Generation K, 2.0. Back in 1995 the New York Mets of the defunct MLB had a talented group of young pitcher, Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen, and Bill Pulsipher were dubbed “Generation K”, the next big thing to hit Major League Baseball. Well, that didn’t happen. Wilson will probably be best known for being beaten and bloodied by Karl Farnsworth during a brawl. Pulsipher’s career highlight was probably his 2004 season with the Independent Long Island Ducks. Isringhausen with the most success out of the 3 was a very solid closer for a few seasons with the St Louis Cardinals.
2.0 features 4 pitchers currently on the Syracuse Orange AAA roster, Fort Lauderdale. 4 pitchers with fastballs breaking 100MPH, the 5th and slowest maxing out at 99. This impressive group of talent was not home grown. GM Gary Currier with some strategic moves brought all of these young fireballers in via trade.
Steve Howard, received from Richardson City which sent highly regarded prospect SP Patrick Mahomes to them. Howard was not exactly the highest rated prospect in the land at this time, this trade raised some eyebrows when it was made. Since the trade the soon to be 21 year old Howard struck out 9.3 batters per 9 innings against AA competition. Syracuse scout Martin Hernandez says “Howard is going to be a big-league starter who will compete for the number 1 role” With Kolek already at the big league level, those are strong words from the highly regarded scout.
Branden Kelliher, received from Vancouver in a major deal. Syracuse at the time sent over SP Sonny Gray (whom Syracuse re-acquired this past trading deadline) to the Canadians for SP Francisco Liriano, Tyler Chatwood, Kevin Lott, reliever Sean Burnett along with Kelliher. Kelliher along with Howard throws heat, topping out at around 101 MPH. At age 21 at the highest minor league level, he threw a NO hitter and had multiple 10 strikeout games with a strict pitch count on him. Branden has the capabilities to strike out a large number of CBL’ers when he is called up. Rumors are circulating around that Branden may be called up this year to work out of the pen.
Jake Godfrey, the only man on the list who can’t dial up his fastball over 100, he can only reach a weak 99. Godfrey was acquired from Savannah which sent two pitching prospects to the Peach state. Godfrey had a solid year at age 21 in the AA level, the numbers may not jump out at you, but with his very high BABIP, his impressive K rate and his 0.8 HR/9 rate he is surely on the right track to Syracuse and CBL stardom.
Trent Johnson at age 20 put up similar numbers to Godfrey in AA. Another low HR, high K, and low HR rate fireballer who dials it up over 100 MPH, Johnson was sent to Syracuse from Austin for top prospect second baseman Steve McKinney.
The four of these kids should do some damage in AAA and make hitters and managers alike at the CBL’s highest minor league level throw fits. Only time will tell where they end up after this season, but these 4 men have the potential to do wonderful things.