ROUND ROCK, Texas - Colorado Springs Sky Sox first baseman Garrett Cooper and New Orleans Baby Cakes' southpaw Justin Nicolino have been tabbed the Pacific Coast League's Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of July 3-9, the League office announced Monday. Cooper collected at least one hit,
ROUND ROCK, Texas - Colorado Springs Sky Sox first baseman Garrett Cooper and New Orleans Baby Cakes' southpaw Justin Nicolino have been tabbed the Pacific Coast League's Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of July 3-9, the League office announced Monday. Cooper collected at least one hit, RBI and run in five consecutive games, and Nicolino didn't allow a run in two starts.
Cooper had a Minor League Baseball weekly-best 1.613 OPS, slugging 1.000 and reaching base at a .613 clip in seven games. He additionally led PCL players in both doubles (6) and extra-base hits (8), while tying for the lead in runs scored (10) and walks (6). All told, Cooper hit .500 (12-for-24) with two home runs and 11 RBI.
After drawing a season-high three walks on July 3, Cooper either collected multiple hits or RBI in the remaining six contests. The 26-year-old helped division-leading Colorado Springs to a four-game series win over Nashville with seven hits, six of which went for extra bases, and six RBI. Cooper then had five hits and five RBI in a series at Round Rock.
The Auburn product, in his first full season at Triple-A, is the PCL's starting first baseman in the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game presented by CHI Franciscan Health, which will be played Wednesday at the Tacoma Rainiers' Cheney Stadium. Cooper's breakthrough year has seen him place among PCL season leaders in batting average (1st, .366), doubles (1st, 29), RBI (2nd, 82), on-base percentage (2nd, .428), slugging percentage (2nd, .652), extra-base hits (t-2nd, 46) and runs scored (3rd, 64). He is in his fifth season in the Brewers organization after getting selected by Milwaukee in the sixth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. This is his second career Player of the Week award, having previously been honored for the period of July 13-19, 2015 with the Florida State League's Brevard County Manatees.
Nicolino threw 10.2 shutout innings, allowing only six hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in wins against Omaha and Oklahoma City. On July 4 against the Storm Chasers, Nicolino worked five innings, surrendering three singles and facing only two over the minimum in his 59-pitch effort. Five days later, he blanked the Dodgers over 5.2 innings with six strikeouts, once again giving up only three hits.
The 25-year-old has appeared with both New Orleans and Miami in each of the last three years. He has made nine starts for the 'Cakes this year, compiling a 3.49 ERA (49.0 IP, 19 ER) with 17 walks and 33 strikeouts. In 36 career MLB appearances (30 starts), Nicolino has a 4.61 ERA in 173.2 innings. The left-hander was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He got traded to the Marlins in a 12-player deal in November 2012. This is his fourth career Pitcher of the Week. The previous three honors came with the Southern League's Jacksonville Suns, once in 2013 and twice in 2014.