Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Franklin to assume role as roving evaluator


By Nick Peruffo
nperuffo@trentonian.com

At the end of last season, Tony Franklin said he was not done in baseball.

While the longtime Thunder manager won’t be returning to Trenton, he will indeed be spending plenty of time at ballparks in 2015.

Franklin, 64, will be staying with the Yankees organization is a role he characterized as a “roving evaluator”, though his specific title has not yet been finalized. In essence, he’ll travel around the system — particularly the lower affiliates — imparting his 40-plus years of baseball experience on both players and younger managers.

“I’m extremely happy,” said Franklin via telephone Monday morning. “It’s given me some renewed energy.”

According to Franklin, he was approached for the new role by Gary Denbo, the Yankees’ vice president of player development, who wanted more experience around the lower levels of the system.

“Gary asked me to do something for him,” Franklin said. “It was an honor for me that he asked…I’m very happy he thought enough of me to do that.”

Franklin also added that the decision was one of “mutual consent.”

On Thursday, the Thunder announced that Al Pedrique would be taking over for Franklin as manager in 2015. Franklin spent eight seasons as Thunder skipper, winning three Eastern League titles in five championship series appearances and becoming the league’s all-time winningest manager.

Franklin had nothing but positive words to describe his time in Trenton, praising both the organization and the fans.

“I am going to miss Trenton so much,” he said. “A couple days (after the decision) I got a little choked up…It was the best eight years I’ve spent in baseball.”

Pedrique, a native of Venezuela, managed High-A Tampa in 2014 and Low-A Charleston in 2013. He played parts of three major league seasons with the Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers, and has big league managerial experience as well. He was the interim manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, and spent 2010-12 as a bench coach for the Houston Astros.

“Very good baseball man, and a very good person as well,” Franklin said of Pedrique. “Al is going to be a tremendous asset. He does it the right way.”

As previously reported, Pedrique will be joined by pitching coach Jose Rosado, hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, defensive coach Michel Hernandez, trainer Lee Meyer and strength coach Orlando Crance.

While Franklin won’t be with the Thunder every day, he probably has not set foot in Arm & Hammer Park for the final time. He said that he expects his new role to bring him north to Trenton (and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre) at least once this season.

“I can’t wait to come back.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brian Cashman 8/18


 On Luis Severino:
He’s got a big arm and a real special change up that’s impressive, especially at that age of 20.

On Jacob Lindgren:
As advertised. Ground balls and strikeouts.

On Nick Goody/Danny Burawa:
They have good arms. You want to get a collection of guys, as many as you can, with some power. Goody is coming back from his injury a year ago, and was putting up some serious numbers in Tampa. He’s working his way back and has a good arm, so we have some hope for him. Burawa has a big arm and a wipeout slider, so its just about commanding it. We’ve seen that before with a guy like Dellin Betances. It’s trying to harness that physicality and channel it, and we are hoping that down the line all those pieces fall into place eventually. You keep coaching it and playing it, and in some of the cases it clicks in. When it does, its real special.

On bullpen being a strength of the system:
We’ve got some arms, no doubt about it. We had Webb here, and now he’s at Triple-A. Rumbelow is at Triple-A. These guys are pretty interesting characters in themselves, and we have some guys who could be moving up to Triple-A soon enough. I think a lot of the guys that you are seeing that have been here or are currently here, you have a chance to see as early as next year, and in some cases you can never rule anything out. We do have some left and right side arms that get asked a lot about, and that I’d certainly ask about a lot. I came down here to see some of those guys a lot.

On Thunder position players:
I think there are a number of them that stand out. We have a lot of guys here that have some ability. I think there are a number of players on this roster that will play in the big leagues, not just on the pitching side but on the position player side too.

On Mark Montgomery:
He used to have much bigger velocity, and now its settling at a lower level. He still has the performance behind it, its just not the power stuff it was before. He’s still someone that’s on our radar.

On Mason Williams:
He’s obviously still fighting through his year offensively. On the defensive side he’s pretty special, but I know that there is a lot of plus developments in his game at the same time. I met with Tony before the game and got the rundown, and he’s certainly growing in the right direction, from what I’ve been told. He’s got a lot of athletic ability. Kind of like how we talked about Danny Burawa earlier. Hes got some physical tools that are above and beyond some other peoples’, so you are going to keep playing it out there until it all clicks in. When it does, it doesn’t garuntee it will eventually, but for those that have the physical ability, you keep giving them the opportunity to play and grow and learn and when it all kicks in and you have that physicality it can come really quick. He’s still developing, and sometimes you just have to wait on it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Severino to Thunder


Right-handed starter Luis Severino was promoted from High-A Tampa to the Thunder Tuesday afternoon.

The 20-year old Dominican native has seen his stock rise as quickly as any in the Yankees organization this year. After starting the season with Low-A Charleston, he was promoted to Tampa in late June, posting a 1.31 ERA in four starts at that level.

Severino also impressed as one of the two Yankees representatives at the MLB Futures Game in Minneapolis. He didn’t allow a run in his one inning of work, striking out top Texas Rangers prospect Joey Gallo.

The news was first reported by Baseball America’s Josh Norris.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sabathia's rehab

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Francisco Cervelli Thunder experience: Day 1






Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Shawn Kelley experience



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peter O'Brien's home runs - a visual history

As many of you surely know, Peter O'Brien hit seven home runs in his first 10 games with the Thunder. I have captured four of them on video. Enjoy: