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Spencer Jones and Zach Messinger lead Somerset Patriots into 2024

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The Somerset Patriots kick off their 2024 season in TD Bank Ballpark on Friday against the San Francisco Giants' Double-A Affiliate, Richmond Flying Squirrels, with opening day fireworks, weather permitting, of course. Manager Raul Dominguez will lead the Patriots in his second year with the club. The Patriots are coming off a season that ended with a record of 84-53 and being swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. It also happened to be the first time the Patriots have lost in the Eastern League Division Series...but, the buzz in Bridgewater is the teams' star attraction and New York Yankees' Top Prospect Spencer Jones.

Jones had a hot spring in Tampa and showcased his talent in the Spring Breakout game. Jones spoke about his improvements in seeing pitches better which drastically decreased his swings and misses. He kept at it this spring, worked hard in the offseason and we are seeing the results with the hopes it translates into the new season. Jones spoke about big league camp, he enjoyed the experience being surrounded by guys like, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Juan Soto, and Gerrit Cole. On Wednesday, Jones spoke about that experience of playing in Spring Training in Tampa, comparing it to his three older brothers:

You learn a lot just by listening and watching, and for me, that's how I was raised.. they [Yankees] show up everyday wanting to do their job and wanting to win, the most infectious thing in a clubhouse is the desire to win. - Spencer Jones

Opening Day Starter

The Somerset Patriots announced their opening day starter is Zach Messinger. Messinger first debuted for the Patriots on Sept. 14 towards the end of the season in 2023.  Messinger is the Yankees 23rd-ranked prospect and spent most of his season in Hudson Valley last year and made one start for Somerset. Messinger’s bread and butter is his fastball and slider. Fastball normally sits around 92-94 MPH and also hit the upper 90’s at times. Slider is in the low 80’s and he also throws: cutter, changeup, and curveball. Messinger had two games in Hudson with nine strikeouts and in Somerset he pitched 4.1 innings, giving up two runs, and striking out seven batters.

On Wednesday, Messinger spoke about making that jump last year from Hudson and seeing the best stuff in September during playoff baseball and getting the Double-A atmosphere. On Opening Day for the Patriots, he will try to play his game and control what he can control.

"It's an honor and a blessing to be able to have that opportunity. It's a really big thing for me. I take it with a lot of pride..I see every start as an opportunity." -Zach Messinger

Brock Selvidge to Somerset

Brock Selvidge is a player to keep in your radar this season. Selvidge had an impressive spring which helped him move up from Hudson to Somerset. He is the Yankees second-ranked lefty prospect currently in the farm. Selvidge was the Yankees third round pick in 2021 and has shined in his brief stint with Hudson Valley Renegades last season.

Raul Dominguez spoke about wanting to see more out of the Lefty: "I saw him in Spring Training at the Complex, he is an interesting lefty that has three pitches with a really high miss swing, I can't wait to see that guy, he is really aggressive and patient at the mound and competitive. Thats one of the guys I'd like to see here."

Follow Jersey Sporting News for your recap of the series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels

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