15th Anniversary Team: Third Base
Before we begin another round of voting for our 15th Anniversary Team, we want to make sure you heard the exciting news! The Ducks today announced the launch of a brand new official mobile app. Fans with Apple or Android devices can download the app for free, and it offers many unique features to stay up-to-date with all things Ducks baseball. CLICK HERE to check out what the app has to offer and find out how you can download it today. A big thank you also goes out to ClearVision Apps for creating the newest addition to the team’s increasing social presence.
Now it’s time to complete the infield for the 15th Anniversary Team. Last week’s voting was extremely close among the shortstops, with several lead changes taking place. With winter on the back nine, a debate over some of the best Ducks to man the ‘hot corner’ should help prepare fans for baseball season and warmer weather. This week, the four nominees for third base include a three-time Atlantic League champion, two prominent names who shared time at the position for two seasons, and one former Major Leaguer who resurrected his career on Long Island. Without any further adieu, here are your “Flock 15” third basemen nominees:
Bryant Nelson spent parts of four seasons with the Ducks (2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013), but his most memorable contributions have come in the past two seasons. The former Houston Astros draft pick was a main contributor to both the 2012 and 2013 Atlantic League championship teams on Long Island. In 2012, he hit .265 with 13 home runs and 80 runs batted in, good for ninth-best in the Atlantic League. Nelson’s signature moment that season came in the decisive Game Five of the Liberty Division Championship Series. Down 3-2 in the eighth and facing elimination, the switch-hitter launched a go-ahead two-run homer to lift the Flock into the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Arkansas native continued his success in an All-Star 2013 season with the Ducks, posting a .298 batting average along with 11 home runs and team-leading totals in RBI (71), hits (144) and doubles (30). Nelson’s biggest hits once again came in the postseason, as he picked up the game-winning single in Game Two of the Championship Series and the eventual championship-winning RBI with a fifth inning double in Game Five against Somerset. Overall, the veteran of eight Atlantic League seasons compiled 32 home runs, 197 RBI and a .274 average in 343 career games with the Ducks.
While Javier Colina may not have played in as many games with the Ducks as Nelson (176), the Venezuelan’s numbers speak for themselves. Colina played during parts of two seasons with Long Island (2010-11). The third baseman had made it as high as Triple-A in three different Major League organizations (Colorado, St. Louis, and Chicago [AL]) before coming to Long Island midway through the 2010 season. After starting the year with the Charlotte Knights (AAA, White Sox) of the International League, Colina hit .266 with seven home runs and 37 RBI over 67 games. Colina then spent the entire 2011 season on Long Island and had arguably one of the best seasons in Ducks history. He hit .309 over 109 games, with 25 home runs and team-highs in RBI with 90 and hits with 133. The performance earned him a trip to the Atlantic League All-Star Game, and he ultimately led the Ducks to the League Championship Series for the first time since 2004. Colina had the versatility of playing both shortstop and second base while he was on Long Island, but he spent the most time at the ‘hot corner’ and played admirably.
Colina was not the only notable infielder to man third base for the Ducks during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Matt Padgett also excelled there for the Flock and certainly deserves a nomination. Padgett played in 187 games over his two-year Ducks career, playing a bit of first base along with his primary duties at third. During his time on Long Island, the former fifth round draft pick of the Marlins hit .279 with 16 home runs and 110 RBI. The 2011 season was especially impressive, as Padgett hit .282 over 112 games, and finished second on the team with 24 doubles. The South Carolina native was especially impressive during the postseason where he batted .320 in eight games, picking up at least one hit in seven of those contests. His solo home run in the second inning of Game One in the Liberty Division Championship Series helped lift the Ducks to a 1-0 lead in a series they would eventually win in four games.
Prior to joining Long Island in 2001, Carlos Baerga had already been a 10-year Major League veteran, three-time All Star (1992-93, ‘95), and two-time Silver Slugger (1993-94). After spending 2000 out of baseball, Baerga started his road back to ‘The Show’ with Long Island in 2001. Although his time with the Ducks was short, Baerga was able to use the organization (and the Atlantic League) to help reignite his career. In 53 games that season, Baerga posted a .315 batting average, nine home runs, 44 RBI and three triples. These numbers earned Baerga a selection to play in the All-Star Game held in Newark, New Jersey. The Puerto Rico native also earned himself an opportunity to play in the Korean Baseball Organization where he would further impress Major League scouts. The following season, he became the first player in franchise history to make it back to the Major Leagues after playing on Long Island when he took the field for the Boston Red Sox. Baerga would go on to play 350 games with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Nationals over four seasons before retiring from the game in 2005.
So fans, which one of these nominees deserves to be named to the Ducks 15th Anniversary Team? Make your selection in the poll below and remember, if you feel that we missed a third baseman that deserves consideration, you can write in a candidate as well. The winner of this week of balloting will round out the infield for our “Flock 15” team. It’s up to you, the fans, to determine the next Ducks great to join this already impressive team. Next week, we move on to the outfielders!
Posted on February 28, 2014, in Weekend Debate and tagged 15th Anniversary Team, 2014, Atlantic League, Bryant Nelson, Carlos Baerga, Championship, Flock 15, Javier Colina, Long Island Ducks, Major League Baseball, Matt Padgett, Voting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.