Last week, I took a look at the DSL Astros season, the GCL Astros season, and the Greeneville Astros season. Now let's look at the Lexington Legends Lo-A affiliate. Here's a quick look at how the 2011 and 2012 teams compare.
2011 Win Percentage - .428
2012 Win Percentage - .500
2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 645 - 731 = (86)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential - 691 - 664 = 27
2011 Team ERA & WHIP - 4.63 & 1.413
2012 Team ERA & WHIP - 4.26 & 1.387
2011 Team Batting Line - .255/.327/.389
2012 Team Batting Line - .252/.344/.380
The results for Lexington are somewhat deceptive. As late as mid-August, they were substantially over .500 before hitting a skid in which they lost 16 of 18. I don't know if these players were simply out of gas after many of them participated in their first full professional season, but I'm sure that was a factor. And I'm certain that the loss of Delino DeShields as he was promoted to Lancaster in early August was a factor as well. The season-long chemistry established with DeShields at the top of the order had to be difficult to recreate.
There was a 10-game swing in the win column and a 113-run swing in the run differential. Although the pitching stats don't show a dramatic difference, the team went from toward the bottom of the pack in league ERA and WHIP to solidly in the middle, and went from 9th in saves and 12th in strikeouts (out of 14 teams) to second in the league in both of those categories. Team batting average and slugging percentage are roughly where they were last season. The biggest improvements are in on-base percentage (from 9th to 4th in the league), runs scored and RBIs (from 8th to 4th), and walks and stolen bases (from the bottom of the pack to 2nd in the league).
Here are some individual standouts from the team ~
I'll take a complete look at 2B Delino DeShields, Jr. when I write my season recap on the Lancaster team, but it bears noting that despite having been gone from the Lexington club for almost a month, DeShields is still a league leader in numerous categories, including stolen bases (1st), runs (2nd), OBP (7th) and walks (8th). He's also in the top 20 in the league in batting average, slugging, OPS and hits. He was recently named a South Atlantic League post-season All-Star.
3B Matt Duffy ended the season with a .280/.387/.447 batting line and a team leading 138 hits (7th in the league) and 16 home runs (tied for 9th in the league). He was also in the top 20 in the league in OBP, slugging, runs, RBI and doubles. He also held the dubious "honor" of being hit by pitch 41 times in the season, leading all of the minor leagues ... by far.
1B Zach Johnson led the team, and the league, in RBI with 108 and was tied for the lead on all Astros minor league teams with Erik Castro of Lancaster. He also led the team in walks (5th in the league) and doubles (tied for 3rd in the league), and was in the top three on the team in runs, hits and home runs. He ended the season hitting .238/.339/.406 and was also named to the South Atlantic League post-season All-Star team.
Although OF Brandon Meredith didn't play in enough games to qualify as a league leader in slugging, his .506 slugging percentage over 86 games was still impressive. In 48 fewer games than Zach Johnson and Matt Duffy, Meredith managed to tie Johnson in home runs and trail Duffy by just one. He was also in the top five on the team in runs, RBI, hits, doubles and triples. He ended the season with a .278/.377/.506 batting line.
RF/C Mike Kvasnicka was also limited in playing time due to injuries and similarly to Meredith managed to rank highly in several categories, including doubles, home runs and RBIs. SS Nolan Fontana led the team with a .464 OBP, albeit only over 49 games as he drew 65 walks, only 10 fewer than Zach Johnson who had played in 134 games.
RHP Mike Foltynewicz had an absolute breakthrough season. He turned a 5-11 2011 season into a 14-4 2012 campaign. He was tied for first in wins in the South Atlantic league, and was second in innings pitched, fourth in ERA, sixth in strikeouts and tied for 13th in WHIP among qualifiers. He also made the post-season All-Star squad. He ended the season with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP.
LHP Luis Cruz ended the season with a 9-8 record, a 4.05 ERA (tied for 13th) and a 1.357 WHIP (also tied for 13th). He was third in the league in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched and tied for 11th in wins.
RHP Dayan Diaz was 5-4 with 19 saves in 41 appearances out of the bullpen. His ERA of 1.85 led the entire Astros system for pitchers making at least 30 appearances and was accompanied by a 1.200 WHIP. He was tied for third in the league in saves.
LHP Mitch Lambson started at Greeneville and was quickly promoted as he dominated the Appy League. His combined record for the season was 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA, a 0.975 WHIP, 10.6 SO/9 and a 5.40 SO/BB ratio. At Lexington, he had a 2.72 ERA and a 1.101 WHIP.
The sample size on RHP Chris Devenski (5 starts with Lexington) is too small for generalized conclusions, but I would be remiss if I didn't note his complete game no-hitter on his last start of the season, including his 16 strikeouts from that game. I would also be remiss if I didn't point out Hitting Coach Josh Bonifay's inclusion as a coach for the South Atlantic League post-season All-Star team (Hum you!)
I hope to have a post-season look at the Oklahoma City squad ready by the end of the week, but no promises.