The playoff edition is here after a 78 game season and the fourth team that will vie for the league championship is set. Brooklyn will meet Hudson Valley in one series and in the other, the Lowell Spinners will play the Batavia Muckdogs. Both are best of three matchups with Brooklyn and Lowell having home-field advantage. Which means that both of these teams will start on the road for game one, then have game two and if needed game three at home.
Lowell and Batavia met once during the regular season and the Muckdogs took the series by winning two out of three. The Spinners were the first team to clinch a playoff spot this summer and did so by tying a team record with 23 road wins. Gilberto Jimenez was their best everyday player over the course of the season. His batting average of .358 was tops in the league. He finished the season with 110 total bases and 14 stolen bases. He is the only Spinners player with double digits in steals. Over his last ten games, Jimenez went 14-for-40, .350 average, with a HR. He had four multi-hit games, including a 4-4 game against Vermont on August 24. On the mound, the Spinners were boosted by two pitchers in the front and back end of the staff. On the front end, there is Noah Song despite having no record in seven starts. He allowed only two earned runs, in 17 innings pitched. He was good at throwing strike one as he stuck out 19 while only walking five. On the back end, they have Kris Jackson who had nine saves for the year. In 22 games his line is 27 IP, 16 H, 4 ER, 27 SO, and 9 BB. His record is 2-3 with a 1.32 ERA.
If the Spinners have any issues, there could be two. First, they are the worst fielding team in the league with 96 errors in 78 games. Also, they led the league in home runs allowed with 44.
Batavia was led by J.D. Orr, maybe the best all-around player in the league. He led the league in runs with 57, walks at 44, OBP .469, OPS .892 while hitting .352 for the year. However, over his last ten games, Orr has been slumping hitting only .194 (7-for-36). A key for Lowell will be keeping him in check. They will also have to pay attention to Nick Ready who leads in XBH with 42, Doubles with 30, and RBI with 57. Over his last ten games, Ready drove in nine runs while hitting .238 over that span. He did strike out thirteen times during a 10-for-42 span.
Both of these teams have very good closers. For the Muckdogs it’s Evan Brabrand who finished with thirteen. Six came in his last ten games to go along with eleven punchouts in eleven innings. He also allowed no runs with giving up only five hits. Batavia was sixth in fielding at .970.
The other series pit two teams that saw a lot of each other during the regular season. That’s because they were in the same division. Brooklyn and Hudson Valley battled for the top spot all summer long with the Cyclones coming out on top on the last day of the season. Garrison Bryant led the league in WHIP at 0.84. He posted a 5-1 record with a 2.39 ERA. In12 starts his line was 75 IP, 49 H, 20 ER, 75 SO, and 14 BB. Jared Biddy is the other starter that Brooklyn counts on, with his 3-0 record, 0.96 ERA, 14 games, 28 IP, 23 H,3 ER, 34 SO, and only three free passes.
On offense, the Cyclones are led by Wilmer Reyes who batted .323 (74-229), with 101 total bases, and 15 extra-base hits and by Branden Fryman, hitting .356, 16-46 in the last thirteen games.
Hudson Valley was one of the better running team this year with four players finishing with double digits in stolen bases. One of those players is Greg Jones. He hit .335 (64-for-191), had 88 total bases and 19 stolen bases. Jones is the only regular player that has an over .300 batting average. Pitching is what makes this team good, Shay Smiddy finished with a 2-1 record, 1.13 ERA, 12 games, 24 IP, 20 H, 3 ER, 23 SO, and 9 BB. Zack Trageton is 5-2, 2.11 ERA, five starts, 38 IP, 30 H, 9 ER, 39 So and zero walks. Daiveyon Whittle rounds out the staff with his 0-3 record, but an ERA of 0.95. in eight starts, 47.1 IP, 38 H, seven ER, 43 SO, and 4 BB. Brooklyn was the best fielding team in the league with a .977 fielding percentage. Hudson Valley was fifth at .971.
There is a look at the four teams that will be playing for the right to get to the championship series. Get out and see some great minor league baseball.
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