Like the ’10 G-Nats, the 2010 Hagerstown Suns were a team that could mash the ball, leading the South Atlantic League in hits, runs scored, batting average and OPS. Unfortunately, they also led the league in runs allowed, hits allowed, and WHIP. Like adding insult to injury, salt to the wound, or a baby to a family sitcom, the defense did not help matters; it was second-worst in the league. That they even came close to the playoffs in the first half (36-34, 6GB) is a minor miracle.
Injuries, suspensions, and losing three-fifths of the starting rotation doomed the team to its sixth-place finish in the second half. Overall, the team went 65-75, three games behind its pythagorean projection. But there were some bright spots, too, most notably the possible resurrection of hope for a ’07 high-school pick that appeared to be on the path towards doing what a ’06 h.s. pick did in May: retire in ignominy (Colton Willems).
As we’ve done before, let’s take a look at Hagerstown’s hitters as a group compared to the rest of the Sally League…
Bold = League Leader
Three Suns (Bloxom, Ramirez, Perez) placed in the Top 10 of the Sally League for batting average, offsetting below-average on-base and slugging rates. While it’s tempting to say that this is a team of plodders when you subtract Eury Perez’s league-leading 64 steals, but this was also a team that led the league in triples (Perez had 5). The big inning was this team’s calling card, frequently scoring 3, 4, or 5 runs in single frame.
On the other side of the ledger scorebook, the lead was just as thick. Early on, the starting pitching was good — the aforementioned top three starters of Mitchell Clegg, Danny Rosenbaum, and Trevor Holder combined for a 13-6 record and an ERA of 2.63 in the first half — but in the second half, those marks would be 7-18 and 4.82 for the second-half triumvirate of Paul Applebee, Paul Demny and Graham Hicks.
But the relief pitching was horrid all year long, with just three full-time relievers (Rob Wort, Dean Weaver, Luis Garcia) posting sub-4.00 ERAs and only two falling below the league average for WHIP. Middle relievers Shane Erb, Wanel Vasquez, and Kyle Morrison appeared in 114 games and were 7-12 combined with six saves, an ERA of 6.06, and a WHIP of 1.69 over 175 innings.
I’m expanding to the Top 16 hitters and pitchers in terms of plate appearances and innings pitched because there are notables outside the Top 12. The full statistics for the team can be found here.
|Name||Age||Position(s)||G @ Pos||Fld%||Err||PA||GPA|
Before doing this review, it would have been easy to say that the suspensions of Souza and Higley hurt the team offensively, but it’s pretty clear that the additions of Hague and the second-half emergence Eury Perez more than made up for their loss from the lineup. Hitting was not this team’s problem. Defense, as you can see rather clearly with nine of 16 batters in double digits for errors committed, most assuredly was a weakness. As was pitching…
|Paul Demny||20||27/27||6-10, 0||4.23||129⅔||128||47||106||1.350||16||13|
|Paul Applebee||22||29/11||6-6, 1||4.10||107⅔||119||27||67||1.356||5||5|
|Daniel Rosenbaum||22||18/18||2-5, 0||2.32||101||95||28||84||1.218||7||4|
|Mitchell Clegg||23||20/13||9-3, 2||3.48||93||95||22||55||1.258||2||1|
|Josh Smoker||21||30/19||3-10, 3||6.50||91⅓||106||56||92||1.774||4||8|
|Kyle Morrison||22||37/0||3-6, 2||5.30||73||86||29||88||1.575||5||13|
|Graham Hicks||20||15/15||1-5, 0||5.26||66⅔||84||25||58||1.635||4||4|
|Trevor Holder||23||12/12||4-3, 0||3.15||65⅔||68||7||50||1.142||4||4|
|Wanel Vasquez||23||19/0||2-4, 3||7.00||54||66||25||32||1.685||4||8|
|Luis Garcia||23||26/0||4-4, 0||3.88||51||48||17||43||1.275||5||10|
|Dean Weaver||22||42/0||1-3, 16||3.04||50⅓||49||18||36||1.331||4||4|
|Shane Erb||23||39/0||2-2, 1||6.19||48||53||37||30||1.875||4||9|
|Patrick Arnold||21||26/0||2-3, 1||4.28||46⅓||56||16||33||1.554||2||4|
|Rob Wort||21||33/0||5-0, 8||2.08||43⅓||28||16||33||0.854||2||3|
|Evan Bronson||23||8/8||4-2, 0||5.40||43⅓||59||6||24||1.500||3||4|
|Jack McGeary||21||8/8||4-1, 0||4.62||39||38||15||32||1.359||5||4|
The ’07 pick referred to earlier was Josh Smoker. As a starter, his ERA was 7.38, his OBA was .319, and his WHIP was 1.872; as a reliever those numbers dropped to 1.35, .174, and 1.200. His walk rate, unfortunately, remained fairly constant (5.54 vs. 5.40) but his strikeout rate went up dramatically (8.19 to 14.17). Granted, it’s a small sample size (13⅓ innings over 11 appearances) but it’s something to look forward to in ’11, when he’ll be just 22 years old and he’ll still be a left-handed.
Next year could be quite unpredictable when it comes to guessing who will be back and who will be going up to Potomac for the Hagerstown pitchers. Smoker and Demny are likely to move up, based on the past offseason pattern of Florida Instructional League invites. Just about every pitcher that deserved a bump up to Potomac got one in-season. In terms of the hitters, it’s probably fair to say that most of the top six or seven guys will be Woodbridge next year, but with strong offensive outings from guys in Vermont and the GCL, it’s not a given.
OBLIGATORY TOP 5 LISTS
Without further ado, here are the watchlists, which may have some repeats next week. Feel free comment on how you think we ought to address that problem (a top 8 for full-season A?).
1. J.P. Ramirez
2. Rick Hague
3. Eury Perez
4. Destin Hood
5. Justin Bloxom
1. Daniel Rosenbaum
2. Rob Wort
3. Trevor Holder
4. Josh Smoker
5. Dean Weaver