Notes from the first homestand

-In both of their wins against Vermont the Spinners scored walk-off wins with two outs in the ninth. Luis Sumoza’s three-run bomb on Friday night was probably the hardest hit ball this season and Will Middlebrooks’ sacrifice fly got the job done on Sunday.


-The six games were decided by a total of eight runs. Four games were one-run games and the other two were decided by two runs.


-The Spinners allowed just 17 earned runs in the series, good for a 1.89 ERA, second best in the NYPL. Unfortunately, the offense only mustered 19 earned runs.


-The Spinners are in Oneonta for the home opener for the O-Tigers. Oneonta and Lowell are tied for first in the Stedler Division after both won two of three against Tri-City and Vermont.


-A trio of ’07 draftees have impressed so far. Third-rounder Brock Huntzinger started on opening day and the last game of the homestand. Each time he went five innings and no runs. He flashed a dominating fastball, and was overpowering at times. The first time through the Tri-City order on opening day he struck out six of the nine hitters, five swinging.


-Hunter Strickland, an eighteenth round pick a year ago, was also excellent in two outings on the homestand. He relieved Huntzinger on opening day and pitched three solid innings. He gave up a double to the first hitter he faced, Jeff Hulett, and ended up allowing two runs after a Will Middlebrooks throwing error and a passed ball. However, he settled down and retired nine in a row after that. He was even better on Saturday, retiring the first 14 hitters he faced before Michael Guerrero singled in the fifth. His fastball was effective and he used a good curveball to keep hitters off it. He did not walk a batter in either outing.


-Drake Britton is one of the most intriguing prospects on the Spinners roster. He was drafted in the 23rd round last year, and a $700,000 signing bonus was enough to convince him to pass up Texas A&M for professional ball. He started the second game against Tri-City and pitched reasonably well. He only allowed four hits in his five innings, but three were for extra bases, including a home run. He also walked a pair and only struck out three. He will start again tonight against Oneonta.


-The two 2008 third-rounders, Kyle Weiland and Stephen Fife each made a pair of relief appearances and looked good. Fife gave up an earned run and a couple in his first outing, but looked untouchable last night, sitting down all six hitters he faced.


-Former Notre Dame closer Kyle Weiland has yet to allow a hit in five innings and has walked just one. In Saturday’s outing against Vermont he broke off some low-80’s sliders that were probably the nastiest pitches seen at LeLacheur Park this season.


-Will Middlebrooks has the ability to be a fantastic third baseman and hitter. He was expected to be a play shortstop for the Spinners, but it is obvious why the Red Sox have him at third. He has made several excellent picks and seems to have the quick reactions to be very good at third. He also has an absolute cannon of an arm, more than capable of making any throw. He does need to improve his accuracy a bit, as he made two throwing errors in the series. Although he was only 3-for-17 in the series, his batting practice sessions were extremely impressive, he hit several missiles that cleared or hit off the outfield wall on a line. His double on Saturday was a rocket that looked like a lineout to centerfield, but he has enough power that it got over the centerfielder and hit on the track.  Obviously his game needs polish, but it is equally obvious why the Red Sox shelled out nearly $1 million for him last year.


-Michael Lee was extremely impressive in his professional debut on Friday. The big (6’7”, 220 ib.) right-hander struck out five of the six men he faced. His fastball was in the mid-90’s according to the stadium radar gun and he threw a power curve that was in the low-80s.


-Mitch Dening, 19-year-old Australian, was probably the best position player during the homestand. He went 5-for-12 and walked four times. He played good defense in right field and showed off an extremely strong arm. The only down side was his base running – he was picked off twice and caught stealing once while only successfully stealing one bag.


-The two pitchers making their U.S. debut both struggled. Yeiper Castillo had an odd outing, pitching four innings and allowing four runs, although all were unearned. He gave up four hits and a walk, but struck out seven. He really struggled with his command in the first two innings, but faced the minimum in his second two innings of work.


-Stolmy Pimentel allowed five hits and a pair of runs in five innings and walked one, although he also struck out six. He was surprisingly hittable for a pitcher with his reputed stuff, but he did battle effectively and only gave up singles.


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