After Estevan Florial‘s multi-home run game for Somerset and the Tarpons scoring 25 runs on Friday night, the four affiliates are back in action Saturday. Somerset and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre will look to clinch their first series of the season while Hudson Valley will try to keep their chances of a split opening series alive. Here are the pitching matchups for today:
Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders (3-1) vs. Syracuse Mets (1-3)
NBT Stadium I 6:35 PM ET
RHP Brian Keller vs. TBA
While the RailRiders were only able to play six innings on Friday, they still came away with their third straight win, 7-3, over the Mets. Tonight, they give the ball to right-hander Brian Keller. Keller, the Yankees’ 39thRound pick back in 2016, will be making his sixth career start at the Triple-A level.
Keller got the call up to Triple-A from Double-A Trenton in August 2019 for his final five starts of the season. In those five games, he went 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA and had 25 strikeouts to 9 walks in 27.1 innings of work (.321 opponents batting average). The 26-year-old has a fastball that can get into the mid-90’s in velocity to go with a curveball, slider, and changeup. However, with his strikeouts per 9 innings being at 7.34 in 2019 (down from 8.21 in 2018), look for more pitching-to-contact in this one.
So far, first baseman Chris Gittens is off to a great start for the RailRiders. Gittens hit a solo home run in the first inning Friday night and he is now 5-for-11 on the young season with four RBIs, five walks, and has only struck out one time.
Harrisburg Senators (1-3) vs. Somerset Patriots (3-1)
TD Bank Ballpark I 7:05 PM ET
RHP Luis Reyes vs. RHP Glenn Otto
The Somerset Patriots pitching staff has held the Senators to two runs or fewer in three of the four games in this series. They will hope to continue that momentum when Glenn Otto takes the mound in New Jersey. Otto is one of the players to keep an eye on in the organization this year after battling a ribcage injury in 2019.
Despite the injury, Otto put up a good season in 14 games (12 starts) for then High-A Tampa. The 25-year-old right-hander went 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA and had 68 strikeouts to 33 walks in 56.1 innings. It will be interesting to watch how deep into the game Otto will go in this one. He has a fastball that has gone up to 98 mph in velocity to go with the curveball as his finishing pitch. You might also see him throw the occasional changeup.
For Harrisburg, Luis Reyes will take the mound. The 26-year-old will be meaking his Double-A debut. With High-A Potomac in 2019, he made 31 appearances, but only had seven starts and the numbers were pretty rough. He went 2-3 with a 7.18 ERA and had 27 strikeouts to 13 walks in 31.1 innings of work. As a starter, opponents hit .278 against Reyes compared to a .205 average when he was coming out of the bullpen. In fact, during that 2019, he only finished five innings three times.
Estevan Florial will look to build off his two-home run performance from Friday night. The outfielder is hitting .333 with three home runs and five RBIs and all five of his hits have been for extra bases (two doubles),
The Patriots did show good patience as well at the plate last night as the team drew ten walks. In their first four games, they have walked 17 times and they have the second-fewest strikeouts as a team in the Double-A Northeast with 30 (Richmond Flying Squirrels have 28).
Hudson Valley Renegades (1-3) vs. Jersey Shore BlueClaws (3-1)
FirstEnergy Park I 4:05 PM ET
RHP Jio Orozco vs. RHP Jack Perkins
The Renegades are looking to get the offense going tonight after scoring just one total run in the last two games. While the bats have been cold, the starting pitching duo of Hayden Wesneski and Jhony Brito have allowed a combined two hits and struck out ten batters in the last two games.
Jio Orozco will take the mound for the Renegades this afternoon. The 23-year-old right-hander made his last nine starts of the season for High-A Tampa in 2019 before going on the injured last in late July. From June 2 to July 24, he was 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA and had 42 strikeouts to 16 walks in 44.1 innings of work.
Last year, Orozco told us at Pinstriped Prospects that his changeup is his best secondary pitch to go with a breaking ball and he mentioned how his fastball command has only been better since joining the Yankees:
“When I first came here I couldn’t even hit my lane inside or out when it came to command, but the pitching coaches that we’ve been working with in the past really helped that. They changed my windup and immediately my fastball started to get better I can hit the inside or out when I want and I’m even throwing a cutter now. I wanted to make sure my fastball command was there before I started throwing something that cuts.”
The Renegades will face Jack Perkins, who was the Phillies’ 11th Round pick in 2018 out of Stetson University. The 23-year-old right-hander went 0-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) with the GCL Phillies, Low-A Lakewood, and High-A Clearwater. He had 45 strikeouts to 14 walks in 39.1 innings of work.
This has been a series all about pitching. While the Renegades have a collective batting average of .185, the BlueClaws are hitting only .110. Despite the Renegades’ low batting average, they have the second-most walks in the High-A East with 24. Oliver Dunn and Pablo Olivares are tied for the team lead with five walks.
Dunedin Blue Jays (0-4) vs. Tampa Tarpons (4-0)
GMS Field ! 6:35 PM ET
RHP Winder Garcia vs. RHP Jhonatan Munoz
Just when you think the Tampa Tarpons offense couldn’t get any better, they end up scoring 25 runs on Friday night in a 15-run victory (25-10) over the Dunedin Blue Jays. While the offense is putting up numbers at a crazy pace, the pitching staff has a 7.00 ERA in the first four games.
Will Jhonatan Munoz be able to change that trend Saturday night? The 21-year-old right-hander spent the entire 2019 season at Rookie-level Pulaski. He went 5-3 with a 4.13 ERA in 11 starts and had 68 strikeouts to 18 walks in 56.2 innings. During that season, he had a stretch of five starts in July where he went 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and had 34 strikeouts in 28.1 innings.
Back in 2019, Robert Pimpsner wrote up a scouting report on Munoz and mentioned he has a low-90’s fastball to go with a slider, a changeup, and a cutter.
The Tarpons will look to stay hot at the plate against Winder Garcia. The 19-year-old right-hander pitched for three different affiliates in 2019 (Dominican Summer League, GCL, and Short-Season Vancouver). He went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 18 games (5 starts, 3 saves) and had 55 strikeouts to 17 walks in 53.1 innings of work in his first professional season. According to Scott Mitchell of TSN, Garcia has two secondary pitches to go with a low-90s fastball in terms of velocity.
Right now, the Tarpons have the top-five leaders in the Low-A Southeast in RBI and it is outfielder Pat DeMarco who leads the way with 12 to go with his three home runs. Trevor Hauver and Jake Sanford had the night off last night.