The Midwest League is generally regarded as a difficult environment for hitters. For example, the Clinton Lumber Kings' single season home run record is 22. It is a record that has stood for 47 years.
With 17 home runs on the year [including five in August], Moreland isn't going to break that mark, but he has been plenty impressive in all facets of the game.
The 22-year-old [he turns 23 in September] finished the month of August with an impressive .380 batting average [41-for-108] and 15 walks, giving him a .444 on-base percentage.
It took awhile for Moreland to find his power stroke, but he has now belted 17 doubles, three triples, and 12 home runs in 68 games since the Midwest League All-Star break. With 40 walks and 38 strikeouts over that time, the lefty has also managed to improve his plate discipline.
Moreland's outstanding August caps off one of the most impressive offensive seasons in LumberKings history. The Mississippi State product will finish the season ranked near the top of every major statistical category in the Miwest League. It looks as if he will finish second in batting average (.323), third in on-base percentage (.400), first in slugging (.531) and first in OPS (.931).
|August 2008||Clinton (A)||.380||108||8||5||23||15||2||15||18||.444||.593|
Honorable Mention: Joaquin Arias (Oklahoma), Julio Borbon and Dustin Majewski (Frisco), Chad Tracy (Frisco/Bakersfield), Chris Gradoville (Bakersfield), Mike Bianucci (Spokane), Clark Murphy (AZL Rangers), Miguel Moreno (DSL Rangers)
Pitcher of the Month: Joe Wieland, RHP, AZL Rangers
|Rookie ball was a breeze for Wieland. b>|
Wieland, who was the Rangers' fourth round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, surrendered only two runs [one earned] in 18.2 August innings.
The right-hander finished the month by allowing zero earned runs over his last four appearances, spanning 16 frames.
Overall, Wieland posted a 5-1 record with a 1.44 ERA with the AZL Rangers. In 43.2 innings, he limited opponents to 32 hits [.200 BAA], issued only eight walks, and struck out 41 batters.
Wieland's earned run average ranked third on the AZL's leaderboard this past season. The two pitchers that finished ahead of Wieland combine to be nearly eight years his elder.
The 18-year-old came out of Reno's Bishop Manogue High School with the reputation of being polished for his age. That turned out to be true, as he had little problem dominating his peers throughout the summer.
It would not be a shock to see the Rangers attempt to level the playing field for Wieland by sending him directly to Single-A Clinton in 2009.
|August 2008||AZL Rangers (RK)||4-0||18.2||13||3||24||0.48|
Honorable Mention: Tommy Hunter (Oklahoma), Derek Holland (Frisco), Omar Poveda (Bakersfield), Blake Beavan (Clinton), Carlos Pimentel (Spokane), Reinier Bermudez (DSL Rangers)