Bees Bullets: Salt Lake Struggling As All-Star Break Nears

Jul 11, 2022, 3:54 PM
Bees infielder/outfielder Jose Rojas points to the crown as he nears home plate in game at Smith's Ballpark on July 10, 2022.

SALT LAKE CITY – A nightmare summer continued for the Salt Lake Bees as they dropped four of six games at home to the Sacramento River Cats.

The Bees (38-46, 3rd in PCL West) hosted the River Cats (37-47, 4th in PCL West) at Smith’s Ballpark July 4-10.

Just 8-18 in June, the Bees are off to a 3-6 start to July and in a story that is becoming all to familiar, anything less than six runs per game is a recipe for losing for the Bees. In those 32 contests, Salt Lake has scored six or more runs 14 times, winning eight of those. They are 3-15 when scoring fewer than six runs since June 1.

  • Is Jo Adell showing signs of a breakout?… Since being optioned to Salt Lake on May 3, Adell has 35 hits with 27 of them going for extra bases. 13 home runs and 14 doubles looks great on the surface, but look a little deeper and its not hard to see why the once top prospect is still in Triple-A. After batting .250 in 25 games with the Angels to open the season, Adell is hitting a minuscule .235 in 39 games with Salt Lake. While his walk rate has increased by nearly nine percentage points to a healthy 11.4% (would be Top-30 in MLB), his strikeout rate of 31.8% with the Bees would be the fifth highest in MLB this season. Defensively, Adell has had his share of ups and downs as well. Yet to make a a start in centerfield, he has a pair of errors in left without a miscue in right. But to the naked eye, Adell is still prone to taking poor routes on fly balls and can be seen misreading balls off the bat more often than you’d like to see a player of his pedigree make. Unfortunately defensive tracking technology is not available in Triple-A so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
  • All that said, Adell saw his average jump by more than 20 points this week as he went 7-22 at the plate for a .318 average. What he lacked in power, zero home runs, he made up for by putting the ball in play a little more. Looking back on the past 15 days, Adell is hitting .300 with 13 strikeouts in 50 at-bats, or a far more palatable 26% K-rate.

  • The Bees might be lacking in the power and run production departments but outfielder Magneuris Sierra and super-utility player Kean Wong both find themselves on the Pacific Coast League’s stolen base leaderboard. Sierra has 21 steals, good for fourth in the league. Wong’s 17 thefts has him sixth on the list.
  • Sierra and Wong also pace the Bees at the plate with .299 and .286 batting averages. Wong has 25 multi-hit games including three three-hit games. His 13 doubles are good for fourth on the team and three triples are second behind Sierra’s four three-baggers.

  • Multi-positional talent José Rojas has etched his name is the Salt Lake Bees record books as his home run on Wednesday night moved him into eighth place on the Bees all-time list. In 247 games across four seasons in a Salt Lake uniform, Rojas has 50 home runs, 182 RBI, 59 doubles and 11 triples while slashing .272/.338/.507. In 2022, Rojas has 11 bombs and his 35 RBI have him fourth on the team.

  • Bees outfielder Dillon Thomas had a whirlwind few weeks. After being called up by the Angels on June 8, Thomas was designated for assignment on June 11. The Houston Astros claimed Thomas and assigned him to their Triple-A affiliate Sugar Land Space Cowboys. After playing in five games with Sugar Land, Thomas was again DFA’d and had his contract reclaimed by the Angels who then assigned him back to Salt Lake.
  • Thomas has been in a bit of funk since returning to the Bees. Just 3-23 with a home run and a double in his first six games since returning, Thomas’s batting average has tumbled more than 20 percentage points. He closed the week on a 7-21 hot streak while striking out just five times. And this web gem…

  • Happy birthday to a pair of Bees hurlers as Jake Kalish celebrated his 31st birthday and Kenny Rosenberg turned 27. Recently placed on the injured list, Kalish leads the PCL in wins with an 8-2 record. His 2.69 earned run average is good for second in the league.
  • For Rosenberg, the birthday comes on the heels of arguably a more important moment in his life as Kenny and his wife Kristy Ann welcomed their first son, Beckett on July 6. The couple announced the birth on social media. The birth came less than two months after Rosenberg made his major league debut for the Angels against Houston on April 18. Talk about an exciting year for the young pitcher.

  • Congratulations to former Bee infielder Michael Stefanic on making his MLB debut. After being called up by the Angels on July 3, Stefanic logged his first big league hit when he lined a ball down the first base line as a pinch hitter on July 5 against the Miami Marlins. Once an undrafted free agent 2018, Stefanic’s bat to ball skills are his ticket. In 46 games with Salt Lake this year, he slashed .320/.410/.399 while walking in 11.9% of his plate appearances. He has struck out just 5.7% of the time this year.

  • Former Bee and recent Angels call-up Monte Harrison picked up his first MLB hits of 2022. After signing as a free agent with the Angels, Harrison played 50 games with Salt Lake to begin the season. slashing .200/.305/.368 with 20 stolen bases and six home runs for the Bees. Harrison is also the younger brother of former Utah Jazz guard Shaq Harrison.

  • The Angels No. 4 prospect and former Fremont Silverwolves pitcher Ky Bush was recently named to the MLB Futures Game to be played at All-Star weekend in Dodger Stadium this July. Bush is the most recent Angels pitcher to be named to the Futures Game, following in the footsteps of current Salt Lake Bee Reid Detmers. Could Bush find himself in a Bees uniform before the end of the season?

  • Freshly minted Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy had an interesting path to the job that included pulling tarp during a rain delay as a Salt Lake Bees intern. Learn more from KSL Sports Utah Jazz beat writer Ben Anderson.

On Deck

Salt Lake looks to end the pre-All-Star break portion of their schedule on a high note as they head to Las Vegas for six games against the Las Vegas Aviators (47-36, 1st in PCL West). The series opens with a Tuesday night matchup with first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. (MST).

Salt Lake Bees

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Bees Bullets: Salt Lake Struggling As All-Star Break Nears