Players of the Postseason09/26/2011 4:26 PM ET
By John Parker / Special to MLB.com
Brandon Moss, Lehigh Valley
.385/.448/.885, 7 G, 10-for-26, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
The IronPigs scored 19 runs over seven games in their first-ever playoff appearance. Moss, who turned 28 on the day Lehigh Valley was eliminated by Columbus, drove in eight of them while batting .385 with four homers. The Georgia-born outfielder, who led the 'Pigs with 23 homers and 80 RBIs during the regular season, paced all IL hitters in the Triple Crown categories during the postseason. He went hitless in just one of the seven contests, and in Game 2 of Lehigh Valley's semifinal series against Pawtucket, he fell a triple shy of the cycle and drove in all three IronPigs runs, the last with a two-out walk-off single in the 10th inning, in a 3-2 victory.
Pacific Coast League
Chris Carter, Sacramento
.370/.486/.852, 8 G, 10-for-27, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 9 R, 8 BB, 7 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
Sacramento's playoff performance was streaky -- the River Cats dropped their first two games in the semifinals before winning three straight to move on, then were swept by Omaha in the finals -- but Carter's postseason was one eight-game hot streak. The big first baseman batted .370/.486/.852 with four home runs and nine RBIs and collected at least one hit and one RBI in each game. The 24-year-old slugger, who had two more homers and nine RBIs in his final five regular-season games, definitely ended his up-and-down year on a high note.
Kevin Howard, New Hampshire
.348/.444/.696, 7 G, 8-for-23, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 SB, 0 CS
Howard, a 30-year-old infielder, played in just 21 games for the Fisher Cats during the regular season, batting .253 with one homer and 13 RBIs. The University of Miami product was a big part of New Hampshire's postseason success, however, which garnered the team's first Eastern League title since 2004. Though he did not start for the Cats in their first two semifinal games against Reading, Howard tied teammate Moises Sierra and Richmond's Chris Dominguez for the postseason RBI lead with six. His five doubles in seven playoff games matched his two-bagger output in 56 regular-season games split between New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Blake Lalli, Tennessee
.435/.480/.696, 6 G, 10-for-23, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
2011 marked catcher/first baseman Blake Lalli's third full season with the Smokies. Each campaign has ended the same way: with a defeat in the Southern League Finals. This year's loss was certainly no fault of Lalli's, however -- his 10 hits were tied for most in the playoffs and neither the Smokies nor the champion Mobile BayBears featured a hitter with a higher postseason slugging percentage than Lalli's .696. He collected a hit in each of his six contests, including a three-run blast in the fourth inning of Tennessee's first playoff game, a 9-6 win over rival Chattanooga.
Cody Decker, San Antonio
.310/.394/.724, 7 G, 9-for-29, 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 9 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
Decker blasted 10 home runs in April, slumped to .155 in 18 May games before spraining his ankle, then spent nearly three months mired on the disabled list. The UCLA product capped his mixed campaign with a strong postseason as San Antonio, far and away the league's top regular-season club, rolled to its first title since 2007. With the Missions' semifinal series against Frisco tied 1-1 and the score tied 3-3 in the eighth inning of Game 3, Decker delivered the second of his two solo homers to put San Antonio in front for good. The Missions went on to win the next four games in a row as Decker led all playoff batters with nine hits, six extra-base hits and 21 total bases.
Nathan Freiman, Lake Elsinore
.386/.404/.705, 11 G, 17-for-44, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 10 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
Freiman, a 6-foot-7 first baseman out of Duke University, led the Storm with 22 homers and 111 RBIs during the regular season. He was just as big in the playoffs, leading all postseason performers with 12 RBIs in his 11 games, capped by a two-homer, three-run effort in the decisive fourth game of the finals as Lake Elsinore captured its first outright Cal League title since 1996. He also went 4-for-4 with three RBIs in Game 1. Freiman had at least one hit in 10 of his 11 games and scored 10 times, one shy of teammate Tommy Medica's league-leading 11.
Manny Machado, Frederick
.344/.447/.563, 9 G, 11-for-32, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 0 CS
Machado, MLB.com's No. 10 prospect, lived up to the hype in the Carolina League playoffs. The 19-year-old shortstop collected a league-high nine RBIs and eight runs scored and ranked second in batting, on-base percentage and slugging. Machado capped his potent postseason by homering and driving in four runs as Frederick beat Kinston, 11-3, in Game 4 of the Finals to claim its first league championship since 2007. The third overall pick in the 2010 Draft, Machado was named MVP of the Mills Cup Finals.
Florida State League
Justin Bour, Daytona
.440/.423/.600, 6 G, 11-for-25, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 SB, 0 CS
After a sub-par second half of the season -- he hit .308 with 16 homers before the All-Star break and .245 with seven after it -- Bour was an offensive force in the FSL postseason. The big first baseman out of George Mason led Daytona with 23 homers and 85 RBIs during the regular season and followed through in the playoffs with a league-high 11 hits and six RBIs. Bour had hits in each of his six playoff games and went 7-for-13 with a homer, double and four RBIs as the Cubs swept St. Lucie in the Finals to capture their second FSL crown in four years.
Jonathan Rodriguez, Quad Cities
.385/.433/.731, 7 G, 10-for-26, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
Despite a .251 batting average in the regular season, Rodriguez's ability to get on base -- he drew 77 walks, third-most in the league -- left him ranked fifth on the circuit in on-base percentage, fourth in home runs and seventh in OPS. The 22-year-old Puerto Rican native was even better in the playoffs, plating a league-best 11 runs as Quad Cities won all seven of its games en route to its first Midwest League title in 21 years. Rodriguez had hits in six of the seven games and drove in a run in five of them, including three big RBIs in the championship-clinching third game of the Finals.
South Atlantic League
Marcell Ozuna, Greensboro
.353/.436/.676, 7 G, 12-for-34, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 7 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
After batting just .218 in the first half of the season, Ozuna caught fire in the second half, hitting .310/.385/.585 with 15 homers. He carried the hot streak into the postseason, leading the Sally League with three longballs and 10 RBIs in seven playoff games. Ozuna delivered a key three-run blast in Game 4 of the Finals at Savannah with the Grasshoppers facing elimination (down to their final strike in the ninth inning, they rallied to win, 12-10, in 11 frames). He doubled, singled and plated three more runs the following night in the decisive fifth game as Greensboro won its first South Atlantic League championship since 1982.
New York-Penn League
Tyler Austin, Staten Island
.429/.429/.524, 5 G, 9-for-21, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 SB, 1 CS
The Yankees' 13th-round pick in the 2010 Draft, Austin did not join the Baby Bombers until July 16. After a slow start, the Georgia native caught fire, collecting hits in 20 of his final 21 regular-season games, including a 6-for-6 effort at Lowell on Aug. 21. He provided the same boost in the playoffs with nine hits in five games. Austin doubled twice and scored the lone run as Staten Island eliminated arch-rival Brooklyn, 1-0, in Game 3 of the semifinals, then added four more hits in the Yanks' two-game sweep of Auburn in the Finals.
Balbino Fuenmayor, Vancouver
.350/.381/.700, 5 G, 7-for-20, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
Vancouver was not supposed to win the Northwest League championship. It finished just two games over .500, went 14-24 on the road and then dropped the first game of the playoffs at home to Eugene, the circuit's top regular-season club. But the Canadians rallied to win four of the next five -- including all three road games -- and claim its first league crown. Infielder Balbino Fuenmayor was a big reason why. After finishing the regular season in an 0-for-21 slump, the Venezuelan infielder delivered seven big hits -- four of them for extra bases -- and eight RBIs in five playoff games. In the three games in which Vancouver faced elimination, Fuenmayor plated seven runs.
Matthew Koch, Elizabethton
.455/.462/.545, 3 G, 5-for-11, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
Koch only played in three postseason games -- his E-Twins were eliminated by Bluefield in the first round of the playoffs -- but what games they were. Minnesota's 12th-round pick in the 2011 Draft, the catcher/designated hitter drove in seven of Elizabethton's 15 playoff runs. Only Bluefield's Christopher Hawkins plated more runs (nine) in the Appy League playoffs, though he had the benefit of two extra games. Koch, a 22-year-old out of Loyola Marymount (Calif.), doubled, singled and drove in four runs in the E-Twins' final game, an 11-7 loss to the Jays.
Martin Medina, Great Falls
.474/.565/1.000, 5 G, 9-for-19, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
A 20th-round pick out of Cal State-Bakersfield this past June, Medina hit four home runs in 38 games with the Voyagers during the regular season. He very nearly equaled that total in his five playoff games. The catcher/first baseman collected two hits in each of the first four games -- including a pair of solo homers at Ogden in Game 1 of the Finals -- and led all Pioneer League hitters with seven runs scored as Great Falls won its first title since 2008.