MiLB Season Wrap up – Lansing Lugnuts
By Craig Borden
Jays Journal takes a look at what happened around the Minor League System. This will include the stats for players that played on the team at any point throughout the season and look at their performance on that team alone. We are going to start with the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts.
The Mighty Lansing Lugnuts got off to a great start to the season that was centered around a potent offense. They would finish the first half with a 37-29 record which had them within striking distance of the division leaders. The powerful offense showcased the talents of Bo Bichette, Bradley Jones, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. This threesome in the middle of the lineup had the Lugnuts scoring runs at a torrid pace.
In the second half, the Lugnuts had more difficulties scoring runs and getting quality innings from their starters. This is mostly due to a big roster shakeup that would send many of their players to Single A+ Dunedin. The Lugnuts would finish with a 26-44 second half of the season which led to a 63-73 overall record for the season.
The pitching struggled for the majority of the season but was masked by a huge run scoring machine on offense that led to many of their wins. The Lugnuts pitchers that threw the most innings were both over 6.50 on their ERA’s. Mike Ellenbest and Andy Ravel threw over 100 innings on the mound to lead the team. Ellenbest threw 122.2 innings with a 6.53 ERA while Ravel had 114.1 innings with a 7.56 ERA.
Patrick Murphy was the most consistent arm for the Lugnuts and he owned a solid 2.94 ERA over 88.2 innings. He would finish his time with the Lugnuts with a 4-3 record before being sent up to the D-Jays. Yennsy Diaz and Justin Maese had mixed performances throughout the season. At times they looked dominant but then struggled their next outings. This struggle for consistency had them both land ERA’s around 4.80 for the season. They both had moments of brilliance and will look to find more stability next season.
On offense, the Lugnuts had plenty of standout performances and a few breakouts. If you are somehow living under a rock and have not heard of Bo Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr. let me clue you in. They are really really good and started the year off dominating the Midwest League with the Lugnuts. Bichette was named the Midwest League MVP after having a historic performance and flirted with .400 the entire time he was with the team. He played in 70 games and finished with a .384 batting average. This included a team-leading 32 doubles, 3 triples, and 10 home runs. He also scored 60 runs and drove in 51.
Not to be over shadowed the now number 1 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline had a heck of a start in full season ball. Vlad Guerrero Jr. batted .316 while showing off a very advanced approach at the plate. He walked 40 times and struck out just 34 times in 71 games with the Lugnuts. This allowed him to show off some pop at the plate while seeing great pitches. He had 21 doubles, a triple, and 7 home runs.. He seemed to always make solid contact and drove in 45 runs while scoring 53 himself. The Lugnuts really enjoyed having these talents on their team to start the season.
Bradley Jones was a big part of the offense to start the season as well. He played in 49 games and really established himself as a part of the Blue Jays possible future. He batted .326 with 9 homers and 39 RBI in that short time frame. This also included 10 doubles and 3 triples.
More from Toronto Blue Jays Prospects
- One prospect the Blue Jays should not have traded at the deadline
- Blue Jays: Can expanded rosters provide positivity?
- Blue Jays: 2022 Tournament 12 returns as Canadian Futures Showcase
- Blue Jays: Top Pitching Prospect Tiedemann Impresses in AA Debut
- Blue Jays 2022 Draft: Who did Toronto Land in Round Two?
Edward Olivares played the 2nd most games for the Lugnuts and had a solid season. He would get a late-season call-up for the playoff-bound Dunedin Blue Jays after a great season with the Lugnuts. He batted .277 in 101 games. The very athletic outfielder scored 82 runs while swiping 18 bases. All that production was complemented by a budding offensive performance that blossomed 26 doubles, 9 triples, 17 home runs, and 65 RBIs.
I can not finish this article without mentioning the turnaround that Joshua Palacios made this season. After really struggling to start the season he really dug in and found himself at the plate. After barely holding a batting average over the Mendoza line he went on a tear that ended his season with a .280 batting average. He ended the season with 91 games under his belt and managed 18 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers, and 39 RBI.
2017 was the tale of two seasons for the Lugnuts as they started off the season with a dominant offense that fell off after a few promotions to some key players. This is also a team of wild cards that included a Midwest League record-breaking performance for Nick Sinay who got plunked more in one season than anyone ever. He also put together a good performance outside of the 34 bean balls in the season.
Next: Blue Jays: Could Jose Bautista come back as the DH?
The Lugnuts will look to get some consistent pitching next season while keeping things up on offense as the Jays system continues to find solid athletic players.