The 2015 Ogden Raptors came within a single win of tying a franchise record, amassed the best record in the Pioneer League, yet did not qualify for the postseason for only the second time in eight years.
A volatile season saw 66 different players suit up in a Raptors uniform and 86 roster moves during the 83-day minor league season. A total of 21 players were promoted while only 13 players remained in Ogden for the entire duration of the 76-game Pioneer League season.
The season began with an opening night win over the rival Orem Owlz on June 18, but quickly turned sour with five consecutive losses. It would be nearly one month before the Raptors again had a winning record. Despite the 1-5 start, Ogden finished the first half at .500, and in third place at 19-19. Orem clinched the South Division's first half playoff spot.
Infielder Matt Beaty and pitcher Cameron Palmer were the first players promoted to the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, Michigan. Outfielder Kyle Garlick joined the Loons just four days after arriving in Ogden from the Arizona League Dodgers and concluded his rookie season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Infielder Nick Dean, who batted .390 in 23 games in Ogden, and pitchers Tommy Bergjans, Victor Gonzalez, and Isaac Anderson were likewise promoted to Great Lakes during the first half of the season.
The Raptors began the second half of the Pioneer League season just like the first half - with a 1-5 start. Ogden hit the All-Star break on a four-game losing skid to the Idaho Falls Chukars, including a walk-off loss after a blown six-run ninth inning lead and an extra-inning loss at home.
Willie Calhoun, Matt Jones, and Nick Sell were selected to represent the Ogden Raptors on the Pioneer League All-Star team in the inaugural Northwest League vs Pioneer League All-Star game. Nick Dean won the fan vote and was also named an honorary All-Star after being promoted to Great Lakes. Calhoun likewise did not participate in the game because of promotion.
The three-day break came at a perfect time for Ogden and the rejuvenated Raptors won 20 of their next 24 games to put them squarely in a playoff race with the Chukars. After taking three of four games at Orem, Ogden swept a crucial two-game series at home against the Chukars and then swept four more against Orem to take a one-game lead into Idaho Falls. Needing just one win in the two-game series to stay in the driver's seat with only six games to play, Ogden lost both games including a walk-off in the final contest.
The Raptors split their final six games of the season against Grand Junction, finishing with a Pioneer League-best 43-33 record. Their 24-14 second half record was one-game behind Idaho Falls for the second half playoff spot in the South Division.
Matt Jones and Jairo Pacheco were named Pioneer League postseason All-Stars. Jones finished the season batting .300 and was fourth in the league in home runs (11) and runs batted in (47). Pacheco started 15 games for Ogden and finished second in the league in wins (7) and seventh in earned run average (4.08).
Josh Sborz, Willie Calhoun, Garrett Kennedy, Nick Sell, Michael Boyle, Logan Landon, Andrew Sopko, Jordan Tarsovich, Colin Hering, Bernardo Reyes, and Gage Green were all promoted to Great Lakes during the second half of the season. Sborz and Calhoun were later again promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. Wes Helsabeck (Great Lakes), Jordan Paroubeck (Great Lakes), and Chris Powell (Rancho Cucamonga) were promoted following the conclusion of the Pioneer League season to assist in the playoffs.
Minor League Baseball named Scott De Jong the Pioneer League Player of the Month in July after the first baseman hit .381, including a 17-game hitting streak during the month. De Jong became a father on July 1, began his hitting streak by batting for the cycle on July 11, and homered in three-straight games from July 11-13.
The Raptors garnered no Player of the Week honors through the first two months of the season, but picked up four in the final five weeks. Andrew Sopko and Michael Boyle collected back-to-back Pitcher of the Week awards on August 11th and 18th, and Gage Green and Jordan Paroubeck were named Player of the Week in consecutive weeks on August 31st and September 8th.
Offensively, Ogden led the Pioneer League in doubles (159), home runs (77), and RBI (435). Defensively, the Raptors struck out the second-most batters in the league (653).
In his 39th season in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Ogden Raptors manager John Shoemaker was named the Dodgers' captain of player development. In his first season in Ogden, Shoemaker picked up his 1,300th career win on July 25.
The 2016 campaign will be an exciting one for the Raptors. Ogden has been selected as the host site for the 2016 Northwest League vs Pioneer League All-Star game (pending approval) and also unveiled a new logo - the first such change since the franchise's inaugural season in 1994. Season tickets are available by calling the Ogden Raptors ticket office at 801-393-2400.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.