OKC RedHawks: 154 roster moves likely cause for RedHawks' tumble from top

Houston Astros promote, demote and trade as they continue to rebuild organization from top to bottom.
by Michael Baldwin Published: August 26, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma CIty's Brett Wallace, center, talks with Mike Hessman, left, and Chris Wallace during the RedHawks minor league baseball game against the Iowa Cubs at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma CIty's Brett Wallace, center, talks with Mike Hessman, left, and Chris Wallace during the RedHawks minor league baseball game against the Iowa Cubs at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City RedHawks conclude their season with an eight-game home stand that begins 7:05 p.m. Monday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. If you haven't attended a game in awhile, grab a program.

Roster shuffling is common in Triple-A. But the RedHawks this Pacific Coast League season went through an abnormal number of roster changes.

It was so abnormal that RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco hopped on the Major League/Triple-A shuttle when he was named the Houston Astros interim manager.

“The only time I saw this many transactions was when I was with Cleveland's Triple-A team one year,” said 30-year-old outfielder Brad Snyder. “That year, because of injuries, guys were going up and down. But as far as fresh new faces, this is the most I've ever seen.

“Changes happened a little more dramatically this year. They were cleaning house in Houston, and it kind of had a trickle down.”

Key players who helped the RedHawks lead the PCL's Southern division much of the season were promoted to the majors. A few players who spent much of the season in Houston were assigned to Oklahoma City.

Trades brought in a few players from other organizations. And players shuttled between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City.

Two numbers encapsulate the season:

154: Total transactions this season.

11: Number of players on the RedHawks' Opening Day roster still with the team, a number that was as low as nine a few weeks ago.

Outfielder J.B. Shuck has been among the handful of players in OKC all season.

“We went through a stretch where we had the same team for a long time,” Shuck said. “Then all of a sudden for a month or so, we had a bunch of different people go in and out. At one point, we had a week where we had six or seven new guys. It was a little bit strange.”

Even by Triple-A standards.

On July 19, the division-leading RedHawks were 18 games over .500 and appeared headed to the playoffs.

Wins evaporated during an August alteration. Going into Monday's game against Albuquerque the Brick, the RedHawks are 71-64 and at least 51/2 games behind the division-leading Isotopes.

“There's a lot of movement here with the organization rebuilding and trying to find out who they want in the future,” said veteran Mike Hessman, who has slammed a league-best 31 home runs. “It led to some turnover going in and out. It's one of those things you have to keep battling.”

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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