Category Archives: Somerset Patriots

Portland Sea Dogs Excite Sold-Out Hadlock

Christian Koss slides home safely
Alex Binelas homered twice

(Portland) It was a happy Sunday at Hadlock.

Yes, the Sea Dogs won in last-inning, dramatic style but that was only part of it.

The park was busy with folks.  There was a buzz in every part of the place.

The Sea Dogs pulled out a 12-11 win against the AA Yankees.

I guess, that alone would make a Yankees’ disliker, like myself happy.

The best part may have been that the young Yanks grabbed the lead in the top of the ninth only to have the young Red Sox take it back.

Christian Koss at bat

The crowd got my attention. People were excited to be there and were enjoying themselves on a warm Sunday afternoon. 

The Sea Dogs management always has fun going on, but on this afternoon just being there was enough.

In the pre-game, one young man got to hand slap the players on both teams.

My biggest takeaway was a special needs young man taking on the National Anthem.  He gave it a shot and pulled it off.  It didn’t have quality, but it had heart and that put a lump in my throat.

I had hoped for a look at young Ceddanne Rafaela, but he was in Los Angeles taking part in the Futures Game.  I’m guessing that the Yankees’ top prospect (Anthony Volpe) was also there.

I saw Anthony at a New Hampshire/Somerset game earlier this year.

There was plenty of action on the field.  There were baserunners galore and several home runs.

Alex Binelas congratulated by Manager Chad Epperson

Young Alex Binelas (#17 Red Sox prospect) whacked two homers.  Alex moved up to AA in late June.  This was certainly his best game so far.

Impressed with Christian Koss.  He has the numbers to be Portland’s MVP to date. Today he homered and was aggressive on the bases.

Portland’s David Hamilton leads the Eastern League in steals with forty. 

I was on the edge of the Portland dugout and so when he was picking up his glove at the start of the game I said to him, “Steal, steal, steal!” He smiled.

David Hamilton steals second base in the first inning

David then went off to his position in the field but when he came back in, he led off with a hit and then immediately stole second.  From my location I had pretty good photographer’s positioning to catch that action.

When the inning ended, David again came by for his glove.  Again, I told him to steal.  He looked at me and said, “I already gave you one.”

David did steal second (again), and this time with no throw.  Later, he would steal home.  Wish I’d gotten that shot!

I did get Christian Voss sliding into home.

Christian Koss reaches for second base

A player I was looking for was Max Burt.  Max attended St. John’s (Danvers).  When I saw the Somerset team in NH, Max didn’t play.  However, the day before today’s game Max had hit two home runs.  Today, he collected a couple of hits.

St. John’s Prep’s Max Burt had two hits against Portland

One thing that Max did in the field that was unique was, just before a pitch was made, he would jump in the air.  I’m not sure what advantage there is to it, but he did it just before every pitch.

Max Burt gets ready

The Eastern League schedule is interesting.  Teams now play six-game series with each opponent.  What this means for Portland is that their next two series are away, so they won’t be at Hadlock until August 2nd versus Erie.

August works the other way for the Sea Dogs because most of the month they will be at Hadlock.

The weather was interesting.  There was sun, clouds, and a little bit of rain.  Welcome to New England!

Continued thanks to Chris Cameron for making my visits possible.  Hadlock Field is a great place to be.

Ricardo Cubillan

Chad Bell retrieves a loose ball in the infield

Alex Binelas

Christian Koss congratulated in the Portland dugout after his home run

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Luis Medina: Still work to do

Yankees prospect Luis Medina has tremendous potential
Luis Medina had six walks and two wild pitches in 4 1/3 innings

(Portland ME) It had almost been two years.

August 19, 2019 was the last visit to Hadlock Field for me.

After that, Covid-19, and the reactions to it, took that pleasurable opportunity away from me.

But I was back yesterday.

My revisit was nicely arranged, as usual, by the Master Arranger, Chris Cameron.

I saw the first game of the Sea Dogs doubleheader with the Somerset Patriots.

Somerset is the AA representative of the New York Yankees.

I chase prospects and know that the good ones in AA will eventually be on the major league roster in time.

They’ll emerge on TV from Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and I’ll recall seeing them earlier. 

Oswald Peraza drove in two with a double

The last Yankee prospect who has now made the big team, that I saw at Portland’s Hadlock Field, was Glebys Torres.

Oswald Peraza (#4 NY prospect) and Luis Medina (#7 NY prospect) are both on the current Somerset roster.

When I realized that Luis Medina was pitching, I was eager to attend the game.

Both Oswald (shortstop) and Luis were promoted to Someset earlier this month. They are impressing the Yankees’ future planners

Both of them were signed as 16-year-old’s.

Oswald Peraza is a shortstop

Oswald (21) is from Venezuela.  Luis (22) is from the Dominican Republic.

Oswald is a smooth fielder who is hitting nearly .300.

Luis was the intriguing one to me.  He was throwing 100MPH in the Dominican Republic when he was sixteen!

He’s rated to have the “best pure stuff” by Baseball America is the Yankees farm system.

He was coming off his first AA start (versus Richmond) in which he had ten strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

I saw a clip of the Richmond game. Luis had great control of his curve, changeup, and fastball.

Luis’ issue has been consistency.  Can he throw strikes?  I am no genius on these things but if I’m facing a pitcher with control issues, I am either going to be very patient (and make him throw strikes) or be teeing off on early pitches in the middle of the plate.

Luis Medina

The “inconsistent” Luis pitched against Portland and took the loss. 

He reached 99 on several pitches and may have reached 100 on some others that I didn’t check on.  But there were six walks and two wild pitches.  Only five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Portland scored a run on each wild pitch.

So, the 22-year-old has a distance to go but the “best pure stuff” will get you plenty more chances to fix things.

Oswalt was good in the field, and he also drove in two runs with a double.

I had seen Portland earlier this month against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Manchester (NH).

1B Triston Casas

Triston Casas (1B) is the #1 Boston Red Sox prospect.  He’s young (21) and big (6’4” – 252).

Triston works relentlessly on pre-game conditioning.  He seems determined to avoid injuries and to improve his foot speed. I saw him do a lot of stretching and sprinting.

In both parks, Triston took time to sign autographs.

If I’m Boston’s Bobby Dalbec, I’m well aware that Triston plays my position (1B), has similar power, and doesn’t strike out as much.

Newly arrived Devlin Granberg had two hits for the Sea Dogs.  He played college baseball at Dallas Baptist University.

Josh Winckowski was the Portland starter.  He came to Boston via the NY Mets in the Andrew Benintendi trade to Kansas City.

Portland starter Josh Winckowski had nine K’s and got the win
Josh Winckowski

Josh seems more than able to hold his own at the AA level.  Versus Somerset he went five innings for the win with nine strikeouts.

Other Sea Dogs I took pictures of: catcher Ronaldo Hernandez (#11 prospect), 3B Hudson Potts, and SS Ryan Fitzgerald. 

Busy night behind the plate for the Patriots catcher Donny Sands.  Luis Medina had two wild pitches and some others that were off the mark.  Addison Russ followed in relief, and he had a wild pitch.

The Sea Dogs were giving free bobbleheads of Xander Bogaerts pregame to the first five hundred fans.  An hour before the gates opened, the fans were in place.

Newcomer Devlin Granberg had two hits

It was nice to be back in the park, but things were different for the fans and for me.

The fans, at the minor league level, expect to be entertained.  They don’t know the players and usually there are plenty of youngsters in the house.  The continued reaction to Covid-19 prevents any on-field activities.  Those activities are great at keeping the non-baseball types engaged.  Various contests appear between innings and there’s never a dull moment because the Sea Dogs’ staff fills the time so well.  And there was no Slugger!  I have pulled for that guy for years.  There’s always a race and he’s always in it. He’s been in a “bit” of a slump, but I also want to be there when the big guy gets that first elusive W.  Watching him on the video screen during this game in long-away centerfield is far from the same.  Can’t wait for the federal mandate insisting on Covid-19 restrictions to end!

Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez

Personally, I was kept from the field too.  Pregame is a nice chance to get some closeups.  Not being on the edge of the dugouts may keep me safer but I miss chances on good shots.  However, I do own a 600mm lens, so I’m not totally out of range. 

Nice weather, although the sun does set so that it’s right in my face in the only open spot I could shoot from. 

I have figured out where to park to avoid the $10 charge to locate near to the stadium. I can use the walk!

Thanks again to Chris Cameron.  On short notice, he made the needed arrangements.  I did have to sign a Covid-19 waiver when I checked in. 

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Stolen base by Tate Matheny
Triston Casas
Ball bounces up on Somerset catcher Donny Sands
Devlin Granberg rounds first after getting a hit
Luis Medina pitch in the dirt
Shortstop Oswald Peraza
Oswald Peraza at bat
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
3B Hudson Potts
Triston Casas signs

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Filed under Portland Sea Dogs, Somerset Patriots