The Lynchburg Hillcats last game before the 2021 season opener was Labor Day in September 2019. At that point they were Cleveland’s High-A affiliate. The Fredericksburg Nationals and Salem Red Sox might prefer the Hillcats join another league. They scored 35 wins the first two games and it that wasn’t enough, they totatalled 83 runs in their first eight games, all wins. An extremely young roster, the Hillcats had several highly anticipated pitching debuts: Daniel Espino, Josh Wolf Xzavion Curry, Lenny Torres Jr. and more. Those debuts were a little smoother given the amount of runs the offense scored, thanks to the ridiculous tear by Jhonkensey Noel, Jonathan Rodriguez, Micah Pries and Will Bartlett.

Week in Review

5/4 W 16-3 vs. Fredericksburg – W: Arias-Bautista (1-0); L: Strom (0-1)
5/5 W 19-3 vs Fredericksburg – W: Mock (1-0); L: Seijas (0-1)
5/6 W 8-2 vs Fredericksburg – W: Labut (1-0); L: Gonzalez (0-1)
5/7 W 7-2 vs. Fredericksburg – W: Vinicio (1-0); L: Knowles (0-1)
5/8 W 7-1 vs. Fredericksburg – W: Arias-Bautista (2-0); L: Strom (0-2); S: Feliz (1)
5/9 W 8-4 Fredericksburg – W: Misiaszek (1-0); L: Pena (0-1)
5/11 W 10-1 Salem – W: Curry (1-0); L: Wu-Yelland (0-1); S: Mock (1) 
5/12 W 8-1 Salem – W: Espino (1-0); L: Zeferjahn (0-1)

Player of the Week

1B/3B Jhonkensey Noel: .412./.517/.794 – 3 HR, 4 2B, 11 RBI

A lot of players had good weeks between Hillcats hitters and pitchers, but Noel was an obvious choice. He hit three mammoth homers and had three hits twice, two hits three times and has a hit in all seven games so far. 

Who’s Hot:

OF Micah Pries: .444/.500/.778 – HR, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 2SB

Pries hit a homer the first night of the season and has RBI in four of the six games he’s played in. After a delayed start to his career, the DII product is off to a roaring start.

1B/OF Will Bartlett: .421/.500/.789 – HR, 2 2B, 3B, 3 RBI 

OF Johnathan Rodriguez: .440/.517/.720 – 2 HR, 2B, 8 RBI

Rodriguez hit a homer on opening night and has hit the ball well since. He’s another high draft pick who was going to need time to figure out how to use all his tools. It’s only six games but he’s had a nice start.

SP Xzavion Curry: 2 GS – 9IP, 12K, 3BB, 3H

Coming into the season, Wolf, Espino and Torres Jr. were expected to be the biggest names in the rotation, but so far Curry has stolen the show among his rotation mates. He hasn’t gone long in either outing, but he’s racked up the swings and misses with his high fastball and big curveball.

RP Jaime Arias-Bautista – 3 G – 8.2IP, 11K, 3BB, 3ER

The Hillcats have leaned on Arias-Bautista out of the bullpen a lot early on and he’s delivered some solid innings and results. Arias-Bautista was a starter at Fresno State and Cleveland signed him as a NDFA after the 2020 draft.

Who’s Not

OF Alexfri Planez: .200/.250/.400 – HR, 2B, 2B, 11K, 1BB – Planez homered on opening night and has had a few extra base hits but he’s largely swung and missed a lot since then. He’s one of many big offensive names on this roster and it will be a big learning curve for the aggressive outfielder.

INF Yordys Valdez: .111/.227/.111 – The 19 year old switch hitter wasn’t drafted for his bat and he’s collected just two hits thus far. 

Coming Up

5/13 AT Salem
5/14 AT Salem
5/15 AT Salem

5/16 AT Salem

5/17 OFF

5/18 vs. Myrtle Beach

5/19 vs. Myrtle Beach

5/20 vs. Myrtle Beach

5/21 vs. Myrtle Beach

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.