What a great season!
The Sea Dogs finished in fourth place in the Eastern Division, and completely turned around their season that saw them 36-54 at the All-Star Break.
Portland finished the season 32-19 and won or split eight straight series at Hadlock Field.
I thought the coaching staff did a terrific job. It’s not easy with 60 different players, multiple rehab assignments and a completely different roster come August. One thing was consistent all the season, this was the best group of guys I’ve ever been around. I’ve called minor league baseball for 16 years, and I never saw a clubhouse so united. It didn’t matter who came in, it remained that way all season. Earlier in the year when we were in Binghamton, newly acquired Jason Urquidez told me the coaching staff had a huge factor in creating such a terrific atmosphere.
My awards – these were easy, just one vote.
1. Best Development of a Position Player: This was actually a tough one, but I have to go with Bryce Brentz. Jeremy Hazelbaker had a sensational season, but I thought Brentz overcame struggles for a first year player that can be tough. He was pitched like a big leaguer from day one. I had never seen a player pitched like that before.
2. Best Development of a Pitcher: Drake Britton, although Stolmy Pimentel wasn’t far behind. Britton lost 13 games in 2011 with Salem, and even struggled in High-A this season, allowing 13 runs over his first 2 starts. By the end of the season, he became the ace of the staff, and showed dominant stuff.
3. The clue to the clubhouse: Marquez Smith…He had 22 multi-hit games in 71 starts, but had such an influence on his teammates. Marquez is a super person and very popular with everyone. It didn’t matter if you were a bench player, bat boy or a stadium work, Marquez treated everyone first class.
4. Most talked about player: Xander Bogaerts…At 19-years old, he has the tools to be a super star in the Major Leagues. Who knows if he stays at shortstop, a lot of “experts” don’t feel like he’s a shortstop, but I’ve seen enough of him to know he could probably play anywhere.
5. Most exciting promotion: Jackie Bradley Jr…He delivered right away, he became one of the most recognizable names in the Red Sox system…Bradley Jr. gives the Red Sox flexibility if they don’t sign Jacoby Ellsbury. Also, this kid has power, despite reports that say he doesn’t.
6. My favorite moment of the season: Peter Hissey’s walk-off 3-run homer. It was his only homer of the season and he told me that was the best moment ever as a player. To see how happy he was after that game was great. First class guy. I can see him returning to the team as a starter next year, and playing all three outfield spots.
This season was very rewarding for me in the broadcast booth as well. Dan Acheson, my partner on the radio did a fantastic job. Not only did Dan and I work smoothly on the air, we became really good friends off the air. Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed the relationships that I’ve developed with my broadcast assistants. Aaron Goldsmith, who worked with me a few years back, just completed his first year as the voice of the PawSox. I hope they win it all.