Tag:AAA Championship
Posted on: September 16, 2008 10:59 am

Bricktown Showdown

Tonight is the relatively new 1 game AAA championship. The Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees take on last year's champ the Sacramento River Cats-the Oakland A's AAA afilliate. The game itself is only three years old, and has been won by the PCL each of the three years.

The Yankees look to give the International league their first title tonight. Ian Kennedy (5-3 2.35 ERA) takes on John Knox( 7-4 with a 5.33)

The fantastic SWB Yankee blog offers their matchups:

Starting pitcher
SWB Ian Kennedy - SAC Brad Knox

A 14th-round pick in 2002, Knox had the highest ERA of his career this season. He was 7-4 with a 5.33 ERA in the regular season, then made one start in the playoffs, allowing seven runs in 2.1 innings. Obviously the Yankees have never faced Knox, but it’s hard not to consider this a lopsided match-up in their favor. Kennedy went from High-A to the major leagues last year and had a 2.35 regular season ERA in Triple-A this season.
Edge: Yankees


SWB Chris Stewart - SAC Justin Knoedler

Drafted by the Giants as a pitcher in 2001, Knoedler had a 1.26 ERA in his one and only professional season on the mound but was converted to catcher in his second year and  spent limited time in the major leagues from 2004 to 2006. Baseball America once touted him as the Giants organization’s “ultimate overachiever and hardest worker.” That said, Stewart hit 100 points higher despite playing in a less hitter-friendly league.
Edge: Yankees

First base
SWB Juan Miranda - SAC Casey Rogowski

Rogowski came up through the White Sox organization. He has solid power and surprising speed for 6-foot-3, 230-pounder. He also batted .350 with two home runs in the playoffs. Miranda, though, might have been the Yankees offensive MVP in the postseason with his 11 RBIs, six of which game in the Governors’ Cup clinching victory in Durham. Rogowski was a nice player when he played in the IL, but he was no Miranda.
Edge: Yankees


Second base
SWB Kevin Russo - SAC Brooks Conrad

The Yankees starter is a mystery. With Bernie Castro away from the team, the Yankees have added two middle infielders from Double-A Trenton. Either Russo or Ramiro Pena could play second, or Pena could start at short with Chris Basak moving to second base. Regardless who gets the start for the Yankees, the advantage here goes to Sacramento after Conrad hit 28 home runs in the regular season and four more in the playoffs.
Edge: River Cats


Third base
SWB Eric Duncan - SAC Donnie Murphy

Having spent most of his career as a second baseman and shortstop, Murphy split his time between second, third and short this season, settling in as the River Cats primary third baseman in the playoffs. He got into 42 games with Oakland this season and has 123 big league games on his resume. That’s a number Duncan can’t match, and Murphy’s history suggests he’s the more dangerous hitter.
Edge: River Cats


SWB Chris Basak -- SAC Gregorio Petit

Just like with second base, this starter is subject to change with Ramiro Pena a possibility. Also just like with second base, it doesn’t matter who gets the start for the Yankees, the advantage goes to Sacramento. Always a strong defensive player, Petit hit .348 in 14 games with Oakland and .316 for Sacramento in the playoffs. Pena is a fine defensive player and Basak hit .333 in the playoffs, but Petit has managed to combine the two.
Edge: River Cats


Left field
SWB Justin Christian - SAC Travis Buck

As well as Christian played this season, it’s impossible to discount Buck’s immense talent. He entered last season as the Athletics top prospect and, at 23 years old, emerged as an everyday outfielder in Oakland, hitting .288 with seven home runs and a .377 on-base percentage. When he couldn’t match those numbers at the start of this season, he wound up back in Triple-A where he hit .296 in the regular season and .313 in the playoffs.
Edge: River Cats

Center field
SWB Matt Carson - SAC Carlos Gonzalez

With two hits in the championship finale, Carson finally broke out of a dreadful offensive slump and regained some of his luster. Gonzalez also had a big day in the River Cats’ championship finale, driving in all four Sacramento runs and bringing his playoff batting average up to .406. Carson opened eyes this season, but Gonzalez already had eyes on him and largely lived up to his billing.
Edge: River Cats

Right field
SWB Shelley Duncan - SAC Chris Denorfia

Denorfia came up through the Reds organization and hit .349 with Louisville in 2006. He’s also a career .273 hitter in the big leagues. This match-up largely comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer a guy who hits for average but little power like Denorfia, or a guy who hits for a lower average but a ton of power like Duncan? In a one-game, winner-take-all format, power is the way to go.
Edge: Yankees


Designated hitter
SWB Ben Broussard - SAC Wes Bankston

Bankston made his major league debut this season and struck out 15 times in 59 at-bats while hitting .203. He fared much better with Sacramento, batting .280 with 20 home runs. Although Broussard doesn’t have quite the same number of homers, he hit 13 in a pitcher-friendly league and with nearly 150 fewer at-bats. Broussard has the better track record, especially at the big league level.
Edge: Yankees



The game airs tonight at 8PM EST on ESPN2 and MiLB.TV

Category: MLB
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