05/29/2007 1:11 PM ET
Offensive Players of the Week
From May 21 to May 27
By Jeff Birnbaum / MLB.com
Josh Fields, Charlotte
.500 (11-22), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 5 SO, 2 SB, .909 SLG
The way the Knights' third baseman was hitting with such ease last week, there's no wonder why he's one of the White Sox's most-coveted prospects. Fields' batting average jumped an astonishing 31 points (from .253 to .284) after hitting .500 (11-for-22) in his last six games. The former Oklahoma State quarterback highlighted his hitting spree by going 3-for-4 in a 6-2 win against Ottawa Saturday, falling a triple short of the cycle.
Pacific Coast League
Craig Brazell, Omaha
.414 (12-29), 9 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 14 RBI, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, 1.310 SLG
Less than three weeks after getting called up from Double-A Wichita, Craig Brazell seems to have found a perfect base in Omaha from which to launch booming home run after booming home run. The 27-year-old first baseman helped the Royals go 6-1 in their last seven games by blasting eight homers and 14 RBIs over an unbelievable five-game stretch. The Minor League leader in home runs (20) also proved he can hit consistently, extending his hitting streak to 15 games before being snapped on Saturday.
Oscar Salazar, Bowie
.464 (13-28), 5 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, .893 SLG
Salazar continued to be a model of consistency for the Baysox last week, extending his hitting streak to 11 games while accumulating an unreal .892 slugging percentage. The shortstop's offensive mastery has propelled him to the top of several team categories, including average (.332), hits (62), doubles (13), RBIs (34) and home runs (eight).
German Duran, Frisco RoughRiders
.381 (8-21), 6 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, .857 SLG
Duran's steady plate discipline helped the RoughRiders to a 5-1 week. During a four-game win streak, Duran hit home runs in three consecutive games, leaving him in second place in the Texas League with 10. The 22-year-old also helped Frisco split a doubleheader against Tulsa Saturday night, going 2-for-3 with a double and run scored in the RoughRiders' 4-2 win.
Issmael Salas, Tennessee
.500 (8-16), 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, 1.000 SLG
Salas' first at-bat this week was a memorable one, as the 24-year-old connected for a three-run home run that propelled the Smokies to a 4-3 win over Mississippi. He didn't slow down from there, and finished the week with a .500 average and 1.000 slugging percentage. Salas had his best game of the season against Jacksonville on Wednesday, as he went 4-for-4 with a home run, double, and five RBIs in Tennessee's 16-11 win. Salas' 11 RBIs on the week more than doubled his season total, as he now has 19 on the season.
Bubba Bell, Lancaster
.600 (15-25), 11 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 0 SO, 1 SB, .880 SLG
When Lancaster began its five-game series with Inland Empire last Tuesday, there was a three-way logjam for first place atop the California League Southern Division. However, the JetHawks, led by Bell's 4-for-4 night, immediately set the tone against the 66ers by scoring a season-high 19 runs in their Game 1 victory. By the end of the week, Bell's 15 hits and eight RBIs helped Lancaster take four of five from the 66ers and elevate his team to the top of the Southern Division standings.
Jason Delaney, Lynchburg
.517 (15-29), 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB, .966 SLG
The Hillcats had a busy schedule this past week, playing two doubleheaders in a three-day span. But the extra games didn't seem to faze Delaney. It just gave him more opportunities to show why he's one of the Carolina League's most dangerous young hitters. The 24-year-old left fielder scored 10 runs last week and racked up a bulk of his 10 RBIs by walloping a monster grand slam to center field in the sixth inning to give Lynchburg a 5-1 win over Frederick on Wednesday.
Florida State League
Brandon Syzmanski, Sarasota
.435 (10-23), 7 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0 SB, .913 SLG
Nothing has been easy for Syzmanski since making his pro debut in 2004. After injuries derailed his progress for much of his first two seasons, the center fielder led the Minors in strikeouts last year with 191. This year looked to be much of the same, as Syzmanski was hitting a paltry .205 on May 19. However, his luck may be changing after an unexpected offensive explosion last week in which his average skyrocketed to .239. A two-run triple in the second inning and a two-run blast in the fourth, which helped Sarasota grab a 7-4 victory over Daytona Tuesday, highlighted one of his best weeks as a pro.
Yuber Rodriguez, Lansing
.500 (17-34), 11 R, 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0 SB, .971 SLG
Rodriguez's breakout week couldn't have come at a better time for the Venezuela native. Before going on a 17-for-34 tear, the Lugnuts' center fielder was hitting a dismal .176. However, Rodriguez seems to have gotten his groove back, tallying multiple hits in five of his last seven games. In a 10-3 win over Great Lakes on Saturday, Rodriguez went 4-for-4 with three doubles, a walk and four runs scored.
South Atlantic League
Quintin Berry, Lakewood
.448 (13-29), 9 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 7 SO, 6 SB, .552 SLG
Berry's timely hitting proves you don't need to have exceptional home-run power to be an effective pro hitter. The center fielder's blazing speed allowed him to steal six of his team-leading 21 stolen bases this past week. Berry also hit safely in all seven of the BlueClaws' games, helping the team to win five of them. In an 8-0 shutout over Hagerstown, Berry went 3-for-4 for two RBIs and two runs scored.
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Benjamin Hill contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.