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 Rocket City Trash Pandas

Series Preview: Tennessee Smokies

May 14, 2024 - Southern League (SL)
Rocket City Trash Pandas News Release

The Trash Pandas face the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A, Chicago Cubs) for the third time this season.

Rocket City opened its season in Tennessee, falling in two of the three games. A few weeks later, the two sides met for six games at Toyota Field where the series ended in a split.

This road test against the Smokies will be the second-to-last time the Trash Pandas make the trip to Kodak, not returning until July 19 to start a three-game series.

Rocket City Trends:

Denzer Guzman reached base in all six games in his first series at the Double-A level

Gustavo Campero holds the Trash Pandas longest active hitting streak at five games

Ivan Armstrong struck out 10 batters over his two relief appearances against the Braves

Sam Brown holds a team-best .364 average against the Smokies with 5 RBI

Tennessee Last Series: 4-3 @ Chattanooga

This series featured a pair of doubleheaders and a makeup game from early April.

Chattanooga won the first three games of the series, eventually leading to the Trash Pandas tying with the Smokies for second in the division.

Tennessee pulled away however, winning the final four games including the 8-2 series clincher on Sunday.

Smokies Hitting:

The Smokies hold the third best batting average in the Southern League to go along with a league-leading 29 home runs.

Leading the way is a pair of hot starts from infielder James Triantos and catcher Moises Ballesteros.

Triantos leads the team among active hitters with his .305 batting average while Ballesteros is tied for a team-best four home runs.

Smokies Pitching:

As a whole, the Smokies pitching staff ranks third in the Southern League with 297 strikeouts while holding a 3.64 ERA as a unit.

Connor Noland leads the group with 26 and is one of four pitchers with 20 or more on the season.

The Smokies bullpen meanwhile features two arms who have made over 10 appearances in Michael Arias and Zac Leigh.

Smokies Prospect Watch:

Even after losing top pitching prospect Cade Horton to Triple-A, the Smokies still hold 11 of the Chicago Cubs top 30 prospects.

Additionally, four of those prospects are on the MLB's top 100 list.

Infielder Matt Shaw is the team's highest ranking prospect at No. 4 as he also ranks No. 44 on the top 100 list.

Shaw is just one of four top 10 Cubs prospects on this Smokies roster along with Triantos, Ballesteros and outfielder Kevin Alcantara. All four of those players are on the top 100 list.

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Southern League Stories from May 14, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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