The Trenton Thunder are second from last in the Eastern League Northern Division, with a 16-18 record on the season. Though the 2008 EL champs are playing .470 baseball, the division is competitive. They're only three games back from first, with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats leading the Connecticut Defenders by just half a game.
Thunder reliever Michael Dunn is a guy whose attitude seems positive enough to carry the whole club.
"It doesn't matter if I'm hitting or I'm pitching. Just playing baseball is what matters," he says.
In 20 innings pitched he carries an ERA of 5.75. He's 1-2 with two saves. While he has no demands on how he's used, he admits to ultimately having a preference.
"I love the bullpen. Ideally I'd like to be an 8th or 9th inning guy further down the road. But right now it's fine with me, wherever they want me to get my work in."
They have a team ERA of 3.70. They also have the dubious honor of being tied for first with the Bowie BaySox in hit batters. Overall they've plunked 21.
Thunder beat writer and author of the blog "Mike Ashmore's Thunder Thoughts", is impressed with one starter in particular.
"Ivan Nova, when he's on, is the best starter they have," he says. "Pitching coach Tommy Phelps most glowing praise was for Ivan. He talked about easy, yet hard his fastball is."
Ashmore also gives his take on who the best pitching prospect is at the moment.
"By default, it's likely Zach McAlister. He's not the biggest personality on the team. He goes out and gets the job done," Ashmore says. "He's probably two years away from being big league ready."
In Florida State League, the Jupiter Hammerheads lost four straight but have bounced back a bit. Mike Stanton continues his offensive dominance. He leads the team in RBI with twenty five and is currently hitting .283. He also leads the club in home runs with eight. As for pitching, Kyle Winters leads the FSL with a 0.87 ERA. He's also second in base on balls with four.
Pottstown, Pennsylvania native A.J. Battisto had two relief appearances that stand out for polar opposite reasons. In a game against the Charlotte Stone Crabs he pitched three innings, gave up one hit and struck out four. The following night against the Sarasota Reds, his ERA shot to 27.00 after allowing two runs. In sixteen innings of work he's had up and down results, but he's given up only three walks- a stat scouts pay particular attention to.