2012 Johnson City Cardinals team review

The Cardinals missed a chance at an Appalachian League title three-peat, but made the playoffs again.

Under first-year manager Oliver Marmol, the Johnson City Cardinals entered the 2012 Appalachian League playoffs after finishing second in the West Division, five games back of the eventual league champion Elizabethton Twins. Johnson City ended the regular season with a 39-28 (.582) record. This is a good, but a significant decrease from last year's 45-23 record and .662 winning percentage.

The Cardinals, hoping for a third consecutive league title, faced the East Division leader Burlington Royals in the first round. At home, the Cards won their first playoff game, 2-1, but were defeated on the road in game two, 4-2, placing them in a must-win situation. They took another disappointing loss at Burlington by a 3-2 score and were eliminated in the best-of-three semi-final.

Links to this season's JC Cardinals weekly reports

Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 11
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 10
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 9
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 8
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 7
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 6
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 5
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 4
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 3
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 2
Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 1

An in depth look at the Cards' 39-28 record

Longest win streak: 6 games (July 23-30) Longest losing streak: 5 games (July 19-22, right before longest win streak occurred)
Record in 22 regular season series: 13-6 (4 split series)
Series sweeps: 3
Swept: None
Record against West Division: 21-19
Record against East Division: 19-10
Home record: 19-15
Road record: 20-13

Roster Statistics

Tallest: Jacob Booden - 6'7"
Shortest: Dixon Llorens – 5'8"
Average age: 20.1 years
Oldest: Michael Knox – 23
Youngest: Carson Kelly – 17
Heaviest: Jacob Booden – 235 lbs.
Lightest: Stalyn Lopez – 160 lbs.

2012 Appalachian League All-Star Team

Two Cardinals players were named to the 2012 Appy League All-Star Team, the same amount as last year. First baseman Jeremy Schaffer was selected as well as Ronnie Shaban as a relief pitcher.

There was no surprise here. Schaffer showed continual growth in his at-bats. In 232 ABs, he collected 63 hits. Twenty of those were doubles, three triples and ten were home runs. He also contributed 51 RBI and scored 32 times.

Shaban had a 3.05 ERA, but supplied the Cards 16 saves. He finished first in the league in the category by a large margin, as the second-ranked player had nine.

Roster Changes

Many roster changes took place during the regular season, one during the play-offs and two afterward.

Six players were promoted to Johnson City from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. They include Anderson Gerdel (promoted 8/30 during play-offs), Joey Donofrio, Cesar Aguilar, Cole Brand, Silfredo Garcia and catcher Adam Ehrlich.

Interestingly, five of the six from the GCL are right-handed pitchers. They also received a lefty from Palm Beach, Nick Gillung.

Johnson City sent several down to the GCL Cards as well. They include pitchers Steven Gallardo and Cory Jones, outfielder Anthony Bryant and catcher Steve Bean.

Pitchers Mike Aldrete and Dyllon Nuernberg were promoted from JC to the Batavia Muckdogs. Infielder Leandro Mateo went up, only to be sent back down. After the Cardinals season ended, infielders Ildemaro Vargas and Bruce Caldwell were added to Batavia's roster.

Pitcher Willy Paulino was sent down two steps from Quad Cities, while hurler Dixon Llorens made the big jump in the opposite direction.

Righties Cody Springer, Eduardo Hiraldo and Bryan Martinez were released by the Cardinals.

At the start of the season, former shortstop Sam Tuivailala converted to pitching and went on to make 11 appearances out of the Cardinals bullpen.

11 members of the Cardinals 2012 draft class appeared with Johnson City. They are pitchers Jones (5th round), Gallardo (19), Llorens (25), Steve Sabatino (26), Donofrio (31), Shaban (33) and Aldrete (39) as well as position players Bean (1S), Carson Kelly (2), Caldwell (15) and Jeremy Schaffer (17).

The Cardinals also added five free agents this season - catcher Ricardo Lizcano and pitchers Zach Petrick, Thomas Lee, Jacob Booden and Jeff Rauh.

Playoffs and Top Playoff Performers

The Cardinals went 1-2 in the Appy League playoffs. To read the details, check out the Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 11.

Team Batting

Johnson City's overall team batting average for the 2012 season was .263, placing them in second behind Elizabethton and barely ahead of Greeneville's .262. They scored a total of 326 runs (sixth-most in the 10-team league) from 587 hits. Of those, 124 were doubles, 17 triples and 43 home runs (fourth).

Longest streak of games with double-digit scoring: two two-game streaks (two wins against Pulaski with ten runs for both games on August 10-11 and wins against Kingsport (14 runs) and Princeton (10 runs) less than one week later, on August 16-17)

Team Pitching

The Cardinals finished third in the league in wins (39). They had five shutouts, tied for third-most. The team was first for saves (19). In 575.2 IP, the team allowed 317 runs (261 earned) on 594 hits. The staff yielded 41 total home runs (tied for fifth-most) and 228 bases on balls (also fifth). The Cards managed 580 strikeouts, third-best in the league.

Regular Season League Leading Hitters

First baseman Jeremy Schaffer was eighth in the Appy League for most games played, 62. He had 232 at-bats, giving him the eighth most at-bats in the league as well. Schaffer had the most doubles in the league (20) and was fifth in slugging at .513. He also ranked top ten for home runs (10), along with teammate Carson Kelly (9). Schaffer took the Appy League RBI title with 51.

C.J. McElroy Jr. had 247 at-bats, which ranked him second in the league. He managed 67 hits, placing him in the top five along with his teammate Ildemaro Vargas. Vargas was sixth in the league in runs scored with 42, first in hits with 74 and third in batting average at .322. Lance Jeffries Jr. was tenth in triples (4).

Regular Season League Leading Pitchers

RHP Zach Petrick placed tenth in the league in wins (5). Juan Bautista took five losses, unfortunately placing him in that top ten. Ronnie Shaban pitched in 20 games this year (tied for sixth-most appearances) and had a league-best 16 saves. He finished 19 games.

Silfredo Garcia and Stalyn Lopez had one complete game each, placing them in the top ten in the league. Garcia had one of the only two shutouts in the league in 2012.

Bautista allowed 37 runs this season (34 earned), eighth-most. He also hit six batters, the fourth-most in the league. Lopez (33) and Bautista (26) both ranked in the top ten in most bases on balls. Thomas Lee finished sixth in strikeouts (57).

Upcoming Reports

2012 Johnson City Reliever of the Year - Thursday, September 27
2012 Johnson City Starter of the Year - Friday, October 5
2012 Johnson City Player of the Year - Saturday, October 13

Link to master article with all 2012 award winners, team recaps and article schedules.

Follow me on Twitter @KFernandez0524.

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