2015 Season In Review: Albuquerque Isotopes

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Jul 16, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; United States catcher T. Murphy (19) throws out a baserunner in the fifth inning against the Dominican Republic during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Ajax Pan Am Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

2015 Albuquerque Isotopes: Defense

The good: Jon Gray and Aaron Laffey, in very different ways, put together decent years in the starting rotation. Each was in the big leagues for part of the year too (Gray more than Laffey), but both pitchers were consistent in an inconsistent starting rotation at a very hitter-friendly home ballpark.

In the bullpen, Simon Castro turned heads with a good year and eventually earned himself a call-up to the Colorado Rockies, while Jario Diaz, Justin Miller, and Miguel Castro all followed suit with their own decent seasons in 2015 and call-ups to the Major Leagues. Besides them, though, the staff was a disaster. The Albuquerque Isotopes finished third-from-last in the Pacific Coast League with a 4.97 ERA.

The bad: Jair Jurrjens and John Lannan didn’t impress at the end of the year, leading to the release of one (Jurrjens) and the quiet end of the season for the other (Lannan). Jurrjens allowed 105 hits in 70.2 innings, picking up a 6.88 ERA and 1.81 WHIP while striking out only 39 and walking 23. Lannan, who was throwing well in the middle of the year, faded hard at the end, and finished 6-10 with a 5.39 ERA and 1.64 WHIP allowing 40 walks and 209 hits in 152 innings. Yikes.

[ Related: Colorado Rockies prospect Jon Gray shows upside vs the Padres ]

Noteworthy: Tyler Matzek ended up with terrible numbers across the entire AAA season, but he threw much better in his second turn through Albuquerque than he did in the first. In 10.2 innings at the end of the year, he allowed just four runs, and even though he did walk ten batters (!), he gave up just four hits and struck out 16, too. Hopefully, he’ll start 2016 with the Albuquerque Isotopes and build on that as the Rockies figure out what he can do in the future.

Big league ready: Nelson Gonzalez. Nobody has made much of Nelson Gonzalez over the last few years, but he did make the Arizona Fall League last October, and he followed that up with a nice year with the Albuquerque Isotopes this summer. In 51 innings across 30 games, he went 4-3 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, striking out 51 while allowing just 17 walks. He’s certainly worth a shot as bullpen depth next summer.

Next: Looking ahead to 2016