It seems that all the Hartford Yard Goats (56-44, 3rd in Eastern League Eastern Division) needed was a little break. The Rockies Double-A Eastern League affiliate had a stretch of 18 games in 15 days going into the Eastern League All-Star Break, so the respite was well earned. Since then, they have gone 8-4 and now sit five games out of the final Eastern League playoff spot.
They will have to finish their push without their hometown closer, as RHP (and newly minted no. 30 PuRP) Matt Carasiti earned a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday. Carasiti led the EL with 29 saves in 38 appearances with a 2.31 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and an opponent’s average of .200. He also struck out 43 and walked just seven in 39 innings pitched. It seems likely that lefty Jerry Vasto, who has a 2.51 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 14 ⅓ innings since being promoted from High-A Modesto, will take over the closer role.
Also, congratulations to outfielder David Dahl, who joins starting pitcher Tyler Anderson as the first Hartford Yard Goats to play for the Colorado Rockies! I wrote earlier this week about what to expect from Dahl in The Show.
News and Notes, July 13 - August 5
|July 13||@||★All-Star Game ★||L 2-10||July 26||@||Bowie||5:05 pm|
|July 14||@||Binghamton||L 5-7||July 27||@||Bowie||9:05 am|
|July 15||@||Binghamton||L 2-3||July 28||v||Harrisburg (in NH)||3:05 pm|
|July 16||@||Binghamton||W 4-2||July 29||v||Harrisburg, Gm 1 (in NH)||11:05 am|
|July 17||@||Binghamton||W 7-6||July 29||v||Harrisburg, Gm 2 (in NH)||TBD|
|July 19||v||Altoona (in PA)||W 10-2||July 30||v||Harrisburg (in NH)||3:05 pm|
Altoona, Gm 1 (in PA)
Altoona, Gm 2
|July 31||v||Harrisburg (in NH)||11:05 pm|
|July 21||@||Reading||W 9-5||Aug 1||OFF DAY|
|July 22||@||Reading||L 5-6||Aug 2||@||Trenton||5:00 pm|
|July 23||@||Reading||W 6-0||Aug 3||@||Trenton||10:00 am|
|July 24||@||Reading||L 4-10||Aug 4||@||Trenton||5:00 pm|
|July 25||@||Bowie||W 10-9||Aug 5||v||Binghamton (in NY)||
On the first day back from the All-Star break the Yard Goats placed utility man Zach Osborne on the 7-day disabled list to make room for infielder Juan Ciriaco, who was being activated from the 7-day DL.
Last month Ryan McMahon (no. 5 PuRP) talked about making adjustments to his game, specifically his approach at the plate. Since bottoming out on June 26 with a .209/.309/.319 line, he’s hitting .309/.337/.546 with 13 extra-base hits in 24 games. There are still some plate discipline concerns, as he has 37 strikeouts and just three walks in that time, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
Raimel Tapia (No. 6 PuRP) probably had one of the least restful All-Star breaks in the country. After turning heads in the MLB Futures Game in San Diego, Tapia flew out to Akron to participate in Eastern League All-Star festivities (he went 0-for-3 in the game). He’s had an uncharacteristically slow start since the ASG, going 13-for-51 with two doubles, one home run, two walks and six strikeouts (.255/.283/.353).
Antonio Senzatela (no. 9 PuRP) remains on the 7-day disabled list due to shoulder inflammation with no firm on when he will be returning this year. "He's working through and he'll be fine," manager Darin Everson told Purple Row. "Just a matter of time." Asked about if he'll be back with the Yard Goats this year: "I can't say."
Double-A continues to vex Sam Howard (HM PuRP). His first game back from the break was encouraging (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K) but gave up four runs in five innings last Friday. After recording 10.0 K/9 and a .184 opponent batting average in 11 starts in Modesto, Howard currently has a 5.6 K/9 and a .333 against.
The Tampa Bay Rays visited Denver last week and there was a lot of talk around the Dickerson-McGee trade. Fortunately, more and more people are recognizing the true get from that trade, German Marquez. After a rough first outing back (6⅔ IP, 12 H, 5 ER) from his All-Star game appearance (more on that below), Marquez dominated first place Reading on Saturday to the tune of eight innings of shutout baseball, allowing five hits, two walks and striking out seven. By our next update expect Marquez to be a top 10 PuRP.
Jerry Vasto stumbled a bit in his first save opportunity as a Yard Goat. Coming in on Monday to protect a narrow 10-8 lead, Vasto walked three and allowed a hit and one run to score while recording just two outs. It was his fourth run and seventh walk allowed in 14 ⅓ innings with Hartford, matching his totals from 26 innings in Modesto. On the plus side, he has increased his strikeout rate to 12.7 K/9 in Double-A.
Pat Valaika has been stellar since his own All-Star appearance, hitting .377/.411/.679 with four home runs in 12 games. He just missed our most recent Pu-RP’s list, but deserves every bit of credit for what he’s done this year to raise his status in the prospecting community from near invisible to near PuRP.
Spotlight On: Eastern League All-Star Game
Our friends over at Baseball Prospectus were in the house for the Eastern League All-Star Game in Akron on July 13 and provided short write ups on our Yard Goats All-Stars.
They did not have anything to say about Pat Valaika or Dillon Thomas, who each had a hit in two at bats in the game, focusing more on the top prospects in the game.
First up is the man who threw the last pitch for the East All-Stars, Matt Carasiti. Hartford’s Hometown Hero earned his spot in the game with a stellar first half performance that earned him a promotion to AAABQ. He faced only two batters in the game, sitting 93-96 on his fastball, but the star was the changeup:
The out pitch is a nasty changeup, and he has a ton of confidence in it; he went to it frequently in this outing, keeping up his arm-speed and drawing quality arm-side fade with excellent velocity separation in the low 80’s.
The crew from BP seemed to be particularly impressed with German Marquez, who pitched the second inning for the East. They raved about his clean mechanics which "stood out over plenty of reliever-only arms," and a fastball that sat 95-97 during his start. Check out the video below to see him face top Indians prospect Brad Zimmer, including a delicious slider to his back foot:
Marquez’s profile is climbing due to his performance this season and we shouldn’t be surprised to find him in some top 100 lists this offseason.
Finally, the Patron Saint of BP Prospect Writers, Raimel Tapia. Tapia went 0-for-3 in the game, so there wasn’t much to say about his bat other than generally affirming his swing and approach. As usual, the book on Tapia is, without much power or zone control, "there will be a lot of pressure on his hit tool as well as his ability to use the speed to net some extra hits." On defense, BP gives him a "chance to patrol centerfield," though there are others who are skeptical.
Dunkin Donuts Park Update
Countdown to Opening Day: April 2017
The news which seemed inevitable finally become official last week, as the Eastern League officially relocated the Yard Goats remaining home games. The team will not play in Dunkin Donuts Park this season. At this point it’s a matter of when (if?) the city and the developer can resolve their dispute and resume construction on the stadium.
The Yard Goats will finish up a three game set in Bowie (43-57, 4th in West) this week before heading over to Manchester, New Hampshire to "host" the Harrisburg Senators (55-45, 2nd in West) for five games, including a double header on Friday. Hopefully they’ll be able to make up ground before they take on Trenton (62-40, 2nd in East) for three games next week, the team they are chasing for the final Eastern League playoff spot.
For more Yard Goats news, links, coverage and Twitter, check out the links below. If you have any questions or requests of what you'd like to see in this column, drop me a line in the comments, on Twitter (@playerTBNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hartford Yard Goats