Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Patriots Notebook: 6/4/24 Gerrit Cole Headlines This Week's News

June 4, 2024

Bridgewater, New Jersey – The Patriots will continue their season-long 12-game homestand on Tuesday night when they welcome the visiting Hartford Yard Goats to TD Bank Ballpark for the second time this season. After splitting a six-game slate with Bowie last week, Somerset (25-26) sits just three games behind first

Bridgewater, New Jersey – The Patriots will continue their season-long 12-game homestand on Tuesday night when they welcome the visiting Hartford Yard Goats to TD Bank Ballpark for the second time this season. After splitting a six-game slate with Bowie last week, Somerset (25-26) sits just three games behind first place Portland atop the northeast division. Hartford, on the heels of taking five-of-six from Reading last week, sits just 0.5 games back from the division lead heading into this important six-game series.

The two clubs split a six-game series in their only previous meeting this year back in April when Somerset outscored the Rockies affiliate, 28-26. Since joining the Eastern League in 2021, the Patriots have never lost a series to Hartford (7-0-3) and have the most victories over them (44) than any other team in the EL over that time.

Cole World: Somerset has played host to 31 different Yankees major leaguers since joining the affiliated ranks of Minor League Baseball four seasons ago, but arguably none have been as high-profile as the one scheduled to appear on Tuesday night. The Yankees have scheduled reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole to open a rehab assignment with the Patriots and the six-time MLB All-Star is expected to toe the rubber in the series opener against Hartford on Tuesday night. Cole is yet to pitch for the Bombers this season after he was placed on the IL on 3/28 with right elbow inflammation. The 33-year-old right-hander has gradually built up on a throwing program before progressing to the point of throwing to batters – Cole reportedly tossed just north of 40 pitches in a live session last Thursday in Tampa.

Flight of the Martian: Yankees top-prospect Jasson Dominguez had a memorable week in his return to Bridgewater this past week before having his rehab assignment transferred to Triple-A Scranton today. The 21-year-old outfielder, progressing in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last September, blasted four homers and drove in eight runs while hitting .316 and posting a .982 OPS in his 10-game stint with the Patriots.

For the first time since undergoing surgery, Dominguez saw reps defensively, returning to centerfield where he has spent a majority of his professional career to this point. The Dominican-product saw 12 innings of action in the field over three games last week – he recorded four put outs and looked comfortable during his time in the field.

“I feel really good,” said Dominguez during a group media availability last week. “My arm feels really good right now. The progression has been great. We’re just taking things day by day and every day I feel a little bit better.”

Jones Heating Up: Yankees second ranked prospect Spencer Jones had an extremely tough month of May – slashing just .178/.282/.220 with 45 strikeouts and just five extra-base hits in 26 games. In his last three games, Jones has gone 6-for-12 with a homer, six RBI and two stolen bases. While the sample size is small, it is an encouraging sign that one of the most highly touted chips in the system may be snapping out of a prolonged cold stretch.

“I think it’s part of the development,” said Patriots hitting coach Kevin Martir. “It’s happened to many players before and I think with time, he keeps improving his game planning and all of that will obviously come with time.”

Martir added, “It’s more so his approach,” explained Martir. “If you watch most of his strikeouts, he chases at times. Then obviously throughout time the whole point is to improve that and reduce the amount of chase and improve the contact.”

Jones has only played 57 games at the Double-A level dating back to last season – he’s struck out 85 times and walked on just 27 occasions in what is now 258 plate appearances. Martir knows that despite the results, it is important for Jones to stick to what made him a first-round draft selection and not get too caught up in the numbers.

“This happens with all hitters throughout their minor league careers throughout a season,” said Martir. “They’ll go through a little slump; they’ll have their ups and downs, and he is just going through his down time right now. The biggest thing is to not continue down that way and improve and get back to where he was.”

Generational Agustin: Despite hitting just three homers in the month of May after blasting nine in April, catcher Agustin Ramirez continues to be tied for the EL lead in homers with 12. While his power production has dipped recently, the 22-year-old backstop actually had a markedly better May than he did in the first month of the season. Ramirez hit .292 in 24 games while posting an .887 OPS this past month, improving his overall slash line to .271/.373/.553 – he has also gone 12-for-12 on stolen base attempts. Ramirez put himself on the map last season after blasting a career-best 18 homers as a 21-year-old, but the Dominican-native is quickly proving that he isn’t going to be next in a long lineage of homer-or-bust catchers.

“I think he might be like a generational player,” said Martir. “Not many guys at his age can make contact as much as he does and hit the ball as hard as he does with that bat speed. He’s an outlier, for sure.”

Goat Talk: The Yard Goats roster is one of the most talented in the EL, it features four of the Rockies top-10 prospects on the MLB Pipeline rankings. Top-prospect Adael Amador has hit just .178 in his first full-season in the upper levels, but the speedy infielder leads the EL in stolen bases with 20. Third ranked prospect Yanquiel Fernandez has hit four homers and driven home 27 runs while posting a strong .283/.329/.414 line as a 21-year-old. First round outfielders Zac Veen (6) and Benny Montgomery (10) are both on the IL and will not play in this series – Veen has been out of action since May 18 with a lower back strain while Montgomery is expected to miss the remainder of this season after undergoing shoulder surgery last month.

Series Probable Pitching Matchup:

Tue. 6/4 LHP Mason Albright (2-3, 4.85 ERA) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Wed. 6/5: RHP Connor Van Scoyoc (2-5, 7.20 ERA) vs. RHP Bailey Dees (2-3, 3.71 ERA)

Thu. 6/6: RHP Jarrod Cande (3-3, 3.93 ERA) vs. RHP Trystan Vrieling (4-4, 4.79 ERA)

Fri. 6/7: LHP Carson Palmquist (4-1, 2.76 ERA) vs. RHP Blane Abeyta (3-5, 6.14 ERA)

Sat. 6/8: RHP Andrew Quezada (3-1, 2.77 ERA) vs. LHP Brock Selvidge (4-4, 3.25 ERA)

Sun. 6/9: LHP Mason Albright (2-3, 4.85 ERA) vs. TBD

Matt Kardos | Senior Writer

Matt Kardos has covered the Yankees minor league system for over a decade and will spend his 12th season on the beat covering the Patriots for Throughout his career, Matt has contributed to, YES Network and Pinstriped Prospects. When he’s not at the ballpark, Matt enjoys traveling with his wife Kimberly, watching Jets football and collecting sports cards.