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April 1, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Whitlock strikes out six; Hamilton shows off power and speed


4/1 Cup of Coffee:
Minor league baseball returned on Friday with the WooSox kicking the season off at home. Portland, Greenville, and Salem will begin their seasons on April 6.

There are a few improvements in 2023 for fans of the minor leagues. MiLB.tv is now a free add-on for those with an MLB.tv subscription. No separate MiLB.tv subscription is needed to watch the games. Also, Triple-A games will have Statcast data available. The feed from Opening Day for the WooSox is available here. You can see exit velocity, launch angle, and pitch velocity for every prospect. 

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Garrett Whitlock tossed four innings of one-run ball, and David Hamilton (pictured) was once again the best player on the field on Opening Day. A year after going 4 for 5 with two home runs in the season's first game, Hamilton went 3 for 5 with a home run and a stolen base on Friday. His single in the first inning had a 108.4 mph exit velocity, the highest of the game for the WooSox, and his home run traveled 394 feet. Greg Allen and Daniel Palka also launched home runs for Worcester, and Niko Goodrum went 1 for 2 with two walks and a rare 400-foot single. Jarren Duran went 1 for 4 with a walk out of the leadoff spot. 

Whitlock struck out six and walked one while throwing 75 pitches. His sinker averaged 93mph, down from 95mph last year. His velocity was higher in the first few innings before dipping in the fourth inning. A quintet of relievers closed the game out, highlighted by AJ Politi who was recently returned from the Orioles as a Rule 5 pick. He struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

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Player of the Day: The Statcast data makes this pick easy as they include win probability added in the box score. David Hamilton, who got added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, made a great Triple-A debut. He started at shortstop and showed off his power and speed with a home run and a steal. The Red Sox are very thin with middle infield depth, as Trevor Story and Adalberto Mondesi are on the 60-day injured list. If any more injuries happen higher up on the depth chart, Hamilton could see himself in Boston. He is a name Red Sox fans will want to follow closely. 

Photo Credit: David Hamilton by Kelly O'Connor