2 Trash Pandas earn Southern League honors for 2022

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Trash Pandas reliever Eric Torres was named the best relief pitcher in the Southern League. (Cristina Byrne-Sternberg/Rocket City Trash Pandas)

The Rocket City Trash Pandas had an amazing season in 2022, coming up just short of a Southern League championship after leading the league in wins for the season.

Well, the accolades keep coming, as Major League Baseball announced this week that Trash Pandas manager Andy Schatzley was named Southern League Manager of the Year and closer Eric Torres was named to the Southern League All-Star team as the league’s best reliever.

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Schatzley + Torres honored for terrific season

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Torres and Schatzley were both vital to the Trash Pandas’ success this season. (Rocket City Trash Pandas)

Torres and Schatzley were selected in a vote by the eight Southern League managers. The honors are the first in the professional careers for both of the teammates.

In his second season as a professional manager, Schatzley guided the Trash Pandas to an 81-57 record, ending the regular season as both first and second half division champions while finishing with the second-best record in all of Double-A as the Trash Pandas reached the playoffs for the first time.

The Trash Pandas were even better at Toyota Field, finishing with a home record of 49-20 for the most home wins in Minor League Baseball.

Over 42 relief outings in the regular season, Torres went 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA, allowing just nine earned runs over 51.0 innings while striking out 81 and recording 22 saves in 23 opportunities. He also pitched in two playoff games for the Trash Pandas, giving up one run over three innings with four strikeouts.

Torres’ 22 saves led the Southern League and set a new Angels Double-A record, topping the previous high of 21 set by Jose Musset for Midland in 1993. His 81 strikeouts ranked third among Southern League relievers and 35 of his 42 regular season outings were scoreless in a terrific season for the 23-year-old.

“It’s extremely well deserved for Eric. It’s beyond impressive to have the season he had at any point in his career. To do it in his first full professional season is even more impressive. I can’t think of anybody as deserving of this honor of Eric.”

Trash Pandas manager Andy Schatzley

Trash Pandas season of success

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Eric Torres was part of a combined no-hitter for the Trash Pandas this season. (Rocket City Trash Pandas via Twitter)

The honors for Torres and Schatzley were just a couple of the accomplishments for the team this season. Here are some other Trash Pandas milestones in the 2022 season:

  • The team finished as first and second half regular season champions with a record of 81-57, ending the regular season with the most home wins in all of Minor League Baseball with 49.
  • Their overall record was by far the best in the Southern League, with 10 more wins than Tennessee, who had the second most wins in the league.
  • Six players on the Trash Pandas’ 2022 roster were promoted to the major leagues: Livan Soto, Aaron Whitefield, Chase Silseth, David MacKinnon, Michael Stefanic and Ryan Aguilar.
  • Pitchers Chase Silseth, Luke Murphy, and Torres combined to throw the first no-hitter in franchise history Sept. 3.
  • The team was first in the Southern League in overall pitching and second in fielding.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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