New Jersey Jackals 2018 Season in Review
The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball’s 2018 is coming to an end. The New Jersey Jackals are on the outside looking in for the first time in a decade. The Jackals finished their season with a record of 50-52, fifth place in the Can-Am League, three whole games behind the fourth place Trois-Rivieres Aigles. Therefore, the Jackals failed to clinch a spot in the Can-Am League playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Matching their winning percentage of .495, the 2018 New Jersey Jackals team definitely had it’s ups and downs. On the upside, their offense proved to be one of the better ones in the league. New Jersey finished the season scoring a total of 513 runs in 102 games. That’s just under 5.03 runs per game, the third most in the league. They finished second in batting average (.280), and third in home runs with 95.
Throughout the season, the biggest contributor on offense by far was center fielder David Harris. Acquired in a trade with the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association, Harris was by far New Jersey’s best bat in their lineup for most of the season. Harris lead the Jackals in batting average (.331), home runs (23), RBIs (68), on base percentage (.435), slugging percentage (.590), and OPS (1.008). David was named to the 2018 Can-Am League All-Star team for his outstanding season.
“Man it’s been a blast,” Harris said in a YouTube interview with Patrick Getz in regards to the season. “This team, I would say, through all the obstacles we’ve dealt with from the get-go, all the obstacles that we’ve had when it comes to things that happened in the clubhouse, as a whole I think we’ve done a great job. How we have fought every day, coming out here to just play this wonderful game of baseball.”
Now we’ve got to address the elephant in the room, the downside of the New Jersey Jackals; their pitching. The Jackals made a huge splash back in April when they signed former MLB veteran pitcher Mat Latos. Latos was by far New Jersey’s most reliable arm throughout the season. In 29 games and 10 starts, Latos pitched to a 3.18 ERA., 1.27 WHIP, .241 BAA, and threw 87 strikeouts.
“It’s been interesting,” Latos said in a YouTube interview with Patrick Getz. “Going from being assigned as a reliever to becoming a starter to start the year, then getting thrown into the reliever’s role for a while. I think the reliever’s role really helped me kind of get a little bit more confidence. So taking that into me starting, (it’s) been a little easier for me to transition and really concentrate on making pitches.”
Unfortunately, the rest of the Jackals pitching staff wasn’t good enough to get them into the playoffs. The Jackals allowed a total of 497 runs this season and had a team ERA of 4.46, both the second worst in the league. New Jersey finished the season with a +16 run differential, again the second worst in the league.
Despite the disappointing season, the most memorable moment of the whole season happened on Aug 7 against the Ottawa Champions. Eduar Lopez had a night for the ages, pitching a complete game no hitter in a 5-0 victory. It was just the third no hitter in New Jersey Jackals history and the fourth complete game no hitter in the history of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.
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