The 2016 Staten Island Yankees are off to the best start to the season in team history winning their first 5 contests but tonight they will face their toughest challengers yet in the form of the West Virginia Black Bears, the reigning NY-Penn League Champions.
West Virginia comes into this season with a 5-0 record as well, defeating the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Batavia MuckDogs in their first 5 games. Now they roll into Staten Island to face the Yankees, the same team they swept last September to win the league championship.
The Black Bears come into this series with a league-best team batting average of .294 and at the top of several other offensive categories. They will be facing a Yankees team that has a league-best team ERA of 1.26. West Virginia is no slouch on the mound either with a 1.53 ERA and in second place.
Two players on West Virginia are no strangers to the island as they played High School ball here, including catcher Kevin Krause and outfielder Matt Diorio. Diorio, 20, is in his first professional season and so far he is hitting .444 over 3 games, 9 at bats. Krause, 23, is in his second year in the NY-Penn League, after making his pro-debut in 2014. In 2014 he hit .276 with the Jamestown Jammers and this year so far he is only hitting .182 over 11 at bats with the Black Bears.
In Game One of the series we will see 22-year old right handed pitcher Stephan Meyer on the mound for West Virginia. The former 18th round pick of the Pirates is in his second season and has allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits and 1 walk over 5 innings in his first start of the season. Last season he appeared in 4 games for the Black Bears and had a 0.84 ERA over 10 2/3 innings pitched.
Jonathan Padilla will be getting the start for the Staten Island Yankees, the 5-foot 10-inches tall right handed pitcher is making his 2016 season debut after going 8-4 with a 2.84 ERA over 27 games last season for the Pulaski Yankees. With a fastball that gest up to 95 miles per hours, a curve ball that at times can become a good swing and miss pitch as well as a changeup.
Leading West Virginia at the plate this season has been centerfielder Sandy Santos. The 22-year old right-handed hitter has a .667 batting average over 4 games, with 3 doubles and 3 RBIs so far. Jordan George has also been a boost to the Black Bears lineup with an average of .538 in 4 games as a first baseman and designated hitter.
For the Yankees Luis Torrens, Dalton Blaser, Timmy Robinson Mandy Alvarez and Kane Sweeney have been leading the back offensively. Torrens his hitting .417 while Blaser has a batting average of .412, Robinson at an even .400, Mandy Alvarez at .352 and Sweeney at .333.