The Mother’s Day off day is the halfway point of the first half of the Class A Midwest League season.
Five games separate first-place Clinton from eighth-place Beloit in the Western Division. The Eastern Division isn’t quite as balanced — 3 ½ games separate first-place Lansing from fourth-place West Michigan, but the bottom four teams in the division are all under .500 and have a lot of catching up to do.
The Burlington Bees are 15-18 in the Western Division, 4 ½ games behind the LumberKings. An eight-game losing streak sent the Bees falling down the standings, but they’re still in contention for a playoff spot with 37 games to play in the first half.
It’s also a time when candidates for the All-Star Game in Lansing, Mich., start to come into focus.
The Bees have had several players with strong performances to open the season, but it will be interesting to see how many players they get selected.
A look at the players who should receive the most consideration:
• OF Brandon Marsh (.296 AVG/.393 OBP/.487 SLG) — Marsh leads the Bees with 23 runs scored, 22 runs batted in and 11 doubles, and is tied for the team lead with three home runs.
Two things to know that don’t show up in the stats — he can get to pretty much any ball hit his way, and he’s fun to watch running the bases.
There are plenty of reasons why he’s the Angels’ No. 5 prospect (Baseball America).
• OF Jo Adell (.294/.364/.441) — Adell missed two weeks with a thumb injury, but he’s as good as they get in the league.
Adell is the Angels’ No. 2 prospect, and he’s shown that. Like Marsh, he’s played all three outfield positions.
• OF Torii Hunter Jr. (.284/.375/.405) — Hunter went 7-for-46 (.152) to start the season. Since April 23, Hunter is 26-for-70 (.371). He’s also 9-for-11 in stolen bases. Hunter has a current on-base streak of 18 games. He's also played everywhere in the outfield.
• IF Leonardo Rivas (.255/.417/.343) — Rivas can play second base or shortstop, and is flashy at both spots.
He is a pesky leadoff hitter — second on the team with 28 walks — who had been on base for 27 consecutive games to start the season (45 dating back to last season) before being kept off the bases in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at West Michigan.
• 1B/DH David MacKinnon (.281/.462/.382) — Like Rivas, MacKinnon is virtually a guarantee to get on base at least one in a game — his streak of 20 games ended in the second game on Saturday as well.
MacKinnon is tied for second in the league in on-base percentage, and he leads the Bees with 30 walks (No. 2 in the league in that category). He’s also solid defensively — two errors in 26 games at first base.
• IF/OF Gleyvin Pineda (.312/.404/.338) — Pineda could be considered this team’s most valuable player, because he can play just about everywhere. He’s played second base, shortstop and third base, and also played four games in left field.
Pineda went 5-for-5 in the Bees’ 28-6 win over Quad Cities, and he’s had four multi-hit games since then. He has four errors in 23 games.
• IF Julio Garcia (.280/.304/.407) — Another utility specialist, with 13 games at second base, six at third, and 10 at shortstop. Garcia is tied with Marsh and catcher Harrison Wenson for the team lead in home runs at three.
• C Keinner Pina (.250/.297/.310) — Pina had a 13-game hitting streak snapped last week. His batting average is tied for second among Midwest League catchers. He has a league-high 22 assists among catchers. He has thrown out 11 baserunners, tied for best in the league.
• P Mitchell Traver (3-2, 2.25 ERA) — Traver is eighth in the league in earned run average and 11th in WHIP. He’s been a consistent presence in the rotation.
• P Jeremy Beasley (0-2, 2.35 ERA) — His record doesn’t show it, but Beasley has been quite effective in five starts. He’s allowed just 16 hits in 23 innings, with seven walks against 19 strikeouts. He also has a 1.00 WHIP, which would rank him seventh in the league if he had enough innings to qualify. Opposing hitters are hitting .198 against him.
• P Austin Krzeminski (1-1, 1.23 ERA) — The right-hander has made a team-high 10 relief appearances. He has walked just five and struck out 22 in 22 innings, but opposing hitters are hitting .272 against him.
THE NUMBERS GAME
• Hunter is hitting .348 in May, best on the team.
• Garcia is hitting .324 in the last 10 games, best on the team. He also has a team-high 12 hits over that span.
• Garcia has a 10-game hitting streak at Community Field.
• Luis Pena (2016) and Conor Lillis-White (2016) combined for eight shutout innings in Double-A Mobile’s 5-0 win over Mississippi on Monday. Pena, the starter, allowed two hits and struck out five in five innings. Lillis-White struck out three and walked one in three innings.
• Jared Walsh (2016) had a three-run home run in the first inning of High-A Inland Empire’s 6-5 win over Lancaster on Tuesday. He then had two hits, including a double and a home run, in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Lancaster. Walsh ranks third among all Angels’ minor leaguers with eight home runs.
• Alex Klonowski (2015) picked up his first win of the season on Wednesday. Klonowski allowed five hits in six innings, striking out three, in Inland Empire’s 9-8 win over Lancaster on Wednesday.
• David Fletcher (2015) went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs in Triple-A Salt Lake’s 7-2 win over Sacramento on Thursday. He then had two hits and drove in two runs in Friday’s 9-2 win over Sacramento. Fletcher was hitting .374 through Friday’s games, fourth best in the Pacific Coast League.
• Matt Thaiss (2016), Taylor Ward (2015) and Bo Way (2014) each had three hits in Mobile’s 14-3 win over Mississippi on Friday. Ward and Thaiss had home runs and combined for five RBIs. Jesus Castillo (2016-17) picked up the win, striking out four in five innings.
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Kane County (6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday) — The Cougars make their first appearance at Community Field this season. Two of the best pitching staffs in the league face off — Burlington is second in the league in ERA, while Kane County is fifth.
• At Wisconsin (6:30 p.m. Friday, 1:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) — The Bees see the Timber Rattlers, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, for the first time this season. Outfielder Tristan Lutz (.182), the Brewers No. 8 (MLB.com) prospect, has struggled this season. Left fielder Joantgel Segovia (.402) is second in the league in hitting. Pitcher Dylan File is 5-1.