Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Three states in three days
Originally, I had mapped this
weekend out with one goal in mind: Seeing Carlos Correa. If the No. 1 overall
pick from this year’s draft had torn up the GCL, there was a scintilla of hope
that the Astros might promote him to Short-Season Tri-City, and I couldn’t miss
Well, he hasn’t torn the cover
off the ball in the GCL, and the Astros haven’t promoted him. Time for Plan B:
Check out Salem at Wilmington for three games.
If I wasn’t going to see Correa,
three games of Xander Bogaerts, plus the possibility of Matt Barnes and Brandon
Workman would suffice just fine, thank you very much.
The Red Sox promoted Workman to
Portland a week ago, and they bumped Bogaerts there just days before Salem
invaded Delaware. Still, Barnes was scheduled to spin on Friday – against Wilmington’s
Jason Adam, no less -- so that was an easy decision.
Womp, womp, womp.
After fighting an unusually
trafficky I-95 to Wilmington, I hadn’t been in the Frawley press box for more than
two minutes before word got out that Barnes was scratched in favor of reliever
Manny Rivera. Barnes wasn’t hurt; the Red Sox just wanted to give him a few
extra days. He’ll start Tuesday.
So, there would be no Barnes, no
Bogaerts and no Workman. That left with me Adam, who, while an excellent
prospect, I’d already seen twice this season. He was very nice once again,
pitching at 92-94 with a nice slider. He fanned a half-dozen Salem hitters over
his seven innings. You can see two of those strikeout victims – Brandon Jacobs
and Sean Coyle, prospects both – below.
The big bonus of the night,
though, came between innings when I got to see … THE ZOOPERSTARS. I had never
seen them perform, and I’m a sucker for animals and bad puns, so you’ll have to
pardon my joy. Below are two of the mid-inning diversions, first with Domenik
HaShark and Harry Canary, second with the legendary Cow Ripken.
The joy to which this delighted
me bordered on child-like. In fact, I’m fairly sure I was more entertained by
the Zooperstars than the kids behind me.
Rivera was also pretty nice, for
a reliever making a spot start. Lots of moving parts and long levers, but he
brought it from the left side at 91-93 with a nice little change-up. Not quite
a substitute for Barnes, good enough, anyway.
Day two brought Brooklyn and the
A’s International Man of Mystery, Michael Ynoa. Standing at 6-foot-7 and having
pitched just 24 1/3 pro innings since signing for a whopping $4.25 million in
2009, there was a lot of intrigue on the mound at MCU Park.
At that price, you knew the stuff
would be there. The question was: Could he harness it? The answer: No, then
yes, then no.
Ynoa was all over the place in
the first, and the Cyclones, headed by Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki, the
Mets’ first-rounder from 2011 and supplemental first-rounder from this year,
took advantage and put a pair on Ynoa and the Monsters in the first inning.
The damage would have been
greater were it not for a pair of stellar plays from Chris Bostick, who might
have been the most impressive player on the field on Saturday. His diving catch
robbed Jayce Boyd of a hit for the first out, and his quick thinking allowed
him to snare Ynoa’s errant attempt at 1-6-3 double play and recover a force
Bostick also worked an 11-pitch
walk off of starter Julian Hilario on Saturday. That’s impressive for anyone,
but for a 19-year-old against a guy who’s about to turn 22 in the New York Penn
League, that’s pretty darn special.
In the second inning, however,
Ynoa looked like a new man. He whiffed ninth-hitter Eudy Pina on three
fastballs down in the zone, showed brief command of a sharp breaking ball and
got through the frame in less than 10 pitches. Still, he was on a limit of
three innings or 50 pitches, whichever came first, and was yanked after walking
two and uncorking a very wild pitch in the third.
There were flashes of the
potential for sure, but it’s going to be a very long wait if Oakland hopes to
get anything out of its investment in Ynoa.
Vermont also featured Addison
Russell, Oakland’s first-rounder from this draft, who utilized a really smooth
swing to collect three hits in five trips. Daniel Robertson, whom they plucked one
pick before the Mets chose Plawecki, drew the collar.
And then there was Nimmo, the
tartar-raw outfielder from Wyoming with tools for days. He showcased a short,
quick swing and opposite-field power when he nearly missed a longball (settled
for a double). His other hit, a single off of Ynoa, also went to the opposite
Note: Nimmo’s single drove in a run. However, the throw from left field
had the runner, Phillip Evans, out by at least 40 feet. Catcher Bruce Maxwell,
in a perfect example of why the Penn League is the Penn League, dropped the
ball almost before Evans slid home.
Nimmo also lined hard to the
second baseman and fanned in the eighth against Vermont’s Austin Healy.
Plawecki hit a
longball and had an RBI single in four trips.
The final day brought afternoon
baseball at beautiful Ripken Stadium and a chance to see Kevin Gausman, the
fourth pick – and first pitcher selected -- in the country this year, make his
second pro start with the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
He did not disappoint.
The delivery has crazy funk and
deception, but his 92-94 mile per hour heat and plus change-up was clearly too
much for the Connecticut Tigers. He fanned three over three innings of one-hit
ball without walking a batter.
You can see all three of Gausman’s
All in all, the weekend worked
out pretty nicely, and the talent I saw made traveling to three states in three
days well worth my time.