Late Run Great But Ogden Still Falls Short

A late surge doesn't bring success after a season of what was essentially losing ways, despite all the spin you may be hearing from other sources about other matters in that regard. It did bring the collective head of the Ogden Raptors up a bit, though.

Winning six of the final seven games really didn't bring respectability- a final 34-41 record isn't all that respectable But if improvement over the season is one of the main things that minor league baseball is all about- and it is- then first-time manager Jeff Carter's team achieved that, for sure.

The main problem for the Raptors throughout was a very inconsistent pitching staff. They had a final team ERA of 4.86 and only Casper- a team that truly was downtrodden- was worse. The team batting average, though, was .286 and that was third in the league.

But in a classification where a team will typically use three or more pitchers a game, the Raptor staff simply wasn't deep enough to contain an opponent for nine innings- not often enough, any way.

There were some worthwhile individual achievements along the way, though. Like that of shortstop Jaime Pedroza, the ninth-round draft pick from Cal-Riverside whose .360 mark was second-best in the league and who, despite the fact that he's only 5-10, 175, hit eight home runs.

Or that if outfielder Travis Vetters. He managed only six hits- all singles- for his entire first season with the Gulf Coast Dodgers in 2006. This year, he sent 14 balls out of the yard and drove in 47 runs while batting .315. First baseman Jaime Ortiz became another long ball striker of note with 11 homers.

Leadoff man Jovanny Rosario, who is the fastest man in the organization until proved otherwise, hit .331 and stole 22 bases in 30 tries. Erik Kanaby, the 10th-round draft pick from Lamar University, came on very well at the end to wind up with a .338 mark.

Third baseman Austin Gallagher, the third- round choice in June, jumped from high school ball to the Pioneer League, always a demanding chore, to hit a more than respectable .284. Catcher Alex Garabedian, the eighth-round choice from the College of Charleston, did well while batting .253. And Matt Wallach, only a 22nd-round selection from Fullerton, made his dad Tim proud by hitting .297 while splitting time between catching and first base.

Brian Mathews played both third and left field and posted a .287 mark before moving up to Great Lakes. Second baseman Elian Herrera started very slowly but climbed steadily to .282.

As for the starting pitching, Michael Gardner (6-5, 3.93) had some good moments. Both Bobby Blevins, a 13th rounder from LeMoyne who went 3-3, 3.49 and lefthander Wilfredo Diaz (3-3, 4.58) did well after being inserted into the rotation. Kris Krise came on late also although he finished at 2-6, 6.22.

Johnny Caraballo was super fine as a closer with 10 saves which led the league, a notable feat while pitching for a team that didn't have all that many games to close out. Paul Coleman started like he'd dominate the league with a 4-0, 1.50 mark so was quickly advanced to Great Lakes.

Kalen Gearhart (1-0, 3.54) and Given Kutz (1-0, 3.00) were the best of the set-up men.

And as always the Ogden fans were there in large supportive numbers as they led the league in attendance with 130,268 on hand as one of two Dodger farm teams to top their leagues in that distinction (Jacksonville was the other).

So while overall things certainly could have been better, it didn't end up all that gloomy, either.


Batting Average- Pedroza .360
Home Runs- Vetters 14
Runs Batted In- Vetters 47
Stolen Bases- Rosario 22


Innings- Gardner 84.2
Wins- Gardner 6
ERA- Kutz 3.00
Saves- Caraballo 10

Most Surprising- Vetters, who as noted, managed only a .146 mark in a part time role in the Gulf Coast League in 2006 but who became a regular here to lead the team in home runs and RBI.

Most Disappointing- Gil Stanke, a 14th-round draft choice from Wisconsin-Oshkosh, who was counted on to bolster the rotation but who managed only a 2-7, 5.66 record.