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. 2-Jan. 8: Left Field
Click here to vote!
LEFT FIELD (L to R in photo above):
Nick Williams, Leandro Castro, Darin Ruf, Brandon Moss
Nick Williams (2016)
Career Stats: .258-13-64 in 125 G, 33 2B
Bacon Bits: As just a 22-year-old in his first season of Triple-A baseball, Williams started slow and finished in a slump. However, he provided sensational production for a bulk of the season that helped guide the IronPigs into the playoffs in 2016. Over a 61-game span from May 22 to Aug. 1, the Galveston, Texas, native hit .304 with eight home runs and 38 RBI with an .853 OPS. In fact, Williams had a remarkable span of going 50 contests from June 2 to July 30 during which he never went hitless in back-to-back affairs. He finished the season with career-highs in games (125), runs (78) and doubles (33) - the latter two of which he now sits tied for second and tied for fourth, respectively, in franchise single-season leaders. He also tied a personal best with six triples - which also lists tied for third in IronPigs single-season records. In final International League ranks, Williams finished tied for second in runs, tied for third in doubles, tied for fourth in 3B (6) and fifth in extra basehits (52). The speedy defender also led Lehigh Valley with six outfield assists in 2016.
Leandro Castro (2013-14)
Career Stats: .257-14-103 in 234 G, 27 SB
Bacon Bits: Castro was a solid regular for the IronPigs for two seasons, during which time he was a clutch hitter and steady defender at all three outfield positions. In fact, he amassed 18 outfield assists over his two seasons - including a team-best 10 in 2014 (which ranked seventh in the IL). But Castro's biggest contribution to the IronPigs was his clutch hitting. The Dominican Republic native holds the highest total of walk-off, game-winning RBI (4) in franchise history while sporting a career batting line of. 301-5-89 (66-219) when hitting with runners in scoring position. In Lehigh Valley career rankings, Castro places eighth in RBI (103) -- and only Mike Cervenak (143) has more RBI among players with two or fewer seasons as an IronPig. Castro also places eighth all-time in career at-bats (863) and stolen bases (27) and tied for eighth in games (234). He also is tied for third all-time in career sacrifice bunts (12).
Darin Ruf (2013-16)
Career Stats: .280-28-127 in 208 G, 47 2B
Bacon Bits: Though his Triple-A career started much slower than his historical Double-A assault in 2012, Ruf put forth as good a stretch offensively as any IronPigs player in history during the 2016 season. At the time he was promoted to Philadelphia on Sept. 1, the Omaha native had just ended an impressive, career-high, 16-game hitting streak - during which time he posted a batting line of .397-5-15 (25-63, 4 2B, 2 HBP, 12 R). Despite playing in only 95 games last season, Ruf led the IL in slugging percentage (.529) while finishing tied for fifth in HR (20), tied for 10th in RBI (65) and 11th in average (.294). In single-season lists, his 20 HR sit fifth and his .294 average is seventh. In all-time career IronPigs ranks, the slugger places fourth in HR (28), fifth in RBI (127) and 10th in average (.280). It was also during his time in Lehigh Valley that the native first baseman learned to play the outfield to increase his versatility.
Brandon Moss (2011)
Career Stats: .275-23-80 in 124 G, 31 2B
Bacon Bits: Without a doubt the biggest offensive performer on the only IronPigs Governors Cup team all-time, Moss had one of the most productive years in franchise history. Moss hit .275 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI in 2011 - leading the team in hits (120), doubles (31), HR, RBI, walks (62) and multi-hit efforts (33). He then went on to carry Lehigh Valley down the stretch - batting .358 over the final 21 games - and into the postseason, where he hit .385-4-8 in seven games (10-26, 2B, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K, SB) with the game-winning RBI in Game 2 of the first-round series and in Game 1 of the finals. In IronPigs single-season ranks, the Monroe, Ga., native posted the second-highest RBI and third highest HR totals (behind only Andy Tracy). In fact, if you include the postseason, his 27 total home runs are the most by an IronPig in a calendar year. Moss also sits fourth in walks, tied for sixth in doubles and 10th in runs scored (66) in a single campaign. His 23 bombs also represented a then-career high for Moss, who finished the season fifth in the IL in HR, sixth in RBI and seventh in walks. Defensively, Moss finished third in the IL with 15 outfield assists.
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%)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.