The 2017 season has been a great one for the Scrappers, as they have stayed at the top end of the division, teetering between first and second place, throughout the season. It has been a collective effort across all aspects of the team, however, three names in particular stand out; OF Oscar Gonzalez, and INF Jesse Berardi, and Ulysses Cantu. These three were selected to represent the Indians affiliate Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the 2017 New York Penn League All Star game next week at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, home of the TriCity Valley Cats.
If you need a small intro to each of them, I am happy to be of service, First off, LF Oscar Gonzalez, who has proven himself and then some out of the gate this year. The non-drafted 2014 signee has the 3rd highest BA (.302) on the Scrappers, however the two who sit higher than him have played in at least 11 games less than his 41. He also leads the Scrappers in RBI (25), hits (54), doubles (12) and total bases (72) to date.
Second, the two INF, 1B Ulysses Cantu and SS Jesse Berardi. Cantu has impressed me at the plate from game one, though his glove at first was a wee bit shaky. At one point this season, in early June, he lead the NYPL with hits, and is currently second behind Gonzalez with 45. August has been a slower month for him, batting just a .211, though in his last ten games he’s averaged a hit per game.
Berardi is the newest of the three to the Indians system, being drafted this year from St. John’s University in the tenth round, 312th overall. Just this week, the young INF prospect hit his first career HR during Sunday’s 6-3 win over the State College Spikes. Through 112 AB’s, Berardi is hitting a .304, with 44 TBs, 11 RBI and 13 runs. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but obviously he can hit and get on base (.331 OBP). This can be an asset as valuable as a power hitter as he moves through the system, giving the power behind him in a lineup something to drive home.
These three are a wonderful and talented representation for the Indians and Mahoning Valley, with impressive amounts of potential for each of their futures. Check out and/or keep tabs on the All Star game set for Tuesday, August 15th, with a 7:00 first pitch start.