The Aberdeen IronBirds are ready for postseason baseball after completing their 2022 season.
The first half SAL North Division (43-23 in the first half) Champions are set to begin postseason play Tuesday, September 13. Overall, the IronBirds finished the season 78-54 (35-31 in the second half), which is the most wins in franchise history.
The IronBirds plated 618 total runs on the season, which helped propel them to a run differential of +57, one of the strongest seasons in the SAL.
Though Aberdeen saw many players come and go throughout the season, manager Roberto Mercado kept the squad focused and prepared to keep fighting, bringing a team-first mentality to the field.
The season started with young prospects Colton Cowser, Coby Mayo and Connor Norby leading the way before being promoted to the Bowie Baysox. Young players like Heston Kjerstad, Darell Hernaiz and Davis Tavárez would continue the fight going forward.
Peter Van Loon, Houston Roth, TT Bowens and Billy Cook would be the place setters to help carry and provide direction to this young team of prospects.
What is getting everyone excited is that 2022 draft pick Jud “The Stud” Fabian will be making his first appearance as a pro in the playoffs for the IronBirds, after a strong start with the FCL and Delmarva Shorebirds.
The IronBirds pitching staff was led by Peter Van Loon, who led the team in victories, pitching to an 11-4 record. He appeared in 24 games, 14 starts, compiling a 3.19 ERA.
Xavier Moore appeared in the most games for pitchers, while also leading the team with 10 saves. He was 2-4 on the year with a 1.36 ERA, as he anchored the relief game, while converting almost a quarter of the team’s saves.
On the offensive side is where a lot of the press was focused. With a high run differential, the IronBirds had a strong offense and had many contributions from the various prospects that played in Aberdeen this year.
T.T. Bowens led Aberdeen in hits with 88. Part of that was him also playing in 106 games, but nearly half of his hits were for extra bases (42). He had 20 doubles, five triples and seven long balls, while compiling an OBP of .378.
Billy Cook led the team with 15 home runs, and top prospect Coby Mayo finished second with 14. What makes Mayo’s number so impressive is that he did it in 68 games, where Cook achieved his total in 112.
Cook would also lead the team with 25 stolen bases, while Donta’ Williams (23) and Darell Hernaiz (22) finished second and third, respectively. The team would finish with 172 stolen bases (only caught 34 times), showing speed that led to many scoring opportunities.
Though the team saw many players come through, make rehab appearances and arrive, the Aberdeen ItonBirds kept the team concept and drive going all year long. Their reward is a trip to the playoffs, where they have an opportunity to win the SAL crown.
The first game is Tuesday, September 13, as the IronBirds will visit the Brooklyn Cyclones. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST.
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