Kevin Alcanatara – Picture by Stephanie Lynn

In the first half, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans had the best record in the entire minor leagues with a 47-19 mark. As with most good teams in the minors, especially the lower minors, a lot of those players got promoted to the next level. That’s what happened in Myrtle Beach as the second half saw them a limp to the finish line with a 31–34 record. They did make the playoffs but they were swept in two games by eventual champion Charleston.

That first half squad was loaded with talent led by Pete Crow-Armstrong, BJ Murray, Kevin Alcantara, James Triantos, Kevin Made, Ethan Hearn, and Ezequiel Pagan at the plate. While on the mound, starting pitchers Luis Devers, Porter Hodge, Tyler Schlaffer, Luke Little, Richard Gallardo, and Tyler Santana along with relievers Adam Laskey and Sheldon Reed formed an unstoppable juggernaut. Hence the 47-19 record. PCA, Murray, and Made would go to South Bend in the second half along with the starting rotation, Laskey, and Reed where they won a championship with South Bend.

Still, top prospects Kevin Alcantara and James Triantos stayed and were exciting to watch all season long and we got to see the development of Ezequiel Pagan, Ethan Hearn, and Jacob Wetzel. In addition, Parker Chavers arrived late in the year along with Moises Ballesteros and 15th round pick Hayden McGeary. A few of the Pelicans that finished the year with the club will begin 2023 with them like pitchers Grant Kipp, Nick Hull, Brody McCullough, Oliver Roque, and Kenyi Perez

Record: 78-53 (47-19 and 31-34)

Stat Leaders

Hitting – 250 ABs minimum

Avg. – Ezequiel Pagan hit .292 on the year. This is pretty impressive in a league that is considered a pitcher’s league.
HR – Kevin Alcantara cranked 15 dingers in a place where fly balls go to die.
RBI – Alcantara also drove in 85 runs! That’s astounding!
OPS – Alcantara’s .811 OPS topped all.
wRC+ – Ezequiel Pagan nudged out Alcantara by 1 pt, 125-124.

Starting Pitchers (30 IP)

IP – Tyler Santana was the man with 98.2 frames. That’s a pretty good load for this level.
Ks – Luis Angel Rodriguez led the team with 106 Ks. Not bad for a swingman turned starter.
K/9 – Luke LIttle averaged 14.35 Ks per nine this year. That’s pretty solid.
ERA – Tyler Santana led the team with a 2.28 ERA. South Bend here he comes!
Batting Average Against – This was also Luke Little at .187

Relievers (20 minimum innings)

ERA – 0.00 – Adam Laskey did not allow an earned run all first half!
K/9 – Johzan Oquendo nabbed this for relievers at 13.58. He has a lot of potential that just needs to be shined up.
Ks – Johzan Oquendo had 88 Ks in just 58 innings out of the pen.
Batting Average Against – This was also Laskey at .187 followed by Angel Hernandez at .193.

2023 Sneak Peek

Seeing who makes the opening day roster for the Pelicans next spring is going to be an interesting development. There are a lot of draft picks in play, a lot of guys who played in Mesa last year, and a few who finished the year with the Pelicans.

It’s likely the main attractions are going to be Cristian Hernandez, Pedro Ramirez, and possibly Moises Ballesteros. Ballesteros could find his way to South Bend to start the year. His bat is that advanced but is he ready for that kind of adaptation? Don’t be surprised to be surprised by Andy Garriola out of Old Dominion. He can swing a mean bat and has the potential for big power. Cristian More did well in Mesa and should be in Myrtle Beach to start 2023 in the outfield along with Ke’Shun Collier who will probably be the leadoff hitter.

When it comes to pitching, Connor Noland looks like a name who could possibly be the opening day starter next year. We could also see Jackson Ferris and Drew Gray debut as a Cub teammates. We could even see Will Frisch along with the return of Grant Kipp, Nick Hull, and Brody McCullough. Whether Nazier Mule and Luis Rujano make the opening day squad is up in the air. There are a lot of permutations when it comes to the opening day roster as there is a lot of development time between now and then.

When April comes, this very young squad should be very fun to watch!