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Luis Medina (Robert M. Pimpsner)

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Pinstriped Previews: Yankees Look For Winning Ways To Continue Thursday

On Wednesday night in Texas, Corey Kluber added his name to the record books by pitching a no-hitter and it showed you never know what you will see when you go to a ballgame. After history in the big leagues last night, what do the minor league affiliates have in store on Thursday? Find out in our Pinstriped Previews:

Brian Keller (Photo by: Michael Dill)

Triple-A

 Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (11-3) vs. Rochester Red Wings (2-12)

 Frontier Field I 7:05 PM ET

RHP Brian Keller (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 7.36 ERA)

In a Wednesday day game, the RailRiders found a way to hang on to a 3-2 victory yesterday to get their third win in a row. Tonight, they will hand the ball to Brian Keller. In both of Keller’s starts so far this season, he has been unable to get out of the third inning.

Back on May 14 against Lehigh Valley, the 26-year-old right-hander went 2.1 innings, allowed three runs (one earned run) on two hits, walked five, and struck out three on 66 pitches (32 strikes). The five walks were the most Keller has had in any start in his professional career.

The Red Wings will go with Jefry Rodriguez, who joined the Washington Nationals on a minor league contract back in December. Rodriguez was initially with the Nats before he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians in November 2018 in a deal that sent catcher Yan Gomes to DC.

After walking six batters in his first start of the year in under an inning, the 27-year-old had a much better outing in a relief appearance on May 13 against Buffalo. He threw three hitless innings, walked two, and struck out a batter on 47 pitches (29 strikes).

According to FanGraphs, Rodriguez has a fastball that averages at about 93.5 miles-per-hour to go with a curveball and a changeup.

One of the latest call-ups for the RailRiders, outfielder Thomas Milone, is off to a good start in his first taste of Triple-A. In the first two games of the series, he is 3-for-8 with a double and three RBIs, including the game-winning RBI in the top of the seventh yesterday.

Glenn Otto (Photo byRobert M. Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects)

Double-A

 Somerset Patriots (9-5) vs. Hartford Yard Goats (5-9)

 Dunkin’ Donuts Park I 7:05 PM ET

RHP Glenn Otto (1-1, 5.56 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Dennis (0-1, 3.27 ERA)

After an extra-inning win last night, the Patriots will be looking for their third win in a row today in Hartford. They hand the ball to Glenn Otto, who had a great opening start to his season. However, his last outing was not what he hoped for against New Hampshire.

On May 14, Otto took the loss as the 25-year-old right-hander went 5.1 innings, allowed seven runs on 10 hits, hit a batter, and struck out eight on 91 pitches (70 strikes). The eight strikeouts were the most Otto has had in a game since he was with then High-A Tampa on April 18, 2019 and he has been pitching into the sixth inning in both of his starts. With that being said, the 10 hits he allowed was the most he has surrendered in any start of his professional career.

As for Otto’s opponent, Matt Dennis was selected by the Rockies in the 14th Round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The 26-year-old made his last 14 starts of the 2019 season with the Yard Goats and went 5-4 with a 3.29 ERA. He only struck out 59 batters (walked 21) in 82 innings and opponents hit .283 against him.

Like Otto, Dennis has been pitching deep into games for Hartford as he has gone at least five innings in both starts. In his last outing against Portland on May 14, he went six innings, allowed three runs on eight hits, walked a batter, and struck out four on 86 pitches (60 strikes) in a no-decision.

Dennis did face Trenton once in 2019 and was very good in that game. He went six innings, allowed one run on four hits, walked three, and struck out three in a win. The one run was a home run by Isiah Gilliam. Gilliam is off to a rough start to his season currently at Double-A as he is 4-for-35 (.114) with one RBI.

Lately, Somerset has been on Dermis Garcia home run watch. Garcia hit another home run on Wednesday for his fourth of the season. All four have come in the last five games and he looks to hit a dinger in three consecutive games tonight.

Ezequiel Duran (Photo by Robert M. Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects)

High-A

 Hudson Valley Renegades (7-8) vs. Brooklyn Cyclones (5-9)

 Maimonides Park I 6:30 PM ET

RHP Luis Medina (1-0, 1.38 ERA) vs. RHP Jaison Vilera (0-1, 14.14 ERA)

Wednesday night was a game that Hudson Valley wants to forget rather quickly. The team made four errors and lost 14-0 to the Brooklyn Cyclones and the two teams have split the first two games of the series.

The Renegades will hand the ball to Luis Medina. In his first three starts of the season, Medina has held the opposition to a .098 batting average and has only allowed two earned runs in 13 innings (21 strikeouts).

On May 14 against Aberdeen, Medina went four innings, allowed two runs on two hits, walked three, and struck out six on 80 pitches (46 strikes) in a no-decision. The 22-year-old right-hander has at least six strikeouts in each of the first three starts he has made.

For Brooklyn, Jaison Vilera has a high ERA to begin the season. In 2019, Vilera pitched for four different affiliates and went 5-8 with a 5.25 ERA in 17 games (15 starts). In 84 innings of work, he struck out 61 and walked 36 with hitters hitting .272 against him.

Two years ago, the 23-year-old allowed seven home runs for the entire season. He has allowed four in the first two starts to begin 2021. On May 15 against Greenville, he went four innings, allowed four runs on four hits, two home runs, and struck out seven on 69 pitches (46 strikes) in a no-decision.

Vilera faced Staten Island once in 2019 when Brooklyn was in the New York-Penn League and he allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits, walked a batter, and struck out seven over four innings in a loss. The only two Renegades that faced him that day were Isaiah Pasteur and Ezequiel Duran.

Speaking of Duran, he was one of the only bright spots last night as he went 3-for-4 with a triple. The infielder has a hit in four straight games and in six of his last seven games. During this hit streak, he is 9-for-16 at the plate and has only struck out one time, which is a big improvement in his game.

Randy Vasquez (David Gravely/The Southwest Times)

Low-A

Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (7-7) vs. Tampa Tarpons (10-4)

George M. Steinbrenner Field I 6:30 PM ET

RHP Steven Cruz (0-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. RHP Randy Vasquez (0-0, 0.87 ERA)

The Tarpons offense looked like the offense from the first week of the season on Wednesday as they blew out the Mighty Mussels, 15-1 to get a split of the first two games of the season. Tonight, they give the ball to their best pitcher so far this season, Randy Vasquez.

On short rest in his last start, Vasquez was sharp against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on May 15. The 22-year-old allowed only one hit, walked two batters, and struck out two over four scoreless innings. Vasquez threw 55 pitches with 33 of them being for strikes. He should be allowed to go longer in this game now that he will be on regular rest.

Over the first three starts of the season, Vasquez has only allowed four hits and the opposition is hitting a mere .125 against him. He has the potential to be one of the breakout starters in the system this season.

The Mighty Mussels will go with Steven Cruz. Cruz is 21 years old and he is a tall pitcher (6’7”). The Twins signed him as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017. He has made 48 appearances in the minor league, but tonight will be just his seventh start.

As mainly a reliever with Rookie-Level Elizabethton in 2019, Cruz was 1-0 with a 2.90 ERA and had 48 strikeouts to 23 walks over 31 innings (17 appearances) while holding hitters to a .198 average and one home run.

This season, Cruz has yet to get a win. In his last outing against Clearwater on May 14, Cruz went three innings, allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out a batter on 43 pitches (30 strikes) out of the bullpen. In the lone start he made against Bradenton on May 8, he walked four batters and struck out five over 1.2 innings (one earned run allowed).

Cruz did face Pulaski once in 2019 (July 1). In that game, he went two innings, allowed two runs on three hits, walked three batters, and struck out four. Chad Bell was in the lineup that night for Pulaski and went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. Bell has reached base in each of the 13 games he has played this season.

Last night’s star at the plate was Andres Chaparro. Chaparro went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and drove in four runs. Chaparro has driven in seven runs over the last three games and is up to 14 RBIs on the season with a .390 on-base percentage.

Written By

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

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