2006 Player of the Year: Jeff Baisley

Now that the minor league season has come to an end, it is time for us to take a look back at the season that has past. We begin our review with our annual post-season awards. Our first award is the OaklandClubhouse Player of the Year award, given to the A's minor league position player who had the best season in 2006. The winner of our 2006 Player of the Year award is Kane County 3B Jeff Baisley.

During the first week of the season, Jeff Baisley wasn't thinking about breaking any club records for runs batted in. He was focused on getting into the hit column. Baisley started his break-out 2006 season 0-for-15 and three for his first 24. On April 14, Baisley broke out of that slump with a 3-5 effort with two homeruns and he never looked back, winning the Most Valuable Player award for the Midwest League along the way.

By the end of the season, Baisley had established himself as one of the top run-producer in the entire minor leagues. Baisley's 110 RBI-total was most in the Midwest League and the second-most in all of the minor leagues. He put himself in the record books as the Kane County Cougars' all-time leader in RBIs, ahead of such great former Cougars as Miguel Cabrera, Kevin Millar, Mark Kotsay, Adrian Gonzalez and Randy Winn.

Baisley was the offensive leader of the Cougars in 2006, guiding them to a Midwest League wildcard berth and an eventual trip to the Midwest League Championship series. The South Florida alum finished second on the team in batting average (.298), games played (124) and on-base percentage (.382), and first on the team in homers (22), runs batted in (110), doubles (35), hits (139), runs (86), slugging percentage (.519), OPS (901) and walks (62).

Baisley was selected in the 12th round of the 2005 draft out of South Florida. He made his professional debut with Vancouver last season and produced a .252/.362/.413 line for the Canadians. However, Baisley really kicked his hitting game into gear at the A's Instructional League in the fall. He won the A's Instructional League Most Valuable Player award and earned praise from the A's instructors for his approach at the plate.

The right-handed slugger's solid approach at the plate showed itself most clearly when he was batting with runners in scoring position during the 2006 regular season. Baisley hit .333 with seven homers in 159 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He was even better in situations with runners in scoring position and two-outs, hitting .354 with five homers in only 79 at-bats. Baisley was also extremely effective batting with the bases loaded, collecting seven hits in 11 at-bats (.636 batting average) with 20 RBIs.

The 24-year old also contributed with a very solid season at the hot corner. He led Midwest League third-basemen with a .963 fielding percentage. Baisley was second in the league with 26 double-plays and was second in put-outs, and he committed only 13 errors in 112 games.

Baisley is our second OaklandClubhouse Player of the Year. Second baseman Kevin Melillo took home the inaugural award last season.

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