They might not have players like Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos or Ervin Santana from the Los Angeles Angels, but the Orem Owlz are playing for a playoff spot in the postseason without those names, and they are not too far behind.
The Owlz started this season not even knowing what they had in terms of offense, defenseor pitching. Head coach Tom Kotchman told reporters during media day before the season started that he knew none of the players besides the ones “I scouted myself.” It definitely showed as the Owlz started their season 1-8 in their first nine games, allowing a league high of 89 runs, 9.9 runs a game.
But there has been a switch that has been turned on, and Orem is now on the verge of taking the lead from the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League. But where is this sudden turn coming from? The statistics show their offense has been carrying their team to victory. They have scored six or more runs in 64 percent of their games this season. They lead the league in most offensive categories including on-base percentage and runs batted in.
What the statistics sheet doesn’t show is what Kotchman said earlier in the season about chemistry in the team.
“There will be good chemistry in the team when we are winning games,” Kotchman said. “Anyone who tells you differently is lying. I don’t see good chemistry when a team is losing.”
Even though the statistics sheet will show you offensive numbers, something has to be said about the pitching as well.
Since allowing those 89 runs in the first nine games of the season, the Owlz pitching has allowed less than five runs a game, lowering their ERA to a 5.78 which, although still worse in the league, is a step in the right direction.
Starting pitcher Gabriel Perez leads the pitching staff as well as the league with six wins on the season in his seven starts and is boasting an ERA under 4.00. He is also second in the league among starters in strikeouts.
With 37 games left in the season, the Owlz look to continue winning with their strong offense and decent pitching. If their chemistry continues to boil over, it should be just a matter of time before they take the lead in the league with names that might not be in the majors right now, but may be some day to join their fellow Owlz alumni in an Angels uniform.