BRISTOL - When scouts from the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds tell Bristol Blues owner Elliot Scheiner they believe the best talent in the FCBL resides in Bristol, it gives him a sense of pride, which trickles down to manager Ronnie Palmer and his crew of players.
“If people are throwing those guys those types of compliments out to us, that certainly is something that’s welcomed,” Palmer said. “I like our team. I’m around our guys more than anybody. I certainly like the lineups we put together. I don’t think I would switch any of our guys out with other players that I’ve seen.”
Palmer is able to say that after seeing the development of pitchers Mark Faello, Will Nowak and Dom Niman; infielders Buddy Dewaine (third base) and Zeke Diamond (shortstop); and outfielders Brandon Miller, Austin White and Parker Upton.
All eight will be participating in tonight’s Futures League All-Star Game, starting at 7:15 p.m. at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Mass. The game’s two teams are named the Electrics and the Hillies after a pair of Pittsfield teams from the early 20th century.
“It’s certainly a compliment to the guys who had been recognized as All-Stars. I certainly think there are more,” Palmer said. “I know those guys will enjoy their experiences at the All-Star game. Obviously, I’m pleased with having eight or nine All-Stars this year. It’s been an exciting summer thus far.”
Despite being one of just three teams to go the entire season above .500 and finish with a winning record, the Blues last summer only had five All-Stars.
It’s been a different story in 2019, as Nowak, Faello, Diamond and Miller will play for the Electrics; and Niman, Dewaine, White and Upton will be on the Hillies.
Nowak has been one of the best closers in the league. After blowing a save in his first appearance by allowing three runs in a 3-2 loss, the right-hander has been lights out and has not allowed a run since that loss. He has a 1.28 ERA with 29 strikeouts and just two walks. He has allowed four hits in 14 innings while picking up eight saves, the second-most in the league.
Faello, a right-hander, has been the Blues’ best starter, with a 4-0 record with a 1.92 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 15 walks in 28 innings across five starts.
Diamond, a shortstop, got off to a rocky start, struggling with a .219 average through 10 games before exploding and briefly taking over the league lead in average (.403). The right-handed hitter is hitting .336/.382/.427 with 12 RBI, 19 runs scored and five doubles. His .336 average is fifth in the FCBL.
Left-handed hitter Miller is slashing .354/.429/.496 with three home runs, 27 RBI, 18 runs scored, seven doubles and 19 stolen bases. His .354 average leads the league at the break and his 27 RBI ranks second.
Niman, a left-handed reliever who is still yet to throw in college after redshirting his freshman season at CCSU, is tied for the lead at the break with five wins. He’s 5-1 with a 4.19 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 13 walks in 19⅓ innings.
White, who has earned praise around the league for being one of, if not the best center fielder and leadoff hitter in the FCBL, is slashing .346/.491/.492 with 21 RBI and seven doubles. He leads the league with 36 runs scored, six triples, 34 walks and 20 stolen bases, and his .346 average is third in the league.
Upton, who arrived to the team June 21, was one of the first Blues to be signed in the offseason, but there was a short-lived possibility that he was going to head to the Cape Cod League. Once that opportunity was gone, the switch-hitter came to Bristol and has been of its best talents. He is slashing .265/.429/.429 with two home runs and 15 runs scored.
Dewaine, another late arrival who had not planned on participating in summer ball until arriving in mid-June, is hitting .326/.406/.382 with 13 RBI and 20 runs scored.
The recognition of all eight in the All-Star Game, Palmer says, is a compliment to the program.
“It says, about the organization, that there’s a comfort level when coaches send their players to the Blues that they’re gonna get a first-class experience playing at a tremendous ballpark with a good fan base, and the boys are gonna treated the right way, both on the field and off the field,” Palmer said. “They’re just gonna have a summer experience that’s fun to remember. You take that back to school, and they tell their coaches that. And they wanna send other guys to play for the Blues.”
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or