— So really, one play cost the Thunder the game. In the third inning, with one out, runners on first and second and Deik Scram at the plate, Scram hit a grounder up the right side that seemed to cause some confusion between first baseman Chris Malec and second baseman Matt Cusick.
“Malec started for the ball, and took a look and saw that Cusick was going to get it, and it was too late and a long run back to first base, and he was late getting there,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin when asked for his view of the play.
“He did, however, have the presence of mind to turn and throw home, and Baker just dropped the ball when the kid slid into him.”
And that was really the only run the Seawolves needed. Brennan Boesch tacked on another one batter later with a single to left field, and that’s all she wrote for the once again stagnant Thunder offense.
— Hoping to see Andrew Brackman in Trenton for 2010? Uhhh, not so fast.
Nardi Contreras, who oversees the pitching side of the minors for the 26-Time World Champs, has been in Charleston for the past six weeks. He’s gotten an up close and personal look at one of organization’s biggest prospects who hasn’t yet made it to Double-A, Andrew Brackman.
And according to Contreras, it seems unlikely Brackman will see the Waterfront Park mound in 2010.
“I would rather him continue to pitch the way he’s coming along now, and go to Tampa,” Contreras said.
“But that’s me talking. He may come to Major League camp in spring training, and if he’s blowing everyone away, he may end up in Scranton.”
I then asked Contreras if he felt Brackman was capable of accomplishing such a jump through the system.
“Well, when you’re throwing as hard as he does, and he has his curveball, the thing is just to make sure his delivery is right to be able to command the baseball,” Contreras said.
“This is his first full year. He pitched thirty-something innings in Hawaii last year. Prior to that, he hadn’t pitched. Even his senior year or junior year in college, and in his freshman year and sophomore year, he was playing basketball. So he had very few innings. So he’s got to learn how to pitch. He’s got stuff; but learning about holding runners, quick steps, PFP’s, delivery, mechanics, it’s a little time consuming.”
Contreras said that Brackman is currently being used as a reliever because first year guys are typically limited to 100-110 innings of work, so he now pitches two innings every fourth day.
In fact, Contreras did not anticipate anyone from the Charleston staff — with which he seemed the most comfortable speaking about — appearing in Trenton in 2010.
He did specifically mention Manny Banuelos and Brandon Braboy — a good looking prospect, says Contreras of the latter — as others he’s been keeping an eye on in Charleston, however. In fact, Banuelos is being used similarly to Brackman, pitching two innings every fourth day, according to Contreras.
He also projected both Brackman and Banuelos as starters in Tampa next year.
— Contreras also expected that official announcements for the Arizona Fall League would come in the next several days. He did not expect any starting pitchers from the Thunder or apparently from any team in the organization to be named to the team, but said that several relievers were possible. Although he wouldn’t reveal any names other than confirming Ian Kennedy’s, Humberto Sanchez and Grant Duff seem to be possible choices.
Sanchez, however, would seem to be headed to pitch in the Dominican and has already pitched in the AFL twice.
One other person I spoke to about the AFL rosters seemed to think the Yankees could wait a little longer to make the announcements, so it remains to be seen what will end up happening. Colin Curtis and Ian Kennedy appear to be the only two players confirmed so far.
Chad Jennings has word on Mike Dunn possibly heading to the AFL as well…honestly, with Damaso Marte on a mental vacation, it would seem Dunn would have value as a lefty out of the Yankees bullpen…at least they could give him a look in September, anyway.
It also seems highly likely that at least one Trenton Thunder coach will be in the AFL as well.
— As for the the Thunder, the logical plan would seem to be to activate Kyle Anson on Saturday and Noah Hall on Sunday. Richie Robnett hopes to be back for the Altoona series, so the Thunder may be back to full strength soon.
— Franklin said that Erie’s starter changing literally just before game time — Pat Stanley was injured during his warmup pitches on the mound before the game — had no effect on his team’s performance.
“I don’t know what their starter would have done, but the guy who came in to replace him was pretty doggone good,” he joked.
— I’m taking tomorrow completely off. I owe you guys a few features — especially that Tim Lentych one — and I’ll have at least one of those done in a few days.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com