The International League playoffs start today. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre begins its quest for back-to-back titles, and when you look at the numbers, they are certainly a favorite.
Thirteen of baseball’s top 100 made appearances on these four teams, with Lehigh Valley leading the way.
Let’s take a look at who to watch.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre vs. Lehigh Valley
BY THE NUMBERS:
BA (IL Rank) .272 (1) .249 (13)
OPS .775 (1) .727 (4)
OBP .334 (1) .320 (10)
HR 153 (1) 152 (2)
R 664 (1) 624 (6)
RBI 629 (1) 585 (5)
ERA 3.33 (1) 3.72 (6)
WHIP 1.19 (1T) 1.29 (5)
K 1249 (2) 1022 (12)
BB 382 (2) 410 (3)
PROSPECT WATCH: Offensively, Miguel Andujar has been the constant in the RailRiders lineup this season, but Jake Cave and Billy McKinney have been remarkably consistent since their promotions. Their offense is literally second to none, and backed by a consistent pitching staff, they will be tough to beat.
Chance Adams has gotten much of the hype in the rotation, and it is well deserved. Don’t sleep on Nestor Cortes, however, as he is one of the sneakiest pitchers in the IL.
Lehigh Valley lost some of its firepower recently with the promotions of Rhys Hoskins and J.P. Crawford, but they still have some big bats. Scott Kingery and Dylan Cozens can rake with the best of them, and Roman Quinn is still an intriguing talent.
Pitching is not their strong suit, but there are names to watch. If Tom Eshelman pitches, he’s had a fantastic breakthrough season. Most of the staff is recycled names looking for new life, which makes Mark Appel one to watch.
Indianapolis vs. Durham
BY THE NUMBERS:
BA (IL Rank) .268 (2) .258 (5)
OPS .736 (3) .719 (8)
OBP .333 (2) .326 (7)
HR 104 (10) 111 (8)
R 647 (2) 643 (3)
RBI 607 (2) 599 (4)
ERA 3.48 (4) 3.37 (2)
WHIP 1.30 (5) 1.19 (1T)
K 1142 (4) 1421 (1)
BB 452 (7) 417 (4)
PROSPECT WATCH: Durham is the team to beat here, but Indy is sneaky good. Of course, Durham’s biggest names on offense are Willy Adames — who had a scorching hot August — and Jake Bauers, who has been as consistent as they come. Lock in 30 doubles, 15 home runs and 75 walks and you got Bauers.
Brent Honeywell may be the best pitching prospect in baseball. If not, he’s certainly amongst the most big-league ready. The Rays staff is littered with some of their top prospects like Chih-Wei Hu and Jaime Schultz.
Austin Meadows is the most fun prospect to watch... when he’s on the field for Indy. Has any prospect been more injury-prone the past few seasons? He ended the year on the DL. Kevin Newman handled the jump to Triple-A pretty well, but is seriously lacking in the power department.
Tyler Glasnow was once in conversation as the best prospect in the game. After an abysmal start with the Pirates, he has looked the part in Triple-A. Command will always be an issue, but he has some of the best stuff in the minors. Nick Kingham continues his trek back from injury and is starting to look like the prospect he once was.