The Yankees farm report: The playoffs and beyond

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Coup De Foudre

The Trenton Thunder had by far and away the best record in the Eastern League this year (92-48). And they used that talent to take three of four from Binghamton in the semifinal series. Next up is Altoona and the quest for total EL domination.

So far, they’ve played well. And here we come to one of the top three pitching teams in the Yankees system. It’s no surprise that the three teams with the best pitching are all still playing.

The Thunder lost the first game because Dillon Tate didn’t have it: four earned runs in three innings. And even though Jose Mesa came in and provided five innings of shutout relief, Trenton lost 4-1; it was their only loss of the series.

The offense carried the team in game two, and the Thunder won 9-6, but the pitching reappeared in games three and four. Justus Sheffield, who had a good season but missed well more than a month, combined with Taylor Widener on a complete shutout (2-0).

"In what became one of the most memorable games in his professional career, Taylor Widener had no idea what was going on until it was over. “I had to double-think it if we clinched or not,” he said of his team’s postgame celebration. “I was confused.” Due to a late offical scoring change, the Yankees’ No. 16 prospect didn’t initially realize that he combined with No. 5 prospect Justus Sheffield on a no-hitter as Trenton blanked Binghamton, 2-0, on Friday in Game 3 of the best-of-5 Eastern League semifinals at ARM & HAMMER Park."

More in Game Four

Game four saw Will Carter give up just one run over six and a third, and Stephen Tarpley closed out the game (9-1). Mesa, Sheffield, Widener, and Tarpley all raised their profiles. But when the team scores 21 runs in four games, it’s the offensive players who shined.

Players such as Jeff Hendrix, Dante Bichette, Zack Zehner, and Rashad Crawford acquitted themselves well. Clint Frazier has been rehabbing with them and made some contributions. But there are two position players who stood out, and recently promoted 2B Nick Solak is one of them.

Solak stands out due to his consistent contributions. He ended the series with four RBI’s—twenty percent of the team’s total—and got at least one in each of the last three games. No one got a RBI in the first game, making his effort all the more important.