Jays From the Couch takes a look at some key players from the 2018 Bluefield Blue Jays season
The Bluefield Blue Jays play in the Appalachian League which is a Rookie short-season league. The B-Jays finished 2nd in the Apply League East division with a 42 and 26 record, three games back of the Princeton Rays. Every year Bluefield and Princeton compete for the Mercer Cup with the Rays taking the cup in 2018.
Bluefield made the playoffs and faced off against the Princeton Rays. The Blue Jays took game 1, 12 to 7 but fell in back-to-back games (7 to 3 and 6 to 5) to lose the best 2-out-of-3 series. Despite the disappointing results in the playoff, Bluefield’s season was a success.
Bluefield matched it’s longest win streak with it’s longest losing streak at 7 games. The club scored 21 runs on June 29th with a 21 to 11 win. The most runs Bluefield allowed came against Danville went they fell 17 to 4.
Bluefield possessed one of the best offenses in the Appy League with the 4th best triple slash line of .271/.362/.410. Bluefield stole more bases (88) and hit more triples (32) than any other team. The club finished with the 2nd more doubles (116) and third most runs scored (395).
The Blue Jays pitching staff did not fair as well as the offense. They allowed the most home runs (62) and hit more batters than any other team in the league. It wasn’t all bad for Bluefield’s pitching staff, they finished with the 3rd most strikeouts (600), 2nd most WHIP (1.38) and saves (17). The bullpen amassed the most holds (22) in the league.
Cal Stevenson and Alejandro Kirk finished in the top 10 in just about every statistical category.
Stevenson led the league with 61 runs scored, Luis De Los Santos (45) and Dominic Abbadessa (42) joined Cal in the top 10 coming landing in the 8th and 10th spot. Abbadessa’s 74 hits were good for 3rd best in the Appy with Alejandro Kirk (4th, 73) and Stevenson (6th, 70) not far behind.
Abbadessa finished 3rd with 14 doubles and Stevenson finished with 13, good for 4th place. DJ Neal hit 9 triples (2nd) and Cal (6) and Luis De Los Santos (5) finished 3rd and 4th. Bluefield’s home run leader, Kirk, tied for 5th with 10 bombs. Kirk finished a league-best 57 RBI and Neal (7th) made the top-10 with 39 RBI.
Leadoff man Cal Stevenson walked 53 times to lead the league and Kirk (33) squeaked in with the 9th most walks. Stevenson’s 20 SB finished 2nd while Abbedessa (18) and Neal (15) finished 3rd and 4th. Stevenson’s .494 OBP was the best in the Appy with Kirk (4th .443) and Rafael Lantigua (5th .422) also putting up some impressive numbers.
The league leader in RBI, Alejandro Kirk, finished with the leagues 4th best slugging percentage (.558) and was joined by Cal Stevenson at number 6 (.518). Cal was more than just walks and OBP, Stevenson’s .359 batting average was the second best. Kirk finished with a .354 batting average (3rd), Abbadessa .311 (7th), and Lantigua .303 (10) also finished with strong batting averages.
Cal Stevenson (2nd, 1.012 OPS) and Alejandro Kirk (6th, 1.001 OPS) punctuate a solid 2018 season finishing atop one of baseball’s best stats to show overall dominance.
The Blue Jays rotation was anchored by top pitching prospect Eric Pardinho, as well as Adam Cuevas, Felipe Castaneda, Nathanael Perez, and Claudio Galva. Perez led the club with 56.1 IP and finished with the 9th most inning in the Appy. Pardinho struck out 64 batters (3rd) with Cuevas (4th, 61) and Perez (5th, 59) not far behind.
Out of the bullpen, Sean Rackoski was credited with 7 wins (1st) and 6 saves (2nd). Brad Wilson converted 7 saves to lead the league. Troy Watson led the club with 0.78 WHIP in six starts and three appearances over 27.0IP while Pardinho finished with a 1.06 WHIP over 11 starts and 50.0IP.
Andy McGuire posted a record of 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 18 appearances. He struck out 22 batters over 23.1 IP. The 23-yr-old McGuire also played 11 games at 1st base and 1 in LF, batting .275 with a .431 OBP. He collected four doubles, and four RBI while walking ten times and striking out 11 times. The Bluefield Blue Jays own Shohei Ohtani.
Bluefield experienced a catcher crunch with Alejandro Kirk, Gabriel Moreno, and Hagen Danner all having productive seasons. I don’t have to say much more about Kirk after seeing his name appear a number of times above in this article except that he made 31 starts behind the plate allowing 16 stole bases and catching 12. He also had just one passed ball.
Moreno batted .413 with 12 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 HR in 23 games with the GCL Blue Jays. He was promoted to Bluefield for the final month of the season and responded by batting .279 with 5 doubles, and 2 HR in 17 games. He took over the catching duties, catching 13 games.
The 19-yr-old Hagen Danner, 2017 2nd round selection, repeated the level and the reviews and results were much better. After batting .160 in 34 games with 5 walks and 36 strikeouts in 2017, Danner batted .279 in 32 games with 20 walks and 35 strikeouts.
*Featured Image Credit: R.Mueller
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