2018 Waterloo Bucks Season Recap
The summer of 2018 has come and gone, and so has the Waterloo Bucks 24th season.
Although the Bucks had a poor record, finishing with a final mark of 20-52, there were plenty of
bright spots to be found in the Cedar Valley. Interim Field Manager J.D. Eaton notched his first
win as a collegiate head coach on Friday, July 20th in a 5-3 victory over the Mankato
MoonDogs. Outfielder Brendan Hueth was named to both the All-Star Team and the Major
League Dreams Showcase. Patrick Ferguson, Angelo Altavilla, and Trey Leonard each put up
monster seasons at the plate for Waterloo. Let’s take a deeper look at the big 2018 campaigns
produced by the Waterloo Bucks this past summer…
The Bucks’ catching duties this past season were primarily shared by Greg Anderberg
and Myles Emmerson. Anderberg, who will begin his first season at George Washington
University in 2019, received the Opening Day start behind the dish for Waterloo. The switchhitter
excelled from the left side of the plate, slashing .250/.365/.292 in 46 games. Anderberg
drew walks at an 11.8% rate. Emmerson posted excellent power numbers, slashing a stellar .
282/.345/.366 for a .711 OPS. The Cal Poly product also put up a .733 OPS with runners in
scoring position. He was named Northwoods Player of the Night on August 8th after going 6-6
with a double.
Waterloo saw plenty of turnover in the infield over the course of 2018, but one thing’s
for certain: two mainstays in the lineup had massive seasons. Kent State’s Patrick Ferguson
put scouts on notice with an incredible .300/.385/.462 output for an .847 OPS, belting 8
doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs over 40 games. He cut his strikeout rate from his 2017
summer in the Prospect League by over 10%, and drew walks at an 11.5% clip. He posted an .
830 OPS with runners in scoring position, and also proved that he’s not just a platoon option
against righthanders: Ferguson crushed lefties to the tune of a .355/.459/.548 slash line. He
also led Waterloo with a 54.2% hard hit rate with a picturesque spray rate: 39% ground balls,
17% line drives, 42% fly balls, and a puny 2.4% pop up rate. Kevin Welsh, who begins his
Junior campaign at Rutgers in 2019, dazzled all season long at second base defensively. Welsh
had a .360 on-base percentage, a 16.2% walk rate, and a tremendous .295/.429/.386 slash line
with runners in scoring position. Angelo Altavilla slashed .308/.445/.425 in 41 games, leading
the team with 14 doubles, and went 12-16 on steals. The Nebraska shortstop heads into his
Senior year in 2019, poised for a massive season. Longtime Buck Deion Thompson (Western
Illinois) finished his return to Waterloo with a .255/.323/.312 output, hitting 5 doubles and
stealing 7 bags in 39 games. Before unfortunately going down with an injury, Ryan Gonzalez
slashed a monster .346/.404/.462 for an .865 OPS to go with 6 doubles and 12 RBI over 17
games. Carmen Sclafani compiled a stellar summer heading into his Senior season at Rutgers,
slashing .248/.339/.410 for a .748 OPS along with 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs.
Sclafani had a 50% hard hit rate, and absolutely mashed with runners in scoring position: .
311/.347/.556 for a .902 OPS.
Brendan Hueth heads into his Sophomore season at St. Joseph coming off of a great
summer in Waterloo. He was named to both the All-Star Team and the Major League Dreams
Showcase, and slashed .308/.364/.368 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 18 steals, and 28 RBI. Both
he and Trey Leonard led the team with 68 games played. Leonard, a Redshirt Freshman at
Louisville, was named the Bucks Player of the Year by the season ticket holders. He slashed .
306/.391/.388 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 home runs along with stealing 21 bags. Leonard
hit .333 with an .844 OPS with runners in scoring position. Drue Galassi produced a .
292/.350/.472 slash line with 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 home runs in just 23 games, positioning
himself for a massive Junior year at Western Illinois.
THE PITCHING STAFF
While pitching as a whole was a weakness for the 2018 Waterloo Bucks, there were
certainly a sound amount of solid seasons from members of the staff. Blake Walden (New
Mexico) led the rotation with 10 starts, going 3-6 with a 4.65 FIP over 53.0 frames. He was
named Pitcher of the Night in the Northwoods League on August 29th after throwing a
complete-game shutout against Rochester. Kent State righthander Ryan Lane went 3-1 over 8
starts, throwing to the tune of a 4.60 FIP. Matt Whalen (Colorado Mesa) had a tremendous
summer, posting a 4.15 ERA over 6 starts with a 1.39 WHIP and a .652 opponent OPS.
Christian Griffin missed plenty of bats with his big fastball, recording a 23.8% strikeout rate.
Cal State-San Marcos lefty and Cedar Falls native Brady Corson had a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 relief
innings, holding opponents to a .188 average. Quincy closer Karl Hirsch put up a 3.75 ERA in
24.0 innings, recording 2 saves and a .643 OPS against. Joshua Culliver, a reliever from the
University of Minnesota, was named to the Major League Dreams Showcase after using his
nasty changeup to obliterate lefties to the tune of a .186/.309/.186 opponent slash line. Javin
Drake, the third Western Illinois product with the Bucks, had a 3.43 FIP in 8 starts. Rutgers
swingman Eric Reardon, one of two full-season Bucks pitchers, threw 40.0 frames to a 5.18
ERA and an 18.2% K rate. His long-season counterpart Robert Reaser (Lewis & Clark) went 2-2
with a 4.57 FIP in 45.2 innings, holding opponents to a .266 average.