FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps have the second-worst record in the Midwest League – and their fair share of issues.
About a third of the way through the season, they have battled injuries (Pete Kelich, Walker Lockett), a slow start and even a busted sprinkler.
Despite signs of promise, the TinCaps have begun the season basically losing three of every five games.
To be precise, they’ve lost 28 of 45 and have a better record than only Lake County (16-30).
Still, because the playoff system rewards late-season performance, the TinCaps can always get back in the race.
So before today’s game with Lansing opens a pivotal six-game homestand, let’s examine three big questions surrounding the team.
The team’s biggest issue is the defense. The TinCaps had a .965 fielding percentage last season that kept them competitive. They have 88 errors in 45 games this season. They’re on pace to shatter the franchise record of 230 errors in a season, set in 1995 and matched in 1998.
Shortstop Franchy Cordero, who started the season with high hopes, found himself struggling in the field with a team-leading 18 errors and was sent down.
Cordero’s .793 fielding percentage spoke to a plethora of mental and physical miscues.
He may be back in Fort Wayne at some point.
Infielders Dustin Peterson (17 errors), Fernando Perez (11) and Josh VanMeter (nine) must play better defense to help turn the season around.
That is what TinCaps fans must fear – because he’s been their best player. If you project Perez’s statistics out, and he played every one of Fort Wayne’s remaining games, he would finish at .321 with 12 homers and 68 RBI.
Perez is on a much different pace than last year. He hit .223 and had four homers and 10 doubles in lower levels in 2013. This season, he is already at five homers and 12 doubles. His slugging percentage is not even comparable (.332 in 2013, .482 now).
Perez is crushing righties, hitting .346 with a .526 slugging percentage. He turns 21 at the end of this season. The TinCaps could sure use his continued presence.
Bad to good?
Starters Walker Weickel and Coby Cowgill could stop struggling. One of those two must pitch well for Fort Wayne to make a playoff push.
The TinCaps think they are going to throw better the rest of the way – which is probably a safe bet, since each has a 6-plus ERA. Also, the TinCaps are 6-15 in games decided by two runs or less. They surely are due for some better luck in close games.