2007 Awards: Top Canadians And AZL A's

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

VANCOUVER CANADIANS

Brown led the C's with a 924 OPS.
The Canadians had a lot of talent this season, but they had the misfortune of playing in the same division as the Salem-Keizer club that went 57-19. The Canadians finished the year with the second-best record in the Northwest League at 37-38, but were in second place behind Salem-Keizer by 19.5 games. Here were the top performers for Vancouver in 2007:

Top Position Player: Corey Brown, OF
.268/.379/.545

Brown put up some of the most impressive power numbers by any Vancouver Canadian since Dan Johnson back in 2001. The A's supplemental first round selection and third-overall pick in the draft cracked 33 extra-base hits in only 213 at-bats, including 11 homeruns. He tied Danny Hamblin for the team-lead in both extra-base hits and homers in 40 fewer at-bats than Hamblin. Brown struggled with strikeouts, but he improved his batting average and on-base percentage in each month that he was with Vancouver. Brown was in the middle of a stand-out month of August (batting .313 with a .420 OBP and a .542 SLG) when he tore a tendon in a pinky finger on a head-first slide. That ended his season about two weeks early and caused him to miss the Instructional League campaign.

Other Players Considered: Danny Hamblin, Michael Richard, J.D. Pruitt
Hamblin tied Brown in extra-base hits and homeruns, and he led the C's in total bases, hits, runs scored and RBIs. Richard was an igniter at the top of order, reaching base at a .400 clip and stealing a team-high 25 bases in 31 chances. He also hit a solid .289 and had a 1:1 K:BB ratio. Pruitt led the Northwest League with an incredible .460 OBP, and he showed his toughness by being hit-by-a-pitch 34 times. He also walked a team-high 50 times and had an incredible 249 point difference between his OBP and his BA.

Top Pitcher: Scott Hodsdon, SP
Hodsdon had 12 strikeouts in his final start of the year.
7-1, 4.57 ERA, 67 strikeouts in 67 innings

Hodsdon, a sixth round pick by Oakland, took a little time warming up in his pro debut, but he finished on a strong note, striking out 12 in 8.2 innings in his final start of the season. The Azusa Pacific alum was a two-way player in college, so he is still raw as a pitcher. Despite that learning curve, Hodsdon averaged a strikeout an inning. As a reliever, he was dominant, striking out 25 and walking only four in 18.2 innings. He struggled at times as a starter, but still went 5-1 with a 42:19 K:BB ratio in his 10 starts with one complete game. He led the C's in wins, winning percentage, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Other Pitchers Considered: Brad Hertzler, Aaron Jenkins, Chad Kerfoot, Brent Lysander, Leonardo Espinal
Hertzler made headlines when he threw a rain-shortened perfect game. He posted a 4.20 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) and had an impressive 46:14 K:BB ratio in 60 innings of work. Jenkins had a rough July, but he was dominant in June, August and September. He struck out an incredible 41 batters in 22.1 innings, although he did walk 20 during that stretch. Kerfoot had a 37:9 K:BB ratio in 36.1 relief innings for the C's. Lysander was effective both as a starter and as a reliever, posting ERAs of 3.60 and 3.19, respectively. He walked only 14 in 51 innings. Espinal served as the C's closer for much of the year, saving 12 games and striking out 21 in 21 innings.



AZL A's

The A's Rookie League club finished well back of the first place Mariners' squad, going 25-31 on the season. The AZL A's finished in the middle of the pack in runs scored, but was second-to-last in team ERA. The A's did finish fourth in the league in stolen bases, a rarity for an Oakland affiliate. Here were the top performers from the AZL A's in 2007:

Top Position Player: Adam Klein, OF
.263/.477/.322

Klein led the entire minor leagues with an eye-opening .477 OBP. The Cal-State, Los Angeles alum also led the league with 33 stolen bases in 40 opportunities. Klein had an impressive 58:37 BB:K ratio and he led the AZL A's with 51 runs scored in only 45 games played. He also played well defensively in the outfield.

Other Players Considered: Mike Lissman, Carlos Arrieche, Marcos Luis
Lissman, an undrafted free agent signing, posted a team-best 901 OPS in 36 games. He tied Ben Barrone for the team-lead in homers with three and he added 14 doubles and two triples. He was also discerning at the plate, with a nearly 1:1 K:BB ratio. Arrieche appeared in only 32 games with the AZL A's because he finished the season in Stockton, but he was very good while in Arizona. He hit .311 with a .415 OBP and seven stolen bases. He also drove-in 25 runs in 32 games. Luis batted .298 with a team-high 31 RBI in 44 games.

Top Pitcher: Kyle Christensen, SP
2-3, 4.36 ERA, 71 strikeouts in 66 innings

Christensen established a career-high in innings pitched after being limited by injuries in 2006. He pitched as an 18 year old for the entire season and led the team in innings pitched, strikeouts, HR/9 and games started. The Long Beach native looks poised to jump to the next level in 2008.

Other Pitchers Considered: Jason Glushon, Ronny Morla
Glushon, an undrafted free agent pick-up, was a control artist for the AZL A's. He struck out 42 and walked only three in 57.2 innings of work. Glushon posted a 3.75 ERA and allowed only one homer. He finished the year in Double-A Midland, where he allowed two earned runs in six innings and struck out nine. Morla had a team-best 3.70 ERA in 58.1 innings. He made seven relief appearances and eight starts, striking out 52 and walking 17 in the process. The 19-year-old Dominican product held opposing batters to a .240 BAA.


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