The team’s Most Valuable Player did not play in half of the Portland Sea Dogs games this season.

The home run leader did not reach double digits.

And, yes, this Portland team finished with a franchise-worst 53-89 record.

Yet, Hadlock Field attracted 6,364 fans for Monday’s season finale, a 10-4 win over the New Britain Rock Cats.

For the season, Portland drew an average of 5,497 fans, one of their best in recent years, and slightly less than 2014’s 5,530 average.

So measuring the success of 2015 is a mixed bag … sort of like this weekend.


On Saturday, Hadlock fans saw their team blow a five-run lead, while making a franchise-record eight errors in a four-hour game.

On Sunday, fans were treated to the Field of Dreams promotion, as well as the first cycle at Hadlock Field by a member of the Sea Dogs, as the exciting Manuel Margot singled, doubled, tripled and homered.

The good and the bad.

This team was not prospect-laden like last year when Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Travis Shaw, Deven Marrero, Henry Owens, Noe Ramirez and Rusney Castillo suited up for Portland (all seven were in uniform at Fenway on Monday).

If you were prospect-hunting at Hadlock on Monday, you could pick out two obvious ones – Margot and Sam Travis, the first baseman who received the team’s MVP Award in a pregame ceremony.

Travis batted .300, with an .821 OPS and superb play at first base (two errors). But Travis played only 65 games – the fewest by far of any Sea Dogs MVP. He almost won the award by default (although a case could have been made for promoted shortstop Marco Hernandez, who batted .326/.832 in 68 games, but also made 19 errors)


Travis hit only four home runs, but that still tied for fifth on Portland. Keury De La Cruz led the Sea Dogs with nine home runs – the fewest ever by a Portland home run leader.

Travis, in his first full pro season, and Margot, only 20, were promoted to Portland in late May – two talented players, but not enough to lift this team out of last place.

Portland finished with the worst record of any Triple-A or Double-A team (conversely, last year’s 88-54 Sea Dogs had the best record of any upper-level team).

While this 2015 team was not expected to match last year, it was not supposed to be this bad.

What went wrong?

Pitching ranked next-to-last in the league with a 4.31 ERA. Portland had some promising pitchers left over from last year, but Luis Diaz’s ERA was 5.47, and Justin Haley set a franchise record for losses (5-16). Only one starter got promoted to Pawtucket (William Cuevas).


Joe Gunkel might have helped the rotation but he was traded after three starts, to Baltimore for outfielder Alejandro De Aza. Gunkel went 8-4 (2.54 ERA) for Double-A Bowie, while De Aza was eventually traded to the Giants for a Class A pitcher.

 Batting was next-to-last in runs scored. The problem here was a combination of underperformance and injuries.

Outfield prospect Henry Ramos had a second straight abbreviated season because of leg injuries. Experienced free-agent outfielders were brought in to bolster the roster, but Blake Tekotte (49 games) and Dave Sappelt (eight games) both went down with leg injuries.

Jantzen Witte still ranks second on the team in RBI (58), even though he has not played since breaking his wrist July 16. Tim Roberson (.300/.761 OPS) has played only 57 games because of a broken hand.

Injuries in Triple-A Pawtucket also affected Portland as versatile players Mike Miller and Jonathan Roof were called up to fill in.

The Sea Dogs hoped veterans De La Cruz and Oscar Tejeda could ignite the offense, but Tejeda batted .247/.634, and De La Cruz .240/.658.


 Fielding ranked second-to-last with 142 errors. Yes, at times, it got sloppy at Hadlock (see Saturday’s boxscore).

But there were highlights. Six relievers were promoted to Triple-A, including Jonathan Aro, who was called up to Boston. Hernandez, the shortstop, was sent to Pawtucket after the All-Star break.

Travis and Margot showed their promise.

And, all in all, taking in a ballgame at Hadlock was not a bad way to spend a summer day – thus the attendance numbers, which ranked third in the league.

“This was the year we proved that we have amazing fans,” said Sea Dogs chairman Bill Burke, son of late owner Dan Burke.

“Whether we’re in first place or, unfortunately last place this year, they love baseball. They love the promotions. They love the atmosphere.”


THE BURKE FAMILY is holding onto the Sea Dogs, while other Red Sox affiliates have been sold (Triple-A Pawtucket) or are up for sale (short-season Lowell).

According to outgoing Pawtucket General Manager Lou Schwechheimer, the Red Sox wanted to purchase all of their minor league affiliates four years ago, the Providence Journal reported Sunday.

But Burke said his family has never been approached by the Red Sox about selling the Sea Dogs.

“That has never happened with us and we would never want to sell,” Burke said.

Pawtucket was sold last February, but not to the Red Sox. The ownership group, however, is headed by former Red Sox president Larry Lucchino. Among the group are the Red Sox-connected Fenway Sports Management and two minority owners of the Red Sox.


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