HONORS FOR ADVANCED CLASS A
We'll hit the Midwest League and the Sally League this weekend.
POSITION PLAYER: Shortstop Brandon Wood of Rancho Cucamonga. Led the league in slugging percentage, doubles, homers, second in RBI, fifth in batting average, while playing a premium defensive position at the age of 20.
STARTING PITCHER: There were only three guys with ERAs below 4.00 in the Cal League this year. League win leader Garrett Mock went 14-7 with a 4.18 mark and a strong 160/33 K/BB ratio. Jared Wells led the circuit with a 3.44 ERA in 19 starts and went 11-3, but had nine fewer starts than Mock and a less impressive K/IP ratio. I think I'll go with Mock, who survived the difficult environment at Lancaster.
CLOSER: The two best candidates are save leader Leo Rosales of Lake Elsinore (27 saves, 3.18 ERA, 77 K in 65 innings) and Joe Bateman of San Jose (21 saves, 1.91 ERA, 80 K in 75 innings). Rosales is a personal favorite, but Bateman's numbers are a bit better, so we'll go with Bateman.
POSITION PLAYER: First baseman Leo Daigle of Winston-Salem led the league with a .341 batting average and a .637 SLG, also led with 112 RBI, and was fourth in OBP.
STARTING PITCHER: The two guys I like here are Chance Douglass of Salem and James Johnson of Frederick. They tied for second in the league with 12 wins. Douglass led the circuit with a 2.90 ERA and also posted a nice 128/44 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. Johnson's ERA was higher at 3.49, but he was more dominant, fanning 168 in 160 innings, although his control was weaker. I'll go with Douglass.
CLOSER: Ehren Wasserman of Winston-Salem led the circuit with 20 saves, and had the best ERA of all the regular closers at 1.37. He also showed good command with a 37/9 K/BB in 46 innings.
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE
POSITION PLAYER: I think I'll go with Vero Beach outfielder Matt Kemp, who hit .306/.349/.569. His slugging percentage led the league. He finished fifth in hitting, second with 27 homers, second with 90 RBI, and he also stole 23 bases, giving him a broad base of contribution.
STARTING PITCHER: There are several possible candidates, but I'm going with Lakeland starter Jordan Tata, who won 13 games with just 2 losses, finished fifth with a 2.79 ERA, and showed good command with a 134/41 K/BB in 155 innings.
CLOSER: Mark Worrell of Palm Beach, who led the league with 35 saves with a strong 2.25 ERA. And "Worrell" is a great name for a closer.