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Every Team’s Hidden Gem: Part 3

Every Team’s Hidden Gem: Part 3

Continuing from part 2.

Dayton Sting:

In a lineup that has three of the top five batters and two of the top six pitchers in projected WAR, and several others that certainly could be there if not for injuries or trades, there is little need for help. But there’s a reason that this team is second in the CBL.

Austin Cousino, left fielder

Austin Cousino, left fielder

Outfielder Austin Cousino, despite not being an everyday player, has played well in the opportunities he has been given. Batting primarily in the eight or nine spot, Cousino has batted .296 and is on pace for 15 stolen bases, with 57 runs batted in. He’s also played flawless defense, one of the better left-fielders in the CBL. If he keeps this play up, he could help the Sting catch Syracuse, and secure home field advantage for the playoffs.

Although Dayton doesn’t have any top prospects, they do have a good deal of depth, with 5 top 100 prospects. Triple-A catcher Jakson Reetz and reliever Aldo Silva have both put up stellar numbers this year, and could be candidates for a promotion, if the CBL team wasn’t so loaded from top to bottom.

Jackson Reetz, catcher

Jackson Reetz, catcher

Reetz has been with the Sting since the inaugural draft, and has slowly risen through the ranks and established himself as Dayton’s top catching prospect, following Jon Denney‘s promotion to the CBL. Spending the entire season at triple-A, Reetz has split time behind the plate, but when he has been given opportunities, he has done well. So far he has .300 batting average, and has actually had some speed for a catcher, with 3 stolen bases. He has also been given some opportunities at second base, which although the CBL has plenty of options at 2B, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have versatility as a prospect. Look for Reetz come September to become the backup option for Dayton.

Aldo Silva, reliever

Aldo Silva, reliever

Silva has also been a Sting for life, working his way through the system, including dominating at single-A, which he then continued this season at double-A, which earned him a promotion. Despite one rough outing at triple-A, in his three total, he was near untouchable, featuring a 95 MPH fastball, and a slider that seems to slide away from bats. If Silva can settle down at triple-A and continues to develop, he could be trade bait or work into their bullpen for next season.

Mahoning Valley Scrappers:

Another team that has struggled mightily and has seen a lot of turnover after a front office change, there’s really only one player that has been a bright spot at all for them.

Oswaldo Arcia, right fielder

Oswaldo Arcia, right fielder

Right fielder Oswaldo Arcia has not done amazing, but he does lead the Scrappers in home runs, with a mere 11, runs batted in, only 38, and second in average at .252. The new front office certainly sees him as a part of their future, as he was signed to a 5 year extension, worth $16 million in year one, and $11 million each year after that. Hopefully he can be a contributor to this team as they rebuild, but don’t look for a surge in his numbers as he is already 28.

This rebuilding team has some high-level prospects, and a deep system full of potential CBL level players worthy of making their struggling roster. Among those having good years, and in consideration for a promotion are double-A starting pitcher Steve Nelson and center fielder Bob O’Day.

Bob O'Day, centerfielder

Bob O’Day, center fielder

O’Day is almost too old to be considered a prospect, already 27 but only in double-A. He’s got a lot of potential to become a possibly 4th outfielder, as he has good plate discipline and is an excellent glove in center field. This two-time Glove Wizard Award winner is having a solid season, batting .280 and over one-third of his hits are extra base hits. He has also shown good base running skills, averaging 11 stolen bases a year for the last four years. If he can continue to get extra base hits, play lockdown defense and steal a few bases, he should be seen as a potential fourth outfield option.

Steve Nelson, starting pitcher

Steve Nelson, starting pitcher

Nelson came to the team in the trade that also brought them Mike Wheeler, so he has flown under the radar. A 6’5″ left-handed pitcher, featuring a fastball, consistently 96 MPH, a cutter with late movement, and a slider. This season, his first at double-A, he’s started 17 games, going 9-4 for the Asheville Tourists. In that time, he’s had a 2.76 ERA, and a 1.10 WHIP, and in 8 of his starts he’s held opponents scoreless. If he can continue to perform this way, he profiles as a potential candidate for the number 5 spot in Mahoning Valley’s rotation next year.

Minneapolis Millers:

A team that has seen some players come in, and right back out, the door over the last few weeks is having an odd season. They have not gone into full rebuild mode, yet, but they have traded some CBL pieces, hoping to add to their relatively weak farm system. And although they have struggled this season, they have multiple players putting up good numbers, but one guy is having a career year.

Judd Gyorko, designated hitter

Jedd Gyorko, designated hitter

Jedd Gyorko spent his first three years in the CBL with the Frisco RoughRiders, batting a mere .213 in just 90 total games. But Jedd must really hate Texas, or really love Minnesota, or a mix of both because once the team moved to Minneapolis, he started to hit. In 2017 he hit .217 with 26 home runs, and while he isn’t on pace to top his career year in home runs, he is hitting .303 with 10 home runs, and is on pace to play in 159 games. On a contract of only $2.1 million through 2022, if Gyorko continues to produce like he has in the last few years, he could be a huge bargain. He’s already being recognized for his strong play, as he’s made three straight CBL All-Star Games, and look for him to continue this streak.

The Millers don’t have the best farm system, but do have several lower level prospects who could end up contributing as possible backup men or relievers. These players include double-A shortstop Isaac Collins and triple-A reliever Brad Wegman are among those.

Brad Wegman, reliever

Brad Wegman, reliever

Wegman, who has had a sip of coffee at the CBL level, has spent this season at triple-A as a middle reliever. He has pitched in 22 games, and pitched to a 2.84 ERA, with many of his outings lasting over an inning. A ground ball pitcher who features only a fastball and a change-up, he has found a lot of success mixing speeds and locations. Should the Millers need help in the bullpen anytime the rest of the season, look for Wegman to be among the names considered.

Isaac Collins, shortstop

Isaac Collins, shortstop

Collins is a utility infielder, primarily a shortstop, whose bat doesn’t profile as a CBL player certainly could become a backup utility man, helping condense the number of roster spots needed. That and he’s shown progress with his bat this season, batting .310 with 9 home runs at single-A, earning him a promotion to double-A, where, in limited time he’s batting .355. If these numbers hold up, and his incredible fielding at shortstop, second base, and third base continues, the 21-year-old switch hitter could be the utility backup for Minneapolis next season, and beyond.

Link to part 4.

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Matthew Wells | General Manager - Charlotte Knights

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