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Ken Waldichuk (Robert M Pimpsner)

Yankees MiLB Previews

Pinstriped Previews: Waldichuk Makes Double-A Debut

While the four New York Yankees affiliates combined to go 2-2 on Wednesday, those two wins came in extra innings and in walk-off fashion for Scranton Wilkes-Barre and Somerset. What does Thursday have in store as one pitcher makes his Double-A debut? Read about who takes the mound tonight in our Pinstriped Previews:

Brody Koerner (Photo by Matt Bufano)

Triple-A

Syracuse Mets (11-27) vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (25-11)

PNC Field I 7:05 PM ET

RHP Corey Oswalt (1-0, 2.79 ERA) vs. RHP Brody Koerner (1-3, 4.45 ERA)

The RailRiders will go for their fifth straight win on Thursday night after yet another comeback win on Wednesday. They have played the Mets eight times this year and they are 7-1 in those games.

Brody Koerner takes the ball for the RailRiders in the third game of this series. The 27-year-old right-hander has taken the loss in three of his last four starts and he struggled a little bit with his control in his last start. On June 11 against Buffalo, he went four innings, allowed one run on three hits, walked four, and struck out five (tied a season-high) on 80 pitches (45 strikes).

Koerner’s first start of the season came against Syracuse on May 5. He was able to limit the damage despite allowing a few free passes. He allowed one hit, walked three, and struck out four over four scoreless innings on 51 pitches (28 strikes).

Oswalt will get the start for the Mets in this game. The 27-year-old has pitched in 23 games at the big league level in his career. In his five games at Triple-A this season, he is holding opponents to a .176 batting average despite only recording ten strikeouts in 9.2 innings of work.

His lone start at Triple-A this season came on June 10 against Worcester. In that start, Oswalt went three innings, allowed two runs on one hit (home run), walked two, and struck out two on 54 pitches (34 strikes) in a no-decision.

Right now, it is tough for anyone at the Triple-A level to get Hoy Park out. The infielder is 7-for-15 at the plate in the last four games with a triple, four RBIs, and five walks. Four of those walks came in Wednesday’s win along with the game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth. He is hitting .368 in his first 76 at-bats with the RailRiders.

Ken Waldichuk (Robert M Pimpsner)

Double-A

Richmond Flying Squirrels (21-17) vs. Somerset Patriots (24-13)

TD Bank Ballpark I 7:05 PM

RHP Sean Hjelle (3-1, 3.51 ERA) vs. LHP Ken Waldichuk (Double-A debut)

The Patriots found themselves trailing in the bottom of the ninth and in the tenth. However, they kept fighting back and ended up winning the game on a walk-off two-run home run in the 11th by Donny Sands. Somerset will look for its fourth straight win tonight and they will look to increase their lead in the Northeast division on Portland (currently 2.5 games).

Last night, Luis Medina had a good Double-A debut as he went 5.2 innings, allowed three runs on five hits, walked two, and struck out 10 on 91 pitches (59 strikes). Tonight, another pitcher makes his Double-A debut in 23-year-old Ken Waldichuk. Waldichuk did everything you could possibly do in Hudson Valley as he did not allow a single run over 30.2 innings of work.

In his seven starts with the Renegades, the 5th Round pick back in 2019 had 55 strikeouts to 13 walks and held High-A hitters to a .120 batting average. He has thrown 63 percent of his pitches for strikes and only allowed one extra-base hit. Double-A should be a test for him, but he has earned the right to be challenged at a higher level.

The Patriots will go up against Hjelle, who was taken by the Giants in the 2nd Round of the 2018 MLB Draft. The 24-year-old right-hander made his last five starts of 2019 at Double-A and pitched to a 6.04 ERA in those outings. This year, Hjelle has been better as he has 42 strikeouts to 9 walks in 33.1 innings pitched.

Hjelle has gone at least five innings in each of his last four starts, so he has been able to go deep into games for Richmond. In his last start on June 11 against Harrisburg, he went five innings, allowed two runs on four hits, walked a batter, and struck out six on 77 pitches (47 strikes).

After his walk-off on Wednesday, Sands has hit three home runs and driven in six runs in the first two games of this series. In fact, the Somerset catcher has hit 5 of his 6 home runs this month.

Oliver Dunn. Photo by Matt Kardos

High-A

Jersey Shore Blue Claws (16-20) vs. Hudson Valley Renegades (21-15)

Dutchess Stadium I 7:05 PM

LHP Ethan Lindow (0-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. RHP Shawn Semple (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

The Renegades had their win streak snapped on Wednesday night as Jersey Shore picked up a 6-4 victory. Despite the loss, Josh Breaux continues to swing the bat well as he went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI and Nick Ernst shined out of the bullpen as he walked a batter and struck out six over 2.2 scoreless innings.

The Renegades will go to Shawn Semple for this start. Semple was assigned to Hudson Valley on Monday after making his first seven appearances of the season at Double-A Somerset. He went 2-2 with a 4.55 ERA and had 25 strikeouts to 10 walks in 27.2 innings of work.

While Semple has gone from Double-A down to High-A, he has won his last two starts including a matchup against tonight’s starter for Jersey Shore on June 5 when both were on Double-A. In his last start on June 11 against Erie, Semple went five innings, allowed two runs on five hits, and struck out seven on 79 pitches (52 strikes) in the victory.

For Jersey Shore, they hand the ball to Ethan Lindow. Lindow was selected in the 5th Round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Phillies. After beginning the season at Double-A Reading (0-2, 6.11 ERA), Lindow was assigned to Jersey Shore on June 8.

Lindow’s lone start with the BlueClaws came on June 11 against Wilmington. He went 4.2 innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out five on 73 pitches (48 strikes) in a loss.

The start before that for Lindow was June 5 when he faced Somerset while in Double-A and the Patriots offense got to him. In two innings of work, he allowed five runs on six hits, walked a batter, struck out three, and allowed three home runs. One of those home runs was by Oliver Dunn, who is now at Hudson Valley, so he may be a hitter to watch tonight.

Matt Sauer (Photo by John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

Low-A

Bradenton Marauders (24-14) vs. Tampa Tarpons (27-11)

George M. Steinbrenner Field I 6:30 PM

RHP Logan Hofmann (3-0, 1.27 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Sauer (0-1, 3.94 ERA)

In a rain-shortened game on Wednesday, the Marauders needed just one hit, a three-run home run by Ernny Ordonez to defeat the Tarpons, 3-2. That even the series at a game apiece between two of the best teams in the Florida State League.

Tonight, the Tarpons hand the ball to Matt Sauer. Over his last four starts, the 22-year-old right-hander has an ERA of 2.95 and he is coming off of one his better outings of the season. On June 12 against Clearwater, Sauer went 5.2 innings, allowed two runs on three hits, walked a batter, and struck out eight (season-high) on 83 pitches (55 strikes).

Sauer will face Logan Hofmann, who is off to a great start in his first professional season. The Pirates selected the 21-year-old right-hander in the 5th Round of last year’s draft out of Northwestern State. In his last start on June 11 against Daytona, Hofmann picked up the win as he allowed one hit, walked a batter, and struck out a season-high nine over four scoreless innings on 59 pitches (42 strikes).

Anthony Volpe extended his hit streak to 12 games on Wednesday night with an RBI double in the bottom of the third. The shortstop is hitting .388 this month with four home runs and 13 RBIs. His 13 doubles are the second-most of any player in the Florida State League.

Written By

I am an alum of St. John's University, where I majored in sports management.

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