2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA)
With the Major League club pretty much alternating blowout losses with good-to-great pitching performances, the Yankees AAA affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are off to an 11-0 start.
The Triple-A Yanks are hitting the cover off the ball, putting up a team line of .320/.394/.510 through the first two weeks of the season. They’re at least 40 points ahead of the second best team in all three categories and have scored 86 runs in 11 games – 30 more than the next best squad.
Juan Miranda’s hitting .375 with 3 homers and 15 RBIs. Shelley Duncan is at .351-4-13. The guy Cody Ransom beat out for the third-base duties? He’s batting .356/.412/.578 with a pair of homers and 11 RBIs. Former #1 prospect Eric Duncan is hitting .364. Current #1 prospect Austin Jackson is hitting .480 although he’s sat out the past couple of games after getting drilled in the arm by a pitch.
In addition to all the offense, the pitching has also been outstanding. The SWB hurlers have put together a staff ERA of 2.88 with a 1.17 WHIP. In four combined starts, once-touted youngsters Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes are 3-0 and have allowed 5 runs in 23.2 innings, allowing 20 hits while walking 4 and striking out 28. Those are very encouraging numbers, especially considering Chien Ming Wang’s recent struggles.
The bullpen has also been impressive, most notably Mark Melancon. All he’s done this season is toss nine scoreless innings, allowing two hits to go with three walks and 15 strikeouts. David Robertson, so impressive that he earned a brief, one day call-up has numbers better even than Melancon on the young season.
In 6.1 innings, he has allowed two hits, walked one and punched out 11. Command has been Robertson’s problem all throughout the minors, so these numbers are encouraging. Given the duds turned in by the likes of Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras and Damaso Marte, Robertson and Melancon could soon be mainstays in the New York bullpen.
Everybody on this team is firing on all cylinders, and there are a lot of pieces here that will undoubtedly help the Yankees this season. Melancon and Robertson (pictured below) will probably make the most immediate impact and Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy may still yet provide big innings for the Yanks. The position players are less flashy, but Angel Berroa could replace Cody Ransom if Ransom’s struggles persist. Outfielders John Rodriguez or Shelley Duncan could help provide depth if Nady is out for the season and Hideki Matsui’s knees won’t allow him to get regular at bats.