You’ve already heard that select MiLB.TV games are headed to MLB.TV. Some of those are about to get an even bigger spotlight.
Welcome to the MLB Pipeline Game of the Month.
Once a month, a member of the MLB Pipeline crew will bring fans even closer to the MiLB.TV action for some of Minor League Baseball's premier matchups. First up: Double-A Portland visits Somerset on Thursday for an Eastern League game between Red Sox and Yankees affiliates, respectively.
We will be at TD Bank Ballpark and will join Patriots broadcaster Steven Cusumano in the booth for the 6:35 p.m. ET start. Before first pitch, we'll also take to the @MiLB and @MLBPipeline Instagram feeds for a pregame ballpark tour with Somerset president/general manager Patrick McVerry and a live Q&A with top Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe.
Volpe is easily the biggest name expected to appear in Thursday’s MiLB.TV showcase. MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall prospect became a household name in Minor League circles last season when he hit .294/.423/.604 with 27 homers and 33 steals across 109 games at Single-A and High-A in the New York system. His hit, power and run tools all grade out as at least above-average, and he's considered a steady defender at shortstop.
The 2019 first-rounder is off to a slow start in Somerset, hitting just .151/.292/.302 with two homers through 14 games entering Wednesday, but it’s worth noting he was the fifth-youngest player on an Eastern League Opening Day roster earlier this month. In fact, this first MLB Pipeline Game of the Month falls on his 21st birthday, and he’ll celebrate with a home game in his native New Jersey.
Somerset will send No. 16 Yankees prospect Randy Vasquez to the hill as its starter. The 23-year-old right-hander boasts a 93-95 mph fastball, and he receives the most praise for his 78-82 mph, high-spin curveball that earns plus grades from evaluators. Vasquez also mixes in an average slider and changeup to give himself a solid four-pitch mix.
The Dominican Republic native posted a 2.52 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings across three levels last season but is off to a slow start in 2022 with double the number of walks (six) compared to strikeouts (three) through two starts (seven innings).
Portland boasts No. 27 Red Sox prospect Christian Koss, a gifted defensive shortstop who is coming off a strong week against Binghamton. The 24-year-old enters Wednesday with a .310/.344/.448 line through 13 games. Fellow infielder David Hamilton, who was acquired from the Brewers in the Hunter Renfroe offseason trade, is off to his own fast start with a .321/.413/.547 line and 12 steals over 13 contests.
The Sea Dogs will send 21-year-old right-hander Victor Santos to the bump. Acquired from the Phillies last July, Santos owns a 2.12 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 12 strikeouts over 17 innings on the early season for Portland.
Both the Red Sox (at Toronto, 3:45 p.m. ET) and Yankees (vs. Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. ET) have afternoon games in the Majors on Thursday, making that night’s Double-A game a prime opportunity for fans to check out prospects from both farm systems.