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Carlos Artiles: Artiles has been one of the many solid components in the Thunder bullpen through the season's first half. He has given his team plenty of solid innings, but he needs to develop better command of all his pitches. Overall: B+
Danny Borell: There is no way to judge a guy on only two outings before he was placed on the Disabled List. Incomplete.
Matt DeSalvo: DeSalvo would be the ace of the staff since the departure of Sean Henn if it wasn't for his chronic injury problems. Despite the fact DeSalvo has an .216 opponents batting average and a 3.27 ERA through the first half, his propensity toward injuries has to lower his overall grade. DeSalvo must also learn to cut down on his walks to be effective at the next level. B
Sean Henn: Henn put up a 0.71 ERA during his time in Trenton and had command of all three pitches consistently. There's a reason he's in the Majors…A+
Charlie Isaacson: Isaacson has bounced around quite a bit in the first half, but finally seems to have found a spot in the Trenton starting rotation. Has an identical ERA as DeSalvo but opponents hit 52 points higher against Isaacson. Like DeSalvo, he needs to cut down on his walks. B
Ben Julianel: Julianel has been an effective left-handed arm out of Bill Masse's bullpen. Like just about every pitcher on the Thunder pitching staff, he needs to have better command. Julianel has only two bad outings to his name through the first half and a respectable opponents average. B+
Jeff Karstens: Karstens has been an average Double-A starter for the Thunder so far. His record is just barely above .500 at 7-6 but he has pitched somewhat better than that. He went through a stretch of games where he was very effective and another stretch with an ERA approaching 13. An opponents average of just under .300 isn't going to make the cut…..C+
Charlie Manning: Does the fact that this guy is spending his fourth year in Double-A tell you anything? Hasn't had good command, but has given his team some good innings in spots where the bullpen has needed a player to give them some innings…C-
Justin Pope: Has done an outstanding job closing games in his first year with that role. Has only blown two saves in 17 opportunities and is tied for fourth in the Eastern League in saves…A
Ramon Ramirez: Sent down from Columbus five weeks into the season and hasn't shown the kind of overpowering dominance he displayed at this level last year. He has been woefully inefficient in how he uses his pitch counts and has shown only a brief glimpse of his potential. C-
Edwardo Sierra: Rolaids Relief Man of the Year last year in the Florida State League, he has transferred that success to Double-A. Sierra has been overpowering the hitters, but gets in trouble with his command. B
Jon Skaggs: Skaggs has shown nothing to be pleased about in his first year at Double-A. A 2-6 record with a 6.17 ERA coupled to an opponents batting average of over .300 and that about closes the book on Skaggs. D-
Aaron Small: One start against New Britain doesn't qualify Small for a grade. Incomplete.
Matt Smith: Smith isn't on the prospect radar after years of injuries, but he has started to show the talent he had if he had stayed injury free. The injury bug hasn't bitten him yet and aside from one poor outing early in the season against Portland Smith has been excellent out of the Thunder bullpen. A-
Mark Valdes: A 33-year old reliever who has made five appearances qualifies Valdes for an Incomplete.
Steve White: White only made his first couple starts in April before succumbing to an injury that has sidelined him for the rest of the first half. Incomplete.
Omir Santos: Santos has been a pleasant surprise for the Thunder, hitting .281 with some power. Despite making only one error, Santos has allowed six passed balls defensively. B+
Jason Brown: Brown has played capably in his limited playing time. He has made three errors in only 24 games played. B
Andy Cannizaro: Cannizaro started the season in an awful funk but came on strong before his promotion to Triple-A. He played a solid shortstop for the Thunder in addition to his offensive surge…..B
Eric Crozier: A .188 average coupled with three poor errors in only 22 games and the choice is obvious. D-
Yobal Duenas: A .229 batting average with only 2 home runs when the majority of your games were played as a DH isn't cutting the mustard. D+
Eric Duncan: The number #1 prospect in the entire Yankees organization to start the season has hit only .239 and couldn't buy an extra base hit to start the season. Add to that his 20 errors at third base and some base running mistakes and it all adds up to his grade. D-.
Shelley Duncan: Duncan should unquestionably be an Eastern League All-Star. He is a prototypical power hitter with a lot of home runs and a lot of strikeouts. He leads the Eastern League in home runs with 19 and has played a respectable first base. Has almost as many doubles as home runs. A-.
Jared Koutnik: Started the season in Trenton and did next to nothing during his time here. There is a reason he's in Tampa and his grade reflects it. F
Gabe Lopez: Lopez is the foil to Koutnik. He led the league in hitting for a good part of the first half and played an outstanding second base. There is a reason he's in Columbus to stay. A
Ramiro Pena: 10 games into his Double-A experiment and his defense has been outstanding, but it's still too early to tell.. Incomplete.
J.T. Stotts: Has had an interesting season so far, but is hitting only .240 for the first half. Has shown improved range as he gets more and more playing time. C+
Melky Cabrera: Cabrera has shown a lot of improvement since the first month of the season when almost all of his throws were consistenly half way up the third base line. He has hit a respectable .272 with 9 home runs and 42 RBI. B+
Bronson Sardinha: The transition to right field has been easier than expected, but he still lacks consistency at the plate. He needs to work on all aspects of his game if he hopes to advance. B-
Kevin Thompson: KT is hitting .324 and is another All-Star candidate. Thompson's biggest pitfall and an aspect of his game he spent a lot of time on in the first half was taking routes in the outfield. He has improved, but not enough to make him more than a serviceable outfield. B+
Bill Masse: "My main concern is improvement." That is one of the most telling statements Masse has made all season regarding his focus as manager of the Yankees Double-A team. Masse is right to focus on developing and improving players, and to this point in the season he has done exactly that. His players have improved and his team's record and play have shown that. Masse deserves credit for remaining calm and on an even keel throughout all the ups and downs of the first half. He has more than proven his managerial acumen in his first season at this level and grade reflects his job performance. A
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Trenton Thunder Mid-Season Report Card
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