Staten Island, NY – The Staten Island Yankees (15-26) have struggled in a number of key areas, but the raw talent has also been on display throughout July.
Early in their development, struggling with consistency, they’ve got the same energy of their college playing time that’s only a few months behind many of them. They’re learning under the steady hand of manager Justin Pope, who’s guiding them both delicately and with discipline and encouragement.
Three players have been impact offensive producers and shown their individual strengths. Matt Snyder and Saxon Butler, who’ve shared the 1B/DH role, have hit consistently. Butler has hit .309 with a league leading 10 home runs, while Snyder has hit .304 and his .403 OBP is fourth overall. Outfielder Taylor Dugas .476 OBP leads the NYPL, as does his 29 walks.
The pitching has struggled, but, lately, picked it up a bit.
With a 4.10 team ERA, they are in the bottom five in the league. They got a strong outing this week from Gabriel Encinas (3-2, 2.77). And Derek Varnadore (1-3, 2.39), working long relief, has been solid in 26 innings. He’s struck out 23 and allowed just six walks.
Here are quotes from some of the players, as well as hitting coach Ty Hawkins.
On… Wes Wilson
He’s not one of those guys that’s playing everyday, but when he gets in there, he performs well. It’s his second year and so we’re continuing to work on what we worked on then. It seems like it’s really taken hold.
I think what it is for him is that when he stays relaxed and doesn’t press, he’s able to let things happen more for him. He’s faced some pretty good pitching the last few days and it’s been a good test.
Home runs: Yeah, that’s the one thing we gotta keep on him about. Just make sure he’s not trying to do too much.
He’s another one that in the beginning of the year he was 1-30 and I give him a lot of credit for working everyday and trying to get everything right. He’s more relaxed. It was a transition from the first part of the season back into it for these college guys. But he’s finding his groove now. If he gets a little excited about not performing, I gotta stay on him and help him calm down.
He came with that [patience]. He’s one of the leading hitters in Alabama’s history. He’s got a gift. He doesn’t get all nervous. He’s a pretty even keel guy. He knows what he has to do to hit. Trust is a lot of it.
“I feel more comfortable, more relaxed. I know what to expect now. I was on the tip of my toes worrying about everything, but I realized it’s more laid back.“ Matt Snyder
“Ty Hawkins helping make sure I don’t lunge at the ball.”
“Getting to the field so early and all the stuff we have to do before games.”
“I’ve been trying to gain a lot more weight. Eating and drinking a lot more water. I’m working with our weight coach a lot. JOE. Last summer I weighed 222 and I’m like 208 right now, so I need to get that back.”
Yankees: “I can’t possibly put into words how special it is for me to be on the Yankees. Ever since I was little, I’ve been a Yankees fan. My dad and my grandparents and my uncle always talked about the Yankees and so I grew up a Yankees fan. Like if you have a tough day, you go out there and you don’t hit, after the game, you’re upset, then you realize you’re a Yankee still.”
“It’s been a blast. It’s my second year here and I know the ropes a little bit. Even De Luca and I are two of the returning guys so naturally at the beginning of the season, guys are kind of asking you questions and we’re able work closely with the coaching staff a little bit.”
“It’s a lot easier to get up when you’ve got 5,000 fans here.”
“You want to be the best team in New York. Whether you’re in short season A-ball or in the big leagues. And these fans don’t care about the difference. These Yankees fans just want to see the Mets pounded into the ground.”