Louisville Bats: 2018 Final Game Notes

Read all about the 2018 Louisville Bats season

(Taris Smith / Louisville Bats)

By Alex Mayer / Louisville Bats | September 13, 2018 9:45 AM

FULL PDF: https://atmlb.com/2Py3j09 

2018 REVIEW: The Louisville Bats finished the 2018 season with a 61-76 (.445) record, 11.0 games back of the International League West Division winner Toledo Mud Hens. The Bats finished their home portion of the season with a 32-38 record, finishing 29-38 on the road. LOU had 3 games cancelled this season, 2 mid-April dates at Buffalo and one mid-June date at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Despite finishing in last place for the second straight year, LOU vastly improved upon their 56-86 record in 2017. The Bats faced adversity from the jump, having to replace manager Pat Kelly (4-6 as LOU manager) after just 10 games with then-incumbent bench coach Dick Schofield (57-70) after Kelly was promoted to bench coach of the Cincinnati Reds.

ATTENDANCE RECORD SET ON THUNDER DAY: The Louisville Bats welcomed a record 14,658 fans to Louisville Slugger Field on April 21 against the Syracuse Chiefs for "Thunder Over Louisville" Day. The record-breaking number surpassed the previous-high 14,331 set on "Thunder Over Louisville" Day on April 23, 2016.

THE BIG SHOW: The Bats had 68 different players appear in a game this season, 3 fewer than the 71 players that appeared in a game for LOU in 2017. Of the 68 to appear for Louisville this past season, just over half (35) of the players also appeared in a game for the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, including rehabbers. Of the 35, 8 different players who played for the Bats this season made their Major League debuts for Cincinnati: Alex Blandino, Brandon Dixon, Gabriel Guerrero, Rosell Herrera, Blake Trahan, Tanner Rainey, Jesus Reyes and Zack Weiss .

2018 REVIEW: The Louisville Bats finished the 2018 season with a 61-76 (.445) record, 11.0 games back of the International League West Division winner Toledo Mud Hens. The Bats finished their home portion of the season with a 32-38 record, finishing 29-38 on the road. LOU had 3 games cancelled this season, 2 mid-April dates at Buffalo and one mid-June date at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Despite finishing in last place for the second straight year, LOU vastly improved upon their 56-86 record in 2017. The Bats faced adversity from the jump, having to replace manager Pat Kelly (4-6 as LOU manager) after just 10 games with then-incumbent bench coach Dick Schofield (57-70) after Kelly was promoted to bench coach of the Cincinnati Reds.

ATTENDANCE RECORD SET ON THUNDER DAY: The Louisville Bats welcomed a record 14,658 fans to Louisville Slugger Field on April 21 against the Syracuse Chiefs for "Thunder Over Louisville" Day. The record-breaking number surpassed the previous-high 14,331 set on "Thunder Over Louisville" Day on April 23, 2016.

THE BIG SHOW: The Bats had 68 different players appear in a game this season, 3 fewer than the 71 players that appeared in a game for LOU in 2017. Of the 68 to appear for Louisville this past season, just over half (35) of the players also appeared in a game for the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, including rehabbers. Of the 35, 8 different players who played for the Bats this season made their Major League debuts for Cincinnati: Alex Blandino, Brandon Dixon, Gabriel Guerrero, Rosell Herrera, Blake Trahan, Tanner Rainey, Jesus Reyes and Zack Weiss .

NINE-GAME WINNING STREAK: The Bats won 9 straight games from July 17-25, their longest winning streak since the 2012 season. Louisville rattled off the victories at Rochester (7/17-7/18), at Syracuse (7/19-7/22), vs. Buffalo (7/24 G1, 7/25) and at Buffalo (7/24 G2), with the latter game in the doubleheader played at Louisville Slugger Field, with LOU acting as the "road" team. It was the Bats' longest win streak since June 18-26, 2012, when they won 9 straight vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (6/18-6/21), at Pawtucket (6/22-6/25) and at Buffalo (6/26).

WALK-OFF WINNERS: The Bats recorded 6 walk-off wins this season, one less walk-off win than the 7 they had in 2017. LOU's first walk-off winner this season came on April 7 vs. Toledo on a Tyler Goeddel RBI single. Five of the 6 walk-offs came via the single, with one coming on an error on April 25. Blake Trahan was at the plate for 3 of the walk-offs this season, including singles on May 31 and July 29. Mason Williams notched a single on June 23, while Gabriel Guerrero recorded the final walk-off of the season for LOU on August 24, overcoming a 3-run deficit in the ninth inning to win 5-4.

CANCELLATION NATION: The Bats had 3 games cancelled during the 2018 season, a pair of games on April 18 at Buffalo and a game on June 10 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. LOU played 137 games in 2018 instead of the intended 140, making it the fewest number of regular season games played in a season for Louisville since the 1983 Louisville Redbirds finished up a 136-game regular season. Louisville's 3 cancellations are the most for an IL club in a single season since the Syracuse Chiefs had 4 games cancelled during the 2011 season.

SENZATIONAL: Infielder Nick Senzel played 44 games for Louisville in 2018, batting .310 (53-for-171) with 23 runs, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 25 RBI and an .887 OPS. He started 28 games at second base, 14 at third base and one at shortstop. Named the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball prior to the season by Baseball America, Senzel became the first Top 10 prospect to appear in a Louisville uniform since LHP Aroldis Chapman (#7) in 2011, and the first position player since OF Jay Bruce (#1) in 2008. Senzel's season was ultimately cut short after undergoing surgery on his right index finger, an injury he suffered on June 22 vs. Norfolk.

REHABBER'S DELIGHT: The Bats had 8 different players on Major League rehab assignment this season, 6 pitchers: LHP Brandon Finnegan (4/9-4/14), RHP David Hernandez (4/20-4/27), RHP Kevin Shackelford (4/22-4/24), RHP Anthony DeSclafani (5/25-6/5), RHP Homer Bailey (6/11-6/15, 6/23-7/24) and RHP Jackson Stephens (7/31-8/29), and 2 position players: OF Scott Schebler (4/15-4/16, 7/25-8/3) and IF Eugenio Suarez (4/24-4/26).

TROPHY CASE: The Bats had 3 players win International League weekly honors this season, 2 IL Pitcher of the Week awards and one IL Batter of the Week award.

- Right-handed closer Kevin Quackenbush took home IL Pitcher of the Week honors for June 25-July 1, recording 3 saves in as many scoreless appearances. He became the first Bat to win the award since RHP Daniel Wright won the award, May 16-22, 2016.

- Right-handed starter Robert Stephenson won the award for July 23-29, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA (2er/14.0ip) in 2 starts, giving up a combined 3 hits, one home run, with 7 walks and 8 strikeouts. He threw a seven-inning complete game shutout in game one of a doubleheader that week, the first seven-inning complete game shutout by a Louisville pitcher since right-hander Homer Bailey in game one of a doubleheader on May 2, 2009.

- First baseman/outfielder Steve Selsky took home IL Batter of the Week honors during the season's final week from August 27-September 3. In 8 games during the week, he batted .500 (13-for-26) with 6 doubles, one triple, one home run, 6 RBI and a .516 on-base percentage. His 8 extra-base hits and 1.439 OPS both led the IL during the week. Selsky became the first Bats player to win IL Batter of the Week since infielder Juan Perez won the award for April 17-23, 2017.

 

POWER SURGE: Louisville hit 113 home runs as a club this season, the first time the Bats have eclipsed the century mark in home runs since the 2012 season, when they hit 116 homers.

Season

Home Runs

IL Rank

2012

116

5th

2013

94

11th

2014

76

14th (Last)

2015

66

12th

2016

72

14th (Last)

2017

87

13th

2018

113

T-5th

 

TEN-FOUR!: Louisville had 4 individuals hit 10 or more home runs during the 2018 season: Gabriel Guerrero (17), D.J. Peterson (16), Josh VanMeter (11) and Steve Selsky (10). It was the first time Louisville had 4 or more players hit 10+ homers in a season since 2011, when 6 players did it: Daniel Dorn (18), Jeremy Hermida (17), Juan Francisco (15), Devin Mesoraco (15), Todd Frazier (15) and Yonder Alonso (12).

I JUST MAY. WHAT'D YA SAY?: The Bats finished the month of May with an 8-22 record, tying a franchise record for most losses in a month (22), done 3 times and most recently by the 1993 Redbirds in August, when Louisville finished that month 9-22. The 1991 Redbirds finished 7-22 in the month of July, the first time LOU lost 22+ games in a calendar month in team history.

NOT SO CRUEL SUMMER: After losing a franchise record-tying 22 games in the month of May, the Bats came on strong in the summer months, going 14-13 in June and 16-12 in July. It was the first time LOU rattled off back-to-back winning months since April-May, 2016, finishing those months 12-9 and 16-14. It was just the second time over the past 8 seasons that LOU had consecutive winning months, excluding September.

QUACKENBUSH WINS TEAM MVP: Closer Kevin Quackenbush won the Mary E. Barney Louisville Bats Most Valuable Player award in 2018. The IL All-Star appeared in 47 games for Louisville, going 1-2 with a 2.68 ERA (14er/47.0ip) with 25 saves, which ranked second in the IL. He converted 25 of 30 save opportunities, walking 11 and striking out 56 in a Louisville uniform. Quackenbush became the first LOU pitcher to win MVP since Greg Reynolds in 2013, and just the second reliever to win it, joining Jon Adkins (2008), who shared the award with first baseman Kevin Barker that season.

DIXON HITS FOR THE CYCLE: On July 17 at Rochester, second baseman Brandon Dixon hit for the sixth cycle in franchise history with a 4-for-5 game in a 12-5 Bats win. Prior to Dixon hitting for the cycle, the Bats' last cycle was accomplished by Scott Schebler on July 26, 2016 vs. Charlotte. Coincidentally, the Reds acquired Schebler and Dixon, along with IF Jose Peraza , in the same 3-way trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers that sent IF Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox on December 16, 2015.

I'D RATHER STAY INSIDE (THE PARK): The Bats hit 2 inside-the-park home runs this season, the first time they have done that in the Louisville Slugger Field era (since 2000). Nick Senzel hit the eighth Bats inside-the-parker since 2000 on April 20 vs. Columbus, and D.J. Peterson hit the ninth on July 31 at Toledo.

BETTER THAN AVERAGE AVERAGE: The Bats hit .260 as a team this season, finishing second in the IL in batting average to only Indianapolis' .271 average. It's the first time LOU has finished in the top two in batting average since 2011, when they hit .266 as a club, trailing only Durham's .271 average that year. The Bats also hit .262 this season with runners in scoring position.

TRIPLE DOWN EFFECT: Louisville totaled 36 triples as an offense in 2018, tied with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for most in the regular season. Louisville last led the league in triples during the 2008 season, when they clubbed a franchise record 60 triples that season, 13 more than next-closest Rochester.

TRANSACTIONS: The Louisville Bats were involved in 167 transactions during the International League regular season, from April 6 through September 3. The 167 roster moves were 32 fewer than the 198 transactions made during the 2017 season. This season marked the fewest transactions the Bats have been involved in since the 2013 campaign, when Louisville was involved in 123 transactions.

OUR ACE: Right-hander Robert Stephenson had an excellent season for Louisville, going 11-6 with a 2.87 ERA (36er/113.0ip) in 20 starts for the Bats before getting called up to Cincinnati on August 8. At the time of his promotion, his 11 wins were tied for the IL lead, with his 2.87 ERA ranking 5th, 135 strikeouts ranking 2nd, 10.75 strikeout per innings ranking 2nd and his .184 batting average allowed leading the IL. With his 11 wins, he became the first LOU pitcher to rack up double digits in the win column since RHP Josh Smith went 10-7 in 2014. In his last 7 starts for Louisville, he went 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA (6er/44.0ip), walking 17 and striking out 55. His 13 strikeouts at Columbus on August 3 set a career-high.

HERNAN MOVES UP THE LEADERBOARD: Hernan Iribarren had yet another solid campaign for the Bats in his fifth consecutive season wearing the Louisville uniform. His 2018 season included a number of hit milestones, including recording his 1,500th career hit. His 1,510 career minor league hits rank third among active players, trailing only Jason Bourgeois (1,763) and Irving Falu (1,679), who both happened to be teammates with Iribarren on the Bats at one point. Iribarren also passed Corky Miller, Bill Lyons and Gene Roof on Louisville's all-time hits list to move into third place.

Louisville Redbirds/RiverBats/Bats - All-Time Hit Leaders (Since 1982)

Player

Hits

Games

Years with Louisville

Aaron Holbert

471

501

1995-97, 2004-06

Kevin Barker

455

460

1998-99, 2008-09

HERNAN IRIBARREN

447

484

2014-pres.

Bill Lyons

441

544

1982-88

Gene Roof

441

382

1982-85

Corky Miller

416

548

2001-04, 2009-14

 

FIVE SERIES WINS IN A ROW: The Bats won 5 consecutive series from July 16-August 1, their longest series winning streak since the 2010 season. LOU won 2 of 3 at Rochester (7/16-7/18), swept 4 at Syracuse (7/19-7/22), won 3 of 4 vs. Buffalo (7/24-7/26), won 2 of 3 vs. Rochester (7/27-7/29) and won 2 of 3 at Toledo (7/30-8/1). Last time the Bats won 5+ straight series was 2010, when LOU won its first 7 series out of the All-Star break, the last time they made the IL playoffs.

PAVED THE BUMPY ROAD RECORD: Louisville got off to a franchise-worst 5-20 road record in 2018, going until mid-June before winning their first road series of the season, taking 2 of 3 against Toledo from June 15-17. The Bats finished the 2018 campaign with a 29-38 road record, equaling their home loss total. LOU's 24-18 record in its final 42 road games included a 7-game win streak on the road, the Bats' longest road win streak since rattling off 9 straight road wins from April 13-May 6, 2016.

ALL-STARS : Louisville had 3 International League midseason All-Stars in 2018, right-handed relievers Kevin Quackenbush and Tanner Rainey, and also outfielder Mason Williams. Rainey did not play in the All-Star Game due to joining Cincinnati just days before, while Quackenbush gave up 2 earned runs in 0.2 innings. Williams went 1-for-2 off the bench, the first hit for a Louisville player in an IL All-Star Game since Jermaine Curtis in 2016. It was the first time LOU had 3 or more midseason All-Stars since 2011 when they had 4: outfielders Yonder Alonso and Jeremy Hermida, infielder Zack Cozart and catcher Devin Mesoraco.

HERNAN'S WILD RIDE: During the Bats' final game of the season on September 3 vs. Indianapolis, Hernan Iribarren played all 9 positions in front of the Louisville Slugger Field crowd. He started the game at catcher, his first appearance there in 1,478 career professional games. His afternoon would go on to look like this: C-1B-2B-SS-3B-P-3B-LF-CF-RF-2B. In what was possibly his last game, Iribarren made his 24th career pitching performance, going 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA (9er/26.2ip) all with Louisville.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: During the 2018 season, the Bats employed 10 different catchers (in order of innings caught): Chadwick Tromp, Stuart Turner, Tim Federowicz, Tony Cruz, Joe Hudson, Valentin Martinez, Garrett Boulware, Morgan Lofstrom, Tony Sanchez and Hernan Iribarren. The Bats are the first IL team to use 10+ catchers in a season since at least 2005, with the 2010 Durham Bulls and 2007 Syracuse Chiefs being the only other clubs to use 9 in a season.

HIGH QUALITY: During the 2018 season Bats starting pitchers threw 48 quality starts, with Louisville going 36-12 in those games. Robert Stephenson led the pack with 12 (Bats went 11-1 in those outings), with Jose Lopez (6-3) and Justin Nicolino (7-2) tied for second-most with 9 quality starts apiece. In 2017, LOU starters threw 46 quality starts, with the team going just 20-26 in those outings.

FIVE HOMER GAME: The Bats clubbed 5 home runs as a team in an 11-10 win at Columbus, their most in a game since 2010. Dilson Herrera and Phillip Ervin both hit 2 home runs, while D.J. Peterson hit the fifth of the ballgame. It was the first time since LOU hit 5+ homers in a game since July 20, 2010 at Charlotte in an 8-4 win. In that game, Juan Francisco, Michael Griffin (2), Wladimir Balentien and Chris Denove all homered for the Bats.

SPEAKING OF HOMERS…: The Bats surrendered 6 home runs on May 13 against Toledo, with the Mud Hens setting a Louisville Slugger Field record for most home runs by a team in a single game. Christin Stewart and Ronny Rodriguez each hit 2 apiece, with Chad Huffman and Jason Krizan also blasting home runs.

20 HITS: The Bats recorded a season-high 20 hits in a 9-4 win on June 9 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, their most hits as a team since April 20, 2016 vs. Columbus when they recorded 20 hits in a 16-5 win over the Clippers at Louisville Slugger Field. It was the most hits by a Bats team on the road since June 25, 2015, when LOU recorded 24 hits in a 15-2 rout of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at PNC Field.

 

JIMMY FIFTY: Right-hander Jimmy Herget paced Louisville relievers in 2018, making 50 appearances and spending the entirety of the season on the Bats' 25-man roster. In 50 games, the University of South Florida product recorded a 3.47 ERA (23er/59.2ip) with 21 walks and 65 strikeouts. Herget became the first Bats pitcher with at least 50 games in a season since RHP Jose De La Torre made 51 appearances out of the Louisville bullpen in 2015.

#PITCHERSWHORAKE: Left-hander Brandon Finnegan hit a two-run home run in his May 21 start at Indianapolis, his first career home run as a professional. It was the first homer hit by a Bats pitcher since right-hander Daryl Thompson went deep for LOU back on June 11, 2011, hitting a solo shot at Lehigh Valley.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: A pair of Bats players, D.J. Peterson and Chadwick Tromp, had the opportunity of facing off against their brothers in games during the 2018 season. Peterson's brother, outfielder Dustin Peterson, played 6 games for the Gwinnett Stripers against LOU this season, batting .286 (6-for-21) with 5 runs, one double, one home run, 3 RBI and 2 walks. Tromp's brother, outfielder Jiandido Tromp, started one game for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs against LOU on August 11, going 0-for-2 with a walk and 2 strikeouts, with Chadwick pinch-hitting for LOU that game. The Petersons and Tromps became the first brothers to face each other in a Bats game since LOU's Todd Frazier faced his brother Jeff Frazier, who was playing for the Syracuse Chiefs at the time, in 2011.

FEWEST SHUTOUTS: The Bats were involved in the fewest shutouts among IL clubs this season, finishing 6-5 in games this season where one team did not score. The Bats' 11 games that resulted in a shutout were 6 fewer than the next-closest teams, with Toledo, Charlotte and Durham all playing in 17 shutouts apiece. It was the first time LOU finished above .500 in shutouts since 2010, when they finished 13-10. It's also the second season in a row that LOU's at least shared a tie for fewest shutout games, with their 16 shutout games in 2017 tied with Norfolk for fewest in the league.

EXTRA INNINGS: The Bats went 7-6 in extra inning games this season, their fifth straight season finishing .500 or better in extra frames. LOU went 4-3 in extra inning games at home, and 3-3 in road extra inning games. Four of the Bats' 6 walk-off wins this season came in extra innings. In the league's first season under the new rules, 12 of the 13 extra inning games LOU played in went just one extra frame, with the lone exception coming on May 31 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, in a 5-4 Bats win on Blake Trahan's walk-off single.

10+ K's: Louisville starting pitchers put together eight 10+ strikeout performances this season, with the club going 6-2 in those games. RHP Robert Stephenson led the pack with 4 games (4/11, 6/25, 7/5, 8/3) with at least 10 strikeouts, with his 13 on August 3 at Columbus being a career high. LHP Cody Reed chimed in a pair of double digit strikeout games (6/12, 8/2), while RHPs Homer Bailey (7/13) and Jose Lopez (7/21) also contributed 10 strikeout games. Interestingly, 6 of the 8 games came against the Columbus Clippers.

MULTI-HOMER BONANZA: The Bats had 6 individual multi-homer games during the 2018 season, their most in a season since they had 10 in 2010. Nick Senzel (6/21), Dilson Herrera (6/27), Phillip Ervin (6/27), Gabriel Guerrero (7/15, 7/30) and D.J. Peterson (7/25) each hit 2+ homers in a game for LOU this season. Herrera and Ervin each hit 2 homers in one game at Columbus, the first time that had happened since Jim Chamblee and Dane Sardinha each homered twice for LOU in a 12-1 win at Charlotte on May 3, 2004. Guerrero became the first Bat with multiple multi-homer games in a season since Mike Hessman owned 4 of the Bats' 5 multi-homer games over the 2013 season.

FROM START TO FINISH: Only 3 Louisville players remained on the team's active 25-man roster for the length of the 2018 season: infielder D.J. Peterson and pitchers Jimmy Herget and Jose Lopez. Utility man Hernan Iribarren was transferred to Rookie League Billings for a brief time in mid-April, while left-hander Justin Nicolino had a brief stint on the disabled list in August. In addition to those 5 players, Nick Senzel and Steve Selsky rounded out the 7 who played for only the Louisville Bats in 2018. Relief pitchers Barrett Astin, Evan Mitchell and Ben Rowen only played for Louisville in MLB-affiliated baseball in 2018, but all latched onto respective Independent League clubs after their releases. Sebastian Elizalde was loaned to Monterrey of the Mexican League after his departure from Louisville in early May.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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