With full season ball, the requirements for winning an award become more stringent. Proving your health over a full year is paramount in the development process and is rewarded.
Also, if you are promoted, you already got your reward, which is surely means more than this award.
So while Aaron Peel had a fine season, he is not being considered for the award since he played in only 52 games with Cedar Rapids before being promoted to Rancho Cucamonga.
In full season ball, 75 games is the cut off for hitters. Blame me since I make the rules.
Player of the Year through the minors would be a consideration in any other system but this one. Everyone knows why.
On to the money round:
While the Cedar Rapids team struggled as a unit, Michael Collins ended the year third in the batting title race with a .320 average. His .420 on base percentage ranked him second in the league. He owned the second-best hitting streak on the team – a 15-game span that saw him hit .473 in late June/early July.
Collins, who split time between first base and catcher, ended the year with 32 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 64 RBI’s. He showed slid patience at the plate, drawing 34 walks and whiffing just 44 times.
Collins, who was hit by 25 pitches on the year – yes, no one liked him, also added 16 stolen bases in 24 attempts. A right-handed hitter, he smacked .324 with runners in scoring position on the year.
Freddy Sandoval hit .281 with a team-leading 34 doubles, along with four triples, four homers and 63 RBI’s. He also drew 53 walks for a .360 on base percentage while striking out 58 times.
The switch-hitting third baseman also added 17 stolen bases in 29 attempts and scored 54 runs in 117 games. Sandoval hit .292 off right-handed pitching and just .248 off lefties.
One area of his game that needs little refinement is in the field. Sandoval led the Midwest League in fielding percentage among third baseman. On a team that had the worst fielding percentage in the league, Sandoval was the rock. He committed just 18 errors in 113 games at the hot corner.
Alexi Casilla had a great year but he became ineligible for the award when he was traded for J.C. Romero.
No player had a better season than the Australian native, Michael Collins. His ability to drive the ball and come through in the clutch was critical for the Kernels and he did much of the work without protection. His numbers should go up next year and this year he takes home the Hitter of the Year award for Cedar Rapids.