2010 Year In Review: Cougars Hitters, P2

Our 2010 Year in Review series continues, with a move from the mound to the plate. In a three-part series, David Malamut takes a look at the hitters for the 2010 Kane County Cougars. He continues with the infielders.

2010 Kane County Cougars
Team Batting Average:
.255 (9th out of 16 teams)
Team OBP: .337 (3rd)
Team OPS: 710 (9th)
HRs: 66 (13th)
Runs Scored: 669 (6th)

The Cougars infield in 2010 played great as a whole, and some of them showed a lot of progress throughout the year. Anthony Aliotti, Conner Crumbliss, Michael Gilmartin and Leonardo Gil made up the everyday infield. Jason Christian and Nino Leyja also made contributions.

Aliotti played 133 games, hitting .278 as the everyday first baseman and regular clean-up hitter. He wasn't a traditional clean-up hitter, as he had only five homers, but he chipped in 77 runs batted in, along with 29 doubles. His problem was 132 strikeouts, although he balanced that with 92 walks and a .397 OBP. Aliotti did have 14 stolen bases in 18 chances and scored 75 runs, but grounded into nine double plays. As the season progressed, he improved at the plate, putting up a 715 OPS before the All-Star break and an 826 OPS after. His defense was good at first, as he could pick the ball well out of the dirt and saved numerous errors for other Cougars' infielders.

Crumbliss spent his second pro season with the Cougars and really played well. He led the league in walks with 126, while hitting .271. His .421 OBP was second in the league behind Jason Hagerty. Most of the year he lead-off or hit second. Crumbliss hit five homers and drove in 56 runs in 134 games. He scored 95 runs and stole 24 bases in 32 chances. Like Aliotti, Crumbliss improved as the season went on, batting .245/.400/.318 before the break and .295/.441/.419 after. He really doesn't have that one tool that jumps out at you, but is a solid ballplayer.

Gilmartin struggled this year but showed signs of what he could become. He only hit .245 in 119 games five homers and 53 runs batted in, mostly hitting low in the order. Gilmartin struck out 118 times and only walked 46 times. After the All-Star break, Gilmartin had a 791 OPS, an improvement of more than 100 points over his first half. His defense got better as the year moved on at shortstop. He committed a lot of errors, but showed good range and got to a lot of balls. His throwing was off as he rushed a lot.

Gil played great throughout the season. This was his second year in Kane County. He was a middle of the order hitter most of the year for the Cougars, as well as their third baseman. In 118 games he hit .252 with 13 homers and 72 runs batted in. He had 26 doubles and six triples. Gil only walked 26 times though, and struck out 107 in 437 at bats, and his OBP was a paltry .296. His .428 SLG was tops among Cougars' regulars, however, and it will be interesting to see what kind of power numbers he can put up in Stockton.

Christian began the year in Stockton, but an injury cost him his spot on that roster and he returned to the Cougars during the second half of the season. He played 58 games in Kane County this year, playing second, short and third. He hit .277 with four homers and 32 runs batted in. He also stole 11 bases and scored 31 runs. Christian looked a bit rusty when he first returned to the Cougars, but he was swinging the bat really well over the final month of the season.

Leyja played in 19 games and hit .224 for the Cougars. He played a lot of second and third throughout the season, but was sent down to Vancouver for most of the second half of the year.

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