YMLN - Encinas Simply Overpowering

YMLN - It was "camp day" on Wednesday at the minor league complex and that meant a bunch of intrasquad games. Pitching ruled the day on both fields as Trenton defeated Scranton 3-0 and Tampa edged Charleston 2-1, but while there were a number of impressive pitching performances nobody stood out more than right-hander Gabe Encinas.

  • Gabe Encinas wasn't unhittable for the Tampa Yankees, giving up a pair of hits in three scoreless innings, but he was as close to dominating as one could get. Sitting 94 mph with his fastball and painting corners at will with his heater, he struck out seven batters along the way. He was throwing a plus curveball and a plus changeup, a pitch he was using a few times against right-handed batters too, and he was filling the zone with quality strikes early and often. He was simply overpowering.

  • The end result was nearly the same for Trenton right-hander Luis Severino. He pitched just 2.1 innings, all scoreless, reaching his inning limit a little early. He failed to strike anybody out but he was throwing strikes so often that batters were waiting around for the free pass. Sitting 95 mph with his fastball and showing a great changeup, he retired six of the first seven batters he faced and the only hit he allowed came at the hands of Thairo Estrada [1-2, K] who singled sharply to right field on a good piece of hitting.

    Scranton Starting Lineup: Taylor Dugas, Leonardo Molina, Kyle Roller, Dan Fiorito, Danny Oh, Rob Segedin, Javier, Brady Steiger, and Thairo Estrada.

    Trenton Starting Lineup: Mason Williams, Jake Cave, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Eric Jagielo, Dante Bichette Jr., Cito Culver, Wes Wilson, Jose Rosario, and Ali Castillo.

    Tampa Starting Lineup: Mark Payton, Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar, Mike Ford, Michael O'Neill, Ericson Leonora, Alvaro Noriega, Ryan Lindemuth, and Jackson Valera.

    Charleston Starting Lineup: Jorge Mateo, Abiatal Avelino, Conner Spencer, Chris Breen, Allen Valerio, Alexander Palma, David Flemming, Jake Hernandez, and Brandon Thomas.

  • Trenton third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. [1-2, K] had the biggest hit on either field on Wednesday, launching a monster solo home run deep over the left field wall off of right-hander Rookie Davis [1.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, BB, K].

  • Bichette wasn't the only third sacker impacting the baseball. Tampa third baseman Miguel Andujar continues to hit seeds. He blasted a monster shot about 38 feet up the 40-foot centerfield batter's eye for a triple in his first at-bat and promptly scored a run when the relay throw landed in the third base dugout. He walked in his second plate appearance and struck out in his third and final at-bat.

  • Charleston shortstop Abiatal Avelino struck out both times he batted on Wednesday but easily made the defensive play of the day and perhaps the best defensive play in camp. Going to cover second base on a would-be stolen base attempt by Andujar, Mike Ford [0-3 but hit the ball hard all three times] scorched a one-hopper seemingly destined for center until Avelino stopped in his tracks, reached behind him to make a diving stab at the ball, tagged second base with his stretched out foot while lying on the ground, quickly rolled over and from his butt gunned down Ford at first base for an amazing unassisted double-play.

  • Avelino made it happen defensively for Charleston and fellow Charleston shortstop Jorge Mateo did his thing offensively. He went 1-2 and had a big impact in the game. He began the game being gunned down by a half step at first on a bunt attempt. Later, against a cruising Encinas, Mateo showed off his high baseball intellect. He ran the count 3-2 after fouling off a couple of fastballs and then sat back on the breaking ball and hit a bloop double over the shortstop's head before promptly stealing third base. He showed off his patience again in his third and final plate appearance, driving home Charleston's lone run with a bases loaded walk.

  • Trenton centerfielder Mason Williams continues to be a standout in camp. He went a perfect 2-2 with a triple, a stolen base, and a run scored, scoring on an Aaron Judge [0-1, RBI] sacrifice fly. The fact that both of Williams' hits went to center -- his single was to center and his triple to right-center -- is a very good sign indeed.

  • Tampa centerfielder Mark Payton and Scranton outfielder Taylor Dugas both made their marks in their respective games. Payton [1-2, BB] was very Andujar-like in Tampa's victory, hitting bullets all over the field. He flew out to the centerfield wall in his first at-bat before launching a triple that one-hopped the right field wall in his second at-bat. He later drew a walk in his third and final plate appearance. Dugas didn't have quite the same kind of impact, going 1-3, but he did have one of the two Scranton hits in the game.

  • Both Jake Cave [0-1, BB, SB] and Ali Castillo [1-1, RBI, 3B] had strong showings offensively for Trenton, as did outfielders Ericson Leonora [2-2, 2B, 3B, run, SB] and Michael O'Neill [2-3] for Tampa, and so did Charleston first baseman Conner Spencer [1-2, 3B]. Even the outs by Cave and Spencer were smoked; Cave lined out to the warning track in left field and Spencer hit a bullet directly to the right fielder.

  • Both Charleston right-handed pitchers Domingo Acevedo [3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 5 K's] and Jordan Foley [2 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's] showed some really impressive stuff but were both just a shade off command-wise. Acevedo sat 93-94 mph but left his fastballs just a hair up and Foley, sitting 91-93 mph, had a hard time throwing his offspeed pitches in the zone for called strikes. Both, however, were getting a bunch of swings and misses and were otherwise quite impressive.

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