We’re twenty games into the 2022 season now, which is deep enough into the campaign to make it official: the Tacoma Rainiers are serial thieves.
Burglars. Pickpockets. Shoplifters. Absolute kleptomaniacs.
The Rainiers have 40 stolen bases in twenty games, leading all of Triple-A baseball by a wide margin – the next closest team has 27 steals.
Our sticky-fingered guys are on pace to steal 300 bases this year, which would shatter the Tacoma franchise record of 229 set by the Billy Ball era Tacoma Tigers of 1982. The Tigers were the Oakland A’s affiliate back then, and A’s manager Billy Martin taught his strategy of relentless aggression on the bases throughout the organization.
Tacoma’s success rate so far has been remarkable. The team has only been caught stealing five times, for an outstanding 88.9% percentage.
I thought the Rainiers may be forced to slow down in this series, because Las Vegas catcher Shea Langeliers is a big prospect known for his arm, and he had thrown out 6-of-10 base stealers coming into Tuesday’s opener. Instead, the Rainiers have gone 7-for-7 stealing over the first two games of this series, all with Langeliers behind the plate.
Tacoma’s Most Wanted Thieves
- Forrest Wall, nine stolen bases, has not been apprehended
- Sam Haggerty, seven stolen bases, remains at large
- Erick Mejia, seven stolen bases, caught once but was only briefly detained
- Billy Hamilton, two stolen bases, just getting started, rap sheet lists 740 priors
All told, eleven different players have stolen at least one base for Tacoma. It’s been a lot of fun to watch, and probably the most entertaining aspect of this year’s team so far.
YESTERDAY: Las Vegas edged Tacoma on Wednesday night, 6-5, in a wildly entertaining but ultimately disappointing game of the Rainiers – we’d need a 2,500-word Ryan Divish game story to do this one justice. Tacoma had 14 hits, including three each by Brian O’Keefe, Forrest Wall, and Billy Hamilton. Roenis Elias started and allowed one run over three innings, tossing 46 pitches. Juan Mercedes was hit with a tough loss; he pitched well for three innings and allowed one somewhat tainted run.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (6-14) at Las Vegas Aviators (10-10), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
PITCHERS: RHP Darren McCaughan (0-2, 9.28) at RHP Adrian Martinez (0-1, 6.97)
ROSTER MOVES: Seattle replenished its bullpen this morning, calling up Penn Murfee and Wyatt Mills from Tacoma, and optioning Yohan Ramirez and catcher Cal Raleigh to Tacoma. Related Rainiers roster moves should be coming today or tomorrow.
HOT HITTERS: Sam Haggerty has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, totaling 13 hits… Erick Mejia had his streak of reaching base in eight straight games end last night… Stuart Fairchild is 6-for-12 since joining the Rainiers… Mason McCoy has reached base in six straight games… Billy Hamilton is 5-for-8 with five runs scored in the first two games of this series.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas has played three six-game series and split all three of them, 3-3… Eric Thames has hit safely in ten of his last 12 games. Thames played for Tacoma in 2013 before becoming a huge star in the Korean Baseball Organization… catcher Shea Langeliers is a highly-ranked prospect who was the key return when Oakland traded Matt Olson to Atlanta… Dermis Garcia has a four-game hitting streak; he hit 31 home runs in Double-A last year (with a .210 batting average)… Dalton Kelly hit hit first homer of the year on Sunday, he belted 27 dingers for International League champion Durham last year… Luis Barrera has hit safely in 12 of 14 games.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- Here’s the rundown on the Mariners roster moves from this morning.
- These moves happened because starting pitcher Marco Gonzales was struck by a line drive in the first inning of a one-run loss in Tampa on Tuesday.
- This Mariners notebook has injury updates on current and potential Rainiers Taylor Trammell, Kyle Lewis, and Evan White.