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You've Been Thunderstruck: a Trenton Thunder OOTP 19 Blog 
Posted on September 10, 2018 at 10:11 PM.
You've Been Thunderstruck: a Trenton Thunder OOTP 19 Blog

2017 Review/2018 Preview

2018 marks the start of a new era for the Trenton Thunder. Manager Bobby Mitchell has been promoted to the same role for the Yankees’ Triple A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. In two seasons with the Thunder, Mitchell guided the club to records of 87-55 (second place) and 92-48 (first place.) In both years, the Thunder lost the championship series. While the team and its fans would have loved to win the championship, the club’s 92 wins were still its most since the 1999 season.

We can’t emphasis this enough: the 2017 version of the Thunder was a dominant team. The club held first place every day after April 24 and won its first division title in five years. The pitching staff led the league in several main categories .

Last year’s Thunder team was also notable for its constant shuffling. Sure, promotions and movement are par for the course in the minor leagues. But injuries and a Yankees team that became buyers at the deadline forced the Thunder to play an increasingly depleted roster. The team field 225 roster moves and still found a way to make it to the championship series.

Names even casual Yankees fans quickly learned (Gleyber Torres, Chance Adams, Domingo German, Miguel Andujar, Billy McKinney, and so on) made their way to Triple A while others, like Jorge Mateo, were dealt in trades.

Mitchell weathered the storm, and a winning, stable culture in the clubhouse kept the constantly churning team steady.

All-Stars Thairo Estrada and Zach Zehner (the All-Star Game MVP) were the club’s spark plugs and producers on offense. It’s only a matter of time before these fan-favorites are off to Scranton or traded for a big league player.

Jeff Hendrix, a fourth round pick in 2015, made his debut in August and performed admirably in the leadoff spot.

Highly touted youngster Estevan Florial joined the team in time for the playoffs. Florial, at just nineteen years old, is ranked as the Yankees’ fourth best prospect by some sites.

New York’s seventh-ranked prospect, Domingo Acevedo, also made his Thunder debut and posted a 2.38 ERA in 14 starts. Dillon Tate, another young pitcher, made a solid first impression with the club and looks to be an important part of the 2018 rotation.

To fill the vacant spot on the bench, the Yankees hired Jay Bell, a two time All-Star and a World Champion as a player. Bell has managerial experience; he has served as the bench coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Reds. Most recently, Bell managed the Yankee’s Class A affiliate in Tampa and the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.


At the outset of the season, there are a few names to watch, according to Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley.

2B Gosuke Katoh has been disappointing in his minor-league career but a .800 OPS last season could be a sign that the infielder is on the right track.

Several top pitchers (Tate, Acevedo, Sheffield, and James Reeve) have some question marks attached to them due to previous injuries. If they can stay healthy, the pitching staff could be dominant again.
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