2017 Tacoma Rainiers Season Review

News and notable performances from the Tacoma Rainiers 2017 season

The Pacific Coast League and International League prepare to take the field for the 30th annual Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (Rick May)

By Tacoma Rainiers Communications / Tacoma Rainiers | September 14, 2017 1:23 PM ET

The 2017 Tacoma Rainiers season was one to remember. Cheney Stadium played host to 71 thrilling games and welcomed 372,951 fans through the gates, while also jumping into the national spotlight for the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game in July. Rainiers players made incredible contributions on and off the field, collecting nine walk-off wins and compiling an impressive 41-30 record at home. In this season review we highlight the efforts of the 88 players who donned Rainiers red this summer.

THAT'S A WRAP: The 2017 Tacoma Rainiers polished off their 58th season of play with a record of 66-76 (.465) while finishing in third place in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division, 14.0 games behind the division-leading Reno Aces. Tacoma held first place or a share of first in the division for 34 days, while holding second or a share of second for 33 days. The Rainiers posted a record of 41-30 at Cheney Stadium, giving them the fifth-best home record in the league. Tacoma was led for a third straight season by manager Pat Listach, who now sports a record of 215-214 (.501) with the Rainiers.

2017 TRIPLE-A ALL-STAR GAME: The 30th annual edition of the Triple-A All-Star Game was proudly hosted at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington for the first time in franchise history. A sellout crowd of 7,024 fans gathered on Wednesday, July 12 to watch the PCL beat the International League, 6-4. Nashville infielder Renato Nunez and Columbus Clippers infielder Richie Shaffer earned 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game MVP honors for their respective leagues. Tacoma Rainiers infielder Daniel Vogelbach and right-handed relief pitcher Jean Machi represented the PCL in the All-Star showcase, marking the sixth straight season with multiple All-Star nods for the Rainiers. It marked Machi's third career Mid-Season All-Star selection, and the fourth of Vogelbach's career.

FULL HOUSE: Over the course of 71 home games this season, the Tacoma Rainiers welcomed 374,951 fans through the gates of Cheney Stadium, marking the third-best single-season attendance total in franchise history. That total does not include the sellout crowd of 7,024 fans who witnessed the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium in front of a national audience on MLB Network. An average of 5,434 fans attended each game this season, an increase from the 2016 per-game average of 5,312. The Rainiers filled Cheney Stadium to an average mark of 83.6% capacity (6,500) in 2017, the third best mark in the PCL.

TEAM AWARDS: The Rainiers front office and field staff presented the following players with the club's annual End of Year Awards:

  • Offensive Player of the Year: Daniel Vogelbach
  • Pitcher of the Year: Christian Bergman
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Tuffy Gosewisch
  • Community Service Award: Daniel Vogelbach

Vogelbach led the team in games played (125), at-bats (459), runs scored (65), hits (133), doubles (25), RBI (83), total bases (209), walks (76), and on-base percentage (.388). His 76 walks also paced the Pacific Coast League, marking the second consecutive year he has led the circuit in free passes. Bergman led the team and ranked tied for third in the PCL with 9 wins, and paced the Rainiers with 16 starts, 86.0 innings pitched, and 7 quality starts. His 63 strikeouts were third most on the team. Gosewisch threw out 31.3% (20 CS, 44 SB) of attempted base stealers, the third best mark in the PCL among qualified catchers (minimum number of games must be equal to or greater than half of team's league games). Vogelbach made numerous Metro Parks visits throughout the year, visiting with Little League players and Day Camp attendees, while also spending time with patients and their families at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.

FEEL THE CHURN: Of the 25 players active for Tacoma on the Opening Night roster on April 7, only five were active for the club's season finale in Las Vegas on September 4: pitchers Ryne Harper and Evan Marshall ; catcher Tuffy Gosewsich; and infielders Zach Shank and Daniel Vogelbach. No players were active for all of the Rainiers 142 games in 2017. Not counting the initial 25 players added to the club's opening day roster, the Rainiers processed 278 transactions during the season, an average of 1.9 transactions per day. From first pitch on Opening Night to first pitch on the final day of the season, the Rainiers averaged one roster move every 12 hours and 56 minutes.

MOVIN' ON UP: Ten (10) players who spent time with the Rainiers in 2017 made their Major League debuts this season. Right-handed pitchers Chase De Jong, Emilio Pagan , Sam Gaviglio , Casey Lawrence , Andrew Moore , Max Povse , and Thyago Vieira , outfielder Boog Powell , and infielder Tyler Smith all earned call-ups during the season. Catcher Mike Marjama earned his first career Major League promotion when rosters expanded on Sept. 1. The Rainiers ranked tied for second in the PCL in players promoted to make their Major League debuts (as of games played on Sept. 12).

TAKIN' HOME HARDWARE: Two Rainiers players were honored with PCL weekly awards this season; right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Weber was named PCL Pitcher of the Week for May 8-14, while outfielder Taylor Motter was tabbed as PCL Player of the Week for August 14-20. Weber made one start during the week, tossing seven scoreless innings while allowing just three hits against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on May 8 at Cheney Stadium. His strong performance earned Weber a promotion to Seattle on May 13. At the time of his promotion, Weber led the PCL with a 0.85 ERA and 0.76 WHIP, while ranking third on the circuit with a .180 opponent batting average. Motter played in five games with the Rainiers during his award-winning week, hitting .700 (14x20) with nine runs, two doubles, one triple, two home runs, and six RBI. He led the circuit in hits, batting average, and runs over the course of the week. The strong performance earned Motter a promotion back to Seattle on Sunday, August 20.

SHUTOUT CITY: Tacoma's pitching staff posted a league-best 13 shutouts during the course of the 2017 season, the most recorded by the club in a single season since the 2005 squad registered 17 scoreless contests. Three separate pitchers notched complete game shutouts for the Rainiers: Casey Lawrence (9.0 IP), Chris Heston (7.0 IP), and Christian Bergman (5.0 IP). Lawrence's complete game shutout came on July 3 against Albuquerque, and doubled as a "Maddux": a complete game shutout worked in under 100 total pitches. It was the first Maddux tossed in the PCL since Ty Blach worked one for Sacramento on June 27, 2016 (94 pitches); it was also the first recorded by a Rainiers pitcher since Brandon Morrow achieved the feat on August 14, 2009 against Iowa (96 pitches).

CONTROL THE ZONE: Across 142 games, the Rainiers pitching staff issued just 384 walks, the second fewest in the PCL - it marked the second consecutive season in which Tacoma's walk total was the second best in the league (2016: 380). The Rainiers issued zero walks across an entire game 18 times this year, the best mark posted by the club since the record has been tracked (through 2013). Tacoma's 7.1% walk rate was tied for the best mark in the PCL, while the entire Mariners farm system posted a walk rate of 7.6%, the best organizational mark in all of baseball.

HOME SWEET HOME: For the second consecutive year, the Rainiers found a great deal of success at home in Cheney Stadium. The 2017 club posted a home record of 41-30 (.577), tied for the fifth-best home mark in the PCL. During Pat Listach's tenure as manager of the Rainiers, Tacoma has posted the third best home winning percentage in the PCL, at .572 (123-92). Between April 13 and April 30, the Rainiers rattled off nine consecutive home victories, their longest home winning streak since at least 2010.

STREAKONOMICS: Infielder Daniel Vogelbach collected the Rainiers longest hitting streak of the season, spanning 16 games from July 17-31. Over that stretch, Vogelbach hit .393 (24x61) with 12 runs scored, four doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI, 11 walks, only eight strikeouts, and a .479 on-base percentage. His was tied for the eighth longest hitting streak posted in the PCL in 2017. Vogelbach also posted a 26-game on-base streak, stretching from April 9 - May 17, tied for the ninth longest such streak in the league. Outfielder Ian Miller compiled a 20-game hitting streak across time with Double-A Arkansas and Tacoma from July 14 - August 3, hitting .386 (32x83) with 16 runs scored, four doubles, one triple, eight RBI, four walks, five stolen bases, and a .427 on-base percentage. Miller's streak covered his final eight games with the Travelers and his first 12 career Triple-A contests. Right-handed reliever Dan Altavilla posted the most consecutive scoreless outings for a Rainiers pitcher this season, holding opponents off the scoreboard in 13 straight games from July 8 - August 15. Over that stretch he went 1-0 with five saves and a 0.00 ERA (0ERx14.1IP) while striking out 22 and holding opposing hitters to a .163 (8x49) batting average.

GRAND THEFT BASEBALL: The Rainiers successfully stole 118 bases in 2017, the third most in the league. Outfielder Leonys Martin led the way, stealing a team-best 25 bases that also finished the year ranked second most on the circuit. From April 29 - July 17, Martin compiled a career-best 23 consecutive successful stolen base attempts. Outfielder Ian Miller led the Mariners organization with 43 stolen bases in 2017 - 13 of his swipes came with Tacoma, ranking third on the club despite playing in just 41 games.

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

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