Well, we have somehow hit that point in the season where the minor leagues are getting closed to wrapping up and prospects will be hoping to get their first taste of big league action with a September call up to the Bronx. I'll do a more thorough recap of the minor league teams' seasons after they have finished, but here is an update for now. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: The RailRiders have put together a very strong 2015, going 76-60 so far. They are five games ahead of Rochester in the IL North and, with eight games left in the season (two against Rochester), they only need four games to eliminate the Redwings. The RailRiders used a league-leading line of .269/.336/.385 to put them within reach of the IL North crown. Jose Pirela has been a big bat for Scranton in August, hitting .320/.391/.361 with eleven walks and six strikeouts. Ben Gamel has been solid for Scranton as well, hitting .355/.395/.570 this month. He has three homers, two triples, ten doubles and thirteen RBIs in his last 26 games. Pitchers like Luis Severino, Brian Mitchell, Jacob Lindgren and Caleb Cotham have all contributed off the mound, but they have also all spent time on other mounds. Despite seeing a lot of their pitchers head to the Bronx, the RailRiders pitching staff has done a solid job of holding the team together.
Trenton Thunder: The Thunder is technically still in the hunt for the playoffs, but at eight games behind the Reading Fightin Phils and with nine games left in the season, it will be a tough battle. Their magic number is six, so it wouldn't be impossible. Danny Oh put together a strong August at the plate, hitting .302/.371/.397. Unfortunately, the Thunder's season was derailed by both promotions (such as Aaron Judge and Severino) and injuries, losing players like Matt Snyder, Eric Jagielo and Gary Sanchez. They lost pitcher Brady Lail to Scranton in July. Relatively unknown hurler Eric Ruth seemed to catch fire at the start of the season, but has slowed some in the last two months. In August, Ruth went 3-1, but with a 4.22 ERA. He gave up two homers, allowed a .267 average and walked ten, though he struck out twenty.
Tampa Yankees: While the top two teams in the Yankees' farm system have at least a shot at the playoffs still, Tampa has already been eliminated. They have 6.5 games left (they will be resuming yesterday's game today), but are currently seven games behind Clearwater, with Daytona nabbing the other spot in the FSL North division. It is not all bad news for Tampa, however. Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees' fourth round pick in the 2014 draft, had a stellar night on Friday, going six innings without a baserunner. He struck out eight before being pulled for Chance Adams. Chaz Hebert started last week being named the FSL Pitcher of the Week, after throwing a seven-inning complete shut-out. In two games, he allowed five hits, one run and struck out seventeen batters. Dustin Fowler went .302/.346/.427 for Tampa in August, with an impressive 21 RBIs in 24 games.
Charleston RiverDogs: The RiverDogs have likewise been eliminated from playoff contention, sitting 14.5 games behind the Savannah Sand Gnats in the SAL Southern division. Charleston leads the SAL in Ks, though they walked a fair amount of batters as well. They also have been adept at stealing bases, albeit the rest of their offense has been apathetic to say the least. The RiverDogs' lackluster season hasn't been tough on the box office, however, as the team is close to breaking it's record for attendance. Given they are running a $1 beer night during the final homestand, it looks like it shouldn't be hard for them to break that record. After all, it's about the money.