A quiet series for the Hudson Valley bats, a promotion for Will Warren, big weeks from Austin Wells and Estevan Florial, and a great performance from Everson Pereira stand out from last week. Let’s go through everything that happened on the farm.
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Record: 21-24 and 10.5 games back in the International League East after winning four out of six games with the Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
Run Differential: +15
Coming up: Back home for six games against the Worcester Red Sox starting on Tuesday, May 23
The RailRiders put on enough of an offensive display last week to push their run differential into the plus range, even though they are still under .500 for the season. They hit 20 homers in the six-game series with Charlotte, and 12 different players went deep. Estevan Florial went off for five of those home runs, and he had an OPS of 1.699 for the series. Rodolfo Durán, Jesús Bastidas, and Oswald Peraza combined to go 22-for-51, hit seven homers, drive in 14, and score 18 runs.
Offense came from many different contributors, but the pitchers had a little trouble keeping runs off the board with a staff ERA of 4.33 in the series. Will Warren, just up from Somerset and making his Triple-A debut, was solid in six innings, giving up two runs and striking out four. Randy Vásquez, who’s had some up-and-down results this year, had one of his better outings, shutting out the Knights for five innings, allowing only two hits, and punching out five. Continuing to make his case for a call-up at some point in the near future, Matt Krook worked another 2.2 scoreless with three strikeouts, but he also walked three, as that is still an area he will need to improve before confidently making the leap to the Yankees’ bullpen.
WATCH IT GO, FLO! ✈️— SWB RailRiders (@swbrailriders) May 21, 2023
Estevan Florial crushes his fifth homer of the week 378 ft. -- the 20th homer for SWB this series -- on the first pitch of today's matinee against Charlotte. #EverythingMajor #RepBX pic.twitter.com/dUvBZ6o1JF
Players of note (stats are season totals):
3B Andrés Chaparro: .826 OPS, 11 HR, 30 RBI, 6 2B, 30 R, 19 BB
OF Estevan Florial: 1.044 OPS, 9 HR, 20 RBI, 28 BB, 9 SB, 46 K
SS Oswald Peraza: 21 for 58, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 3 2B, 5 SB
C Rodolfo Durán: .944 OPS, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 9 2B
SP Randy Vásquez: 4.85 ERA, 42.2 IP, 44 H, 23 BB, 50 K
SP Mitch Spence: 5.28 ERA, 44.1 IP, 45 H, 17 BB, 45 K
RP Matt Krook: 1.17 ERA, 15.1 IP, 5 H, 12 BB, 29 K
Can we get ANOTHER #SCTop10 play this week ⁉️— SWB RailRiders (@swbrailriders) May 20, 2023
It's a defensive dance as Billy McKinney has the full ballerina split at first base following a spinning throw in shallow centerfield from @Yankees Oswald Peraza, who is on an MLB rehab assignment with SWB.#EverythingMajor #RepBX pic.twitter.com/eVV5q04A2R
Double-A Somerset Patriots
Record: 23-15 and 2.5 games back in the Eastern League Northeast after splitting six with the Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies)
Run Differential: +52
Coming up: On the road for six games against the Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) starting Tuesday, May 23
Though the Patriots came away with a split in their series with Reading, there are individual performances to be excited about from last week. One is from Everson Pereira (more on that below), who probably had his best week of the season so far, but another is from catching prospect Austin Wells, who continues to pound the baseball since his return to Somerset. Wells now has seven home runs for the Patriots, and three of them came last week. He’s hitting the ball hard, producing runs, and keeping his strikeouts down. The voices calling for him to move up to Triple-A will get louder should he continue this way. Another player pushing his way into the mix for a promotion is Brandon Lockridge. The outfielder had another strong week, slashing .400/.571/.733 against the Fightin Phils.
While the offense had plenty of firepower, the pitching staff struggled to a 5.33 ERA. Losing Will Warren to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre did not help the rotation, and several pitchers did not have their best turns of the season. One starter who did stay on the right track was Blane Abeyta, who followed his strong previous start with another solid outing, striking out seven in 5.2 innings while allowing two earned runs on only two hits. Out of the bullpen, Steven Jennings held it down with seven punch-outs in 4.2 innings of one-run ball.
Players of note:
OF Brandon Lockridge: .914 OPS, 9 XBH, 13 RBI, 13 R, 17 SB
OF Jasson Domínguez: .753 OPS, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 30 BB, 13 SB, 29 R
C Austin Wells: 1.009 OPS, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 13 R (15 games)
OF Everson Pereira: .859 OPS, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 9 2B, 6 SB, 15 R
SP Clayton Beeter: 3.48 ERA, 33.2 IP, 31 H, 43 K, 18 BB
SP Richard Fitts: 6.21 ERA, 33.1 IP, 38 H, 36 K, 10 BB
SP Blas Castano: 2.84 ERA, 25.1 IP, 16 H, 25 K, 10 BB
RP Tanner Myatt: 1.62 ERA, 16.2 IP, 20 K, 11 BB
RP Indigo Diaz: 1.65 ERA, 16.1 IP, 23 K, 14 BB
SO LOCKED IN— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) May 20, 2023
Brandon Lockridge adds to the lead with his 2nd HR of the season and extends his on-base streak to 14 straight games. pic.twitter.com/MlSPvunTmV
High-A Hudson Valley Renegades
Record: 23-16 and leading the South Atlantic League North by 2.5 games after losing 4 out of 6 with the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets)
Run Differential: +34
Coming up: On the road for six games against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) beginning Tuesday, May 23
The once-explosive bats of the Renegades were silent last week, and the results showed up in wins and losses. They homered only three times as a team in the series and slashed .214/.310/.280. Get ‘em next time.
Some players who have not received a good deal of attention so far, like Grant Richardson and Aldenis Sanchez, had weeks that serve as progress. They combined to go 10-for-27, with Richardson homering Friday and walking off the Cyclones in the second game of Sunday’s double-header. On the other hand, some players struggled when they had been trending in the right direction prior to last week. In the case of Spencer Jones and Alexander Vargas, the series against Brooklyn brought some old concerns to the forefront. Jones struck out 11 times in six games, raising his rate for the season to 34 percent. Vargas had a BABIP of .077 in the series, once again causing concern about his quality of contact.
Another player who was expected to climb the prospect lists this season, Antonio Gomez, had a week to forget. He went 2-for-15 and struck out 10 times, which lowered his slash line for the season to .208/.276/.284 and brought his strikeout rate up to 33.9 rate. Hopefully he can begin to turn things around against Wilmington this week.
Things on the mound were a little rosier. The Renegades continued to get strong starts from Drew Thorpe, Chase Hampton, and Juan Carela, as the three combined for 21 strikeouts in 17 innings while allowing only three earned runs. They weren’t helped by their offense or defense, and none of those pitchers came away with a win last week. The Danny Watson show continued in the bullpen, as the reliever rang up another five strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work without allowing an earned run.
Players of note:
OF Aaron Palensky: 1.025 OPS, 10 HR, 27 RBI, 4 2B, 7 SB, 20 R
SS Alexander Vargas: .713 OPS, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 3 2B, 2 3B, 7 SB, 17 R
INF Benjamin Cowles: .819 OPS, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 17 R
OF Spencer Jones: .882 OPS, 11 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 10 SB, 23 R
SP Chase Hampton: 3.10 ERA, 29 IP, 49 K, 11 BB
SP Zach Messinger: 2.23 ERA, 36.1 IP, 44 K, 14 BB
SP Drew Thorpe: 4.26 ERA, 38 IP, 45 K, 16 BB
RP Danny Watson: 1.69 ERA, 21.1 IP, 35 K, 9 BB
Low-A Tampa Tarpons
Record: 14-25 and 15 games back in the Florida State League West after splitting six games with the Dunedin Blue Jays
Run Differential: -31
Coming up: On the road for six games with the Palm Beach Cardinals beginning Tuesday, May 23
The team statistics from last week make it look like the Tarpons should have come away with more than a split from their series with the Blue Jays. A team OPS of .784, the second-most runs scored and home runs in the league, and a staff ERA of 3.88, with fewer hits and more strikeouts than innings pitched, seem to point toward a series win, but it was not to be.
Not all was disappointing, though, as Jared Serna showed no signs of letting up from his electric performance the week prior. Serna had a 1.139 OPS in the series, and hit three more home runs, and he has become a must-follow in the box scores. The promising bat of Agustin Ramirez also showed signs of life, as he slashed .316/.333/.474 against Dunedin, and though he missed three games in the middle of the series due to a likely minor injury, outfielder Anthony Hall was 4-for-10 with a homer, four RBI, and four runs scored.
Tampa’s top three starters Sean Hermann, Brock Selvidge, and Justin Lange continued to show promise, combining for 13 innings, 18 strikeouts, and only three earned runs allowed. Hermann had been scuffling of late, and hopefully his start against the Blue Jays gets him going again. The Tarpons also got stellar work out of the bullpen from Luis Velasquez, Cole Ayers, Alex Bustamante, and Manny Ramirez, who together threw 13.2 innings of shutout baseball and struck out 16. Velasquez is putting up good numbers on the year, with his ERA now down to 1.29 in 21 innings to go with 22 strikeouts, but his 5.14 walks per nine will have to come down.
Players of note:
2B Jared Serna: .331/.406/.559; 21 R, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 6 2B, 8 SB, 15 BB
OF Anthony Hall: .253/.367/.398; 2 HR (22 games), 18 R, 4 2B, 14 BB
C Agustin Ramirez: .240/.363/.390; 4 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R, 20 BB
SP Justin Lange: 3.81 ERA, 28.1 IP, 53 K, 19 BB
SP Brock Selvidge: 3.74 ERA, 33.2 IP, 36 K, 7 BB
RP Mason Vinyard: 3.98 ERA, 20.1 IP, 29 K
RP Matt Keating: 1.62 ERA, 16.2 IP, 26 K
Prospect of the week: Everson Pereira
The most optimistic fans of Pereira felt that he may take left field in the Bronx by the end of 2023, but that has never been a likelihood. The early returns from Pereira in April made the big leagues feel farther away, and the wait continued for a breakout that didn’t seem like it would come. Maybe the tide has turned. Pereira lit up Reading with a slash line of .522/.538/.870 to go with two homers, two doubles, and five runs batted in. His 12 hits in the series meant he averaged a multi-hit game per day, and his numbers for May now look like those of a star. He’s slashing .313/.365/.597 with five homers for the month, and his 131 wRC+ is now sixth-best in the entire system. Pereira still could stand to walk more and strike out less to improve his trajectory, but if his recent performance is a trend, he may validate the ambitious hopes of his most enthusiastic supporters.