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Our Jordan Year: '23 Season Recap

January 8, 2024

Spokane, Wash. - The 2023 season started with enormous expectations as Spokane’s Opening Night roster featured five of Colorado’s top 10 prospects, two top 10 overall draft picks, and highly-regarded international talents like Adael Amador and Yanquiel Fernandez. Fate intervened early for Spokane, as three consecutive rainouts in Vancouver allowed

Spokane, Wash. - The 2023 season started with enormous expectations as Spokane’s Opening Night roster featured five of Colorado’s top 10 prospects, two top 10 overall draft picks, and highly-regarded international talents like Adael Amador and Yanquiel Fernandez. Fate intervened early for Spokane, as three consecutive rainouts in Vancouver allowed the Indians to open at home against Eugene with former Gonzaga Bulldogs ace Gabriel Hughes on the mound. The tall right-hander out of Eagle, ID, did not disappoint, tossing five no-hit innings with six strikeouts as the Indians topped the Emeralds by a final of 7-4. Spokane would alternate wins and losses for the rest of the month, finishing April with a 9-9 mark as a strong showing for the offense (.270 team batting average) couldn’t overcome the struggles of a young pitching staff (5.53 ERA). Third baseman Sterlin Thompson was a one-man wrecking crew for the Indians (.463, 3 HR, 5 SB, 18 RBI) while Braxton Fulford (.367, 4 HR, 13 RBI) and Benny Montgomery (.333/.413/.455) also enjoyed solid starts to the season.

May was a month for the record books offensively with the Indians combining to post an incredible .908 OPS as a team. Jordan Beck (.292, 10 HR, 29 RBI) and Yanquiel Fernandez (.385, 10 HR, 35 RBI) were modern day ‘Bash Brothers’ in the middle of Spokane’s lineup with equally impressive showings from Zach Kokoska (1.274 OPS) and Nic Kent (1.026 OPS) helping lead the Indians to a 16-12 mark. Fernandez was named NWL Player of the Month after leading all of Minor League Baseball in hits (45, five more than any other player), total bases (85, eight more than any other player) and RBI (35). The 20-year-old Cuban provided two of the year’s biggest highlights during the month as well:

  • May 11th: Fernandez had a career night at the plate for the Indians, finishing 5-for-6 with two home runs, one triple, one double, three runs scored, and four RBI in Spokane’s 18-1 romp over the Hillsboro Hops. His sixth-inning single completed Spokane's first cycle since Reggie Walton on June 29, 1979.

  • May 27th: Fernandez drilled an eighth-inning grand slam in Spokane’s 10-5 win over Vancouver to send Indians fan Kelly Hunter home with a cool $10K as part of $10,000 Grand Slam Night presented by Washington's Lottery & Hot 96.9.

Spokane suffered through an untimely June swoon as the offense came back to earth (.787 combined OPS) and the pitching staff (5.45 ERA) continued to scuffle. The team entered the month in prime postseason position but went 2-8 over the last 10 games of the season’s first half to finish at 33-32 – five games back of eventual NWL champion Vancouver. The Indians rallied for three straight wins to start the second half, which started on June 24th, before dropping four in a row to the Canadians to finish a challenging month at 11-15. There was no June swoon for Mike Honcho, however. Jordan Beck batted .316/.431/.537 and led the league in runs (22) and walks (20) to earn NWL Player of the Month honors. He finished second in hits (30) and RBI (35) and his walk-off home run on June 22nd helped the Indians snap a six-game losing streak. Star slugger Yanquiel Fernandez received a well-earned promotion to Hartford on June 20th after slashing .319/.354/.605 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI in 58 games with the Indians, and would also go on to represent the Rockies at the All-Star Futures Game in Seattle.

The Indians received an unexpected boost in the month of July as Rockies players Brendan Rodgers and Tyler Kinley joined the team for a week on rehab assignments. Rodgers, a Gold Glove winner in 2022, appeared in a total of five games with Spokane while the veteran Kinley struck out four over three innings in his trio of appearances at Avista Stadium. Beck continued to produce at the plate for the Indians (.361, 2 HR, 8 RBI) before being bumped to the Yard Goats on July 14th. Benny Montgomery (.333, 3 HR, 5 SB) and Nic Kent (.333, 3 HR, 11 RBI) both stepped up offensively following Beck’s departure but Spokane managed just a .719 OPS as a team for the month. Pitching continued to be the team’s Achilles' heel (5.58 ERA) but did receive solid performances from Juan Mejia (0 ER in 11 IP), Angel Chivilli (2.92 ERA, 7 SV), and Jarrod Cande (3.00 ERA in 21 IP).

Spokane returned to playing .500 ball in August (12-12) as the team’s pitchers turned in their best stretch of the season (4.61 ERA). Anderson Pilar and Brayan Castillo made history on August 24th, combining for a no-hitter (Pilar 7 IP, Castillo 2 IP) in Spokane's 4-0 win over the Canadians. It was the team's first no-no since an 11-inning combined no-hitter against the AquaSox in Everett on August 10, 2014, and just the 18th no-hitter in franchise history. The rest of the rotation was equally impressive throughout the month, with Carson Palmquist (1.50 ERA, 19 K in 12 IP), Jarrod Cande (1.56 ERA), Mason Albright (1.93 ERA), and Mason Green (2.66 ERA) all providing rock solid outings in August.

The season’s final month was highlighted by the triumphant return of former pitcher Ryan Feltner on September 2nd. The Rockies right-hander, who suffered a skull fracture and severe concussion on a comebacker in early May, struck out a trio of Everett hitters over three innings of one-run ball in his first game action in over three months. Spokane wrapped up the second half with a 29-35 record to finish the year 62-67 overall.

Following the season, a total of five Spokane Indians players were selected to the Northwest League All-Star Team—shortstop Adael Amador, outfielder Jordan Beck, outfielder Yanquiel Fernandez, left-handed pitcher Carson Palmquist, and utility player Sterlin Thompson.

In addition to earning a spot on the NWL All-Star Team, Beck was named the circuit’s MVP after hitting .292/.378/.566 with 20 home runs, 19 doubles, one triple, 72 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and a .944 OPS in 76 games with Spokane. Despite being promoted to Double-A Hartford on July 14th, Beck still finished second in the NWL in homers, third in RBI, and led the circuit in slugging. The 22-year-old twice earned NWL Player of the Week (5/7 and 5/21) and was named NWL Player of the Month in June after slashing .316/.431/.537.

Baseball America tabbed Yanquiel Fernandez as the league’s best power prospect, best outfield arm, and most exciting player. Sterlin Thompson (best batting prospect), Angel Chivilli (best reliever), and Nic Kent (best defensive second baseman) were also recognized by the publication.

Team Batting Leaders

Batting Average: Nic Kent (.277)

Home Runs: Jordan Beck (20)

On-Base Percentage: Nic Kent (.352)

Hits: Juan Guerrero (113)

Walks: Benny Montgomery (52)

RBI: Jordan Beck (72)

Stolen Bases: Braiden Ward (44)

Runs: Braiden Ward (63)

Team Pitching Leaders

ERA: Joe Rock (3.25)

WHIP: Joe Rock (1.16)

Wins: Carson Palmquist (7)

Strikeouts: Jarrod Cande (109)

Saves: Angel Chivilli (17)

Innings Pitched: Jarrod Cande (105.1)

Longest Winning Streak – 5 (June 6 – June 10)

Longest Losing Streak – 6 (June 14 – June 20)

Longest Game – 3 Hours, 15 Minutes (April 8th vs Vancouver)

Shortest Game – 1 Hour, 42 Minutes (May 10th at Hillsboro)

ABOUT THE SPOKANE INDIANS

The Spokane Indians are the High-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies located in Spokane, Washington, and were named 2021 MiLB Organization of the Year. Avista Stadium is home to the MultiCare Kids Bench Seat. Parking at all Spokane Indians games is FREE. The Indians open the 2024 Northwest League season against the Vancouver Canadians at Avista Stadium on Friday, April 5th. Ticket packages are available now at spokaneindians.com or by calling (509) 343-OTTO (6886). The Spokane Indians Office is open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Spokane Indians Team Store is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m