Each Wednesday timberrattlers.com will countdown the top 20 seasons by a Timber Rattler until #1 is revealed on August 29th. This week: #2
Juan Silvestre 1999
.288 batting average, 89 runs, 101 hits, 34 doubles, 4 triples, 21 home runs, 107 rbi, 5 stolen bases
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1994, Juan Silvestre would have to wait until 1997 to made his United States debut. After an impressive start to the season in the Arizona League (.341, 7 HR, 36 RBI), Juan got moved up to Everett, followed by an eight game stint with Triple A Tacoma, where he hit three doubles. Silvestre was sent to Wisconsin in 1998 as a 22 year old. He showed good pop at the plate (15 HR), but struggled hitting for average (.252), struck out too much (98 times in 106 games), and was poor defensively in the outfield. All that lead to a return trip to the Midwest League in 1999.
Silvestre was the starting left fielder for the Timber Rattlers on opening day in 1999. The following day, he hit his first home run of the season. That would be his only home run during April however, as his next bomb came on May 8th. When the home runs came, they often came in bunches, as Silvestre hit two homers in a game five times on his way to a team record 21 longballs. His 259 total bases are tied for the team record and his 107 RBI are also the most in Rattler history. His games played, at bats, doubles, hits, and slugging perectage totals all rank in the top ten in the record book. He was named to the Midwest League Post Season All Star Team.
As great as 1999 was for Silvestre, 2000 was even better. Playing in the hitter friendly California League, Silvestre exploded. He hit .304 with 30 home runs and 137 runs batted in for Lancaster, flirting with the Triple Crown for most of the year. He was named league MVP and was a Baseball America 1st Team Minor League All Star. That was the high point for Silvestre's career however, as a lackluster 2001 season in Double A led to his departure from the Mariners organization. He struggled in the Rangers' chain in 2002, leading to his departure from baseball. Oddly, the eight games he played with Tacoma as a 21 year old would be the only games he would ever play at Triple A.
Previously on the countdown:
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