The Rattlers finished with the worst record in the Midwest League's Western Division at 56-80. While the M's choose to keep most of their young pitching talent in Wisconsin rather than promote them to the High Desert, most of the better offensive prospects are moved along quicker, leaving a squad that doesn't allow a lot of runs, but doesn't score many either.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (56-80, 8th in Midwest League Western)
Offensive MVP: Edilio Colina, IF
It was a rough season offensively for the Rattlers --- so much so, that second baseman Edilio Colina led the team in OPS at .729. Colina was the most consistent offensive performer, though, leading the team in batting average (.291), hits (123), and runs (69). He hit four home runs and was one of only four Rattlers with 50 RBI. He struck out only 54 times in 423 at bats.
Starting Pitching MVP: Michael Pineda
All the hype coming into this season was about Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez, but it was the 19-year-old Pineda who stole the show. His final start of the season --- a complete game, one-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts --- was the cherry on top of a spectacular debut season in America. Pineda had gone 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA in the Dominican League last summer, and managed to pitch even better in 2008. Pineda finished only with an 8-6 record due to the Rattlers' difficulties in scoring runs, but his numbers were unmatched throughout the entire Mariner system:
138.1 IP, 109 H, 7 HR, 35 BB, 128 K, 1.95 ERA
July was the only month where Pineda posted an ERA of more than 1.93. He had a 0.91 ERA in six starts in August and September.
Relief Pitching MVP: Travis Mortimore
Mortimore eventually went to High Desert and had a rough time, but his stint in Wisconsin was nothing short of remarkable. In 34 innings with the Rattlers, Mortimore allowed exactly two earned runs (for a 0.53 ERA) and a ridiculous 3.7 H/9. The big lefty out of Wayne State (NE) should get an opportunity to pitch in the more friendly environs of West Tenn next season.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Jeff Dunbar, P
Finding pleasant surprises was a bit tough, but Dunbar was a nice late-season revelation for the Rattlers. He stepped in after just 11 innings in Pulaski and, despite not joining Wisconsin until mid-July, led the Rattlers in saves with six. In 30 1/3 innings between Pulaski and Wisconsin, Dunbar gave up just 18 hits and 10 earned runs. He walked only eight while striking out 26, and held opponents to a .170 batting average. A big reason for his success was his 65% ground ball rate
Biggest Disappointment: Alex Liddi, 3B
Liddi was supposed to be "one to watch" this season, but he never really got going until very late in the season. The 20-year-old Italian is attempting to work his way up in a sport his country isn't really known for. Liddi may make the jump to high-A ball next season, but it won't be because he tore up the Midwest League. He hit .244 this season with a .313 on-base percentage. He wasn't any worse than several other Rattler regulars, but Liddi was pegged as a guy who should've had greater success at this level. Hopefully, his late-season play will carry over into next year. In August, Liddi hit .308 with three homers, 17 RBI, and an .847 OPS. But it followed a July that saw Liddi bat just .170 with a .519 OPS. Alex will have to find a way to be more consistent to become a legitimate prospect.