With a handful of days remaining in the 2007 season, the Carolina League handed out its end-of-year awards on Thursday, naming its MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Manager of the Year and All-Stars as voted by the eight teams' managers, GMs and media.
Most Valuable Player honors went to center fielder Mitch Einertson of the Salem Avalanche (Astros). Einertson, 21, played all three outfield positions for the Avalanche, who had wrapped up a spot in the postseason with at least a Wild Card bid in the Southern Division. He is leading the league's batting race at .312 and is second in the league with 85 RBIs to go with 11 homers and 40 doubles.
It was the second league MVP award in four pro seasons for Einertson, who was Salem's lone All-Star. A fifth-round pick in 2004, he hit .308 with a league-record 24 homers and 67 RBIs that summer in the Appalachian League. This year, he got off to a slow start in his Class A Advanced debut, batting .163 in April, but kicked into gear with a .400 average in June and was hitting .361 in August.
Pitcher of the Year honors went to left-hander Rowdy Hardy of the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals). Hardy was leading the league in wins at 15-4 and his 2.43 ERA ranked second. In 159 innings he'd walked just 15 while striking out 90. He had three complete games and the league was hitting just .233 against him.
Hardy, who didn't move into the Blue Rocks rotation full-time until early May, was drafted by the Royals in 2006 out of Austin Peay and went on to Pioneer League All-Star honors last summer, with a 2.80 ERA at Idaho Falls. This is his first full season.
Kinston Indians skipper Mike Sarbaugh was named Manager of the Year after leading the club to a first-half Southern Division title and a league-best 81-52 overall record with just under a week remaining. The Indians led Salem in the second half by two games, and a sweep of both halves would set the club up to host all three games in the first round of postseason play.
Sarbaugh led Kinston to the league title last year. The former Minor League infielder played for the team in the early 1990s.
Kinston led the list of All-Stars with four representatives on the 14-player team, not including Sarbaugh himself.
Topping that list was catcher Max Ramirez, who was hitting .303 with 12 homers and 62 RBIs before being traded to Texas in late July for outfielder Kenny Lofton. Third baseman Wes Hodges, a second-round pick from 2006, was hitting .278 with 14 home runs and 67 RBIs, while shortstop Josh Rodriguez made the team, batting .258 with 19 home runs and 80 RBIs. Rounding out the quartet of Kinston All-Stars was closer Scotty Roehl, whose 23 saves led the league to go with a 4-0 record and 2.72 ERA.
Wilmington had three All-Stars. Joining Hardy were infielder Mario Lisson, hitting .278 with eight home runs and 60 RBIs, and outfielder Jose Duarte, who was batting .290 with 40 RBIs.
Lynchburg (Pirates) and Myrtle Beach (Braves) each had two players named to the squad.
For Lynchburg, second baseman Shelby Ford and outfielder Brad Corley were selected. Ford was hitting .281 with five home runs and 55 RBIs, while Corley was batting .285 with 14 home runs and a league-best 89 RBIs (before he was called up to Double-A Altoona).
Myrtle Beach outfielder Jordan Schafer made the team, hitting .286 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs, as did DH Kala Ka'aihue, who was batting .298 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs.
Frederick (Orioles), which won the first-half title in the Northern Division, and Winston-Salem each had one player chosen.
Winston-Salem was represented by first baseman Micah Schnurstein whose 25 homers led the loop, to go with a .278 average and 83 RBIs.
Frederick's All-Star was infielder Ryan Finan, hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs.
Potomac (Nationals) was the lone club in the eight-team league not to have an All-Star representative.
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com.