This past series was a mixed bag for the Everett AquaSox.
The good news: The AquaSox exploded for a combined 29 runs in a pair of blowout victories over the Hillsboro Hops.
The bad news: The Sox managed just seven runs combined in the series’ other three games, all of which were losses.
The bad news, part two: The series was cut short by rain.
After a rainout Saturday night, the AquaSox (17-12) and Hops (13-16) were slated to play a makeup doubleheader of two seven-inning games on Sunday. The teams got the first game in, but the second game was wiped out by more rain.
Here’s a closer look back at the series in The Herald’s weekly AquaSox update:
HOT AND COLD BATS
The AquaSox put up more crooked numbers in a pair of routs this past week.
In last Tuesday’s series opener, Everett blasted six home runs in a 16-2 blowout win. Kaden Polcovich and Carter Bins each homered twice and the Sox finished with 20 hits. It was already the third time this season that Everett had scored at least 15 runs in a game. To put that in perspective, the Sox reached the 15-run mark just three times over the previous eight seasons combined.
Everett had another offensive outburst Friday, when the Sox pounded out 17 hits in a 13-2 rout. It marked the seventh time in 29 games this season that Everett has scored at least 10 runs.
But aside from those two offensive explosions, the AquaSox struggled to produce at the plate in the other three games of the series. They managed just two runs apiece in back-to-back losses Wednesday and Thursday, and were held to three runs in Sunday’s seven-inning defeat.
Everett is 3-6 in its last nine games. In those three wins, the Sox averaged 12.7 runs per contest. In those six losses, they mustered just 2.0 runs per game.
POLCOVICH’S MASSIVE WEEK
Polcovich received High-A West player of the week honors after a scorching series at the plate.
The 22-year-old switch-hitting second baseman blasted five home runs in the five-game series, including a pair of two-homer games in the AquaSox’s routs on Tuesday and Friday. He also hit a double in the series and finished the week 9-for-22 with eight RBIs.
For the season, Polcovich is batting .270 with seven home runs and eight doubles. The 2020 third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State ranks second in the six-team High-A West in homers and fourth in slugging percentage (.532).
HANCOCK, KIRBY RETURN TO ACTION
The top two remaining pitching prospects in the Seattle Mariners’ farm system both returned to the mound this past week for the AquaSox.
Emerson Hancock, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 25 overall prospect in baseball, started last Thursday’s game after not pitching in Everett’s previous series. The Mariners’ 2020 first-round draft pick allowed two runs and two hits in three innings pitched, with no strikeouts and two walks. In four starts this season, Hancock has a 2.19 earned-run average in 12 1/3 innings pitched, with 11 strikeouts and six walks.
And on Friday, after not pitching in Everett’s previous two series, George Kirby made his first start in three weeks. The Mariners’ 2019 first-round draft pick allowed no hits in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, while striking out four batters and walking two. In three starts this season, MLB.com’s No. 77 overall prospect has a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings pitched, with 16 strikeouts and three walks.
OTHER AQUASOX STANDOUTS
Carter Bins: The 22-year-old catcher went 8-for-17 this past week with three home runs and one double. For the season, Bins is batting .282 with five homers and four doubles. The 2019 11th-round draft pick out of Fresno State has a .526 slugging percentage, which ranks fifth in the High-A West.
Patrick Frick: The 24-year-old shortstop went 8-for-20 with three doubles in the series. The 2019 14th-round draft pick out of Wake Forest has a .293 batting average, which ranks fourth in the High-A West.
Austin Shenton: The Bellingham High School alum went 6-for-20 this past week with two home runs and four doubles. Shenton, a 2019 fifth-round draft pick out of Florida International, leads the High-A West with 17 extra-base hits. The 23-year-old third baseman has three homers, two triples and 12 doubles. He ranks eighth in the High-A West with a .481 slugging percentage.
Matt Brash: The 23-year-old right-hander started last Tuesday’s series opener and allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched, while striking out seven batters and walking two. Brash, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick by the San Diego Padres, has a 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 innings pitched this season, with 34 strikeouts and 13 walks.
Levi Stoudt: The 23-year-old right-hander started last Wednesday’s game and struck out 10 batters in five innings pitched, while allowing one run, five hits and three walks. For the season, the 2019 third-round draft pick out of Lehigh University has a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings pitched, with 27 strikeouts and 16 walks.
LARSEN NAMED PLAYER OF THE MONTH
AquaSox outfielder Jack Larsen was named the High-A West player of the month for May. Over 23 games in May, the 26-year-old former undrafted free agent batted a league-leading .337 with four home runs and 10 doubles. He currently leads the High-A West in both batting average (.333) and slugging percentage (.586).
J-ROD STARS IN OLYMPIC QUALIFIER
Highly touted prospect Julio Rodriguez had a spectacular week in Florida, where he helped lead his native Dominican Republic to a second-place finish in the eight-team Baseball Americas Qualifier.
Rodriguez went 11-for-24 in five games at the event, with two home runs, seven RBIs and seven runs scored. The 20-year-old AquaSox outfielder, ranked by Baseball America as the sport’s No. 3 overall prospect, had at least one hit in all five games and multiple hits in four games.
Rodriguez made a key sliding catch in right field during a victory over Puerto Rico on Monday. He blasted two massive homers in a rout of Nicaragua on Wednesday. And in the eighth inning of his team’s final game Saturday, he drove in the deciding run with a tiebreaking single up the middle to lift the Dominican Republic to a 6-5 win over Canada.
The Dominican Republic went 4-1 at the event and advanced to another qualifier on June 22-26 in Mexico, where it will have one final chance to punch its ticket to Tokyo for the upcoming Summer Olympics. The Dominican Republic is seeking its first Olympic berth in baseball since 1992.
AquaSox reliever Brendan McGuigan also played in the Baseball Americas Qualifer as a pitcher for Canada. The 25-year-old former undrafted free agent made two appearances, allowing one run and four hits in 2 2/3 innings pitched. Canada finished fourth in the event, which means its Olympic dreams are over.
The AquaSox are sitting in second place in the High-A West, trailing the first-place Eugene Emeralds (19-11) by 1.5 games. Everett is just one-half game ahead of the third-place Vancouver Canadians (17-13).
The AquaSox continue their homestand with a six-game series against first-place Eugene. The series runs Tuesday through Sunday at Funko Field.