Eastern League ASG Pitching and Hitting Rundown

New Britain, Connecticut — Rain, humidity, and the Western Division dominated the 2013 Eastern League All Star Game in New Britain, Connecticut.

The game took place at the home of the New Britain Rock Cats on July 10th, and there were a few standouts for Eastern and Western divisions, with the West side taking down the East side (ok, kind of a ridiculous hip-hop reference there)5-0.

Here’s some of the standout moments and talent that graced the field:

Anthony Ranaudo was the first starter out of the gate, representing the Portland Sea Dogs for the Eastern Division. He struggled to find the strike zone his entire outing, unable to get pitches over the plate and trying to nip at the corners, unsuccessfully. The walks hurt him. He allowed three free passes, and three earned runs crossed the plate before the inning was over.

By contrast, Bowie’s Mike Wright, starting for the Western Division, throwing twelve pitches and had good location of all his stuff. He got a strike out, a ground ball out, ending his appearance by getting the final hitter to fly out. He would go on that day to be chosen as the EL MVP for his one inning of solid work.

Toru Murata, a first round pick in the 2007 Japanese Draft and a FA signing by the Indians in 2010, caught the eye in his one inning as well. Hard to miss him, when he has so much power to the plate. His delivery is full-force, but his command didn’t suffer. The forkball and straight fastball were prominent, and the downward movement on the forkball (yes, a forkball!) was impressive. He pitched two innings, allowed a hit, and struck out one.

Home Run Derby winner Bowie Baysox Caleb Joseph was productive off of Binghamton Mets righty Logan Verrett. Right handed Joseph displayed his power to the left side, and was short to the ball for a hard hit past third base.

Verrett put three pitches in about the same exact spot, low in the zone, getting third baseman Richmond’s Mark Minicozzi to chase; he swung late, getting out in front of all three pitches.

Altoona’s Jarek Cunningham has a smart approach, and was selective. He got a hit through the middle, after earlier working a good at-bat, then grounding out. The Pirates prospect made quick adjustments in both of his plate appearances.

There was a wide variety of players in this game: Minnicozzi spent three years in independent baseball, before being signed by the San Francisco Giants last year, at 29. Teammate Joe Panik is one of the top prospects in the Eastern League and in the Giants system.

The game would have been a chance for Phillies top prospect Jesse Biddle to start the game, but his selection to the Futures Game on Sunday prevented that; the same can be said for Pirates top prospect Jameson Taillon. His next start came a day after the ASG, so his arm was saved for a regular work day.

Overall, as always, the Eastern League is rich with talent, many of whom aren’t far from the majors. The ASG showcased some of the best, and the most interesting.

Jessica has provided minor league baseball coverage for Baseball Digest, Gotham Baseball Magazine, Pirates Prospects, Project Prospect, The Binghamton Bulletin, The Trentonian, The Worcester Telegram, and her blog 'High Heels On The Field'. She's covered MLB for MLB.com and Junior Baseball Magazine, for which she's regular contributed for seven years. Follow her on Twitter @heelsonthefield

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