2017 Storm Chasers Season in Review

By Omaha Storm Chasers | September 12, 2017 4:48 PM

2017 was another exciting year on the field for the Omaha Storm Chasers, with towering home runs, dominant pitching performances and dazzling defensive plays. Below are notes and videos of highlights from throughout this past season, the seventh at Werner Park and 49th in franchise history.

 

CLICK HERE FOR PDF VERSION OF SEASON IN REVIEW

 

Video: 2017 Fan Appreciation Video

COME ONE, COME ALL
    • 2017 marked the 9th consecutive season the Omaha franchise has welcomed more than 350,000 fans to attend home games in a season.
    • Werner Park welcomed its 21st sellout crowd of 9,023 in its history on 7/3.
    • The Chasers finished the year on a high note, drawing the largest crowd over Labor Day weekend in the Werner Park Era (since 2011) by hosting 27,902 fans from 9/1-4.
    • In total, 14,394,037 fans have attended an Omaha game in franchise history, including 2,711,932 at Werner Park since the ballpark opened in April 2011.

 

Video: Omaha's O'Brien walks off with homer to center

HOME SWEET HOME
    • The Chasers finished their 2017 home slate with a 39-32 record, marking the 5th time in 7 seasons at Werner Park the club has accumulated above a .500 mark.
    • The only years in which the team did not post a winning record at home in that span were in 2016 (28-40) & 2013 (36-36).
    • 77 of Omaha's 132 home runs hit this season came at Werner Park, with batters posting a .273 average (636-2327) in 71 home tilts, compared to a .267 clip (648-2425) in 70 road games.
    • Chasers pitchers accumulated a 3.90 ERA (275 ER/635.0 IP) at Werner Park, compared to a 5.36 ERA (356 ER/597.1 IP) in 70 road bouts.
    • A home run was also hit in 61 of 71 contests played at Werner Park in 2017.

 

Video: Omaha's Soler hits moonshot

CHICKS DIG THE LONGBALL
    • OF Jorge Soler 's 24 homers with the Chasers were the most hit by an Omaha batter in a season since the 2014 season.
    • Carlos Peguero (30), Matt Fields (28) & Francisco Pena (27) all smashed more than 20 big flies over the course of that campaign.
    • 15 of Soler's 24 roundtrippers this year were blasted at Werner Park.
    • He also crushed a homer in his 1st at-bat with Omaha on 4/21 at Round Rock while beginning an MLB Rehab Assignment, in addition to slamming a solo shot off Dodgers ace LHP Clayton Kershaw during his MLB Rehab Assignment on 8/26 at Oklahoma City.
    • Soler also blasted 2 or more homers in 5 contests this year, matching Fields for the most in a single season by any Chasers player in the Werner Park Era (since 2011).

 

Video: Omaha's Soler hits one-handed homer

THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
    • Chasers batters clubbed 3 homers in an inning twice at Werner Park over the course of the 2017 campaign.
    • Omaha prior to this year had never hit 3 longballs in a single frame at Werner Park since the ballpark opened in April 2011.
    • The 1st time it happened came on 6/9 vs. New Orleans, when outfielders Ruben Sosa , Jorge Soler & Bubba Starling each went deep in the 3rd inning that day.
    • Sosa & Soler were also part of the other 3-homer inning on 9/3 vs. Iowa, in addition to INF Frank Schwindel in the 8th frame of that contest.

 

Video: Omaha's Schwindel knocks two-run single

FRANK THE TANK
    • INF Frank Schwindel finished the season with hits in 47 of his final 50 games with Omaha.
    • That span include 3 hit streaks of 10+ games, including a 10-game stretch to complete the 2017 campaign.
    • Schwindel's longest hit streak was 18 between 7/15-8/1, matching INF Raul Mondesi for the longest by a Chasers player in 2017.
    • From the day he made his Triple-A debut on May 18 until the end of the season, he ranked 1st in the PCL in doubles (30), as well as T-1st in hits (126), 2nd in total bases (207), T-5th in extra-base hits (47) & T-7th in RBI (72).
    • Overall between Omaha & Double-A NW Arkansas in 2017, Schwindel ranked T-2nd among all minor leaguers in doubles (43), T-3rd in hits (174), 5th in total bases (286), T-5th in extra-base hits (66) & 7th in RBI (97).

 

Video: Omaha's Mondesi hits a grand slam

OPERATION GRAND SLAM
    • Storm Chasers batters combined to mash 7 grand slams this season, the most of any team in the Pacific Coast League.
    • The only minor league team with more grand slams over the course of the 2017 campaign were the Quad Cities River Bandits (8), with Omaha matching Columbus & Trenton for the 2nd-most by any MiLB squad.
    • That included grand slams from INF Raul Mondesi on back-to-back nights at Iowa between 7/7-8, the 1st 2 grand slams of his pro career.

 

Video: Omaha's Gore hits first career homer

THE IMPOSSIBLE HAS HAPPENED
    • On 6/10 vs. New Orleans, OF Terrance Gore crushed the 1st home run of his professional career, which was estimated at traveling 401 feet by Trackman technology.
    • The longball came in his 1,947th career plate appearance between MLB & MiLB, as well as his 563rd career contest.
    • Gore the previous evening had clubbed a triple off the top of the left field wall.
    • That roundtripper was also the 39th career extra-base hit for Gore, including his 2nd extra-base hit at the Triple-A level after the 3-bagger the previous night.

 

Video: Storm Chasers' Junis notches 12th K

K-TIME
    • Storm Chasers pitchers totaled 1,098 strikeouts over the course of the 2017 campaign, good for 4th in the Pacific Coast League.
    • That total also ranks as the 3rd-highest single-season mark in Omaha franchise history, behind only the 2013 (1,183) & 2014 (1,105) seasons.
    • RHP Josh Staumont struck out 12 batters on 4/13 & 5/1 at Werner Park, matching RHP Liam Hendriks (8/1/14) for the most by an Omaha pitcher since the club began PCL play in 1998, with RHP Jakob Junis later tying that mark as well on 5/26 at Nashville.
    • Omaha batters also struck out 1,018 times in 2017, the 3rd-lowest total among Pacific Coast League clubs.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

WE HEARD YOU LIKE RUNS...
    • Omaha & New Orleans played in a wild 15-11 contest on 6/11 at Werner Park, with the 26 combined runs the most in a Storm Chasers game since Omaha's 17-11 win over Albuquerque (4/8/12).
    • It was also the 3rd-highest single-game scoring output in Werner Park history after the previously mentioned victory on 4/8/12 vs. Albuquerque (26) & an 18-13 triumph over Albuquerque on 6/30/11.
    • OF Jorge Soler crushed a game-tying home run in the 9th to send the game to a 10th inning, before blasting a walk-off grand slam in the extra frame, the 2nd walk-off grand slam in the Werner Park Era (since 2011) after Kila Ka'aihue (6/28/11 vs. Memphis).

 

 

CONTRIBUTING CALL-UPS
    • A total of 23 players from the Storm Chasers' 2017 roster were promoted to Kansas City at some point this season.
    • After beginning the year in Omaha, INF Whit Merrifield through 126 games with the Royals has hit .288 (147-510) with 71 runs, 29 doubles, 6 triples, 17 HR & 70 RBI, ranking T-3rd on the club in runs scored & 4th in hits.
    • RHP Jakob Junis has also enjoyed success with Kansas City after starting 2017 in Omaha, compiling a 7-2 mark & 4.34 ERA (36 ER/74.2 IP) through 16 games (12 starts).
    • In addition, OF Jorge Bonifacio has made a big contribution to the Royals this year, batting .251 (91-362) with 53 runs, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 16 HR & 36 RBI.
    • 7 players made their MLB debuts with the Royals in 2017, including Junis (4/12), Bonifacio (4/21), LHP Eric Skoglund (5/30), INF Ramon Torres (6/7), RHP Luke Farrell (7/1), C Cam Gallagher (8/6) & RHP Andres Machado (9/2).

 

Video: Omaha's Cuthbert hits two-run homer

THEY'RE KIND OF A BIG DEAL
    • 7 different Royals players joined Omaha on Major League Rehab Assignments during the 2017 campaign, including OF Jorge Soler (4/21-5/4), LHP Scott Alexander (5/26-6/7), LHP Brian Flynn (5/27-6/26), INF Hunter Dozier (5/29-30), LHP Danny Duffy (6/24-7/2), INF Cheslor Cuthbert (7/17-27) & OF Paulo Orlando (8/12-20).
    • Duffy, who started the Storm Chasers' 1st game at Werner Park on April 16, 2011 made 3 starts with Omaha in 2017, posting an 0-1 record & 3.68 ERA (3 ER/7.1 IP).
    • Soler crushed 3 longballs over the course of his MLB Rehab Assignment, which included a big fly in his 1st at-bat with Omaha on 4/21 at Round Rock.
    • Cuthbert posted a .271 average (16-59) with 10 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR & 9 RBI in his 15 contests with the Storm Chasers.

 

 Video: The Storm Chasers' Mondesi goes into the hole

HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALL-STAR
    • INF Raul Mondesi was the lone Storm Chasers player to earn Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star honors in 2017.
    • At the time of the announcement on 6/28, Mondesi ranked T-1st in the circuit in stolen bases (16), in addition to T-7th in batting average (.337).
    • It was the 2nd career All-Star honor for Mondesi after being named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star in 2015.
    • Mondesi ultimately did not play in Triple-A's Midsummer Classic in Tacoma due to injury.

 

Video: Omaha's Schwindel launches a grand slam

YEARLY HONORS
    • INF Frank Schwindel earned the Storm Chasers' Omaha Media Hitter of the Year after recording a .321 average (126-392) with 51 runs, 30 doubles, 17 HR & 72 RBI, pacing the club in hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage (.528) & OPS (.868).
    • LHP Eric Stout was voted Omaha's Pitcher of the Year after tallying a 5-2 record & 2.99 ERA (23 ER/69.1 IP) in 45 outings (1 start), leading the Storm Chasers pitching staff in appearances, in addition to 2nd in saves (5).
    • INF Raul Mondesi was named the Steve Pivovar Prospect of the Year & hit .305 (98-321), adding 52 runs, 20 doubles, 8 triples, 13 HR & 52 RBI, pacing the team in triples, as well as ranking 2nd in stolen bases (21).
    • RHP Christian Binford was also named as the recipient of the Johnny Rosenblatt Community Service Award for his work in the Omaha Metro community throughout the 2017 season.

 

Video: Omaha's Dziedzic finishes 6 2/3 hitless

WEEKLY HONORS
    • LHP Jonathan Dziedzic earned Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week honors for the time span from April 6-16, marking the 2nd consecutive season he has earned top weekly honors from the league.
    • In 3 starts during that time frame he compiled a 2-1 record & 1.04 ERA (2 ER/17.1 IP)with 16 strikeouts, ranking 2nd in the circuit in innings pitched, T-3rd in strikeouts & 8th in ERA in that span.
    • Dziedzic also fired 6.2 hitless innings while allowing just 1 walk on 4/16 as Omaha took a no-hit bid to the 9th frame in that contest.
    • RHP Luke Farrell also was named Pitcher of the Week by the league for the period between June 19-25.
    • In that span he accumulated a 2-0 tally & 1.29 ERA (2 ER/14.0 IP) in 2 starts, yielding just 6 hits & no walks while fanning a PCL-best 18 batters.
    • Included in that time frame was an 8-inning gem on 6/19 at Iowa in which he allowed a lone earned run on 3 hits while striking out 9.
    • That last time multiple Omaha pitchers received league Pitcher of the Week honors in the same season was in 2014 when Clay Mortensen & Ryan Verdugo accomplished that feat.

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

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