Clearwater Threshers - finished 49-89* (last in the North Division)
*Finished 32-38 in the second half of the season
In a year the Threshers had, it's really hard to sugar-coat anything about the season. Without tiptoeing around it, without KC Serna and Peter Lavin in the first half of the season, the Threshers likely wind up winning far less than the 17 they did. Both players proved to be above league-grade. Peter Lavin showed off that glorious cannon of an arm in the outfield through two levels, throwing out a staggering 21 baserunners from all outfield positions (but primarily CF). While KC and Peter did their thing, the enigmatic Brian Pointer bid his time. He looked like a lost puppy for most of the first half of the season before finally breaking out June-August, smashing 12 HR and slashing .277/.370/.472 in 267 at bats. I mean, he had 22 walks in August in only 122 plate appearances. On top of all of this, he plays above-average defense in RF. If these are a sign of things to come with Pointer, color me excited.
Brian Pointer may or may not have benefited from two other guys in the lineup during the 2nd half. JP Crawford and Roman Quinn had much different paths in making their Clearwater debuts. JP Crawford, the much-heralded 2013 1st round pick of the Phillies, lit up the South Atlantic League to earn a promotion to Clearwater. All he did was hit .275/.352/.407 with 8 HR against guys 3 years older as a Thresher. Get excited if you will. He displayed above-average, smooth defense and showed some speed on the basepaths, swiping 10 (24 overall across two levels). Roman Quinn on the other hand missed much of the first half recovering from a torn Achillies tendon, an injury that takes 1-2 years to truly recover from. No one must have told Roman that because he stole 32 bases in 88 games and hit a career high 7 homers.
To round out the offense, Art Charles hit homers (19) when he wasn't striking out (156), Harold Martinez disappointed once again, Chris Serritella/Angelo Mora/Anthony Phillips all worked their way out of the organization likely and we saw an unlikely appearance from 18 year old catcher, Deivi Grullon.
There is far less pretty picture to paint as far as the mound is concerned. Mark Leiter made a mid-season debut, after a promotion from Lakewood, and performed...exactly the same as he did before. Tons of strikeouts, but a ton of hits. Mark has the pedigree, but I'm not exactly sure he has anything more than a 7th inning reliever upside. Maybe he cuts down the contact and makes it to the big leagues as a 5th starter, but I have my doubts in general. Colin Kleven, Miguel Nunez, Jeb Stefan, Ethan Stewart and Jon Prosinski provided a bulk of the starts in 2014. I'd imagine its one they'd like to also forget. There isn't anyone that projects to much of anything at this point. Some guys I mentioned earlier, Aaron Nola, made his professional debut and did nothing but impress.
Two guys to watch out for in the future were relievers Cody Forsythe and Lee Ridenhour, both having good to great seasons. Forsythe struck out 47 in 35.2 IP, while holding down a respectable 2.77 ERA. Ridenhour's numbers weren't as good, but the stuff he displayed showed me enough that he has a future in the organization.
It was one of the worst Clearwater seasons I can remember since actively following minor league affiliates. The amount of talent assembled at the beginning of the season was probably the worst in all A-level ball. At least next season we can all look forward to the influx of the overabundance of Lakewood/Williamsport talent.
**As I rather not bore you with reciting this past year's stats, feel free to check out how everyone did this season via this LINK.