Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Mid-Season Awards

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are one of the most talented teams in all of the minors, and it showed over the first half of the season. InsidethePark's Wisconsin reporters Jake Fannin and Jeff Harrison have had an up-close look at the team all season long, and they put their heads together to hand out the Timber Rattlers' mid-season awards.

TEAM MVP: Rob Johnson
This pick was almost a no-brainer. Rob Johnson is one of the biggest reasons the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have remained successful despite injuries, hitting slumps and mental mistakes. At the plate Johnson was one of the Rattlers most effective and consistent hitters. He finished the first half hitting .288 with 40 RBI, 8 home runs and 15 doubles. And Johnson did not just put up big numbers, he was also very smart at the plate, striking out just 19 times in 205 at-bats.

PITCHING MVP: Mumba Rivera
To put it simply; Rivera didn't lose, to the tune of 7-0 while at Wisconsin. The undoubted ace of the first half Rattlers' staff earned an early promotion to High-A ball in June, finishing his stint in Mid-A with a solid 3.22 ERA, allowing only 46 hits in 58.2 innings pitched. On a starting staff that struggled at times, Rivera seemed to be the only constant. Every fifth day the Bethune-Cookman product put his team in position to win.

BULLPEN STUD: Chad Fillinger
An extremely close call for the top relief pitcher. Fillinger narrowly edged out closer Craig James. Fillinger was sensational for the Rattlers in the first half this season. With the shaky starting rotation, the team often relied on Fillinger and the rest of the Rattlers bullpen to keep them in the game. And that is just what Fillinger did. His 53 strikeouts were second on the team and first in the league among all relief pitchers. The 2004 16th round pick posted a 2-3 record with a 2.73 ERA in 23 games and allowed only 13 walks.

DEFENSIVE MVP: Rob Johnson
To say Rob Johnson had an effect on the opposing teams' offensive strategy would be like suggesting Betty Crocker has had an effect on America's cooking. It's elementarily obvious. Johnson finished the first half throwing out almost 35 percent of would-be base-stealers (25-72), but showed incredible arm strength by picking off multiple runners at first base as well. Johnson was tested early in the season, but teams soon learned that maybe that wasn't such a great idea. Solid behind the plate as well, Johnson committed only four errors all first half, proving to be every bit of the defensive gem he was touted to be.

UNSUNG HERO: Marshall Hubbard
This one is another no-brainer. When the season started it looked like Hubbard would be sharing time at first base with Brandon Green. Both players started out slow and it looked like the two would continue to split time. The plans changed when the little known Hubbard went on a hitting binge. The once timid first basemen started hitting for average and for power. He is fourth in the league with a.329 batting average, third with a .577 slugging percentage and tied for fourth with 10 homers. My how things have changed. Pretty soon Marshall Hubbard may become a household name for Mariners fans.

BEST MOMENT AWARD: Josh Womack's 22-game hitting streak
Nothing this season brought more people to Fox Cities Stadium than when fan-favorite Josh Womack strung together one of the most impressive streaks of the first half. Almost crafty in his hitting approach during the streak, Womack bunted, slapped, lined, and lofted hits all over the diamond en route to a 22-game hitting streak.

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