With the 10-Year Anniversary season around the corner, the IronPigs are enlisting fans to help assemble a 10-Year Anniversary Team. This All-IronPigs squad will be featured in team publications and on select promotional items during the 2017 season.
Each week, the IronPigs will host an "election" for a different position via Twitter. The player with the most votes will be named to the team. There will be four candidates for each position. Each candidate has been selected in advance and must meet certain requirements - first, and foremost, that each played his listed position as a primary position for at least one season with Lehigh Valley. Some players will appear at multiple positions throughout the voting process.
A summary making a case for each candidate will appear in a position feature on www.ironpigsbaseball.com. It is encouraged that votes be cast for each player's performance as an IronPig as opposed to prospect status or later success in Major League Baseball.
Jan. 9-15: Center Field
Click here to vote!
CENTER FIELD (L to R in photo above):
Brian Bogusevic, Brandon Watson, Rich Thompson, Cam Perkins
Brian Bogusevic (2015)
Career Stats: .296-12-57 in 118 G, 24 SB
Bacon Bits: In his only season with the IronPigs, Bogusevic was arguably the team's most significant offensive and defensive performer. Not only did he shine at all three outfield positions (he led International League outfielders with a .996 fielding percentage), he was also as consistent a hitter that ever played in the Lehigh Valley. The Palos Heights, Ill., native finished the season ranked fifth in the IL in average (.296), seventh in hits (138) and tied for ninth in runs scored (65) - which, in franchise single-season records, are totals that rank sixth, fourth and 11th, respectively. Bogusevic became the first player in Lehigh Valley history to record four hitting streaks of 10-or-more games in one season. He also hit safely in a remarkable 92 of 113 (81.4%) starts in 2015, and never went hitless in back-to-back starts over a span of 64 contests from April 9 through June 25. Further, he finished the season strong, batting .336 with six home runs and 19 RBI over his final 39 games.
Brandon Watson (2008)
Career Stats: .305-6-40 in 126 G, 78 R
Bacon Bits: In what was a bleak inaugural season on the field for the IronPigs in 2008, Watson was able to shine atop the Lehigh Valley lineup. The Los Angeles native became the first IronPig to record a hit in franchise history - then kept cranking them out. He finished the season ranked second in the IL in hits with 158, which was just two behind the 2008 leader. This total still stands as a franchise single-season record. He also finished the year batting .305, which ranked eighth in the IL and still places tied for third among IronPigs all-time, single-season average leaders. Additionally, his total of 78 runs scored sits in a tie for second among single-season leaders. Watson hit safely in 95 of his 121 (78.5) starts, which included a 14-game hitting streak from Aug. 14-28 that is still tied for sixth all-time in franchise history. He also finished the season in grand fashion, batting .335 with five home runs and 23 RBI over his last 43 games from July 18 on.
Rich Thompson (2008-12)
Career Stats: .272-16-150 in 469 G, 134 SB
Bacon Bits: Equally as popular for how hard he played the game on the field as for his community involvement off the field, Thompson was a standout IronPig in every way. The all-time franchise leader in games played (469), Thompson also holds Lehigh Valley career records for hits (452), doubles (83), triples (26), runs (244) and stolen bases (134). In addition, the Reading, Pa., native also established single-season records -- and led the IL -- in both runs (81) and stolen bases (48) during the 2011 campaign in which the IronPigs made their only all-time appearance in the Governors Cup. In fact, his 48 stolen bases were most by a Phillies' Triple-A player in 30 years and since Bob Dernier's 72 swipes in 1981 with Oklahoma City. Amazingly, Thompson was only caught stealing 16 times in his five seasons - for an eye-popping success rate of 89.3%. A harbinger to his speed took place in Columbus on May 3, 2008, when Thompson's first hit with Lehigh Valley was a two-run, inside-the-park home run (he would go on to crank out another 451 safeties). Finally, no write-up could do justice to the incredible highlight reel that could be assembled from his play in center field throughout his IronPigs career.
Cam Perkins (2014, '16)
Career Stats: .262-10-64 in 191 G
Bacon Bits: Perkins' career Triple-A numbers might not jump off the page, but he was an All-Star performer in his second year through the IL in 2016. Two years removed from his first stint as an IronPig in 2014, Perkins batted .292 with eight home runs and 47 RBI last season - and was a .324 hitter over his last 28 contests. The Nederland, Texas, native started for the IL in the 2016 Triple-A All-Star Game and provided the game-winning RBI in an eventual 4-2 victory over the Pacific Coast League. Among his other highlights was a 15-game hitting streak from April 12 through May 3, which was the longest in the IL at the time and the fifth longest in franchise history. Perkins also played center field regularly for the first time in his pro career, becoming a solid contributor defensively, as well.
Catcher: Erik Kratz (68%)
Other Nominees: Andrew Knapp (28%), Jason Jaramillo (5%), John Suomi (3%)
First Base: Andy Tracy (49%)
Other Nominees: Darin Ruf (34%), Cody Overbeck (9%), Russ Canzler (8%)
Second Base: Cesar Hernandez (43%)
Other Nominees: Kevin Frandsen (40%), Tyler Henson (14%), Josh Barfield (3%)
Shortstop: Freddy Galvis (42%)
Other Nominees: J.P. Crawford (39%), Chase d'Arnaud (13%), Andres Blanco (6%)
Third Base: Maikel Franco (52%)
Other Nominees: Cody Asche (32%), Mike Cervenak (13%), Cody Ransom (3%)
Left Field: Darin Ruf (48%)
Other Nominees: Brandon Moss (25%), Nick Williams (21%), Leandro Castro (6%)