Looking up and down the Lexington Legends roster in 2012, fans should certainly feel excited to see what is to come. An argument could be made that the best pitcher and position player in the Astros’ organization played most of their season in Lexington. Mike Foltynewicz and Delino DeShields Jr, who yesterday were named Astros minor leaguers of the year, made huge strides with the Legends but certainly weren’t the only bright spots to create a tremendous amount of buzz this season.
While the Legends didn’t make the playoffs, they did give us a record-breaking performance by Delino DeShields Jr. DDJ would swipe over 100 bases, 83 of them with the Legends, and establish himself as one of the better prospects in all of baseball. His .400 obp was equally impressive and Deshields showed interesting power while with the Legends compiling ten HRs and 22 doubles. While some experts say that Delino was helped a great deal by repeating a level this season, the reality is that he did exactly what was asked of him. Delino not only did well but did exceptionally well.
Delino proved to be the offensive star but Matt Duffy would also have a serious impact with 16 HRs and 32 2Bs. Brandon Meredith also provided serious punch with 15 HRs of his own. While those three offensive stars lead the way, the 2012 season also provided some negatives. Mike Kvasnicka had another rough season and given his age the former supplemental 1st rd pick may have stumbled into the “bust” category. After a position change back to his natural position of catcher, hopes were that he’d rebound but it just didn’t happen. A nice surprise was 2012 2nd round pick Nolan Fontana. While struggling with his average, his obp was an incredible .464 and all this while playing good defense at shortstop. Fontana should be someone to watch in 2013 and could be in Houston by 2014.
Mike Foltynewicz was viewed upon in a similar light as Kvasnicka, fair or not, and unlike Kvasnicka, Folty came through with flying colors. He posted fantastic numbers in 2012 with a 14-4 record and a 3.14 ERA. He also improved his strikeout ratio nicely which was and truly still is a stat to watch. Is he an ace? Maybe not, but Mike certainly pitched like one for the Legends. He has also re-established hope that Foltynewicz could still be the pitcher that Ed Wade and Bobby Heck believed he could be.
Another interesting pitcher on the Legends staff didn’t start the season with them, Chris Devenski. The former White Sox prospect, joined the club after being dealt for Brett Myers. He provided maybe the best singular moment for the club, pitching a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts near the end of the season. One of the more dominating performances anyone has ever seen, at least on the stat sheet. The bullpen provided Dayan Diaz who came into his own with an impressive 1.85 ERA and 19 saves. He also showed the strikeout pitch with 64 Ks in 58.1 innings pitched.
Although the Legends finished nine games under .500 during the second half campaign they did post a nice first half record and provided the Astros with interesting prospects to watch. While it was the last season of affiliation with the Astros, Lexington made sure it was a season to remember in 2012.