Archive for February 11th, 2008

Top 10 Moments from 2007 Coming Soon…

February 11, 2008

Moments #11-20 have been unveiled in my off-season countdown of the best moments from the 2007 Trenton Thunder season.  The Top 10 is going to get started at some point this week, but I’m curious to see what you guys think are the ten best moments from the season.

Feel free to post your feedback on moments 11 through 20, as well as what your Top 10 list would look like.

Also, make sure you keep voting for your favorites to make the Thunder’s All 15 Year Team over at trentonthunder.com

Coming soon: A position-by-position breakdown of the All 15 Year Team nominees, and an in-depth look at Baseball America’s Top 30 Yankees prospects…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Thunder Alums: Youkilis Re-Signs With Red Sox

February 11, 2008

Kevin Youkilis, who spent about a month and a half in a Thunder uniform at the end of the 2002 season, has avoided arbitration and signed a one year, $3 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.

For you Yankees fans who come here every day, you might remember Youkilis best for being the target of two Joba Chamberlain pitches that sailed over his head on August 30th, leading to the fellow Thunder alum receiving his first career ejection and suspension.

Youkilis posted the highest batting average of his minor league career in Trenton, hitting .344 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 44 games as the team’s everyday third baseman for the majority of the second half of the season.  In just his second season of professional baseball, he was somewhat error prone at the time, averaging an “E-5″ every four games.

When the Yankees took over as the Thunder’s big league affiliate in 2003, Youkilis remained in the Eastern League with the Boston organization as a member of the Portland Sea Dogs.  His first four games with Portland were played in Waterfront Park, while his final two games were against the Thunder at Hadlock Field.

Youkilis, now a member of two World Series teams, played seven times for the Sea Dogs at Waterfront Park, and played against the Thunder a total of 13 times.  In Trenton, he was 4-for-28 with four RBI and five walks.  Overall, he was 9-for-43 with five RBI and nine walks. 

Considering that was the season where he earned his “Greek God of Walks” moniker, his base on balls totals are actually a little low.

Additionally, various reports have Tony Clark and the San Diego Padres close to agreeing on a one-year deal.  Clark was a member of the inaugural Trenton Thunder team in 1994, and his #33 is one of three retired at Waterfront Park.  The others are Nomar Garciaparra and Jackie Robinson, whose #42 is retired throughout professional baseball.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Best of 2007: Moment #11

February 11, 2008

Moment #11 – The Emergence of Austin Jackson
2007 Eastern League Playoffs
Trenton, NJ

Ever since Austin Jackson was picked by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2005 draft, people had been waiting for that breakout year that showed he could turn potential into progress.  In his third professional season, Jackson finally provided that year. 

For many who follow the farm system closely, Jackson’s emergence was a significant one.  As time went on, people became more and more frustrated with the results of the 2005 draft class, as C.J. Henry never really got going and J.B. Cox went down with an elbow injury.  It’s still early, but none of the Yankees picks from that year have played in the big leagues yet.

But it looks like Jackson may have one of the best shots at being among the first.

While fellow ’05 pick Alan Horne had his coming out party in Trenton last season, Jackson didn’t arrive until the playoffs.  Nobody knew what to expect from the 20-year-old Texas native, but even on his fourth team of the season, Jackson showed everyone why he was making steady progress through the Yankees system.

The numbers don’t tell the tale, not even close: .200, 0 HR, 4 RBI in nine games. 

But his clutch single in the seventh inning of Game One of the Championship Series drove in the winning run, and he made several key throws to nail runners at the plate throughout the playoffs.

“They’ve moved me around a little bit, but it’s been fun so far. It’s still the same game I’ve been playing for a long time,” said an exhausted Jackson after the game.

Jackson had played for Single-A Charleston, Single-A Tampa and Triple-A Scranton prior to joining the Thunder.  But it’s the 2008 version of the Double-A Trenton outfield that’s got everyone talking.

Unless there’s some major shuffling in Tampa or Scranton, Jackson will be joined by Jose Tabata and Colin Curtis in Trenton this season, a group which many are calling the most talented outfield in Thunder history.

After a strong showing in Hawaii Winter Baseball, Jackson has all the momentum to lead him to a strong showing in 2008.  But he also has more eyes watching him than ever before, now a legitimate prospect instead of just a project.

With little to gain this year, it may be Jackson who has the most to lose in 2008.

Recapping the Top 20 so far…

#11 – The emergence of Austin Jackson
#12 – Tony Franklin named Thunder manager
#13 – Matt DeSalvo’s MLB debut
#14 – Phil Hughes rehab appearance
#15 – Tyler Clippard’s MLB debut
#16 – Brett Smith’s no-hitter
#17 – Chase Wright’s MLB debut
#18 – Chase Wright’s opening night start
#19 – Paul Lo Duca and Endy Chavez rehab in Trenton
#20 – Jeff Karstens rehab appearance

Only the Top 10 moments from the 2007 Thunder season remain in the countdown.  Moment #10 is set to be unveiled this week, so check back to re-live some of your favorite memories from the year.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Over at the SWB Yankees blog…

February 11, 2008

Chad Jennings, who’s done a tremendous job of providing original and interesting content in the off-season, has a new entry about which players from last year’s Scranton team have moved on to other organizations.  It includes his take on their chances with their new teams, and their replacement in the Yankees organization.  Good stuff as always, check it out here.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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