Friday, May 1, 2009

Pittsburgh Pirates April Awards

Alright, so this is the first time I've done this. After each month during the season, I will start doing a little recap and hand out monthly awards throughout the organization.

So here we go:

Hitter of the Month: Freddy Sanchez
Sanchez has gotten off to a very good start here in the 2009 campaign. After posting his worst full season as a professional last year, he seems to be back to where he was in 2006 and 2007. For those who don't remember, Sanchez won the NL batting title in 2006 with a .344 BA.

So far in 20 games he has posted a .337 BA, a .374 OBP, and is slugging .570. He hit 2 homers in April to go along with 10 doubles and 2 triples.

Pitcher of the Month: Zach Duke
Duke, in 4 starts, posted a 3-1 record to go along with a 2.43 ERA in the month of April. One of those starts for Duke was his 3rd shutout of his career. In 29.2 innings, Duke gave up just 6 walks to go along with 19 strikeouts.

Duke has already matched his win total from 2007, where he started 19 games, and has over half of his won total from last season (5) where he made 31 starts.

Minor League Hitter of the Month: Kris Watts
This was a tough decision, but ultimately, Watts beats out Garrett Jones and Jim Negrych. Watts, 24, is currently in Lynchburg, which is most likely a level too low for him. But the player does not always determine the level. And if Lynchburg is a level too low, then he's at least proving it. In April, Watts has posted a .444 BA with 2 HR and 12 RBI. He's been handling the catching duties for the Hillcats. Watts also posted a .565 OBP and a .685 slugging percentage. He's only struck out 7 times opposed to walking 12 times.

Minor League Pitcher of the Month: Rudy Owens
Owens posted a spectacuar April with West Virginia going 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 4 starts. In 19.2 innings, Owens struck out 13 batters while only walking 5. His WHIP stood at 1.07 for the month. He never gave up more than 2 ER in any of his 4 starts.

The southpaw was the Pirates' 28th round pick in 2006.
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