As we showed you yesterday, Hickory has some massive, massive power. Their 167 homers is second in the minors behind only Stockton. That total is also better than all but one major league team, the Orioles, who have swatted an MLB-best 177 bombs.
With great power, of course, comes great swing-and-miss potential. And the Crawdads have that in spades. Their 1,366 whiffs tops all of professional baseball. To put that in perspective, the Astros have 1,252 strikeouts this season. The Crawdads have fanned 114 times more than the Astros.
Hickory’s King of the K, Lewis Brinson, leads baseball with 185 punchouts in 118 games. That’s six more than Houston’s Chris Carter—in three fewer games.
So with Greensboro’s Chipper Smith—a 23-year-old lefty with a decent curveball and changeup to go with a low-90s heater—on the hill last night, there was a good feeling that the evening’s forecast could be amended to include a strong breeze. It also didn’t hurt that the home plate umpire’s strike zone at times brought to mind Eric Gregg’s in 1997.
The result? Greensboro held Hickory to one hit—an opposite-field double from Nomar Mazara—and struck out 11 before exiting after seven innings. Relievers Dane Stone and Ronald Barnes whiffed four more over the final two innings, bringing Hickory’s total to 15 for the evening.