PCL Attendance Leaders, Record-Setting On-Field Performances Highlight 2023 Campaign
The Albuquerque Isotopes completed their 20th season of play Sunday, a campaign that saw several historical achievements.
For the first time ever, RGCU Field at Isotopes Park welcomed the highest cumulative total of fans in the Pacific Coast League, as 521,521 customers walked through the turnstiles in 2023. The cumulative attendance was also fifth-most in all of Minor League Baseball, the highest Albuquerque has finished in 20 seasons. Additionally, the Isotopes paced the PCL in average attendance for the second consecutive year with 7,048 per contest. Albuquerque welcomed a five-figure crowd for eight of their 74 home dates while tallying two of the top five crowds in MiLB for the campaign. For Cinco De Mayo Fiesta at "The Plaza," the club saw 15,817 fans attend while 14,591 were on hand for Lowrider Night and a bobblehead giveaway July 1.
On the field, the Isotopes remained in the race for a second-half title and playoff berth until the final series of 2023. First-year manager Pedro Lopez and his coaching staff kept the team in contention despite accumulating a franchise record 278 roster moves with 80 different players appearing in at least one game, shattering the previous standard of 224 transactions in the 2018 season.
Overall, Albuquerque spent 20 total days either in sole possession of first place or tied for the top mark, their most since 2013 (37). Their longest win streak was seven games (Aug. 19-27) while they dropped a season-worst eight straight from Aug. 5-13, which took them from tied for first place to sixth, 5.0 off the pace in the second half ledger. The club also registered six winning streaks of three or more, including twice in the final 12 contests (Sept. 12-14 at El Paso, Sept. 22-24 vs. Oklahoma City).
The Isotopes notched nine series victories this year, their most since 2019 (11) when sets primarily consisted of three or four contests. Seven series triumphs came in the second half-including winning five of six games at both Oklahoma City (Aug. 22-27) and El Paso (Sept. 12-17). Albuquerque also set a club record for most wins in a season against one team, as they were 18-6 facing off with the El Paso Chihuahuas. Their second-most triumphs over one club came via 14-10 mark versus eventual PCL champion Oklahoma City.
Albuquerque finished 32-43 on the road, their most victories away from Isotopes Park since 2016 (34). From Aug. 22-Sept. 17, they won 13 of their last 18 away contests, including a five-game triumphant streak Aug. 22-26 at Oklahoma City.
In his 19th season as a Minor League skipper, Lopez notched his 1,000th managerial win on June 4 at Salt Lake. He was presented with a ceremonial base before Albuquerque's first home game following the milestone.
The Isotopes saw 29 players recalled throughout the season, with eight making their Major League debut (Brenton Doyle, Karl Kauffmann, Blair Calvo, Coco Montes, Riley Pint, Connor Kaiser, Evan Justice, Hunter Goodman).
There was also much local flair at Rio Grande Credit Union Field in 2023 from visiting PCL clubs. Chase Silseth, Mitch Garver, Quincy Hamilton, Luis Gonzalez and Ken Giles each played against the Isotopes in the Duke City, all of whom are either Albuquerque or New Mexico natives, or played collegiately at the University of New Mexico.
Offensive Team Stats:
- Albuquerque finished the campaign with 173 stolen bases, second-most in franchise history behind 178 by the inaugural squad in 2003.
- The Isotopes notched 132 of their 173 steals in the second half, ranking first in all of Minor League baseball during the span. They swiped four or more bags on 16 occasions, with 15 coming in the second half. Albuquerque's seven steals on Aug. 22 were one off the club mark set June 26, 2003.
- Albuquerque stole at least one base in 10 consecutive contests from Sept. 8-19, establishing a new team high.
- Wynton Bernard stole four bases on Aug. 22 at Oklahoma City, tying an Isotopes single-game record that was only reached once before (Reggie Abercrombie on May 6, 2007 at Memphis).
- On July 30, Albuquerque and Sacramento engaged in one of the most scintillating battles in RGCU Field's history. An 11-run fifth-the most runs allowed in an inning by the Isotopes-gave the River Cats full control, and they took a 16-11 lead to the bottom of the ninth. Albuquerque, however, erupted for six runs to pull out a 17-16 victory, highlighted by a two-run single from Cole Tucker and game-ending knock by Jimmy Herron.
- On 29 instances, an Isotopes player came through with a go-ahead hit in the seventh inning or later. It took place in the final two games of the year, when late-season additions Julio Carreras and Jameson Hannah did the honors to help Albuquerque end the campaign on a high note.
- Three players won PCL Hitter of the Week honors: Montes (April 10-16), Jonathan Morales (June 26-July 2) and Goodman (Aug. 22-27) while Phillips Valdez was Pitcher of the Week for June 26-July 2 after firing five hitless, scoreless innings against El Paso on July 2. Additionally, Elehuris Montero was PCL Player of the Month in May, only the sixth time an Isotopes player was awarded that distinction. Morales and Valdez became the fourth set of Albuquerque teammates to sweep the weekly awards.
- The Isotopes scored 959 runs-their most in team history. It also marked only the ninth time a Minor League club plated 950 or more, dating back to 2005 (MLB Database). Three of the instances occurred this season (Reno - 1,043 and Las Vegas - 984).
- Albuquerque recorded 23 hits on Sept. 9 vs. Reno, one shy of tying the most in franchise history. Oddly enough, 20 of the knocks were singles. They also had two doubles and a triple in the contest, meaning none of their knocks in a 14-7 victory left the ballpark.
- Albuquerque's 192 home runs were their fourth highest total in a campaign. The standard of 240 was set last year, when the Isotopes led all of Minor League Baseball.
- In a 17-8 victory over Tacoma on May 16, Albuquerque tied a club record by producing 13 extra-base hits. They exploded for seven doubles and two triples, while Yonathan Daza, Montero, Morales and Nolan Jones all went deep.
- Trevor Boone (June 18 at Tacoma) and Aaron Schunk (Aug. 23 at OKC) each tripled twice in a contest this year, meaning the feat has been accomplished 23 times in Isotopes history. This was the fifth instance of it occurring multiple times in one campaign.
- A trio of players drew four walks in a game to tie a franchise high: Schunk (May 3 vs. Sugar Land), Montes (July 6 at OKC) and Sean Bouchard (Aug. 22 at OKC).
- Albuquerque drew 689 walks, shattering last year's previous club record of 586. Additionally, they struck out 1,378 times, most in team history.
- Among full-season MiLB clubs, the Isotopes finished third in batting average (.280), hits (1,469), total bases (2,435), second in triples (52), sixth in slugging percentage (.464), 10th in on-base percentage (.366) and fifth in OPS (.830).
- For the first time in team history, the Isotopes scored 20 or more runs twice in the same campaign (July 2 vs. El Paso, Sept. 9 vs. Reno). They have now accomplished the feat on seven occasions.
- In the first year of the ABS Challenge System being in effect at all PCL ballparks, the Isotopes were 99-for-217 in challenges (45.6% success rate) while their opponents were a nearly identical 100-for-217.
- Over the final 24 games of the season, Albuquerque's pitching staff notched a trio of nine-inning shutouts (Aug. 29 and 31 at Sacramento, Sept. 22 vs OKC), after not having accomplished the feat in their last 393 such contests (dating back to Aug. 21, 2019). Their 7-0 victory over Oklahoma City on Sept. 22 marked the first time they blanked the opposition in nine frames at home since April 19, 2019.
- Twenty different hurlers started a game for the Isotopes, two off the team record established in 2010.
- The Isotopes pitching staff set a new mark for strikeouts in a campaign with 1,212, but also issued 725 walks. Their previous high for most free passes was 593 in the 2008 season. On seven instances, Albuquerque walked 10 or more batters in a contest.
- Isotopes pitching struck out 17 batters in consecutive games June 14-15 at Tacoma, their most punchouts in back-to-back contests in club history.
- Left-handed pitcher Josh Rogers allowed five home runs on May 7 vs. Sugar Land, tied for the most by an Isotopes hurler (Matt Blank, 2004 and Tim Melville, 2019).
- In the aforementioned May 7 contest, Albuquerque's pitching staff tied or neared several other dubious records. The Space Cowboys completed a 24-8 victory, tied for the most runs ever allowed by the Isotopes (June 22, 2004 vs. Oklahoma). The 30 hits surrendered were one off the all-time high, in that same 2004 contest. Sugar Land smacked eight home runs, also tied for the most relented (July 23, 2019 at Salt Lake).
- On July 30 vs. Sacramento, the Isotopes allowed 11 runs in the fifth inning, their most ever in a single frame.
- Albuquerque tied a club record by turning five double plays on June 21 at Reno. The feat had been accomplished three previous times.
- Jakson Reetz (July 30 vs. Sacramento) and Ray-Patrick Didder (Aug. 16 vs. El Paso) each hit two home runs in an inning against Albuquerque. Coming into the campaign, an opposing player had only ever accomplished the feat twice.
- San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. played in four rehab games against Albuquerque in mid-April, as he worked his way back from a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Tatis was 14-for-20 with six homers and 13 RBI, but the Isotopes still took four of six in that series, including three in one contest.
- Mike Montgomery, who was on the mound for the Chicago Cubs when they won the 2016 World Series, faced the Isotopes three times as a member of Oklahoma City. Additionally, Montgomery started the July 8 contest, who also earned the save in the World Series clincher, while Victor Gonzalez (winning pitcher in deciding Game 6 of 2020 WS) entered in relief.
- Salt Lake's Jo Adell blasted homers in six consecutive games at Isotopes Park from April 4-9 (seven total during the stretch). He was one contest shy of tying the minor league record shared by a pair of former Albuquerque Triple-A players: Claude Westmoreland (Dukes, 1977) and Dallas McPherson (Isotopes, 2008).
Individual Offensive Accomplishments:
- Montes was voted Most Valuable Player and Power Hitter of the Year by his teammates, only the fourth Isotope to win both awards and first since Jerry Sands in 2012. The infielder paced Albuquerque with 46 multi-hit contests and recorded a pair of double-digit hitting streaks over the final month of the season. Montes also had four separate three-hit games (April 9 vs. Salt Lake, July 25 vs. Sacramento, September 9 vs. Reno). He finished third in the PCL among qualifiers in average (.317) and OPS (.950), fourth in slugging (.550) and runs (96), seventh in hits (138) and total bases (240), tied for seventh in RBI (89) and eighth in OBP (.400). Montes also made his Major League debut June 11 vs. San Diego, collecting two knocks including a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth.
- Herron produced a breakout year, establishing career standards in hits (135), runs (106), doubles (27), RBI (83), walks (69), stolen bases (33) and homers (19). Herron's 106 runs are tied for the second-most in a campaign in Isotopes history, while he drew 69 walks, third-most on the all-time single-season ledger. He reached base in 102 of 119 games started. Herron's steal total ranks tied for third-most in a year for the Isotopes, and fifth-best in the PCL. Additionally, he finished second in the PCL in runs, fifth in stolen bases, seventh in OPS (.893), eighth in hits and tenth in slugging (.498), average and OBP (.395).
- Bernard rejoined the Rockies organization and was assigned to Albuquerque June 30. He appeared in 66 games (63 starts) and produced 32 multi-hit contests. Despite playing not even half a full season with the Isotopes, he stole 26 bases in 30 attempts. Bernard's 32 game on-base streak from July 21-Sept. 1 was the longest for any Albuquerque player. He has tallied 79 steals as an Isotope across three campaigns (2021-23), three away from breaking Dee Gordon's career mark of 81 in that category.
- Goodman only spent 15 games at Triple-A and slashed .371/.418/.903 with six doubles, nine homers and a whopping 33 RBI. Goodman produced a trio of multi-home run games, including his final contest before being promoted to the Major Leagues. In that Aug. 25 game at Oklahoma City, Goodman capped his Isotopes tenure with a game-winning, three-run blast in the ninth. He was also PCL Player of the Week from Aug. 22-27, despite only playing in four of six possible contests. Two of Goodman's three multi-homer games came during that week.
- In his first taste of Triple-A, Hunter Stovall hit .278 with 18 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 51 RBI to go along with 15 stolen bases in 106 contests. Stovall's best stretch was a 16-game hitting streak from April 8-May 7 in which he compiled a .397/.494/.529 slash line, while tallying a walk-off single to defeat Sugar Land, 10-9, May 6. Stovall was also voted Defensive Player of the Year by his teammates. He excelled while playing all over the diamond (53 games at second base, 21 at third base, 11 at shortstop, 14 in left field). Stovall recorded a .983 fielding percentage at second base while only making one error at short.
- Schunk began his Isotopes career with a nine-game hitting streak, and reached base in 15 straight to begin the season. Schunk's 39 multi-hit contests were second on the team behind Montes. He homered in his Triple-A debut March 31 at Round Rock and launched a pair of grand slams (May 3 vs. Sugar Land, May 21 vs. Tacoma). On two instances, Schunk produced a pair of back-to-back three-hit contests (May 3-4 vs. Sugar Land, May 30-31 at Salt Lake).
- Before being called up to Colorado and putting himself in the National League Rookie of the Year conversation, Jones left his mark in an Isotopes uniform by slashing.356/.481/.711 with 13 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, 42 RBI and four outfield assists across 39 games. Jones produced 17 multi-hit efforts, including going 4-for-5 on May 6 vs. Sugar Land and May 13 at Las Vegas.
- Montero spent only 35 games with Albuquerque but made life miserable for opposing pitchers. He won PCL Player of the Month for May after going 35-for-89 with five doubles, nine homers and 30 RBI in 22 contests. From April 27-May 27, Montero was second in all of professional baseball in RBI with 38, only one behind Rockies farmhand Yanquiel Fernandez.
- Michael Toglia appeared in 78 contests, slashing .256/.368/.474 with 15 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 64 RBI and 53 walks. He ended his season by reaching base in 30 straight games at the Triple-A level. Toglia homered in consecutive games on four different occasions: April 8-9 vs. Salt Lake, April 28-29 at Round Rock, June 11-13 vs. Sugar Land/Tacoma, then three straight from June 23-28, the first two contests at Reno and the latter vs. El Paso.
- Kaiser was a mainstay in Albuquerque's lineup before he was sidelined with an injury in September. He set career highs in games played (90), hits (73), runs (64), doubles (14), triples (5), home runs (9), RBI (39) and stolen bases (16). Kaiser had only compiled one three-bagger in the first 260 contests of his professional career, then legged out five between May 6-Aug. 2. In 84 games at shortstop, he registered a .984 fielding percentage-the second-best fielding percentage in the PCL (min. 50 games)-committing only six errors in 387 total chances.
- Tucker spent 70 games with the Isotopes, slashing .280/.391/.407 with 17 doubles, five homers and 35 RBI. He recorded a 27-contest on base-streak from July 1-Aug. 5. On June 15 at Tacoma, Tucker tallied a pair of go-ahead doubles in extra innings, the latter of which proved to be the decisive margin. On July 18 at Sugar Land, Tucker went deep before robbing a homer in right field, then turning it into a double play.
- Morales hit for the 10th cycle in Isotopes history July 2 vs. El Paso as part of a career-high seven-RBI performance. Despite being hampered with injuries throughout the campaign, Morales still batted .258 with a career-high 14 home runs. He also had a pair of five-hit games: the aforementioned July 2 contest and also Sept. 9 vs. Reno.
- Boone played in only 42 games but finished tied for third in the PCL with six triples with three of the six coming with the bases loaded. The Oklahoma City, OK, native was chosen by Director of Community Relations Michelle Montoya as the Jennifer Riordan Community Award winner, as he volunteered during both Youth Skills Clinics and an event at the Roadrunner Food Bank.
- In a nine-game stretch from Sept. 7-16, Daniel Montaño recorded six extra-base hits (two doubles, triples and homers apiece) with 16 RBI. Overall, 28 of Montaño's 64 knocks for the season were of the extra variety.
Individual Pitching Accomplishments:
- After only appearing in 13 competitive games between 2020-22, Tommy Doyle returned to the mound in a full-time role in 2023 and was voted as Pitcher of the Year by his teammates after working in 33 contests and producing a 3.41 ERA (14 ER/37.0 IP) to go along with 41 strikeouts. Doyle led the Isotopes with eight saves and opposing hitters notched just a .213 average against him. Half of his 14 earned runs allowed came across two outings. Doyle did not permit an earned tally across 12 appearances (12.0 IP) from June 1-July 8. His eight saves were tied for eighth-most in the PCL, along with Round Rock's Yerry Rodriguez.
- Chance Adams joined Albuquerque in June after missing the entirety of last season due to "Tommy John" Surgery. He registered the most consecutive scoreless appearances (11) for any Isotope, spanning 12.0 frames from June 13-July 23. Adams allowed only two home runs and closed out the year by recording just the third save of his professional career on September 24 vs. Oklahoma City.
- Pint struck out a career-high 85 batters over 57.1 innings and 47 relief outings. He allowed just one earned run over his final 10 games (11.2 IP) and twirled seven consecutive scoreless appearances from April 12-30. Pint also turned in seven contests with four or more strikeouts with the Isotopes and saw his first Major League action in seven years as a professional when he was recalled by Colorado May 17.
- Matt Carasiti compiled a 3.33 ERA in 25 appearances and has the unusual distinction of recording a save with the Isotopes under three different presidential administrations (2016, 2017, 2023). This season, Carasiti returned to the Major Leagues for the first time since his debut in 2016.
- Gavin Hollowell pitched to a 3.47 ERA in 19 outings at the Triple-A level, while also pitching 23 times for the Rockies as of the publication date. His only two saves as an Isotope came in his final two appearances Aug. 22 and 25 at Oklahoma City before being recalled for good.
- Coming into the campaign, Michael Petersen had only thrown 1.0 inning since 2019. The 29-year-old was promoted to Triple-A for the first time July 4 and showed signs of brilliance while reaching triple digits on the radar fun. Petersen finished with a 3.68 ERA in 22 outings.
- Undrafted southpaw Justice climbed the ranks massively this season, opening at High-A Spokane before making his MLB debut Aug. 28 vs. Atlanta. Justice struck out a whopping 67 batters in 41.2 innings, including 19 punchouts across 13.0 frames for Albuquerque.
- Fernando Abad made an impact in his 21st professional campaign, appearing in 26 games for the Isotopes. He allowed just four total runs over his first 21 outings for the ballclub (1.40 ERA). Abad also retired 75 of the first 91 hitters faced in an Albuquerque uniform.
- Right-hander Jeff Criswell showed promise for his future with an encouraging final seven starts. He compiled a 3.79 ERA with 44 strikeouts over 38.0 innings during the span. On Aug. 20 against El Paso, Criswell turned in the longest outing by any Isotope since 2019 when he fired 7.2 frames of four-hit, one-run ball. He finished third in the circuit in in strikeouts (135), fourth in starts (26) and seventh in innings pitched (121.0).
- Criswell's 135 strikeouts rank fourth in single-season history for an Isotopes pitcher, while his 101 earned runs are second-most all-time (most: Bobby Keppel, 106 in 2008). Criswell also walked 71 hitters, tied with Ryan Castellani (2021) for the most in a campaign by any Albuquerque hurler.
- Noah Davis pitched exceptionally well to conclude 2023. In four of his last six starts, Davis worked five or more innings with two or fewer runs allowed (including three scoreless appearances). He pitched 5.2 hitless frames on Aug. 13 at Round Rock, part of a stretch in which he did not allow a run over 11.0 innings, the longest of the year for an Isotopes starter. Davis' first Major League start was also memorable as he spun five scoreless against a potent Seattle lineup April 16.
- Tanner Gordon saw action with four different Minor League clubs in 2023 (Mississippi, Gwinnett, Hartford, Albuquerque) and closed out his season in sterling fashion. Gordon recorded quality starts in his final two outings, including seven scoreless frames of three-hit ball with eight punchouts Sept. 22 vs. Oklahoma City. He also completed 7.0 innings five total times this year, with three of the outings being of the scoreless variety.
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Pacific Coast League Stories from September 28, 2023
- PCL Attendance Leaders, Record-Setting On-Field Performances Highlight 2023 Campaign - Albuquerque Isotopes
- Joey Loperfido & Spencer Arrighetti Named Astros' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year - Sugar Land Space Cowboys
- Dodgers Earn 5-2 win - Oklahoma City Dodgers
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