Friday, September 25, 2015

Fresno Grizzlies: 2015 Season in Review

Fresno ended the season with a 84-59 record and they earned their playoff spot the old-fashioned way ... by winning their division. No messing about with wild cards and mini-series and semifinals, just an outright division win. And they won it convincingly, 13.5 games over their closest competitor. The Grizzlies then defeated the El Paso Chihuahuas 3-1 in a best-of-five to win the Conference and advance to the finals against Round Rock. Fresno lost Game 1 of the finals to Round Rock in painful (for me since I was attending) fashion in 12 innings, followed by a win in Game 2 and a loss in Game 3, leading to TWO must-win games. Which they did, thank you very much! And they went on to win the Gildan Triple A National Championship game against the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday so they are officially the Kings of the World!!! (Or at least of the minor leagues.) Now let's see how the team performed within the league and who the team standouts were ...

James Hoyt - September 2015

Note all rankings are out of 16 total teams

Batting average: .274 (8th)
On-base percentage: .357 (1st)
Slugging percentage: .416 (8th)
Doubles: 243 (13th)
Triples: 36 (8th)
Home runs: 124 (T7th)
Walks: 606 (1st)
Strikeouts: 1014 (10th)
Stolen bases: 157 (T1st)

ERA: 4.24 (9th)
WHIP: 1.369 (7th)
Walks: 417 (14th)
Strikeouts: 1096 (3rd)

Batting Average: Tyler White (.362)
On-Base Percentage: Tyler White (.467)
Slugging Percentage: Tyler White (.559 - after Santana who was traded)
Doubles: Matt Duffy (29)
Triples: Nolan Fontana (6)
Home Runs: Jon Singleton (22 - T7th in the league)
RBI: Matt Duffy (104 - 2nd in the league)
Stolen Bases: Jonathan Villar (35 - 1st in the league)
Walks: Nolan Fontana (74 - 2nd in the league)
Runs: Matt Duffy (94 - 1st in the league)

Tyler White didn't have enough at-bats at the level to qualify as a league leader, but old friend Domingo Santana (traded to the Brewers) ended the season as third in the league in average, second in the league in on-base percentage and first in the league in slugging. Now let's look a little closer at some of the team standouts.

3B/1B Matt Duffy (26)
Shortly after earning MVP honors for the Pacific Coast League, Duffy was called up to Houston as recognition of his great season. In 127 games, Duffy hit .294/.366/.484 with 29 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs and 104 RBI.

1B Jon Singleton (24)
In 102 games for Fresno, Singleton hit .254/.359/.505 with 25 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs and 83 RBI. He walked 64 times to 99 strikeouts.

OF L.J. Hoes (25)
Hoes had a great season for Fresno. In his 99 regular season games for the team, he hit .295/.383/.400 with 24 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 53 RBI. He also stole 26 bases to 8 caught stealing and walked 52 times to 62 strikeouts.

OF Alex Presley (30)
In 89 games for Fresno, Presley hit .292/.345/.367 with 14 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 49 RBI and 15 stolen bases.

3B Tyler White (24)
White did well in his 59 games with Corpus Christi (.284/.415/.426), but he kicked it into overdrive following his early July promotion to Fresno (.362/.467/.559 in 57 games). He ended the season with a combined 25 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 99 RBI. He walked 84 times and struck out 73.

IF/UT Joe Sclafani (25)
As a bench/utility player, Sclafani didn't see regular playing time, but he hit a very nice .300/.381/.345 in 72 games and got stronger at the plate as the season progressed.

In the Corpus Christi season review, I touched on three players who spent parts of their seasons with Corpus Christi and put up very good numbers at the lower level, but all three also put up very respectable numbers at Fresno and I look for them to build on that experience next year: IF Tony Kemp (.273/.334/.362 in 71 games), OF Andrew Aplin (.275/.392/.348 in 74 games) and C Tyler Heineman (.271/.312/.370 in 56 games).

ERA: Jordan Jankowski (3.18 in 62.1IP)
WHIP: Brett Oberholtzer (1.186 in 70IP)
Strikeouts: Dan Straily (124 - 1st in the league)
Saves: James Hoyt (9)

In looking at the standouts for the season, let's start with Team Rehab. RHP Tyson Perez had a terrific season before going on the DL in late August. For the season (including three appearances for Corpus Christi, Perez had a 2.45 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP in 42 appearances. Perez underwent surgery this week. I believe that it was Tommy John surgery, but I have not seen that confirmed yet. LHP Tommy Shirley was building on his great 2014 season when he disappeared to Weiland Island at the end of May. In 11 games (7 starts), he had a 3.07 ERA and a 1.049 WHIP. Unfortunately, I don't know his status.

RHP Mike Hauschild (25)
Hauschild started the season with Corpus Christi, compiling a 3.20 ERA and a 1.204 WHIP in 10 games (8 starts) before earning a mid-June promotion to Fresno. Following the promotion, Hauschild had a 3.49 ERA and a 1.289 WHIP in 15 starts. His 138.1 total innings pitched were the most in the Astros minor leagues this season.

RHP Jordan Jankowski (26)
Jankowski had a really solid season for Fresno (3.18 ERA/1.428 WHIP) anchoring their bullpen. He ended the season on a high note as he didn't allow a run in his final 13 appearances of the regular season. He also didn't allow a home run in 55 regular season appearances (62.1 innings), a streak which came to an end in the postseason.

RHP James Hoyt (28)
Hoyt missed almost a month on the DL from mid-May to mid-June. After his return from the DL, Hoyt allowed only six earned runs in his final 33 appearances to end the season with 3.49 ERA, a 1.204 WHIP and nine saves.

LHP Brett Oberholtzer (26)
In 12 starts for the Grizzlies, Oberholtzer had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.186 WHIP. He walked only 12 and struck out 52 in 70 innings at the level.

There was a whole group of pitchers at the level that had uneven seasons and could be brilliant one day and struggle the next, including LHP Luis Cruz, RHP Mark Appel, RHP Brady RodgersLHP Kevin Chapman, RHP Jake Buchanan, RHP Dan Straily, and RHP Asher Wojciechowski. No one exemplifies this better than Mark Appel. On August 12th, Appel went eight innings, allowing only four hits, one walk, one run and he struck out eight. In his next start he lasted only 4.2 innings and allowed nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits and two walks and struck out three.

In an interview with Kevin Chapman a couple years ago, he told me that the main difference between the minor leagues and the major leagues is consistency, the difference between doing well 90% of the time and doing well 95% of the time. It is also the thing that drives minor league fans crazy as they want to see a favorite player find that consistency and succeed. It is my sincere belief that each of these talented pitchers are capable of making that final leap and that each one will have a successful major league career.

Previous Season Reviews:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros
Greeneville Astros


  1. Jane, we have ALL kept up with the Fresno team this year....watching them win game after game!
    Our future on the big club is nestled in the minors and I know THEY can't wait to get here, as much as we can't wait to see them play at Minute Maid!
    Thank you for keeping the faces and names of these talented young players, in our daily lives! I know it hasn't been easy on you, and we just wanted to say thank you for being our eyes and ears in the minors. We thank you for everything you do! Fondly, Becky

    1. Thanks, Becky! I really appreciate that more than you know.