MadFriars' Announcer Series: Tucson

When Tim Hagerty announces the opening game for the inaugural season of the El Paso Chihuahuas it will be his fifth Padres' affiliate that he will have been broadcasting with.

In 2004 he was the last announcer for the Idaho Padres in the short-season Pioneer League after graduating from Lyndon State College in Vermont. That was followed by gigs with the Padres‘ former AA affiliate, the Mobile BayBears and then onto Portland with the Beavers before relocating with them to Tucson for the past three seasons.

As he has done every year, Tim was generous enough to take some time out of his day to talk about this season's Tucson Padres.

Were you surprised that Dean Anna wasn't called up and from where you were sitting how did he react to it?

Tim Hagerty: Dean had a tremendous season. "Who is this Dean Anna guy?" was a frequent question from scouts and media this year. His final-game quest to solidify the batting title was a fun storyline on Labor Day.

He seemed focused and positive despite not being called up when Cabrera was suspended. I think Triple-A players realize if they play well enough, they'll get a Major League opportunity somewhere, sometime.

Anna obviously had a good year. What impressed you most?

Tim Hagerty: It was impressive how often Anna walked. People point out his PCL batting title win, but don't forget he had the third-highest on-base percentage also. He was in a narrow batting race, where every hit was crucial, but didn't chase pitches, continuing to have an effective eye at the plate.

Jaff Decker had a very good second half for the T-Pads. What did you see of him at the plate and how did he look defensively, particularly in center field?

Tim Hagerty: Tucson hitting coach Tom Tornincasa felt Decker gained confidence after the first two months of the season. Every year there are hitters who grapple with Triple-A pitching after excelling in the lower levels. Many Triple-A pitchers have Major League experience and observe tendencies that Double-A pitchers don't.

It was notable how well Jaff hit after his first Major League stints. Sometimes players regress for a few series after returning to Triple-A but Jaff's performance increased.

Cody Decker has always been a favorite of MadFriars' and put up some good numbers this season. What did you think of his year and how did he look behind the plate?

Tim Hagerty: His biggest value to me is being a go-to interview. When I'm feeling the grind of the season or trying to push through a travel day, you know Cody will carry an interview with jokes, Hollywood commentary, impersonations and more. You never know what he'll say next.

Anyway, as for baseball, Pat Murphy praised Decker's improvements behind the plate. He was agile in blocking balls and threw accurately on stolen base attempts. For what it's worth, Tucson was 3-0 in games Decker started at catcher.

I think Cody will be an asset for a Major League team because he can catch, play first base and outfield, and hit home runs.

There were a lot of new players in the system this year in Tucson. Who stood out for you?

Tim Hagerty: Tucson's core of veteran players was a component of this year's winning team. Brandon Allen, Travis Buck, Gregorio Petit and others kept the atmosphere loose and guided less experienced players. One player told me it was the most positive Triple-A clubhouse they ever saw.

Sean O'Sullivan looked good as a starter this year for the T-Pads. How would you describe him as a pitcher?

Tim Hagerty: Pat Murphy loved his competitiveness and at mid-season said he trusted the team's chances with O'Sullivan on the mound as much as any other starter. Talking to O'Sullivan, it's obvious he studies opposing hitters and makes thorough observations to use in future match-ups.

Burch Smith looked very good in his brief stay in Tucson. Everyone know about his velocity but how did his secondary pitches look?

Tim Hagerty: I'm not a scout but it seemed he threw more off-speed pitches late in the season and in his recent San Diego starts. Burch is an excellent pitcher, maybe the best we saw in the storied three-year history of the Tucson Padres.

Robbie Erlin looked better on the big league level than he did in the PCL. What gave Robbie his most problems this year?

Tim Hagerty: Overall Erlin was very strong in Tucson, a few bumpy outings boosted his ERA. He led Tucson's pitching staff in home runs allowed, maybe more fly balls are staying in the park in his Major League stints? As every article ever written about the PCL points out - it is a hitter-friendly league with high elevations and dry air.

Miles Mikolas led the organization in saves. What were his strengths and weaknesses?

Tim Hagerty: His biggest strength is velocity. There were many instances where bottom of the order hitters couldn't catch up to his fastball. Another strength is his happy demeanor. I remember seeing him racing to catch batting practice fly balls on a day he was sent down by the Padres.

Who do you think was the top position prospect that you saw this year in Tucson and the top pitching prospect that you saw?

Tim Hagerty: Let's go with Reymond Fuentes and Burch Smith.

Last question, are you ready for the move to El Paso?

Tim Hagerty: I can't wait. Being part of a brand new, packed stadium will be an incredible experience.

You can follow Tim at his website and on his Twitter feed @tdhagerty.

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