The Yankees affiliate beat out the Red Sox affiliate and now we should all be happy. The stacked RailRiders lineup managed to pull ahead after a wild pitch let in a run while GREG BIRD was batting. They would score again in the fifth when Ben Gamel knocked in a run on a double to center fielder...Jemile Weeks?? They sealed the deal in the sixth when Aaron Judge slugged a three-run home run with GREG BIRD and Gary Sanchez on base. It was a good day to be a Yankees prospect:
That dinger probably came at a pretty good time, since Judge has hit only .231/.316/.396 since joining the RailRiders in June. It would be nice to see him get something going as the season winds down because right now he's hitting just .135 over his last 10 games with a whopping 20 strikeouts in that time!
Ben Gamel continued his monster season and is now hitting .415 in his last 10 games, while Rob Refsnyder notched a triple, but has hit only .233/.306/.411 since returning to the minors, though he's been improving in recent weeks. GREG BIRD, who is OPSing over 1.000 in the month of August, Gary Sanchez, who is OPSing over 1.000 since joining the RailRiders in July, and Slade Heathcott, who has not hit much since returning to Scranton on July 30, got a hit apiece.
Kyle Haynes, the warm body the Yankees got back from the Pirates for Chris Stewart, had a solid outing, allowing only one run on three hits and three walks while striking out six batters in 5.2 innings and eliciting eight ground ball outs. He had been having a strong year in the bullpen with a 1.88 ERA before he was converted into a starting pitcher and has struggled with a 4.76 ERA. It's an interesting experiment and hid did maintained a 4.13 ERA in 10 starts at Double-A before getting called up to Scranton and allowing 12 earned runs on 21 hits in only 14.1 innings. In relief, Nick Goody struggled by allowing a run on two hits and two walk and was yanked after only getting one out in order to keep the game under control. Andrew Bailey bailed (get it?) him out by throwing 1.2 scoreless innings to notch the save. It wasn't the best time for Goody to struggle, since September call-ups are just right around the corner, but it's looking more and more likely that Bailey gets a shot in a few weeks now that he has a 1.65 ERA and 11.9 K/9 over 27.1 innings in the minors this year.
Scranton is currently in first place in the North division by 5.5 games–the largest margin in the International League. With 26 games left in the season, it's looking like the RailRiders will be one of the top contenders for the league playoffs this year. The season ends September 7 before the playoffs begin, so it will be interesting to see if the Yankees call up Sanchez or Gamel or allow them to play through the playoffs.
Double-A Trenton Thunder: Posponed
High-A Tampa Yankees: W 12-7 vs. Brevard County Manatees
Tampa beat up on the Manatees as they score 11 runs by the fifth inning against their one. In the first inning, the Yankees didn't even have to take the bat off their shoulders because the work was done for them when they collected four walks in a row and scored again on a wild pitch. Top shortstop prospect knocked in another two runs in the second after a hitting a double to left field and scored after Mike Ford knocked him in. In the fourth, Ford would smack a two-run home run and they would blow it open with four runs in the fifth. Ericson Leonora would deliver the third single in a row to open up the frame and score a run before Mateo brought another run home and eventually scored on a Dustin Fowler single. Their last run of the night came in the sixth when Miguel Andujar tripled to lead off the inning and would eventually come around to score after a Leonora double.
It was a good night for top prospects as Jorge Mateo went 3-5 with three RBI and a stolen base–his 75th of the season. Abiatal Avelino collected two hits, walk, and a stolen base, and Miguel Andujar collected a hit and walk. Dustin Fowler had a hit, a walk, and two RBI and is turning into a real player to watch now that he's hitting .306/.348/.413 on the year with 29 stolen bases and five home runs. Jim Callis preemptively ranked him among the top 20 prospects in the Yankees system last year and now we're seeing why. Even some of the fringier guys got in on the fun as Ericson Leonora went 3-4 with two RBI and Mike Ford collected two hits, a walk, and three RBI.
Vicente Campos has had a rough return to the mound as he looks to get back from Tommy John surgery. He has a 6.21 ERA on the season, but he managed to allow only three earned runs on five hits in five innings while also striking out six batters. He got into trouble in the sixth inning when he allowed three straight hits to lead off the inning and was lifted after allowing a run to score. Releiver Manolo Reyes would immediately unleash a wild pitch to allow another run and end his outing by allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in just one inning. Angel Rincon tossed three scoreless innings to end the game and keep the Manatees from getting back into the game.
Low-A Charleston RiverDogs: W 9-0 vs. Lexington Legends
The RiverDogs essentially put up video game numbers against the Lexington Legends as they score nine runs on 15 hits against their five hits and no runs. Charleston would score their first run on a Vicente Conde home run to left field. They would score three more in the third after a Bo Thompson home run, a Conde sac fly, and an Angel Aguilar single. Isaias Tejeda went yard on a two-run home run in the fourth and the RiverDogs would load the bases in the sixth and score on a Conde walk. Since returning in June after serving a PED suspension, Thompson hasn't been incredibly impressive, but he's currently hitting .313 in his last 10 games and went 4-5 with two double and a home run on the night, so we'll have to see how he goes from here. Catcher-turned-third baseman Isaias Tejeda collected three hits and two RBI while Austin Aune and Alexander Palma collected two hits and Vicente Conde grabbed three RBI.
While the offense might get all the attention, the pitching was equally as impressive, and maybe even more, as Joey Maher through six scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and striking out 11! Maher has been having a great year after three years in rookie ball, but at 23 years old, his 2.37 ERA and 3.09 FIP should be expected as he is likely feasting on younger hitters. Philip Walby and Conner Kendrick were able to mow through the last three innings of the game in order to shut Lexington out.
Short Season-A Staten Island Yankees: W 10-7 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones (12 innings)
The extra-inning affair proved to be a real slugfest when Staten Island took an early lead thanks to a Brandon Wagner double in the first. Unfortunately, Luis Cedeno, who has normally been solid this year, would give the lead right back as he would allow three runs on seven hits and four walks over 4.1 innings. The Yankees would come back with two unwarned runs in the fourth and then a three-run sixth after Kevin Cornelius knocked a two-run home run and they took advantage of a wild pitch. They'd add another run in the seventh, but Josh Roeder would allow four runs over 2.1 innings to tie the score up. The game would go another four scoreless innings before SI took the lead in the 12th when Jhalan Jackson singled and Brandon Wagner doubled.
The win was made possible thanks to some great relief as Jonny Drozd pitched 2.1 scoreless and Jose Mesa went for three while striking out six batters to get the win. left fielder Junior Valera went 4-4 with two doubles and a walk to add to his impressive .333/.373/.479 batting line this year. Thairo Estrada and Brandon Wagner each had two hits, while Kevin Cornelius collected three RBI on the night. Wagner hasn't been an offensive machine since debuting after the draft, but in his last 10 games he is batting .333 at the plate. First-round pick Kyle Holder has hit a paltry .187/.243/.211 at the plate and so far he hasn't shown much sign of life. Jeff Hendrix has been very solid at the plate, putting together a .349 OBP with eight stolen bases and great outfield defense.
The Pulaski Yankees had a very good night after sweeping both games in a doubleheader against the Blue Jays affiliate. They simply dominated offensively, starting in game one as the team scored two in the first thanks to an RBI-double from Allen Valerio and a single from Gosuke Katoh. They scored again in the fourth when Hoy Jun Park delivered a bases-clearing triple and Austin Afenir knocked in another one. They scored again in the fifth when Kendall Coleman delivered a solo shot to right center field. On the night, they notched 10 hits as Coleman went 3-3, Afenir went 2-2, and Valerio collected two doubles. On the mound, Melvin Morla and Juam Jimenez combined for seven scoreless innings where Moral struck out six batters, but walked four, and Jimenez struck out five and walked one. Morla allowed the only Blue Jays hit of the day, but this was a good outing for him with his ERA ballooning to a 6.55 on the season.
Game two brought more of the same, as the offense crushed their opponent and the pitching kept them quiet. Pulaski scored in the first three innings, as Carlos Vidal homered in the bottom of the first, Frank Frias blasted a two-run shot to center field in the second, and Blue Jays pitcher Matthew Smoral walked four batters in a row to add a run on and his replacement, Grayson Huffman walked the next batter. Frias went 2-3 on the night with a walk and a total of four RBI, while Vidal and Nathan Mikolas also collected two hits. Blue Jays pitching surrendered a total of eight free passes in the game and the Yankees made them pay. The pitching was also on point as Nestor Cortes allowed only one run, three hits, and three walks in five innings while striking out a grand total of 10 batters.
The Yankees rookie ball team brought the bats as they pounded out 12 hits in all, starting in the first inning when Cesar Diaz tripled and got knocked in by Wilkerman Garcia. Leonardo Molina doubled in the same inning to score two more runs. A Bryan Cuevas triple brought in another run in the fifth and Garcia singled in another run in the sixth before they finished off the night with two more runs thanks to a double by Donny Sands and a throwing error allowed them to plate another run. Wilkerman Garcia, one of the Yankees' big free agent signings, is hitting .301 on the season and went 2-3 with two hits, two RBI, and two walks. Donnie Sands and Victor Rey had two-hit games of their own, while Terrance Robertson, Diaz, and Garcia all stole a base. Yankees pitching was solid as Abel Duarte allowed only one run on five hits over five innings, dropping his ERA below the 4.00 mark. He pitched a lot to contact since he only struck out two, but got seven ground ball outs and six fly ball outs. Jose Pujols entered the game in the sixth and threw 3.1 innings of one-hit baseball to earn himself the old fashion save.
The Yankees second rookie ball team wasn't as good fortuned as they took the lead in the top of the sixth inning, but soon gave it back up in the bottom of the seventh. The Yankees scored first thanks to a Renzo Martini double and Isiah Gilliam single in the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, Christian Morris allowed two unearned runs thanks to third baseman Griffin Garabito's throwing error. In the sixth, the Yankees took advantage of some sloppy play when Dominic Jose reached on an error then advanced all the way to third on consecutive wild pitches before scoring on a fly ball. Yonauris Rodriguez would later knock in another run for a 3-2 lead. Omar Luis would pitch 2.2 scoreless innings before giving way to Cory Jordan, who would surrender five earned runs on six hits and two walks in 2.0 innings and seal the team's fate. In the end, Martini had a hit and two walks, pushing his average to .280 on the year while Ronaldo Suarez managed to collect two hits despite only coming into the game in the seventh inning.