15th Anniversary Team Voting Begins
The 2014 season will also be the Long Island Ducks 15th Anniversary Season. Can you believe this upcoming campaign will be the 15th of Ducks baseball here on Long Island? My how time flies! To celebrate this momentous occasion, the organization would like to put together the “Flock 15,” otherwise known as the 15th Anniversary Team. We’re curious to find out who the best of the best were at each position on the Ducks roster throughout the team’s first 14 seasons, and it’ll be up to you, the best fans in professional baseball, to help decide who deserves a spot on the team.
The following positions will be up for voting on the team:
Final Vote Spot
Every week here on the blog, we will be posting a position that will be up for vote and the top nominees that will be vying for a spot on the team. It’s up to you to vote on which player you feel deserves that position on the “Flock 15” squad. In addition, if you feel there’s another candidate that you feel should receive the nod, you will be able to write in a candidate. The Final Vote position will take place on Friday, April 25 when the Ducks open the season on the road against the Somerset Patriots. Then, when the Ducks return for the 2014 Home Opener on Friday, May 2 against the York Revolution, we’ll reveal the 15th Anniversary Team right here on the blog.
To kick things off, we are going to start at the catcher position. Many in the baseball world will say that the catcher is one of the most important players on the field. He is the leader of the pitching staff in terms of developing outstanding chemistry with the pitchers and must provide strong defense behind the plate. The Ducks have had their share of great catchers during their first 14 years. Our five nominees have all shown outstanding work with the pitchers, splendid defense and a strong bat at the plate as well.
Here are the nominees for the “Flock 15” catcher position:
Morales served as the Ducks backstop during the first three seasons of baseball on Long Island and was chosen to the All-Time Team back in 2009, the team’s 10th Anniversary Season. He proved to be as durable as they came behind home plate, averaging just over 122 games per season during his three years with the Flock. At the plate, he batted .297 and collected 408 hits in 367 games. He collected at least 20 homers each season, totaling 55 in those three years, and added 261 RBI. In addition, he picked up over 20 doubles in each season, finishing with 79 overall, and also still holds the team record for hits in a game with six, done on August 26, 2000 at Lehigh Valley. Behind the plate, Morales averaged a .986 fielding percentage and threw out nearly 30 percent of baserunners trying to steal. He played one more season before retiring and now is the bullpen catcher for the Cleveland Indians.
Pogue also spent three seasons with the Ducks, serving on the 2003 squad before returning in 2007 and 2008. While with the team, he averaged about 82 games per year and compiled a .257 batting average. He finished his Ducks career with 17 home runs, 85 RBI and 40 doubles as well. One of his best attributes was that he rarely ever struck out. Pogue totaled just 175 strikeouts in three seasons, an average of only 58 per season. Defensively, he committed just 12 errors in his three seasons behind the plate, finishing with a fielding percentage above .990 each year. Not to mention, he helped lead the Ducks to the playoffs in both 2007 and 2008. He retired after his 2008 season with the Ducks and now serves as the bullpen catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Pachot might not have the same offensive output as the others on this list, but he was arguably the best defensively among the nominees. He played just one season with the Ducks in 2009, but he threw out an incredible 36% of baserunners attempting to steal in 97 games behind the plate. In addition, he had a .983 fielding percentage and compiled 70 assists as a catcher. At the plate, he batted .248 with 42 RBI, 27 runs, 90 hits and 13 doubles while striking out just 39 times. Following his season with the Ducks, he played for the York Revolution during their 2010 championship season and then Somerset in 2011 before retiring.
Cancel was one of the more popular names on the Ducks roster in 2010, having spent parts of the previous two seasons in the Major Leagues with the Mets. In his one year with the Flock, he dominated at the plate and was voted the Delmonte-Smelson Team MVP on Fan Appreciation Day. Cancel hit .304 in 105 games, clubbing 14 homers, driving in a team-high 81 runs, collecting 118 hits and adding 23 doubles. Like Pogue, he also rarely struck out. Cancel was K’d just 44 times in 2010 while he earned a team-best 59 walks. While the Ducks missed out on the postseason in 2010, Cancel certainly provided a great deal of pop in the lineup. His efforts earned him a contract with the Astros organization in 2011, and he earned a call-up to the big leagues in May, becoming the ninth Duck to return to the Majors after playing on Long Island.
House might have been the best hitter and one of the best all-around players Long Island has seen. While he only spent one year with the Ducks in 2011, he certainly made it count. House proved to be an iron man and a defensive stalwart, playing 113 games and not committing a single error. In addition, he threw out 20% of baserunners trying to steal and helped lead the league’s best pitching staff which posted a 4.17 ERA. Offensively though was where House truly shined. He batted .305 with 19 home runs, 81 RBI, 73 runs, 128 hits and 22 doubles. Like Pogue and Cancel, House also rarely swung and missed. His 37 strikeouts were astronomically low for any batter. Not only did he lead the Ducks to the playoffs, but he brought the team all the way to the Atlantic League Championship Series for the first time since 2004. Following the seasons, House retired and is about to begin his first season as a professional baseball manager, serving as the skipper for the Single-A Hillsboro Hops in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
So fans, it’s now time for you to choose who you feel should be the winner of a spot on the “Flock 15” team. There are five outstanding nominees for the position of catcher, but only one will represent the Ducks organization. You will have the power to decide. Cast your ballot in the poll below or at the bottom of the page in our “Fowl Poll,” as everyone can vote once per day in the balloting. Do you think there’s someone we are leaving out for the catcher position? If so, write in a candidate by selecting “Other” and be sure to include the name of the catcher you feel is deserving. Next week, we will break down the nominees for first base.
Posted on January 31, 2014, in Weekend Debate and tagged 15th Anniversary Season, 2014, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Flock 15, Francisco Morales, J.R. House, Jamie Pogue, John Pachot, Long Island Ducks, Robinson Cancel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.