Mets prospect among leagues' top players for month
Cesar Puello led the EL in all three Triple Crown categories in June. (Will Bentzel/MiLB.com)
By Minor League Baseball | July 10, 2013 1:00 PM ET
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Binghamton Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, who led the Eastern League in all three Triple Crown batting categories, and four others who led their circuits in batting average are among those who have been honored with their league's June Topps Player of the Month award. The Topps Company of New York, N.Y., in conjunction with Minor League Baseball™, announces the winners.
Chris Colabello (29) of Milford, Mass., hit .362 with eight homers and 26 RBIs for the Rochester Red Wings. The first baseman led the International League in average, RBIs, on-base percentage (.451) and with a 1.111 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). Colabello had hits in 20 of his 25 games and ranked third in homers and slugging percentage (.660). The Minnesota Twins signed him as a free agent in February 2012.
Grant Green (25) of Anaheim, Calif., had a pair of 10-game hitting streaks in tying for the Pacific Coast League lead in hits (45) and extra-base hits (18). The Sacramento River Cats second baseman hit .372 and was among the top five in slugging percentage (4th, .645); home runs (4th, seven); and doubles (5th, 10). The Oakland Athletics took Green in the first round (13th overall) out of the University of Southern California in 2009.
Cesar Puello (22) of La Romana, DR, paced all Eastern League players in batting average (.441), home runs (8), RBIs (24), slugging percentage (.897) and OPS (1.362) The Binghamton Mets outfielder tied for the league lead with 21 runs and 15 extra-base hits. Puello had multiple hits in 12 of his 17 June games. The New York Mets signed him as a non-drafted free agent in July 2007.
Ross Stripling (23) of Granbury, Texas, went 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA for the Chattanooga Lookouts. The right-hander led the Southern League in wins and ranked third in innings pitched (35.1). Stripling struck out 29 and walked only four in his six starts. The Los Angeles Dodgers took him in the fifth round in 2012 out of Texas A&M University.
Matt Fields (28) of Seattle, Wash., displayed a lot of power last month, as he led the Texas League in home runs (9), RBIs (25), extra-base hits (15), OPS (1.002) and slugging (.630). The Northwest Arkansas first baseman ranked second in the league with 19 runs. The Kansas City Royals signed Fields as a free agent in October.
Jace Peterson (23) of Moss Bluff, La., had a 14-game hitting streak on his way to batting .389. The Lake Elsinore Storm shortstop led the California League with 25 runs and tied for the circuit lead with four triples. Peterson recorded hits in 24 of 27 games in finishing second in the league in average and hits (37). The San Diego Padres selected him in the supplemental round (58th overall) in 2010 out of McNeese State (LA).
Keury De La Cruz (21) of Villa Hermosa, DR, paced the Carolina League with a .389 batting average, 43 hits and 27 RBIs. The Salem Red Sox outfielder went hitless in his first two June games before going on a 19-game hitting streak. De La Cruz had 16 multiple-hit games and finished third in the league with 10 doubles. The Boston Red Sox signed him as a free agent in February 2009.
David Popkins (22) of San Diego, Calif., had hits in his first dozen games last month on his way to leading the Florida State League with a .413 batting average. The Palm Beach Cardinals outfielder also topped the league with 38 hits. Popkins ranked among the top five in on-base percentage (2nd, .450), OPS (3rd, 1.048); slugging percentage (4th, .598); and runs (5th, 18). The St. Louis Cardinals signed him as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of California-Davis in June 2012.
Tyrone Taylor (19) of Torrance, Calif., had hits in all but two of his 25 games for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The outfielder led the Midwest League in batting average (.438), hits (42), on-base percentage (.513) and OPS (1.159). Taylor finished tied for the league lead with 20 runs and ranked second with nine doubles. The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Taylor in the second round out of high school in 2012.
Tom Murphy (22) of West Monroe, N.Y., led the South Atlantic League with 19 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, a .772 slugging percentage and a 1.172 OPS. The Asheville Tourists catcher tied for the league lead with 12 doubles, ranked third with seven homers and fourth with a .354 batting average. The Colorado Rockies drafted Murphy in the third round out of the University of Buffalo in 2012.