Four players from the Trenton Thunder were named to the All-Star team.
Austin Romine (21, catcher) is probably the name you’ve heard the most. Romine entered the season with high expectations…and has lived up to them. He is hitting .290/.370/.435 for Trenton this season with 21 doubles, five home runs, and 42 RBI in 248 at-bats. He has shown the ability to take some walks (30, and 10 in his last 10 games), and his .806 OPS would represent his highest career OPS. Always nice to see a player perhaps getting BETTER as he climbs the chain.
Brandon Laird (22, 3B) came into the season with the reputation that he has some power…and at the midway point, he has shown to be one of the most impressive power bats in the organization. Laird is hitting .293/.348/.550 with 18 doubles, two triples, 19 home runs, and 79 RBI in 307 at-bats. He isn’t the king of plate discipline, but 25 walks in 78 games is not terrible. Laird has been a terror in 80 at-bats vs. lefties (.363/.400/713 with 6 home runs) and has held his own vs. righties (.269/.331/.493 with 13 home runs in 227 at-bats). He is currently 39-for-94 (.415) with runners in scoring position with a .830 slugging percentage. If the Yankees were to make a significant trade this month, this is a name you’d likely hear mentioned a lot. But I hope they don’t trade him for any kind of rental.
David Phelps (23, RHP) has been one of the biggest pitching finds in this organization. He is currently undefeated (6-0) with a 2.04 ERA in 14 starts (88.1 IP, 63 H, 2 HR, 23 BB, 84 K, 1.25 GB/FB). He gets hitters from both sides of the plate out (righties at .182; lefties at .219), and has been consistent since the moment the season began. Of his 14 starts, 10 have been quality and he has allowed more than three runs in a start only once all season. His BABIP stands at .261 on the season, which is a bit low. But his actual ERA of 2.04 isn’t too far off from his FIP (2.47). In his career, Phelps is 27-6 in 55 starts with an ERA of 2.37. At one point, I thought he may be a guy like Alfredo Aceves – throws a good variety of pitches for strikes. But I am beginning to believe he may be more than that.
Lance Pendleton (26, RHP) is the least heralded of the four, and for good reason – he is already 26 years old and his injury history hasn’t been all that good. But he has pitched well for Trenton this season, going 6-3 in 16 games (15 starts) with a 3.70 ERA (80.1 IP, 68 H, 33 BB, 71 K, 5 HR). He’s done a good job vs. right-handed hitters (.217 BAA; 35/11 K/BB ratio) and is 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA in his last 10 starts overall. Drafted in the 4th round in the 2005 draft, Pendleton has only managed to get into 89 games over six years. He missed the entire 2006 season due to an arm injury and has had trouble getting on track in his career. However, Pendleton did pitch well for Tampa & Trenton last year, going 12-8 with a 3.14 ERA in 28 games (26 starts). He pitched a career high 149 innings (after throwing 128 for Charleston in 2008) and struck out 130 in 149 innings. He does have 359 strikeouts in 398 career innings. There is a chance that someday, he’ll be in a major league bullpen. Whether that is the Yankees bullpen or not, who knows? —— Missing the cut: David Adams (23, 2B) is hitting .309/.393/.507 with 15 doubles in 152 at-bats this season. He would have been a no-brainer, but went down with an ankle injury on May 22 and is on the DL….Hector Noesi has been fantastic, but he also arrived in Double-A to late to be given serious consideration. He’s only made eight starts, but is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA in those starts….Marcos Vechionacci has been very good (.304/.379/.464) but has only plated in 52 games (181 at-bats). He has also missed the past few games for reasons unknown.