Monday, September 20, 2010

Championship Year for Former Trojans

Tracking former Troy baseball players in their efforts across minor league baseball was certainly exciting this summer. Now that all of the minor league playoffs are over, former Troy players helped teams to titles in five different leagues, and two others made playoff appearances.

Of course the biggest story throughout the summer was the tear Clint Robinson went on through the Texas League for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Really, it was a pretty ordinary year for the Dothan native.

All he did was win multiple Texas League Player of the Week and Player of the Month honors, hit a home run in the league All-Star game, become the second player in Texas League history to win the league triple crown, earn league Most Valuable Player honors and help the Naturals to the Texas League title.

For the season Robinson hit .335 with 41 doubles, five triples, 29 homers and 98 RBI. In the playoffs he hit .286 with three doubles, a triple, two homers and eight more RBI.

You can read about the Naturals taking the Texas League title here.

It is the second time Robinson has won league MVP honors. He took the Pioneer League MVP in 2007, his first year of professional baseball.

But Robinson was not the only former Trojan to win a league title.

Chase Whitley spent most of his summer pitching for the Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League. He had a great season there, posting a 4-2 record with a 1.45 ERA in 30 games while recording 15 saves, but his team failed to make the playoffs.

So, with the season over, the Yankees sent Whitley to the Tampa Yankees in the High A Florida State League to get some more work. He pitched in two post-season games in Tampa, both in the playoffs, and the Tampa team won its second straight FSL title.

Chris Sorce also helped his team to a title. Pitching as a starter for the Everett AquaSox in the Northwest League, Sorce posted an 8-2 record in 15 starts with a 3.64 ERA and 70 strikeouts. The AquaSox captured their first NWL title in 24 years in the league.

Josh Dew's Chico Outlaws closed out the Golden League playoffs Sunday night in Maui, winning the league title. Dew worked in 34 games for the Outlaws during the regular season, posting a 4-1 record with one save and a 2.68 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 47 innings of work. In the playoffs he was 1-0 in five appearances with a 2.08 ERA.

You can read about the Outlaws' league title here.

Finally, Steven Felix got a taste of championship play with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers, who defeated the Reds to take the league crown. Felix did not get to play much after joining the Brewers, appearing in just 11 games as a catcher, but he did get a title.

The other Trojans playing in the minor leagues finished without titles, but had good numbers.

Ryan Ditthardt - Finished the season with the Gulf Coast League Astros hitting .274 with six doubles, one triple, one homer and 12 RBI in 42 games.

Jason Walls - Posted a 2-0 record for the Arizona League Giants, who won a Division title in the same league Felix played in. He had a 6.75 ERA in 14 appearances.

Adam Godwin - Led the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League with a .345 average. The Jackals advanced to the playoffs but were unable to advance. Godwin had nine doubles, five triples, four homers and 32 RBI to go with 17 stolen bases.

Beau Brooks - Played at virtually every level in the Angels organization, starting at Class A Rancho Cucomonga, playing at Class AAA Salt Lake City and closing the year at Class AA Arkansas in the Texas League. Brooks his .154 overall with 10 doubles, three homers and 22 RBI.

The only other Trojan playing professionally this summer is Mike Rivera, who spent most of the season in Class AA with the Chattanooga Lookouts after being cut by the New York Yankees at the very end of spring training.

Since being released Rivera has played 58 games in Chattanooga, 14 for Class AAA Alburquerque in the Dodgers organization, three games for Class AAA New Orleans in the Florida Marlins organization and six games with the Marlins. This is Rivera's eighth season to have played in the big leagues. He has also played for the Tigers, Padres and Brewers in his careers.

Overall, Rivera has a .238 career average in the big leagues with 32 doubles, one triple and 13 homers with 69 RBI in 187 games.

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