Bryan LaHair, 1B – Inland Empire
The 66ers first baseman and cleanup hitter had perhaps his best week as a professional when he tallied 12 hits in 22 at-bats (.545) during the week ending July 11. LaHair, a left-handed hitter out of St. Petersburg College, smacked four home runs and drove in 12 to pace the Inland Empire offense. The M's 39th round pick in the 2002 draft grabbed two of those long balls and seven of the dozen RBI in four-hit effort on July 9 versus Modesto.
LaHair split the 2004 season between short-season Everett and with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and hit .293 with just six home runs. The 22-year-old is hitting .286 this season in the California League and leads the 66ers in homers (15) and RBI (67). The 6-foot-5 , 220-pounder could very well finish his campaign with the Double-A San Antonio Missions.
Luis Valbuena, 2B - Everett
Valbuena continued a fine start to his professional career in the states, going 10-for-26 (.385) with a home run and 10 RBI. The 19-year-old collected four hits on July 7 in a 10-3 win over Boise. Valbuena is hitting .293 with three home runs and 18 RBI for the AquaSox and has a 12-8 strikeouts-to-walks ratio to go along with a .500 slugging percentage.
Casey Craig, OF – Everett
Craig is torching the Northwest League and had his best week of the season last week. The 20-year-old went 10-for-23 (.435) with two home runs and six RBI and enters play on Tuesday with a seven-game hitting streak. Craig is hitting .354, second in the league, with nine RBI for the Sox, and sports a .447 on-base percentage. Craig also leads the Sox in steals with 11, also second in the league. If you're a gamblin' fan, bet on Craig winning the league's batting crown.
T.J. Bohn, OF – San Antonio
Bohn has had a consistent season but put together a phenomenal week last week. The 25-year-old had 13 hits in 23 at-bats (.565) with five doubles and seven RBI. The Missions center fielder had four multi-hit efforts, including a five-hit game versus Midland on July 10. Bohn also stole three bases in that game and is second on the club with 22 for the year. For the season, Bohn is hitting .312 with five home runs and 41 RBI and his 24 doubles ranks second in the Texas League.
InsidethePark.com's Pitcher of the Week
Juan Sandoval, RHP – San Antonio
Sandoval started two games last week and made the most of each outing. The 24-year-old started July 6 versus Midland and received just one run of support and picked up the loss in a 2-1 defeat. The right-hander went seven innings and allowed just two runs on six hits. Sandoval walked one and struck out five.
In order to get the win, Sandoval bettered his first start of the week by going seven shutout frames versus Arkansas on July 11. Sandoval allowed just three hits while walking two and striking out five in the 3-0 win.
For the season, the Missions hurler is 6-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 18 starts. Sandoval has walked just 26 batters in 106 innings of work.
Ryan Feierabend, LHP – Inland Empire
Feierabend, struggling along in his first year in the California League, pitched the best game of his young career on July 8 versus Modesto. The southpaw went eight scoreless innings and allowed just six hits. Feierabend, 19, struck out six and walked only one. The M's third rounder in 2003 is now 4-5 on the season with a 4.42 ERA in 18 starts. His 77 strikeouts in 89.2 innings is a sign that the Cleveland, Ohio native's velocity has been more consistent than last season – and he's learning to pitch.
Jon Lockwood, RHP – Everett
Lockwood made two relief appearances last week and was perfect in each of them. The 23-year-old did not allow a single base runner in two 3-innings stints and struck out 10 would-be hitters. Lockwood, a Louisiana Tech product, has still not allowed a run in five appearances and sports a 19-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. The right-hander has surrendered just three hits in 16 innings of work. I think it's time he sees the California League – this is ridiculous.
Stephen Grasley, RHP – Wisconsin
Grasley is the Julio Mateo of the Rattlers pitching staff. If a starter struggles early, Grasley plays "starter, part two." The Creighton product did just that this past week, going 8.1 innings in two appearances. The 23-year-old right-hander did not allow a run on six hits, while striking out five and walking just three. For the season, Grasley is a perfect 6-0 with a 3.46 ERA in 28 games.
Jason A Churchill is the Executive Editor at InsidethePark.com and can be reached via e-mail at JasonAChurchill@InsideThePark.com