Friday, September 14, 2012

MINOR details: 2012 recap edition - High-A Bakersfield Blaze

With the Blaze's playoff loss on Wednesday, all of the Reds minor league organizations are through with baseball for this season so it's time we finished recapping each team's season. Statistical leaders were chosen among those who played significant time. It's not limited to a certain number of ABs or IPs, really. I just picked who I thought played enough to warrant being mentioned as a stats leader. Melky Cabrera will not be included.

We continue with High-A Bakersfield.

Bakersfield Blaze
The Blaze finished 72-68 overall, 3rd place in the California League North and 3.0 games back of San Jose. They finished in first place, 3.0 games ahead of San Jose, in the first half with a 41-29 record. The second half saw the Blaze go 31-39 and finish in fourth place and 8.0 games behind Modesto.

Overall, it was a successful season for manager Ken Griffey and his Blaze. The first half was a really good one as they rode the backs of several great players like Billy Hamilton, Donald Lutz, Tony Cingrani, and others to the first half title. Things slowed down a bit in the second half, as many of the Blaze's more advanced players were promoted to Double-A Pensacola. The Blaze still had some great players, but without the others, the Blaze tailed off and finished with a losing record and in fourth place in the standings for the seond half.

Nevertheless, the Blaze found themselves in the playoffs and with a bye through to the second round where they faced off against the Modesto Nuts. Once again, things were looking good early for Bakersfield as they got out to a two-game-to-none lead in the series, but then things began to unravel. They lost the next three in a row to be eliminated from the playoffs and effectively end their season. Bummer.

The statistical leaders among the Blaze were as follows:

AVG: Steve Selsky (.348)
HR: Travis Mattair (19)
RBI: Mattair (82)
R: Devin Lohman (80)
SB: Hamilton (104)

W: Josh Smith, Pat Doyle (9)
ERA: SP - Chad Rogers (3.15) RP - Brian Pearl (1.31)
*Cingrani made 10 starts at Bakersfield and posted a 1.11 ERA before being promoted to Pensacola.
SV: Pearl (13)
SO: Smith (140)

The highlight of the season was definitely winning the first half title to earn an automatic berth to the California League playoffs. They also boasted having Hamilton and Cingrani at the start of the season, both of whom are probably going to be front-runners for the Reds minor league hitter and pitcher of the year.

The low was clearly Wednesday night when the Blaze failed to capitalize on a 2-0 series lead and lost the do-or-die game five to be erased from the postseason.

Go Blaze!

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