Savannah had a mostly terrific season, a second-best 85-51, which culminated in a late season swoon with an 8 game losing streak and a first round playoff loss. Chokers? Hardly. They were victims of their own great success.
Simply put, early season igniters Lee Mazzilli, Jeff McNeil, and to a lesser extent Gavin Cecchini all got mid-season promotions. The 3 averaged 60 games apiece and combined for the following while in Gnat Land: 119 runs, 46 doubles, 8 triples, 12 HRs, 108 RBIs, .295, and .361 on base % in 784 combined plate appearances.
Their replacements were not as productive offensively. Period.
Their closer Robert Coles was promoted to St Lucie mid-season too, which thinned a lethal bullpen. He was 1.95, 11 saves, and 32 Ks in 27 2/3 innings in 21 appearances.
Amazing. A few others were promoted too.
Still, what went right? PLENTY.
First, the aforementioned Mazz/McNeil/Cecchini trio. Great.
Next, Dario Alvarez, also discussed heretofore. Brilliant.
Coles did a fine closing job. See above.
Righty starter John Gant was a fine 11-5, 2.56 in 123 innings, with 114 Ks over 21 starts.
Robert Whalen, who missed a chunk of the season due, of all things, to a hand infection, but for the second year in a row he was outstanding: 9-1 in 11 starts, 2.01, 1.01 WHIP.
Each of the highlighted guys above will certainly continue with fine minor league careers in 2015 and my guess is at least half make the bigs. They were the straws that stirred the Gnats' bug juice in 2014.
It takes more than them, though. Other notables included, but were not limited to, Champ Stuart (29 of 33 steals, 50 runs in 81 games); Miller Diaz (6-1, 2.25 before season-ending injury in early August); Kevin McGowan (4-2, 2.14 before he too was promoted to the Lucies); and Darwin Frias (5-2, 2.98, 12K/9 in 57 innings).
In summary, if this team had not been weakened by several well-deserved promotions, it would have ended up about 50 games over and won the playoffs. But it was a victim of early phenomenal success, hence the promotions, etc.
No matter how you slice it, a phenomenal year for this Georgia-based team.
Whaddya think, folks?