The new owners and management team are pleased with the performance of the Shadow Wolves in their first year here in Boise. We are aware that building a contender takes more than just one year. We made a lot of changes when we took over ownership. A lot of familiar faces in Colorado Springs didn’t make the move to Boise. We added a lot of new faces to the lineup. The Shadow Wolves lost the last game of the season to finish one game below their season goal of seventy wins. We did win seven of the last nine, and ten of the last fifteen, however. This is a positive note looking to next year. Some of the other owners assumed Boise would finish with a top five pick again this year. Well, we proved them wrong, and we also tied for third in the division losing the tiebreaker to finish fourth, which was unexpected by everyone I’m sure. We improved on last season’s record, though only slightly; to have the best season this franchise has had to date. We expect to add a couple more new faces next year and continue to improve.
One of the biggest, and most controversial, moves we made when taking over the Shadow Wolves was to trade away fan favourite Alex Lim to Fargo. Lim wanted to be on a contender, and we knew the Shadow Wolves were still a few years away from that status. We added a couple good young players, a good shortstop in Victor Naruda, and a great young pitcher in Victor Soto. We feel we got more than equal value for the trade.
We also brought in Pete Rubel in a trade with Chicago to be our number one starter, and he only performed adequate in the role. Talks have currently broken down with Pete, as he wants to test the FA market next spring. That is not to say that he won’t be returning to the Shadow Wolves, but we will weigh our options before committing to a long term contract with Rubel.
We also picked up a couple FA pitchers last spring, long relief pitcher Ralph Wilkins, and set-up man Max Delgado. We were very pleased with Delgado’s performance this year. He was one of our top pitchers. Wilkins, on the other hand, had a disappointing ERA, but we expect him to bounce back next season.
The final move we made to start the season had the best and most immediate impact. We dealt with New Orleans to pick up Pedro Medrano. Not only did he perform great this season, but he was our best starter. He finished with a 15-7 record, a 4.23 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP. He is a rookie of the year candidate, and we wish him luck in the voting.
Alex Cornejo did a good job in the closing role, and Ivan Castilla put up some okay numbers as a starter (4.78 ERA, and 1.48 WHIP, and an impressive 176 strikeouts), but just couldn’t get the batters to help him out as his record dropped to 5-16, worst on the team.
Our two rule five pick ups were a mixed blessing. Rudy Franco didn’t have a good season pitching, and he also got into injury trouble. Hal Ball on the other hand had a good season for us with a .362 OBP and 39 stolen bases.
Abdullah Dillon, signed as a FA last spring as well, was a disappointment. If his play doesn’t improve early next season, we’ll look to deal him. Early season call ups, SS Ryan Hamill and C Hiram Spooneybarger each had a good season, though Hamill had an early set back with an injury. We expect big things from them in the future. Our best hitter this season ended up being mid season acquisition Felipe Ortiz, acquired from Monterrey. He played only 103 games with us, but drove in 71 runs and averaged .299 with a .369 OBP. He is a FA this summer, and management is considering what part he will play in the future of this franchise.
The most exciting news from this season is that four of our five minor league teams have made it into the post season, and the double A team fought hard for that last wild card spot, but came up just short. This is very promising news for the future of the franchise. We’ll be seeing a couple more young guys from the AAA club on the ML roster next season, and our High A team has an especially large crop of future MLers, and in a few years, those guys will be the ones leading us to our first World Series. The future is bright for the Shadow Wolves.
So the ownership and management group of the Boise Shadow Wolves would like to thank the team and the fans for a fun year, and look forward to making a bigger impact in the years to come.