As we draw to the end of another year that was filled with some great baseball across the great State of Texas, it is time that we reflect on some of the greatest moments of the 2021 season in the first annual State of Texas Baseball Address. In part two of this series, we take a look and recap all of the Minor League Teams across the State.
Sugar Land Skeeters
The Sugar Land Skeeters (71-49) kicked off the 2021 season as the new Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The Skeeters were founded in 2012 as an independent team playing the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. When MLB decided to restructure MiLB leagues to limit the number of teams, the Astros and owner Jim Crane purchased a stake in the Skeeters after the 2020 season.
The 2021 season was a success as the Skeeters dominated their division to take home their first Triple-A West League’s East Division title as a MiLB affiliate. The Skeeters would make it into the postseason as part of the Triple-A Final Stretch, which consisted of teams across Triple-A that were at the top of their divisions.
Round Rock Express
The Round Rock Express (61-58) returned as the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in 2021 after spending the 2019-2020 season as an affiliate of the Houston Astros. The Express had a great 2021 season in the Triple-A West League’s East division as the franchise jumped out to a 4-0 record to start the season, which matched a franchise record for the best start of the season.
The Express would stay at the top of the division for most of the season before finishing the season tied for second with the Oklahoma City Dodgers. The Express would also make the Triple-A Final Stretch postseason, finishing in 10th place.
El Paso Chihuahuas
The El Paso Chihuahuas (46-74) did not have the best season in 2021. The Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, the Chihuahuas, battled through injuries most of the season. The bright side of the season was that the Chihuahuas would make it into the Triple-A Final Stretch postseason, finishing in 13th place.
The Frisco RoughRiders (64-55) had a great 2021 season in the newly restructured Double-A Central – South Division. In a division where the competition was fierce, the RoughRiders just missed making the postseason as the NW Arkansas Travelers (64-55) barely beat out the RoughRiders to secure that second spot.
The Midland Rockhounds (59-60) finished the season just five games behind the RoughRiders in the division. The Rockhounds played well at home but struggled on the road. The Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics held their own for the most part in a division where lots of runs were scored, but the RockHounds could not get that one win that would have put them at .500 for the season.
Amarillo Sod Poodles
The Amarillo Sod Poodles (59-61), a Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, finished the season in third place. This was the first season for the Sod Poodles as an affiliate of the Diamondbacks. The Sod Poodles started the season with six of the Diamondbacks Top 30 prospects, which would grow to a total of 13 of the top prospects at the season’s end. Not the season that the Sod poodles hoped for, but the future is bright for these prospects.
San Antonio Missions
The San Antonio Missions (57-63), an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, struggled this season to get things going. Finishing the season 7.5 games back of first place, the Missions were hoping the offense would be their biggest strength in 2021. That did not seem to be the case as the Missions ranked near the bottom of the division in run differential.
Corpus Christi Hooks
The Corpus Christi Hooks (54-65), an affiliate of the Houston Astros, struggled to get things going this season. To open the season, the Hooks went 11-12 in May. The months of June and July were not any better. During that span, the Hooks lost a lot of players due to promotions to Triple-A Sugar Land. The Hooks would continue to play below .500 well into August. Even with the struggles, the Hooks have a lot of great players that will be able to turn this team around in 2022.
In part three of this series, we will look at some major college programs and how they faired across the State.
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