2013 TigsTown Awards: Lakeland Flying Tigers

With the 2013 minor league season over, it's time to start handing out the hardware. Who excelled to win the Flying Tigers pitcher and player of the year awards?

Lakeland Flying Tigers Player of the Year
1B Aaron Westlake

Lakeland 358 .291 .344 .447 87 / 26 0 / 1

After an impressive four-year career at SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt, Westlake joined the Tigers as a third round pick in 2011. After plugging along in the New York-Penn league and Midwest League in 2011 and 2012, respectively, Westlake finally put together a quality season in a difficult offensive environment at High-A in 2013. In 91 games for the Flying Tigers, Westlake hit .291 with 29 doubles and seven home runs. He also walked 26 times in that span and struck out in 87 at-bats. Westlake finished particularly strong with an impressive .309/.371/.536 line in 29 games down the stretch in August. During that stretch, he blasted eleven doubles and four of his seven home runs, finishing with a season that puts him back on the periphery of the prospect map.

Lakeland Flying Tigers Pitcher of the Year
RHP Melvin Mercedes

Lakeland 3-1 24 / 0 28.0 0.96 17 / 5 .221

Though he finished the season by posting a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings at Double-A, Mercedes stood out as the top pitcher to pass through Lakeland this summer. In 24 games with the Flying Tigers, Mercedes finished with a 3-1 record, eleven saves and a 0.96 ERA. He notched 28 innings across his 24 outings, allowing only 23 hits and five walks while fanning 17 batters. Mercedes did not allow a run until his eighth outing of the 2013 season and actually only allowed runs in two of his first 18 contests; spanning 22-1/3 innings and seven saves. For the entire season – between Lakeland and Erie – opposing players batted just .229 off of Mercedes who has now moved himself into a position to make his Major League debut in the Tigers bullpen next summer.

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