Trenton Thunder

Opening Series Recap: Trenton Thunder showing promise to start 2023 season

The Trenton Thunder began their 2023 MLB Draft League campaign Thursday night with a 7-1 win over the Frederick Keys and proceeded to follow that up with a lightning-filled 8-2 defeat in the back half on Friday night at Trenton Thunder Ballpark.

With the home half of the four-game opening series now in the record books, we take a look now at the three stars of the series as well as who's hot and who's not to start the new season.

Three Stars

First Star - Anthony Pron

The right hander out of Stevens Tech and a native of Mullica Hill shined in Thursday's opener, pitching two solid innings in relief of starter Chase Jeter, punching out three and only allowing one hit as part of the Thunder's bullpen barrage in the opener.

Early MLB player comparison: David Robertson.

Second Star (tie) - Alden Mathes and Anthony Calarco

The redshirt junior out of University of Richmond (Virginia) went 2-for-4 in Thursday's victory and helped provide the spark that powered that four-run third inning explosion that propelled the Trenton Thunder to the win. Mathes, a product of Broomall, Pennsylvania, showed great power and speed early in this season.

Early MLB player comparison: Starling Marte.

Mathes ties with designated hitter Anthony Calarco, who went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and a double to his credit in Thursday's win. While he did go 0-for-3 in the loss Friday, The University of Mississippi product showed his power and speed early and often in this series.

His early MLB player comparison is a tossup between Didi Gregorius of the Phillies and Brewers outfielder Jesse Winker.

Third Star - Tervell Johnson

Tervell Johnson was one of the bright spots for the Keys in the series as he went 2-for-2 with a walk mixed in on Thursday night yet did not see any action in the Keys' win Friday. He has decent pop in his bat, he just needs to work on defense.

His early MLB comparison is another left fielder with the same skillset and decent speed but just a little more power to all fields in his arsenal. That being Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves.

Who's Hot

The Thunder Bullpen

The Trenton Thunder bullpen shut down the Keys for six strong innings on Thursday as their depth overwhelmed the Keys' batters throughout the latter stages of the game led by two innings each from Pron, Cade Udell, Peter Gallo and Brenton Fisher.

They continued their brilliance in the back half Friday, trying their absolute hardest to keep the Thunder in the game, but it just wasn't meant to be. If they can continue at this rate, expect more Trenton Thunder players to get drafted in Seattle come July.

Who's Not

Isaiah Drake

North Atlanta High's young outfielder and Georgia Tech commit Isaiah Drake went 0-for-2 in Thursday's win with a strikeout, a walk and a run scored then proceeded to tack on a lineout in Friday's loss. While he still has time to bounce back from his slow start to the season, his draft stock surely took a hit with his performance in this series.

If he can pick it up, the freshman outfielder can expect to have his name called at least in the late second round or potentially early third round in this year's draft. He has elite speed, great range in the outfield and power to boot. Plus, he's the rare breed that can hit, play the field and pitch. However, he's not the caliber of Shohei Ohtani - not yet anyway.

His early MLB player comparison would either be Ozzie Albies of his hometown Atlanta Braves or Luis Arraez of the Miami Marlins.

Thunder On the Road

The Trenton Thunder continue their four game opening series on the road Saturday and Sunday against these same Frederick Keys. Game time on Saturday is 6:00 PM with a 1:00 PM start on Sunday to start a five-game road swing before returning to Trenton Thunder Ballpark next Friday to start a three-game weekend set against the West Virginia Black Bears.