The Hudson Valley Renegades, the Class A short season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, have had a special season, but the last two weeks have been the pinnacle of their season. The Renegades have win nine in a row and are 17-5 in the month of August. The pitching staff has led them this season - they lead the NYPL in ERA at 2.28. As for the special season, the Renegades hosted the 2016 NYPL All-Star Game this year, which from the view in the above picture, you cannot blame them for such a wonderful stadium.
The lineup has been led by first basemen Nathaniel Lowe and third basemen Jim Haley. Lowe, the brother of 2016 Rays draft selection Josh Lowe, has started his professional career with a slash line of .282/.364/.408 with 33 runs batted in and 84 total bases - leading the team in both categories. The 21 year old is hitting .297 in his last ten games. Haley is slashing .296/.357/.345 with 17 runs batted in and 70 total bases.
The Renegades lineup has three top 20 prospects in the Rays system - Garrett Whitley, Jake Fraley, and Ryan Boldt. None of them have torn the cover off the ball, but Whitley has improved upon his slow start to his professional career in 2015. In 2016, Whitley is hitting .244 with 27 runs batted in and 72 total bases, second to Nathaniel Lowe on the team. Fraley has done his damage on the base paths - he leads the NYPL with 28 stolen bases. Boldt started his season slow, but he is hitting .286 over his last ten games, lifting his average from .194 to .218 over that same span.
The pitching staff has been the backbone of the 2016 Renegades and will carry them into the playoffs in a few weeks. Travis Ott, Spencer Moran, and Jose Alonzo have been the top pitchers this season, but really the entire staff has been excellent. Ott leads the team in innings pitched with 54.2 and only has a 0.49 ERA. Last night Ott threw five shutout innings to earn a win over the Connecticut Tigers. Also, Ott leads the team with 56 strikeouts. Moran has had a solid season, he is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA. He has a 31-21 strikeout to walk ratio and opponents are only hitting .190 against him. Jose Alonzo leads the Renegades in saves this season with three, but he has made four starts as well. Alonzo has a 20-5 strikeout to walk ratio with opponents hitting .198 against him.
Only two weeks remain in the regular season and it looks like the Renegades seem primed for a deep playoff run. The schedule favors them with five games against the last place Aberdeen Iron Birds as well as three home games remaining against the last place Vermont Lake Monsters. A key series to watch is next week in Lowell in a potential playoff matchup with the Lowell Spinners - those two teams would meet if the playoffs started today. Anything can happen once the playoffs start, but in a short series the team with the best pitching staff in the league will certainly be favored.