Garvey, Butch, Cywinski, Kittleson, Allen & Others Make the Cut
With Major League Baseball celebrating its "All-Star Line-ups" at the midseason point this week, we figured we'd do the same with ASA. So, without further adieu, here is the "51 ASA All-Star Line-up" at the series midway point.
Batting Order & Position
REED SORENSON (SS) - You need a young and speedy guy as your lead-off hitter and 17-year-old Sorenson fits that billing. He's got two poles already this season, which shows he's plenty fast, but he has also shown the consistency of a veteran by moving his way into the top-five in points. The kid is good, no doubt about it, but he hasn't hit a homerun yet in terms of a victory in ASA. That will come in time, but right now he's stealing plenty of attention and everyone knows as a lead-off hitter, you gotta be able to steal.
ROBBIE PYLE (CF) - Second in the line-up is usually a guy who is streaky, but with plenty of upside... look no further than Robbie Pyle. He's always near the top of the charts, whether it's in practice, qualifying or the race, but he has been plagued with minor setbacks (mechanical failures). He could certainly be the number-three hitter with a little more consistency and a couple of dingers (victories).
KEVIN CYWINSKI (3B) - Cywinski is like one of those old school third-basemen. He'll hit for average and give ya an occasional homerun here and there. Kevin is leading the
points because he is consistent, yet, he has gone deep by winning two races this year. There's no questioning this team's ability. In fact, there could be only two things in the way of Kevin capturing his second ASA title; they are the experience of Butch Miller and the tenacity of Mike Garvey.
MIKE GARVEY (LF) - He's our clean-up hitter, no doubt about it! Garvey has gone yard more than anybody in ASA (three wins) and he has the best slugging percentage too (512 laps led). His slump at the plate with Lady Luck has finally changed for the better and now he's in a battle for the championship with Cywinski and Miller (131 pts out of the lead). If he keeps running like he has recently, Garvey will be the 2003 ASA Champ. And hey, like Albert Pujols in baseball, he's in the running to win the Triple Crown (the title, most wins and most laps led). In fact, Garvey's season is beginning to look a lot like that of former ASA-MVP Johnny Sauter's a couple years ago.
BUTCH MILLER (DH) - You have to have a guy who can back up your clean-up hitter... Butch Miller is that guy. He can hit for power (2-wins), average (2nd in pts) and slugging percentage (third in that category). Butch may not be the youngest player in the game, but experience counts for a lot when you're a battling for a title. Butch is tied with Mark Martin with three ASA crowns and is determined to catch his fourth this year. He's got a great hitting coach in Deon Deneau (crew chief), so we certainly wouldn't be surprised if he is the most consistent down the stretch-run. He may not be young enough to play the field these days, but he's still important, in baseball terms, for the DH position.
TRAVIS KITTLESON (RF) - Here's a guy who is ready to belt a few out of the ballpark and he's not afraid to battle with the veterans for supremacy in the game. He's our biggest prospect in the outfield because he's got plenty of power potential. He is figuring out how to hit for batting average and is certainly improving in that category, but he has been caught out in right field by a few wrecks this year (not of his own doing). He is out of title contention, but could be back in it with a few strong runs. He and Sorenson are the biggest prospects on our team right now, but Sorenson has already been signed by a major league ballclub (Chip Gannassi Racing). Kittleson remains unsigned, but for how long?
CHRIS WIMMER (1B) - This may be a surprise to some, but we think Chris Wimmer is coming of age. He had a bum motor to start the year, but since changing that engine, his wheels have been turning. And he's consistent too! He's fourth in laps completed (98.93%). We don't know what baseball category that fits into, but it's gotta amount to something. He's got the stature of a first-baseman and he's beginning to catch the top-tens (3) with a little more consistency.
TODD KLUEVER (2B) - This guy just hung onto a spot on the All-Star roster and that is mostly because we believe in him. He's not near the top of any category and currently sits seventh in the standings, but he's been through a lot this year, including a couple of skippers (crew chiefs). With a little more time in the batting cages, this guy could hit some homeruns.
GLENN ALLENJR. (C) - He just looks like a catcher, doesn't he? Allen is stereotypical of that position; he gets a lot done with very little. He gets on base (finishes in the top-ten) when he can and he is capable of going deep. The shallow pockets of his owner (Ed Hoch) are the only thing that has kept Allen down. And that's not a knock on Ed either; he's done as much as he can. Hopefully Allen will be able to pour on the juice in the second half of the season.
A young Todd Kluever hangs upside down in his Brewers uniform as a kid. He's been right-side up in ASA since joining the series last year. Is he still a Brewers fan?
PITCHING STARS & ROLE PLAYERS
PETER COZZOLINO (Staff Ace) - A starting pitcher needs some strategy going into a game and Cozzolino showed us at IRP that he knows how to plan things out. His pitstop strategy was second to none and that allowed him to strike out the field for his first series win.
DAVIN SCITES (Closer) - Nobody has closed a game this year better than Davin Scites. His run late in the race at Concord was phenomenal. We can't remember the last time someone drove the outside groove like he did at the tricky half-mile tri-oval. His only blemish that race was hitting the batter (leader) Mike Garvey on the last lap. He had a good run at Lanier the next week, but hasn't had a chance to close the game since and that's gotta be frustrating for a closer like Scites.
TOBY PORTER (Relief Pitcher) - Toby came in relief of Ryan Hemphill and the struggling Meijer #11 team and helped pick up their spirits with a top-ten run the first time out. They've cooled off a little bit since then, but Porter was the All-Star, long term, Relief Pitcher that team needed.
JOEY MILLER (Pinch-Runner) - He's fast for a short period of time and that's what you need out of a pinch-runner. Problem is, he doesn't last that long and that will be a hurdle he'll have to jump to make it to the everyday roster.
SCOTT LAGASSE JR. (Pinch-Hitter) - He's only raced four events so far this year, but in those trips he's scored three top-five and four top-ten finishes that's not too shabby. He told us recently he will make two more plate appearances this year, at Elko and the season finale in Nashville.
P Y L E
JC BEATTIE JR. (Prospect) - JC has been around for more than three years now, but he has been improving this season. He is staying out of trouble and he's been hitting with a little better consistency. And after all, putting him on the roster means we could use this cool photo of him as a kid on a mock-Sports Illustrated cover.
SHANE TESCH (Hitting Coach) - You could have gone with Mike Chaffee (Cywinski) or Deon Deneau (Miller) here, but we give the nod to Tesch because this is his first attempt in the crew chief role with a major national touring series team. And he's doing a helluva job! "Scuba Steve," as some ASA Insiders like to call him, is proving his got the credentials to be an ASA championship caliber crew chief.
JC BEATTIE JR.
KEN SMITH (Coach) - Again, this award could have easily gone to the likes of Joe Miller (Cywinski) or Tom Gleitsman (Pyle), but we went with team owner Ken Smith for the mere fact that he's got a title contending team in his first full-season of competition. He's savvy in the marketing and PR realm and he gives the team what they need to win, which is fundamental number-one for a raceteam.
STEVE DALE (Commish) - Not much contest here, both because he's the owner of ASA and due to the fact that he's doing an awesome job in his first year as the top dog at ASA. You may not agree with everything he is attempting, but the fact that he is trying things is the important part to remember. He is trying to make a great series even better and we think he will.