BILOXI, Miss. - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp have swept this week's Southern League weekly honors, with third baseman David Vidal named the Player of the Week and right-handed pitcher Joe Gunkel named the Pitcher of the Week for July 24-30, announced by the league office Monday morning.
This is the second Player of the Week honor for Vidal, who also earned the accolade for April 17-23. Over the six games, Vidal hit safely in each of them, hitting .391 (9-for-23) with three homers and five runs batted in. Vidal's timely hits against the Mississippi Braves played a key role in Jacksonville securing its first road series win of the season. Against the M-Braves was 8-for-19, with three home runs, five runs batted in, and two doubles, and drove in the deciding runs in all three of Jacksonville's victories at Trustmark Park. This included on Friday July 28, where he became the first Jumbo Shrimp batter to have a multi-homer game, hitting a solo homer in the third inning, and then in the top of the ninth his solo homer to left was the difference in Jacksonville's 4-3 win.
Overall this season, Vidal is hitting .299 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 74 games played for the Jumbo Shrimp. Vidal also had a stint in Triple-A with New Orleans in May and June, where he hit .200 with two homers and 11 RBI in 24 games played. Vidal, 27, is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was signed by the Marlins as a minor league free agent on Oct. 27, 2016.
Gunkel earned the league's Pitcher of the Week honor after a standout start against the Mississippi Braves on Friday July 28. Gunkel worked seven innings where he allowed two unearned runs on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. After he allowed a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning, his next four innings were perfect, getting quick groundball outs to move the game along. After Gunkel left, Jacksonville would win 4-3 thanks to Vidal's ninth inning home run. Gunkel's WHIP of 0.29 was also the lowest in the league for the past week.
Over Gunkel's last two starts, he has not allowed an earned run in 13 innings of work, with six scoreless innings turned in against the Tennessee Smokies on July 21 at the Baseball Grounds.
Overall this season Gunkel is 3-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 17 appearances and 14 starts for the Jumbo Shrimp. Gunkel, 25, was acquired by the Marlins off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 27, and after he was designated for assignment by Miami on June 11 was outrighted to Jacksonville on June 14. This is the first weekly honor for Gunkel in his career.
The Jumbo Shrimp are collecting many weekly honors from the Southern League this year, with Gunkel and Vidal making six awards this season. John Norwood was the Player of the Week from July 10-16, Braxton Lee from June 26 to July 2, and Vidal from April 17-23. Gunkel is the second pitcher to receive the league's Pitcher of the Week award, as Mike Kickham took home the honor for the week of May 22-28.
The Jumbo Shrimp and Biloxi Shuckers will continue their series with the second game of the five-game series on Monday night at MGM Park at 7:35 p.m. ET. Right-handed pitcher Trevor Richards (3-2, 2.90 ERA) will start for Jacksonville against Biloxi right-handed pitcher Jon Perrin (3-2, 3.44).Fans can listen to the game on the Jumbo Shrimp Network presented by Community First, beginning at 7:20 p.m. with the pregame show "Shrimp On Deck" locally on FM 100.3 The Biz and AM 1600, on the TuneIn Radio app, and www.jaxshrimp.com.
ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are beginning a new era of affordable family fun with the 2017 season presented by Community First Credit Union at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. With a new lineup of ticket and group options, there is a reason for everyone to get part of the action by calling the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visiting www.jaxshrimp.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.