The Hawks finished two games out of the lead in the first half (21-17) of the NWL North Division and were four back (20-18) in the second half. But because Salem-Keizer won both halves, the Hawks qualified for the playoffs, seven games better than third place Hillsboro.
The Hawks made quick work of Salem-Keizer (Giants affiliate) as Paul Blackburn and Zack Godley combined for a three-hit shutout in a 3-0 game one victory and the Hawks had 12 hits for a 11-7 win, sweeping the division series. In the finals for the second straight year against Vancouver, Boise won the first game 5-0 as Dillon Maples pitched into the seventh and two other relievers closed the door. Boise was undermanned in the two games in Vancouver as several players were unable to travel to Canada due to passport and visa issues. Vancouver won the second game 4-2 and blanked the Hawks 5-0 in the deciding game for their third straight NWL title.
At the plate, Boise led the NWL with a .269 average and homers with 50; and were second in slugging (.389) and on-base percentage (.347). They also finished second in hits (690), runs (384), doubles (129), and RBI (337). They only stole 57 bases, tied for 6th. Here's a recap of the Hawks hitters who had at least 20 plate appearances.
Kris Bryant went 0-5 with five strikeouts in his Boise debut on July 23. In his next 17 games as a Hawk, the Cubs first-round pick hit .383/.444/.750 with 4 HR, 16 RBI, and 13 runs. He earned Northwest League Player of the Week honors his final week before being promoted to Daytona and left Boise with a 15-game hitting streak. He hit his first professional homer on July 26 in front of the hometown Boise fans. The slugging third baseman continued to square up the ball in High A, hitting 359/.418/.735 as he earned Florida State League player of the week honors his first week in town and helped the D-Cubs to the FSL Championship. Not a bad first pro season for the San Diego University product, who also earned Cubs player of the month honors for August. The 21-year-old will take his skills to the Arizona Fall League and could start 2014 on the hot corner for AA Tennessee.
Kevin Encarnacion not only led Boise with a .355 average but the 21-year-old Dominican led the entire Northwest League in hitting. The fourth year pro hit .298/.400/.489 his first 13 games before earning a promotion to Kane County. The switch-hitter started 8-20 with the Cougars but 4-50 over his next 11 games and was sent back to Boise. Encarnacion was one of the hottest hitters in the organization over the last month batting .378/.444/.597 with six homers and 23 RBI. The centerfielder swiped 10 bases in Boise and shows good plate discipline hitting leadoff with 21 walks and 33 strikeouts. He was named to the media's post season all-star team (only member of Boise) as the league did not announce one. Encarnacion will likely start in center for Kane County next year.
Yasiel Balaguert made great strides in 2013 leading the Northwest League in RBI and earning all-star status. The Cuban outfielder hit .261/.331/.433 with eight homers and 48 RBI, and was fourth in NWL in total bases. The 20-year-old had a rough debut in 2012 batting .208 in Peoria in the MWL before being sent back to extended spring training. He didn't fare much better in the AZL with a .235 average. Balaguert not only shows power but a recognition of the strike zone. He will likely patrol the outfield in Kane County next spring.v
Carlos Penalver may be the best defensive shortstop in the Cubs organization but the Cubs top brass has to be impressed with how the 19-year-old Venezuelan hit the final month of the season. Penalver finished the year at .261/.338/.359 but hit .341/.427/.477 in August. The NWL all-star shortstop swiped nine bases and had a BB/K ratio of 25/49. He was second in the league in runs scored with 43. Penalver is a lock to be the starting shortstop in Kane County as its unlikely he jumps Marco Hernandez for the Daytona job next spring. Penalver is participating in fall instructs.
Shawon Dunston's return to Boise netted better results than his 2012 debut with the Hawks when he hit .185 in 19 games before returning to Mesa. The left-handed hitting outfielder hit .290/.378/358 in 49 games and had more walks (28) than strikeouts (25). He also swiped 12 bases in 14 attempts and showed glimpses of power with 10 extra base hits, including a homer. The 20-year-old missed three weeks of the season with a quad injury after colliding with David Bote on a fly ball. After the injury he hit just .215 in 16 games but did steal six bases. Dunston was named to NWL all-star game but was injured and did not play.
After hitting .220 in his first two seasons of pro ball in Mesa, 20-year-old Daniel Lockhart had a breakout season hitting .290/.346/.331 in 67 games for Boise. Lockhart found a home at second base with 47 games (.968) but also showed his versatility at third (13) and short (8). He got the opportunity to play for AAA Iowa Aug. 4-5 going 4-9 with a stolen base in two starts for the I-Cubs. He we second in the NWL with 72 hits. Lockhart continues his development at fall instructs and Is likely headed to Kane County next spring. He was named to the NWL all-star game.
First baseman Jacob Rogers had a great season in Boise. He was second in the NWL in total bases (107), second in RBI (47), second in hits (72), second in homers (8), first in walks (45), 4th in OBP (.394), and third in OPS (.807). The 40th round pick of 2012 hit .278 and earned mid-season all-star honors. The 24-year-old will likely get the first base job next spring in Kane County.
Cael Brockmeyer (16th round-2013) made his pro debut June 21 for Boise skipping the AZL and heading to short-season. Used primarily at catcher, Brockmeyer hit .309/.411/.383 in his first 26 games with 12 RBI but with a BABIP of .410. Only 20 percent of his hits went for extra bases. Due to a catcher shortage at the upper levels of the Cubs minors, Brockmeyer spent 10 days with AAA Iowa catching a pair of games in early August. The 21-year-old suffered a concussion on Aug 18 and only played in seven games after his return from Iowa, finishing with a line of .271/.355/.336 for Boise.
After getting drafted in 2011, Trevor Gretzky finally made it out of Mesa and the left-handed hitting outfielder made the most of his opportunity earning a late season promotion to Kane County where he hit (.306/.333/.408) and smacked his first pro homer. The 21-year-old started out slow hitting .174 over the first three weeks for Boise as he got sporadic playing time. When he was inserted into the lineup regularly, Gretzky responded hitting .286 over his final 21 games with the Hawks although he fanned 17 times and walked three. And like a Gretzky, had his best games against Vancouver, hitting in all seven games against the Canadians .440 (11-25).
David Bote, 18th round pick in 2012, started the spring with four games in Daytona and after a trip back to extended spring training was assigned to Kane County for a month hitting (.143/.311/.224) in 17 games. When the short-season started, the 20-year-old went to Boise and had a solid season, hitting .250/.337/.366. He showed some pop in his bat with six homers and knocked in 31 runs. He also showed his versatility starting the season as the starting second, moving to the outfield mid-season, and finishing the year at third. He was named to the NWL mid-season all-star team and finished third in NWL in runs.
Lance Rymel (28th round-2012) led the Boise catching corps with 44 games and the 2012 pick threw out 21 percent of base runners. Rymel finished his second year hitting .253/.337/.315 with a homer and 18 RBI. The 23-year-old also made two trips to AA Tennessee playing a game in May and catching the second game of a DH in July. Rymel was named to the NWL all-star team.
In his first pro season, free-agent Rony Rodriguez played corner outfield and served as the DH seeing action in 42 games. The 23-year-old for the University of Miami hit .270/341/.405 in 42 games with 3 HR and 23 RBI.
Jose Dore split the season with 29 games in Boise (.200/.284/.356) and the final 26 in Kane County (.212/.274/.318). The Cubs traded for the corner outfielder in the off-season after three seasons in the Padres organization. Dore is still only 21 and shows some power from his left-handed bat. Its a good bet Dore starts 2013 in Kane County.
11th-round pick Jordan Hankins made his pro debut in Mesa before playing 42 games, including 25 as the starting third baseman of rBoise. He hit .234/.291/.290 with eight RBI. The 21-year-old is participating in fall instructional league where he listed as a 2B/3B/C.
Justin Marra was one of three primary catchers for the Hawks, catching 12 games as the backstop threw out 28 percent of base stealers. In 96 plate appearances, the 20-year-old hit .224/.313/.482 but smacked six homers, including four in a five-game stretch that saw him drive in 10 runs late in the season. The Canadian was the Cubs 15th round pick in 2011.
Jacob Hannemann, the Cubs third round pick in June, made his pro debut for Boise on June 21 playing in 11 games (.280/.294/.480) before landing on the DL July 3. He returned to Mesa for three games of rehab and returned to Boise July 23, but only played three more games before another trip to the DL ended his season with wrist and ankle injuries. The 22-year-old only got 71 at-bats.