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

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Trenton set for major overhaul (with videos of new players)

Sources indicated late Saturday night that the Thunder were in for a major overhaul just before the playoffs, which will start on Wednesday in Reading after the R-Phils’ loss to Portland clinched the Eastern Division for Trenton.          

Yankees outfield prospects Tyler Austin, whom Brian Cashman dubbed a “mega prospect” on Thursday and Ramon Flores, as well as pitchers Zach Nuding, Nik Turley, Branden Pinder and Tommy Kahnle were bumped from High-A Tampa to Double-A. 

At press time, the entirety of the back of the move was unclear, but sources did indicate that catcher Jose Gil and relievers Jon Meloan and Francisco Rondon were on the move to Scranton. 

TYLER AUSTIN, who started this year in with Low-A Charleston, has hit .323/.401/.564 with 35 doubles, 17 homers and 79 RBIs in 108 games between two levels.

Scout's View: "I personally think he's going to be an everyday right fielder. He reminds me of Jay Buhner at the same age. To me, he wasn't a sleeper. The moment I saw him, I thought he could have been a first- or second-round pick. He can run, he can throw, he can play defense -- even though he's never played in the outfield, he's picked it up very quickly. He can hit. He's got power. I think he might be their best offensive prospect."

Scout's View: "You're buying the bat with him. For me, he's a backup outfielder, not an everyday guy. He's got raw power, but not as much as Sanchez." 

RAMON FLORES, a smaller outfielder with an excellent hit tool and batting eye, hit .302/.370/.420 with 29 doubles, 7 triples, six longballs and 24 steals in 33 attempts. 

Scout’s View: “He can really swing the bat. I definitely think he has some upside. I was very pleased to see him in center field. I like the bat, and I definitely think he’s going to have some value there as well.”

NIK TURLEY makes a whole lot of sense, especially considering he missed a ton of time with blister issues this year. He's at just 112 innings, and has been one of the system's more stealth risers in 2012. 

A 50th-rounder from California, Turley has whiffed 116 against 44 walks in 112 innings with Tampa. He's only allowed 97 hits in that frame. A scout I spoke to earlier this month said this about Turley: 

Scout's View: He's getting better and better every time I see him. He's starting to command his stuff much better, and I've seen him maybe four outings now over the last two years, and every time I see him he gets better. The breaking ball is nasty. Sometimes he doesn't get it, sometimes it doesn't click, but when it clicks, it's a 60 pitch, a plus breaking ball. If he can just learn to command that a little bit more, he's good.

He touched 94 twice. He pitches at 91, 92. It's a good arm and he has a feel for a change. He knows what he's doing. There's a lot to like there. He's really grown on me. The last two times, he's gotten better and better.

I thought originally that he was just going to be a lefty out of the pen, a reliever, but I think he has enough to start. Don't get me wrong. I don't think he's a No. 1, 2 or 3, but I think he could be a rotation guy.

BRANDEN PINDER skipped Charleston entirely for a job at the back end of Tampa's bullpen. He's allowed one home run in 67 2/3 innings. Since July, he's permitted just 16 hits in 26 innings, and has struck out 27 against nine walks. 

Scout’s View: “Maybe the best arm down there. His (situation) is about command and control, moreso than Montgomery.”

Scout’s View:  “I think he has some upside as well. He has a big arm as well. He was 90 to 94. That’s another power arm. I have him as an up-and-down guy.

TOMMY KAHNLE has a huge arm, hitting the upper-90s. His problem has always been command, but it's gotten better toward the end of the season. He's walked just seven in 29 innings since July against 40 strikeouts.

Scout's Notes: He's getting better. He's got a good arm. There's some hope there for a relief spot. He's got a big arm. He's getting better (command-wise). He's closing in.

ZACH NUDING has also been bitten by the injury bug this year. He's got an 8-3 record and 66 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings in Tampa.


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