The 19-year-old Venezuelan outfielder, signed in 2010, made a strong, positive impression on GCL Cardinals manager Steve Turco in his first season on U.S. soil.
"He's definitely above average in centerfield, and runs and throws above average, which in itself will allow him to stick around the game for quite a while," Turco said.
At the plate, Turco noted, "he stays on the ball really well and hits to the opposite gap, but can turn on the ball." Though only four of his 39 hits went for extra bases, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was fair at best, Acevedo is a good bunter and "does the little things to help you win ballgames." The 6-foot-1, 173-pound right-handed hitter "has been a pleasant surprise," the manager said.
"His work ethic and intangibles are off the charts." Turco said that when coaches adjust Acevedo's positioning for certain hitters, he remembers and doesn't have to be told twice about positioning for that same hitter.
Congratulations to Jhohan Acevedo, The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Gulf Coast League Cardinals Player of the Year.
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Luis Perez, who was making the transition from catcher last year to second base and then left field this season, also started slowly with a .575 OPS in June, far below the .935 and .989 numbers he posted for July and August. The 21-year-old led the team in RBI (24) and tied for the most home runs (four).
Brett Wiley had an even stronger finish. The 20-year-old infielder started with a .619 OPS in June, improved to .740 in July. By August, the organization's 13th-rounder from this June's draft was the team's hottest hitter, putting up a 1.035 OPS for the final month.
Outfielder Anthony Bryant, who was sent down from Johnson City in early July, posted a .924 OPS in August after a .722 mark in July. The four home runs by the 20-year-old tied him with Perez for the team lead in his third year at this level.
First-round draft pick Steve Bean played only two games in July after struggling in Johnson City. The now-19-year-old catcher was 1-for-8 for a .250 OPS, but caught fire in August, hitting for a .357 average and .923 OPS. With only 50 at-bats with the team, however, he wasn't in consideration for this award.
The most remarkable improvement of all was by Kenny Peoples-Walls, who hit .138 with a .366 OPS in June and .235 with a .635 OPS in July, but in August went 19-for-53 with his first two career home runs for a .358 average and .921 OPS. The 19-year-old simultaneously made a corresponding improvement in his defense at shortstop.
Brian Walton also contributed to this article.
Link to master article with all 2012 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series.
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