The reigning Eastern League champion Trenton Thunder may be struggling as a team this season, but it is not due to star power. The Thunder’s official site has confirmed that the team will be sending four players to the July 16th Eastern League All Star Game in Altoona. Thunder manager Tony Franklin and his entire staff will coach the Eastern Division as reigning champs.
It should come as no surprise that top Yankees’ prospect Gary Sanchez made the team. The prized catching prospect has had an up and down season, serving a mini-ban for disciplinary reasons, but has still shown his offensive prowess. He is batting .275 with a team-leading 9 home runs, and also team-high 44 RBI on the season.
After a not so hot debut at Double-A last season, left fielder Ben Gamel has put it all together this season for the Thunder. He currently leads the Thunder with 23 doubles and 102 hits. He is batting .284 on the season, scoring 43 runs while driving in 34.
Peter O’Brien started the season in Tampa as the fourth ranked catching prospect in the Yankees’ farm system. After slugging his way with 10 home runs at Single-A up to Trenton, he has been splitting his time between catcher, outfield, first base, and designated hitter. He has 15 more home runs for the Thunder, and his 25 combined on the season rank him third overall. O’Brien was also selected to compete in the Futures Game in Minnesota during MLB All-Star Week.
25-year-old left-hander Matt Tracy rounds out the foursome. With the Yankees’ pitching woes, Tracy should be on his way to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre shortly after the All-Star festivities. He has a team-leading 8 wins on the season, to go along with a 3.28 ERA on the season. While he does have some issues with his walk ratio (3.6 BB/ 9), he does limit the damage by keeping the ball in the park and getting ground outs.
While the Yankees were hoping top prospects like Mason Williams and Tyler Austin would headline the All-Star Game, they can be happy with their All-Star representatives. The Thunder have had a roller coaster of a season with the likes of Rob Refsnyder, Kyle Roller, and Taylor Dugas climbing the minor league ladder faster than expected. First pitch for the 2014 All-Star Game is 7 PM Wednesday night. Check back for the recap of the all the festivities.