The 2018 season has closed for the Beloit Snappers, the 37th year for the franchise and the sixth year as an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, but they had one of the most memorable seasons in team history with a wide variety of special events taking place.
The Snappers finished with a 69-69 record overall, the only team in minor league baseball to finish with such a record. They called Pohlman Field their home again and have made it their home park since the franchises' beginning back in 1982.
They had two games cancelled during the regular season. The first was on Thursday April 19th at home against the Cedar Rapids Kernels, which was game one of a double-header and cancelled due to rain. The second was on Monday August 20th at home against the Burlington Bees, which was cancelled due to rain.
After a first half record of 32-37, the Snappers bounced back in the second half with a 37-32 mark. They were 21-14 at home in the second half and featured a season-high eight game winning streak from July 4th to July 12th.
The Snappers trailed the Kane County Cougars by one game going into the regular season finale on September 3rd against the Kernels. The Cougars lost to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 4-1 that day and after a six hour and 20-minute rain delay, the Snappers defeated the Kernels 3-2 at Pohlman Field. The Snappers owned the tiebreaker with the Cougars on the season series and made the postseason as the Western division second half wild card for the first time since 2013 and second time as an A's affiliate.
After game one on September 7th was rained out the Snappers fell to the Kernels, the Western division winners, the Snappers fell in game one 10-1 on the 8th at Pohlman Field. Game two was the first of a double-header in Cedar Rapids that Friday, but the Snappers were shutout 4-0 in the first game and were swept in the series two-games-to-zero.
The Snappers finished 57-57 on the season against their rivals in the Western division and 12-12 against the Eastern division. The Snappers had an 8-7 record in extra-innings and led the MWL at 50-3 with a lead after eight innings.
43 players came through Beloit in 2018, with 11 of them remaining with the Snappers from opening day to the end of the season. Bryce Conley, Seth Martinez, Jared Poché, Jean Ruiz and Jesus Zambrano were the pitchers; Jordan Devencenzi, Skyler Weber, Nick Allen, Austin Beck, Logan Farrar and Jack Meggs were the position players.
The 2018 Snappers saw five prospects ranked in the Athletics Top 30 Prospects according to MLB Pipeline and four of them finishing on the list. Beck led the way and finished the highest ranked No. 5, Lazaro Armenteros finished No. 6, Nick Allen finished No. 17, Wyatt Marks at No. 27 and Dakota Chalmers was traded to the Minnesota Twins on August 9th and did not finish on the list.
Five Snappers were promoted this season, including: Right-handed pitcher Xavier Altamirano was promoted to the Class A-Advanced Stockton Ports on June 21st. Left-handed pitcher Ty Damron followed up one day later, bring promoted to the Ports but he returned to Beloit on August 15th. Infielder Trace Loehr was promoted to Stockton on June 29th. In August, outfielder Mickey McDonald and right-hander Heath Bowers were promoted to the Double-A Midland RockHounds in separate moves, but McDonald returned to the Snappers three days later.
The Snappers made history on April 12th as the first baseball team in minor or major leagues in 2018 to throw a no-hitter. Starter Conley and relief pitchers Damron and Josh Reagan combined for a three-pitcher no hitter in a 2-0 victory over the Burlington Bees. The staff combined for eighth strikeouts and four walks. It was the sixth no-no in team history and the first since August 23rd, 2017.
The franchise also celebrated their 2,500th win in team history with a 2-1 win over the Clinton LumberKings on April 27th and Snappers Manager Webster Garrison notched his 600th managerial victory on May 6 against Lake County.
The Snappers had six walk-off victories on the season, including four in the first half. Their last one came on August 1st against Kane County, when infielder Ryan Gridley singled to center field to score Mickey McDonald in a 3-2 win.
Marks took a big step forward in his second year since being drafted in the 13th round in 2017. He racked up 127 strikeouts in 20 games pitched with Beloit before his call up. At the time of his departure, he ranked first in the Midwest League in punchouts and finished the season ranked fifth overall in the league.
The Snappers offense took flight in the second half and helped propel them to a playoff berth. Beck batted over .300 in the last 90 days of the season and finished first in the Midwest League in hits with 146, second in at bats with 493, and sixth in batting average with .296. Hunter Hargrove powered his way to lead the team in RBI with 69 and slugging percentage at .759. In Midwest League ranks, he finished third in games played (126), fourth in hits (136), and eighth in batting average (.290).
On May 26th on the road against the Burlington Bees, Loehr hit his 17th triple as a Snapper in a 10-5 Snappers win. The triple gave Loehr the all-time Snappers record in triples.
Relievers Martinez and Zambrano both had lengthy consecutive scoreless inning streaks going on at the same time in the second half. Martinez went 17.2 innings into the second half of the season scoreless, before issuing one run against the Dayton Dragons at home on July 22nd.
Zambrano had a very similar streak, going 21.1 consecutive scoreless innings that was broken up on August 3rd against Kane County.
Devencenzi carved out a 19-game hitting streak from 5/7-6/6, which finished tied for first as the longest hit streak in the 2018 Midwest League season. Over the streak, Devencenzi batted .348 with 24 hits, 10 RBI, 10 runs scored and just eight strikeouts.
Starting right-hander Mitchell Jordan had a strong year as a full-time starter. He finished with an 8-4 record and a 2.67 ERA, which was tops in the Midwest League. He finished second in the league in WHIP at 1.16 and fourth in opponent average with 2.39 in 25 games pitched.
Allen led the way with 24 stolen bases on the season. Not far behind him was McDonald, who finished a perfect 22-for-22 in stolen base opportunities.
The Snappers staff thank all 65,000 plus fans who made their way to Pohlman Field this year, and we look forward to a fantastic 2019 season as we continue our affiliation with the Oakland Athletics.
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and have been the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics since 2013. For more ticket information, contact the Snappers office at (608) 362-2272 or on our website, www.snappersbaseball.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.