Offensive Players of the Postseason09/19/2012 3:44 PM ET
By John Parker / MLB.com
Bryce Brentz, Pawtucket
(.333/.385/.792, 7 G, 8-for-24, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 7 K)
Brentz, the Red Sox's No. 4 prospect, only joined Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 30 and went 2-for-17 (.118) in five regular season games. The 23-year-old outfielder rediscovered his stroke in the playoffs, however, with hits in each of his first five postseason outings. After going deep in Games 1 and 3 of Pawtucket's semifinal series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Brentz tripled and doubled in the opening game of the Governors' Cup Finals. The PawSox went on to capture their first IL title since 1984.
Pacific Coast League
Mike Jacobs, Reno
(.273/.333/.697, 9 G, 9-for-33, 2 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 9 K)
Jacobs also backed into the playoffs, with just three singles and a double in his last 10 regular season games. The former big leaguer answered the bell in the postseason, delivering a PCL-best four home runs and 12 RBIs as Reno rolled to its first championship. Jacobs went deep in the decisive Game 5 of the Aces' semifinal series against Sacramento and homered in Games 1, 2 and 4 of the finals.
Adam Abraham, Akron
(.300/.323/.700, 9 G, 9-for-30, 3 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K)
In his last three seasons, covering 352 games, Abraham legged out exactly two triples. In nine playoff games this September, he had three, to go along with a pair of homers and eight RBIs. (All the other hitters in the EL playoffs managed four triples combined.) After struggling in his first four postseason games, Abraham had three hits and two RBIs in the fifth game of the semifinals, helping the Aeros storm back to win after dropping the first two games. His eighth RBI of the postseason gave Akron a lead it would not relinquish in Game 4 of the Finals.
Mike Zunino, Jackson
(.379/.471/.828, 8 G, 11-for-29, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB, 7 K)
Zunino's remarkable debut half-season ended just shy of a championship, but one could hardly have asked more of the third overall pick in the June Draft. After winning the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top collegiate player at the University of Florida, Zunino reported to Class A Short-Season Everett, where he earned three Player of the Week awards in just 29 games. Jumping up several levels to Jackson, the 21-year-old catcher hit .333/.386/.588 in 15 regular season games, then added a league-leading three homers and 24 total bases in the playoffs.
Chris Swauger, Springfield
(.316/.316/.895, 5 G, 6-for-19, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
Swauger only played in Springfield's semifinal series against Tulsa, but he made quite an impact, most notably in Game 1. With the Cardinals trailing 6-0 after four innings, the 26-year-old outfielder put the team on his back. Swauger blasted three home runs, including a two-run shot in the 10th inning that gave Springfield an 8-6 lead. The Cardinals ultimately outlasted the Drillers in five games and went on to win their first Texas League title.
Jonathan Meyer, Lancaster
(.343/.439/.600, 10 G, 12-for-35, 3 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R, 6 BB, 9 K, 1 SB)
On the final day of the regular season, Meyer clubbed two homers and drove in five runs. It was a sign of things to come. The third baseman, a third-round pick in 2009, drove in 10 runs in 10 games as the JetHawks rolled to their first-ever California League crown. Meyer set the tone for Lancaster in the Finals, collecting three RBIs in a 7-4, Game 1 victory over Modesto, the opening act to a three-game sweep.
Kevan Smith, Winston-Salem
(.333/.400/.667, 6 G, 6-for-18, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K)
After posting the best regular-season record among all full-season Minor League teams, Winston-Salem came up short in the Finals for the second time in three seasons despite the efforts of Smith. The 24-year-old catcher, a seventh-round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2011 Draft, went deep twice and drove in six runs in six games for the Dash. With Winston-Salem facing a 2-0 hole in the Finals, Smith's two-run shot helped the Dash come back to edge Lynchburg, 5-4, in Game 2.
Florida State League
Tyler Collins, Lakeland
(.367/.387/.767, 7 G, 11-for-30, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, 8 K)
As Lakeland battled to its first Florida State League crown since 1992, Collins racked up 23 total bases in seven games -- only his teammate Hernan Perez, with 13, mustered half as many in the FSL playoffs. The 22-year-old Texan helped the Flying Tigers rally from a 2-1 deficit in the Finals and collected the only RBI in the decisive fifth game as Lakeland topped Jupiter, 2-0. Collins' five postseason RBIs came on top of his team-leading 66 during the regular season.
Nick Ramirez, Wisconsin
(.310/.487/.862, 9 G, 9-for-29, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R, 8 BB, 9 K, 1 SB)
Not only did Ramirez collect a league-high four homers, eight extra-base hits, and 10 RBIs for the Timber Rattlers, he delivered when it mattered most. The 23-year-old slugger's two-run double in the seventh proved the difference as Wisconsin beat Fort Wayne, 4-2, in Game 4 of the Finals. The big first baseman even notched his first stolen base of the year in the playoffs as Wisconsin captured its first Midwest League championship since 1984.
South Atlantic League
Austin Barnes, Greensboro
(.458/.462/.833, 6 G, 11-for-24, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 CS)
It's not easy to hit .458 or slug .833 under any circumstances, let alone in the playoffs. Barnes did just that, driving in four runs and scoring three more in Greensboro's playoff run. Three of the backstop's RBIs came in Game 2 of the semifinals as the Grasshoppers outlasted Hagerstown, 7-5, to punch their ticket to the Finals. Barnes had at least two hits in each of the four Finals games -- and fell a triple shy of the cycle in Game 4 -- but the 'Hoppers fell to Asheville.
New York-Penn League
Austin Elkins, Tri-City
(.435/.552/.565, 6 G, 10-for-23, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 K)
Elkins spent most of his postseason on base, collecting 10 hits and six walks in Tri-City's six playoff games. The switch-hitting infielder had at least one hit in each game and a pair in each of the first four contests. Elkins' six runs scored were the most by any player in the NYPL playoffs, but four of them came in the ValleyCats' 16-7 win in Game 3 of the semifinals. Too often he was left on base, as Tri-City fell to Hudson Valley in the Finals.
Tucker Frawley, Vancouver
(.500/.563/.714, 5 G, 7-for-14, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K)
An eighth-round pick out of Coastal Carolina in the June Draft, Frawley struggled in his debut season. The backstop had 15 hits -- all singles -- in 81 at-bats over 26 games for a .185/.280/.185 line. His bat came alive at the right time, however, as the Canadians captured their second consecutive championship. Frawley packed seven hits into his five games and his first career home run (an extra-base hit) helped Vancouver outlast Boise, 12-9, in the decisive third game of the Finals.
Adam Walker, Elizabethton
(.375/.483/.792, 6 G, 9-for-24, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 3 SB)
After a slow start, Walker finished the regular season tied for the league lead with 14 home runs. He didn't let up in the playoffs, going deep three more times (and swiping three bases, one shy of his regular-season total) and driving in seven runs in the E-Twins' run to the title. A third-round pick in the 2012 Draft, Walker had hits in each of Elizabethton's six games and fell a triple shy of the cycle in its playoff opener, a 4-0 win at Danville.
Jeremy Rathjen, Ogden
(.381/.552/.714, 6 G, 8-for-21, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 6 BB, 3 K, 1 CS)
Rathjen led the Pioneer League with 67 runs scored in 68 regular season games, a testament to his .443 on-base percentage, which was tied for first. He kept getting on base, with eight hits and six walks in the Raptors' six games, but only came around to score four times -- two of them on home runs of his own. Rathjen went deep and drove in four runs in Ogden's 13-7 rout in Game 2 of the Finals, but he and the Raptors were held off the board in Game 3 as Missoula claimed the league crown with a 10-0 win.