The 2018 Lake Elsinore season was full of so much promise.
With such prospects as Hudson Potts, Jorge Ona and Edward Olivares leading the offense and names like Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon and Reggie Lawson in the rotation, there were naturally high expectations for this unit. The team, sadly, failed to live up to those expectations as they were the victims of reality. You still need to play the games. Huge expectations do not equal wins, as the Storm failed to get timely hitting all season long.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez did well to keep this group together, but in the end not even Thunder the mascot could help this group advance to the playoffs.
The team finished the year with a record of 68-72.
They finished each half of the year with an identical 34-36 record. Rancho Cucamonga won the first half, from the Storm, in the last series before the split. Lake Elsinore finished one game behind the Quakes for a playoff spot which was really heartbreaking. In the second half Rancho Cucamonga went off, finishing the second half of the season with a 52-18 record. They won by 15 games as they pulled away on the way to a California League championship.
Seven players participated in over 100 games for the Storm. Edward Olivares (129), Brad Zunica (123), Luis Torrens (122), Eguy Rosario (121), Hudson Potts (106), Nate Easley (102) and Jorge Ona (100) provided the team a decent daily lineup. It is a shame that this unit could not do more offensively.
OPS leaders for the team (minimum 300 at bats) Buddy Reed (.921), Hudson Potts (.847) both ended the year in San Antonio, but there were some other players worth recognizing in the 2018 season. Brad Zunica (.769) flew under the radar with a quiet, but productive year in 431 at bats. Nate Easley (.752) and Edward Olivares (.750) were also solid in their first efforts in the California League.
Next season, the team should add players like Tirso Ornelas, Jeisson Rosario and Esteury Ruiz into the mix. That should help produce more runs for the Storm pitching staff and hopefully result in more wins on the scoreboard. A trip to the playoffs would be nice for the city of Lake Elsinore.
Big right handed pitcher Dauris Valdez saved 13 games for the team featuring an upper 90’s fastball. David Bednar chipped in for 10 saves himself out of the pen and both Eliott Ashebeck (4) and Blake Rogers (3) earned opportunities as well. The Storm bullpen was effective for most of the year as this foursome threw a lot for the team. Colby Blueberg, Carter Capps, Gerardo Reyes and Cody Tyler also pitched plenty of innings for Lake Elsinore in the 2018 season.
The rotation consisted of Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, Reggie Lawson, Ronald Bolanos, Chris Paddack, Nick Margevicius and Aaron Leasher. Bryan Mitchell also made six starts for Lake Elsinore in 2018. There was plenty of quality pitching from this staff in 2018.
It was a disappointing season for the Storm, especially when they started out so well. The majority of the Padres system consists of young talented players who are teenagers. Fans of Lake Elsinore will soon have an opportunity to see plenty of hot young prospects playing at The Diamond.
2018 California League All-Stars
Team MVP’s– Hudson Potts and Buddy Reed
Gerik Baxter Award– Reggie Lawson
California League Trainer of the Year– Ricky Huerta
The Lake Elsinore Storm will be back next year for their 25th year in the California League. Expect plenty of celebration and an exciting year of baseball.