Pete Crow-Armstrong – Picture by Todd Johnson
I know this is going to sound strange, but there’s a dread that comes in making the last All-Star team of the year. There’s a certain finality to knowing that Myrtle Beach and South Bend are done in two weeks except for the playoffs. But those playoffs are also just best of three series. So we’re looking at a week and a half tops of extra baseball. I don’t want to commit to making an All-Star team for September, but if we have three teams playing deep into the playoffs, I may have to change my mind. But for now, today is it.
At the end of September when Iowa is completes its season, that’s when we will release our hitter of the year, starting pitcher of the year, and reliever of the year award. In reality, those are three of the worst kept secrets around. Although you could make a case of between Mervis and Pete Crow-Armstrong for hitter of the year. It depends on what you value.
But I digress
This months collection of all-star performances is pretty heavy on relievers at Iowa, hitters at South Bend, and starting pitchers at South Bend. If you look at South Bend’s roster, it’s no surprise that they are doing so well as half the team is made up of players that had that blistering first half in Myrtle Beach. Every single opening day starting pitcher at Myrtle Beach is now in South Bend. Half of the bullpen for Myrtle Beach on opening day is in South Bend but only a few position guys got the bump like Pete Crow Armstrong, BJ Murray, and Kevin Made.
It’s always an interesting list to see who finishes the year strong. A lot of times those players will carry that over until next year. So as you read who made the All-Star team from each affiliate, keep that in mind for 2023.
Hitters – John Hicks, Darius Hill, Matt Mervis
Starting Pitchers – Javier Assad, Wyatt Short
Relievers – Jeremiah Estrada, Ben Leeper, Nicholas Padilla, CD Pelham, Brendon Little
Hitters – Yonathan Perlaza, Nelson Maldonado, Jake Slaughter
Starting Pitching – Walker Powell, Ryan Jensen
Relievers – Zac Leigh
Hitters – Pete Crow-Armstrong, Jordan Nwogu, Luis Verdugo, Pablo Aliendo
Starting Pitching – Luis Devers, Luke Little, Porter Hodge, Richard Gallardo, Daniel Palencia
Relievers – Joe Nahas, Sheldon Reed
Hitters – Parker Chavers, Moises Ballesteros, Liam Spence
Starting Pitching – Didier Vargas, Tyler Santana,
Relievers – Yovanny Cabrerra, Chase Watkins
Players of the Month
PCA – He’s just had a spectacular year and he is finishing strong. There’s a lot of 2-for-4, 3-for-5 type nights. Then there’s the occasional 0-for-4. He still working on some consistency things but the fact that he is producing and scoring runs at such a high-level while providing jaw-dropping defense explains why he’s the number one prospect on most boards now. And to be quite shocking, I am 50-50 on player of the year between him and Mervis. It’s a coin flip for me because of the amount of talent he has shown.
Jeremiah Estrada – While he is technically on the Cubs roster today, he’s just been fantastic all month long. He earned his trip up to Toronto. When you don’t allow run all month and you strike out about two batters per inning, good things are going to happen. And I’m very happy for Jeremiah and his family for getting the call up.
Walker Powell – Giving the Pitcher of the Month to Walker Powell pretty much gives me the warm fuzzies. He’s one of the hardest working players in the system. He’s really improved this year with pro instruction and we’ve seen his fastball and improve 3 to 4 miles an hour on average from last year at this time. He also knows how to freaking pitch. If you watch him work a batter, he’s moving the ball up and down and in and around. He’s throwing in on the hands a lot to tie guys up. His curveball has a great shape. He’s just doing all the little things a pitcher should do and he will be starting the year 2023 in Iowa. I doubt if he’s a starter, but he’s at least earned the right to go to Iowa and wait for an opportunity as a piggyback starter and a reliever.