The minor league playoffs are beginning to wrap up, and the Minnesota Twins claimed their second affiliate championship in as many days as Chattanooga walked off with a co-championship!
The Minnesota Twins have seen their minor league teams this year rate as the top team in many of their affiliate levels. A day after the Elizabethton Twins swept their way to the Appalachian League championship, the Chattanooga Lookouts won a deciding game 5 in walk off fashion!
Chattanooga went 91-49 on the season, the second-most wins of any team in the minor leagues this season. They won both the first-half and second-half North division titles. Overall, the Lookouts finished 15 games ahead of the second-best record in the entire Southern League. The Southern League was one of three leagues that chose to go to co-champions and shorten their playoffs due to the impending Hurricane Irma. Sunday, Chattanooga finished their half of the co-championship in dramatic fashion:
Let’s take a look at a few of the standout players this season for Chattanooga:
Chattanooga was not a dominating offense in average, finishing 3rd with a .255 batting average, but the Lookouts did finish 1st in runs. The Lookouts walked more than any team in the league by almost 100 walks (610-522), and they led the league in on base percentage.
Some of the best individual performances:
- Selected as the minor league player of the year for the entire Minnesota Twins organization, Jonathan Rodriguez predictably came up big in the final game, hitting the walk off home run to win the championship after leading the Chattanooga lineup with a .309/.414/.525 line with 31 doubles,
21 home runs, and 76 RBI.
- Edgar Corcino had a very good season in the outfield for the Lookouts, hitting .302/.361/.399 with 19 doubles and 6 home runs.
- One of the most impressive top-of-the-order hitters in the entire Minnesota Twins organization, LaMonte Wade hit .292/.397/.408 with 22 doubles, 3 triples, 7 home runs, and 9 stolen bases, but most importantly that he had a 76/71 BB/K ratio at the top of the lineup.
- T.J. White was quite impressive in the middle of the Chattanooga lineup, hitting .276/.358/.484 with 26 doubles, 4 triples, and 14 home runs.
- While not gaudy numbers that many would expect from the top prospect, Nick Gordon showed why he was the organization’s top guy due to his steady play across the board, hitting .270/.341/.408 with 29 doubles,
8 triples, 9 home runs, and 13 stolen bases.
- The Lookouts got Andy Wilkins part way through the season, but his big bat was a huge impact as he hit .254/.358/.474 with 15 doubles and 12 home runs in just 61 games.
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While leading the league in runs scored, the Lookouts gem of their team was their pitching, which led the league in ERA with a 3.09 mark. Chattanooga allowed the least amount of home runs in the league as well.
Some of the best individual performances:
- Spending the entire year with Chattanooga, Fernando Romero reached the inning limit that the Twins had for him in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery. He threw 125 innings, with a 3.53 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and a 45/120 BB/K ratio.
- Stephen Gonsalves may have started the season almost two months late, but his impact was impressive, as he went 8-3 over 15 starts, throwing 87 1/3 innings with a 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a 23/96 BB/K ratio.
- By far the workhorse in the rotation was Felix Jorge, throwing 134 2/3 innings, and that doesn’t even count the innings for AAA or the major leagues. Jorge put up a 3.54 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and a 37/99 BB/K ratio.
- Partial starters made an impact with the Lookouts, starting with Nik Turley posting a 0.37 ERA over 24 1/3 innings to open the season with an astounding 7/45 BB/K ratio before being bumped up to AAA. Zack Littell made 7 starts after being acquired from the Yankees, going 5-0 and posting a 2.81 ERA. Dereck Rodriguez and Randy LeBlanc both had moments of brilliance while pitching 75 1/3 and 79 innings, respectively.
- The Lookouts bullpen had a fairly revolving door on the season,
leaving Todd Van Steensel‘s 36 relief appearances as the most by any reliever on the team, but he did well with those appearances, posting a 1.38 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 25/59 BB/K ratio over 58 2/3 innings.
- Among those who moved up from Chattanooga, Luke Bard‘s 2.58 ERA and 78 K’s over 52 1/3 innings, Mason Melotakis‘ 2.42 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 9/31 BB/K ratio over 26 innings, and John Curtiss‘ 0.72 ERA, 0.96 WHIP,
and 12/35 BB/K ratio over 25 innings led the way.
- While Nick Burdi threw to a 0.53 ERA over 17 innings before injury ended his season, Nick Anderson threw very well upon being promoted from Fort Myers with a 1.07 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 7/37 BB/K ratio over 33 2/3 IP.
- Gabriel Moya was in the Southern League in the Arizona organization before he was traded to the Twins, and his overall numbers in the Southern League was 58 1/3 innings, 24 saves, a 0.77 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, and a 15/87 BB/K ratio.
The Lookouts could still have more awards yet to receive, as they have a very good case to make for the team of the year award that Baseball America awards every year at the winter meetings, and they could also be in contention for Milb.com’s “team of the year” MILBY award, so look here for an announcement when voting opens!