2014 TigsTown Awards: GCL Tigers

The rookie league club in Lakeland had its fair share of impressive showings, but the player and pitcher of the year awards go to a pair of youngsters that made their Stateside debut this year, including one at just 18 years of age.

GCL Tigers Player of the Year
3B Zach Shepherd

GCL Tigers 173 .301 .373 .497 44 / 21 5 / 1

The teenager from Sydney, Australia had an impressive stateside debut with the GCL Tigers, approaching the .300/.400/.500 triple slash line as he worked as the team’s everyday third baseman. Shepherd is still filling out his 6’ 3” frame, but showed flashes of his power potential in the GCL as he led the club with 21 extra base hits. He’s still raw, leading the team in both strikeouts at the plate and errors in the field, but for a player new to the country and the level of competition, it was a very impressive season for the Shepherd. The question now becomes how aggressively the Tigers will look to push Shepherd, and if they might challenge him with a full-season assignment in the spring of 2015.

GCL Tigers Pitcher of the Year
RHP Sandy Baez

GCL Tigers 1-2 12 / 12 61.2 3.06 48 / 16 .258

The GCL Tigers had a number of impressive arms on the team this summer, but Baez gets the nod for top pitcher, leading the club in innings pitched while posting an excellent ERA and strikeout rate. In his first year stateside after coming over from the Dominican Republic, Baez led the club in innings pitched, and made it at least five innings in nine of his 12 starts. Over that work, he maintained very control while continuing to flash the low-to-mid-90s fastball, with a 3:1 K:BB ratio as he struck out seven batters per nine innings. Baez is one of many young arms from the GCL club to keep an eye on next spring as roster assignments start to come out.

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