Checking in on the Chicago Dogs and Their All-Stars
The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (AA) has reached their All-Star break. Let’s take a look at how our Dogs are doing.
The Chicago Dogs enter the 2019 all-star break with a record of 37-23, which is amazingly only good enough for third place in the competitive North Division. They’ve been blazing hot of late, winning five straight and going 14-1 over the last 15 games. I mentioned they are in the All-Star break, and the Dogs are well-represented with two position players and a starting pitching getting the call.
2012 Chicago White Sox first-round pick (supplemental) Keon Barnum has been tearing the cover off the ball and was named the most recent AA player of the week. On the season he is hitting .324, has a league-high 18 HR, and he’s second overall with 57 RBI through his 59 games. If he stays hot, he may even threaten for a triple crown. In his first year out of the MLB farm system, he appears to be putting together the tools that led to his high draft position.
Speaking of triple crowns, Luke Westphal is in line to compete for the pitching version after a sterling start to the season (he didn’t give up a hit until his third start and didn’t surrender a run until his fifth) that he has carried into the break. His 8-1 record has him tied for the league lead in wins, his 90 strikeouts lead by a sizable margin, and his 2.62 ERA is a close second. He has the peripherals to match with a K/9 of 12.4 and a WHIP of 0.94. While Westphal went undrafted out of UW-Oshkosh, he spent some time in the Minnesota Twins organization. Given another opportunity, I think he could surprise some folks. In unrelated but awesome news, he walked former Chicago Cubs All-Star (!) Bryan LaHair when the two crossed paths in the Atlantic League in 2017.
Outfielder Victor Roache rounds out our Dogs all-stars. Like Barnum, Roache is also a 2012 first-round pick; he was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers. Roache also spent time in the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals systems. He’s got some serious boom in his stick, hitting .308 with 13 HR and 44 RBI. He’s also been mistake-free out in right field this season.
Carlos Zambrano continues on his comeback tour, and thus far his results have been solid, though not spectacular. As a relief pitcher, he’s got a 2-0 record and a 3.68 ERA over 29.1IP to go along with 24 K and a terrific 5 BB. With the bat in his hands, he’s been much more pedestrian in limited action, going 3-18 this season with two singles and a double. He’s pitching well enough to prove he belongs, but as it stands he needs to find another gear if he wants to find himself back on the major league radar. As for his bat? The days of El Toro striking fear in the heart of an opposing pitcher may have passed. At least we have the memories!
I’ll be honest, when I first started mentioned writing about the Dogs to the crew I was more caught up in the idea of it, and Carlos Zambrano of course. I did not anticipate enjoying it so much or that I’d find myself checking in while they are on the road (you can stream their games, including the All-Star game), but I’ve got the fever and the Chicago Dogs hat to prove it. Don’t miss out on seeing them this year, I’ll see you over by the cornhole court.
Featured Photo: TheChicagoDogs.com
Stats courtesy baseball-reference.com