Pelicans’ season ends but future bright for franchise

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ championship quest was cut short in the playoffs, but a seed was planted this year that will grow on fans in future seasons.

In the first year of affiliation with the Texas Rangers, the Pelicans posted a Carolina League first-half title and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

And, given the level of talent to come through BB&T Coastal Field this season, this could be the first in a long run of postseason appearances for the Pelicans.

Myrtle Beach had four aces and a king closer called up this season – starters Robbie Erlin, Robbie Ross, Neil Ramirez, Joe Wieland and yop reliever Johan Yan.

The Pelicans’ boasted one of the top rotations in the nation before they got promoted and/or traded. Ultimately, the team was a victim of its own success.
But one of the encouraging signs was the way the position players endured an injury outbreak and a revolving clubhouse door to battle until the season’s final out.

Top prospects Mike Olt, Chris McGuiness and Leury Garcia missed action in the second half but came back shortly before the postseason to spark the squad.
Teammates like Ryan Strausborger, Jared Prince and Zach Zaneski grinded it out during the shorthanded dog days of summer to keep the Pelicans’ hopes alive.

The Pelicans finished the season 72-67 including the playoffs, 40-29 during the first half, and posted a 42-24 record at home, to give home fans reasons to cheer.

The Rangers, the defending AL champions, seem committed to building through the minor leagues. The Rangers organization had the best combined record in all of baseball this season, and seven of the top 49 picks in the 2010 draft were taen by Texas, setting up a string of blue-chip talent to come through Myrtle Beach.

The Pelicans not only survived their highly criticized affiliation switch from the Atlanta Braves to Texas, they look ready to reach the next level with the Rangers.

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