The snakebit St. Petersburg Admirals, who already lost Jose Soto to an injury two days ago, now learned that hot rookie arm Chris Zerkle will be gone for the rest of 2018 as well.
Zerkle strained a hamstring in a game against Denver, in a brutal series against their division rival that has cost the Admirals two top starting pitchers just as the pennant race runs down to the final games.
Zerkle is currently slotted into the #3 spot in the rotation and has gone 9-5 this year, with a 3.80 ERA. Those numbers, along with a WHIP of 1.21, put him on the top of the AEL’s rookie pitchers.
Many still put Zerkle in the conversation for Rookie of the Year this season, though it will be a tough field with some big-hitting bats, like Chitoji Yamada (Nevada) setting a blistering offensive pace. However, the Admirals are still very much in the pennant race and have less injuries than the Denver Danger.
The Admirals could try Philip Dour in the #4 or #5, moving Dusty Hertz up to #2 behind Harry Ferguson at #1. AAA arm Jerry Long, who is 5-8 at St. Anthony but with a 3.61 ERA and impressive strikeout ratio, could get called up as he is already on the 40-man roster.
The Admirals have not yet moved any players up since roster expansion, and now have a critical opportunity to lock in a solid run at first place down the last handful of games.