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Mesa tables debate, takes FSL POY08/31/2010 1:11 PM ET
By Brendon Desrochers / MLB.com
The Tampa Yankees have the best record in the Florida State League, and their center fielder, Melky Mesa, has been rewarded for personal and team success with the FSL Postseason Player of the Year Award, which was announced Tuesday.
Clearwater right-hander Austin Hyatt was named the league's top pitcher, and Charlotte's Jim Morrison took home top manager honors.
Mesa has been slugging for the Yankees all season andsits second in the FSL in home runs (19) and slugging percentage (.475) and third in RBIs (74). The 23-year-old is not all brawn either, as he is fifth in the league with 31 stolen bases and third in triples with nine. Mesa's play has the Yankees on the cusp of clinching the FSL North's second-half title and the postseason berth that goes with it.
Hyatt, who was promoted to Reading earlier this month, continues to rank among the best FSL pitchers in wins (11), ERA (3.04) and strikeouts (156). He is the FSL leader in WHIP at 1.09 and is second in batting average against, as FSL batters hit him at just a .220 clip.
Morrison's Stone Crabs had a dominant first half that saw them go 43-26 and win the FSL South by 4 1/2 games, a performance that surely clinched the award. Four of his players, including three pitchers, join Morrison with postseason honors.
Stone Crabs starting pitchers Joe Cruz and Matt Moore anchor the league's best pitching staff. Charlotte leads the FSL with a 3.14 ERA and 1,122 strikeouts behind the righty Cruz and lefty Moore. Cruz leads the FSL with 12 wins and is second with a 2.98 ERA. Moore leads all of the Minor Leagues with 197 strikeouts, and he tops the FSL with an opponents batting average of .212. He has, however, walked 61 batters in 138 2/3 innings. Charlotte's Zach Quate has been one of the most dominant relievers in the FSL. He is third in saves with 23 and ranks in the top three among relievers in opponents batting average (.191), strikeouts per nine innings (11.8) and baserunners per nine innings (8.29).
Adam Wilk, one of four starting pitchers honored, is the lone Lakeland Flying Tiger on the postseason All-Star team. The lefty has allowed the fewest walks per nine among qualifying FSL pitchers (1.2), a big reason why he is 9-5 with a 3.01 ERA. The other pitcher on the squad is reliever Noah Krol of Bradenton. The righty marauded through opposing batters late in games, leading the league with 33 saves.
On offense, Mesa has a teammate on the team among the Postseason All-Stars in third baseman Bradley Suttle. The switch-hitter is second in the league with 79 RBIs and is also in the top five in hits (135), doubles (32) and total bases (205).
The team with the most offensive players on the squad is Daytona, as Cubs comprise the right side of the infield, and a Cub is one of the catchers. First baseman Rebel Ridling is the circuit's leader in doubles with 34 and slots in between Mesa and Suttle at fourth in extra-base hits with 47. Second baseman D.J. LeMahieu leads the FSL in hits with 165 and is third in batting at .314. Behind the plate, Michael Brenly batted .272 to contribute to the second-highest-scoring team in the league.
The rest of the FSL infield is made up of Dunedin catcher Travis d'Arnaud, Fort Myers shortstop Brian Dozier and Brevard County second baseman Sergio Miranda, who is the utility infielder.
In the outfield, Bradenton's Quincy Latimore is the leader of the league's most potent offensive attack. The Marauders have scored 65 more runs than any other team, and Latimore is a big reason why. He is first in RBIs (98) and total bases (219), second in extra-base hits (50) and third in home runs (18). Just 21, the 2007 fourth-round pick appears to be a budding star for an increasingly deep Pirates system.
Brevard County's Erik Komatsu and his league-leading .412 OBP and second-best .320 average fills out the starting outfield beside Mesa and Latimore. The league's leader in stolen bases (45), runs scored (88) and triples (13), Anthony Gose of Dunedin, is the utility outfielder. He started the season with the Clearwater Threshers and was traded twice within the span of mere hours, first to Houston and then to Toronto, which means he had just a 10-minute drive to his new team's home.
Designated hitter Stephen Vogt is the fifth and final Charlotte honoree. He is the league's leading hitter at .333, is third in OBP (.386) and first in slugging (.487).
Palm Beach coach Luis Aguayo and Tampa coach Torre Tyson round out Jim Morrison's staff for the 2010 postseason All-Stars.
2010 Florida State League Postseason All-Star Team
Player of the Year: Melky Mesa, Tampa