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2015 Mets Minor League Review: Savannah Sand Gnats, First Half

How did the Savannah Sand Gnats do in the first half of the 2015 season?

Casey Meisner
Casey Meisner
Gordon Donovan

Coming into the this year, there was a lot of buzz around the Savannah Sand Gnats. With a 42-20 record in 2014, they won the South Atlantic League Southern Division for the first half and clinched a playoff berth. In September, they faced the Asheville Tourists in the South Atlantic League Southern Division championship series, but the Sand Gnats were defeated.

In addition, it was announced that 2015 would be the last season that the Sand Gnats would play in Historic Grayson Stadium, their home since 1984, when the team was called the Savannah Cardinals. Built in 1926, the stadium is one of the oldest active minor league facilities in the country, and has seen legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Jackie Robinson, among others, come and go. Despite renovations in 2007 that included, among other things, installing a new drainage system, leveling and resodding the field, constructing new batting cages, a laundry room, and a weight room, and adding new concession space, the stadium was seen as too small and too antiquated. When the city of Savannah voted to renovate Grayson Stadium instead of building a completely new one, the owners of the Sand Gnats began looking for a new home for their team, in a city that would build a new stadium. The city of Colombia, South Carolina agreed, and in May 2015, it was confirmed that the organization would be leaving Savannah for Colombia.

The Sand Gnats began the season on the wrong foot, losing on Opening Day to the West Virginia Power and then dropping their first series of the year. The team under-performed and ended the month of April with a 7-13 record. After starting May with a losing streak, the Sand Gnats picked things up, stringing together multiple winning streaks. By the end of the month, things were looking much better for the Sand Gnats, who had a 17-13 record for the month and a 24-26 record overall.

Savannah began June with a loss to Asheville but recovered and strung together a ten-game winning streak. Four of those victories were against the first place Greenville Drive, who were in the middle of their own losing streak. By mid-June, Savannah and Greenville were tied with identical records for first place. The two teams played at exactly the same pace, and on the last day of the half, the two teams had identical 38-31 records. It all came down the last game of the first half.

The Drive were clobbered by the Lakewood Blue Claws, losing their game 9-3. Somewhat anticlimactically, before the Sand Gnats ever took the field, they clinched a playoff berth, winning the South Atlantic League Southern Division for the first half. The team suited up to play their last game before the break and beat the GreenJackets 8-5.

First Half MVP

Wuilmer Becerra

Runner Up

Jonathan Johnson

First Half Cy Young

Casey Meisner

Runner Up

Brad Wieck