Monday, September 5, 2011

Mission Notes: End of the Year Wrap

THE RECORD ... Lakeland finished the 2011 season with a 64-74 overall record - a 14-game turnaround from last season when the club completed the campaign with a 71-67 record. The 64 wins was the third most in the last five seasons. The Flying Tigers finished in fifth place (11.0 games back) in the first half with a 36-34 record and dropped to sixth place (also 11.0 games back) in the second half with a 28-40 record.

AT THE PLATE ... The Flying Tigers posted a .258 batting average, which ranked ninth in the league. The 587 runs was eighth most of the 12 Florida State League teams while the 57 stolen bases was the fewest in the league. The squad struck out 997 times this season which was the fifth most in the league.

ON THE MOUND ... The pitching staff recorded a 3.91 earned run average which was the fourth highest in the league. Only St. Lucie, with seven, had more complete games than Lakeland’s five.

DOWN THE STRETCH ... The Flying Tigers did not close out the season the way the players would like remember, going 6-13 over the last 19 games.

LEAGUE-LEADER ... Tony Plagman led the Florida State League with 97 runs batted in, becoming just the fourth Lakeland player to lead the league in RBI. The last to do so was Ryan Strieby who knocked in 94 runs in 2008. The first Lakeland hitter to lead the league was Terry Bartholome who had 84 runs batted in during 1963 while Brent Clevlen set a franchise record with a FSL-best 102 RBI in 2005. Plagman also played in more games (137 of Lakeland’s 138 games played) than any other player and posted 526 at bats which tied for third-most in the league. His 220 total bases ranked fourth most in the Florida State League.

15-GAME WINNER ... Jared Wesson picked up his 15th win of the season on the last day of the year to finish 15-10 on the year. The 15 wins is tied for the second most by a Lakeland pitcher in modern history joining Darren Harris who was 15-8 in 1988. Mike Chris holds the Lakeland Tiger record with an 18-5 record in 1977. The 15 victories was just one shy of the league lead set by Julio Rodriguez of Clearwater who finished 16-7.

... No other player in the Florida State League put a better cap on the season than Lakeland’s Jordan Lennerton. From Aug. 5 until the last game on Sept. 4, the first baseman/DH was the Florida State League’s hottest hitter, going 48-for-111 at the plate for a .432 average with 20 runs scored, 13 doubles, a triple, seven homers and 24 runs batted in.

THE IDEA ... The main goal of any hitter is to get on base, whether by a hit, walk, or get hit. No Flying Tiger did it better in 2011 than Brent Wyatt. Despite being promoted to Erie on July 31, Wyatt had enough plate appearances in his stay in Lakeland to finish third overall in the FSL with a .417 on base percentage.

I’M WALKING ... Jordan Lennerton drew 92 walks on the season, finishing second in the league.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS ... Tony Plagman led Lakeland with 137 games played, 526 at bats, 18 home runs and 97 runs batted in ... Jordan Lennerton led with 138 hits, 33 doubles and 92 walks ... Brent Wyatt hit .290 to lead those players with 280 or more at bats ... Gustavo Nunez hit a team-leading seven triples and tied Avisail Garcia for the team-lead with 14 stolen bases.

THE ARMS ... Jared Wesson led the Flying Tigers with 15 wins. Wesson also led the club with 147.2 innings pitched ... Kenny Faulk recorded 20 saves in 22 opportunities ... Wesson and Trevor Feeney tied for the team-lead with 96 strikeouts while Feeney, Wesson, Luke Putkonen, and Mark Sorensen each tossed one complete game.

THE ROSTER ... Twenty-one players took the field defensively for Lakeland while 25 others took the mound for the Flying Tigers. The 46 players is 19 fewer than the 65 players that played for Lakeland a year ago. It is also the second fewest players used since the 2005 team used 41 players.

THE CROWDS ... While Lakeland finished with the second lowest attendance in the league, the 62,324 fans that witnessed the 2011 season was topped only by last year’s record season attendance of 64,010.

POSITION LEADERS ... 1B-Jordan Lennerton (74 games); 2B-Corey Jones (121); 3B-Wade Gaynor (128); SS-Gustavo Nunez (61); OF-Avisail Garcia (129) and C-Julio Rodriguez (66).

ALL-STARS ... Lakeland sent four players to the Florida State League All-Star game in reliever Kenny Faulk, shortstop Gustavo Nunez, first baseman Tony Plagman and catcher Julio Rodriguez.

TWICE AS NICE ... Jordan Lennerton was the only Flying Tiger to hit a grand slam in 2011 and did it not once, but twice. Lennerton clubbed his first bases-loaded homer on May 10 at St. Lucie in a 10-2 win and duplicated the feat on July 2 at Clearwater in a 8-4 victory.

MULTI-HIT GAMES ... Jordan Lennerton had 36 games with two or more hits including 25 games with two hits, 10 with three hits and one four-hit game. Avisail Garcia was second with 33 multi-hit games including three games with four hits.

SOLID AT THE HOT CORNER ... Wade Gaynor led all Florida State League third baseman in fielding percentage (.953), games played (128), total chances (379), putouts (104), assists (257), and double plays (25). Lakeland finished the season with a .978 fielding percentage which was the second best mark in the Florida State League.

SEASON SERIES ... Lakeland posted winning series records against Daytona (11-6), Bradenton (6-2), Charlotte (5-3), Fort Myers (7-1) while splitting series with Dunedin (9-9) and St. Lucie (4-4). The Flying Tigers lost their season series with Brevard County (11-6), Clearwater (5-13); Tampa (7-13), Jupiter (2-6) and Palm Beach (3-5).

CLOSE ONES ... Thirty-six times in 2011, Lakeland found itself in a one-run ball game with the club winning 21 of those games. Last season, the Flying Tigers were 25-25 in games decided by one-run.

GOOD AND BAD DAYS ... Lakeland was 12-6 on Sundays, 13-7 on Mondays and 11-9 on Fridays, but 5-18 on Saturday and 5-12 on Wednesdays.

TOP CROWD ... The most fans attended the Fourth of July game this season as 5,349 witnessed the fireworks. Bright House Networks Night brought out 4,515 fans while the second Education Day crowd of 3,347 was third highest.

STAGE FRIGHT ... Lakeland was 0-8 when playing in front of crowds of 2,000 or more.

ROSTER SHUFFLIN’ ... The Flying Tigers made an unofficial 106 transactions in 2011. While no 2011 Flying Tiger made it to the show this season, catchers Jeff Kunkel and pitchers Trevor Feeney, Ryan Robowski, and Shawn Teufel all played at AAA Toledo. Kunkel traveled up and down the organizational roster while the three pitchers all made one appearance for the Mud Hens. Players who played both in Lakeland and AA Erie include William Bergolla, Trevor Feeney, Jared Gayhart, Matt Little, Gustavo Nunez, Luke Putkonen, Michael Rockett, Ryan Robowski, Shawn Roof, Mark Sorensen, Tyler Stohr, Jay Voss, and Brent Wyatt.

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