ROUND ROCK, Texas - Last week in the Pacific Coast League, Ricardo Nanita of the Las Vegas 51s and Jake Odorizzi of the Omaha Storm Chasers turned in two of the best performances on the field, and today the league office rewarded them by naming them the Player and Pitcher of the week respectively for the period of August 13th through 19th.
Nanita put on a show at the plate in seven games, batting .414 with a stolen base while leading the league in most power categories, including a 1.103 slugging percentage, 11 RBI, and most impressively, six home runs. After going deep versus Iowa on Monday, then Omaha on Wednesday and Friday, the outfielder put an exclamation point on his hot streak with a four-hit, three-homer game on the road against division-rival Sacramento on Saturday. Nanita's efforts led Las Vegas to a 5-2 record last week as they find themselves in the middle of the playoff race.
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Nanita was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the 2003 draft out of Florida International University. That year he debuted with the Great Falls White Sox, batting .384 with a Pioneer League record 30-game hitting streak. After a solid 2008 season with the Birmingham Barons, Nanita was taken by the Washington Nationals in the Rule V Draft. In 2009 and 2010, Nanita played both in the Washington system as well as in the Mexican League, and made the roster for the Dominican national team in the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. After hitting .363 in 51 games for Las Vegas in 2011, he is batting .318 with 52 RBI for the 51s in 2012.
Unbeaten in his two starts last week, Odorizzi shut down Las Vegas and Nashville in a pair of big performances. On the road on Tuesday, the right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings with four strikeouts, allowing just two hits and two walks to keep Nanita's 51s in check. On Sunday he won again, this time facing off against the Sounds at home as he went another seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks while punching out two. His final line for the week included a 2-0 record, a 0.64 ERA and just a 0.71 WHIP for the first-place Storm Chasers.
Odorizzi, born in Breese, IL, was a first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. In 2010, he went 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League, and the following off-season was involved in the Brewers' blockbuster trade to the Kansas City Royals for Zack Greinke. Odorizzi immediately shined in the Royals' system, pitching to a 5-4 record with a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts in the Carolina League in 2011. In 2012, he went 4-2 in seven starts in the Texas League, was selected to the All-Star Futures Game, and was promoted to Triple-A for the first time, where he is 10-2 in 16 starts with a 2.80 ERA, as he and the Storm Chasers prepare for postseason play and defense of their 2011 Pacific Coast League championship.