The 2017 Salt Lake Bees finished the season with a winning record for the first time since 2013, but fell one game shy of the division title with a 72-70 record. Overall it was the 18th winning season in the 24-year history of the franchise.
Manager Keith Johnson had the Bees as the leader of the Pacific Southern Division for most of the summer, including 96 consecutive days with at least a share of the lead from May 28 to September 2. Salt Lake finished the season strong, winning six of their final nine games, but were passed by a red-hot El Paso team that won eight of their last 10 to take the division title by one game.
The Bees were highly successful in developing players for the Los Angeles Angels again in 2017. Of the 25 players that began the season on the Bees Opening Day roster 15 appeared in the Major Leagues over the course of the season, 13 with the Angels. A total of 32 players put on a Bees and Angels uniform during the season, including nine Major League injury rehab assignments. Pitchers Keynan Middleton, Eduardo Paredes and Troy Scribner along with infielder Nolan Fontana and outfielder Cesar Puello all made their MLB debut for the Halos during the season. The Bees made a franchise record 240 transactions during the 2017 season, sending a player up to the Angels 61 times.
Pitching Coach Erik Bennett handled a pitching staff that saw a team-record 47 different players take the mound. Despite the constant changes, the Bees posted a 4.94 team ERA, the first time the team had finished with an ERA under 5 since 2008 and the seventh best team mark in team-history. Starting pitcher Troy Scribner stood out amongst the staff, becoming the first Bees pitcher since Matt Shoemaker in 2013 to win at least 11 games during the season. Scribner was named a 2017 Pacific Coast League All-Star, becoming the first Bees starting pitcher to make the All-Star team since Joe Saunders in 2006.
Offensively, the Bees finished as the league-leader in on-base percentage, walks and steals. Salt Lake hitters pounded out 1,440 hits over the season, and took another 560 walks to finish with a .365 team on-base percentage. Once on the base paths the Bees looked to keep the pressure on the defense stealing 173 bags, finishing just shy of the 2016 team's record of 180 steals. The Bees became the first team since 2010-2011 to lead the PCL in stolen bases in back-to-back seasons.
Over the course of the 71-game home schedule 483,202 fans attended a game at Smith's Ballpark this season marking the 20th time in franchise history the team has drawn more than 450,000 fans to the ballpark.
The Bees will begin the 2018 season at home against the Albuquerque Isotopes on Thursday, April 5. A full 2018 PCL schedule will be available later this fall.
About the Salt Lake Bees
The Salt Lake Bees have spent 17 seasons as the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels and will continue to be the top affiliate of the Angels through the 2020 season. While with Los Angeles, Salt Lake owns five division championships and two trips to the Pacific Coast League Finals. Smith's Ballpark, the home of the Bees, is consistently voted as one of the best ballparks in baseball, including a Top 10 Ballpark in the United States by Better Homes and Gardens. In 2015 the Bees were awarded the Bob Freitas Award by Baseball America as the top franchise in Triple-A. For more information visit www.slbees.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.