For starters I would like to congratulate both teams for making it this far.
How they got here:
Both teams won the 2nd half crown and are currently red hot. . Lakewood (Phillies) swept Hagerstown (Nationals) to get the final. Rome (Braves) took 2 out of 3 from Charleston (Yankees) They’re both built on strong pitching and timely hitting.
A look at the Lakewood starters
Game 1 starter Franklyn Kilome has some the best stuff I saw all year. A power fastball and knee buckling curve makes a nice 1-2 punch. He hasn’t been scored on in his last 2 outings but hasn’t pitched in 8 days. Hard to hit.
Gm 2 Seranthony Dominguez has been hot since his promotion from the NY/Penn league in early July. If you throw out the 1st game he’s allowed 8 ER in his 9 Sally starts and none in his last 4 (21 innings).
Gm 3 Alberto Tirado has been dominant in his last 10 starts (49 innings) he’s got 78 strikeouts. Just 11 ER in his last 10 starts as well.
Gm 4 If necessary: Harold Arauz has been on fire too he’s allowed just 3 ER in his last 4 starts (25 Inn) with 15 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 21.
Gm 5 TBA
Extra starter Jose Taveras has been good all year but he’s on fire lately too allowing just 5 ER in his last 6 starts totaling 39 Inn, allowing 23 hits and 11 walks, while striking out 40. And he really shut down Hagerstown in the playoffs.
The only starter I saw from this group is Franklyn Kilome, but the whole staff is hot which isn’t too surprising. They finished 20 over in the 2nd half for a reason.
The Braves have not yet announced the SP rotation for the best of 5 finale but I reached out to two of my favorite Twitter follows: Garrett (on Twitter @BravesMILB) and Jeff (on Twitter @ProspectBraves). They believe it will stack up like this. Again this is unofficial. Give these guys a follow they’re good dudes and they know there stuff.
Gm 1 Mike Soroka- One of the top arms I saw all season. A nice combination of stuff and current command. He really hammers inside on right handers with fastball and curve combo. Good changeup too. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t hit a wall yet he’s logged some innings for an 18 year old.
Gm 2 Touki Toussaint- Touki flashes some of the best stuff you’ll see anywhere in the minors. Throwing the fastball for strikes is key, with 2 strikes that curve can be devastating. The change ups that I saw are little more than a change up pace pitch.
Gm 3 Kolby Allard- Another of the best arms I saw all season Allard has a nice fastball, curve combination. The change is good as well as is the command. Very advanced for a HS arm.
Gm 4 if necessary Max Fried- Fried works off of his fastball and likes to pound in on righties. It’s an above average pitch that he locates well. His 11-5 curve is plus and is a swing and miss generator. The change lags behind the other 2 and is more of a change of pace pitch.
The caveat is that I saw Fried early and he’s still working his way beck from TJ. It’s possible I didn’t see him at his best. I was hoping to get a 2nd look late but missed him.
Gm 5 in necessary Mike Soroka
This is the best staff I’ve seen at the Low-A level and they’re all pitching well now.
Some of the top hitters to watch out for:
LF) Cornelius Randolph- Selected 10th overall in the 2015 draft. I love the swing and the bat to ball skills.
CF) Mark Laird has been a spark plug for Lakewood since he arrived from the NY/Penn. In his 31 games he has a .445 OBP hitting in the top spot of the Blueclaws lineup.
RF) Jose Pujols- The Sally home run king, he hit 24 bombs this year. The long and lanky right hander does have some holes in his swing however. Not the best guy to make a mistake to.
CF) Ronald Acuna- One of the best hitters I saw all year. I love the combination of hit, plus speed and power potential.
3B) Austin Riley- I got a couple of looks early on and he was consistently late on low-90’s fastballs. But about halfway through the year he unlocked some bat speed and he as a different hitter. A strong kid with big time raw power.
RF) Ray Patrick Didder- The swing is a tad long but excellent bat speed, gap power currently. Very fast and a + glove in the OF.
It’s been a fun year in the Sally and we’ve got 2 great squads representing the league. Runs could be a premium here.
My prediction It’s hard to go against a team so hot but I’ll take Rome in 4.
Rome is the most talented team in the Sally this year IMO and that pitching will be very difficult to beat. And with Acuna back in the fold the offense will do enough damage to scrape by.
Coming up on Notes I’ll continue to go around the diamond with detailed looks at each position.
Plus a lot of top prospect lists on the horizon, separated by skill (top 5 power hitting OF in the Sally) and by positions (top 5 2B). Cheers.