NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees are continuing their quest towards the top of the Liberty Division, and are doing so without a number of key contributors from the first half of the season who have moved on to affiliated baseball or leagues overseas.
Three of those players are infielders Taylor Motter and Jovan Rosa, and starting pitcher Christian Friedrich, who were top producers for the Bees during their time in New Britain. Motter posted an OPS near .500 while giving the Bees valuable infield versatility, and Friedrich pitched to a 3.00 ERA and headlined the starting rotation. Now, the trio is looking to continue their Atlantic League success in their new surroundings.
Motter has been with Double-A Midland in the Oakland Athletics’ organization since his contract was purchased on June 25, and while he labored through a rough first full month with club, his bat has begun to come around in August. Motter tore through his first week with the team after coming over from New Britain, recording six hits in his first 11 at-bats to finish his shortened month of June with a 1.182 OPS and a pair of home runs. July wasn’t as kind to Motter, who fell into a slump that saw him record just 14 hits in 98 at-bats, good for a .143 batting average and a .407 OPS.
Motter struck out 26 times in that span and logged only two extra-base hits (a pair of doubles), but he’s been coming around of late. The 29-year-old has rediscovered his power stroke in August, smacking four home runs and four doubles to lift his August OPS to .753, almost double his mark in July. Last week, Motter enjoyed a three-game stretch where he went 6-for-12, although he’s still looking for an extra-base hit in that stretch. Entering the new week, Motter hadn’t recorded an extra-base hit since Aug. 15. Still, he’s been easy to plug in the lineup, logging at-bats anywhere from the leadoff spot to eighth in the batting order.
It’s been an adjustment for Motter, but Rosa has been right at home with Tabasco of the Mexican League. Since his contract was purchased on May 6, Rosa has done nothing but rake at the plate, currently holding a slash line of .337/.415/.519, while smashing 12 home runs in 66 games. His last 30 games haven’t been much different, slashing .327/.400/.478 since June 25. Rosa’s best stretch of the season came in early July, when he went 15-for-23 with a home run and two doubles in a five-game span, lifting high season batting average to a high-water mark of .383.
Unfortunately for Rosa, injury disrupted his hot streak and kept him on the shelf from July 27 to Aug 21. He returned last week and recorded just one hit in his first 12 at-bats, but he went 2-for-4 with a home run on Sunday as he works his way back into a pre-injury groove.
Friedrich has been with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization since mid July and has settled in nicely after a rough transition. The lefty allowed eight runs on 13 hits in his first 11 innings of work (though he earned a win in both of those outings) before turning a corner and surrendering just two earned runs in his next 28 frames. Friedrich tossed seven shutout innings in two of those starts, and allowed just one run on three hits through eight innings of work on Aug 4. His most recent start on Aug 23 wasn’t as effective, allowing four runs and two homers through six innings, but overall, Friedrich has been solid. In seven starts, he holds a 2.80 ERA and has walked just 12 batters over 45 innings.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or email@example.com