The Tampa Yankees are currently six games out of first in the North Division of the Florida State League. They’re chasing the first place Daytona Tortugas, who trail first-half division winning Clearwater Threshers by one game.
Tampa pitching leads the league in strikeouts (921) and fourth in saves with 34.Gabriel Encinas leads the team in strikeouts (92), while Tyler Wade leads the offense with 103 hits.
The T-Yanks have had an impressive mix of strong hitting and pitching, with first-year guys showing a lot of maturation and good results, enough to earn a promotion (Rookie Davis, Cale Coshow). It’s a young club, but with good leadership from guys like Mike O’Neill and Wes Wilson on the roster.
In a game last week, in his first at-bat, Mike Ford exhibited the qualities that have been key elements to his success this season. His pitch recognition and patience were on display. One of the standout aspects of his performance that night was his ability to improve within the at-bat. He fouled pitches off, taking his time as the at-bat progressed. He’s on the small side, with good speed. When going first to third, despite being tagged out, the play was close. In his second plate appearance, he hit a ball hard, but grounded out. Later, he grounded out again.
On the mound that night was Chaz Hebert. The lefty turned in a solid performance for his twelfth start of the season. His off-speed offerings didn’t look consistently sharp, and he had trouble locating down and in. But when he got the ball over the plate, and pitched to contact, his fastball got guys swinging and missing, and he induced a good quantity of ground-outs. He had better command later in the game, and threw a strike at the knees to strike out one hitter that looked like a cut fastball. He located his fastball well all night, and it had a lot of good movement.
“He sometimes has that one inning. It’s a matter of him being able to stay under control, execute his pitches. He’s learning how to adjust. He’s got a really good power fastball. When he keeps the ball down, he’s tough to hit.” Tampa Yankees pitching coach Tommy Phelps on Cale Coshow, who was promoted to Double-A Trenton last week.
“Everyone’s pretty good. Around 99 pitches, we’re letting them go. If they’re doing good, we let them go a little longer,“ Phelps on rotation.
“[Miguel] Andujar is young, but he’s coming around with the bat. He’s making more consistent contact.” Manager Dave Bialas on the third baseman. Andujar is ranked the 10th best Yankees prospect by Baseball America
“He has done an excellent job. He goes out every day and prepares himself. He catches every fourth or, sometimes, fifth day. He’s in there every day looking at film, getting a plan with the starting pitcher on how to get some of these guys.” Bialas on catcher Wes Wilson