(WTNH)–Despite the fact that they didn’t play a game in Hartford, the Yard Goats have had a pretty successful inaugural year–at least on the field.
First, prized outfielder David Dahl got the call-up to the Colorado Rockies, and immediately greeted big-league pitching with an MLB-record 17-game hit streak. Then, fellow Yard Goats Matt Carasiti and Raimel Tapia joined the big-league club.
And on Wednesday, righthander German Marquez was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. Marquez went 9-6 with a 2.85 ERA and recorded 126 strikeouts in 21 starts at Hartford, his first season at the Double-A level.
In addition to winning this award, Marquez was also selected as the right-handed starting pitcher on the Eastern League Post Season All-Star Team. He was called up to the bigs and placed on Colorado’s 40-man roster.
The 6’1” 185 lb. hurler became the first ever Yard Goats player to win a weekly award when he was named E.L. Pitcher of the Week on May 8th. He is rated by MLB.com as the sixth best prospect in the Rockies’ organization after being acquired by Colorado from the Tampa Bay Rays last January.
The 21-year-old began the season and spent most of the summer with the Yard Goats before getting promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque on August 10th.
Marquez led the Yard Goats in wins and strikeouts, despite making his final five starts of the season in the Pacific Coast League. He also led all Hartford starters and finished second in the E.L. with a 2.85 ERA. At the time of his promotion to Triple-A, Marquez, was leading all E.L. pitchers in strikeouts (126) and innings pitched (135.2). He was also ranked among the league leaders in WHIP (1.16-2nd), batting average against (.245-4th) and wins (9-tied 4th).
The San Felix, Venezuela native held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 21 starts for the Yard Goats this season and struck out seven batters or more 10 different times. That included two starts in which Marquez carried a no-hitter in the eighth inning, the first on May 8th at Harrisburg and the second on July 28th at Harrisburg. He posted a 1.03 ERA (4 ER 35 IP) over his first six starts with the Yard Goats, while going 3-1 from April 9th through May 8th.
Pat Valaika, 23, was also called up to the Rockies. He was one of six Yard Goats to be named to the Eastern League All-Star Team and played in the game on July 13th in Akron, Ohio. The infielder batted .269 with 33 doubles, 13 home runs and 67 RBI in 108 games at Hartford, his second season in the E.L. He tied for the club lead in home runs and finished second on the Yard Goats in RBI, doubles and runs (66) despite playing most of the month of August at Triple-A.
The Valencia, California native cranked the first ever Yard Goats walk-off home run, a solo shot in a 1-0 win on June 6 against the Portland Sea Dogs. He had a 6-game hit-streak from June 6 through June 11 and had the go-head RBI single to help the Yard Goats to an Opening Day win on April 7th at Richmond. He was the Rockies’ 9th round pick in 2013 from UCLA. Pat’s older brother Chris played in Majors with the Reds and the Cubs.
The Yard Goats will play their first home game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford on Thursday, April 13th (7:05 PM) against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate). Hartford Yard Goats Season tickets are on now on sale by calling the box office at 860-246-4628.