Look! They did it again! The Clearwater Threshers won the second half FSL North Division with their 2-1 win on the last day of the season. They duplicated their first half performance when they won they clinched on the last day of that half. The Threshers, who had a distressingly poor record in 2014, rebounded with the best overall record in the entire Florida State League. More on the Threshers below the fold.
Injuries and the movement of players in the minor leagues is a “feature” that all teams have to deal with. I’m not going to insinuate that the following is something that only the Threshers experienced, but –
- SS J.P. Crawford (.392) was activated on May 6th and only in played 21 games.
- SP Matt Imhof went on the DL after 2 April starts and missed 7-8 weeks.
- SP Brandon Leibrandt missed 3 weeks in June and 4 weeks in Aug.-Sept.
- SP Yacksel Rios went down after one start and came back in a mixed role.
- SP Colin Kleven was promoted after his division clinching win.
- SP Mark Leiter was lost for the 7 weeks he spent in Reading.
- SP Miguel Nunez was converted to a competent reliever.
- #1 Closer Edubray Ramos was promoted to Reading.
- Yoel Mecias imploded, demoted, and released.
- 2B Jesmuel Valentin started the season on the Restricted List.
- 1B Zach Green went down with a season ending wrist injury in early May.
- C Andrew Knapp was promoted in late June.
- RF Dylan Cozens went down with an injury before the all start break amd missed a month. He was later promoted to Reading with 2 weeks left in the season. Interesting that Cozens missed both division-winning runs for the Threshers. And maybe just a little more impressive that the Threshers could make those runs.
Now, granted Malquin Canelo relpaced Crawford. And Carlos Tocci pushed Chase Harris to Lakewood. But there was a 6-7 week period after Green’s injury that the Threshers played without a real first baseman until Rhys Hoskins was promoted.
And, Ricardo Pinto was promoted from Lakewood when Leiter went to Reading. Jesen Therrien chipped in with 30 strong appearances after his early promotion. And the additions of Alexis Rivero, Alberto Tirado, and John Richy certainly helped.
I guess it just amazes me that you can tear a Crawford, Knapp, and Cozens from a team and not miss a beat. That you can have so many starters go down (or up) and still pitch effectively.
Lehigh Valley (63-80) lost to the Rochester Red Wings 5-1. Miguel Gonzalez pitched against men again, and got knocked around again. Maybe he should stick to the kids in the GCL where he had his only success this season. Gonzalez threw 84 pitches and failed to complete the third inning. Real pitchers took over and shutout the Red Wings over the remaining six-plus innings. Tyler Pastornicky had three hits. Kelly Dugan drove in the only run.
- LF Kelly Dugan (.228) went 1-5 with an RBI and 2 K.
- 1B Tommy Joseph (.179) went 0-4.
- Tyler Henson stole his 26th base.
Reading (80-60) lost to the Richmond Flying Squirrels 2-1. Ben Lively was charged with an unearned run in six innings. He gave up seven hits and struck out six. Ryan O’Sullivan took the loss. Cam Perkins drove in their only run with a double in the first inning.
- J.P. Crawford (.260) 0-4.
- Cam Perkins went 2-3 with a double and RBI.
- Andrew Knapp (.357) DNP.
- Dylan Cozens went 2-4 with 2 doubles.
Clearwater (79-58) Matt Imhof turned in his best outing in a month, earning the Threshers’ 2-1 win over the Dunedin Blue Jays. Imhof pitched five, three hit innings, striking out seven. His only blemish was a second inning home run. Imhof threw 78 pitches, 49 strikes. He only reached three-ball counts twice, both in his second inning. The only other blip in his performance occurred in the fourth inning two runners reached base. However, the first batter reached with two out on a strike out wild pitch and an infield single. Hardly reasons for alarm. Imhof ended the threat another strike out. Imhof changes speeds well. His fast ball was mainly 87-89 mph, but he hit 90 five times and 92 once. Imhof recorded a swinging strike out on his final pitch (no velo on that pitch).
Victor Arano pitched three dominant innings in relief. His 94 mph fastball must have seemed quicker following Imhof. He struck out two and the only hit he allowed was an infield hit chopped toward Walding at third.
Miguel Nunez made it interesting allowing a couple of two-out runners in the ninth before nailing down his eighth save. His fastball was 93-94 mph.
The Threshers only managed three hits, but they all came in the third inning when they scored the two runs they needed for the win. Jesse Valentin smashed his first home run, a two-run shot, onto the right field berm.
With the win, Clearwater finished in first place for the second half in the FSL North Division. They had already earned a playoff spot by finishing first in the first half.
- Jessie Valentin (.273) went 1-4 with a run scored, HR (1). and 2 RBI.
- Carlos Tocci (.258) went 1-4.
- Andrew Pullin (.258) went 0-3.
- Aaron Brown (.257) went 0-2 with a walk.
- Rhys Hoskins (.317) went 0-2 with a HBP.
- Wilians Astudillo (.314) DNP.
- Mitch Walding went 0-3 with 3 K. (I guess I jinxed him in yesterday’s report.)
- Malquin Canelo (.250) went 1-3 with a run scored and 2 K.
Lakewood (72-65) lost to the Delmarva Shorebirds 5-4. Austin Davis gave up four runs on six hits in 4.1 innings but struck out eight. The BlueClaws scored two runs in the eighth inning on a passed ball and wild pitch. They took an early lead on Cord Sandberg’s RBI single in the second. Damek Tomscha homered (8) in the fourth.
- Herlis Rodriguez (.293) went 0-4.
- Scott Kingery (.250) went 0-4.
- Deivi Grullon (.223) went 1-4 with a run scored and double.
- Damek Tomscha (.282) went 2-4 with a run scored, HR (8), and RBI.
- Kyle Martin (.275) went 0-2 with 2 walks.
- Cord Sandberg (.254) went 1-4 with an RBI.
- Rodriguez threw out a runner at home.
Williamsport (46-29) beat the State College Spikes 2-1. Luis Morales pitched six shutout innings. Robert Tasin picked up his 17th save. The Cutters scored on Austin Bossart’s RBI single in the fifth, and Jose Pujols’ RBI single in the sixth.
- Josh Tobias (.326) went 2-4.
- Brendon Hayden (.295) went 1-4 with a run scored.
- Mark Laird (.285) went 1-3 with a run scored and walk.
GCL Phillies (36-24) Season completed. Finished in second place, four games back.
DSL Phillies (40-32) Season completed. Finished tied for second place, three games back.
VSL Phillies (30-40) Season completed. Finished tied for third in a four team league.
Here’s the affiliated scoreboard from MiLB.
Extra Innings –
- No transactions, but here’s some more Clearwater stuff.
- Willians Astudillo (.314) won the batting title in the FSL.
- Andrew Pullin (14) shared the home run crown in the FSL and finished 4th with 73 RBI (leader had 79).
- David Whitehead (9-11) earned a decision in 80% of his 25 starts.
- David Whitehead led the team with 94 K.
- Edubray Ramos BB/K was 6/47.
- Ramos, Rivro, and Richy had WHIPs of 0.75, .0.85, 0.87
- David Whitehead threw 135.2 innings.
- Ulises Joaquin had 16 saves, Nunez and Ramos had 8 each.
- Whitehead and Pinto had 9 wins each, Imhof had 8.
- Ramos had lowest ERA 1.46; Leiter 2.26 among starters.
- Angelo Mora had a 0.00 ERA, no hits but a WHIP of 2.00.
- Aaron Brown was second on the team with 11 HR.
- Astudillo was second with 49 RBI, Brown had 47, Cozens 46.
- Walding had 48 walks, Hoskins and Knapp were next with 29.
- Walding was the only Thresher with over 100 K.
- Cozens lead with 18 SB in 23 attempts. (Tocci was 3 for 12.)