Salt Lake Bees 2018 Season in Review

September 14, 2018 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Salt Lake Bees News Release

SALT LAKE CITY - The 2018 Salt Lake Bees finished the season with one of the top offenses in Minor League Baseball, completing a second consecutive winning season with a 71-68 record, finishing second place in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern division.

The Salt Lake offense finished the year with a .290 batting average and 1402 hits, leading all full-season MiLB clubs in both categories. The Bees also finished as the PCL leader in home runs with 173 (ranking 3rd in MiLB) and runs scored with 824 (2nd). The Salt Lake offense was shut out just three times during the season and made it over a calendar year without posting a zero between June 17, 2017 and June 29, 2018.

Individually, the offense was led by Jose Fernandez, who finished with 119 hits to lead the team and a .333 batting average which ranked 2nd in the Pacific Coast League in 2018. Jabari Blash brought power to the team, winning the PCL home run title with 29 homers in just 83 games played. Blash won the PCL Player of the Month award in April after hitting .362 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs in the first month of the year. Michael Hermosillo became the eighth Salt Lake player to hit for the cycle on May 1 as he drove in a season-high six RBI including one of three Bees grand slams on the season.

The Bees pitching staff tied the franchise-record with 47 different players taking the hill during the season, including five different position players who combined to pitch in 13 games this season. On August 12, outfielder Jared Walsh had four hits at the plate and then became the first position player to record a save in franchise history, a feat that has never been accomplished in Major League Baseball history. Infielder Zach Houchins also made team history with the first win for a position player in an April game against Albuquerque.

Salt Lake relievers finished with a franchise-record tying 40 saves as 13 different pitchers collected at least one, led by former BYU Cougar Taylor Cole with six. Jeremy Rhoades was the Salt Lake representative at the PCL Al-Star game and allowed just one earned run in 22 games following the All-Star break.

The Bees roster changed nearly every day in 2018 as the team finished with franchise-record 313 transactions by seasons end. This year 34 players suited up for both the Angels and the Bees, including 17 of the Opening Day 25-man. Of the 34 players to appear in a game for both teams, 13 made their MLB debuts with the Halos. Manager Keith Johnson was also called up by the Angels during the season, coaching the final month of the season in Anaheim while the Bees were managed by 17-year Major League veteran and five-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez.

Over the course of the 70-game home schedule 477,528 fans attended a game at Smith's Ballpark this season marking the 21st time in franchise history the team has drawn more than 450,000 fans to the ballpark, including each of the last seven seasons.

The Salt Lake Bees grounds crew added to their trophy case by winning a PCL Presidential Commendation for their work on the field at Smith's Ballpark. It was their third Presidential Commendation in the last four seasons.

Off the field the Bees also celebrated radio broadcaster Steve Klauke's 3500th game called, raised over $26,000 for Huntsman Cancer Institute with the annual 'Pack the Park Pink Night', ensured they will remain the top affiliate of the Angels for the next four seasons by extending their Player Development Contract through the 2022 season and hosted a 25th anniversary party for the Utah-filmed 'The Sandlot' drawing over 14,000 fans to Smith's Ballpark to see Smalls, Ham and the rest of the cast.

The 2019 season begins for the Bees in 201 days as Salt Lake will travel to Albuquerque on Thursday, April 4 to being their 25th Anniversary season before starting the home schedule on Tuesday, April 9 against the Fresno Grizzlies. A full schedule is available at www.slbees.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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