About Tamar Chalker

Tamar has written for IIATMS since July 2009, having started off writing game recaps before shifting to the minor leagues. Born in Connecticut and having lived all over the country and in South Korea, Tamar now finds herself "temporarily misplaced" in New Hampshire. Please send help - I can pay you in maple syrup.

Pettitte strong in return as Yankees beat Blue Jays 4-2

The Yankees started their doubleheader by sending Andy Pettitte to the mound for the first time since he was injured in June. He looked sharp in his first inning, striking out Rajai Davis to start. With Derek Jeter out of the lineup for the day game, Ichiro Suzuki took the lead-off position and promptly lined a single to right. Nick Swisher, looking to break out of an 0-10 skid, fouled the ball off his foot but battled back before driving a single to right and putting runners on the corners. Cano followed with a double over the head of Colby Rasmus, plating Ichiro for the first run of the day. Swisher scored on a ground ball by Alex Rodriguez and Cano came home on a sac fly from Curtis Granderson, despite a strong throw by Rasmus, giving the Yankees an early 3-0 advantage.

Pettitte found himself in a little trouble in the second, walking Moises Sierra and allowing a hit to Adieny Hechavarria. With runners on the corners and two outs, Pettitte got Anthony Gose to ground out to first, keeping the Blue Jays scoreless. Davis started the third with a single that deflected off Eric Chavez and Brett Lawrie smacked the ball to Swisher at first. Instead of taking the easy inning-ending double play ball, Swish dropped the ball and flung it towards Pettitte at first. Luckily, no one scored and the next ball was a grounder to Cano who stepped on second and threw out Lind to end the inning.

The Bombers had a chance to add some insurance in the bottom of the sixth. Cano hit a one out single to center, giving the Yankees a baserunner. Rodriguez worked a full count, but watched strike three cross the plate. Cano tried to steal second and looked like he would be waiting on third for Granderson after a bad throw by Jeff Mathis. Instead, the home plate umpire called him out, as Rodriguez had begun to walk to the dugout, interfering with the Toronto catcher’s throw. A leadoff double by Hechavarria gave the Blue Jays a chance to get on the board in the top of the seventh. A nice catch by Chavez in foul territory gave the Yankees their first out and two fly balls to center kept the Yankee lead intact.

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Looking back at the 2012 Tampa Yankees


The Tampa Yankees had a tough 2012, ending the with a losing record (65-70) for the first time since 2005. The Yankees fell behind with a sluggish first half, but looked better during the second part of the season. The return of Slade Heathcott, along with the addition of players like Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez helped the Yankees rebound towards the end of the year. Other Florida State League teams were not the only thing the Yankees had to battle, as weather (and the Republican National Convention) threw the last couple months of Tampa’s schedule in disarray. On more than one occasion, the Yankees played back-to-back days of doubleheaders in order to stay on track.

Pitching was inconsistent for the Yankees in 2012, excelling in some areas and instances while struggling at other times. Their team ERA of 3.77 put them right in the middle of the pack in the FSL, while they had the second highest WHIP (1.37). They only allowed 62 homers (3rd lowest) and their 1089 strikeouts were second only to Clearwater. They lead the league in walks, however, giving 498 free passes. Nik Turley had a very strong year on the mound for the Yankees, while Brandon Pinder and Mark Montgomery were solid out of the bullpen. It was no surprise that they all saw action for Trenton by the end of the season.

Offense was largely the same story for Tampa, as they were often right in the middle of the FSL. They had a team slash line of .254/.317/.372. Their on base percentage was their real weakness, as it only higher than Charlotte’s. This was in large part to drawing just 382 walks. Despite this, the Yankees had some strong offensive performances. Ramon Flores was a huge presence all season and Kyle Roller gave the Yankees some power with eighteen homers. Roller, along with Turley, made the FSL Postseason All-Star Team.

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Looking back at the 2012 Charleston RiverDogs

 

When the 2012 season was getting ready to begin Charleston looked like the team to watch, as their roster was full of some of the Yankees’ most promising prospects. Players like Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez gave the RiverDogs a potent lineup, but as they all moved up to Tampa and Dante Bichette, Jr. and Cito Culver struggled, Charleston fell short of the South Atlantic League playoffs with an overall record of 73-63, good for second in their division. Of course, in the strange way the playoffs are formatted in Single-A, the Southern Division actually saw the Rome Braves, owners of a 62-76 season-long record, make the postseason as they won the division in the second half. Charleston also played host to the 2012 SAL All-Star game. Pitchers Pedro Guerra and Bryan Mitchell represented the RiverDogs, along with Sanchez, Austin, Williams and Francisco Arcia.

The RiverDogs pitching put them a little above league average this season, with an overall ERA of 4.22 and a 1.40 WHIP. They only gave up 75 homers, tied for third lowest in the SAL and struck out 1117, which was good for fourth in the league. Starting pitching was not Charleston’s strong point, as the hurlers who made the most starts, Scottie Allen, Bryan Mitchell and William Oliver, each had ERA’s well over 4.00. The RiverDogs did see some strong performances out of the bullpen, including Nick Goody who had a 1.09 ERA over seventeen relief appearances.

While Charleston did not dominate the Sally League, as many expected, they still were a force to be reckoned with. As a team, Charleston hit .268/.334/.394. The RiverDogs’ lineup only struck out 979 times (third lowest in the league), however, they were not particularly adept at taking the free pass (412 walks). The impressive offensive performances were plentiful, with some of the Yankees best prospects spending time in Charleston this year. Unfortunately, just as glaring were the disappointing seasons had by Bichette and Culver. The latter continues to impress scouts defensively (despite his 22 errors), but it is hard to find anyone with much positive to say about his bat.

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Looking back at the 2012 Staten Island Yankees

After a championship 2011 season, the Staten Island Yankees were a very different team this year. They started the season quite slow, but seemed to get better as the season progressed. They ended 2012 strong, but they still were just 30-45 on the year, finding themselves second from last in the McNamara Division of the New York-Penn League. Despite their struggles, the Yankees saw some strong performances and had three players pick up NY-Penn League All-Star honors, with Matt Snyder, Taylor Dugas and James Pazos being named to the American League team.

Much like the GCL Yankees, Staten Island’s offense struggled to put up a consistent batting average, depending on its power and on base percentage for their success. As a team, they hit .239/.321/.343.  They stole just 51 bases, which was fourth lowest in the league and a far cry from Tri-City’s 119. Their 39 homers were good for fourth in the NY-Penn League. Saxon Butler provided much of the Yankees’ power, and was rewarded with a promotion to Charleston in the second half of the season.

Staten Island’s struggles were in large part due to their poor pitching. Their 4.16 ERA (4th in NY-Penn League) coupled with their 1.44 league leading WHIP put them in trouble. They did not strikeout many batters (505, 2nd lowest) and allowed quite a few walks (292, 2nd highest). They gave up more homers (42) than any other team. Pazos was one of the few consistent pitchers for the Yankees, along with Taylor Garrison and Dietrich Enns.

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Looking back at the 2012 GCL Yankees

 

The GCL Yankees took home the Gulf Coast League crown in 2011, going 37-23 and beating the GCL Marlins in the final. They looked like they were well on their way to a fifth GCL championship once the short-season commenced, as the Yankees went 13-1 with a twelve game win streak. Unfortunately, they cooled down over the rest of the season, going 22-24 and ending the year 35-25, just one game short of the North Division wild card.

After a couple years with mediocre pitching, the Yankees actually had some solid performances on the mound in 2012. As a team, the Yankees hurlers had a 3.09 ERA (3rd in GCL) and a league leading 1.14 WHIP. They struck out 482 batters and only allowed 148 walks. The Yankees also led the league in saves with 23, as Edison Mejia personally picked up eleven. Alas, just as the GCL Yankees’ pitching was improved over 2011, their hitting fell short.

Power was the key to a Yankee offense that often struggled to hit for average. As a team, they hit .244/.326/.363 with an OPS of .690. While their overall batting average put them square in the middle of the GCL, their OPS was the third highest and their slugging percentage was fourth. They clubbed 32 homers, which tied them for most in the GCL. Strikeouts were a problem, as the Yankees struck out 499 times (tied for second most in league) and they were not a particularly fast group, stealing just 43 bases and getting caught 20 times.

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Baseball America recognizes Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and others with end of season honors

With the minor league season all wrapped up, Baseball America has been rolling out their end of season honors. Gary Sanchez got perhaps the biggest nod, being placed on the BA 2012 Minor League All-Star Team. He was the First Team catcher on the list, which covers the various levels of the minor league system. When it came to the Classification All-Star teams, Mark Montgomery (Tampa), Tyler Austin (Charleston) and Saxon Butler (Staten Island) each made the list.

Baseball America also picked their best player and best pitcher out of the Yankees’ system this year. There were some good performances for the Yankees this year, but I suspect we will see a lot of the same names as people look back on the 2012 season. Not surprisingly, Austin got the best player nod, with the caveat that it likely would have been Williams had the outfielder not missed the end of the season due to injury. King points out that Austin’s bat seemed to not miss a beat when he moved up to Tampa, where he hit .321/.385/.478 in the last half of the season. BA also mentioned that David Adams is one to watch, now that he appears to be healthy and is hitting the ball well.

Montgomery was the best pitcher pick, which one could hardly argue with. Montgomery has flown through the minors since being drafted in 2011 and dominated Tampa and Ternton this season. He looked a bit more human in Trenton, but he still picked up 34 Ks in just 21 innings, owning a 2.14 ERA. Even Brian Cashman has stated that Montgomery has a shot at being in the Bronx at some point next season.

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Trenton loses the EL Championship to Akron

Akron won the 2012 Eastern League Championship tonight, beating Trenton 6-1 in Game 4 to take the series 3-1. Strong pitching propelled the Aeros to the playoffs and sure enough, that was what helped them capture the trophy, as the Thunder struggled to put up much offense.

The Aeros got on the board in the top of the second. Matt Lawson drew a base on balls and Adam Abraham lined a triple to center. A sac fly by Ryan Rohlinger plated Abraham and Akron led 2-0. JR Murphy knocked a solo homer to left in the bottom of the second, cutting the lead in half. Akron added some insurance in the fifth, as Abraham started the inning with a single. Rohlinger grounded an infield single, but Abraham was thrown out at third. A double by Roberto Perez scored Rohlinger and the Aeros were up 3-1.

Trenton rarely had a chance to threaten as the game headed into the late innings. A one out single by Addison Maruszak in the seventh was wasted as Murphy and Kevin Mahoney struck out. Akron put the game virtually out of reach for the struggling Thunder, as they added some more runs in the top of the ninth. Rohlinger drew a one-out walk and Davis Stoneburner lined a single to left. Perez drew a walk, loading the bases and Jordan Henry ripped a single to left, where Ramon Flores had trouble handling the ball as three runs scored.

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Trenton keeps Championship dreams alive with 11-7 victory over Akron

Game 3 was anything but a pitcher’s duel, as both Akron and Trenton got their bats going early in the game. Needing a win to keep their season going, the Thunder came out victorious behind a big night from Zoilo Almonte and Ramon Flores. It was Trenton’s first win in this series and they will need to sweep the next two games to take the Eastern League Championship.

The Aeros drew first blood as Jordan Henry started the game with a single, moving to second on a sac bunt. A wild pitch moved Henry to third and he scored on a single by Chun-Hsiu Chen for the 1-0 lead. The lead did not last long, however, as Trenton got to work quickly in the bottom of the inning. Adonis Garcia got things going with a single to right and Flores drove a double to left to tie the game. David Adams lined a single to right, putting runners on the corners and Almonte knocked a three-run homer over the wall in left for the 4-1 advantage.

Akron chipped away at the Trenton lead over the next couple innings, scoring another run in the second on a solo shot by Adam Abraham. Henry started the third with another single, followed by single from Tyler Holt and Chen to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Henry and Jesus Aguilar doubled in Holt and Chen, giving Akron the 5-4 lead. They got some more breathing room in the top of the fifth, as Chen singled to left and Aguilar lined a single to center. A single by Matt Lawson plated Chen and Aguilar scored on a ground out by Abraham for the 7-4 Aeros advantage.

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Trenton drops Game 2 to Akron 7-5

After coming up empty in Game 1, the Thunder looked to even up the series on Wednesday. They quickly found themselves in a deep hole, but were able to chip away at the lead. Trenton made it into a game at the end, but were unable to ever take the lead, falling 7-5 to the Aeros and finding themselves needing to win the next three games if they are going to be the Eastern League champions.

Akron drew first blood, as Chun-Hsiu Chen reached on an error by David Adams and Jesus Aguilar followed with a homer to left, putting the Aeros up 2-0 in the first. Trenton got one run back in the top of the third, as Tyler Austin started the inning with a solo shot to left center. Unfortunately, the Aeros came back in a big way in the bottom of the innings. Tyler Holt lined a one-out single to center. Chen drew a walk and Aguilar struck out. A double by Matt Lawson plated Holt and moved Chen to third. Adam Abraham followed with a triple and Ryan Rohlinger homered, giving the Aeros a 7-1 lead.

The Thunder put together a little rally in the top of the sixth, as Ramon Flores drove a two-out single to center. Adams followed with a single and Zoilo Almonte homered to center, putting Trenton back in the game as the score sat at 7-4. They got another run in the top of the seventh. JR Murphy lined a single to center and moved to third on a double by Kevin Mahoney. A single by Rob Segedin plated Murphy and cut the Akron lead to two. Unfortunately, that was as close as the Thunder would get, taking the 7-5 loss.

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