Five Skeeters to play in All-Star Game
By Bill McCaughey |
For The Fort Bend Star –
Jeremy Barfield, Travis Scott, Andrew Johnston, Derrick Loop and Robbie Weinhardt will represent the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League All-Star Game at Lancaster, Penn.
Barfield, an outfielder, and Scott, a catcher, were chosen by league officials, coaching staffs and media voting, while pitchers Johnston, Loop and Weinhardt were selected by the Liberty Division manager, Brett Jodie.
At the end of the first half of the season, Barfield is having a Triple Crown season as he is third in the league in batting average with a .317 average, third in homeruns with 11, and second in RBI’s with 45. Scott is tied with Barfield with 11 homeruns and is 15th in the league with 32 RBIs.
Over the years, Barfield’s average has been around .260, but this year he has improved 60 points to the .320 range. According to Barfield, his vision was holding him back.
“I have been playing with sub-par vision my whole career and in the off season I had the Lasik procedure and now I can see the ball. I haven’t changed anything in my approach to hitting or my workouts, but I can see the ball much better now.”
Despite Barfield’s triple crown numbers, so far no major league teams have contacted him about signing with them.
“It’s a little disheartening, but it gives my something to strive for. I’m not content and I keep working hard,” he said.
Scott was selected to the all-star team for the third consecutive year. His home run numbers are up this year, and Scott attributes it to being better rested this season.
“Gary (Gaetti) has been playing me at designated hitter and first base more this year, and that gives me some rest from catching full-time. Being the DH requires a different approach. Its more mind taxing than catching, where you are involved in every pitch.”
This season Scott is a player-coach for the Skeeters. His coaching duties include helping players in the batting cage before the game, and handling some administrative duties for Gaetti.
“The most interesting part was before the season started helping put the team together. I’ve played 11 years professionally and know a lot of players. I would pass on to Gary the names of players that would fit in here in Sugar Land. We want players that can play and are good in the clubhouse,” said Scott.
Scott is optimistic about the second half.
“I think we have the right group of players for the second half. We had some injuries in the first half, but those should be behind us now,” he said.
Scott will participate in the all-star game home run derby.
“Lancaster has a short right field porch, so it is friendly to left-handers,” Scott said.
Pitching coach Jeff Scott attributes better health for all three of his all-star pitchers having great seasons.
Johnston has a 1.00 earned run average in 36 innings pitched, and he has 5 wins and 1 loss.
“Andrew Johnston has stepped it up a notch this year. Every outing has been good. He is a strike thrower,” said Scott.
Closer Loop has a 0.87 ERA on 31 innings pitched, and is second in the league with 16 saves.
“Loop is just being Loop. Last year he had a 1.27 ERA but had elbow problems during the season. He had bone chips taken out of his elbow during the off-season and he is now healthy,” said Scott.
Weinhardt has a 2.25 ERA in 32 innings pitched, and has a record of 5-4.
“This season is Robbie Weinhardt’s second season after Tommy John surgery and he is pitching great for us. He is more successful at throwing strikes this season,” Scott said.
The five all-stars will travel to Lancaster on Tuesday, and attend the all-star dinner Tuesday night. The homerun contest will be before the game on Wednesday night. The players will then rejoin the Skeeters in Bridgeport to continue the second half of the season.