The 2010 season is now over, which means it's time to hand out the hardware! Who excelled as the GCL Tigers top pitcher and position player? Find out inside!
GCL Tigers Player of the Year: IF Javier Azcona
.256/.296/.403, 11 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 8 SB
The 2010 season – his first stateside – wasn't all roses for Azcona, but the 18-year old prodigy out of the Dominican Republic came on strong at the end, and showed Tiger fans what might be in store for his future on the field. After hitting around the vaunted Mendoza line through June and July, Azcona went on a tear in 22 August contests; flashing an ability to hit for average, power, and even demonstrating some speed on the bases. Azcona hit .325 in 77 at-bats during the final month of the season, to raise his season average to a solid .256 mark; nearly ten points over the league average. Azcona's ten extra-base hits in the final month managed to push him to 16 for the summer, with nine doubles, four triples, and three home runs, while also swiping nine stolen bases. Azcona is still raw and has a long way to go before he's in the Tigers future plans, but his late season push and his overall debut in the US is promising.
GCL Tigers Pitcher of the Year: RHP Bruce Rondon
0-0, 0.70 ERA, 26 K, 14 BB, 0.97 WHIP
Though non-drafted free agent Steve Crnkovich
had a fantastic rookie campaign after signing with the Tigers, it was impossible to ignore the work of 19-year old reliever Bruce Rondon. After being sent back to Venezuela after just three starts in the GCL last year, Rondon was back in the states with a vengeance this year. In 24 games for the GCL Tigers, Rondon tossed 25 2/3 stellar innings, finishing with a 0.70 ERA and a WHIP of 0.97. If that wasn't impressive enough, Rondon led the GCL with 15 saves in his 24 appearances. The league's second best save collector managed just ten. The impressive stats keep rolling for the 6-2 right-hander with a low-90s fastball, as he struck out 26 batters, and while he did walk 14, the youngster overpowered hitters and allowed only eleven base hits all season. The Tigers promoted Rondon to the High-A Florida State League at season's end, where he made four appearances for the Flying Tigers, picking up two saves, striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings, and allowing only two hits. He finished his High-A exposure with a 1.35 ERA, giving him a cumulative season ERA of just 0.84.