Diamond Notes

Stoudt off to good start in Mariners' system
September 21, 2021
Levi Stoudt off to good start in Mariners' system Levi Stoudt Photo Courtesy of MILB.com

RHP Levi Stoudt (Lehigh, Quakertown Blazers,2017) finally started his pro career after sitting out the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery and missing the 2020 minor league season which was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. Stoudt, the Top ACBL Prospect in 2017, was drafted in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.

Stoudt posted a 6-1 record for the Everett AquaSox, the Mariners High-A affiliate and in August was promoted to the Arkansas Travelers, the Mariners AA affiliate. Overall he posted a 7-3 record in 15 starts with 86Ks in 81.2 innings with a 3.31 ERA.

RHP Matt Svanson (Lehigh, Quakertown Blazers,2018) and RHP Jimmy Kingsbury (Villanova, Quakertown Blazers,2018), ACBL All-Stars in 2018 and pitchers on the Blazers’ ACBL championship team, also had success in their first season of pro ball.

Svanson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 13th round of the 2021 MLB Draft and assigned to their Low-A affiliate, Dunedin. The 6-5, 230 pound RHP posted five saves in 11 relief appearances over 15.2 innings and struck out 23 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

Kingsbury was drafted in the 17th round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners and assigned to their Low-A affiliate, the Modesto Nuts. On Friday September 17 he participated in a combined no-hitter as Modesto defeated Stockton 7-0. Kingsbury allowed no runs or hits over seven innings with ten strikeouts and one walk. On the season he posted a 2-1 record and 2.20 ERA in 32.2 innings. He struck out 39 and walked eleven with a 0.83 WHIP and opponents hit .138 against him.

2021 Reliever of the Year
August 16, 2021

2021 Reliever of the Year
Joe Skapinetz, Jersey Pilots

Easy to see why Lafayette head coach Tim Reilly is excited for the arrival of Skapinetz in the Fall.

While no team in the ACBL really used the traditional closer to overwhelming success, Skapinetz quietly put up the best season of any league pitcher out of the bullpen and deserves recognition as the league’s Reliever of the Year.

With a powerful 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame and a deceptively strong low 90s fastball, Skapinetz overpowered enemy hitters out of the pen. In 10 outings – 8 in relief – Big Joe pitched to a 0.95 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 19 innings. He allowed just six hits all season.

Enemy hitters managed just an .071 average against Skapinetz with a .264 OBP. Watch him throw and you can see an arm that should be able to pump it up to the mid-90s with a bit more progression.

In fact, it’s not hard to imagine Skapinetz giving league hitters nightmares for the next few years.

Joe Skapinetz, Jersey Pilots, 2021 Reliever of the Year

2021 Hitter of the Year
August 15, 2021

2021 Hitter of the Year
Casey Caufield, Quakertown Blazers

The guy who got things started for manager Jeff Evans’ potent offense is the 2021 ACBL Hitter of the Year.

Monmouth University’s Caufield got better and better as the season went on and at .397 finished just one hit shy of .400 for the season. He was that good and that tough of an out.

Casey finished with 15 multi-hit games and five three-hit games – four of which came over the final two weeks of the regular season. He went 15-for-29 down the stretch, was a patient leadoff man at the plate (16 walks and a .493 OBP over the entire season), and stole 13 bases in 15 attempts. He finished with 46 hits and 28 runs and Caulfield’s 68 times on base led the entire ACBL.

Caufield’s at bats set the tone for the relentless offensive attack that Evans and GM Chris Ray worked hard to build. He finished the month of July with hits in 20 out of 21 games (including the ASG) and left no doubt as far as Hitter of the Year.

Casey Caufield, Quakertown Blazers, 2021 Hitter of the Year Winner

2021 Slugger of the Year
August 14, 2021

2021 Slugger of the Year
Vinny DiNicola, Jersey Pilots

Jersey’s big first baseman put MAAC coaches on notice with his performance this summer. The Siena College transfer has the ability to hurt a lot of baseballs over the next three years.

DiNicola was far and away the best power hitter in the ACBL in 2021. He blasted 10 home runs during the regular season – and added another in the playoffs – to go along with a league-best 28 RBIs in the middle of manager Fred Orchard’s lineup.

DiNicola had a pair of two-homer games in a five-day span right before the All-Star game, crunching two against the Capitals on July 15 and another pair against the Blazers on July 20. Throw in nine stolen bases for good measure, and there’s no wonder Siena head coach Tony Rossi – the dean of all D1 coaches – is excited for his 53rd year at the helm of the Saints.

With a .649 slugging percentage and 1.041 OPS, DiNicola made opposing managers aware of his presence at all times. He is the very definition of Slugger of the Year.

Vinny DiNicola, Jersey Pilots, 2021 Slugger of the Year Winner

2021 Darrin Winston Pitcher of the Year
August 13, 2021

Darrin Winston Pitcher of the Year
Winston Allen, Jersey Pilots

Before heading off to his graduate year at the University of Richmond, Jersey Pilots ace Winston Allen gave area fans an advanced course in what happens when you put the ball where you want and dictate at bats.

Allen dominated Wolff Division hitters during the regular season. He did not allow an earned run over his first 31 innings (counting his perfect, two strikeout frame in the all-star game) and finished the season 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA, allowing just 13 hits on the season. Opposing hitters batted just .124 against Allen with a .360 OPS.

And this wasn’t a matter of loading up on cupcakes either. Every inning he pitched came against three of the top four other teams in the ACBL when it came to overall points. He started twice against the league champion Trenton Generals and three times against the potent lineup of the Quakertown Blazers.

Through it all, Winston proved to be a rock for manager Fred Orchard and ace for his talented rotation. And a great choice for league Pitcher of the Year.

Winston Allen, Jersey Pilots 2021 Darrin Winston Pitcher of the Year Winner

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2021 ACBL Standings

Wolff Division

Trenton Generals2515090
Trenton Capitals1622070

Kaiser Division

North Jersey236075
New York1223059
New Brunswick1222058
Ocean Ospreys1024054

3 points for a Win, 2 points for a Tie, 1 point for a Loss

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