Awards Season: Appalachian and Pioneer League Honors

Appalachian League

Hitter of the Year
Brady Shoemaker / OF / Chicago White Sox
Nobody stood head and shoulders above anyone else this year in the Appy League. But Chicago’s new 19th round pick posted a .351 batting average and 1.011 OPS while displaying his power hitting prowess with 21 doubles and nine home runs in just 205 at-bats.

Pitcher of the Year:
Christopher Masters / LHP / Atlanta Braves
No other pitcher in the Appy League can touch Masters’ top to bottom stat line domination. He posted a 9.44/1 strikeout to walk ratio and allowed just one home run over 69.2 innings on his way to a 1.42 ERA and 0.89 WHIP.

Best Hitting Prospect
Jiovanni Mier / SS / Houston Astros
Mier is one of my favorite players from the 2009 draft. His skill set reminds me so much of Tim Beckham, yet Beckham will always get the hype associated with being a No. 1 pick. Mier has the glove to stay at shortstop and the bat speed to one day be an impact player in the big leagues. He has some hard work in front of him, though.

Best Pitching Prospect
Matt Hobgood / RHP / Baltimore Orioles
Hobgood was a bit of a surprise selection by Baltimore at No. 5 overall in the 2009 draft. He doesn’t seem to possess the pure, electric stuff that some of his fellow first round picks have, but Baltimore has displayed a great eye for talent in recent years. And if Baltimore’s sees enough in Hobgood to select him at No. 5, who am I to judge? He will have to prove himself to me, but my eyes are open and firmly locked on this kid’s right arm.

Pioneer League

Hitter of the Year
Brian Cavazos-Galvez / OF / LA Dodgers
The Pioneer League lived up to its reputation as a great hitter’s league in 2009; and nobody was more impressive than Cavazos-Galvez. The Dodgers farmhand put his full arsenal of tools on display with 29 doubles, 18 home runs, and 16 steals in 295 at-bats. His .325 batting average, .979 OPS, and 63 RBIs were icing on the cake.

Pitcher of the Year
Chris Balcom-Miller / RHP / Colorado
Balcom-Miller, Colorado’s 2009 sixth round pick, was untouchable this year, as far as Pioneer League standards are concerned. There isn’t another pitcher in any rookie league that posted the relative stats that this kid did. His eye-popping stats are too numerous to mention here, but looking at his 4-0 record, 1.58 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 60 strikeouts over 57 innings gives you a good feel for the type of year he had.

Best Hitting Prospect
Bobby Borchering / 3B / Arizona
Borchering has the type of all-around hitting prowess that scouts drool over. He does everything well at the plate, but it will be his ultimate power production that solidifies his prospect status.

Best Pitching Prospect
Eric Arnett / RHP / Milwaukee
Milwaukee’s 2009 first round pick has the look of mid-rotation starter with his above average movement, velocity, repertoire, and control. He was a safe pick, and a good pick, in the late first round. One could make a case for Wily Peralta, but I think Arnett has immediately become Milwaukee’s best pitching prospect.

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