After the New York Yankees’ minor league affiliates went a perfect 4-0 on Wednesday, how can they follow up on Thursday night? Will Somerset and Tampa go to 3-0? Check out the pitching matchups for tonight’s slate of games:
Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (1-1) vs. Syracuse Mets (1-1)
NBT Bank Stadium I 6:35 PM ET
After making his first start of 2021 with the New York Yankees on Monday, April 26, Garcia will make his first start with Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Thursday in what will be just his seventh career Triple-A start.
In that outing in Baltimore, Garcia struggled with his command as he went four innings, allowed two runs on three hits, struck out four and walked three on 65 pitches (40 strikes). It will be interesting to see how long Garcia is allowed to go tonight. When he was with Scranton in 2019, he only went five or more innings in a start four times.
In fact, Garcia’s last Triple-A appearance was against the Syracuse Mets on September 3, 2019. He allowed just one hit and struck out two batters over three scoreless innings of relief.
Syracuse will send Franklyn Kilome to the mound for the third game of this series. The 25-year-old was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the New York Mets in July 2018 for Asdrubal Cabrera. He missed all of the 2019 season due to undergoing Tommy John surgery.
In four relief appearances last year with the Mets, he went 0-1 with a 11.12 ERA and allowed five home runs over the course of 11.1 innings.
This is the first itme that Kilome will face a Yankees-affiliated team since May 31, 2018 when he was pitching for Double-A Reading. A hitter to watch for Scranton against Kilome is Trey Amburgey. The outfielder, who hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday, went 2-for-4 that night with a double and two RBIs.
Harrisburg Senators (0-2) vs. Somerset Patriots (2-0)
TD Bank Ballpark I 7:05 PM ET
LHP Carson Teel vs. LHP Matt Krook
It’s a battle of southpaws tonight in Somerset as Matt Krook will make his Yankees organizational debut. Krook was taken by New York in the minor league portion of the Rule V Draft back in December 2020.
In 2019, Krook was with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. In 32 games (18 starts) for Double-A Montgomery, the 26-year-old went 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA and had 52 strikeouts to 32 walks in 30.2 innings of work. It will be fun to watch Krook use his sinker-slider combination as he tries to keep up the success that the Patriots’ pitching staff has had over the past two games.
Meanwhile, the Senators will go with Teel, who was the Nationals’ 16th Round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Oklahoma State University. He appeared in 28 games (16 starts) with Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac that season and went 8-4 with a 3.03 ERA while striking out 103 batters and walking 33 in 110 innings.
In the first two games of the season, Thomas Milone and Diego Castillo lead the Patriots with three hits apiece. One of Milone’s hits was a three-run home run in the first inning on opening night and he is the lone Patriots hitter that has driven in more than one run so far on the young season.
Hudson Valley Renegades (1-1) vs. Jersey Shore BlueClaws (1-1)
FirstEnergy Park I 7:05 PM ET
RHP Hayden Wesneski vs. LHP Josh Hendrickson
After the Renegdes’ pitching staff combined to strike out 15 Blue Claws last night, Hayden Wesneski will look to continue that trend on Thursday night. Wesneski was the Yankees’ 6th Round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft out of Sam Houston State and he will be making his first professional start.
With Rookie-Level Pulaski in 2019, the 23-year-old went 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 18 relief appearances (3 saves). He struck out 30 batters while only walking 6 over the course of 28.1 innings. Starting games isn’t new for Wesneski as he made 44 starts in college and had three complete games. In his junior year (2019), he went 8-4 with a 3.32 ERA and had 110 strikeouts in 105.2 innings of work.
Wesneski has a sinking fastball that is between 94-97 miles-per-hour in velocity to go with a slider, cutter, and a changeup in his pitch arsenal. We talked with him this past offseason and he said the slider is going to be a big key for him going into the season:
“I am trying to adjust my slider where it is not breaking down and it is going straight horizontal. So, there’s a little adjustment I am trying to make, which I am still fine tuning.”
The BlueClaws will counter with Hendrickson, who was the Phillies’ 38th Round pick in 2019 out of San Diego University. The 23-year-old was able to end the 2019 season with Low-A Lakewood and did a really good job. In his final five outings of the year (two starts), he was 1-1 with a 0.47 ERA and had 22 strikeouts to 5 walks over the course of 19 innings.
While Hendrickson does not have a lot of velocity on his fastball, the Renegades could see a lot of curveballs and changeups as he is known for his deception on the mound.
Brandon Lockridge was the star of last night’s game for the Renegades as he went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, a triple, and an RBI.
Dunedin Blue Jays (0-2) vs. Tampa Tarpons (2-0)
George M Steinbrenner Field I 6:30 PM ET
LHP Naswell Paulino vs. RHP Randy Vasquez
Vasquez has been in the Yankees system since signing as an international free agent in May 2018. In 11 starts with Rookie-Level Pulaski in 2019, he went 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA and had 53 strikeouts to 28 walks in 54.2 innings of work while holding opponents to a .188 batting average in 11 starts.
Out of those 11 outings, the 22-year-old went six innings on four different occasions and allowed two runs or fewer eight times.
As Robert Pimpsner pointed out in his scouting report of Vasquez last year, the right-hander has a fastball in between 92-96 mph to go with a slider and a changeup ant the slider can be a good go-to pitch. If Vasquez can cut down on his walks this year, he could be poised for a breakout season.
For Dunedin, Paulino is 21 years old and he has been with the Blue Jays organization since he signed as an international free agent in July 2016. The left-hander pitched well in the Dominican Summer League in 2017 (4-2, 2.26 ERA in 13 starts). However, he missed all of the 2018 season due to a PED suspension.
Back in 2019, Paulino appeared in 11 games (5 starts) for Rookie-Level Bluefield. He went 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA and had 34 strikeouts to 17 walks and had a pair of saves in 40 innings of work. One of those outings came out of the bullpen against Pulaski on July 23 when he recorded a three-inning save (1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K) in a game where Vasquez took the loss.
Chad Bell and Anthony Volpe are the two current Tampa hitters that were in the lineup that night with Bell (1-for-3, 1 walk) recording the lone hit out of the two. Bell is part of a Tarpons offense that has scored 30 runs in the first two games of the season.
Can Trevor Hauver (5-for-6, 3 home runs, 6 RBIs, 5 walks) win the Pinstriped Performer of The Night for the third night in a row or can someone like Pat DeMarco (two home runs Wednesday) or Austin Wells (4-for-9, 5 runs scored, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 walks) take the crown from him?