Entire Championship Infield Back for Fish
WINNIPEG, MB — When it comes to getting the gang back together, Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney is going all out.
On Friday, Forney announced that the defending American Association champion Goldeyes had re-signed shortstop Maikol Gonzalez for the 2017 season.
That means the entire 2016 Goldeyes infield – Wes Darvill at third, Gonzalex at short, Casio Grider at second and David Rohm at first – will be back for the 2017 season.
Gonzalez was the only member of the Goldeyes to play in all 100 games last season. He hit .256 with three home runs and 43 RBI and also tied for second in the American Association with 31 stolen bases, was second in walks with 75 and was sixth in runs scored with 72. Defensively, Gonzalez’s .956 fielding percentage was fourth among league shortstops who played at least 50 games at the position.
The Goldeyes originally acquired Gonzalez as part of a trade with the Joplin Blasters on December 18, 2015
“Maikol had a great year for us on both offence and defense,” said Forney. “I expect him to set the table and once again be among the league leaders in runs scored.”
Gonzalez, who hails from San Francisco, Venezuela, worked what was probably the biggest walk in Goldeyes’ history during Game 4 of the American Association Division Series on September 11, 2016, at St. Paul. With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth, Gonzalez worked a seven-pitch free pass that forced in what proved to be the game-winning run. The Goldeyes staved off elimination as a result, and clinched the series the following night.
A right-handed batter, Gonzalez ranks fifth on the league’s all-time list for batting average (.313, minimum 2,000 plate appearances), seventh in runs scored (362), fifth in triples (25), sixth in walks (251), second in stolen bases (189), and second in on-base percentage (.398, minimum 2,000 plate appearances).
Gonzalez is within striking distance of the American Association’s stolen base record, which is currently held by Brian Fryer (206 stolen bases) who played for the Coastal Bend Aviators and Fort Worth Cats from 2006-11. Gonzalez—who will be 31 on Opening Night—also has the fourth-best stolen base success rate (82 per cent) in league history among players with at least 100 attempts.
The Goldeyes now have 17 players under contract for the 2017 season, including 12 from their 2016 championship team. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 6th.
2017 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
OF Reggie Abercrombie
LHP Kyle Anderson
1B David Bergin
RHP Victor Capellan
RHP Edwin Carl
3B Wes Darvill
RHP Icezack Flemming
SS Maikol Gonzalez
2B Casio Grider
RHP Caleb Kellogg
1B Kellen Marruffo
LHP Kevin McGovern
RHP Cameron McVey
RHP Daniel Minor
RHP Mikey O’Brien
OF/1B David Rohm
RHP Duke von Schamann
The Winnipeg Goldeyes open the 2017 season on May 18, on the road against the expansion Cleburne Railroaders. The Goldeyes’ 2017 home opener is Monday, May 29 against the Sioux Falls Canaries at Shaw Park.
—Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo courtesy Jeff Miller