August 02, 2018
By: Steve Degler
In case you haven't noticed, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are running away with the International League's North Division. They have a double-digit lead over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 30 games to play. For most of this season, the success of the Pigs was led by two staples of baseball: pitching and defense. That started to change during the month of July. The offense has awakened.
Three IronPigs have turned on the power switch. With apologies to Dean Anna, who has done an amazing job at the top of the batting order, the Lehigh Valley surge was due in large part to the big bats of Dylan Cozens, Joey Meneses and Mitch Walding.
Thanks to a couple of stints in the big leagues, Cozens played in just 18 games in July. He made the most of his time with the IronPigs. The lefty slugger batted .303 during the month with eight doubles, eight home runs, 13 runs and 22 RBI. For you stat lovers, his July OPS was a ridiculous 1.198. He also won an IL Batter of the Week award.
Meneses has been the most consistent batter for Lehigh Valley all season. He showed no signs of slowing down last month. The AAA All-Star hit .330 in 24 July contests. He homered five times and scored 18 runs while driving in 20. He had a 15-game hitting streak in July and batted safely in 22 of his 24 games.
Not to be outdone, Walding was the league's Player of the Month for July. While also spending some time with the Phillies, he hit .326 in 22 games with 10 homers and 26 RBI. He drew 11 walks and scored 21 runs. He posted an OPS of 1.147. Walding hit three three-run homers and knocked in 10 runs in a doubleheader against Columbus.
You will find the names Cozens, Meneses and Walding all over the International League leaders page. They were fun to watch in July. Many of their homers were towering blasts that were gone on impact.
Let's hope this stretch of good baseball at Coca-Cola Park continues well into September.