Mazzaro Wins Texas League Pitcher Of The Year

After an up-and-down campaign for High-A Stockton in 2007, Vince Mazzaro was consistently dominant for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds in 2008. Despite being promoted to Triple-A three weeks ago, Mazzaro did more than enough to take home the award for top pitcher in the Texas League. He was one of four Rockhounds to be named to the Texas League post-season all-star team.

On Monday, the Texas League announced its awards for the top players in the league. Right-hander Vince Mazzaro became the first pitcher in Midland Rockhounds' franchise history to earn the Texas League's Pitcher of the Year honors. The right-hander earned the award after posting an eye-opening 1.90 ERA in 137.1 innings for Midland.

Mazzaro was one of four Rockhounds to land on the Texas League's post-season all-star list. Infielder Tom Everidge, right-hander James Simmons and outfielder Aaron Cunningham also made the list.

Despite being one of the youngest pitchers in the Texas League, Mazzaro, 21, dominated his competition with Midland all season. In 22 starts, Mazzaro allowed only a .229 opponents batting average and 115 hits in 137.1 innings. He walked only 36 and allowed only three homeruns. His 104 strike-outs were good for eighth in the league.

Even though he has been with Triple-A Sacramento for the past three weeks, Mazzaro's 12 wins and 1.90 ERA are still leading all Texas League starters. His ERA is the best in Midland franchise history (minimum of 109 innings). Mazzaro's break-through season comes one year after an up-and-down campaign with High-A Stockton that saw him post a 5.33 ERA in 153.2 innings. Mazzaro was recently named the "top pitching prospect in the Texas League" in a survey of Texas League managers conducted by Baseball America.

Everidge was named as the DH on the Texas League's post-season all-star team. The burly slugger is having a stand-out year for the Rockhounds. He leads the Texas League in RBIs with 110 and he has 21 homers and a .279 BA. The Sonoma State alum has an 813 OPS and has seen time at third base in addition to his customary first base spot this season. Everidge was a teammate of Mazzaro's in Stockton last season and he hit 26 homers and drove-in 90 for the Ports in 2007.

Simmons made the Texas League's post-season all-star rotation despite missing nearly a month early in the season with general fatigue caused by sleep apnea. He has pitched well when on the mound, going 9-6 with a 3.29 ERA. Simmons is well-known for his pin-point fastball control and he has walked only 28 while striking out 111 in 125.2 innings this season. The A's top pick in 2007 has spent his entire professional career with the Rockhounds, as he was sent to Midland right after signing with the A's last year.

Cunningham was named as a Texas League post-season all-star outfielder despite missing the first few weeks of the season with a broken wrist that he sustained during spring training. The right-handed hitting outfielder, who was promoted to Triple-A in early August, hit .317 with 12 homers and 52 RBIs in 347 at-bats with Midland. He also stole 12 bases in 16 chances and posted an 894 OPS. Cunningham is thriving at Sacramento, batting .327 with four homers in his first 15 games at the Triple-A level.

Midland goes into the final week of the season battling for a post-season spot. The Rockhounds and all-star James Simmons take on the first-place Frisco RoughRiders tonight. Midland has a 2.5 game lead in the wild card race going into tonight's game.

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