Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4! The Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, fittingly, defeated Great Britain, 33-0, on the diamond last night. As part of the Independence Day festivities, Keene took on the Great Britain U-23 national team. Once again, we crushed the Redcoats.

Looking forward to tonight's Fisher Cats-Sea Dogs game in Manchester. Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are joining Double-A Portland, but the best outfielder in the game will be Jackie Bradley, Jr., a lightning-quick 22-year-old who recently was promoted to Portland. My UL story on the series here.

Fisher Cats RHP John Stilson, a Blue Jays prospect and Texas A&M legend (too strong?), will pitch on Friday. The 21-year-old has gone 2-1 (3.18 ERA) in four starts at Double-A, giving up one earned run in his past two starts. "It's been a learning experience. I'm trying to locate my fastball better and not spray everything over the plate," he told me after yesterday's bullpen session. I've been working on trying to stay back over the rubber and not lean forward so much, which causes my arm to drag behind." 

Stilson's fastball has been sitting in the low 90s and occasionally touching 95 and even 96 on radar gun. There's more in the tank, too, he said. "I'm very satisfied with (the velocity). I just need to get my mechanics straightened out. Right now, I can’t really give it everything because my fastball command isn’t quite there yet.”

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