2009 Batavia Muckdogs Team Review

There was no repeat title for the Cardinals' New York-Penn League affiliate in 2009.

With a new crew of players this year, 2009 brought a much different outcome for the Batavia Muckdogs of the short-season A level New York-Penn League. The defending league champion finished a disappointing two games under .500 at 37-39.

 

That came on the heels of a 2008 record of 46-28 (.622), the best record posted at any level of the Cardinals minor league system over the last 15 years. For those who want the quick math, the year-to-year difference was nine fewer wins.

 

The team

 

The 2009 result translated to fourth place in the six-team Pinckney Division, 12 games behind division leader Mahoning Valley. In the wild card race, the Muckdogs finished fifth, 8 1/2 games out.

 

The season was conducted amid a backdrop of off-field problems including low attendance and serious questions about the club's financial future.

 

Starting with the June 19 opener, Batavia got out of the gates on the field smartly, posting a 7-2 record over their first nine games. During July, wins and losses generally balanced out for Mark DeJohn's club, with a four-game mid-month losing streak followed by a four-game winning run.

 

The team lost six of their first seven in August, likely due to a huge number of simultaneous roster changes being absorbed, 13 to be exact. The Muckdogs came right back with a season-best five-game winning streak and another four-game winning run over the course of just 11 games around mid-month.

 

Still, they could not sustain and as they were eliminated from post-season contention, the Muckdogs finished 2009, their third campaign in Batavia, with a 1-5 September.

 

The hitting

 

In the 14-team league, Batavia was among the better clubs offensively. They were third in home runs (37), fourth in slugging (.357) and hits (630) and fifth in batting average (.249), runs (333), doubles (125) and walks (264).

 

Individually, infielder Alan Ahmady was the season-long club leader, ranking second in the NY-P in OBP (.407), third in walks (47), fourth in runs (46) and tied for ninth in hits (71). He also led the team with 32 RBI. Despite not joining the club until early August, outfielder Kyle Conley's eight home runs tied for second in the league.

 

Shortstop Devin Goodwin's 19 doubles bode well for the future and placed him in a tie for fifth in the NYPL. Outfielder D'Marcus Ingram's 18 steals ranked him in a tie for eighth in the circuit. He was only caught twice all season long for an impressive 90% success rate.

 

Though all had over 100 at-bats, none were in the league long enough to qualify, yet the club had three .300 hitters in Conley (.385), Matt Adams (.346), up from Johnson City and Ryde Rodriguez (.311), like Conley down from Quad Cities.

 

Shortstop was a disappointing offensive position, manned by .209-hitting Niko Vasquez, also demoted from QC and 2009 fifth-rounder Ryan Jackson at .216.

 

The pitching

 

League results from the pitching staff were mixed. Most importantly, their ERA of 3.65 ranked just tenth and their 14 saves tied for fewest in the league. Still, there was promise as the pitchers issued the fifth-fewest walks (233) and third-most strikeouts (626).

 

The only Muckdogs that ranked among the league leaders in any pitching category were busy relievers Santo Maertz and LaCurtis Mayes, tied for eighth in appearances (26).

 

Tandem starters with ERAs under 2.16 were Scott Schneider (0.92), Daniel Calhoun (1.86) and Eric Fornataro (2.15). All three also logged WHIPs under 1.00.

 

On the not-so-good side, Andres Rosales yielded six home runs in just 18 innings after arriving from Quad Cities, tied for sixth most in the league. Mike Blazek's 45 runs allowed tied for fourth-highest and 73 hits yielded were seventh-most.

 

Individual recognition

 

Ahmady, Maertz and catcher Luis De La Cruz were named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Team with the game held on August 18.

 

Three times this season, Muckdogs hitters received league NYPL Player of the Week recognition. Ahmady was first, named for the period of June 29 - July 5, while Conley was a two-time honoree (August 3 - 9 and August 31 - September 7).

 

Schneider was our Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July while Calhoun was the organization's Pitcher of the Month in July. Conley was the organization's Player of the Month for August.

 

2009 draft

 

The Muckdogs were the initial stopping off point for 11 of the 43 Cardinals signed from June's First-Year Player Draft. They were:

 

3rd round: P Joe Kelly

5th round: SS Ryan Jackson

11th round: IF Alan Ahmady

13th round: 3B Matt Carpenter

20th round: P Scott Schneider

25th round: P Josh Squatrito

28th round: P Justin Edwards

29th round: P Daniel Calhoun

30th round: P Chris Corrigan

33rd round: SS Devin Goodwin

50th round: P Randy Lavigne

 

Coming and going

 

I tracked no fewer than 27 transactions affecting Batavia in the 2 ½ months between June 19 and September 2. As noted above, almost half of them, 13, occurred at the start of August.

 

June coming:

IF Guillermo Toribio from Quad Cities (down)

 

June going:

IF Hector Alvarez to Johnson City (down)

OF Edwin Gomez to Gulf Coast League (down)

 

July coming:

P Andres Rosales from Quad Cities (down)

P Joe Kelly signed

P Jonny Bravo from Quad Cities (down post-rehab)

 

July going:

3B Matt Carpenter to Quad Cities (up)

C Jack Cawley to Quad Cities (up)

 

August coming:

OF Travis Mitchell from Quad Cities (down)

OF Jon Edwards from Quad Cities (down)

OF Kyle Conley from Quad Cities (down)

P Justin Smith from Johnson City (up)

1B Matt Adams from Johnson City (up)

OF Michael Swinson from Johnson City (up)

P Jesse Simpson from Johnson City (up)

OF Edwin Gomez back from GCL (up)

 

August going:

1B Xavier Scruggs to Quad Cities (up)

OF Ryde Rodriguez to Quad Cities (up)

OF D'Marcus Ingram to Quad Cities (up)

P Eric Fornataro to Quad Cities (up)

P Daniel Richardson released

OF Jairo Martinez released

IF Guillermo Toribio back to Quad Cities (up)

P Scott Schneider to Quad Cities (up)

OF Beau Riportella released

 

September coming:

P Aaron Terry from Johnson City (up)

P Andrew Moss from Johnson City (up)

 

 

Related articles:

"2009 Johnson City Cardinals Team Review" – by Shawn Kerrick

"2009 Gulf Coast League Cardinals Team Review" – by Dustin Mattison

 

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.

 

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