(Player of the Week was selected by FOX Sports Radio New Jersey)
Welcome Patriots Nation to our Weekly Players of the Week 2022.
WEEK 11- Michael Beltre
Welcome to our 2022 Fox Sports New Jersey Somerset Patriots Player of the Week. This week we look at one of the Patriots key veterans, who continues to be an impressive force in the middle of the lineup: Michael Beltre.
In his second year at Somerset, Beltre is hitting .238 on the season with six homers and 27 RBI. His 19 steals are third on the team behind Elijah Dunham (23 stolen bases) and Anthony Volpe (33 stolen bases).
In fact, over the last seven games, Beltre leads the team with a .500 batting average (eight hits in 16 at bats), three homers and seven RBI. He’s also walked more times than he has struck out (3-2) and has five steals.
Beltre’s solo home run in the bottom of the third inning on the fourth of July was the only run the Patriots would need in a 1-0 victory.
Beltre has now hit safely in eight consecutive games; including hitting a home run in each of his last three games. For the month of July — which is only three games old — Beltre is hitting a brilliant .667 with three homers and seven RBI. The guy has been hot at the dish.
The Dominican Republic native began his professional career in 2013 as a 17-year-old out of the Cincinnati Reds organization. He would spend six years in the Reds organization, making it all the way to Double-A Chattanooga in 2019, where he hit .234 with three homers and 29 RBI.
After a year away from the game due to the pandemic, Beltre caught on with the Yankees organization in 2021, earning a promotion to Double-A Somerset where he was a masher in the middle of the order. Last season, Beltre hit .252 with 16 homers, eight triples, 21 doubles, and 54 RBI.
It’s easy to see why Michael Beltre is a key cog to the playoff hopes of the first half Northeast League champions.
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Week 10 - Aroldis Chapman
Welcome to our 2022 Fox Sports New Jersey Somerset Patriots Player of the Week. This week we look at a man who has called the Bronx home for six-and-a-half years, and a player who hopes the call the Bronx home very soon.
Aroldis Chapman made two rehab appearances for the Somerset Patriots, and looks more than ready to rejoin the big-league club. He held the Yard goats to no runs on one hit with a pair of strikeouts in the two outings. His fastball had its usual zip and even got some help from Elijah Dunham who made a pair of diving catches to keep Sunday’s game scoreless.
In all likelihood Chapman will return to the Bronx this week to pitch for the Yankees who face the Oakland A’s, Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians over the next seven days.
In 17 games with the Yankees this year, Chapman has pitched to a 3.86 ERA, and is nine-for-nine in save opportunities. It will be fascinating to see if Chapman is given full closing duties again after the emergence of Clay Holmes.
Meanwhile a young man who plans to one day join Chapman in the Bronx had another special week in short stop Anthony Volpe. The Yankees number one prospect capped off his monstrous week in grand style with a two-run home run in the bottom of the tenth inning that sent the Patriots to a thrilling 6-5 victory over the Hartford Yard goats, in a game that they once trailed 5-4. The victory was so big that it propelled the Patriots to the first half title of the Northeast League Eastern Division, and an automatic bid in the postseason come late September.
The shortstop batted .304 with three homers and five RBI this week against Hartford as his torrid month of June continues. The New Jersey native is hitting .297 with five homers and 15 RBI this month. Volpe is now batting .239 on the season with 10 home runs and 37 RBI as a Patriot.
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Week 9 - Anthony Volpe
Our player of the week is the man, the myth, the legend: Anthony Volpe.
Welcome to the 2022 Fox Sports New Jersey Somerset Patriots Player of the Week. This week we look one of the most highly touted prospects in the Yankees farm system, one that is starting to catch fire in the month of June: Anthony Volpe.
Volpe is really starting to get comfortable at the plate for the Patriots. This past week in New Hampshire Volpe hit .280 (seven hits in 25 at bats) with six runs scored, a homer, five RBI and two stolen bases.
In fact, Volpe has hit safely in 13 of the Patriots 17 games so far this month, and owns six multi-hit games in the month of June.
The local kid from Morristown, who went to school at Delbarton is the top-rated prospect in the Yankees farm system, ranked number 1 by MLB Prospects has drawn plenty of attention so far this year from media and fans alike. With the Yankees starting Isiah Kiner-Falefa at short stop this year, and a plethora of young shortstops in the pipeline, it makes sense that the Yankees are high on their short stop of the future.
Before the season began Volpe tried to keep things in perspective saying he was “excited” to put all the work he put in to good use. After struggling out of the gate where he batted .203 in April and May, Volpe is hitting .294 for the month June and has raised his batting average up nearly 30 points.
If he keeps it, he could be on the move up in the farm system very soon, so head on out to TD Bank Ballpark and catch Volpe and the Patriots as the face the Harford Yard Goats this week.
And remember to follow the Patriots all season long on your home for Somerset Patriots baseball 93.5 FM 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.
Follow Anthony and the rest of the Somerset Patriots all season on your home for Patriots baseball 93.5 FM, 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.
Week 8 - Sean Boyle
This week we look at a pitcher who has started to turn his season around this month: right hander Sean Boyle.
A 25-year old out of Selden, New York, Boyle has won his last two starts including a six-inning masterpiece against the Akron Rubber Ducks on Saturday.
Boyle shutout the Ducks over six innings, giving up only two hits and a walk. It’s a huge turnaround for Boyle, who just a few weeks ago came off back-to-back rough outings against Portland and Binghamton where he allowed a total of 15 earned runs in eight and a third innings.
“It’s definitely a challenge. Last year I had one game that went seven innings. You are trying not to get ahead of yourself as a starter. That is the hardest thing to get used to, it’s a one pitch mentality,” Boyle said.
Boyle, who grew up a Mets fan as a kid, was drafted by the Yankees in the 25th round of the 2018 draft out of Dallas Baptist. He started his college career at Suffolk Community College before transferring to Dallas Baptist. He said moving out of New York and living in Texas for four years was a life changing experience for him.
“I grew up on Long Island. Baseball didn’t come around until I was about 13 years old, playing with my cousins and a kid across the street. I started to play. it started with wiffle ball then went to baseball. I started getting into it, watching the Mets on TV, and it went from there,” Boyle added.
“Playing in Dallas was a culture shock to go from New York the heart of Dallas. It worked out for a reason. I went into it knowing it would be different. I didn’t complain once; I dove right into it which made it easier.”
Since returning to the East Coast as a Yankees prospect, Boyle has steadily moved up the charts. He even made four starts at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre last season.
Follow Sean and the rest of the Somerset Patriots all season on your home for Patriots baseball 93.5 FM, 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.
Week 7- Jesus Bastidas
This week Fox Sports New Jersey examines an infielder on the Somerset Patriots who had a huge week at the plate against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies: Second baseman Jesus Bastidas.
Over five games against the Rumble Ponies, Bastidas hit .353 with three homers and four RBI, leading the team in said categories this past week. On Friday, Bastidas hit a huge solo homer in the seventh inning that tied the game at two. He was also in the midst of Somerset’s five run rally in the eighth, taking a walk and scoring on a hit by pitch.
Since the month of May, Bastidas has been one of Somerset’s most consistent hitters. In 18 games in May, Bastidas had a .303/.347/.500 slash line with 14 RBI and three home runs.
The Venezuelan native was called an impact player by manager Dan Fiorito. Bastidas signed a minor league contract with the Yankees back in 2015 at the age of 16. He has moved on up the minor league ladder, making it to the Staten Island Yankees in 2018. By 2021, Bastidas’ career exploded. In duel stops between Low A Tampa and Double-A Somerset, he hit .249 with nine homers and 34 RBI.
This year, Bastidas has five homers and 19 RBI with a .269 batting average, and is a regular impact player in the heart of the Patriots lineup.
For the first time this season we have a repeat performer to the Somerset Patriots player of the Week: outfielder Elijah Dunham.
Dunham has been on fire over the past six games for the Somerset Patriots batting .480 (12 hits in 25 at bats) with three home runs, five RBI and three stolen bases. He is entering this week tied for the team leading RBI with 22, and is second in home runs with seven, hits (36), slugging percentage (.534) and OPS (.880).
In fact in the Patriots 12-4 win over the Portland SeaDogs on May 29, Dunham went a perfect four for four with a double, a home run and three RBI.
The hot streak continued on Monday in Binghamton as Dunham went 2-for-5 with a double in the Patriots 13-2 loss to the Rumble Ponies.
“I am going to bring the same intensity all the time it no matter what. I expect myself to succeed and I hold myself to that standard,” Dunham said.
Described by MLB Prospects as a hard contact hitter with a compact left-handed swing, Dunham was an undrafted signee by the New York Yankees in 2020 following his junior year at Indiana. He is currently ranked 26th in the Yankees farm system among top 30 prospects.
Week 5- Max Burt
This week we look at a veteran ballplayer who has been manning shortstop this year for the Somerset Patriots: Max Burt.
A native of North Andor Massachusetts, Burt played ball at Northeastern University in Boston before getting drafted by the Yankees in 2018. While he and his family has Red Sox blood, they were more than happy when the Yankees came calling.
“It’s been good. Now that we are a couple of years in, we are very happy to be here,” Burt said. “I’ve always been a sports guy, played everything. Baseball kinda took over, it was a sport I always wanted to play when I was a kid.”
This past wee, Burt .438 with a homer and five RBI in the Patriots series victory over the Reading Fightin’ Phils. Burt was tied with Oliver Dunn, Anthony Volpe and Elijah Dunham in hits with seven, and tied with Volpe and Dunham in doubles with three this past week. Overall, Burt is hitting at an even .200 with three homers and 11 RBI. Despite the low batting average he is trending in the right direction.
Burt has played at all levels of the Yankees farm system, including a cup of tea with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre last season. Burt played 49 games with the Somerset Patriots last year where he hit .241 with five homers and 19 RBI.
Remember to catch Max and the Patriots right here on your exclusive home for Somerset patriots baseball, 93.5 FM, 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.
Week 4- Randy Vasquez
This week we look at the man Minor League Baseball (MiLB) just named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week: Randy Vasquez.
Photo: Somerset Patriots.
Vasquez, who pitched in four games last season with the Patriots is off to a flying start in 2022 with an ERA of 1.86 in five starts. He has given up only four earned runs in 19 and a third innings of work with 17 strikeouts. Not bad for the 16th ranked prospect in the Yankees stacked farm system.
In his last outing, Vaquez blanked the Altoona Curve over five and two-thirds innings with five Ks in a game the Patriots would lose in extra innings 2-1. Still Vasquez’s impact has been felt as the Patriots lead the Eastern League in ERA at 2.92, having given up the fewest Earned Runs in the league with 94.
The Dominican Republic native joined the Yankees organization as a 19-year-old in 2018, pitching to a 1.78 ERA in nine games in rookie ball. Last year, Vasquez moved up the charts from single A Tampa Bay, to High A Hudson Valley and, finally, the Somerset Patriots.
Overall, Vasquez is 13-6 with a 2.55 career ERA in 48 games, 44 starts in his early career.
Remember to catch Randy and the Patriots right here on your exclusive home for Somerset Patriots baseball, 93.5 FM, 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.
Week 3- Derek Dietrich
This week we look at a former Major Leaguer who is catching on as a leader in the clubhouse: Derek Dietrich.
LAKELAND, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: Derek Dietrich #12 of the New York Yankees looks on in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game on March 12, 2021 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
A veteran of eight years experience in Major League Baseball with the Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers, Dietrich signed a minor league deal with the Yankees in 2021 and spent time in Triple A before being released last summer. After bouncing around in the second half of last year, Dietrich returned to the Yankees on a minor league contract and was assigned to Somerset after not having a regular spring training with any team. He signed with the Yankees on April 4.
Since joining the Patriots, Dietrch has enjoyed a steady amont of success. He is batting .314 with a .400 on base percentage, three homers and 11 RBI in nine games. Dietrich has also shown plenty of diversity defensively playing first, second and third base for Somerset.
Moreover the 32-year old has enveloped the leadership role, telling pinstripe prospects dot com that he is “just having fun with these guys, they’re keeping me young.”
Dietrich was bord in Cleveland, and attended college at Georgia Tech before getting drafted in the second round of 2010 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. After spending two years in the Rays system, he was dealt to Miami for Yunel Escobar and made his Major League debut with Miami on May 8, 2013 at San Diego.
Remember to catch Derek and the Patriots right here on your exclusive home for Somerset patritos baseball, 93.5 FM, 1450 AM Fox SPorts New Jersey.
WEEK 2- Blake Perkins
Welcome to the 2022 Fox Sports New Jersey Somerset Patriots Player of the Week. This week we look at a player who had a breakout road trip in Connecticut: Blake Perkins.
Perkins had a monster week batting .474 (9 hits in 19 at bats) with four homers, two doubles, a triple, three stolen bases and nine RBI. That effort was enough to win Perkins the distinction of MiLB Eastern League Player of the Week.
He currently leads the Eastern league with 37 TB, a .902 SLG, 1.324 OPS and ranks among the league leaders in nearly every other offensive category. He ranks third in all of MiLB in SLG and fifth in OPS. His .902 SLG also leads all New York Yankees Minor Leaguers and is 319 points higher than the next-best player.
So who is Blake Perkins?
Well, Perkins was born in Litchfield Park, Arizona and was drafted out of Verrado High School in 2015 by the Washington Nationals in the second round of that year’s draft. Perkins decided to go pro at 18 years old, and spent 3-1/2 years in the Nationals farm system before getting traded to the Kansas City Royals. In 2021 Perkins was one of several minor league signings by the New York Yankees, who signed him as a project. A lifetime .234 hitter, Perkins is off to a flying start in Somerset. Overall he is hitting .366 with a 1.325 OPS, and is tied for the team lead in RBI and home runs.
Remember to catch Blake and the Patriots right here on your exclusive home for Somerset Patriots baseball, 93.5 FM, 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.
WEEK 1- Elijah Dunham
Welcome to the Fox Sports New Jersey Somerset Patriots Player of the Week. Every week throughout the 2022 season we will highlight a standout performer over the past week. This week we look at a Patriots outfielder who is quickly making his mark in Somerset: Elijah Dunham.
Eight games into the season, Dunham is hitting at .290 with a .361 on base percentage, two homers and six RBI. Dunham had an interesting road to the Yankees organization. Originally drafted in the 40th round of the 2019 draft by Pittsburgh, Dunham elected to stay at Indiana where he led the team in batting. After going undrafted in 2020, he signed with the Yankees on June 18, 2020 following his junior year at Indiana.
Dunham added that going undrafted put a chip on his shoulder, and he uses it to push himself to become a more complete ball player. He would make his minor league debut with the Yankees on May 4 of last year with Single – A Tampa, and cracked his first professional home run eight days later on May 12 at Lakewood. Dunham was promoted to High-A Hudson Valley on June 15, and led the Renegades in stolen bases (17) , ranked third in runs (40, and fourth in hits (62) over 64 games.
One of four children, Dunham played high school ball at R.J. Reitz High School in Evansville, Indiana, where he hit .386 his senior year. Currently, Dunham is ranked 27th among the Yankees top 30 prospects.
Catch Dunham and the patriots right here on your home for Somerset Patriots Baseball 93.5 FM 1450 AM Fox Sports New Jersey.