Theo Fightmaster, General Manager
After a rookie campaign that helped spark the Sonoma Stompers Pro Baseball Club’s 2015 first-half championship, and the team’s first postseason appearance, first baseman Daniel Baptista is returning to Sonoma for the 2016 season, Stompers GM Theo Fightmaster announced Wednesday.
Baptista, a 6-foot-5, Fairfield, Calif. Native batted .321 (third-best in the Pacific Association) with six homers and 41 RBIs in his rookie campaign, reaching base at a .386 clip. He slugged .425 and tallied an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .811. Impressively, the left-handed hitting Baptista enjoyed what’s known as a reverse-split, hitting even better off left-handed pitchers than he did against right-handed hurlers.
Additionally, he was sixth on Sonoma with 40.2 Runs Created (a stat invented by Bill James to estimate the number of runs a hitter contributes to his team), trailing only the likes of Mark Hurley (47.2), Gered Mochizuki (44.7), Joel Carranza (41.3), Matt Hibbert (41.1) and Isaac Wenrich (40.5). Of those players credited with more runs created, only Mochizuki failed to receive a promotion to a higher league.
The slick fielding Baptista proved nearly as valuable with the leather as he did with his bat, furnishing a fielding percentage of .985, while converting 317 putouts with 16 assists. He committed only five errors in 338 chances in 42 games at first base, and was voted the top defensive first baseman in the Pacific Association last September. He also finished fourth in the league’s Rookie of the Year balloting, which was claimed by Hurley.
“I’m proud of what Daniel has blossomed into,” said Fightmaster. “He’s completely transformed himself since college, and really since the first time I saw him play in 2014.
“He was a great player for us last year, and was a great character in the clubhouse. We’re excited to see what’s in store for him this year.”
The Stompers finished the 2015 season with their second winning record in as many years, going 44-33. In the franchise’s inaugural campaign in 2014, Sonoma boasted a 42-36 record.
The Stompers open the season May 31, 2016, and start their home season in Sonoma on Tuesday, June 7, at 6 p.m. against the Vallejo Admirals.
Full Season tickets, mini-plans and partial season tickets are on sale on our website, www.stompersbaseball.com, or at the Stompers Fan Shop, located at 234 West Napa Street in Sonoma. Group events and Group Tickets are also available now. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 707.938.7277 for questions and more information.