The 2015 New York – Penn League playoffs are upon us. Congratulations go out to the three division winners, Williamsport Crosscutters, Tri-City ValleyCats, and the Staten Island Yankees, and the wild card winner, the West Virginia Black Bears. It should be a wild week as we crown a champion. Let’s take a look at the matchups.
West Virginia Black Bears vs. Williamsport Crosscutters
Season series: Williamsport 6-3
The Black Bears have made the playoffs in their first season and draw their division rival, the Crosscutters. The Black Bears have been led by second basemen Mitchell Tolman and outfielder Logan Hill. Tolman is the leadoff man, who sets the table for the Black Bears and comes into the playoffs on a three game hitting streak, including hits in seven of his last fourteen at-bats. Two bats drafted in 2015, outfielder Casey Hughston and third basemen Ke’Bryan Hayes, are swinging a hot bat as well going into the playoffs. The pitching for the Black Bears was led by Dario Agrazal and Jonathan Brubaker in the rotation, as well as Julio Eusebio out of the bullpen. West Virginia goes into the playoffs having won seven out their last ten, including three in a row.
Williamsport has been great all season and has the best record in the NYPL at 46-30. I took a look at their success earlier this season. Josh Tobias has led the Crosscutters all season as he hits in the middle of the order. Tobias finished the season with a slash of .321/.362/.475. Undoubtedly if Williamsport is to win a championship he will play an integral part. Other key names for the Crosscutters are Jose Pujols and Brendon Hayden. Pujols comes in on a four game hitting streak. There are four solid starters for Williamsport, they are: Mitch Gueller, Alejandro Arteaga, Jose Taveras, and Franklyn Kilome. The special season Mitch Gueller has led the rotation as he finished 10-1 with a 2.23 ERA. His last start of the regular season was five shutout innings in West Virginia. Williamsport comes into the playoffs having won four of their final ten games.
Prediction – Williamsport Crosscutters, their pitching is too strong in a short series.
Staten Island Yankees vs. Tri-City ValleyCats
Season Series: Series tied 3-3
The Yankees fought hard down the stretch and won the McNamara division. They held off Aberdeen and Hudson Valley in the final week to make the playoffs. Offensively they have been led by the hot bat of Trey Amburgey, who in 21 games a slash line of .367/.391/.684 along with five home runs and 18 RBIs. Kyle Holder, who was my pick as difference maker down the stretch for Staten Island, is hitting .294 in his last ten games. Junior Valera, outfielder, is another bat who is hot, hitting .325 in his last ten games. The rotation has been led by Luis Cedeno, Kolton Mahoney, and the late season addition of James Kaprielian, first-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2015. Staten island goes into the playoffs winning seven of their last ten and four in a row.
The Tri-City ValleyCats have been led all season by first basemen Dexture McCall, the 2015 NYPL All-Star Game MVP. He finished 2015 hitting .295 with four home runs and 37 RBI. He has been a steady force in the ValleyCats lineup all season and showed the ability to play on a big stage in this years all star game. Bobby Wernes, third basemen, has done his share to lead Tri-City in 2015, as he has hit .351 for the season and .421 in his last ten games. Trent Thornton leads the rotation into the playoffs, going 4-0 with a 3.27 ERA. Tri-City ended 2015 like Staten Island winning seven of the last ten.
Prediction - Staten Island Yankees, they come into the playoffs playing well and they have been playing playoff like baseball the last week with such a tight race in the McNamara division.
Championship - Staten Island Yankees vs. Williamsport Crosscutters
Season Series: Williamsport 3-0
This is the championship matchup I envision between Staten Island and Williamsport. If this is the two teams that meet in the championship, the pitching should be enjoyable to watch. I look forward to and hope to see a matchup of James Kaprielian for the Yankees and Mitch Gueller for the Crosscutters. In the end, i think the championship round goes as the 2015 season went.
2015 NYPL Champions - Williamsport Crosscutters, their pitching is too much for me to overlook in a short series.