The Eugene Emeralds 2014 season was filled with numerous highs and lows, with several key players standing out from the bunch. The Ems finished their season with a 30-46 win-loss record and boasted a total of eight All-Stars in the 2014 Northwest League All-Star Game, hosted at PK Park.
RECAPPING 2014 - INDIVIDUAL PLAYER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Northwest League All-Star, Marcus Davis led the Emeralds in Batting Average (.322), Doubles (23), On-Base Percentage (.411), Slugging Percentage (.537) and On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage (.948). Davis lead the entire Northwest League in Slugging Percentage, was second for most Doubles and was fifth overall for batting average in the NWL. Although Davis struggled last year with the Ems in his first professional season, this year he proved to be a critical player in the Ems lineup.
Auston Bousfield shined towards the end of his first professional season, ending with a .914 OPS, .512 SLG and the second highest batting average on the Emeralds (.301). In the middle of the season Bousfield started getting hot by going 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and four runs scored against Salem-Keizer and later lead the Emeralds with a .390 average in the month of August. From there on out he proved his spot in the lineup, which earned him a Northwest League Player of the Week award for the week of July 28 - August 4.
Padres' 2011 supplemental first-round pick, Michael Kelly (7-5), finished his season out strong throwing six no-hit innings and striking out a career-high nine batters in a win against the Everett Aquasox. Kelly finished the 2014 season tied for most number of wins in the league and 10th in ERA amongst qualifying pitchers.
Although first round draft pick, Trea Turner's stay was short in Eugene, his hot bat helped lead the Ems to victory. Turner only played 23 games with the Emeralds before being called up to the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Full-Season Single A) on July 12. He finished his stint as an Em with a .228 average and .606 On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage. In Turner's 46 games with the TinCaps, he ended the season with the team's highest batting average (.369), On-Base Percentage (.447) and On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage (.976).
Right-hander Bryan Verbitsky demonstrated he was the top relief pitcher in the Emeralds' bullpen by leading the team with a total of ten saves and the team's third lowest ERA (1.67). For this he earned his spot as a 2014 Northwest League All-Star and was called up to Fort Wayne after the Ems' season finished.
RECAPPING 2014 - ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Eugene Emeralds were privileged to host the second annual Northwest League All-Star Game presented by Northwest Toyota Dealers in Eugene, OR. Fans from all over were able to see the best of the Northwest play and experience everything beautiful PK Park has to offer. The game ended in a scoreless tie, where 17 pitchers combined for ten full shutout innings. Spokane's third baseman, Jose Trevino hit two doubles and was the only batter with more than one hit in the game, earning himself the All-Star Game MVP title.
The Emeralds were nominated for a Golden Bobblehead by the MiLB Promotional Seminar for the #DutchBrosSelfieCam in the "Best In-Game Promotion" category. The 4th Annual Golden Bobblehead Award ceremony will be held in Oklahoma City and recognize the best Minor League Baseball promotions of the 2014 season.
This season the Emeralds featured two specialty jerseys, which were sold via a silent auction for charity. The Boba-Fett inspired Star Wars specialty jersey benefitted the Children's Miracle Network, and the specialty Purple Emeralds jerseys benefitted Relay for Life. This is the first time ALL of the specialty jerseys were auctioned off and sold via the silent auction.
This is the second full season the Emeralds have hosted "Good Karma Monday", where every Monday home game fans can name their own ticket price (in dollar increments) and half the ticket proceeds will benefit a local charity. This season the Ems raised over $5,000 benefitting the YMCA, CASA, Habitat for Humanity and The Relief Nursery.
Sluggo and the Emeralds hosted their 5th annual Emazing Reading Program to over 20,000 students and traveled over 800 miles to present the Reading Program to over 40 participating schools. To get students excited about the Reading Program, Sluggo and the Emeralds Front Office staff visited each school, and acted out the famous "Casey at the Bat" poem. At the end of every assembly students were asked why reading is important to them and were told how reading could earn them a free seat at an Emeralds game this summer. In order for each student to win a voucher good for two free tickets to an Ems game, each reader must complete ten assigned reading tasks and record them on their EMazing Reading Program bookmark. In order to accommodate the increase in student participation this year, the Emeralds added an additional game for students to redeem their ticket vouchers.
The Emeralds have extended their minor league baseball short-season record by surpassing the 100,000 person mark in attendance for the 30th consecutive season. In 2014, the Emeralds finished with over 112,000 fans in attendance.
2014 ALUMNI REPORT
2013 Emerald Wynton Bernard was released by the San Diego Padres' organization in late January, but this did not stop him from continuing to pursue his dream. Bernard attended an open tryout with the Detroit Tigers in February and was signed as a free agent. He played the 2014 season for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Class A affiliate of the Tigers in the Midwest League and was awarded the Midwest League Most Valuable Player. Bernard became the first Whitecaps player to earn a batting title since 1997 and also set the Whitecaps' franchise record for hits in a season with 164. He ended the 2014 season with the second highest batting average on the team (.323) and the most hits (164).
2011 Emerald Cory Spangenberg returned to Eugene during the 2014 season on a rehab assignment, then quickly worked his way up to the majors and earned his spot with the Padres. In Spangenberg's major league debut he collected his first hit with a shot to right field that drove in his first two runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 1 and had a pair of impressive defensive plays at third base. The next day, September 2, Spangenberg came off the bench as a pinch-hitter with the game tied at 1 in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Diamondbacks. On the first pitch he saw, Spangenberg lifted it down the right-field line making his first big-league homer a walk-off. Although Spangenberg's rise through the minor leagues has been slowed due to two concussions he has shown fans will be seeing much more of him in the majors.
2007 Emerald Corey Kluber, who is now with the Cleveland Indians organization has established his spot as the ace in the tribe's rotation. Recently, on Sept. 16 Kluber set a career high by striking out 14 batters against Houston, and was the fourth four-game losing streak he has ended this year. He's struck out 244 batters so far this season, which is the 12th best single-season total in team history, and this is the most number of strikeouts by an Indians pitcher in the 2000s.
The Eugene Emeralds would like to thank their fans for another EMAZING season! The 2015 schedule will be announced soon and will be available online at Emeraldsbaseball.com. Full-season and half-season tickets are available now, individual game tickets will be on sale starting in May of 2015.