Royals eighth-rounder earns MVP honors after standout first season
Ryan O'Hearn has 28 extra-base hits in 60 games with Rookie-level Idaho Falls this season. (Idaho Falls Chukars)
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 30, 2014 6:07 PM ET
There's nothing quite like a good first impression. Ryan O'Hearn has a knack for making them, it seems.
That's exactly what the left-handed slugger gave the Royals organization this summer en route to winning Pioneer League MVP honors, the Rookie-level circuit announced Saturday.
The Royals selected the 21-year-old first baseman in the eighth round in June out of Sam Houston State University, where he batted .298 with a career-high eight homers as a junior. He made his professional debut with Idaho Falls on June 22, homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 in a 12-4 win over Grand Junction.
From there, it was off to the races. Through Friday nigh, O'Hearn was leading the league with a .598 slugging percentage and 1.047 OPS in 60 games for the Chukars. He also ranked second in batting (.372) and on-base percentage (.449) and fourth with 50 RBIs. His 12 homers eclipsed the 11 he hit over three collegiate seasons.
Despite the team being on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, Idaho Falls led all squads with five postseason All-Stars. O'Hearn was joined by third baseman Mike Hill (.761 OPS), shortstop Corey Toups (.330 average, .965 OPS), outfielder Robert Pehl (.339 average) and right-hander Torey Deshazier (5-2, 2.85 ERA).
Right-hander Jose De Leon was named Pitcher of the Year after a dominant season with the Dodgers affiliate in Ogden.
The 2013 24th-round pick led all Pioneer League hurlers with 77 strikeouts, despite pitching only 54 1/3 innings for the Raptors. His 2.85 ERA and 1.16 WHIP also would lead the circuit had he enough innings under his belt to qualify. De Leon was promoted to Class A Great Lakes earlier this month and is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA and 42 strikeouts in four Midwest League starts.
Here is the complete 2014 Pioneer League All-Star Team
2014 Pioneer League All-Star Team
Jose De Leon†
* Most Valuable Player
† Pitcher of the Year
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.