We’re four games into 2016j and things are off to a good start for the Jackson Generals. The team won its first three games of the season for just the second time in the now decade-long affiliation with the Mariners. The other time was in 2012, when the Generals made it to the Southern League Championship Series with the likes of Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.
The team has already spent more days above .500 than last year’s squad, but enough about 2015. The theme of this season in the organization is “Control the Zone,” and that’s already paying dividends for the Generals. Through four games, the team’s staff has combined to strike out 34 while walking a league-low eight batters through four games. On offense, the team isn’t giving up at-bats. Jackson’s 25 strikeouts are the fewest of any Southern League squad.
Perhaps tho most impressive player thus far has been outfielder Guillermo Heredia. The Cuban has shown no signs of rust despite having only played a handful of games after defecting in January. Heredia has reached safely to lead off all four of Jackson’s games thus far, and he came through with the decisive hit in Friday’s 9-2 win over the Biscuits.
Over six years playing in Cuba, Heredia hit just 23 home runs but his bat has been much better than advertised. Through four games, he’s 7-for-14 with team-leading six RBI.
Heredia was one of a number of topics David and I touched upon in episode two of the Generally Speaking Podcast. Give it a listen below!
Big thanks to the local media in Jackson for all the coverage they’ve given the team to start the season. Lots of excitement, and hopefully the play keeps up. Brandon Shields of the Jackson Sun wrote a nice profile of Clarksville native Ryne Harper, who played at The Ballpark at Jackson as part of an OVC Champion Austin Peay squad in 2011. Give it a read.
(Credit for the awesome photo after Heredia’s grand slam: Steven Van Worth/Van Worth Photography)