MOBILE, Ala. – At 8-2, the Mobile BayBears are off to their best start in franchise history. Two big reasons why, third baseman Ricardo Sosa and starting pitcher Bryan Augenstein, are the recipients of the first weekly honors handed out by the Southern League this season.
Sosa, the Southern League Hitter of the Week, ripped a .447 average to start the '09 campaign with three titanic home runs and 12 RBI. Sosa leads the league in hits (17) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.711).
On top of his impressive performance at the plate which included an eight-game hitting streak between April 10 and 17, Sosa collected a five-hit evening on April 13 in Huntsville and a four-hit night on April 16 at Hank Aaron Stadium. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004 by the Diamondbacks, Sosa is in the Southern League for the second time, as he appeared in eight games with the BayBears in 2007 but provided no hits. As great as his week has been, Sosa still ranked only third in FutureBacks.com's Power Rankings, which chronicle the hottest players in the organization every week.
Two pitchers ranked ahead of Sosa, including one of his teammates, Bryan Augenstein. The Southern League Pitcher of the Week,Augenstein wasted no time getting acclimated to the next level. After going 5-1 with a 2.16 ERA in South Bend last season, Augenstein posted a 3.89 ERA in nine starts for Visalia. Since joining the BayBears, Augenstein has been nasty while working 12 innings in his first two starts, allowing just five hits, no runs, only one walk, and 13 strikeouts.
Known for pinpoint control, Augenstein only let 14 slide on free passes in 2008 during 131.1 innings. So far this season, 76 percent of his pitches have been strikes and opponents are only batting .125 against him. He, along with two others, managed to one-hit Huntsville on April 12th. He gave up four hits, all singles, in his last outing against Carolina on April 17th. Augenstein was named the organization's 2008 Pitcher of the Year by FutureBacks.com ranked as the 12th best prospect in the Diamondbacks' system according to FutureBacks, and that ranking now appears to be way too low.
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