Every Saturday (and some Fridays when my schedule isn’t as busy, i.e today) until the end of the minor league season we will present you with the awards for the past weeks top pitcher and position player at each affiliate. We will include a capsule at the end of each list on an under the radar performer that has had a very good week. The stats will run from Friday through Thursday. The stats are a reflection of that weeks success.
WEEK 4 (April 28th – May 4th)
MEMPHIS (17-11) 1st Place, 3 Games Up
Hitter Of The Week – Paul DeJong: SS, Age 23 – 21 AB, 3 Doubles, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO, 381/417/952/1.369
This wasn’t an easy award to pick, but for a very good reason: DeJong, Patrick Wisdom, and Luke Voit all had a great week at the plate. All three of these gentlemen had at least 3 HR, at least 6 RBI, and they all slashed at least 350/400/1.200. That is an incredible amount of support for a pitching staff that is starting to find it’s groove. And, I might add, the major reason why Memphis is on a 7 game winning streak.
DeJong’s numbers should not be discounted in the least. Remember, he really struggled with the advanced promotion to Springfield at the start of the 2016 season. He didn’t find his groove last season until the second half. To see Paul hammering the ball right now while playing a very, positively, average short stop is a delightful sign for the organization. And to seem him out slugging everyone else at the highest level in the minors almost brings a tear to my eye.
Every time I write about DeJong I’m going to say the same thing: he is never going to walk and he is always going to strike out. So, sit back, keep your expectations exactly right there, and enjoy the show.
Pitcher Of The Week – Arturo Reyes: RHP, Age 25 – 1 Start, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Game Score of 65
Daniel Poncedeleon had a very good, 2 start week that, honestly, should have garnered him the award yet again. However, I’ve decided to give the award to Arturo Reyes because of the circumstances surrounding his start.
Reyes has been patiently waiting for his chance to start for Memphis this season while piggy-backing Tyler Lyons rehab starts. So, to see Reyes take the mound and pitch this effectively is VERY important for the organization and for Reyes. He did only go five innings, but he is still getting stretched back out into a starters role. Even more encouraging, he threw 54 of his 79 pitches for strikes and he induced more groundballs than flyballs.
Also, I love to see the 7 strikeouts in 5 innings.
Reyes is a very nice piece to have in the organization and his continued success, much like our Springfield pitcher of the month, is essential to sustain success at the major league level.
Springfield (13-12) 2nd Place, 1 Game Back
Hitter Of The Week – Oscar Mercado(pictured): CF, Age 22 – 32 AB, 3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB, 464/531/750/1.281
It’s Oscar Mercado, then everyone else this week. DeJong, Voit, and Wisdom really hammered the ball for Memphis, but nobody has been able to do what Mercado has done.
If this was an article about Oscar Mercado alone, it would be titled “How To Find Love In Lost Hope”.
Mercado had a multi-hit game in five of the six games this week, and he had an extra base hit in four of those six games. Mercado is starting to cut down on the strike outs, too, which is delightful. And, to eviscerate a dead horse, his defense in CF has gotten Very good. He has, in a very sneaky way, become the OF prospect worth keeping an eye on the most. It’s crazy to think that what he is doing in Springfield is what we all hoped Randy Arozarena or Mags Sierra would be doing at that level this year.
It’s great to see the kid stud-out.
Pitcher Of The Week – Matt Pearce(pictured): RHP, Age 23 – 2 Starts, 14 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1.93 ERA, .184 BA Against. Game Scores of 58 and 70.
Nothing makes me happier than Pearce winning the SPR pitcher of the week award and winning it hands down. While the other four members of the rotation have gotten all of the attention and praise, Pearce has stayed under the radar.
Sometimes getting a second start during the week is enough to push you to the award, but that wasn’t the case with Pearce. He pitched better than any of the other members of the rotation before his second start on Thursday. He then proceeded to throw an 8 inning, 5 hit, 1 ER gem that has catapulted him to the top pitcher in the organization for week 4.
You can never have enough pitching depth, so don’t sell Pearce’s success short.
PALM BEACH (14-13) 2nd Place, 1.5 Games Back
Hitter Of The Week – Danny Diekroeger: 1B/3B, Age 24 – 22 AB, 2 Doubles, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 364/400/455/855
It has been an interesting week for the Palm Beach hitters. There have been a bunch of really good single game efforts from the bats, but very few of those players hit well from the start of our week until it’s end. As a matter of fact, the offense ended the week being shutout in two consecutive games.
Alas, I will give the award to Danny Diekroeger, who is the lone bright spot at the plate for the Palm Beach Cardinals.
Diekroeger is, ultimately, one of those organizational depth guys that is too old for his level but probably not good enough for the next level. He plays a very solid 3B, but not decent enough to stick if he were to suddenly excel enough to warrant a promotion to a higher level.
I’ve spent enough time on the Palm Beach offense this week. I need a shower. It was that bad.
Pitcher Of The Week – Connor Jones: RHP, Age 22 – 1 Start, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. 65 Game Score
It’s nice to see the 2016 second round pick make the list. Jones has only made three starts so far for Palm Beach, but all three have been good. Through 16 innings he has only allowed 9 hits while striking out 8 and walking 6. What I like most is that Jones has only allowed 1 extra base hit so far this season, a triple during his first start.
This is exactly how Jones should be performing at Palm Beach. Much like his senior season at Virginia, Jones has shown the uncanny ability to be effective without being dominant. Once considered a strike out pitcher and an ox on the mound, Jones has really changed as a pitcher. I hate the K/BB of 8/6, but the sink action on his repertoire has been enough to make up for his lack strike outs. Watching how Jones develops over the next few months is going to be interesting.
Peoria (10-14) 6th Place, 5 Games Back
Hitter Of The Week – Andy Young: UTIL, Age 22 – 14 AB, 1 Double, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB, 429/529/929/1.458
SUPER UTILITY PLAYER ALERT.
Andy Young is a 37th round pick, he’s small, he’s white, and all of this qualifies him as a soon-to-be fan favorite of Cardinals Nation.
But, wait: Young has way more pop than his forefathers of Joe McEwing, Bo Hart, and Stubby Clapp. Young hit an absolute monster of a homerun this week. You never know exactly what to expect from a pick that late in the draft that doesn’t really play a consistent position, but it’s nice to see that there is a guy like Young in the system.
At 6’0, 195 lbs, he profiles best at 2nd base. However, I have seen him range pretty well at 3rd, and that’ll be something worth keeping an eye on. So far this season he’s played RF, SS, 2B, and 3B. More of that, please.
Pitcher Of The Week – John Kilichowski: LHP, Age 22 – 1 Start, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Game Score of 58
Due to the terrible storms that swept through the area, the Chiefs only played four games this week which made it an interesting week to pick the teams best pitcher. Jordan Hicks had a pedestrian start and Ronnie Williams was blown up again (HEART BREAKING), so Kilichowski was just good enough to get this weeks’ award.
It shouldn’t surprise you to know that what I like to see on the list, without forcing it, is variety week by week. With that in mind, it’s just nice to see someone other than Jordan Hicks at the top of the list.
Entering the season, I had Kilichowski as my 26th best prospect in the system, and he hasn’t come close to living up to that billing. Hopefully, this past week was a step in the correct direction.
***UNDER THE RADAR PERFORMER***
Alex Mejia – Springfield: MI, Age, 26 – 26 AB, 6 Doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO, 423/423/769/1.192
The award receipient this week comes with a disclaimer: Mejia is too good for Double A and that explains a lot of his success.
Still, I’m giving Mejia the award because the guy has been really good for the organization since he was drafted. Mejia is the kind of player that organizations are built upon. He was always willing to learn a new position to benefit the organization. He was an advanced product of the Pac 10/12 when he was drafted, and his leadership has help many of his fellow prospects. There is virtually no chance that Mejia ever makes it to the majors. He’s already spent a good amount of time playing for Memphis, and the fact that he is back in Springfield at the age of 26 has to be a spirit killer. But here he is, doing any and everything that the organization asks of him.
So, you might say that the under the radar performer from this week is actually the the under the radar performer for the last few years.
Plus, you know, he raked this week. If 6 doubles in 6 games doesn’t bring a smile to your face then just go ahead and cut your lips off, because you are doing it wrong.
PREVIOUS WEEKS AWARD WINNERS
Thanks for reading!