The Mahoning Valley Scrappers celebrated their 15th season of playing baseball in Niles, Ohio this season and although it did not end in a playoff berth, it did provide for a fun and interesting season of minor league ball. The Scrappers for their part finished with a record of 30-44, good for fifth in the Pinckney Division, a half game better than the 2012 squad even in the midst of a streaky season where they set the franchise record for a losing streak at 12 games. Overcoming a tough string of losses like that is a testament to all the kids who suited up in a Scrappers uniform and their dedicated staff.
Even though this sets a second straight losing season for the club, the fans have still showed up to the gate for some summertime fun as the overall attendance marked climbed over 104,000.
The 2013 Scrappers achieved a feat this season that had only been done by 10 New York-Penn League teams since 1940, no-hit and be no-hit in the same season. The pitching was definitely a strong suit for the club as the team ERA of 2.96 ranked fifth best in the league. Offense was a different story as for most of the season coming across runs was something of a challenge. This anemic Scrappers offense ranked dead last in runs scored at 219 and 11th in batting average at .233.
Even though the club had its fair share of problems, several players that donned a Scrappers uniform this year have what looks to be a bright future.
Scrapper of the Year Award:
LHP Luis Lugo: 1-4 1.97 ERA 50.1 IP 30 K 11 BB
The 19-year-old Lugo was one of the most consistent arms to pitch for the Scrappers and was their Opening Day starter. He showed the ability to stymie opposing hitters throughout the entire season even though he does not have overpowering stuff. His performance had him towards the top of the NYPL in innings pitched, ERA, and WHIP before he was promoted to Low-A Lake County on Aug. 19. While with the Captains, he managed to make three starts and looked good going 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 14.1 innings. Lugo is a young lefty with great movement so the future looks bright for this Scrapper.
1b Nellie Rodriguez: .287/.366/.452 HR 9 RBI 37
Whenever there were runs scored by the Scrappers this season, more often than not Rodriguez was involved in some fashion. The 19-year-old first baseman really had a flair for the dramatic as he collected two walk-off hits for the Scrappers at home this season. The young righty is now tied for third all-time in homers in Scrappers history with his nine bombs, ironically his hitting coach Shaun Larkin a former Scrapper himself is the man he tied. Rodriguez was towards the top of many offensive categories in the NYPL throughout the season and finished tied for fifth in homers, sixth in RBIs, and sixth in OBP. He also earned the honor of being named a NYPL All-Star. A slow start to his season in Lake County was quickly overshadowed by his performance in Mahoning Valley and certainly gives the franchise a positive look in his direction for next season.
Scrapper Fan Favorite:
OF Josh McAdams .200/.252/.238 2B 9 RBI 11 SB 7
McAdams, a 2012 Indians draft pick out of high school in Georgia played his first full season of professional baseball, and even though his offensive numbers leave a bit to be desired he never missed a beat in his demeanor. The 19 year old played in the second most games of any Scrapper, appearing in 71 games and always kept a smile on no matter the outcome. During the end of Scrappers, home games McAdams could always be found signing autographs even as the stadium lights went out. The young righty is still extremely young and shows flashes of solid talent that make him another player to watch going forward.
Scrappers catch Sicnarf Loopstok, a 2013 draft pick out of Western Oklahoma St, was named the MILB.com best name in minor league baseball.
Scrappers Who Climbed the Ladder:
RHP James Stokes (Lake County)
INF Nick Hamilton (Lake County)
LHP Kyle Crockett (Akron)
RHP Rob Whitenack (Carolina)
OF Cody Ferrell (Lake County)
C Ryan Battaglia (Carolina)
LHP Luis Lugo (Lake County)
On the offensive side of things, a few other Scrappers managed to put together solid numbers. Infielders Claudio Bautista, Paul Hendrix, and James Roberts each enjoyed solid offensive numbers with Bautista and Roberts both being named NYPL All-Stars.
Claudio Bautista .272/.326/.416 HR 4 RBI 24
Paul Hendrix .258/.330/.333 2B 10 RBI 13
James Roberts .235/.315/.274 HR 1 RBI 18
On the pitching side of things Matt Whitehouse (named a NYPL All-Star), Cole Sulser, Breily Puerta, Kenny Matthews, Trevor Frank, Dace Kime, Ben Heller, and Caleb Hamrick all enjoyed solid seasons as well. The plethora of solid stats by so many arms is a testament of just how good the Scrappers arms performed.
LHP Matt Whitehouse 4-2, 0.72 ERA 37.1 IP K 29 BB 4
RHP Cole Sulser 3-2, 1.83 ERA 54 IP K 60 BB 9
RHP Breily Puerta 3-4, 2.08 ERA 34.2 IP K 38 BB 8
LHP Kenny Matthews 0-3, 2.52 ERA 39.1 IP K 37 BB 13
RHP Trevor Frank 1-5, 2.83 ERA 35 IP K 39 BB 2
RHP Dace Kime 0-2, 2.92 ERA 24.2 IP K 26 BB 16
RHP Ben Heller 1-3, 3.13 ERA 37.1 IP K 39 BB 14
RHP Caleb Hamrick 3-6, 3.20 ERA 76 IP K 47 BB 23
Overall, regardless of what the numbers say the 2013 Mahoning Valley Scrappers played a scrappy and entertaining season of baseball. One of the best parts of the Indians minor league affiliates is a majority of them are located within northeast Ohio so it makes it easy to keep track of the flight of this years’ Scrappers. So keep your eyes out next spring to see where your favorite Scrappers end up.
Photo: Jesse Piecuch/DTTWLN photographer