HV Renegades Notebook: Better Than Advertised

The Hudson Valley Renegades have used a combination of strong pitching and timely hitting to jump out to a 5-2 record one week into the NY-Penn League season. All facets of the game are going well for the Gades, who won series against the Aberdeen IronBirds and the Staten Island Yankees to start the 2012 campaign. Manager Jared Sandberg said the Renegades' talent has been "better than advertised."

Impressive start for first-round pitching selections

Before Sunday's 9-1 blowout loss to Staten Island, the Renegades' starting rotation had given up just five runs in six starts. Taylor Guerrieri, the 2011 first round pick, was dominant in his professional debut, using his powerful fastball to go five shutout innings with two hits, six strikeouts, a walk and a hit-by- pitch. The 19-year-old will pitch again tonight as the Renegades take on Brooklyn at 7:05. Fellow right- hander out of the 2011 draft, Jeff Ames, has given up three runs (two earned) and seven hits over nine innings in two starts. Ames was selected 42nd overall, just 18 picks after Guerrieri.

"Jeff Ames gave us a nice start opening day," manager Jared Sandberg said. "Taylor Guerrieri was lights- out in game three. Those three guys (including day two starter Jesse Hahn) were expected to come in here and pitch really well, and show good stuff, and they showed that their first outing. It's a process, we'll continue to go on but they're only going to get better. It's fun to watch."

There have also been some impressive performances in relief. Marcus Jensen and Jose Molina have each pitched three scoreless innings in relief and have each recorded a save. Jensen has a strong fastball, which has helped him on the way to five strikeouts.

Bats alive early

The Renegades offense has looked strong, stringing together hits to put big innings together.

"We've got some clutch hits from Joel Caminero," Sandberg said, "Reginatto's off to a hot start after coming back for his second season here. I'm very pleased. We got a lot of work to do, and we're going to continue to work."

Caminero, who started the 2012 season with the High-A Bowling Green Hot Rods, is one of two Renegades to play in all seven games this season. He is hitting .379/.400/.621 with four doubles and a home run. Leonardo Reginatto, the only returning player from last year's Hudson Valley squad, went 4-for-4 on opening day and is currently second on the team with a .381 batting average.

Several 2012 draft picks have also had good showings at the plate. 17th-round selection Ryan Dunn out of Oregon State is leading the team with a .417 batting average through four games. All five of his hits are singles, and he has also drawn four walks while only striking out once. 7th-round pick Marty Gantt has a .368 average, while 8th-rounder Luke Maile is at .304.

Catching by committee

You may have heard of closing by committee, and the Renegades are trying something similar. Three different catchers started the first four games of the season. Now, seven games in, Jake DePew has racked up four starts behind the plate, Luke Maile has two and Michael Williams had one. DePew is hitting .276/.412/.357 in 14 at-bats. Maile and Williams split time between first base and catcher as teammates at the University of Kentucky, a practice that has followed them to the Hudson Valley. Justin O'Conner, who is listed as a catcher on the roster, has played all seven games as the designated hitter, batting .276 with a home run, but also striking out seven times.

Eric Vander Voort is the Hudson Valley beat writer for Rays Digest You can follow him on Twitter at @ecvandervoort.


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