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Charlotte Knights

Knights April Review

The Charlotte Knights have been an early surprise in a packed Frontier League this season.

The Knights opened the season 8-2 and finished April with a 13-10 record good enough for second place in a league with over half its teams posting 10 or more wins in the month. Minneapolis has a healthy three-game lead with a 16-7 record.

Led by former waiver wire selection Curt Tullos, the Knights have used power and pitching to jump out to a hot start. Tullos has posted a team-best .988 OPS in the first month of competition and leads the team in home runs with 9 and RBI with 22.

The Knights are tied for fourth in the league with 34 home runs with Hector Espinosa adding seven to the total. Much has been made of Espinosa and Addison Russell co-opening a night club in the offseason and whether the eventual suspension of Russell for five games by manager Orlando Mendoza to start the season had a hand in motivating the players.

Despite the loss of 18-game winner Trent Johnson, who was moved to Colorado in an offseason trade, veteran pitching coach Carlos Lopez has developed a surprising pitching staff that ranks fifth for starter ERA (5.17) and first for bullpen ERA (2.75) in the FL.

Alpha Tunderhuul has taken the ace title well and is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA in his third season in the big leagues. He has lowered his walks to 1.9 per 9 innings and upped his K/9 to 8.3. Veteran Grant Holmes is off to a solid start as well (3-1, 2.65 ERA). The surprise of the staff has been free-agent signing Archie Bradley, who at 37-years old has helped deepen the rotation and is 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA in four starts.

The Knights open their May schedule at home against the Philadelphia Liberty today.

 

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