You looked at that title and thought this post was going to be about Tony Bernazard and the Binghamton Mets, didn’t you?
Actually, the escalation in question is the California League homerun race. Just a couple weeks ago, I was ready to fit High Desert third baseman Alex Liddi for a Triple Crown. The 20-year-old slugger was leading the league in just about everything, including homeruns, runs batted in, and batting average.
He still stands at the head of the line in the latter two (despite a spirited battle from teammate Jamie McOwen, who has seen his batting average slide to .335 since his hitting streak ended), but the first one? Homeruns? That’s another story.
Liddi has no homeruns and only five runs batted in in his last ten games. His teammate, Joseph Dunigan, has four and nine in that same stretch, moving him past the Italian Stallion in homeruns (22-20) and narrowing the gap in RBI (78-73).
The big mover and shaker, however, resides in Lancaster. Jonathan Gaston, the JetHawks leftfielder, has seven homeruns and twelve runs batted in in his last six games, including two straight two-homerun outings. Last Wednesday, he and Liddi were tied atop the standings with twenty homeruns each; Gaston now has 27 and a commanding lead. And, like Dunigan, he is narrowing the RBI lead by the day (78-72).
These guys can be shuffled up to a higher classification at any time, but until/unless they are, the homerun standings in the California League are gonna be a lot of fun to watch.