After hovering around .200 for much of the first month of the season, the Biloxi Shuckers are finally starting to see improvement at the plate.
The team pounded out a season-high 15 hits Monday night in a 7-5 win over the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Shortstop Mauricio Dubon led the way with a 3-for-5 effort out of the two-hole.
Since Biloxi's team batting average stood at .200 on April 25, the team has improved that mark to .221.
The Shuckers rank eighth in the Southern League in team batting average at .221, ahead of Pensacola (.214) and Birmingham (.209). The Jackson Generals lead the league with an average .279.
Dustin Houle, the backup catcher, leads Biloxi with a batting average of .293. Dustin Demuth and Mauricio Dubon are tied for second on the team at .280.
Outfielder Michael Reed is one of the Shuckers who has seen his batting average improve in recent weeks. Since going 0-for-6 on April 29, Reed is 8-for-23 over the last eight games. Reed has improved his batting clip from .227 to .255 during that stretch.
Dubon, who has a career batting average of .304, has hit .297 with four runs scored over the last 10 games.
Angel Ortega is another infielder showing improvement at the plate, batting .293 with a homer, five RBIs and six runs scored over the last 10 games. He is batting .263 overall with a pair of homers, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored.
While most Shuckers have started to perform better at the plate, there are three active players who were with the team to start the season who are still below the .200 mark:
▪ Outfielder Johnny Davis is batting .189 with one home run and four RBIs in 74 at-bats.
▪ First baseman Art Charles is hitting .164 with two homers and eight RBIs in 55 at-bats. He hit .352 in independent ball last season.
▪ It's surprising to see catcher Jacob Nottingham batting just .171 in 76 at-bats this season. The slugger has no homers, five RBIs and five doubles.
Recent addition: The Milwaukee Brewers signed outfielder Michael Choice and assigned him to Biloxi last week following the trade of former first-round pick Victor Roache to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Choice was released by the Orioles from Triple-A Norfolk (Va.) on May 2, freeing him up to become a free agent.
Choice was the 10th overall draft pick in 2010 by the Oakland Athletics. The 27-year-old has played in 96 career Major League games, batting .188 with nine homers.
Choice was 1-for-27 at the plate this season before he was released. He is batting .188 in 16 plate appearances for the Shuckers.
Choice was named Oakland's Minor League Player of the Year in 2013 by Baseball America. He batted .302 that season with 14 homers and 89 RBIs at Triple-A Sacramento.
Speedy Shuckers: The Biloxi Shuckers rank second in the Southern League with 42 stolen bases through 31 games, only trailing Mobile's 47.
Dubon leads the league with 16 stolen bases in 19 tries and Davis has been successful on all 10 of his stolen base attempts this season to rank second in the league.
Ortega ranks third on the Shuckers with five stolen bases this year.