The Williamsport Crosscutters lead the Pinckney division from poll to poll with a team that may have lacked in some prospect fire power, but made up for it with a very solid 2015 draft. Much like the Threshers the Crosscutters will play a three game series, however the following series will be a three game series for the championship.
Game 1 (@West Virginia): Alejandro Arteaga vs Dario Agrazal
Game 2 (@Williamsport): Franklyn Kilome vs TBD
Game 3 (@Williamsport): Mitch Gueller vs TBD
C: Austin Bossart/Jesus Posso
1B: Brendon Hayden/Jesus Posso
2B: Josh Tobias
SS: William Cuicas/Dylan Bosheer
3B: Jan Hernandez
OF: Mark Laird/Zach Coppola/Venn Biter/Carlos Duran/Jose Pujols
The offense has really faded off since the start of the season, but there is a lot to like on the hitting side. Coppola and Laird give the Crosscutters pure speed and little power, but Carlos Duran and Josh Tobias bring both to the table. The middle of the lineup is going to be key with Tobias, Pujols, and Hayden batting 3-4-5. Tobias has been on fire all year, Pujols has had a disappointing year, but has more power than anyone on the roster, and Hayden lacks the power of the other two but he is coming off a .291/.376/.385 year and is not to be looked past. Jan Hernandez has been streaky and strikes out a ton, but he was second in the NYPL in home runs so all it takes is one swing to make his presence felt. Austin Bossart’s .333 batting average is second all time for the Crosscutters and he is going to give pitchers a battle. He will likely have to give a start behind the plate to Jesus Posso who has a lot less contact, but with 6 home runs in 42 games, gives a lot of power to the position. The weak spot in the lineup is shortstop where Bosheers has helped stabilize some after Grenny Cumana’s injury and is batting .281/.368/.375 in 12 second half games, Cuicas has really struggled but offers a bit more speed and glove. On defense the infield defense is suspect, and Tobias in particular is prone to bad games due to his inexperience, in the outfield the only hope is to hit it to right field where Pujols can take some adventures to the ball, but batters should be wary of trying to take extra bases against his arm. Behind the plate Bossart controls the running game well.
Pitching is where the Crosscutters have excelled and they bring their 3 best healthy starters to the mound in this series. Alejandro Arteaga is not an ace, but he throws strikes, can go deep and should keep the team in the game. In game 2 they will bring their best prospect to the mound in Franklyn Kilome. It has been a struggle since he returned from injury, but he shouldn’t be on any innings or stuff restrictions which means we could see him pound the zone at 94-96 with the fastball without worrying about forcing the changeup. In game 3 it will be Mitch Gueller who has seen his prospect star completely disappear, but tied for the NYPL ERA title at 2.23 and has always performed better at home. An already solid Crosscutters bullpen gained Ismael Cabrera to use alongside their collection of college relievers. The two best “relief prospects” are Kenny Koplove and Skylar Hunter who have struggled all year, but the bullpen has really been anchored by Jacob Waguespack (who just allowed his first earned run of the year) and Robert Tasin who has allowed 24 baserunner over 29.1 innings and racking up 17 saves.
Summing Up the Series:
The Crosscutters have faded this year, but they are still are probably the most complete team in the NYPL playoffs. The lineup has been prone to cold streaks and they are going to need Jose Pujols and Jan Hernandez to show up in this series. The shortened series should allow for better bullpen and bench usage, which should help prevent the exposure of the soft underbelly that is filling out short season rosters. Overall the Crosscutters are the heavy favorite, but it is a three game series so anything is possible.