Batavia Muckdogs Player of the Year: 2010

Outfielder Nick Longmire is The Cardinal Nation/ Batavia Player of the Year for 2010.

The selection for Batavia Player of the Year was the closest competition for any of the three awards (Reliever, Starter and Player) at that level this season. The race came down to two candidates whose seasons at the plate had a Jekyll-and-Hyde quality about them: centerfielder Nick Longmire and corner infielder Jonathan Rodriguez.

Longmire began the season strong offensively, winning Player of the Week honors for the period June 21st through 27th with a line of .405/.442/.892/1.334. He hit .319/.401/.572/.974, 44-for-138 in 35 games, with a .363 BABIP from the season's start on June 18th through the end of July. Longmire cooled off from August 1st through the end of the regular season, going .252/.340/.386/.726, 32-for-127 in 33 games, with a .326 BABIP before producing a post-season line of .417/.533/.500/1.033, 5-for-12, with a double, three walks, three strikeouts and a .556 BABIP.

Overall, Longmire had a regular season line of .287/.372/.483/.855, with a .345 BABIP and team highs in hits (76), triples (7), runs scored (53), walks (34), strikeouts (62), stolen bases (12) and runs batted in (55). He was also named to the mid-season All-Star squad and received a post-season promotion to class A Quad Cities for the final games of their post-season run.

Rodriguez' season was the reverse of Longmire in that he began ice cold and finished red hot. Rodriguez went .187/.262/.309/.571, 23-for-123 in 35 games, with a .215 BABIP through July 31st and hit .331/.413/.694/.1.107, 40-for-121 in 34 games, with a 373 BABIP from August 1st through season's end. He had a post-season line of .583/.615/.667/1.282, 7-for-12, with a double, a walk, two strikeouts and a .700 BABIP.

Rodriguez' regular season line was .258/.337/.500/.837, with a .290 BABIP and he had a team high 12 home runs. When compared offensively to the rest of the league, both players placed in the top 10 in slugging, triples, home runs and runs batted in.

Defensively, Longmire played 64 of his 68 games in centerfield with the other four games as the designated hitter. He had four errors, a .969 fielding percentage and a Range Factor per Game of 1.97 (117 putouts plus nine assists). Rodriguez split his time between first and third base with 25 games at the former and 39 games at the hot corner. He was the designated hitter in one game. Rodriguez was not charged with an error while playing first and had a 9.88 RF/G (237 putouts plus 10 assists). He was charged with 10 errors as a third baseman for a .913 fielding percentage and had a 2.69 RF/G (24 putouts plus 81 assists).

Experience-wise, 2010 was Nick Longmire's professional debut. Longmire (DOB 01/05/89) was drafted in the fifth round in June 2010 and was the highest drafted player to play for Batavia this season. Jonathan Rodriguez (DOB 08/21/89) was selected in the 17th round of the June 2009 draft and split his first professional season between the GCL Cardinals and Johnson City. This site named him the 2009 Gulf Coast League Cardinals Player of the Year.

Without benefit of eye-witness accounts, including my own, the deciding factors were Longmire's better overall offensive line combined with his premium defensive position and the fact that all of his defensive appearances came at that position.

While Rodriguez's finish was far better than was Longmire's, his start was far worse. Further, Rodriguez split his on-the-field time between first and third and shared time at third with Alan Ahmady (11 games), Joey Bergman (23 games) and Colin Walsh (3). The main reason for his positional split was his off-season shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder which necessitated him playing first at times to protect his shoulder while the healing process finishes. In fact, Rodriguez' poor offensive start may also be due in large part to his off-season surgery. But that is speculation and the numbers are what they are.

Therefore, Longmire topped Rodriguez in what was a very close decision for The Cardinal Nation/ Batavia Muckdogs Player of the Year for 2010.

Honorable Mention

While Longmire's and Rodriguez' seasons stood out from the rest, there were several other players whose 2010 performances deserve recognition:

Joey Bergman – Bergman (DOB 02/07/88) was drafted in the 33rd round in June 2010 and split his first professional season between second (34 games) and third (23 games). Overall, he went .300/.400/.390/.790, 63-for-210 in 62 games, with a .385 BABIP. A cold week at the plate in late August cost him the league lead in on-base percentage and he finished eighth. He was named to the New York-Penn League mid-season All-Star squad.

Chris Edmondson – Edmondson (DOB 04/07/88) began his first professional season at Rookie level Johnson City after being drafted in the 43rd round in June. He was promoted to Batavia on August 4th and made the most of his limited time there, going .303/.353/.475/.829, 37-for-122 in 29 games, with nine doubles, three triples, two home runs and six walks. He had a .333 BABIP and split his time defensively between left (16) and right (12) field.

Audry Perez – Perez was a major contender for Player of the Year and was having a break-out season when he injured his back during a game on July 31st. Up to that point he was hitting .333/.379/.468/.848, 37-for-11 in 30 games, with a .393 BABIP. After his return on August 19th, Perez went .278/.344/.426/.770, 15-for-54 in 15 games, with a .333 BABIP for an overall line of .315/.368/.455/.822, 52-for-165 in 45 games, with a .375 BABIP. He caught 39 games and was the designated hitter in six. Perez (DOB 12/23/88) was signed out of the Dominican Republic in March 2008 and split that season between the DSL and GCL Cardinals. He spent all of 2009 with the Johnson City Cardinals. Perez was named to the All-Star squad but could not participate due to his injury.

Victor Sanchez – The Cardinals' 26th round selection from the June 2010 draft had a solid debut season, going .291/.377/.432/.809, 62-for-213 in 57 games, with a .351 BABIP while playing first base. Sanchez, like Rodriguez, started off slowly and finished hot. He hit .258/.337/.337/.674 with a .319 BABIP in 89 at bats and 24 games through the end of August and went .315/.406/.500/.906 with a .374 BABIP in 124 at bats and 33 games from August 1st through season's end. Sanchez (DOB 12/30/88) led the team with 19 doubles and was hit by a pitch eight times which also was a team high.

Congratulations to Nick Longmire on his selection as our 2010 Player of the Year for Batavia.

Note: Link to article with all award winners across the system as well as 2010 team recaps, exclusively for subscribers!

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