The Williamsport Crosscutters, affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, are the top team in the New York-Penn League in 2015. As of this writing, they are 32-19, a .627 winning percentage, with a 5.5 game lead, the largest in the NY-Penn League. Let’s take a look at how the Crosscutters are doing it so far.
At the forefront of most winning teams is pitching and the Crosscutters are no exception. Mitch Gueller and Alejandro Arteaga in the rotation and Robert Tasin in the bullpen have led their pitching staff. Mitch Gueller has put together a stat line of 6-1 with a 1.93 ERA and a 35/16 K/BB in 47 innings. He leads the league in ERA, tied for the league in Wins, and has even thrown a complete game shutout as well. Gueller is enjoying a breakout season after struggling since the Phillies drafted him in the compensation round in 2012.
21-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Alejandro Arteaga has a record of 4-0 with a 2.90 ERA with a 37/15 K/BB in 50 innings. He has been a solid arm behind Mitch Gueller in their rotation. Anchoring down the Crosscutters bullpen is their closer, Robert Tasin. Tasin, drafted in the 19th round from the University of Oklahoma this season, has 10 saves in 11 opportunities along with a 14/6 K/BB and 1.86 ERA in 19 innings. Needless to say, all three of these men will be in Ripken Stadium for the All-Star Game on August 18th.
The Crosscutters lineup has contributed to their success as well. The main contributors have been Josh Tobias, Zach Coppola, Brendon Hayden, and Jan Hernandez.
Tobias, second baseman and 10th round pick from the University of Florida, has a slash line of .307/.345/.451. He has been a solid hitter, with a consistent swing that makes it hard for him to not at least get one hit a game. Coppola, an outfielder drafted in the 13th round from South Dakota State, is another leader of the offense, hitting .302 and has stolen 16 bases on the season. Coppola’s speed and ability to get on base (.383 OBP) has been effective at the top of the order for Williamsport. Hayden is another bat that has impressed. The 16th round pick from Virginia Tech is hitting .322 and slugging .409. Tobias, Coppola, and Hayden were all drafted this season, giving the Phillies some quick reward for their efforts.
Jan Hernandez leads the Crosscutters with eight home runs and is tied for the league lead in this category. His other numbers are not impressive (.218 average, .250 OBP, five walks and 46 strikeouts), but he has provided some power in the lineup. A third baseman, he was drafted in the third round in 2013 from the Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico.
A big factor in the Crosscutters season has been their play at home. A 21-8 mark at home has shown that the Crosscutters are comfortable in front of their home crowd, which will pay big dividends when the playoffs arrive as Williamsport is lined up to have home-field advantage. One thing to keep an eye on in the final weeks of the season is the Crosscutters’ ability to win on the road as a large portion of their remaining games are on the road.
The rest of the season should be enjoyable for the Crosscutters as they chase the NY-Penn League Pinckney Division crown. The fantastic play they have received from their players and the ability to win at home could lead to their third NY-Penn League Championship.