Guess what, Brilliant Reader? It’s time to start another series this offseason- ATVL’s hitter and pitcher of the year at each level of professional baseball! This is the fourth year of these awards, so we have some history to draw on, too.
We’ll start at the bottom and work out way to the top, so our first installment is covering the Rookie levels, which includes players in the Appalachian, Pioneer, Gulf Coast, and Arizona Leagues.
First, the past winners:
2016- Bradley Jones, Charles Town 2015
2015- Patrick Mazeika, Waynesboro 2013
2014- Logan Moon, Winchester 2012
The 2017 Rookie Level Hitter of the Year is Robby Rinn (Aldie 2013)! Robby had an amazing year for Idaho Falls, the Kansas City Royals affiliate in the Pioneer League. He hit 355/429/511 in 69 games and 282 at-bats, along with 58 runs, 59 RBIs, 22 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, and an excellent 36/35 BB/K ratio.
Robby finished 4th in the Pioneer League in batting average, 9th in OPS, tied for 2nd in runs, 1st in hits and doubles, tied for 3rd in RBIs, 6th in OBP, and 9th in walks. He was named a midseason and postseason All-Star.
Others to Consider:
- Matt Albanese (Aldie 2014), for Elizabethton of the Appalachian League: 296/352/401 in 142 AB
- Gabriel Garcia (Winchester 2016) for Helena of the Pioneer League: 300/420/498 in 233 at-bats, with 17 doubles and 9 home runs
- Jose Gomez (Front Royal 2016), also for Helena: 263/366/441 in 186 at-bats… but he’s been released already!
- DeAires Moses (Purcellville 2016), in the Arizona League: 283/352/365 in 159 at-bats, with 24 stolen bases
- Tyler Straub (Harrisonburg 2015), for Idaho Falls of the Pioneer League: 278/362/416 in 255 at-bats, with 16 doubles and 19 stolen bases.
- Jose Carrera (Covington 2014-16), in the Gulf Coast League: 276/396/366 in 123 at-bats, 20/15 BB/K, 11 stolen bases. Please, please, please become the next Jose Altuve!
- Michael Gigliotti (Covington 2015), for Burlington in the Appalachian League: 329/442/477 in 155 at-bats, 32/21 BB/K, 15 stolen bases, 8 doubles.
- Tracy Hadley (Waynesboro 2016), for Great Falls in the Pioneer League: 268/359/402 in 112 at-bats
- Irving Lopez (Staunton 2016), for Johnson City of the Appalachian League: 287/378/433 in 178 at-bats, 37 runs
If I were to rank these guys, all of whom played well at this level, it would go: