Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lancaster JetHawks: 2015 Season in Review

Lancaster ended the season with a 75-65 record in third place in their division, three games behind High Desert and Rancho Cucamonga who were tied for first. The JetHawks made it to the playoffs as a wild card and, although they won the first game in the three-game South Division mini-series which would have sent them to the Division Finals, they ultimately dropped the next two games to High Desert and did not advance. Let's take a look at the team performance within the league and some of the individual standouts.

Keegan Yuhl - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Note all rankings are out of 10 total teams

Batting average: .291 (1st)
On-base percentage: .369 (1st)
Slugging percentage: .481 (1st)
Doubles: 288 (T3rd)
Triples: 67 (1st)
Home runs: 174 (1st)
Walks: 588 (1st)
Strikeouts: 1196 (3rd)
Stolen bases: 115 (5th)

As you can see, this team had a ton of power and also drew a lot of walks, but they also struck out at a fairly high clip.

ERA: 4.60 (7th)
WHIP: 1.417 (7th)
Walks: 463 (2nd)
Strikeouts: 1183 (5th)

A 4.60 ERA might not sound that impressive to some, but it is very good for a team that played half of their games in The Hangar and another dozen or so games in High Desert. That 4.60 mark was the best for the JetHawks since 2008. That walk rate on the other hand ... not so good. But before we dive any further into the pitching on the team, let's first look at some of the offensive standouts.

Batting Average: A.J. Reed (.346 - 1st in the league)
On-Base Percentage: A.J. Reed (.449 - 1st in the league)
Slugging Percentage: A.J. Reed (.638 - 1st in the league)
Doubles: James Ramsay (32)
Triples: Ronnie Mitchell (11 - T2nd in the league)
Home Runs: Chase McDonald (30 - T2nd in the league)
RBI: J.D. Davis (101 - 2nd in the league)
Stolen Bases: Derek Fisher (23 - 8th in the league)
Walks: A.J. Reed (59 - 2nd in the league)
Runs: J.D. Davis (93 - 3rd in the league)

1B A.J. Reed (22)
Reed may have been promoted to Corpus Christi in mid-July, but he spent enough time in the California League to lead the league in several categories and to win the league Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Postseason All-Star awards. Reed slashed .346/.449/.638 with 16 doubles, four triples, 23 home runs, 81 RBI and 59 walks to 73 strikeouts in his 82 games at that level.

1B Chase McDonald (23)
McDonald's playing time increased following Reed's promotion to Corpus and he ended the season with a .279/.358/.592 line over 105 games with 30 doubles, one triple, 30 home runs and 80 RBI. McDonald's slugging percentage was second in the league behind only A.J. Reed.

3B J.D. Davis (22)
Davis had a great sophomore season, hitting .280/.370/.520 with 28 doubles, three triples, 26 home runs and 101 RBI in 120 games.

OF James Ramsay (23)
Ramsay really came into his own in 2015, hitting a robust .322/.384/.463 with 32 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 64 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 127 games. His average and on-base percentage were third in the league; he was second in the league in hits with 160; and his 88 runs scored were fourth in the league.

OF Ronnie Mitchell (24)
Aside from leading the Astros systems in triples, Mitchell had a very nice season, hitting .286/.356/.496 with 27 doubles, 11 triples, 12 home runs and 72 RBI.

SS Alex Bregman (21)
The 2015 first round draft pick spent only 29 games with Quad Cities before his promotion to Lancaster where he hit .319/.364/.475 with eight doubles, four triples, three home runs, 21 RBI, eight stolen bases to four caught stealing and 12 walks to 17 strikeouts in 37 games. For the season, Bregman hit .294/.366/.415 with 13 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 34 RBI, 13 stolen bases to six stolen bases and 29 walks to 30 strikeouts in 66 total games.

Several other players were promoted to Lancaster during the season as well. Here's a look at their numbers with Lancaster and their season totals:

IF Mott Hyde (23)
.312/.384/.447 24-2B 4-3B 2HR 49RBI in 74 games at Lancaster
.304/.384/.433 40-2B 5-3B 3HR 67RBI in 124 games for the season

OF Derek Fisher (22)
.262/.354/.471 10-2B 7-3B 16HR 63RBI in 84 games for Lancaster
.275/.364/.483 21-2B 8-3B 22HR 87RBI in 123 games for the season

C Jamie Ritchie (22)
.308/.422/.444 11-2B 2-3B 1HR 8RBI in 39 games at Lancaster
.281/.426/.393 21-2B 4-3B 5HR 35RBI in 111 games for the season

OF Sean McMullen (23)
.293/.394/.511 8-2B 3-3B 2HR 16RBI in 25 games at Lancaster
.255/.343/.429 21-2B 6-3B 7HR 48RBI in 91 games for the season

A few other players were promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi during the 2015 season. We'll look at Jack Mayfield and Alfredo Gonzalez, in particular, in conjunction with the Corpus season review, but I did want to make a special note regarding OF Danry Vasquez. Vasquez hit .315/.365/.470 in 40 games in Lancaster, but was unable to duplicate those numbers in his 73 games for the Hooks. He was hitting much better by the end of the season, though, and is over three years younger than the average Texas League position player so there is no reason to believe that Vasquez won't be able to make the necessary adjustments to fully catch up with the higher levels at some point.

ERA: Keegan Yuhl (1.94 in 79IP)
WHIP: Keegan Yuhl (1.203 in 79IP)
Strikeouts: Troy Scribner (111 in 100IP)
Saves: Tyler Brunnemann (5)

It is sometimes difficult to gauge how well a pitcher has done in the California League so I'm going to simply point out a few pitchers that thrived at the level, and a few more that did a good job of surviving it.

RHP Keegan Yuhl (23)
Yuhl was promoted from Quad Cities in mid-May and was so successful with the JetHawks that he earned a spot in the starting rotation by mid-July. Yuhl was 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA and a 1.203 WHIP in 24 appearances (8 starts) for Lancaster. For the season, he compiled a 1.74 ERA and a 1.139 WHIP in 98.1 innings of work.

LHP Brian Holmes (24)
Holmes flourished with Lancaster this season leading to his late May promotion to Corpus Christi. In seven games (four starts) at the level, he had a 2.37 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP over 30.1 innings.

RHP Frances Martes (19)
Martes spent the bulk of his season with Quad Cities where he had a 1.04 ERA and a 0.885 WHIP in 52 innings, but he excelled at Lancaster as well with a 2.31 ERA and a 1.114 WHIP in 35 innings. He was promoted to Corpus Christi in late August and ended the season with a 2.04 ERA and a 1.092 WHIP in 101.2 innings over 19 games (16 starts).

RHP Joe Musgrove (22)
Musgrove also climbed the ladder this season and compiled a 2.40 ERA and a 0.967 WHIP in six games (four starts) for Lancaster. (Look for more about Joe in the Hooks season review coming soon.)

LHP Bryan Radziewski (23)
Following Radziewski's early May promotion to Lancaster, he put together a very solid season with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.357 WHIP in 84 innings at the level (18 games/14 starts). For the season, Radziewski had a 3.48 ERA and a 1.264 WHIP in 106 innings of work.

RHP Kevin Comer (23)
Comer's 4.45 ERA and 1.324 WHIP in 62.2 innings pitched for Lancaster following his early June promotion to Lancaster were solid, but he really excelled down the stretch when he was used solely out of the bullpen. In 30.1 innings out of the bullpen for the JetHawks, he had a 1.78 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP.

RHP Michael Freeman (23)
The 2015 7th round draft pick made quick work of Lancaster following an early August promotion from Quad Cities, compiling a 0.49 ERA and a 0.709 WHIP in seven bullpen appearances (18.1IP) before receiving an early September promotion to Corpus Christi. He ended the season with a combined 1.17 ERA and a 0.991 WHIP in 17 games (38.1IP).

LHP Chris Cotton (24)
Cotton's introduction to Lancaster last season was a tad bit rough, but he came back in 2015 and tamed the beast, putting up a 1.40 ERA and a 1.052 WHIP in 13 appearances (25.2IP) at the level before receiving a late May promotion to Corpus Christi.

RHP Edison Frias (24)
Frias managed a very respectable 4.18 ERA and a 1.280 WHIP in 79.2 innings over his 18 games (14 starts) for Lancaster prior to his August 1st promotion to Corpus Christi.

RHP Michael Feliz (22)
I'll be honest. I totally forgot that Feliz started the season with Lancaster, but he managed a solid 4.41 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP in eight games (five starts) at the level prior to his late May promotion to Corpus Christi.

RHP Tyler Brunnemann (24)
Brunnemann had a 3.50 ERA and a 1.232 WHIP in 38 bullpen appearances for Lancaster prior to a late August promotion to Corpus. He walked 22 and struck out 70 in 61.2 innings.

LHP Steve Naemark (25)
Naemark only tossed 4.1 innings for the JetHawks (2.08 ERA and 0.923 WHIP), but it was the last stop on his remarkable journey that saw him drafted in the 40th round and promoted three times in a little over two month's time. He ended the season with a 1.47 ERA and a 0.880 WHIP in 21 bullpen appearances (30.2 innings).

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

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