With the 2012 season now in the books, Bees players are looking back and taking stock of how far they've come and where they want to go from here.
I checked in with some of them to see what their goals were going into the season. Most of them revolved around helping the team and the Angels organization.
"I just wanted to make sure I did whatever it takes to help the team win whether that's offensively or defensively," first baseman Efren Navarro said.
This was a common response, but obviously most players had personal goals as well.
"My big thing was to be able to be an everyday second baseman," Matt Long said.
Long was an outfielder, but he and the Angels felt like he would help the organization better as a second baseman, so he made the move this year.
"I think second base has been a success," he said. "I feel comfortable there now. I've made a lot of adjustments. I had little bit of a down offensive year from what I would have liked to have, but I liked that I finished strong in the second half."
Long finished the season with a bang on Labor Day with two home runs and five RBI in the final game of the season. He finished the season with a .282 batting average, 19 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs and 46 RBI.
Navarro, who hit .317 with 12 home runs and 73 runs batted in last season, said he would like to build on that.
"Overall, my goals were to hit a little more than I did last year," Navarro said. "I was off to a slow start and I'm not satisfied, but I'm okay with what I've done."
This season, Navarro hit .294 with seven home runs and 74 RBI.
Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker said that his goals revolved around making the move from Double-A to Triple-A successfully. This season was his first at the Triple-A level.
"Triple-A is a lot different," he said. "The hitters are a lot better. I just wanted to be able to come in and give my team a chance to win every time I pitched. That happened a lot of times and sometimes it didn't."
Shoemaker said he learned a lot about how to pitch to big league-caliber hitters in his first season in Salt Lake.
"You've got to pitch down a lot more," he said. "There were a lot of struggles, but I learned a lot. Being in the PCL, the ball flies a lot more out here with the thin air. So one of the biggest adjustments is being able to pitch down in the zone consistently. At times I've done that, at other times I haven't but it's all part of the learning curve."
Shoemaker ended the season with an 11-10 record and a 5.65 ERA in 29 starts. He also ended the season with more innings pitched (176.2) than any other pitcher in the Pacific Coast League.
Outfielder Kole Calhoun had a career-altering year with his first appearance in the big leagues and a nod as a Pacific Coast League All-Star. The year started unexpectedly for Calhoun when he skipped Double-A altogether and started in Salt Lake, so his goals centered on adjusting to the Triple-A game first and foremost.
"My goals going into the season was just to get experience at the Triple-A level and get my at-bats in here and try to go out and help the team win," Calhoun said. "I think overall it's been a really good year. There have been some ups and downs but all in all, I look back and I think everyone on the team has to be pretty happy with the season."
Going into the season, Calhoun's biggest worry was adjusting to the ability of Triple-A pitchers to throw whichever pitches they want to in whatever counts they want to.
"There's a big learning curve going in there," he said, "but you're really able to find some patterns and get some scouting reports so you know what to expect. You understand what guys are trying to do and how to approach the game and really that's one of the biggest things I learned all year."
Calhoun's favorite moment of the year wasn't hard to ascertain. He made his major league debut on May 22, and record his first major league hit the next day.
"Going up to the big leagues, it makes you realize how close it is and you just want to keep working to get back there," he said. "There's definitely some thigns in my game that I need to work on to stay up there. Overall it was just a really awesome experience."
As for everyone elses favorite moment of the season, it was nearly unanimous. On August 6, the Bees were tied with Oklahoma City in the tenth inning at Spring Mobile ballpark when Calhoun hit a walk-off home run to send the Bees to victory.
As Calhoun approached the plate to be mobbed by his teammates, Bees third baseman, Luis Jimenez had a trick up his sleeve.
"[Jimenez] came out with a big jug of Powerade and soaked us all," Navarro recalled while laughing. "That's got to be the highlight."
For most of the Bees, the offseason will ensue with a few weeks of rest and maybe to winter ball. Some Bees like Hank Conger and Andrew Taylor were called up to the Angels for September call-ups.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.