Catcher- Brian Peterson (Laredo)- Peterson has been a valuable commodity both behind the plate and at bat in his second stint with the Lemurs. The Bellevue University product has thrown out 34 percent of baserunners this season, while slugging five homers and driving in 47 runs. Peterson has also recorded 17 doubles.
First Base- C.J. Ziegler (Wichita)- The Wingnuts’ first baseman has already broken the American Association single season home run record with 30 homers and is chasing the RBI record, as well. Ziegler leads the league with 98 RBI, placing him five behind the record with four games remaining. Ziegler is no stranger to awards, either, having won a pair of Pointstreak Player of the Week honors this season.
Second Base- Jake Kahaulelio (Wichita)- Kahaulelio has been a stellar defensive second baseman for Wichita, while providing some serious pop. The Windsor, CA native has posted a .991 fielding percentage and a .317 batting average. Kahaulelio has also hit the third-most home runs on a power-laden Wingnuts team with 17 long balls. He has also delivered 22 RBI, four triples and 61 RBI.
Third Base- Abel Nieves (Wichita)- Nieves has been the most consistent hitter in the American Association this season. The Wingnuts’ third baseman leads the league with a .354 batting average to go along with five home runs, 22 doubles, three triples and 48 RBI. Nieves has also stolen 16 bases this season.
Shortstop- Maikol Gonzalez (El Paso)- When El Paso’s shortstop gets on base, he is dangerous. And Gonzalez gets on base a lot. The former Division II All-American ranks fifth in the American Association with a .341 batting average, which has helped Gonzalez steal a league-best 46 bases in 2013. Add in Gonzalez’s nine triples, which rate him third in the league, and you have a formidable leadoff hitter and the American Association’s top shortstop.
Outfield- Nick Van Stratten (Sioux Falls)- Van Stratten sits in a tie for second place in the American Association batting average rankings. His .349 mark is the best on the Canaries and he has shown tremendous power to the gaps and speed. The Birmingham, MO native sits second in the league with 14 triples. Van Stratten has also stolen 22 bases.
Outfield- Brent Clevlen (Wichita)- Clevlen ranks third in a dangerous Wichita lineup and 10th overall in the American Association with a .333 batting average through 67 games. The center fielder has also slammed 14 home runs and tallied 50 RBI.
Outfield- Chris Valencia (Amarillo)- Valencia received the All-Star nod after leading the Sox with seven triples and posting a solid .336 average through 94 games. That batting average is the highest mark on the team among players who have played over 50 games.
Designated Hitter- John Rodriguez (Wichita)- Rodriguez has been thumping for the heart of Wichita’s order all season. The left-handed hitter finds himself in the top-five in the American Association for batting average (.354), home runs (19) and RBI (85). In all cases, he trails a Wingnuts teammate for the number one spot. Rodriguez has the second-most RBI, fourth-best average and is tied for fourth in homers.
Pitcher of the Year- Taylor Stanton (Fargo-Moorhead)- Stanton has been invaluable to the RedHawks’ rotation. The 6’2” right-hander from San Francisco, CA leads the American Association with a 2.48 ERA, which is 48 points better than the league’s next-best pitcher. Stanton has also posted an 8-4 record that includes two nine-inning complete games, one of which was a five-hit shutout of Lincoln in early July. Three starts later, Stanton struck out 10 in a complete-game win over Sioux City.
Relief Pitcher of the Year- Patrick Mincey (Grand Prairie/pictured)- Even as a rookie, Mincey has been a force for the AirHogs out of the bullpen. His 22 saves ranks third in the American Association and his 1.06 ERA is among the best marks for relievers. The right-hander has also posted an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio. Mincey has struck out 54 batters in 50.2 innings and has only issued 12 walks. On top of all of that, the AirHogs’ closer holds a 5-1 record on the season.
Defensive Player of the Year- Leugim Barroso (Sioux City)- Shortstop is one of the most demanding positions on the diamond and nobody played it better than Barroso. Through 95 games at shortstop, Barroso has made just 12 errors for a fielding percentage of .972.
Photo courtesy of the Grand Prairie AirHogs