Williamsport Crosscutters - finished 33-43 (last in the Pinckney Division)
If this team could have even hit just, even a little bit more, they could have likely fared better in the standings. The Crosscutters had some superb stretches from players, but never at the same time. The lone constant threat for the Crosscutters came from 21 year old Jiandido Tromp. On top of having a fantastic name, he broke the Williamsport record for HR in a single season with 14 and managed to slash .266/.325/.498 and steal 16 bases. He did this with little to no protection in the lineup. He is a name to look out for as he should get a full season of A-ball next year in Lakewood. Those inconsistent guys I was talking about? Cord Sandberg blew the cover off the ball in June, but followed it up with a miserable July and August. This was similar to his 2013 GCL debut. Cord is a superb athlete and one of those lottery tickets if he pans out given his speed and potential power. 2014 draftees Aaron Brown and Derek Campbell also disappointed a bit, but Aaron still produced enough to garner Baseball America's 18th best ranked prospect in the NY/Penn League.
The biggest disappointments on offense included Jan Hernandez, Wilmer Oberto and Robinson Torres. Hernandez comes at a personal failure this season batting .186 and questionable defense. The 2013 draftee was looked at as a great get in the 3rd round, but hasn't looked it so far.
Lastly, two names to look out for on top of Tromp and Sandberg going into the 2015 season are Deivi Grullon and Rhys Hoskins. Grullon is an 18 year old catcher with a strong arm and good defensive instincts who played across 3 levels during the 2014 season, but saw a majority of his reps with Williamsport. The hitting wasn't quite there, but the outlook for this kid is sky high given his defense at an early age. If we could somehow combine Grullon's defense and Andrew Knapp's bat, we could have a supreme catcher in the pipeline. Rhys Hoskins is a 2014 draftee out of college who came on strong at the end of the season. Yes, he is a 1st base only, but the power and bat all seem to be checking out and a strong 2015 could catapult Hoskins up the Top20 organization pipeline.
The reason the team didn't finish with 10+ more losses is the pitching. David Whitehead made his 2014 debut after sitting out 2013 after receiving Tommy John surgery. He provided 74 innings to a 2.19 ERA with 8 walks and 43 strikeouts. 2015 will hopefully see David fully recovered and exceed expectations a bit further. Mitch Gueller, the highly regarded Comp A righty, dazzled and fizzled for the Crosscutters, putting up 6-8 "quality starts" among his 13 on the year. The 29 walks and 31 strikeouts in 63.1 innings might tell us enough, but I'm willing to stay on the Gueller bandwagon a bit longer to see if he can't realize his potential. Two of my favorite pitchers of note for Williamsport were Ricardo Pinto and Brandon Leibrandt who will be names to follow in Lakewood after very strong seasons.
The bullpen featured a ton of arms and even better numbers. Some of the higher quality relievers included Calvin Rayburn, Bryan Sova, Edubray Ramos and Frank Rivas. A personal favorite, Matt Hockenberry (Temple alum rep%) saw action across the GCL, NY/P League and SAL, but saw his greatest success with Williamsport.
I was expecting much better things based off the draft and the talent that was announced to begin the season in Williamsport. The offense was inconsistent, impatient and downright terrible. I'm not sure what to think this is just the group of players or the overall coaching. Neither is a great scenario and I hope its just a blip on the radar.
**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.