Archive for February, 2009

Thunder Alums Sweep Kevin Lawn Awards

February 28, 2009

(PR) The New York Yankees today announced that outfielder Brett Gardner and left-handed pitcher Phil Coke were named winners of the Yankees’ 2008 Kevin Lawn Award as the Yankees’ minor league “Player of the Year” and “Pitcher of the Year.”  The two players will receive their awards prior to the Yankees game today vs. the Minnesota Twins.


The annual awards are dedicated to Kevin O’Brien Lawn, the son of long-time Yankees Vice President and Chief of Operations Jack Lawn, who passed away in 1999.  The Yankees are proud to welcome Jack and his wife, Virginia, to George M. Steinbrenner Field today.


Gardner, 25, appeared in 94 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2008, batting .296 (101-for-341) with 12 doubles, 11 triples, three home runs, 32 RBI and 37 stolen bases.  He led all Yankees minor leaguers in stolen bases and tied for fourth in batting average.  Gardner also had two stints with the Yankees in 2008, combining to bat .228 (29-for-117) with five doubles, two triples, 16 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 42 games (17 starts).  He became just the third Yankee since 1938 to steal five bases within his first nine Major League games, joining Mickey Rivers and Bobby Abreu (credit: Elias).  Following the season, he was named to Baseball America’s Triple-A All-Star team and was tabbed by the publication as having the International League’s “Best Strikezone Judgment” as well as being the IL’s “Best Baserunner.”


Coke, 26, combined at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to go 11-6 with a 2.79 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 37 games (21 starts) in 2008.  The lefthander ranked third among Yankees farmhands in strikeouts, fourth in wins and sixth in ERA.  He was selected to the Eastern League’s postseason All-Star team as the league’s top left-handed pitcher after ranking second on the circuit in ERA (2.51).  As a September callup by the Yankees, Coke went 1-0 and allowed only one earned run in 14.2 innings pitched (0.61 ERA), including 11.2 scoreless innings over his first 10 Major League outings. Following the season, he was ranked as the organization’s eighth-best prospect by Baseball America 

Each player will be presented with a trophy designed by C & C Awards as well as a Raymond Weil watch, courtesy of William Barthman Jewelers.

Top 30 In 30: #30 Abraham Almonte

February 28, 2009

Baseball America Prospect Handbook in hand, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the Yankees top 30 prospects over the next 30 days, give a brief look at them, and make it relevant to the Thunder if it isn’t already.  Simple enough, yes?

Drumroll please…

#30 Abraham Almonte
Position: OF
Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: 205 lbs.
Age At Start of 2009 Season: 19

Career statistics: 227 GP, .246 avg., 19 HR, 88 RBI, 73 SB
Seasons: 3
Highest Level Reached: Low A 

Almonte had an up-and-down year in his second season playing in North America after spending 2006 playing for the Yankees Dominican Summer League team after signing as 16-year-old.  He hit just .228 with eight home runs and 46 RBI over a full season for the Charleston River Dogs in 2008, with a strong first half earning him a berth in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.

Almonte has below average power, but above average speed.  He’ll need to improve his ability to get on his base to eventually be considered a big league option…seems to me he profiles similarly to Brett Gardner or Justin Christian, but doesn’t get on base anywhere near as much as they can just yet.

Thunder ETA: 2010-2011

Seems like Almonte will be heading back to Charleston for 2009, and he may stay there for a while considering he’s just 19.  Considering he hasn’t even reached High-A Tampa yet, it seems highly unlikely you’ll see him at Waterfront Park until 2010 at the very earliest.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Fan Fest Set For April 7th

February 26, 2009

(PR) The Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, will host a free event at Waterfront Park called the “Welcome North Fan Fest” on Tuesday, April 7 from 3-7 PM.

At 3:00 PM, Waterfront Park gates open and fans can view the team’s first practice of the year in Trenton. From 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM fans will get the opportunity to go onto the field and receive autographs from the Thunder players. Waterfront Park concession stands will be open throughout the event.

Members of the Thunder’s 90% Club, a group of season ticket holders who attended at least 90% of the team’s games last year, will have a special reception in the Yankee Club and Conference Center from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM. The reception will feature a buffet dinner and a 45 minute exclusive “meet and greet” with Thunder team members from 6:20 PM to 7:00 PM.

“Our goal is to provide an intimate event where fans can watch practice and meet the players and get autographs,” said Thunder General Manager Will Smith.”This is a great way for fans to get back to the ballpark early and greet the new team before games begin.”

The Thunder will play the 2009 season opener the following day on April 8 at 7:05 PM against the Binghamton Mets, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets. Opening night will feature a Magnetic Schedule giveaway for the first 2,000 fans courtesy of Verizon Yellow Pages.

Chad Jennings Has Got Your Jason Brown Update

February 24, 2009


One of the commenters on here was recently asking for an update on former Thunder catcher Jason Brown.

Well, Scranton Yankees beat writer Chad Jennings caught up with the veteran backstop to see what he’s up to.

Click here to check it out.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT Interview

February 23, 2009

So I did a pretty extensive interview over at that you guys might want to check out. I’ve done a lot of these now, and I’d have to say this one turned out a lot better than they usually do.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Jones Didn’t Feel Like A Yankee

February 20, 2009

Interesting article today in the Pioneer Press, passed along to me by a colleague.

Former Yankees prospect and Thunder pitcher Jason Jones was picked up by the Minnesota Twins in the Rule 5 Draft, and he seems to be happy to get a chance in another organization.

“That’s how I would describe it — you just don’t feel like a part of the team. There are the veterans — the superstars — and then the rest of the guys,” Jones told the paper. “Here, there are superstars too, but it feels a lot more like we’re a team. It’s a lot better chemistry.”

He also talked about his relationship with Yankees GM Brian Cashman: “I don’t think I ever talked to (him), other than ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ a couple of times,” and the lack of opportunity with the Yankees, “They give young guys an opportunity here. The last couple of years for me, there’s just been no opportunity.”

Interesting stuff.  I’ll be very curious to see if Jones sticks with the Twins this spring.  And if he doesn’t, it seems unlikely that he’d want to go back to the Yankees.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Time To Take Another Ride On The Sponsor-Ship

February 20, 2009

Mike Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts is pleased to welcome on board for the 2009 season.

In a stunning turn, sells sports memorabilia.  Shocking, I know.  I went on the site expecting to see like ceiling fans or some mulch, but nope…it’s sports memorabilia.

If you want to get some exposure for your business and reach thousands of baseball fans every day, there are a number of great opportunities available.  Contact the…uhhh, marketing department at mashmore98 AT for more informtation.

Eat Kids For Free? Wait, That Can’t Be Right…

February 17, 2009


And obviously, it isn’t.  Turns out the Thunder and BlueClaws have teamed up for a very unique promotion this season.

Here’s the release…

(PR) As part of a first-of-its-kind promotion, the Lakewood BlueClaws and Trenton Thunder have announced all children will eat for free at every 2009 home game.
Both teams have expressed a clear desire to help area families in the current economic climate.  This includes directly providing unprecedented value for area residents and positively contributing to local communities in these challenging times. The program covers 141 games between the two clubs.
“We want to bring some joy back to Jersey,” said Joe Finley, President of both ballclubs. “Our teams are an important part of their respective communities, and this is our way of helping everyone in both areas.”
Each child, ages 12 and under, will receive a voucher upon entering the ballpark good for a free hot dog, bag of potato chips and a 12 oz. fountain soda. The value of the program to area families is unmatched in Minor League Baseball history.
“We really couldn’t be happier to do this,” added Thunder General Manager Will Smith. “We recognize the struggles everyone is facing, and we’re thrilled to offer an even greater value to fans in 2009.”
The BlueClaws have had a successful Kids Eat Free program on Mondays for the last three seasons, presented by ShopRite.
“Being able to do this for the entire season means a lot,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “It’s an opportunity for us to reach out to everyone and thank them for their support over the last few years.”
Lakewood and Trenton are the only two affiliated Minor League Baseball teams in the state of New Jersey. Together, they average close to 900,000 fans per year and are continually at the top of the attendance standings in their respective leagues and class-levels.

Borrell Back In The Organization

February 17, 2009


Robert Pimpsner of is reporting that former Thunder pitcher Danny Borrell has re-joined the organization as the Rehab Pitching Coach for the Gulf Coast Yankees.

The injury plagued pitcher appeared in 25 for games for the Thunder between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, posting a 4-6 record in 21 starts.

He last pitched during the 2008 season, appearing in eight games in the Oakland Athletics organization, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Thunder Announce New Radio Station

February 17, 2009

(PR) The Trenton Thunder, the Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, have announced a three-year agreement for all Thunder games to be broadcast on Rider University’s 107.7 WRRC-FM through the 2011 season. The announcement was made at a press conference on Monday, February 16th at 11 AM in Rider University’s Student Recreation Center.

WRRC-FM plays a variety of music including: Top 40, adult hits, and the oldies. It is also the flagship station for Rider University men’s and women’s basketball. 107.7 WRRC-FM can be heard throughout Mercer County, and into Bucks and Burlington counties.

“Broadcasting via an FM signal is a huge asset for Thunder fans listening on 107.7 FM and over the Internet,” Thunder General Manager/ C.O.O. Will Smith said. “We work closely with Rider to host the MAAC Baseball Tournament and we look forward to expanding our relationship to include Trenton Thunder radio broadcasts for the next three years.”

Broadcasts start on Wednesday, April 8th as the Thunder host the Binghamton Mets at 7:05 PM. Thunder broadcaster Steve Rudenstein will return for his fourth consecutive season behind the microphone. He will be joined by first-year Thunder broadcaster Jared Smith.

“Rider University’s 107.7 FM The Bronc is proud to be a broadcast partner and outlet for Trenton Thunder baseball,” John Mozes, General Manager/Student Advisor 107.7 The Bronc WRRC-FM said. “This agreement provides our students with an excellent learning opportunity and is a great way to strengthen our listening base beyond Rider and into Mercer, Bucks and Burlington counties.”

For the second consecutive season, all Thunder broadcasts will be streamed live online at As part of the agreement with Rider, Thunder broadcasts can also be heard through Rider University’s Axis TV on both the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses as well as through a secondary 107.7 FM internet stream.