TinCaps News & Notes: Mosser Remains Hot During An Icy April

Credit: Journal Gazette

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Credit: Journal Gazette

Here is your Fort Wayne TinCaps news and notes.

We’re just about three weeks into the 2019 Midwest League season, and the TinCaps have compiled a 9-7 record, placing them in second place of the Midwest League Eastern Division.

To their credit, they’ve battled some very un-baseball like conditions over the first 16 games, including a double-header last Friday night where the temperature didn’t move much past 40 degrees the entire night.

A few players have admitted that the cold weather might be contributing to a slower than expected start individually, but count Gabe Mosser as one of the few who embraces the unwelcoming April freeze. Mosser, who hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania and pitched at Shippensburg University, believes the cold temperatures benefit his efforts on the mound. “I’m used to it,” Mosser said of the cold. “I love it because hitters hate it.”

It’s hard to argue with the results. Through three starts, Mosser ranks eighth in the Midwest League with a 1.20 ERA and his 0.53 WHIP is good for third on the league’s list of qualified starters. He’s also racked up 16 strikeouts across 15 innings pitched and his 1.9% walk-rate is fourth-lowest in the league. Pretty impressive stuff for a 27th round pick that honed his craft at a Division II school with an enrollment under 6,000 students.

Credit the Padres scouting skills for uncovering a quality arm in a cold-weather state. More importantly, this serves notice to players everywhere that the right eyes will find you if your skills translate to the next level.

Fleet Friars

The TinCaps are putting the league on notice when they get on base. Specifically, Xavier Edwards and Jawuan Harris are making life miserable for opposing pitchers and catchers. Edwards has been successful in 7-of his-9 attempts this year, while Harris has chipped in five steals of his own. In fact, Fort Wayne’s 20 stolen bases rank 3rd in the Midwest League, and they’ve only been caught four times, which is also good for a third-place standing.

New Approach For Williams-Sutton

Don’t let a good opportunity pass you by. That’s some basic, yet useful advice that Dwanya Williams-Sutton has implemented into his game this season – and the results are jumping off the stat page. TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras along with hitting coach Jonathan Mathews have urged Williams-Sutton to be aggressive early in the count, so he’s ready to take advantage of a first strike fastball in the zone if it presents itself. The 5th round pick in the 2018 draft is slashing .268/.434/.366 and his 18.9 percent walk-rate ranks 9th in the Midwest League, proving he’s willing to make pitchers stay out of the zone instead of giving him something to barrel up. When Williams-Sutton is patient, good things happen as we can see below:

Angel ACE-vedo

The fun thing about small samples is that you can shape them almost however you like. After just three appearances, Angel Acevedo looks like he can spin the baseball just a bit. Through two starts and a relief stint, Acevedo has logged 13 innings and punched out 11 batters along the way. He’s allowed just nine hits and one walk, contributing to his stellar 0.77 WHIP. What’s even more encouraging is that Acevedo has yielded just two earned runs in his 13 innings of work, leading to a 1.38 ERA which is 12th best in the Midwest League. His early splits this year have been just as impressive as the counting stats mentioned above. Acevedo has limited right-handed batters to a .179 average, and his work vs. left-handers (.222) has been impressive as well. In Parkview Field, he’s allowed hitters to reach a .192 average, but Angel is a true road warrior, as his batting average against drops to .182 on the road. The 6-foot-1 right-hander from Calabozo, Venezuela is starting to make his mark in his fourth season of professional baseball.

Rapid Fire

Blake Hunt has hit safely in six of his last eight games, and he’s slugging .500 over that same stretch. His .333 OBP is the sixth-best mark on the TinCaps, but perhaps most impressive is improved contact skills. He’s struck out just seven times in 44 at-bats, giving him an excellent 13.7% strikeout rate. This might go overlooked by the casual fan, but this is exactly the kind of improvement the Padres want to see in their young catching prospect.

Agustin Ruiz leads the Midwest League with a 35.5% Line Drive Rate.

-There might be some progress happening with the Carlos Belen experiment. After struggling in his last two outings, Belen was able to punch out four batters in two innings of work last Friday, while not issuing a free pass. His fastball was consistently in the 95-96 MPH range, and he touched 97 once. Impressive velocity considering the rainy and cold conditions he had to deal with. His slider is improving at a rapid pace, especially for someone who’s being introduced to pitching for the first time this season. He’s extremely raw at the moment, but there’s definitely something here. His stuff is plenty good to dominate the Midwest League, and with some refining, he could advance through the minors rather quickly.

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