WAPPINGERS FALLS - The Hudson Valley Renegades, short-season single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, are pleased to announce that seven players were selected to represent the North Division in the 2014 New York-Penn League All-Star Game. The number serves as the highest total in the history of the team, surpassing their previous high of five in 2012. Hunter Lockwood and Bralin Jackson were two of the six outfielders selected to participate, as both have been with the team for all 53 games this season. Hudson Valley also had three infielders chosen to play, with Coty Blanchard, Jace Conrad and Casey Gillaspie all earning the opportunity to take part in the August 19 festivities.
Two Hudson Valley pitchers will be making the trip to Brooklyn later this month, as Hunter Wood and Nolan Gannon will represent the league’s top pitching staff. In 10 starts this year Hunter Wood boasts a 3.02 ERA and a record of 2-3. He leads the team with 45 strikeouts in 50.2 innings with just 12 walks. In his last start, he tossed six innings of two-run baseball against Williamsport to earn the victory. Nolan Gannon is another starting pitcher who has managed to standout this season, and currently holds a dominant 5-1 record and a 2.79 ERA. The Californian has 41 strikeouts this season with just four walks in eight starts. Both have been stellar this summer and have played key roles in the Renegades’ New York-Penn League leading 38-16 record.
Not only do the Renegades have more players than any other team participating in the All-Star Game, the coaching staff will also be there to help lead the North Division. Hudson Valley manager Tim Parenton will be at the helm, with Pitching Coach Jorge Moncada and Hitting Coach Manny Castillo serving on his bench. Team trainer, Brian Newman and Strength Coach, Dan Rousseau will also be on board to fill out the North’s coaching staff.
Coty Blanchard has established himself as the man of all traits in 2014, having spent time at five different positions defensively. He’s batted in six different spots in the lineup, and is hitting .284 with a homer and 22 RBI’s. His 20 stolen bases are atop the league in that category, with 15 of them coming on the road. Blanchard is one of many players on his team to flourish at Dutchess Stadium, driving in 14 runs with a .353 batting average at home.
Another player who boasts the ability to excel in a variety of different roles is Bralin Jackson, Rays’ 5th round pick in 2012. Jackson currently leads all qualifying players on his team in batting average with a .303 clip. His 16 stolen bases are good for third in the New York-Penn League, as he’s only been caught stealing four times. The Raytown, Mizzouri native hit .324 in the month of July, and leads his squad in multi-hit performances with 18 total.
Jace Conrad has become a fixture at second-base since joining the team from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. In his 2014 collegiate season, Conrad hit .364 with nine homers and 22 stolen bases. He is part of his team’s league-leading trio in stolen bases this season, sitting behind Blanchard and in front of Jackson with 17 total. His .378 batting average against left-handed pitchers has made him a big threat against opposing hurlers this year. In 48 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Conrad has an average of .374 with 17 runs batted in.
The staggering offensive statistics for Hunter Lockwood certainly speak for themselves in his 2014 All-Star selection. Lockwood kicked off his summer with a walk-off home run on opening night against the Aberdeen IronBirds, and has since become a fan favorite in the Hudson Valley for his late inning heroics. His 13 homers and 40 RBI’s lead the league, with ten of his home runs coming at Dutchess Stadium. Now in his second year with the Rays’ organization, Lockwood has surpassed his Princeton home run total of 9 in 2013, in 44 fewer at-bats.
It is no surprise that Casey Gillaspie, the 20th overall pick in the 2014 draft saw his name selected. The switch-hitter is second on the team in home runs (6) and RBI’s (33), after a big collegiate year at Wichita State. His first hit with Hudson Valley was launched over the wall in right-field at Dutchess Stadium. Gillaspie caught fire in the month of July, hitting to the tune of a .333 average with 10 doubles and 3 homers. His brother Conor is currently a member of the Chicago White Sox, batting .313 with a .363 OBP. More information at hvrenegades.com.