Tim Hagerty has had one heck of a journey broadcasting professional baseball. The veteran broadcaster has been the voice behind all six seasons of Chihuahuas baseball. Hagerty has also had stops in Tucson, Arizona, Portland, Oregon, Idaho Falls and Mobile, Alabama – all calling games for Padres affiliates. In addition, Hagerty wrote Root for the Home Team: Minor League Baseball’s Most Off-the-Wall Team Names and the Stories Behind Them in 2012, a fun read for everyone.
Hagerty called games for the home-run happy Chihuahuas, who missed the playoffs despite having one of the most prolific offenses in all of professional baseball. The talented broadcaster gave us his thoughts on the 2019 version of the Chihuahuas.
MadFriars: El Paso belted 259 homers this year, obliterating the old PCL record. How much fun was it to call games for a team that could strike at any time?
Tim Hagerty: It was surreal. Seven different players had 19 or more home runs. Throughout a lot of the summer, El Paso was rotating with the Twins on which team had the most homers in professional baseball.
It made it so the Chihuahuas were never out of a game. There were some sizable comebacks, like the time they were down by seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored 10 to win.
Ty France had a ridiculous season in which he nearly hit .400. What made him so special in 2019?
Tim Hagerty: Predictions are hard, and most of the time I get them wrong, so let me brag about this one – I predicted in a March preseason show that Ty would win PCL MVP, and he did. He’s an excellent hitter and his two primary positions, first base and third base, are occupied in San Diego, so it felt like he’d spend a majority of 2019 in AAA because of that.
It was interesting to read the Padres could give him consideration to be the everyday second baseman in 2020. One scout compared him to Dan Uggla, a bigger second baseman with power. Obviously Uggla had a great career.
Luis Urías had a huge power surge this season while seeing a lot of playing time at short. What your impressions on watching Luis every day?
Tim Hagerty: He was excellent defensively at shortstop. I know he had mixed results with San Diego, but he’s still only 22, the same age as a lot of Lake Elsinore players. Not all players will surge into the big leagues like Tatis. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him improve next season and become an everyday big leaguer.
Austin Allen has been one of the most consistent players since the Padres drafted him. Is he a guy who has the talent to be an everyday guy in the big leagues?
Tim Hagerty: I think so. The El Paso coaching staff commented on how hard he’s worked on his receiving. I hope he continues to get major league opportunities, he’s a great guy, very professional. He and Ty France got dozens of interview requests in July when they participated in the AAA All-Star Game in El Paso and both guys said yes every time.
Aderlin Rodriguez burst onto the scene and had a really big spring and showed plenty of power in El Paso. What can you tell us about the big first baseman?
Tim Hagerty: He hit line drives that registered some of the highest El Paso exit velocities this year. I think he flew under the radar because he missed the first two months of the season. But he ended up being one of the top PCL power hitters in the second half.
I’m curious how his career will unfold. He’s a little older, turns 28 this winter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him earn a few major league at-bats with some team at some point.
Michael Gettys set the franchise record for homers this year, although he still had his issues with strikeouts. What did you see from the former second-rounder this year?
Tim Hagerty: He’s a great athlete. He made some of the best outfield throws of the season here. I know it’s a crowded outfield situation with San Diego but I could see him playing his way to the majors with the Padres, or perhaps elsewhere as a Rule 5 pick.
Eric Yardley was one of the best stories in the system this year and eventually made his debut. What can you tell us about him?
Tim Hagerty: I agree with you. He was one of the best stories in baseball. Undrafted out of a small college, suited up for an independent team that folded, and then more recently bounced between Double-A and Triple-A for years before making his big league debut in August.
Using major league balls in AAA games boosted offense across the league, which made Yardley’s Triple-A results even more impressive. He had a 2.83 ERA in a year and a league where a 5.00 ERA is solid. I thought he should have been anAll-Star. I hope he gets consideration for the 2020 Opening Day roster after his strong September with the Pads.
Were there any other pitchers on the El Paso staff that impressed this year?
Tim Hagerty: Yes, Dillon Overton had a solid year and was the most consistent starter among guys who were in the rotation for most of the season.