Looking back at the 2012 Trenton Thunder

 

When the 2012 season was just opening, you may remember I thought the outlook for the Trenton Thunder was not particularly good. After a disappointing 2011, Trenton looked to have many of the same faces, with the bulk of the Yankees’ best prospects slated to spend the year in Single-A and the loss of some of their big pitchers to Empire State. Boy was I wrong. Trenton put together a very strong 2012 season, and as those key prospects will be working their way up the next couple years, they could be in for a few good years. The Thunder went 79-63, winning the Eastern Division in the Eastern League and securing a playoff spot. They beat the Reading Phillies in the first round, but lost to the strong pitching of the Akron Aeros in the Finals.

Interestingly, few aspects of Trenton’s play really stood out in the EL. They had some decent pitching, owning a 3.74 ERA, good for fourth in the EL but well below Akron’s 3.03 ERA. Meanwhile, Trention had a 1.39 WHIP, one of the highest in the league. Trenton could strike out batters, getting 1030 Ks and walking 463. Brett Marshall, Shaeffer Hall and Vidal Nuno were crucial in the starting rotation, while various pitchers came through out of the bullpen for the Thunder. Trenton was the only team without a complete game this season, though they came close on a couple occasions.

Trenton’s overall offensive numbers generally put them in the middle of the pack this season, but they were virtually untouchable when it came to power. Their team slash line of .260/.327/.423 showed the disparity, as their average and on base percentage were decent, but their slugging percentage was the best in the league. They hit 162 homers, far more than the 125 Bowie hit for second in the league. Of course, as is often the case with power hitting teams, the Thunder often fell victim to the strikeout, with 1050 Ks on the season. They were also not particularly adept at drawing walks, taking just 445 free passes. Zoilo Almonte and Luke Murton were a big part of the Thunder power surge, with the latter hitting a system-leading 25 homers. Addison Maruszak had a strong year for Trenton, despite widely being considered nothing more than an organization guy.

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How about that Ichiro!

When the New York Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners in a trade, I wrote here that the trade was a smart move and could even be a brilliant move. As I stated there and in future posts, if Ichiro could hit .300 for the Yankees, he would certainly help them. That initial post provoked a strong negative comment which really shook the confidence in what I had written. Yes, folks, I do read your comments and they are not taken lightly.  And there were times when Ichiro did not perform well at the plate and looked like a 39 year old shell of his former self. Two games yesterday sure changed some of that thought process. Upon further review, with a fourteen games left in the season, the trade is looking pretty darned good at the moment.

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Perspective about the Yankees’ offense

The New York Yankees won two nail-biters yesterday against a depleted Toronto Blue Jays. The pitching was great but the offense again struggled. One prevailing theme from Yankee fans on Twitter was the wish for a blowout once in a while. To be sure, the Yankees are missing Mark Teixeira‘s big bat in the middle of the lineup. But even so, the Yankees are struggling to hit. After the first inning of the first game yesterday, Henderson Alvarez totally shut down the Yankees and in the second game, Ricky Romero, who has had a terrible season, limited the team to one run over six innings. To add some perspective, Romero has pitched only four quality starts since July 18. Three of them have been against the Yankees. Romero’s ERA for the season is a whopping 5.72 with a WHIP of 1.636. Those are terrible numbers. Yet, in four starts against the Yankees (disclaimer – he hasn’t won a game against them), his ERA is 4.15 with a WHIP of 1.538.

Rob Abruzzese is a very good Yankee writer who has been covering the Yankees for years. He is also a great guy. He writes for the ESPN-affiliated, Bronx Baseball Daily. He is a glass half full kind of guy. Unfortunately, I am more of a glass half empty type. That difference in perspective led to the following Twitter exchange:

Rob (to all of Twitter): “The Yankees had done well this year against Alvarez and again in the 1st inning. Since then he’s looked like a different pitcher.”

William (in somewhat snark mode): “Every pitcher in baseball seems to look like a different pitcher against the Yankees.”

Rob (in response): “If by that you mean they look bad then yeah. The Yankees do have the 2nd best offense in baseball.”

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Analyzing Pettitte’s Return

I always look forward to doubleheaders. As a fan, double baseball means double fun, but you also get to examine a different type of managing. The Yankees won both games yesterday, Ichiro Suzuki came up big with an incredible 7 for 8 day, and best of all, Andy Pettitte returned from the disabled list. It doesn’t get much better than that right now. In case you missed it, Pettitte opened up game one, and we expected him to throw anywhere from 50 to 75 pitches. Optimistically, I thought that 5.0 solid innings would be a possibility, and that’s exactly what Continue reading Analyzing Pettitte’s Return

Small ball helps Yankees sweep double-header

The New York Yankees’ oldest starting pitcher and their least experienced helped bookend a double-header of great pitching with solid bullpen work and the Yankees swept two games of a double-header over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees won both games without the benefit of a home run and won the nightcap with a good old example of small ball. Ichiro Suzuki was the offensive star of the double header as he went four for four in the night game after going three for four in the first game. His single in the eighth inning of the second game was the game winner. Rafael Soriano capped a strong day of relief pitching (with one exception) and saved both ends of the two games. Derek Jeter recorded his two-hundredth hit of the season and played shortstop for the first time since injuring his ankle last week. The double-header brought the Yankees two games closer to their goal of winning the American League East.

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Game 148: One-Two Punch

After taking the first game today 4-2 on the back of Andy Pettitte’s strong outing, the Yankees look to extend their winning streak to four games this evening. This sort of 1-2 punch day is great for teams in pennant races, because they can pick up a half game if they sweep–even if their competition wins. So all eyes turn to David Phelps, who will take the mound for the bombers–hopefully in front of a few more people than this afternoon (I wish I could go to a matinee game on a Wednesday in September).

On the other side of the rubber will be the incomprehensibly inconsistent Ricky Romero, having a more down than up type of season–his +5.00 ERA stands in bold testament.

First pitch is at 7:05 PM EST.

Blue Jays (66-80)
R. Davis, RF
C. Rasmus, CF
B. Lawrie, 3B
A. Lind, DH
J. Arencibia, C
K. Johnson, 2B
Y. Gomes, 1B
A. Hechavarria, SS
A. Gose, LF

Yankees (84-63)
D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, RF
R. Cano, DH
A. Rodriguez, 3B
C. Granderson, CF
J. Nix, 2B
C. McGehee, 1B
I. Suzuki, LF
C. Stewart, C Continue reading Game 148: One-Two Punch

Game 148: Ricky Romero’s Evil Twin

Toronto Blue Jays New York Yankees Rajai Davis, RF Derek Jeter, SS Colby Rasmus, CF Nick Swisher, RF Brett Lawrie, 3B Robinson Cano, DH Adam Lind, DH Alex Rodriguez, 3B J.P. Arencibia, C Curtis Granderson, CF Kelly Johnson, 2B Jayson Nix, 2B Yan Gomes, 1B Casey McGehee, 1B Adeiny Hechavarria, SS Ichiro Suzuki, LF Anthony Gose, LF Chris Stewart, C Ricky Romero, SP David Phelps, SP The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., on My9. Let’s go Yankees!

Derek Jeter And The AL MVP

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) At this point it’s getting hard to find a positive adjective that hasn’t already been used to describe Derek Jeter‘s 2012 season.  What he’s done this year has been simply remarkable, and almost unthinkably good given how bad he looked this time 2 years ago.  While the rest of the team’s veteran hitters around him have regressed, and guys still in their primes did the same, Jeter has been very consistent and very productive at an age when he rightfully shouldn’t be, and has flat out carried the offense for stretches.  Continue reading Derek Jeter And The AL MVP