but it’s still a little murky about whether they will be second-half division champions or the wild card. They currently hold a four game lead over Chattanooga for the division title. That means the Smokies division title magic number is three heading into a six games set with Rocket City. Chattanooga will be playing Birmingham all week. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter as Chattanooga has home-field advantage for the semi finals. Either way, it’s just a matter of bragging rights for the division title.

The South Bend Cubs completed their season yesterday. They went 57-73 on the year and 27-38 in the second half. It’s a little early to do an affiliate review as a season just ended. I would not be surprised to see a few Cubs head up to Tennessee. Kevin Alcantara would be one and maybe Ezequiel Pagán, Connor Noland, and Sheldon Reed, just to name a few. It appears that Moises Ballesteros is on his way.

As for Iowa, they have fallen off the pace quite a bit. They still have a little over two weeks left to play. Their elimination number, though, is just six as it does not look like they are going to be anywhere close to a spot.

Myrtle Beach will be hopping into the playoffs on Tuesday at Charleston. And then the Birds return home for Thursday night and, if necessary, Friday again in Myrtle Beach. The starting pitching lineup has not been announced, but I will probably say the rotation will go with Jackson Ferris, Drew Gray, and probably Marino Santy, if necessary on Friday. That’s just speculation on my part.

By the Numbers

One thing I have been thinking about lately has been who will be starting at which affiliate next year. And when I say who, I mean the draft picks. One thing we’ve seen a lot the past couple of years has been the dramatic transformation of players the year after they get drafted. What is strange for this year‘s class is there are about three times as many hitters as normal from the past couple of drafts.

One player who I am up in the air about where they will begin next year is infielder Josh Rivera. Greg Zumach kindly dropped some knowledge for us on the X yesterday about how well Rivera has been doing.

Stat of the Week

This post just shows just how ridiculously well his transition to being a professional baseball player has gone. I am beginning to wonder if he returns to Tennessee next year to begin the 2024 season.

Another Day, Another Poll

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder where he ends this year. I’m pretty sure Shaw’s going to be in the playoffs with Tennessee the week of the 19th. But after that, who knows where he’ll go.

Offseason Plans

I started planning out what I’d like to do this off-season and when. I am probably going to take some of this week and next off, other than playoff recaps. October is looking pretty busy with the yearly awards, affiliate reviews, top storylines for 2024, and breakout players of the year. November also looks busy as well as I will be starting my offseason series, most improved week, some mailbox posts, and the position breakdown along with an affiliate sneak peek a week.

Players of the Week 

Hitter of the Week – Jared Young hit 6 HRs, drove in 10, and hit .458 with a 1.760 OPS. Wow! Kevin Alcantara is the runner up with 10 RBI this week while hitting .556. Yup, send him to Tennessee. Brian Kalmer of Myrtle Beach was right there too as he had 10 RBI with 3 dingers and an OBP of .458.

Starting Pitcher of the Week – Walker Powell was strong again for the Smokies. He went six scoreless with 6 Ks this week. Jackson Ferris was the runner up as he went 5 scoreless innings with 6 Ks.

Reliever of the Week – Riley Martin – 4.1 IP, 0 Runs, and 8 Ks!  He just needs to make that leap to Triple-A.

And that’s it for the Breakdown this year!