The Williamsport Crosscutters (31-19) currently have the best record in the New York - Penn League. They're currently 21-8 against division foes and are 5 1/2 games clear of second place State College. Right from the opening of the season, Williamsport has been strong, so there's no surprise that eight of their players have been selected to play in the NYPL All-Star Game next Tuesday in Aberdeen.
Mitch Gueller received his second nod to the league all-star game in what is something of a breakout season for the 21-year old right-hander. After being drafted with the 54th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Gueller has played 35 of his 43 minor league games with Williamsport. Coming into the season, his record with the 'cutters stood at 8-13 with a 5.25 ERA. This season, Gueller has an ERA of just 1.93 in eight starts.
One big difference is in Gueller's walk numbers. Last season, he walked 4.1 per nine innings and he's reduced that to 3.1 per nine this season, while pumping his strikeout rate up from 4.4 to 6.8 per nine innings.
It would be nice to see Gueller get a late season shot with Lakewood.
Also making the all-star squad are right-handers Alejandro Arteaga and Rob Tasis, catcher Austin Bossart, first baseman Brendon Hayden, second baseman Josh Tobias and outfielders Zach Coppola and Mark Laird.
Walk it off, Jan
Jan Hernandez delivered a leadoff home run Monday night to give Williamsport a walk-off win against West Virginia. Hernandez' home run was his eighth of the season and he's showing increased power with each season that he's played. Last season, Hernandez hit six home runs in 249 at-bats between Williamsport and Lakewood, while his eight homers this season have come in just 154 at-bats.
Hernandez is hitting just .214, but that's actually an improvement as well. The 20-year old hit just .186 in 57 games with the Crosscutters, so there is at least some development in his average as well. The biggest issue for Hernandez is his plate discipline. Even with the improved numbers in both power and average, he's simply still striking out too much. Again though, the news is good, since Hernandez is showing signs of improvement. Last season, Hernandez struck out once every 2.72 plate appearances, but he's stretched that out to 3.50 plate appearances per whiff.
Bossart shows why he's the boss
In the 14th round of the draft this past June, the Phillies drafted Austin Bossart out of the University of Pennsylvania. Bossart, a young catching prospect, has played in 18 games with the Crosscutters and has hits in 18 of them. He started with hits in his first three games, took an 0-for in the fourth game and has hit in 15 straight games since, extending the streak with a leadoff single in the bottom of the third Monday night. Later in the inning, he scored on an RBI single by Josh Tobias.
While Bossart took an 0-for in one game, he did reach base on a walk, giving him a 19-game on-base streak.