Iowa wrapped up its season Monday, finishing 67-72 in fourth place in the PCL American North Division. Despite the I-Cubs first fourth-place finish since 2012, Iowa had much to celebrate this season.
Manager Marty Pevey led the Iowa Cubs for the fifth-consecutive season, becoming the first to do so. He captured the 300th win of his Iowa Cubs career on May 5 with a 7-1 victory over New Orleans and finished the year with 353 career wins with the I-Cubs, trailing Joe Sparks by two for the most for an Iowa manager.
For 37 years, Iowa has been paving the road to Wrigley and 2017 was no different. Eighteen players suited up for both Iowa and Chicago with six of that group making their major league debuts. That group included infielder Ian Happ, who burst onto the major league scene in May and hasn't slowed, and catching prospect Victor Caratini. Longtime Cubs farmhand and I-Cubs fan-favorite Taylor Davis will become the seventh to make his major league debut and the nineteenth 2017 I-Cub to play in Chicago this season when he debuts.
Sixty total players suited up for Iowa, including 38 pitchers, five catchers, 11 infielders and six outfielders. Among the group, only utility man Stephen Bruno remained active from opening day through the close of the season. The I-Cubs made 210 transactions, falling just short of the franchise record of 218 set in 2015.
The PCL leaderboard was flecked with Iowa Cubs at the close of the campaign. Seth Frankoff (4.04) and Williams Perez (5.01) finished fifth and ninth, respectively, in ERA. They became the first Iowa duo to finish in the top-10 in pitching since Dallas Beeler and Eric Jokisch in 2014. Frankoff also completed his season second in opponent average (.238), third in WHIP (1.28) and fourth in strikeouts (119).
Matt Carasiti, acquired by Chicago from Colorado at the trade deadline, finished the season with a PCL-leading 21 saves. Thirteen were notched with Triple-A Albuquerque and eight with the Iowa Cubs.
Despite missing the final three weeks of the season with a hamate bone injury, Mark Zagunis took fourth in the league in on-base percentage (.404) and tied for fourth in walks (70). John Andreoli tied for the league lead in stolen bases, capturing the top spot for the second-straight year.
No different than years past, the 2017 I-Cubs did their part in re-writing the record books. Andreoli, in his third full season as an Iowa Cub, moved into second on the all-time list in Iowa career stolen bases (102) and strikeouts (397).
As a team, Iowa set a new record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game on July 27 at El Paso. Williams Perez (4), Pierce Johnson (4), Dillon Maples (3), Jack Leathersich (6) and Matt Carasiti (3) aided the effort. The I-Cubs also tied a record with 10 doubles in a game on July 18 at Nashville. Jemile Weeks (2), Davis (2), Zagunis (2), Chesny Young and Andreoli contributed to the double trouble.
An Iowa Cub was recognized four times by Chicago as Jeimer Candelario was awarded the minor league player of the month for April, Caratini earned the award for May and June, and Jen-Ho Tseng took home minor league pitcher of the month honors for July.
Other Iowa Cubs were recognized by the PCL as Caratini, Carasiti and Frankoff were all selected to the All-Star game. Caratini and Carasiti also collected postseason All-PCL team honors. Tseng netted PCL Pitcher of the Week respects for the week of July 16-23.
Iowa finished sixth in the PCL in attendance, welcoming 535,660 fans to Principal Park. It was the fifth-largest attendance mark in the history of I-Cubs baseball. Iowa has seen more than 17 million fans enter the gates since 1969. The club will celebrate its 50th season of baseball in 2018 and its 38th as an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The I-Cubs will face the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Opening Day on April 5 at Principal Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.