ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A half dozen players who led their leagues in batting average last month, and a Double-A pitcher who is now in the Majors after going 5-0, are among the July Topps Players of the Month.
The Topps Company of New York, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball, announces the winners.
Andy Marte (25) of Villa Tapia, Dominican Republic, led the International League in all three Triple Crown categories last month. The Columbus Clippers third baseman hit .385 with nine homers and 24 RBIs in 21 games. He also had 20 runs and 11 doubles. The Cleveland Indians, who obtained him in a 2006 trade with Boston, brought him up on July 28.
Allen Craig (25) of Temecula, Calif., had hits in 18 of 23 games, including 10 multi-hit ones for the Memphis Redbirds. The left fielder, who has also played both corner infield positions this season, led the Pacific Coast League with 10 homers and tied for third in the loop with 26 RBIs. In addition to his .390 batting average, Craig had 22 runs, four doubles and a triple. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the eighth round out of the University of California-Berkeley in 2006.
Brian Matusz (22) of Cave Creek, Ariz., complied a 1.85 ERA in winning all five of his starts for the Bowie Baysox. The left-hander held Eastern League batters to a .200 average and fanned 30 in 34 innings. Matusz allowed more than four hits in just one of his starts. The Baltimore Orioles, who selected Matusz with the fourth overall pick in June 2008 out of the University of San Diego, promoted him to the Majors earlier this month.
Jason Heyward (20) of McDonough, Ga., made quite an impression after being promoted to the Mississippi Braves at the end of June. All the outfielder did in his first full month in the Southern League was lead it with a .425 batting average and 58 total bases. Heyward had multiple-hit games in a dozen of his 22 games. He had 11 doubles, two triples, three homers and 17 runs. The Atlanta Braves picked Heyward
with the 14th overall pick out of Henry County (GA) High School in 2007.
Chris Carter (22) of Las Vegas, Nev., led the Texas League with a .365 average in July. The Midland RockHounds first baseman had six doubles, four homers, 20 RBIs and 19 runs in 25 games. Carter ended July on a 14-game hitting streak. The Oakland Athletics acquired him in a December 2007 trade with Arizona.
Joey Butler (23) of Moss Point, Miss., hit in 20 of 29 California League games for the Bakersfield Blaze. The right-fielder hit .303 with eight doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs and 25 runs. The Texas Rangers drafted Butler in the 15th round in 2008 out of the University of New Orleans.
Chris Marrero (21) of Miami, Fla., is another first baseman who led his league in batting. He hit .354 with five home runs and 17 RBIs for the Potomac Nationals. He also paced the Carolina League in total bases with 58. Marrero had 10 multiple hit games and added seven doubles and a triple. The Washington Nationals, who selected Marrero with the 15th overall pick out of Monsignor Pace High School in Florida in 2006, promoted him to Double-A on August 18.
Stephen Susdorf (23) of Newhall, Calif., played only 39 games for the Clearwater Threshers after being promoted from Lakewood, before earning another one. Susdorf finished second in the Florida State League with his .368 average last month with 14 runs, eight doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs. He recorded hits in 23 of 26 games, prompting the Philadelphia Phillies, who took Susdorf in the 19th round in 2008 out of Fresno State University, to move him up to Double-A Reading earlier this month.
Rebel Ridling (23) of Sentinel, Okla., led the Midwest League with 24 RBIs and was second with five home runs for the Peoria Chiefs. The first baseman finished fourth with a .355 average and had six doubles, a triple and 17 runs in 27 July games. The Chicago Cubs selected Ridling in the 25th round out of Oklahoma State University in 2008.
Corban Joseph (20) of Franklin, Tenn., topped the South Atlantic League with his .410 average in July.The Charleston RiverDogs infielder, who has split his time in the field between second and third, had eight doubles, two triples, a pair of homers and 21 RBIs. Joseph had 13 multiple hit games, including a stretch of six in a row from July 20-26 when he was 18-for-27 at the plate. The New York Yankees drafted him in the fourth round out of Franklin (Tenn.) High School in 2008.
John Murrian (21) of Summerville, S.C., hit a New York-Penn League best .375 with eight doubles, a triple
and four roundtrippers in 23 games. The Oneonta Tigers catcher's 23 RBIs were second in the league. The Detroit Tigers took Murrian in the ninth round in June out of Winthrop University.
Drew Biery (23) of Arlington, Texas, hit .365 with four homers and 24 RBI for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
His average and runs batted in totals were fourth best in the Northwest League. Biery, who had at least two
hits in 14 of his 25 July games, also had seven doubles, a triple and scored 22 runs. The San Francisco Giants tabbed Biery with their 22nd round pick out of Kansas State University in June.
Brady Shoemaker (22) of Brazil, Ind., started his professional career with a 28-game hitting streak for the
Bristol White Sox. The outfielder hit .429 in July, second best in the Appalachian League. In 20 games last month, Shoemaker had nine doubles, five roundtrippers, 19 RBIs and 16 runs. The Chicago White Sox took him in the 19th round in June out of Indiana State University.
Jerry Sands (21) of Clayton, N.C., tied for the Pioneer League lead with nine homers and 27 RBIs with the
Ogden Raptors in July. The outfielder hit .333 with 27 runs, seven doubles and a triple in 27 games. Sands saw his 13-game hit streak end July 9. After a few hitless games, he then had an 11-gamer from July 13-25. The Los Angeles Dodgers tabbed Sands in the 25th round out of Catawba (NC) College in 2008.
Cody Decker (22) of Santa Monica, Calif., led the Arizona League with nine homers in July. His 33 RBIs tied for the league-lead, while his .378 average with the Padres was third best in the circuit. Decker had seven doubles, a triple and 26 runs in 25 games. The San Diego Padres drafted him in the 22nd round in June out of UCLA.
Marcell Ozuna (18) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, finished second in the Gulf Coast League with a .396 average for the Marlins. His 21 RBI tied for the league lead. Ozuna led the GCL in total bases with 62, thanks in large part to his 15 doubles. The Florida Marlins inked him as a free agent in February 2008.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.