Again, these are just my opinions. I claim no expertise, so feel free to disagree.
--The Rock Cats had a disappointing season. The team is usually at least competitive, but this year they finished ten games under .500, in fifth place, and a long way from first.
--The Rock Cat everyone wants to talk about, of course, is Miguel Sano. He'd hit .330/.424/.655 with 16 homers in Fort Myers. He came to New Britain and hit 19 more homers, had an OBP of .344 and led the team in OPS. On the other hand, he hit .236 and struck out 81 times in 233 at-bats. In other words, he has some definite strengths, but he still has some things to work on. On the other hand, he's only twenty, so he has plenty of time to work on them. There are questions about his defense and his attitude, but those are questions on which I'm in no position to have an opinion. Most likely, he'll start next season either back in New Britain or in Rochester.
--Eddie Rosario looked really good when he first got to New Britain, but fell off at the end. He wound up at .284/.330/.412, which isn't terrible, but isn't all that great, either. He'll turn twenty-two at the end of the month. I suspect he'll start next season in New Britain, but he could go to Rochester instead.
--People forget there was a third player promoted to New Britain at the same time as Rosario and Sano. If they were the Three Tenors, Miguel Sano would be Luciano Pavarotti, Eddie Rosario would be Placido Domingo, and Angel Morales would be The Other Guy. Morales was having a fine season in Fort Myers, hitting .297/.364/.525, and definitely earned the promotion, but he fell on his face in New Britain, batting .169/.230/.307. I know the jump to AA can be tough, but that's ridiculous. He'll be twenty-four in November. He still has time, but he's obviously going to have to do a lot better next year if he's going to have much of a future.
--There's not much to say about the rest of the batters. Jordan Parraz had a nice season, hitting .261/.347/.444, but a twenty-nine-year old in AA probably isn't going anywhere. Reynaldo Rodriguez hit 21 homers, but didn't do much else, batting .231/.305/.482. He's twenty-seven, so he's probably not going anywhere, either.
--Trevor May had a disappointing year. Touted as a future star, he went 9-9, 4.51, 1.42 WHIP, numbers that are quite similar to what he did last year in AA Reading. He struck out a lot of guys--159 in 151.2 innings--but he struck out a lot of guys in Reading last year, too. He'll turn twenty-four in a couple of weeks. I'm not suggesting we give up on him, but he has two years in AA which are not particularly good, and it starts to raise some concerns.
--I should've covered Pat Dean in the Rochester review. Dean spent most of the year in New Britain and went 6-11, 4.68, 1.34 WHIP. He really didn't earn a promotion, but got one due to a need in Rochester. He made the most of his chance there, going 3-2, 2.03, 1.08 WHIP in 40 innings. He didn't start striking out more guys, or walking fewer, or anything like that. They just stopped hitting him. His hits per nine innings went from 10.9 in New Britain to 8.6 in Rochester. Most likely it's simply a small sample size fluke, but he did have some excellent games in New Britain. He simply couldn't do it consistently. He's twenty-four. It seems at least possible that he could've figured something out and started doing all the time what he had been doing once in a while.
--Logan Darnell was drafted in 2010 and really hadn't done much since getting promoted after six starts in Beloit in 2011. This year, though, he went 6-6, 2.61, 1.23 WHIP. He went from striking out less than six batters per nine innings to striking out more than seven. He was promoted to Rochester and didn't do a lot there, but at age twenty-four, he still has some time. I'm not predicting stardom, but he has a lot better chance of making the majors now than he did a year ago.
--I have no idea what happened to B. J. Hermsen, but he was awful. Last year in New Britain, he went 11-6, 3.22, 1.22 WHIP. This year, he went 1-10, 4.81, 1.69. His strikeouts went down, his walks went up, and his hits allowed went way up. Any reasons I might give would be pure speculation, but it seems like when you go from being one of the best pitchers in the league to being one of the worst, there has to be a reason for it.
--I'd had hopes for D. J. Baxendale when he got to New Britain. He'd been awesome in Fort Myers: 7-0, 1.10, 0.79 WHIP in nine starts. The results in New Britain, were, well, not so awesome: 5-7, 5.63, 1.42 WHIP in 16 starts. He was twenty-two this season, and this was the first time he's hit a bump. Hopefully that will be all it is, and he'll get back on track next year.
--Alex Meyer rather quietly had a nice season for the Rock Cats. He went 4-3, 3.21, 1.27 WHIP with 84 strikeouts in 70 innings. He's twenty-three. He was drafted out of college, so he's only had two years of pro ball, but he hasn't run into any problems yet. I'd like to see him start at Rochester next year.
--Tom Stuifbergen is another pitcher who was really good in Fort Myers, not so good in New Britain. For the former, he was 2-3, 3.65, 1.02 WHIP; for the latter, he was 3-1, 6.16, 1.40. He only pitched thirty innings for the Rock Cats before being shut down due to injury. It's possible that he was trying to pitch through that injury and that doing so contributed to his poor AA numbers. He'll be twenty-five in a couple of weeks. He missed time in 2012 due to injury as well. Again, you could say this about almost everyone, but next year will be really important to him. He needs to stay healthy and show some substantial improvement.
So, that's your 2013 New Britain Rock Cats. If all goes according to plan, we'll take a look at the Fort Myers Miracle tomorrow.