TigsTown Awards: Erie SeaWolves

It was a slow start in Erie, however, things improved big time in the second half of the season. Who helped lead that charge, and in turn, earned the player and pitcher of the year honors?

Erie Player of the Year: OF Wilkin Ramirez
Wilkin Ramirez finally put together the type of season analysts and scouts have been calling for since he debuted with the GCL Tigers in 2003. There has never been any doubting Ramirez's raw tools, but the translation of those tools to the field has been another story. A move to the outfield last year has freed him defensively, and his offense has absolutely taken off as a result. With a .303/.365/.522 line in 110 games for the Seawolves, Wilkin has put to bed any doubts about his immense talent. His 19 home runs were good for sixth in the Eastern League, despite playing in the fewest games of anyone in that top six. With 226 total bases, Ramirez tied for sixth in the league again, while also ranking in the top ten in the circuit in runs, triples, RBI, steals, slugging, average, and OPS. Despite having been around for what seems a much longer time than he actually has, Ramirez is still just 22 years old, and is poised to make his big league debut at some point in the 2009 season.

Erie Pitcher of the Year: LHP Luke French
Following in a pattern that has been set over the last three years in the organization, French was again the durable cog in his teams rotation, leading the Eastern League with 170 innings pitched; a career high for the young lefty. French improved in every meaningful way as the season progressed, finishing the year with a 4.02 ERA and nine wins for a ‘Wolves squad that struggled much of the year. At the close of the season, French was ranked in the Eastern League's top twenty-five in wins, games started, complete games, innings, strikeouts, and WHIP; an impressive feat for a pitcher gaining his first taste of advanced ball. The 22-year old lefty has continued to refine his body and maintain a better physical disposition, while still sporting solid stuff across the board, and improving command. If his progress throughout the 2008 season is any indicator, we can probably expect some continued development and success from Luke in 2009.

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