9/18/23 : 2023 Regular Season Recap - Double A Reading
Reading Fightins : 59-77 (.434) - fifth in Eastern League Northeast Division
A tough season in regards to wins and losses for Reading but a productive one in player development nonetheless. The team was in the top five the Eastern League in multiple offensive categories - hits (5th), doubles (2nd), triples (third), home runs (third), batting average (5th), slugging (3rd) and OPS (5th). Individual standouts included Johan Rojas who made the jump from the AA level to the major leagues in mid July.
Outfielder/first baseman Carlos De La Cruz and second baseman Oliver Dunn also had standout seasons. De La Cruz led the league in hits (132), was second in runs (80), third in doubles (25), third in home runs (24), fifth in RBIs (67), sixth in slugging (.454) and sixth in OPS (.798). Dunn was first in OPS (.902), OBP (.396), walks (82) and second in doubles (27), RBIs (78), slugging (.506), third in triples (4) and hits (113) and fourth in home runs (21) and batting average (.271).
3B/OF Matt Kroon had a great summer while at Reading hitting .319/.387/.493 in 344 plate appearances with 24 doubles, 8 home runs and 22 stolen bases before being promoted to Lehigh Valley on 8/7/23 where he continues to excel. Outfielder Ethan Wilson set career highs in doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, batting average, slugging, OBP and OPS.
On the pitching side RH Mick Abel caught fire in his last four starts posting a 1.17 ERA in 23 IP allowing just 3 runs and 8 hits while striking out 23 batters. On the season he pitched a career high 108 2/3 innings recording a 4.14 ERA in 22 starts with 126 strikeouts and 62 walks, opponents hit just .188 against him. Lefty starters David Parkinson and Matt Osterberg were solid - Parkinson posted a 3.56 ERA in 24 appearances (126 1/3 IP) and was 9-5 with 131 strikeouts against 51 walks, he had an exceptional month of August where he recorded a 1.26 ERA in five starts (28 2/3 IP) - from July 7th forward Parkinson went 7-1 over 12 appearences. He finished amongst league leaders in ERA (4th), Wins (2nd), K’s (7th), IP (4th), BAA (10th) and WHIP (9th). Osterberg made six starts for Reading and posted a 3.26 ERA in 30 1/3 innings after being promoted from Jersey Shore on 8/5/23. In his final three starts of the season he recorded a 1.88 ERA in 14 1/3 IP with a 0.63 WHIP. Overall for the year Matt made 24 starts, went 9-6 and had a 3.52 ERA in 122 2/3 IP, a strong year to build on going forward for the 24 year old.
Orion Kerkering pitched in twenty-one games (21 IP) with Reading posting a 2.05 ERA with 33 strikeouts and just 5 walks. It was a strong summer for Orion as he earned multiple promotions and dominated the A level of play before arriving at Reading. His two plus pitches (fastball and slider) put him in a position to challenge for a major league spot next year. Left-handed reliever Tristan Garnett also had a terrific year, in twelve appearances with Reading after being promoted from Jersey Shore on 8/4/23 he pitched 13 1/3 innings, struck out 20 batters against four walks and posted a minuscule ERA of 0.68, a WHIP of 0.98 and a BAA of .168. His overall ERA for the season of 1.98 in 51 total innings is evident of the put away change up he possesses offset by a natural lefty tailing fastball.
Tyler McKay earned a promotion to Lehigh Valley on 7/14/23 by appearing in 25 games with Reading and recording a 2.54 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, opponents hit just .179 against him at the AA level, he’s got a strong changeup, big break slider and a heavy sinker. Cristian Hernandez had a good season for Reading appearing in 35 games as a bulk reliever, he had a hiccup on 8/9/23 when he yielded four runs in two thirds of an inning which inflated his season ERA to 3.66 in 51 2/3 IP (which is still very respectable) but absent that appearance his ERA for the other 34 games was a solid 3.00. Dominic Pipkin (18 appearances - 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 IP) began the year rehabbing elbow soreness at the complex in Clearwater but afterwards pitched very well as a back end reliever with Reading, he too had one bad outing where he was tagged for four runs in an inning, discounting that his ERA in the other 17 games was 1.93.
Tommy McCollum and LH Jordi Martinez earned promotions from Jersey Shore on 7/26/23 and 8/19/23 respectively. Both big arm relievers had strong seasons at Jersey Shore and more than held their own with Reading. Both have big league skill sets, I’d expect them to return to Reading in 2024 to pick up where they left off. Adam Leverett was solid all season in a spot starter/bulk reliever role, he’s earned a shot next spring to compete for a bump up to triple A. McKinley Moore spent the majority of the year on the IL after making the Phillies opening day roster out of spring camp, he finished at Reading with some very positive outings. Andrew Schultz, Carlos Francisco and Andrew Baker had their struggles with command this season and the numbers don’t reflect their capabilities, they will look at 2023 as a year of growth and turn to 2024 with better results in mind. Lefty Keylan Killgore was a bullpen workhorse appearing in 46 games amassing 55 1/3 innings, he shined in the months of June and July showing the potential that he possesses.
Some will be promoted to Lehigh Valley to finish the last week of the minor league regular season this week.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
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