The Double-A Southern League announced its 2014 postseason All-Star selections and award winners Friday afternoon, with Mobile third baseman Jake Lamb earning Most Valuable Player honors and left-hander Justin Nicolino of Jacksonville being named Most Outstanding Pitcher.
Mobile's Andy Green is the circuit's top manager for the second consecutive year after guiding the BayBears to a first-half South Division title and the league's best overall record heading into the season's final weekend.
A sixth-round pick out of the University of Washington in 2012, the 23-year-old Lamb leads the league with a .318 batting average, ranks second in RBIs (79), on-base percentage (.399) and slugging (.551) and is third in doubles (35) and extra-base hits (54). Those numbers are all the more impressive because his last game with the BayBears was July 30; he was promoted to Triple-A Reno on Aug. 1 and made his Major League debut with the Diamondbacks six days later.
Lamb was also a midseason All-Star and earned the league's Player of the Week award in mid-June. He was particularly dominant that month, hitting .368/.415/.695 with 27 RBIs in 25 June games.
Lamb is the second Southern League MVP from Mobile, following Paul Goldschmidt in 2011.
Florida native Nicolino, 22, a second-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2010, was acquired by the Marlins in a blockbuster trade in November 2012. After making nine starts for the Suns in 2013, the left-hander was the rock of the Jacksonville rotation this season, going 13-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 27 starts. He was twice named league Pitcher of the Week this year and paces the circuit with his 13 wins and a 1.10 WHIP.
Heading into the final weekend of the season, Nicolino ranks second in ERA (2.98) and innings pitched (163 1/3). He's the first Jacksonville hurler to be named Southern League Pitcher of the Year since Tom Koehler won the award in 2010.
2014 Southern League Postseason All-Star Team
|Jake Lamb *||3B||Mobile||ARI|
|Josh Prince||Best Hustler||Huntsville||MIL|
|Justin Nicolino †||LHP||Jacksonville||MIA|