2007 Awards: Top Ports And Cougars

We continue our 2007 OaklandClubhouse awards season by awarding the top performers for the A's High-A and Low-A affiliates in 2007.

STOCKTON PORTS

Everidge led the Cal League with 26 homers.
Like Midland, Stockton had a split season. The Ports finished four games out of a playoff spot in the first half, finishing with a 35-35 record. Stockton didn't find as much success in the second half, going 29-41. The Ports made a late push for a wild card spot at the end of the season, but finished five games off of the pace. It was the first season that the Ports have missed the playoffs since becoming an A's affiliate in 2005. Here were the top performers for Stockton in 2007:

Top Position Player: Tom Everidge, 1B
.258/.354/.469

Everidge got off to a very slow start, but he was red hot in July and August and finished as the California League's top homerun hitter with a career-high 26 long-balls. Everidge led the Ports in homeruns, RBIs (90), runs scored (75), total bases (216) and walks (66). He was especially strong in front of the home crowd in Stockton, posting a 903 OPS at Banner Island Ballpark. On a team that struggled with injuries, Everidge was a consistent presence for Stockton, appearing in 124 games (second most on the team) before being promoted to Double-A Midland for the final two weeks of the season. He continued his good hitting in Midland, batting .361 in 36 at-bats over 10 games.

Other Players Considered: Anthony Recker, Luke Appert, Jon Zeringue
Recker, Appert and Zeringue put up impressive offensive numbers in relatively short stints with Stockton. Recker was the Ports' California League All-Star representative, batting .319 with a 1010 OPS and 13 homers in 56 games. He was promoted to Double-A Midland after the All-Star break. Appert spent only 46 games with Stockton, but he hit a team-high .352 with a .486 OBP and 38 RBI. Zeringue was a mid-season free agent signing and the minor league veteran posted a 910 OPS and had 13 homers and 42 RBI in 56 games.

Top Pitcher: Vince Mazzaro, SP
Mazzaro had 11 quality starts.
9-12, 5.33 ERA, 115 K in 153.2 IP

The final numbers weren't always pretty for Mazzaro, but he led the Ports with 153.2 innings pitched and quality starts with 11. Mazzaro was very good at home, going 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 13 starts at Banner Island. He was a workhorse for the Ports, pitching 40 more innings than any other Stockton pitcher. Mazzaro's HR/9 ratio (0.81/9 innings) was the best of any Stockton starter.

Other Pitchers Considered: Andrew Bailey, Trent Peterson
Bailey joined the Ports after the All-Star break and he led Ports' starting pitchers (who had at least 10 starts) with a 3.82 ERA. He struck out 72 in only 66 innings and held opposing batters to a .239 BAA. Peterson was a stalwart for the Ports' staff during the first half of the season. He made 19 first half appearances, eight starts, and posted a 4.01 ERA. He went 5-3 and had a save for Stockton before being promoted mid-season to Midland.



KANE COUNTY COUGARS

Mitchell swiped 24 bags.
The Cougars were one of the worst teams in the Midwest League at the start of the season, and they finished 21 games under the .500 mark during the first half. Thanks to an infusion of new talent in the second half and some better situational hitting, the Cougars recovered to go eight games over .500 in the second half. Kane County just barely missed out on a playoff spot in the second half. Here are the top performers for the Cougars this season:

Top Position Player: Jermaine Mitchell, OF
.288/.390/.413

Mitchell flashed a little bit of all five of his tools this season, hitting for good average, getting on-base at a great pace, leading the team with 24 stolen bases and chipping-in eight homers, while playing good defense in the outfield. Mitchell was an igniter at the top of the line-up, leading the team in all of the key lead-off hitter categories: OBP (.390), SB (24), BB (74) and runs scored (79). He was also third on the team with 58 RBI and led the team with 178 total bases.

Other Players Considered: Greg Dowling, Josh Horton
Dowling led the Cougars with 13 homers and 78 RBI, and he was third on the team with runs scored with 60. Horton was a late-season addition after he was selected in the 2007 draft. He had a .412 OBP and was a sparkplug during the Cougars' late-season push for a playoff spot.

Top Pitcher: Trevor Cahill, SP
Cahill dominated in his first full pro season.
11-4, 2.73 ERA and 117 K in 105.1 IP

The Cougars' pitching staff was outstanding this season, but no Kane County hurler was more effective this season than Cahill. The A's top pick in 2006 missed the first six weeks of the season while at extended spring training, but he still managed to tie for the team lead in wins. He had a 1.19 WHIP and he gave up only three homers. Opposing batters hit only .220 against Cahill this season. He was especially effective after the All-Star break, posting a 2.26 ERA. He was nearly unhittable in August, going 5-0 with an 0.74 ERA in six starts.

Other Pitchers Considered: Jason Fernandez, James Heuser, Henry Rodriguez, Derrick Gordon
Fernandez made 31 appearances, 11 of them as a starting pitcher. The right-hander had a 3.45 ERA as a reliever and a 2.26 ERA as a starter. Midwest League hitters batted only .209 against him this season. Heuser tied with Cahill for the team lead in wins with 11 and he led the Cougars with 155 innings. He had a team-high two complete games, including one shut-out, and a solid 4.12 ERA. Heuser's K:BB was an impressive 147:41. The electric Rodriguez threw his fastball in the high-90s and posted a solid 3.07 ERA. He struck out 106 in 99.2 innings pitched. Gordon had a team-best 2.10 ERA in 30 relief appearances. The lefty saved seven games and allowed only 28 hits in 51.1 innings. He struck out 52.


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