08/24/2009 1:10 PM ET
Players of the Week
For the week ending August 23
By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com
Mike Hessman, Toledo
.321(9-28), 7 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, .893 SLG
Tigers farmhand Mike Hessman opened the week with homers and doubles in two straight games, going deep and collecting a two-bagger against the Clippers in Toledo on both Monday and Tuesday. On Friday, the Mud Hens traveled to Columbus for another set against the Clippers, and Hessman picked up where he left off. He homered and doubled again Friday, and then again Saturday, racking up six RBIs over those two games. The free-swinging power hitter has now hit 20 or more homers in a season 10 times in his career and he's also pulled himself right up to another milestone: the next longball Hessman sends soaring will be the 200th at the Triple-A level.
Pacific Coast League
Brian Buchanan, Omaha
.333 (6-18), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB, .722 SLG
After spending more than a month on the disabled list, Brian Buchanan sprang into action Thursday and proved he's feeling fine. He collected five RBIs with a homer and a double in his first game back, and he homered again in his second. The 1994 first-rounder also went yard on July 12, the last game he played in before being sidelined. Over the weekend, he collected two RBIs in each game and stole a base -- his first of the season -- on Sunday.
Brandon Roberts, New Britain
.462 (12-26), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4 SB, .577 SLG
Brandon Roberts, who's playing in his third season with the Rock Cats, extended his on-base streak to 16 games this week, and he scored at least one run in all but two of New Britain's games this week. He stole a base and scored three times on Wednesday, and on Friday he swiped two more bags, doubled and scored twice during a 3-for-5 display. He finished the week with a pair of hits in each game on Saturday and Sunday, and he plated three runs and stole another base over the course of those weekend games.
Christian Marrero, Birmingham
.304 (7-23), 3 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 0 BB, 6 SO, 0 SB, .565 SLG
White Sox prospect Christian Marrero delivered again and again for the Barons this week, helping Birmingham win five of its seven games. He plated at least one run in each contest except for two, three times earning an RBI with a sacrifice fly. His week's batting average is bogged down by the second game of Friday's doubleheader, in which Marrero was stymied into an 0-for-3 afternoon with a pair of strikeouts. He rebounded to close the week strongly, though, homering on Saturday and earning four RBIs over the two weekend games.
Chris Carter, Midland
.474 (9-19), 3 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SO, 1 SB, .632 SLG
With this victory, Chris Carter wins the Texas League Player of the Week award for the third time this month. The A's prospect has raised his batting average from an already-solid .319 on July 31 to its current .336 mark, and he shows no sign of slowing down. In the two games Carter went hitless this week, he totaled four walks and a run scored. He was especially in the groove on Wednesday, homering, collecting two RBIs, scoring twice and stealing a base during a 3-for-4 day. He plated two more runs on Sunday, ending the week with a 2-for-4 performance in which he also worked a walk.
Carlos Peguero, High Desert
.409 (9-22), 9 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0 SB, 1.091 SLG
The Mariners' Carlos Peguero flexed some muscle this week. He homered in the first game of a Wednesday doubleheader against Rancho Cucamonga, and then took Quakes pitching deep again on Thursday. On Friday, he welcomed the Inland Empire 66ers to town with a six-RBI game, homering again, doubling twice and scoring three runs. Saturday, he went yard for the fourth time in five games, doubled again, singled and once again crossed the plate three times. He cooled significantly on Sunday, striking out three times and ending the day with an 0-for-4 collar, but not even that lousy performance dipped his batting average for the week below .400.
Pedro Florimon, Jr., Frederick
.462 (12-26), 3 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB, .692 SLG
Pedro Florimon Jr., who came to the Orioles system as a 17-year-old in 2004, turned it on this week, hitting safely multiple times in his first three games and then singling in each of his last three. In a Tuesday doubleheader, Florimon combined to go 4-for-6 with three RBIs, three doubles and a run scored. He fell a home run short of the cycle on Wednesday -- the 165-pounder can be forgiven for only knocking eight longballs all season, and his 5-for-5 day with two RBIs and a run scored illustrates just how perfectly he can do the job without 400-foot blasts. Through the end of the week, he added three more hits, a sacrifice fly and a pair of stolen bases.
Florida State League
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, St. Lucie
.412 (14-34), 8 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 4 BB, 9 SO, 0 SB, .971 SLG
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the Mets' 2008 third-rounder, has found his power stroke lately. After hitting only one home run since late-July, Nieuwenhuis went yard twice on Tuesday, then once on Wednesday and once on Thursday. He combined for nine RBIs and six runs scored over those three games, and he's suddenly hit more home runs in August (five) than he has in any other month this season except May (six). On Saturday, he put on a 4-for-5 show, doubling twice and also tripling to knock in a pair of runs and score one.
Allan Dykstra, Fort Wayne
.500 (9-18), 4 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, 1.000 SLG
Padres 2008 first-round Draft pick Allan Dykstra enjoyed his best week of the season, hitting safely in each of his six games, earning an RBI in all but one and scoring in all but two. He hit homers in back-to-back games over Tuesday and Wednesday, marking the first time he's done that in his young pro career, and he doubled, collected an RBI and scored during a 3-for-4 day on Thursday. With his six walks and two whiffs this week, Dykstra now has more walks (95) on the year than strikeouts (93), especially impressive considering he's in just his first full professional season.
South Atlantic League
Cristian Santana, Hickory
.379 (11-29), 8 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, 1.069 SLG
Rangers prospect Cristian Santana homered in five straight games this week, hitting one out in each game from Monday to Thursday and then adding an exclamation to the streak with two on Friday. He may have tried too hard over his last two games of the week, as he ended up 2-for-9 with four strikeouts over Saturday and Sunday. Not even that kind of lost weekend, though, can detract from the amazing fireworks show he put on throughout the weekdays.
Michael Flacco, Bluefield
.480 (12-25), 1 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0 SB, .600 SLG
Michael Flacco, who was taken by the Orioles in the late rounds of this year's Draft, showed what he's capable of this week, lifting his batting average from last week's .240 mark to .270 by Sunday. He knocked in a run in every Bluefield game but one, and even in that one -- Saturday's -- he was 2-for-4 with a double. Flacco turned in two three-hit games this week, and it appears he's getting the hang of hitting consistently against professional pitching.
New York-Penn League
Wilfred Pichardo, Lowell
.450 (9-20), 8 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO, 7 SB, .600 SLG
Wilfred Pichardo, in his third season in the Red Sox system and his second playing stateside, demonstrated his speed this week, stealing seven bases in five games without being caught. His play over the weekend was especially remarkable: from Friday to Sunday, Pichardo went 7-for-11 with three doubles, five RBIs, seven runs scored and five thefts. His terror on the basepaths shouldn't come as a huge surprise -- last season he ripped off 42 bags in the Gulf Coast League, the most in that circuit in 17 years.
Nathan Freiman, Eugene
.400 (10-25), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB, .720 SLG
Nathan Freiman, the Padres' eighth-round pick in this year's Draft, has proven to be an RBI machine in the Northwest League. His 53 on the season are tops in the league, and this week's performance separated him from the competition. He began the week by knocking in a pair on Monday, and he drove in five during Tuesday's 3-for-5 performance. He had one RBI each in every game of the week, and in four of the six games he had two or more.
Brian Ruggiano, Ogden
.448 (13-29), 8 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 SO, 4 SB, .724 SLG
Dodgers prospect Brian Ruggiano extended a modest streak to 11 games by hitting safely in this week's seven contests, and since the streak began on August 13th, he's batting .543. He was 3-for-5 on Thursday, and on Saturday he slapped out four singles. His .385 average on the season is best in the league, and after stealing four bases this week he's second with 19 in 20 attempts this year.
Dillon Baird, Orem
.400 (12-30), 8 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, .633 SLG
Thanks to a Friday doubleheader, the Angels' Dillon Baird played in eight games this week, but the 2009 11th-rounder showed no signs of fatigue. He had at least one hit and at least one RBI in each of the eight contests, and he scored in every game except one. Baird's .383 average is second only to Ruggiano's .385, and he strung together three consecutive two-hit games between Wednesday and Friday, homering once on Wednesday and again on Friday.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.