By Albuquerque Isotopes | September 14, 2017 1:25 PM
The 2017 campaign was the 15th in Albuquerque Isotopes history as the team went 68-73, finishing 4.5 games back of the first place El Paso Chihuahuas in the PCL's Pacific Southern Division.
The Isotopes were in the playoff hunt for almost the whole season, staying within seven games of first place the entire year and held the top spot for a total of 19 days. Albuquerque recorded three four-game winning streaks with the last coming from May 24-27, leading to the club's high-water mark of the season with a record of 27-22.
For the second straight year and the 13th time overall, the Isotopes had a winning record at home, going 39-32 at Isotopes Park. The Isotopes did not fare as well on the road with a 29-41 record, tying their mark for fewest road wins in a single-season.
Albuquerque also welcomed 542,504 fans through the turnstiles during the 15th season of Isotopes baseball. Isotopes Park's average attendance of 7,978 ranked fourth in the Pacific Coast League in 2017.
Most Common Batting Order
The hottest promotion in franchise history as well as the biggest food fight in baseball took place on June 16 at Isotopes Park when the Albuquerque Green Chile Cheeseburgers hosted the Fresno Tacos. The Lab transformed into "The Grill" that night with the players wearing special jerseys and green chile cheeseburger sliders being served throughout the concourse. The Green Chile Cheeseburgers merchandise was a hit not only in the Albuquerque community, but nationally with thousands of online orders placed and shipments sent to all 50 states and several countries.
Isotopes skipper Glenallen Hill reached two managerial milestones during the 2017 season. Hill recorded the 300th victory of his managerial career on April 28 at Las Vegas and later won his 200th game as Albuquerque's manager on Sept. 2 at Reno. The 52-year-old from Santa Cruz, Calif. has a 201-227 record over his three seasons with the Isotopes and ranks third all-time in wins behind Lorenzo Bundy (226) and Dean Treanor (326).
The Isotopes compiled a .287 team batting average for the season, ranking fourth of 16 clubs in the PCL. Outfielder Mike Tauchman finished the campaign with a team-leading .331 batting average (139-for-420), placing him third in the circuit as well as ranking third-highest in team history. Tauchman established career-highs in several offensive categories during the 2017 campaign, including batting average, runs scored (82), doubles (30), triples (8), home runs (16) and RBI (80). The 26-year-old's impressive season with Albuquerque was rewarded as he received his first Major League call-up on June 27 and an All-PCL Team selection at the end of the year.
Tauchman entered the 2017 season with an Isotopes record 25-game hitting streak that carried over from 2016. The outfielder hit safely in his first three games before the streak ended on April 10 at 28 consecutive games. Catcher Dustin Garneau had a similar situation as Tauchman's, ending the 2016 campaign on an 11-game hitting streak. Garneau recorded a hit in each of his first 13 games in 2017, extending his hitting streak to 24 games for the second-longest streak in Isotopes history.
Albuquerque pinch hitters hit a combined .258 (23-for-89), with Rosell Herrera receiving the most pinch-hit opportunities with 23 at-bats and led the Isotopes with six pinch-hits. Albuquerque did not record a pinch-hit home run for the second-straight season, with just eight extra-base pinch-hits.
The Isotopes' 390 walks in 2017 were the fewest in team history and five more than Sacramento for the fewest in the league. Tauchman walked a team-high 40 times while Jordan Patterson compiled the most hit-by-pitches with 15. Patterson's 28 hit-by-pitches over his two seasons in Albuquerque are tied with Alex Castellanos for the second-most all-time.
Albuquerque finished 11th in the league in home runs, belting 130 long balls. Patterson's 26 home runs paced the team, while also leading the Rockies farm system and ranking seventh in the PCL. The Mobile, Ala. native also had four multi-homer games, which were tied with Dallas McPherson (2008), Brett Carroll (2007) and Joe Dillon (2004) for the most in a single-season in Isotopes history. Isotopes batters slugged two grand slams in 2017 (Rafael Ynoa and Patterson), four sets of back-to-back home runs, three game-opening home runs (Raimel Tapia and Herrera) and two walk-off blasts (Garneau and Ryan Howard).
(min. 2.7 plate appearances/lg. game)
Noel Cuevas & Derrik Gibson
Pat Valaika hit only one home run in his 11 games with Albuquerque, but the lone long ball came in a very memorable game for the infielder. Valaika not only homered on April 8 vs. Salt Lake, but also singled, doubled and tripled that night while hitting for the cycle for the second time in his Isotopes career. Valaika had also hit for the cycle during the 2016 campaign on Aug. 22 against Fresno. The Isotopes have now had seven cycles in their 15-year history with Valaika being the only player to accomplish the feat twice.
The Isotopes led Minor League Baseball with 79 triples in 2017, establishing a single-season team record. They became the first PCL team to record at least 70 three-baggers since the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2013 who were also managed by Glenallen Hill. Albuquerque hit 53 of its 79 triples at Isotopes Park. Derrik Gibson and Noel Cuevas tied for second in the league with 12 triples each and were one shy of tying the Isotopes single-season record established by Robert Andino in 2007.
Cuevas collected a team-high 154 hits, the most of his eight-year professional career and ranked third in the PCL. The outfielder was the first player in Minor League Baseball in 2017 to record 10 or more doubles, triples and home runs. The Puerto Rico native accumulated 17 doubles, 12 triples and 15 home runs in 128 games. Cuevas was also the seventh player in Isotopes history to record at least 150 hits in a single-season. The 24-year-old hit safely in 33 consecutive home games from May 8-July 26, the longest home hitting streak in the PCL this decade.
Cuevas represented the Isotopes in the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium, home of the Tacoma Rainiers. Cuevas entered the game in the sixth inning in center field and received one at-bat, connecting on a lead-off single in the seventh inning. Ryan McMahon played in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Miami on July 9. McMahon went 0-for-1 with a walk in the contest, but made the game's best defensive play, leaning over the first base dugout railing to catch a pop up in the ninth inning.
McMahon made his Isotopes debut on June 1 and dominated Triple-A pitching in his 70 games with Albuquerque. The 22-year-old infielder batted .374 (108-for-289) to go along with 31 multi-hit games, 23 doubles, 14 home runs and 56 RBI. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native became the first Isotope to ever record multiple five-hit games when he accomplished the feat on June 16 and almost a week later on June 24. In his first month in league, McMahon hit .429 and led the circuit in hits (50), extra-base hits (21), total bases (85) and doubles (14) as was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Month for June.
McMahon was also one of three Isotopes to receive multiple weekly accolades from the PCL. McMahon and Patterson were both named PCL Player of the Week twice while Carpenter was selected PCL Pitcher of the Week two times and Jeff Hoffman received the honor once. The seven Player of the Week accolades were a franchise-high for the Isotopes, surpassing their previous record of six from 2008.
Mark Brewer's pitching staff finished the season 10th in the PCL with a 4.91 team ERA. Isotopes hurlers struck out the eighth-most opposing batters in the league in 2017, fanning 1,064. Albuquerque issued the seventh-fewest free passes in the league, walking only 449 opposing batters on the year.
(min. 0.8 innings pitched/league games)
Home Runs Allowed
The Isotopes sent 17 different starting pitchers to the hill in 2017, with just seven making double-digit starts on the year. The pitching staff logged 46 quality starts over their 141 games this season led by Ryan Carpenter with 16.
Carpenter put together one of the most complete seasons on the hill in Isotopes history in 2017. The All-PCL Team selection recorded a team-best 10 wins, 4.15 ERA (72er/156.0ip) and his 161 strikeouts were four shy of John Ely's single-season Isotopes record from 2012. The Glendale, Ariz. native led the PCL in innings pitched (156.0) and also finished among the top five in the league in ERA, wins, strikeouts, WHIP (1.28), opponents batting average (.266), strikeouts per nine (9.32), lowest walks per nine (2.27) and fewest baserunners per nine innings pitched (12.07). Carpenter's strikeout total was also the highest by a left-handed pitcher in the PCL since Tacoma southpaw Tim Conroy struck out 166 batters in 1985.
Eight Albuquerque relievers recorded at least one save on the year, contributing to the club's 27 saves in 46 opportunities. Matt Carasiti converted a team-high 13 saves in 27 games for the Isotopes before he was traded by the Rockies to the Cubs organization on June 26. Ten Isotopes were used as both a reliever and starter this season, including Matt Flemer who posted six wins and a 3.32 ERA (14er/38.0ip) over four relief appearances and five starts after the All-Star Break.
Flemer was more than just a reliever and starter for the Isotopes at times during the 2017 campaign. The 26-year-old was the Isotopes most productive pitcher at the plate, compiling six hits and four RBI in 28 at-bats. The Bay Area product's most memorable hit was a walk-off pinch-hit single vs. Sacramento in the 13th inning on June 1. Albuquerque used Flemer as a right fielder in a 14-inning contest on June 24 vs. El Paso. Flemer was the first Isotopes pitcher to be used as a position player since 2011. The right-hander's versatility did not affect his pitching as he ended the year with eight wins on the mound tied with Austin House for the second-most on the team.
House was the Isotopes most efficient pitcher out of the bullpen, recording three saves and a 1.85 ERA (14er/68.0ip) in a team-high 49 appearances. The Albuquerque native and La Cueva High School graduate ranked second in the league in holds with 11 while his .226 opponents average was the second-lowest among PCL relievers.
Promoted To COLORADO (17)
* Major League Debut
Shane Carle *
Mike Tauchman *
Ryan McMahon *
Albuquerque ranked sixth in the PCL with a .980 fielding percentage in 2017 and were led defensively by slick-fielding infielder Daniel Castro. The 24-year-old from Guaymas, Mexico recorded a .989 fielding percentage in 96 games at shortstop, committing just five errors in 435 total chances. The fielding percentage was the highest in the PCL for shortstops while his 435 total chances, 298 assists and 63 double plays turned were also the most for any player at that position in the league. Castro's stellar defense did not hinder his production at the plate as he finished the year with the third-highest batting average on the team at .306 (121-for-395) and his 25 doubles tied his career-high.
Isotopes catchers had the best caught stealing percentage in the circuit at 42% (56-for-133). Anthony Bemboom, Tom Murphy and Garneau each threw out 14 runners this season with Garneau registering the best caught stealing percentage at 48% (14-for-29). The Isotopes pitching staff also played a big role in keeping opposing runners in check, picking off 21 runners over the year including nine by Carpenter.
Albuquerque played in the longest game in franchise history on June 24 vs. El Paso when the Chihuahuas outlasted the Isotopes 13-10 in 14 innings. The game lasted 5 hours and 35 minutes, establishing an Isotopes record, surpassing the old mark by four minutes set on July 13, 2013 at Iowa. Albuquerque compiled a club record 63 at-bats and 25 hits on the evening with McMahon and Cristhian Adames both tying the Isotopes single-game record with five hits apiece. The Isotopes and Chihuahuas accumulated 43 hits altogether, matching the Isotopes record for combined hits in a single-game. A total of 40 players were used in the 14-inning affair, tying the PCL's all-time record. The two teams also accomplished a league record, sending 19 pitchers to the mound with the Isotopes establishing a PCL single-team record with 10 pitchers used.
The Isotopes had 61 players suit up for them during the 2017 campaign and tallied 205 total transactions. Ten players, C.C. Lee, Jerry Vasto, Carpenter, Flemer, House, Bemboom, Castro, Gibson, Cuevas, and Herrera spent the entire season with the Isotopes, with Castro, and Gibson being active for all 141 games. Seventeen members of the Isotopes also appeared for Colorado this season, helping the Rockies as they go for their first playoff berth since 2009. Of those promoted to Colorado, seven were on the Isotopes Opening Day roster. Fourteen players made their Triple-A debut in 2017 with the Isotopes while Albuquerque hosted 12 Major League rehab assignments. Three Isotopes players Shane Carle, Tauchman and McMahon made their Major League debuts during the 2017 campaign.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.