Position Player Carlos Gonzales
The top prospect at the Lo-A level, right fielder Carlos Gonzales had a fantastic July in South Bend, proving he can be effective in a variety of different ways. While his .303 batting average in July was his lowest since he started slowly, hitting just .218 in April, and nearly 100 points lower than the incredible .400 clip he bashed at in June, but his power numbers were his best yet. His seven July home runs matched his total from the first three months combined, and his 21 RBI were tied for his best month of the season.
While utility man Wilkin Castillo hit for a higher average (.333) and shortstop Alberto Gonzalez saw his bat come alive (.313 and 19 runs scored), it was clearly Gonzales with an 'S' that stood out. his 18 runs scored tied him for third on the squad in July, while his seven homers, 21 RBI and .596 slugging percentage were all tops for the Silverhawks last month. The biggest knock on Gonzales coming into the season, his lack of patience, has apparently been addressed, as he drew double-digit walks for the second month in a row. He was truly showcasing the entire package, even stealing five bases in July.
There have been some eye brows raised that Gonzales didn't get a promotion at the end of July, but this kid truly has time, he won't even turn 20 years old until the middle of October. While his age might have been part of the reason he didn't get the call this season, don't expect it to hold him back next year, two separate scouts have predicted Gonzales will skip Hi-A entirely and start the '06 season at Double-A Tennessee.
Pitcher Josh Perrault
What does a middle reliever have to do to get recognition? After all, no middle reliever has ever won the Cy Young, led the league in strikeouts, and rarely does a middle man even qualify for the ERA title. So how did Josh Perrault win Player of the Month? By doing it all.
Chris Kinsey had a bounce back month, going 3-0 with a 3.06 and holding opponents to a .220 batting average, Koley Kolberg picked up where A. J. Shappi left off, becoming a go to Ace with top of a Major League rotation stuff, and closer Matt Elliott picked up five more saves without allowing an earned run all month.
But Perrault did it all. His 3-1 record, 0.59 ERA, and .250 opponents batting average don't even begin to tell the story, though they certainly could. Perrault appeared in 10 games during the month, tying with Elliott for second on the squad, he finished three games, and most impressively, the last day of the month, when the Silverhawks needed a starter in the pinch, Perrault gladly took the ball.
He wasn't just filling in either. Six innings, four hits, zero earned runs, no walks and two strikeouts later Perrault had earned his third win of the month, sixth of the year, and then moved right back into the bullpen, no posing, no posturing. His June wasn't the best, though a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings certainly isn't anything to get angry about, but in July he hit a groove and simply didn't get out of it. He didn't walk a guy in 15.1 innings, and in what many scouts consider the most important stat for a young pitcher, WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched), Perrault's was a spectacular 0.86.