Joe Reisel's Archives
Record: 62-82 (.431); 4th Place IL South; 13th (of 14) Overall
Runs Scored: 535
Runs Allowed: 585
BA Top 30 Prospects:
#3 Chance Sisco (4 G, 18 PA)
#8 Trey Mancini (125 G, 536 PA)
#10 Mike Wright (13 G, 13 GS, 76 1/3 IP)
#13 Dariel Alvarez (130 G, 560 PA)
#14 Christian Walker (131 G, 552 PA)
#19 Tyler Wilson (6 G, 6 GS, 23 2/3 IP)
#21 Oliver Drake (47 G, 1 GS, 56 1/3 IP)
#22 Parker Bridwell (4 G, 0 GS, 10 IP)
#23 Ariel Miranda (19 G, 19 GS, 100 2/3 IP)
#25 Mike Yastrzemski (94 G, ,385 PA)
Offense: Below average but not terrible. The Tides ranked 12th in the league in runs scored, but were only 33 runs below the league average. Harbor Park is a pitcher's park. The ball doesn't carry to the deep power alleys; the wind most often blows across the field; and the field is at sea level. So the park depresses offense; the Tides didn't have a good offense but it was better than it looked.
Defense: Good in the infield, substandard in the outfield. The Tides shortstops (mostly Paul Janish and Ozzie Martinez) were outstanding; the second basemen (Martinez, Sharlon Schoop, Corban Joseph) solid; the third basemen (mostly Michael Almanzar) erratic but got the job done. On the other hand, Christian Walker was a first baseman trying to play left field; L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery are not center fielders; and Dariel Alvarez was inconsistent. Only Mike Yastrzemski was a good defensive outfielder.
Pitching: The starting rotation was poor, although most of the really bad starting pitchers were dismissed during the year. The bullpen was excellent.
Season Overview: The Norfolk Tides 2016 season could be divided into four parts. The Tides began by losing 8 of their first 10; bounced back to 9-14; then lost 15 of their next 20. They continued to play poorly and reached their first low point on June 12, when they were 11 1/2 games behind.
The Tides had loaded up on AAA veteran free agents, in part because there weren't many advanced prospects in the system and in part because the Orioles like to have role players who can be called up as needed. Many of those didn't play well. Joey Terdoslavich, Todd Redmond, Terry Doyle, Henry Urrutia, Alfredo Marte, and Steve Tolleson were all sent out by mid-May. L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery played poorly, but remained with the team.
From June 12 to July 22, the Tides more or less stabilized and started to close the gap, although they still played below .500 in that stretch. Joe Gunkel and Mike Wright joined the team and stabilized the rotation; Andy Oliver moved from the bullpen into the rotation and pitched as well as he ever has. On July 22, the Tides reached their second low point at 37-63, 26 games below .500, although they were "only" 7 1/2 games out of first place. They went 16-20 but gained four games on the division lead.
The Tides won on July 23, and the July 24 game against Toledo might have been the turning point of the season. The Tides led 3-2 going into the ninth inning and Jason Stoffel, who been dominant since replacing Oliver Drake as the closer, came into pitch. .Steven Moya hit his third pitch into the right-field bullpen, tying the game. In the bottom of the ninth, the Tides loaded the bases with one out only to have Paul Janish hit into a double play. In the top of the 10th, Toledo loaded the bases with two out but Moya grounded out. In the bottom of the tenth, L.J. Hoes hit a one-out triple and the Mud Hens intentionally walked Trey Mancini. With Christian Walker batting, Toledo tried to pick Hoes off third base. He got back safely, but Mancini had broken for second and got himself in a rundown. While Toledo fixated on Mancini, Hoes broke for home and scored the winning run.
That game started the Tides on the third phase, in which they got back into playoff contention. From July 23 to August 20, the Tides went 19-9 and closed to within 1 game of first place (on August 18, with a 55-71 record; on August 20 the Tides were in a second-place tie, 1 1/2 games out.) In this phase, the Tides pitching and defense were outstanding and the offense was just good enough. In particular, Corban Joseph seemed to always deliver a key hit and the Tides seemed to win all the close games.
On August 21, with only 16 games left in the season, the Tides played Durham. Durham led 4-1 after 7; the Tides scored 1 in the eighth. In the ninth, trailing 4-2, the Tides led off with two singles and a double to make it 4-3. An intentional walk loaded the bases with no one out; a sacrifice fly tied the game and advanced the winning run to third. Unfortunately for Tides fans, late-season hero Corban Joseph struck out on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt and L.J. Hoes grounded out. Momentum failed the Tides as Jake Hager led off the top of the tenth with a home run and Durham held on for the win. In the fourth and final phase of their season, the Tides went 6-10 although they weren't finally eliminated from the postseason chase until September 3.
In subsequent articles, I will examine the seasons and futures of many of the 2016 Tides. These articles will not be heavy on statistical analysis but are based on my observations of 50 Tides games (49 of which I scored either for MLB Advance Media or Baseball Info Solutions.)