The 2016 Johnson City Cardinals were an unqualified success on the field. Manager Chris Swauger’s squad went 39-29 to win the Appalachian League West Division. The club continued to the top of the rookie-level league by taking four of its five playoff games.
The offense was a key reason for the success. During the regular season, the hitters led the league in batting average at .281, were second in runs scored and struck out least often. The baserunners were fifth in steals and third in success rate at 72 percent.
Johnson City’s four All-Stars also served as top four hitters in the batting order, each finishing in the top 10 in batting average in the league. Shortstop Allen Cordoba notched his second straight batting title while turning a .362 average, and second baseman J.R. Davis and outfielder Matt Fiedler finished third and fourth (.347 and .325), respectively. Catcher Andrew Knizner was seventh at .319.
In the following, Part 1 of a two-part interview, with each segment lasting about 11 minutes each, Swauger talks about his offense in the framework of player development. Part 2’s focus will move to pitching.
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