MiL Week in Review: Championship Edition
The minor leagues wrapped up for the Yankee affiliates this week culminating in the championship series between the Trenton Thunder and the Akron Aeros. All of the the other farm clubs are done for the season, SWB being the only other team to make a bid in the playoffs. The week started with Trenton on the road; here’s a rundown of the weeks action.
Game one: Brett Marshall took the ball for the opener, and while he did a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground, he surrendered three runs on six hits; walking none and striking out five. The pen delivered two innings of one hit ball thanks to the efforts of Tommy Kahnle and David Aardsma to keep the scoring to the three runs allowed by Marshall. The offense would sputter however; the only hits delivered were singles by Adonis Garcia and Addison Maruszak, and a double by David Adams, which didn’t produce any runs and left the Aeros with a 3-0 victory.
Game 2: Shaeffer Hall took the hill for the second game and it wasn’t exactly his best outing; not by far in fact. Hall gave up seven runs over three innings on six hits. Only five of those runs went earned as Adams shuffled a ball to allow the inning to continue, plating two more. Craig Hyer, Branden Pinder and Mark Montgomery once again shut the door allowing just three hits over the next five innings. The bats would not go quietly in this one however as David Adams and Zoilo Almonte each chipped in a pair of hits, one of Zoilo’s being a three run bomb that got the Thunder back in the game after being down by seven. Ramon Flores, Tyler Austin, JR Murphy and Kevin Mahoney each had a hit of their own but the deficit proved to be too much. Trenton ended up dropping game 2 by a score of 7-5.
Game 3: It was do or die from here on out, as Trenton sent Mikey O’Brien out to keep them in the series. Mikey had struggled a bit to end off the season, and as it continued into the championship series Tony Franklin had the hook out early. O’Brien lasted only two innings after giving up five earned on eight hits. Graham Stoneburner came into the third and pitched three innings of two run ball and then turned it over to Kahnle who spit the bit and walked the bases loaded. Branden Pinder played the role of Houdini as he came in to end the inning unscathed. A strikeout, a shallow pop-out and a ground-out were all it took as the inning ended without a run scoring. Aardsma and Montgomery would finish of the trio’s hitless effort. The bats answered the call in game 3, as Adams and Garcia each had a pair of hits and scored twice. Zoilo Almonte and Ramon Flores were the big bats though, and have been two of the best hitters in the playoffs. They combined to go 5-9 while driving in seven of the eleven runs on the night. The Thunder took the game 11-7.
Game 4: Nike Turley got the ball to try and extend the season and send the Thunder to a final game in the series. He ended with a decent outing of three runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked a pair and struck out eight. All in all Nik had a solid season and has a lot to build on for next year. The big lefty could very well find his way to the Bronx if he can keep up his development. Ryan Pope stumbled in relief, allowing three runs on two walks and two hits; his most disappointing outing of the post-season. Aardsma and Lee Hyde combined for 1.2 innings of scoreless ball. Unfortunately the offense would go back into hiding for game 4, JR Murphy and Adonis Garcia would each get a hit and Maruszak would chip in a pair but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep Trenton in the series. They dropped the game 6-1 as the Areos walked away champions.
Overall: It was a rough year for the farm with injuries to a couple of major players; one of which could have made a bid to take a rotation spot, and another that projects as a power arm with a huge ceiling. A couple of our more prominent position players also got banged up; Tyler Austin got beat up several times and ended up having to sit out the final game of the series with a nagging ankle injury, Mason Williams had his labrum (non-throwing shoulder) operated on to prevent his arm from popping out of joint and Angelo Gumbs, a promising second baseman in Charleston also ended the season on the DL. Sounds a bit like the big club eh? With that said, Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams both shot up the rankings in the top 100 (BA, KLaw’s list) and Tyler Austin went from a no show to making the bottom third of the list. Both Banuelos and Campos were said to have made the list if not for being injured, and former prospects David Adams and Slade Heathcott regained some traction by staying on the field and producing for their teams. Both of them will get to extend their seasons along with Austin Romine in the Arizona Fall League. All in all we ended up with two playoff bids and some promising movement from some guys in the lower levels. With any luck we’ll be looking for them to break through in the next couple years.
That’s it for the recaps this year, but stay tuned for prospect profiles, our positional rankings and an overall top prospects list from now through the hot stove season.