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Portland Beavers Summary: A team ravaged by injuries throughout the year had 11 guys on the disabled list during one point in the season. Ranked dead last in team batting average in the Pacific Coast League with a .254 mark, the Beavers didn’t hit very often and the numbers would be even worse without their top two hitters for average, Brian Myrow and Frank Menechino.
It wasn’t just average that came short of expectations. They stole the fewest bases and had just one player hit more than 14 homers. Portland also ranked 14th in the 16-team league in fielding percentage. There was little that seemed to work for a team that was out of the race before it started.
Grady Fuson on the Portland Beavers:
One of the few bright spots on the Beavers this year was Brian Myrow - how does he fit into the team’s plans for next year?
Grady Fuson: “Well, we really don’t have any lock at first base coming up from Double-A so my guess is right now he’s on the 40-man he will come to camp and compete for a backup job on the big club and if not go back to Portland.”
Vince Sinisi was having a nice year before he got hurt – how has his recovery been going?
Grady Fuson: “He’s ready to go play. Really he could have played the last week of the Triple-A season but we didn’t see any need to rush things. He’s going to the Dominican Winter League and hopefully he will come back to spring training ready to compete.”
Overview: We used a simple formula for the awards, whichever team the player or pitcher appeared at the most determined their eligibility. For the top prospect we took into account not only the future potential that the player or pitcher may have along with their performances, but also the needs of the organization which will allow them to rise the fastest.
Without a certain veteran player in the lineup, the Beavers may not even have been a test for short-season ball. Salem-Keizer likely would have had a shot at torturing this squad. This team was resilient, though, and they never gave up. They deserve points for that.
Player of the Year
Sure he is 31. Sure he came in with major league experience. But Myrow tore the league up from beginning to end. Myrow beat the team batting average by 100 points, leading the Pacific Coast League with a .354 average. He also paced the circuit with a .440 on base percentage and finished fourth in slugging percentage. And going into June he was hitting .230.
Myrow went on to hit .413 in June, .370 in July, and .356 in August, hammering out 109 hits in a 78-game span. He also batted a robust .381 with runners in scoring position while adding eight more productive outs via the sacrifice fly. Without his bat in the lineup, Portland would have had a tough time averaging more than two runs per ball game.
Others of Note: Menechino was a beast before he succumbed to injury with 20 extra base hits in 39 games. He was also touted as a great tutor to some of his teammates. Royce Huffman, 30, turned on the jets down the stretch but struggled for the first half of the season. Vince Sinisi was having a solid season before another strange injury cut his season shot. Yordany Ramirez didn’t qualify here but his line was impressive over 30 games. Craig Stansberry also came through with a solid season offensive and defensively and was rewarded with a trip to San Diego.
Two very bad drafts in 2003 and 2004, coupled with the growing number of major league teams that use Triple-A as a type of taxi squad, made this a bad team. For most of the year the starting infield on the Beavers was older than the Padres. The best news for Portland fans is two-fold, one the season is over and next year this should be the Padres’ best minor league team.
Player of the Year
A no brainer. Myrow put up stellar numbers over the course of the year, leading the league in average and on-base percentage, but he didn’t lead the Beavers in any other offensive category – but was in the top two or three in everything else. He posted a solid BB/K ratio of 56/74 and his most impressive statistic in situational hitting was a .392 average with runners in scoring position and two outs.
Others of Note: Catcher Pete Laforest led the Beavers with 29 home runs, had an OPS of .891 and put up some good numbers in limited action with the Padres, .360/.467/.520, before the they inexplicably exposed him to waivers and was lost to the Phillies. Right now Laforest appears to be a better option as a backup catcher than Michael Barrett for the big club.
Stansberry put up good statistics for the year overall, but hit .219 after the All-Star break. Sinisi put up some good numbers, .310/.356/.475, before going down on July 2 with a hip injury. He can play all the outfield positions and a very good first base, but he’ll be 26 next year, and he’s missed quite a bit of time.
Manager’s Commentary – Rick Renteria: “Brian did a nice job for us,” he said of Myrow. “He came in with a bad calf and worked hard to get back. He ended up doing very well. He swung the bat – and ended up leading the league in hitting. Brian ended up becoming our most consistent offensive piece.”
Denis’ Top Prospect: Vince Sinisi
Another year and another freak injury. Sinisi suffered a stress fracture in his left hip, cutting his season short after 80 games. What he had accomplished over that span, however, was worth noting. He found a consistent stroke that led to a .310 average. Always blessed with a sweet swing that seemed effortless, Sinisi has a knack for putting the ball in play. While his extra base hit total was still down, his ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field – what made him so special at the time he was drafted – appeared to be back on track. The power, it was assumed, would eventually follow. His future, however, is more uncertain because of his age and the clock dwindling down.
John’s Top Prospect: None
Since we are defining prospect as someone who has a chance to help the parent club or can be used to acquire other players from clubs, I really don’t see a whole lot in Portland. Although I agree with what Denis wrote about Sinisi, at the same time I can’t see him making the big team out of Spring Training and possibly even getting playing time in Portland next year with the possibility of Will Venable and Chad Huffman on the corners, both of whom are better prospects than Sinisi.
Myrow obviously had a good year, but he’s not going to take over for Adrian Gonzalez at first and to make the club in 2008 as a backup first baseman/pinch hitter is a reach for someone without much MLB experience.
Ramirez had a nice two months, but he still has a .288 OBP over six minor league seasons. I love the way he plays centerfield, but I’m going to need see a little bit more at the plate before I get excited.