The Carolina Mudcats finished out the 2017 season with an overall record of 73-65 in their first season as an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, ending the year with the third best record in the Carolina League. The Mudcats went 36-32 in the first half of the year, finishing six games back of the Southern Division champions, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs). They put up a nearly identical record in the second half, going 37-33, finishing in third place, just a game back of the Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers) and two behind the Buies Creek Astros.
The Mudcats were rained out on opening day, but won three of their first four games, finishing the month of April three games under .500 at 10-13 in April. They caught fire in May, posting a record of 18-11 for the month, including a stretch that saw them win 12 of 14 from May 10th-24th. They played .500 ball in the month of June, going 13-13 in June and finished just a game under in July, going 14-15. Carolina displayed remarkable consistency, again going .500 at 14-14 in August, before finishing up the season by winning all four games that they played in the month of September.
The Carolina roster was loaded with many of Milwaukee’s top prospects, including infielders Jake Gatewood, Lucas Erceg and Isan Diaz, as well as outfielder Corey Ray, Trent Clark, Monte Harrison and Troy Stokes, Jr. Expectations were high with such as stacked roster and not all players met those expectations. On the other hand, plenty of players did enjoy success, with Gatewood and Stokes both earning promotions to Double-A Biloxi after showing themselves capable of handling Carolina League pitching.
The Mudcats pitching staff also featured plenty of big name prospects with the likes of former first-rounder Kodi Medeiros and fellow Hawaiian Jordan Yamamoto leading the way. Corbin Burnes proved to be a dominant right-handed starter in ten starts before he was promoted to Biloxi and Cody Ponce also earned a late season bump. Nate Griep thrive as the team’s closer, locking down 30 saves.
The Mudcats had six players named to the Carolina League’s All-Star team with pitchers Cody Ponce, Nate Griep and Freddy Peralta, infielders Lucas Erceg and Jake Gatewood, and outfielder Corey Ray all selected to the squad. Gatewood and Ray both started for the South team with Diaz entering later in the game while each of the three Carolina pitchers tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LUCAS ERCEG: It was a tough start to the season for Erceg, who received a heavy workload during spring training, but he found his stroke in the second half of the season and finished the year as the Mudcats leader in hits home runs and runs batted in. 49 of his 127 hits went for extra-bases and he was rewarded for his strong finish with a promotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs to finish out the season.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
JORDAN YAMAMOTO: Though he doesn’t get the attention that some of the Brewers more heralded arms receive, Yamamoto has quiety strung together impressive seasons as he continues to climb the ladder toward Milwaukee. He appeared in 22 games this season, starting 18, and went 9-4 with a 2.51 earned run average while striking out 113 batters in 111 innings of work and holding opposing hitters to a .223 average.
Games Played: Trent Clark (133), Luis Aviles (132), Lucas Erceg (127)
Runs: Trent Clark (78), Lucas Erceg (66), Jake Gatewood (36)
Hits: Lucas Erceg (127), Luis Aviles (114), Jake Gatewood (113)
Doubles: Jake Gatewood (36), Lucas Erceg (33), Corey Ray (29)
Triples: Trent Clark (6), Troy Stokes, Jr. (5), Corey Ray (4)
Home Runs: Lucas Erceg (15), Troy Stokes, Jr. (14), Isan Diaz (13)
RBI: Lucas Erceg (81), Troy Stokes, Jr. (56), Isan Diaz (54)
Walks: Trent Clark (98), Isan Diaz (62), Corey Ray (48)
Stolen Bases: Luis Aviles (38), Trent Clark (37), Corey Ray (24)
Batting Average: Monte Harrison (.278), Jake Gatewood (.269), L. Erceg (.256)
On Base %: Cooper Hummel (.368), Wendell Rijo (.363), Trent Clark (.360)
Slugging %: Monte Harrison (.487), Troy Stokes, Jr. (.445), Jake Gatewood (.438)
OPS: Monte Harrison (.828), Troy Stokes, Jr. (.789), Jake Gatewood (.779)
Wins: Jordan Yamamoto (9), Kodi Medeiros (8), Cody Ponce (8)
ERA: Corbin Burnes (1.05), Wuilder Rodriguez (1.63), Zack Brown (2.16)
Appearances: Nate Griep (45), Brad Kuntz (36), Eric Hanhold (30)
Saves: Nate Griep (30), Wiulder Rodriguez (2), Jon Olczak (2)
Innings Pitched: Kodi Medeiros (128.1), Marcos Diplan (125.2), C. Ponce (120.0)
Strikeouts: Kodi Medeiros (121), Marcos Diplan (119), Jordan Yamamoto (113)
WHIP: Corbin Burnes (0.88), Wuilder Rodriguez (0.97), Zack Brown (1.04)
TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Corbin Burnes (RHP)
2. Corey Ray (OF)
3. Isan Diaz (SS/2B)
4. Lucas Erceg (3B)
5. Monte Harrison (OF)
6. Freddy Peralta (RHP)
7. Trent Clark (OF)
8. Marcos Diplan (RHP)
9. Cody Ponce (RHP)
10. Troy Stokes, Jr. (OF)