South Atlantic and Midwest League Awards

South Atlantic League

Hitter of the Year
Kiel Roling / 1B / Colorado Rockies
Roling racked up a league leading .331 batting average, .593 slugging percentage, and .994 OPS for first place Asheville. He will have problems adjusting to better pitching, and his bat has plenty of holes, but Roling put together an enormous season worthy of hitter of the year.

Pitcher of the Year
Dexter Carter / RHP / San Diego Padres
I won’t hold the late-season trade against him. Carter was part of a great group of Sally League pitchers, and first place Kannapolis wouldn’t have been the same without him. His strong ERA and WHIP were a product of his elite strikeout rate and intimidating presence on the mound.

Best Hitting Prospect
Derek Norris / C / Washington Nationals
Norris was considered for Hitter of the Year, but it was difficult handing him the award due to Hagerstown’s league-low 25 wins. Yet, with his powerful bat on display, Norris carried his team offensively in stretches, and, by most accounts, was a solid receiver behind the plate. He still has much to prove, but has the talent and statistical backbone to back up the hype.

Best Pitching Prospect
Jordan Lyles / RHP / Houston Astros
I will give a shout out to Martin Perez, as he spent most of the year in the Sally League, but Lyles showed a tremendous amount of polish that caught me by surprise. He might just be the best high school pitcher from the 2008 draft.

Midwest League

Hitter of the Year
Kyle Russell / OF / LA Dodgers
It’s difficult to fathom why the Dodgers left Russell in the Midwest League all year long, as his age and skills pointed toward loftier goals. But that’s exactly what they did, and Single-A Great Lakes benefited greatly from Russell’s league leading .545 slugging percentage and 26 home runs.

Pitcher of the Year
Kenn Kasparek / RHP / Seattle Mariners
No other pitcher in the Midwest League meant more to his team than Kasparek. He was old for the league, but Clinton rode his right arm and league-leading 2.41 ERA as far as they would go. Kasparek deserves his place in the sun.

Best Hitting Prospect
Brett Lawrie / 2B / Milwaukee Brewers
Lawrie has the quickest wrists in the minor leagues, and some of the best raw power that the Midwest League has to offer. His aggressive promotion to Double-A Huntsville is a great indicator of Milwaukee’s high opinion of his potential. Jaff Decker also deserves recognition for his stellar season and terrific plate discipline.

Best Pitching Prospect
Simon Castro / RHP / San Diego Padres
Castro somewhat quietly put together a great building block type of year. He bumped up his control of his electric fastball a notch, and his talent-laden Fort Wayne team was the beneficiary. San Diego is hoping for another step in the right direction next season, as his pure velocity would be a rare commodity in any organization.

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Brian M.
Brian M.

I’m glad you mentioned Decker here.  Considering he’s only 1 full year removed from high school, his walk rate seems pretty epic.