The roster hardly remained the same throughout the season but there was one thing that was constant, manager Matt Walbeck. Walbeck brought a winning mentality to Erie and was rewarded by being named the Eastern League Manager of the Year. On Friday August 17 Matt Walbeck earned his 300th career win in a 5-4 victory over the Altoona Curve. Matt managed three seasons in West Michigan before becoming the Erie SeaWolves manager this season.
The season started slowly for the ‘Wolves as they had their entire first series with the Altoona Curve wiped out by snow. It didn't get much better when the action began as the ‘Wolves started out 4-6 before a four game win streak from 4/20-4/23. The ‘Wolves finished the month of April at 10-10 led by pitcher Dallas Trahern who was 4-0.
It took until June for the ‘Wolves to hit their stride but once they did, they didn't look back. At the end of June the ‘Wolves were 11 games over .500 at 45-34. July and August were more of the same for the ‘Wolves who eventually finished 81-59 and were Southern Division champions.
There were many highlights for the Erie SeaWolves this season including sending Jackson Melian, Jair Jurrjens and Dallas Trahern to the Eastern League All Star Game. Jurrjens had a decent season going 7-5 with a 3.20 ERA before being called up to Detroit on August 14.
In addition to Jurrjens, the ‘Wolves had a couple of other players who were called up to Detroit. Andrew Miller joined the ‘Wolves on May 9th but he was sent to Detroit on May 17th. Miller did rejoin the ‘Wolves on May 23rd only to return back to Detroit on June 10th. After a stint on the disabled list Miller was eventually sent back to Class A from the Tigers. Cameron Maybin also joined the Erie SeaWolves for a short time playing only six games before being called up to Detroit. In his six games Maybin had four home runs for the SeaWolves.
Jeff Larish and Mike Hollimon were two players who were counted on all season for Erie. Larish hit 28 home runs and had 101 RBI while being the runner up for the Eastern League MVP. Hollimon was a team leader on and off the field for the ‘Wolves and he was named to the Eastern League All Star team at the end of the season. Hollimon finished the regular season with Toledo after being called up on August 31st. The ‘Wolves played their first three playoff games without Hollimon and lost game four despite Hollimon hitting a home run in his return.
The pitching was a strong point for Erie this season with Dallas Trahern leading the way. Trahern had 25 starts for Erie and was 12-6 with a 3.87 ERA. Eddie Bonine also enjoyed a successful season in the rotation for Erie going 14-5 with a 3.90 ERA. In addition to Trahern and Bonine, Jair Jurrjens and Eulogio De La Cruz were solid in their time with Erie. Jurrjens finished the season with Detroit while De La Cruz pitched most of the season with Toledo. Andrew Kown was an interesting story for the ‘Wolves, starting the season in the bullpen before becoming a mainstay in the rotation. Kown struggled while pitching in the bullpen but seemed to be more confident when he was added to the rotation.
The ‘Wolves had a number of players who joined the team late in the season and enjoyed some success. Burke Badenhop had only three starts with Erie but was 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA. Michael Hernandez was called up from Lakeland and had three home runs and 18 RBI in just 17 games with the Erie. Danny Worth was called up very late in the season, replacing Michael Hollimon, and he did not seem out of place. Worth hit over .400 in his very short stint with the team.
In closing the ‘Wolves had a great season despite the disappointing end in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs. The ‘Wolves will welcome back manager Matt Walbeck next season as they try to defend their Southern Division title. The people of Erie seemed to enjoy the team this year as they became an important part of the community, and the team seemed to embrace the community as well. Everyone is hoping for more of the same next year with the goal being an Eastern League Championship.