September 5, 2007

New Britain Rock Cats Season Recap

New Britain Rock Cats

Twins Double-A Affiliate
Team Record: 69-72

The Rock Cats didn't exactly have the season they envisioned. The team failed to reach .500 and finished 13.5 games back behind the Eastern Division leading Trenton Thunder.

Although the team was unsuccessful, there were a few players who really stepped up their games this season. Trevor Plouffe was drafted in the 1st round of the 2004 draft by the Twins. After struggling in both 2005 and 2006, Plouffe came on strong in '07 and hit .274/.326/.410 with 37 doubles, 9 home runs and 50 RBI in 497 AB's. Although Plouffe is only 21, many thought that this could be a make or break year for him with a few other players who could surpass him in the system (Paul Kelly and Drew Thompson, both of who were injured).

Quite possibly the best bat on the team, Garrett Guzman stepped up with another good season at the plate. The 24-year-old outfielder finished the season hitting .312/.359/.453 with 23 doubles, 14 HR's and 88 RBI's. He figures to be in Rochester next season, but only if the Twins add him to their 40-man roster.

Brandon Roberts improved immensely after hitting .148 in April. The speedy outfielder hit .313, .303, .359 and .327 between May and August. He finished the season hitting .293/.355/.374. He stole just 14 bases after stealing 50 in '06. He should also be expected in Rochester next season.

Brock Peterson broke onto the scene in '06 hitting 21 home runs while having an average of .291 with a high slugging percentage. He was hoping to progress in '07, and after a shaky start, he managed to put together a good season. He hit 15 home runs with 64 RBI's while working his average up to .285. Peterson is 23 years old and the Twins hope to have him as their future designated hitter in 2009 or 2010.

Brock Peterson

Anther batter who the Twins have high-hopes for is David Winfree. Winfree started out strong and was in a major funk in June and July before hitting .330/.354/.495 with 4 of his 12 home runs and 14 of his 51 RBI's in August. Winfree may start the season in Rochester, but will have to earn his spot on the team in Spring Training. But his strong finish is a reason for optimism.

The pitchers were without star prospect Anthony Swarzak for a big chunk of the season. Swarzak tested positive for a "drug of abuse" (not steroids) in April and when he returned, he was phenomenal. Swarzak went 5-4 with a 3.23 ERA. He also collected 76 strikeouts in his 86+ innings of work. He went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA and 69 strikeouts after he returned.

Ryan Mullins also had success in his 14 games with the Cats. He was promoted from Ft. Myers in May and was later back-and-forth between Rochester and New Britain. He went 4-3 with a 3.99 ERA and 68 K's in 14 starts with the Rock Cats.

Tim Lahey became one of the more reliable relievers for the Rock Cats. The 6'5'' Righty pitched in 50 games. He went 8-4 with a 3.45 with 13 saves. He was promoted to Rochester in late-August in hope to help them in their fight for the playoffs.

Next season, the Rock Cats should be pitcher-heavy with a couple more highly regarded pitching prospects set to join the rotation and bullpen. Also, the team will be stacked with a couple highly-regarded position players who hope to score some runs in hopes to make a run for an Eastern League Championship.

Team Batting Leaders
  • Average: .312, Garrett Guzman
  • SLG%: .476, Brock Peterson
  • OBP: .382, Brock Peterson
  • Hits: 148, Garrett Guzman
  • Doubles: 37, Trevor Plouffe
  • Triples: 5, David Winfree
  • Home Runs: 15, Brock Peterson
  • Runs Batted In: 88, Garrett Guzman
  • Stolen Bases: 14, Brandon Roberts

Team Pitching Stats
  • Wins: 8, Tim Lahey/Tristan Crawford
  • Loses: 9, Jesse Floyd
  • ERA: 3.23, Anthony Swarzak (He doesn't qualify, but I couldn't put Floyd's 5.05 on here)
  • Innings Pitched: 130, Jesse Floyd
  • Strikeouts: 100, Jesse Floyd
  • WHIP: 1.07, Brian Duensing (Again, he doesn't qualify, but Floyd's was 1.46)
  • Holds: 5, Jay Sawatski
  • Saves: 13, Tim Lahey