Top Tools- Lansing Lugnuts

Cory Patton

Here is a look at the top pitching, offensive, and defensive tools from the Midwest League Lansing Lugnuts as we crown players with titles such as "Best Left-Handed Swing", "Best Curveball", "Best Mechanics", and many more.

Offensive Honors:

Best Hitter for Average: Anthony Hatch – The versatile infielder was a big factor in the Lugnuts lineup this season hitting .314 in 70 games. Hatch showed he could hit for power and average, while at the same time showing proper plate discipline.

Best Hitter for Power: Cory Patton – This was a tough award to hand out with several deserving candidates. Brian Pettway, Joey Metropoulos, Jacob Butler and Josh Bell were all in the running, but in the end scouts felt Patton possessed the most pure power out of the entire group.

Best Fastball Hitter: Cory Patton – Scouts noted that pitchers could not slip a fastball past Patton. Although he split his time evenly between Lansing and Dunedin, he qualifies for the Lansing half of the award by a thread.

Best Plate Discipline: Anthony Hatch – This award was not really close. Joey Metropoulos and Sean Shoffit did get some mention because of their ability to draw walks, but Hatch also has the proven skill of making contact and not striking out as often.

Best Left-Handed Swing: Anthony Hatch – Once again the final nominees for this award came down to Hatch and Patton, but Hatch wins out. While Patton swings for more power, Hatch has a near perfect swing. He is always level with the bat, and has a quick movement through the hitting zone.

Best Right-Handed Swing: Joey Metropoulos – Metropoulos has a beautiful swing from the right hand side of the plate. Josh Bell came in a very close second to Metropoulos for this award.

Best Runner: Yuber Rodriguez - The outfielder not only has outstanding speed, but he is able to get good jumps off pitchers and steal bases consistently.

Best Raw Speed: Yuber Rodriguez - While Luke Hetherington, and Sean Shoffit possess above average speed, Rodriguez has blazing speed, and is the fastest runner on the club.

Best Untapped Talent: Sean Shoffit – Many might forget the strong start that Shoffit got off to, and his final numbers will not indicate that, however, he has one of the brightest potential future on the 2006 Lansing club.

Pitching Honors:

Best Fastball for a Starter: Kristian Bell – Although his secondary pitchers are a work in progress, Bell has one of the strongest fastball's in the entire Blue Jays organization. He can consistently throw it in the mid-90s and is his best pitch.

Best Fastball for a Reliever: Paul Phillips – Phillips has a strong fastball, and some will argue it's not even the best pitch in his repertoire. The fact that Phillips knows he is viewed on primarily as a reliever in the organization enables him to add an extra couple of miles-per-hour on his fastball.

Best Curveball: Chi-Hung Cheng – The southpaw has a devastating curveball in his repertoire. The filthy curveball that he possesses has hitters ducking away the moment they see it. Talent evaluators have labeled his curveball as a pitch that is ‘near major league ready.'

Best Changeup: Aaron Tressler – The right-hander was converted from a reliever to a starter this season, partly because he has an effective changeup that mixes in well with his fastball.

Best Control: Aaron Tressler – In 108 2/3 innings this season for Lansing, Tressler issued just 16 free passes – another reason the Jays wanted to push him into the starting rotation.

Best Mechanics: Aaron Wideman – Although his season was cut short because of injury, Wideman has one of the best mechanics on the club. He is able to throw with consistent command because of his consistent throwing motion and easy delivery.

Best Overall Potential: Chi-Hung Cheng – Although his fastball and his changeup still need more development, Cheng could be a dominating pitcher if everything works his way. The sooner he learns to harness his command, the sooner he will rise in the organization.

Defensive Honors:

Best Defensive Outfielders: Yuber Rodriguez – Although he has struggled with his offensive game, Rodriguez has maintained his outstanding defensive abilities, and without a doubt was the best outfielder for Lansing this season.

Best Defensive Infielder: Jesus Gonzalez – Gonzalez, was the best shortstop and infielder that Lansing had this season. Although he made his share of errors, he is still young in his development.

Best Defensive Catcher: Brian Bormaster – If there is one catcher that has all the defensive tools, it's Bormaster. Whether it's calling pitches, blocking balls, or throwing, he has all the traits of an outstanding defensive catcher.

Best Outfield Range: Yuber Rodriguez – When you combine the most raw speed on the club, with the best defensive outfielder, you get outstanding range in the form of Yuber Rodriguez.

Best Outfield Arm: Jacob Butler – Although Rodriguez does have a solid throwing arm, most scouts feel that Butler's arm rates a little stronger.

Best Infield Arm: Anthony Garibaldi – If you watched Lansing every game this season you realized the cannon that Garibaldi possessed at the hot corner.

Best Infield Range: Jesus Gonzalez – The Lansing shortstop made several outstanding plays in which he has to go to his right to make this season – displaying his fantastic range.

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