Billings Mustangs Season in Review Doug Gray September 18, 2012 4 Comments The Billings Mustangs finished the season with a division best 42-34 record, but with the season split up into two halves, failed to make the playoffs as they finished in second place in both halves. In June the Mustangs got off on the wrong foot as they lost their first game, but rebounded well with a 5 game winning streak. With play beginning in the middle of June, there were only 13 games in the month and Billings jumped out to a 9-4 record. They scored 70 runs on the month, while giving up 69. The runs given up is a tad misleading though as they gave up 35 of those in three games. The month of July saw the Mustangs put up a record of 15-13 which was saved by a 6 game winning streak to end the month. The team scored 190 runs on the month while giving up 159. The offense put up some impressive numbers on several occasions, scoring 12 or more runs 5 times, including one 22 run outburst on the 13th. The month saw the end of the first half come with the Mustangs finishing 3 games back and in second place. August rolled around and saw the Mustangs go 15-14. They began hot, going 8-2 over the first 10 games on the month, but struggled to put wins together the rest of the month. With September rolling forward though, the Mustangs were one game back of first place with an 18-14 record. For the month of August the offense would score 153 runs and the pitching and defense allowed 152. The team saw several promotions to Dayton during the month, but the core of the roster had stayed the same though they were now missing arguably the leagues two best pitchers with Ismael Guillon and Robert Stephenson now wearing Dragons uniforms. September was only 6 games long and the Mustangs entered the month a game back of Missoula, who they began the month by playing twice to round out a series. The Mustangs took the two games and left with a 1 game lead with just 4 games left to go. The Mustangs headed to Helena and split a 2 game series, while Missoula swept their two game series. Fittingly, Billings and Missoula met for a two game series to end the season and tied for first place. The Mustangs needed just one win to take first place and head to the playoffs due to the tiebreaking scenario. In the first game of the series the Mustangs blew a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th and gave up a walk off HR. In game two of the series they fell behind early and were never able to catch up, ending the month at 3-3 and ending their season. Top Position Prospect This was a rather easy choice as 18 year old Jesse Winker, fresh off of being the Reds supplemental first round pitch, went gangbusters on the Pioneer League and hit .338/.443/.500 with 40 walks and 50 strikeouts in 275 plate appearances. While it seems that he will be limited to a corner position (whether he can remain in the outfield or will ultimately move to first base is yet to be determined), early signs from his bat suggests that it may not matter where his glove winds up. Honorable mentions: Seth Mejias-Brean and Carlos Sanchez Top Pitching Prospect Much like the top position prospect, this choice was also rather easy. Robert Stephenson spent about half of the season with the Mustangs where he posted a 2.05 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 8 walks and 37 strikeouts in 30.2 innings while flashing two plus to plus plus pitches, including one reported 101 MPH fastball. Honorable Mentions: Ismael Guillon, Dan Langfield and Drew Cisco Among the League Leaders Jesse Winker – .338 average (2nd) Jesse Winker – .443 OBP (1st) Carlos Sanchez – .574 SLG (3rd) Jesse Winker – .943 OPS (3rd) Carlos Sanchez – .920 OPS (9th) Beau Amaral – 55 runs (6th) Carlos Sanchez – 12 triples (league record) Brandon Dailey – 5 triples (7th) Robert Maddox – 13 home runs (3rd) Carlos Sanchez – 55 RBI (8th) Jesse Winker – 40 walks (8th) Beau Amaral – 20 steals (4th) Jon Matthews – 18 steals (7th) Sal Romano – 5 wins (7th) Mo Wiley – 9 saves (2nd) Sean Lucas – 6 saves (7th) Ismael Guillon – 63 strikeouts (7th) Sal Romano – 1.51 WHIP (10th) 4 Responses Mel September 18, 2012 great write up, had the pleasure of seeing Stephenson, live live arm , love that the reds are just taking their time with him Stock September 18, 2012 Agree with Winker but am surprised Vincej did not make your Honorable Mention list. A SS with an OBP near .400 is a prospect. Doug Gray September 18, 2012 A shortstop out of college who showed absolutely no power at all in a hitters paradise is a guy I have a lot of questions about still. jim t September 18, 2012 Doug realy excited about Winkler. Will be interesting to see how his defense improves.