Lake Elsinore infielder, Rancho right-hander named top player, pitcher
Luis Urias is a career .313 hitter through three seasons in the Minor Leagues. (Ben Sandstrom)
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 24, 2016 2:30 PM
The comparisons may not be fair, but on Wednesday the California League made it official. Luis Urias is the Class A Advanced circuit's version of Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki.
The Lake Elsinore infielder was named California League MVP and Rookie of the Year and also took the second base spot on the league's end-of-season All-Star team, the circuit has announced. Rancho Cucamonga right-hander Joshua Sborz earned Pitcher of the Year honors.
Consideredthe Padres' No. 11 prospect by MLB.com, Urias ranks second in the Cal League with a .324 average and is tied for third with 136 hits. He has a .324/.392/.426 line with five homers, three triples, 22 doubles, 40 RBIs and seven steals in 108 games for the Storm. His most standout skills, however, may be his strike-zone discipline and ability to make consistent contact. With only 35 strikeouts in 478 plate appearances, he's the only qualified Cal League hitter with a strikeout percentage in the single digits at 7.1 percent. The 19-year-old, who has played some third base and shortstop with Lake Elsinore but received 69 of his 101 starts at second base, is also the only Cal League qualifier with more walks (41) than strikeouts.
Sborz made for a relatively easy Pitcher of the Year pick after leading the Cal League in both ERA (2.66) and WHIP (1.03) with Rancho Cucamonga before being promoted to Double-A Tulsa earlier this month. He also led the circuit with a 3.56 FIP and ranked fourth with a 9.0 K/9 through 108 1/3 innings with the Quakes.
Bakersfield's Kyle Petty -- the league leader with a .330 average -- took the All-Star spot at first base. OPS leader Ramon Laureano (.945) represented Lancaster by taking one of the three outfield spots, while home run leader and Rancho Cucamonga slugger Johan Mieses (27) made the team as the DH. Modesto right-hander Yency Almonte joined Sborz as one of four pitchers on the All-Star squad after leading the Cal League with 134 strikeouts in 138 1/3 innings with the Nuts before his promotion to Double-A Hartford.
Here is the complete list of 2016 California League end-of-season All-Stars and award winners:
* Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year
† Pitcher of the Year
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.