The modern world is always concerned about the end result. We like to analyze how we get from point A to point B in order to determine the best way to do this, the best way to get that desired outcome. We all do this in our jobs. We're all set out to reach that end goal. The outcome.
In baseball, the desired outcome is a championship.
Fresno did this TWICE!
They won the Pacific Coast League Championship and the Triple-A Championship (last night).
Much has been written about the Astros new affluence for on-base percentage over batting average. Fresno's offense is exactly that philosophy in practice. As a team the batted .274 which was middle of the pack, but their .357 OBP was tops in the league. That's important because it correlated with the highest total runs in the league. In fact, the highest four OBP teams were also the top four teams in total runs.
Fresno has to give special thanks to their leaders in the OBP department. Tyler White (57 games) and Domingo Santana (95 games) both had OBP over .400. They had three players play over one hundred games and had OBP's over the team average (Jon Singleton, Matt Duffy, and Nolan Fontana). L.J. Hoes played ninety-nine games and was also over the team average.
All four leaders in runs scored for the team have been mentioned; Santana, Singleton, Duffy, and Hoes.
The lineup featured several different players this year but the biggest prospects didn't spend that much time. They relied more on the regulars this season. Uber-Prospect Carlos Correa only played 24 games and Preston Tucker played 33 games.
While the lineup was one of the best in the league, the pitching staff was in the bottom half in several categories. The park has to be factored in though. The West Coast stadiums in the PCL tend to be more offensive environments (think Lancaster). Fresno's park is one of the most neutral parks but they frequent parks like Colorado Springs, Reno, and Salt Lake as they're all in the Pacific Region of the PCL.
As a result, despite the Grizzlies having one of the best BB/SO ratios (third in walks and strikeouts), they ranked ninth in ERA (4.24). They ranked tenth in hits allowed and ninth in home runs allowed. So, they had their issues but the peripherals were strong.
Some of the issues with the staff were directly from the rotation. The four leaders in innings pitched were Dan Straily, Brady Rodgers, Luis Cruz, and Asher Wojciechowski. All four of them had over one hundred innings and all four of them had an ERA worse than the team average. Of the remaining starters with at least ten starts, two of the three had ERA's below the team average (Mike Hauschild and Brett Oberholtzer) and Mark Appel's was over the team average.
Of the pitchers that pitched significant totals in innings (arbitrarily put at forty innings), it was primarily relievers that lowered the team ERA. Jordan Jankowski (3.18 ERA in 62 1/3 IP) and James Hoyt (3.49 ERA in 49 IP) had sub-4 ERA's with the most innings. Tommy Shirley (3.07 ERA in 41 IP) also had sub-4 ERA. Tommy Shirley (41 IP) and Tyson Perez (44 2/3 IP) both had sub-3 ERA's.
Straily was the only one to clear one hundred strikeouts with 124. Luis Cruz was close with 93 but also had 52 walks. Only Straily, Kevin Chapman, Jordan Jankowski, and Hoyt had K/9's over 9.
Given the offensive environment of the Pacific Coast of the PCL, the team relied on what the environment allowed. Offense from a high OBP. They required the pitching staff to have good BB/SO ratio in order to keep the run environment limited.