Archive for April 5th, 2012

Game 1: In-Game Updates

April 5, 2012

Top 1 — 11 pitch 1-2-3 first inning from Shaeffer Hall.  Not bad.  Saw his fastball around 86-87.

Bottom 1 — Abraham Almonte and Ronnier Mustelier led off the game with back-to-back doubles, the latter of which plated the Thunder’s first run of the season.  Melky Mesa’s single later on in the inning doubled their advantage to 2-0.

Top 2 — Another efficient frame from Hall, this time just nine pitches.

Top 3 — Not as easy of a frame for Hall this time.  A breaking ball got away from Jose Gil, who just about threw the ball away trying to get the runner at third, allowing a run to score.  A.J. Jimenez singled to center to tie the game, 2-2.

Top 4 — A Mark Sobolewski RBI groundout and Justin Jackson flare that never left the infield give New Hampshire its first lead of the game, 4-2.

Top 5 — Hall out after four, Cory Arbiso in.

Top 7 — Hutchison retired 13 straight after that rough first inning and ultimately put together a pretty good outing.  He came out after five, and was replaced by Yohan Pino, who blew the Thunder’s doors off in the sixth…


Game 1: Pre-Game Notes

April 5, 2012

4:30 PM — Abe Almonte switched from #7 to #22.  Is that news?  Noooooooot really.

3:45 PM — Fisher Cats lineup…

Tolisano LF, Diaz 2B, Jimenez C, Glenn RF, Mcdade 1B, Van Kirk DH, Sobolewski 3B, Goins SS, Jackson CF, Hutchison P

According to Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano, who still has a pretty sick ‘stache, Hutchison will throw about 80 pitches.

3:40 PM — We spoke to Fernando Hernandez at length for something you’ll see soon…

2:45 PM — Thunder opening day lineup is as follows:

A. Almonte, LF
Mustelier, 3B
Adams, 2B
Z. Almonte, RF
Lyerly, 1B
Mesa, CF
Brewer, DH
Gil, C
Ibarra, SS
Hall, P

12:50 PM — The Yankees announced the official Opening Day roster this morning. Craig Heyer and Yadil Mujica are both off, headed to Triple-A says Josh Norris. On is Gustavo Molina. DL’d is Jeff Farnham.

Also, starting the year on the Thunder DL are Jeremy Bleich, Jairo Heredia, Diego Moreno, Danny Burawa, Luke Murton and Damon Sublett.

12:00 PM — Welcome back to another season of Trenton Thunder coverage on Thunder Thoughts. I’ll be at the ballpark in two hours or so, but I conveniently pre-scheduled this post to keep you company until then. Here are links to every story I did off of Media Day, as well as capsules for each position with notes on each player.

** 2012 Trenton Thunder Numerical Roster **
** Media Day Notes **
** Will Experience Equal Excellence? **
** The Transformation Of Cody Johnson **
** Phelps Talks Pitching **
** Almonte On The Rise **
** Heyer Finally A Starter To Begin Season **
** Romanski Slotted For Trenton Rotation **
** Adams Ready To Put Best Foot Forward **
** Whitley Looking To Build Off First Full Season **
** Meet The 2012 Thunder: Starting Pitchers **
** Meet The 2012 Thunder: Relief Pitchers **
** Meet The 2012 Thunder: Catchers **
** Meet The 2012 Thunder: Infielders **
** Meet The 2012 Thunder: Outfielders **
** Hall Set For Opening Day Start ( see below) **

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT // Twitter: Mashmore98

Hall Set For Opening Day Start

April 5, 2012


Shaeffer Hall will become the 17th different pitcher in Trenton Thunder history to make an Opening Day start later tonight

Later today, Shaeffer Hall will throw the first pitch in the 19th season of Trenton Thunder baseball. Of the previous Opening Day starters, none have really gone on to big league stardom.  Sure, Justin Duchscherer was a big league All-Star in 2008, but the names Brian Rose, Paxton Crawford, Matt Smith, Chase Wright, Eric Hacker and so on didn’t really go on to do much at the game’s highest level.

For others still, like Christian Garcia, Steven White and Andy Beal, they never got there at all.

Only time will tell what happens to Hall, a 24-year-old lefty who showed both poise and durability last year in his first season with Trenton.  Hall didn’t miss a single start — the only member of the 2011 rotation who can boast that — and went 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA in 26 appearances, all but two of them starts.

The Thunder are 9-9 on Opening Day and 8-10 in home openers with wins in their last two attempts, and are looking for the southpaw to set the tone for the season tonight.

“There’s something about this (first) game that’s a little different than the others,” said Hall, who also pitched on Opening Day for Charleston in 2010.

“You have that extra adrenalin rush.  You go through the whole off-season and all of spring training, and it gets long.  Once it starts hitting that time, you get anxious.  I was telling all the other guys I feel like it’s an honor and I’m definitely going to take advantage of it.  They could give it to somebody else, so I’m definitely excited.”

Hall also was promoted to Triple-A Scranton for one start last season, and would seem to be the prime candidate to return this year given that he’s getting the ball first.

“I really can’t think about that,” Hall said. 

“I’ve got to just worry about one thing, and that’s my performance.  Everything else will happen for a reason.  (When you think that way) that’s when you start getting in trouble, whenever you start worrying about those things.  They’re out of your control, you just never know.  Last year, when I got that call, it was unexpected for me.  It was just one of those days where I go out, do the same thing, and after the game was over, I get called into the office.  I was really excited about it, but you can’t worry about it.  You just have to go out there and pitch and let everything take care of itself.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Meet The 2012 Thunder: Outfielders

April 5, 2012


7 Abraham Almonte S/R, 5-9, 200, 22 y/o

2011 stats: Tampa; .268/4/52

2012 forecast: Had he not been injured in 2010, it’s very possible that Almonte would have been on the Thunder last year. Instead, after playing in just 15 games two seasons ago, he played in 131 last season with High-A Tampa. Almonte will provide some much-needed speed for Trenton; he has no fewer than 29 steals in his last three full seasons. He primarily plays in center field.

49 Zoilo Almonte S/R, 6-0, 205, 22 y/o

2011 stats: Trenton; .251/3/23. Tampa; .293/12/54

2012 forecast: This is the Almonte that everyone will be watching. Zoilo Almonte, who mostly played in right field last season, made a big impression in Yankees camp and is considered to be the best position player prospect on the team. If he can put together the kind of season he had with Tampa last season, he could very well be playing in Triple-A by the end of the year. For now, however, he’ll work on mastering Double-A, where he struggled at times last year.

8 Dan Brewer R/R, 5-11, 195, 24 y/o

2011 stats: Scranton; .278/0/9

2012 forecast: Brewer would probably be in Triple-A in most other organizations, but much like Ryan Pope, is forced out because of a numbers game. His fate, however, was better than Austin Krum or DeAngelo mack, both of whom were released earlier this spring. It could be quite tough for him to find playing time with the Almonte’s and Melky Mesa in the fold, however.

44 Cody Johnson L/R, 6-4, 240, 23 y/o

2011 stats: Trenton; .226/15/45. Tampa; .328/6/22

2012 forecast: Johnson can be a difference maker for the Thunder if he truly has changed his approach from last season. The slash line needs to go up, and the strikeouts need to go way, way, way down this season. Not only for the team, but for his future in the organization. Johnson is just 23 years old and is a former first rounder…there’s a reason for the latter. But he’s running out of time to put it all together.

29 Melky Mesa R/R, 6-1, 190, 25 y/o

2011 stats: Trenton; .251/9/46

2012 forecast: Mesa, like Zoilo Almonte, is on the Yankees 40-man roster. But that spot could be tenuous if he has another average year. A toolsy 25-year-old, Mesa battled through injuries and inconsistency to put together a decent first season in Double-A, but really needs to show that he’s progressed in 2012. Mesa’s arm may very well be his biggest attribute, but he’ll need to utilize his bat and his legs more to continue to earn his spot.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT // Twitter: Mashmore98