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New York Penn League Semi-Finals Showcased Starting Pitching, Star First Basemen

Albany, New York — In a game in which one team would head home to off-season jobs, and another would advance to the New York Penn League Championship, the highlights came from a pitcher’s duel and timely hitting — by top draft picks and lesser-known talents alike.

The Tri-City Valley Cats went on that night to shut out the Aberdeen Iron Birds 3-0 in the best-of-three series, advancing to the finals.

Aberdeen’s Hunter Harvey and Tri-City’s Kyle Westwood got the start for their teams, and both kept the game scoreless through six innings.

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Renegades Darryl George Strong Finish At The Plate

Hudson Valley, NY — Hudson Valley infielder Darryl George gave the team a boost at a crucial point.

In his final games, he stayed consistent, giving the playoff-hopeful Renegades a shot.

In what was a must-win that the team lost, George’s skill set, and what the Australian native needs to improve, were showcased.

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Astros’ Conrad Gregor Chases Playoffs In First Pro Season

Brooklyn, New York — On a balmy August night, in the midst of a playoffs push, in a sixteen inning game in Coney Island, Tri-City Valley Cats Conrad Gregor’s multiple skills were on display.

Facing the rival Brooklyn Cyclones, with Tri City leading the Stedler Division by three games, and Brooklyn trailing in McNamara by a half game, there was plenty of opportunity for Gregor to show what he’s capable of. (Tri City would win the game 5-3.)

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Gavin Cecchini Polishing Up In Penn League

Brooklyn, NY — Gavin Cecchini wasn’t slowed much by his stint on the DL, after suffering a left ankle sprain.

His progress seems to have only been bolstered. He went on a sixteen-game hitting streak, and has hit safely in his last three games, and worked three walks in the last two games. He finished August hitting .349 with twenty-nine hits through twenty-two games.

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Eric Jagielo Developing Approach

Brooklyn, New York — Eric Jagielo measures up, literally, like a New York Yankee.

At 6’2″, weighing 195 he fits the mold. So does the power he projects. But in his first professional season, Jagielo, for all his abilities is still raw, with far to go; but there were plenty of glimpses of the future in two recent games.

After making his pro debut in the GCL — playing four games — he was assigned to play third base for the Staten Island Yankees of the short-season New York Penn League. He ended July with 21 hits in twenty-three games. Through July and August combined he struck out forty times. He’s hitting .294 with fifteen hits, eight of them doubles in August.

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Renegades Jamie Schultz Builds Resume In Rotation

Brooklyn, NY — In three innings of work against the Brooklyn Cyclones, Hudson Valley Renegades pitcher Jaime Schultz fired his way through his sixth start of the season. Despite the Renegades eventual 3-1 loss, he gave them a chance to win.

Showing a loose, live arm, he held the Cyclones offense to one hit and didn’t allow a run, bouncing back from a four-run outing the week before. He also kept the walks to a minimum again, giving up just two.

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Connecticut’s Jonathon Crawford Solid In Limited Outings

The Tigers won’t allow their Class-A pitchers to go more than an inning or two, maybe three, and short-season Connecticut starter Jonathon Crawford is no exception.

Crawford has done well in eight starts (0-2, 1.89), with three of them extended to three innings. He began August with an outing against the Brooklyn Cyclones, going 2.2 innings and didn’t allow a run on three hits. He struck out three and walked two.

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Brody Colvin Returns to Starting Role Against Thunder, A-Rod

Trenton, New Jersey — Brody Colvin had quite an introduction back to a starting role. After pitching out of the bullpen this year, he was put back in the rotation and just in time to face embattled Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

The Reading Fightins faced the Trenton Thunder in a three game series, that included two games with Rodriguez in the lineup, in the midst of suspension controversy. Righty Colvin came second. In Game One of the series, top Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle took the mound. He gave up a two-run home run to Rodriguez.

Colvin was paying attention and certainly appeared to have a plan. He walked Rodriguez three times and issued five walks overall over five innings; the walks allowed have been a struggle for him at times. In his fourth year of pro ball, he’s given up 44 free passes in 67 innings this season; he ended 2012 with 74 in 138 innings pitched. But the August 2nd outing was his toughest since mid-July, when his ERA ballooned and he allowed three runs on four hits, and surrendered a season-high six walks.

Colvin wasn’t just avoiding contact to Rodriguez. Other than a few high and tight pitches, he was consistently on the outside corners. And he wasn’t hitting that part of the plate for strikes. In 2012 he struck out 109 in 138 innings pitched; this year he has 30 in 67 innings. His progress has been slowed this year by injury and re-injury to the groin. But overall in his career he’s remained healthy.

Back to the walks. He’s tenth in the Eastern League in BB’s allowed (44) and third of all Reading pitchers (Biddle’s 62 walks actually tops the EL). In his most recent performance, he struggled to find the strike zone, and had difficulty controlling the ball. He was more economical early in the game, in the first and second innings, but couldn’t command his pitches in the later innings.

Colvin’s ERA has been way up all season, but his physical health has to be factored in. He didn’t appear to have a lot of trust in his ability to locate his fastball. But he did mix in a good number of groundball outs and worked quickly in a jam a few times. For his first start back, he went five innings, allowed five earned runs on six hits, and struck out two.

Colvin, 22, is durable and, despite injuries this year, projects well. His workload has been heavy throughout his career, and he can clearly handle eating innings and giving his team a solid chance to win in a starting role. It might do him good to have another half-season in Double-A, but if he can finish strong, he’s not far from earning a big league call.

LJ Mazzilli Adapting Quickly To Pros

Brooklyn, New York — Toss the hype aside. LJ Mazzilli has quietly, steadily put together an excellent professional debut season.

After the Mets drafted him out of UConn in the fourth round, the son of former Met Lee Mazzilli, was rushed into the spotlight of a media blitz.

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SI Yankees Cale Coshow Fires His Way Through Two Energetic Performances

Staten Island, New York — There are always players that force you to watch.

When Cale Coshow takes the mound, there’s a lot going on, and it’s a study in “working it out.”

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