01 May 2006

Pending Pinstripes: AA Trenton Team Report 04/30/2006

The Trenton Thunder currently sit in last place in the AA Eastern League Northern division, with a 6-14 record. Of course, when you consider that the team started the season 0-10, their record looks pretty good now. Having gone 6-4 over their last ten games, they took 2 of 3 from Connecticut (with a rain-out) and 3 of 4 from the New Britain Rock Cats, with the last game of that series to be played this afternoon. If they can win that, the’ll only be half a game behind the Rock Cats, but still in last place. Oh-and-ten is a big hole out of which to climb.

Shelley Duncan (1B) is hitting .297/.384/.568. That batting average and slugging percentage lead the team, as do his three homers, nine RBI, 11 runs scored, 11 doubles , nine walks, 42 total bases, 22 hits, 74 at-bats and 20 games played. Those 11 doubles lead the Eastern League and his .568 slugging percentage is second in the League.

JT Stotts is also hitting .297, with a .413 OBP, but only one extra base hit (a double) for a Neifi-esque .324 slugging percentage. 2B Kevin Howard, part of the swag from the Tony Womack trade, has two homers and is tied with Duncan for the team lead with nine RBI. He’s also struck out 19 times in 19 games, which leads the team as well, albeit in a somewhat more dubious category. OF Justin Christian has stolen 14 bases without getting caught, and is tied for the team lead with 11 runs scored, but is hitting only .257 right now. Those 14 steals are second best in the Eastern League to Akron’s Todd Donovan, who has 16 steals, but has also been caught three times.


Steven White has a 1.53 ERA in a team-leading 29.1 innings, but is only 1-0 in his five starts so far. White is repeating AA after a 2-7, 6.44 ERA performance in Trenton last year, which was fairly uncharacteristic of the remainder of his minor league record. Those first 29 innings look like a good start on getting promoted to Columbus, though it’s early yet.

Most of the rest of the starting rotation hasn’t been terrible by any stretch, but evidently hasn’t gotten any run support at all, as the starters have gotten credit for only two wins in 20 games. Tyler Clippard has struck out 27 batters in 24 innings, but is 0-4 in five starts with a 4.07 ERA as the Thunder managed to score only one run in each of his first four starts. He allowed only two runs in six innings yesterday but left with the score tied and therefore didn’t get credit for the win when Duncan hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Rock Cats closer Justin Olson to win the game, 4-2.

The bullpen has looked pretty good to this point. RHP T.J. Beam has an impressive 0.60 ERA in 15 innings of relief work and has the teams only save. Charlie Manning is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 14 relief innings, and Francisco Butto has a 1.50 ERA in 12 relief innings. J. Brent Cox has a 3.09 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11.2

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