Ruf's huge season nets MVP honors

Trenton's Franklin earns EL Manager of the Year award

By John Parker / | August 30, 2012 3:21 PM

Reading's Darin Ruf added another highlight to his breakout season, earning the Eastern League MVP and Rookie of the Year awards on Friday.

Ruf, who leads the Eastern League in home runs (37), RBIs (98), extra-base hits (70), total bases (295), slugging percentage (.629), on-base percentage (.412) and OPS (1.041), had gone on a homer binge the last two months in a race to match Ryan Howard's Reading franchise record for homers in a season.

The Phillies' No. 12 prospect is hitting .367 with 19 homers, 31 RBIs and 27 runs scored in 29 games during the month of August. A 20th-round pick out of Creighton in 2009, Ruf owns a career .303/.384/.513 line in 447 Minor League games.

"In my wildest dreams, I would never imagine being in this position," Ruf said last week. "[Howard] has obviously gone on to much greater things at the Major League level, so just being in the same conversation with him is special. It's something I'll be able to tell my kids."

New Britain first baseman Chris Colabello finished as the runner up in the voting for the MVP award.

The league announced its postseason All-Star team on Aug. 24, with a handful of clubs contributing the bulk of the honorees.

Reading and New Britain, currently vying for second place in the Eastern Division behind Trenton, are represented by three players apiece. Phillies prospects Tommy Joseph (catcher), Ruf (first base) and Cesar Hernandez (second base) were the honorees from Reading, while New Britain sent Twins farmhands Deibinson Romero (third base), Aaron Hicks (outfield), and Chris Colabello (designated hitter).

Akron, which leads the Western Division by 6 1/2 games, is represented by outfielder Thomas Neal and top reliever Preston Guilmet.

The starting pitching was a Richmond sweep, with right-hander Chris Heston and southpaw Michael Kickham taking top honors. Heston leads the league in ERA and is fourth in strikeouts, while Kickham ranks fourth and third, respectively.

Top catcher Tommy Joseph began the season with the Flying Squirrels but was acquired by the Phillies in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants.

Erie, Trenton and Altoona were represented by one player each, while Portland, Binghamton, New Hampshire, Bowie and Harrisburg were shut out.

Tony Franklin of the Trenton Thunder was named the Eastern League Manager of the Year.

Eastern League Postseason All-Stars
Tommy Joseph C Reading PHI
Darin Ruf 1B Reading PHI
Cesar Hernandez 2B Reading PHI
Deibinson Romero 3B New Britain MIN
Niuman Romero SS Erie DET
Zoilo Almonte OF Trenton NYY
Aaron Hicks OF New Britain MIN
Thomas Neal OF Akron CLE
Brock Holt UT Altoona PIT
Chris Colabello DH New Britain MIN
Chris Heston RHP Richmond SF
Michael Kickham LHP Richmond SF
Preston Guilmet RP Akron CLE

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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