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Offensive Players of the Week

For the week ending June 22
June 23, 2008
International League
Jonathan Van Every, Pawtucket
.318 (7-18), 5 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 11 SO, 0 SB, .864 SLG
Van Every, who played in one game with the Boston Red Sox this season, started off his first month with Pawtucket with some success, hitting around .300. Van Avery proceeded with a slow April in which he hit only .253, but picked it up again in June with a .315 average. Van Avery hit home runs in the first two games of the week and added two blasts in the final two, the most recent coming Sunday in the form of a 10th inning walk-off moon shot that sent Pawtucket to an 8-6 win over Columbus. Backed by Van Every's 17 home runs, fourth best in the International League, the Red Sox have the IL's best record (47-31) and won five of six games this past week.

Pacific Coast League
Chris Davis, Oklahoma
.370 (10-27), 7 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB, .926 SLG
After spending nearly the first two months with the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders, hitting .333 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs, Davis was promoted to the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks. Davis' first seven games with the RedHawks finished out May, but he hit just .261. However, in June, Davis has been enjoying more success than he had in Double-A, as the first baseman is hitting .388 with nine homers and 25 RBIs in just 22 games this month. Davis' biggest performance of the week came Wednesday when he went 2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs in Oklahoma's 13-9 win over Nashville. Davis leads the Minor Leagues in RBIs (73) and run scored (68).

Nelson Cruz, Oklahoma
.565 (13-23), 10 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO, 2 SB, .826 SLG
Nelson is no stranger to hitting for average, especially when May was his worst month at a .292 clip. After hitting .380 in April, Cruz has even topped that this month by batting .420 in June. Over the course of the past week, the right fielder had a hit in each of his appearances, while four of the six where multi-hit games. Cruz currently ranks sixth in the Minor Leagues in home runs (21), second in runs scored (65) and eighth in RBIs (60). This past week, Cruz scored 10 runs and swiped two bases.

Eastern League
Trevor Crowe, Akron
.464 (13-28), 9 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 2 SB, .821 SLG
With limited at bats due to injury in April and June, Crowe wasn't able to find his stroke in the first two months. The outfielder hit less than .160 in a total of 15 games, but has since been able to turn it around. Crowe, who is regarded by many as one of the top prospects in the Cleveland Indians organization, has gotten back into the lineup and has played more games (18) in June than previously the entire season. In those games, he is hitting .377 and brought his batting average back up to .281. Crowe, who mainly finds himself hitting in the lead-off position, had the biggest day of his week Friday when he went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and a home run.

<%-- POLL --%>

Who was the top hitter in the Minors last week?
Jonathan Van Every
Chris Davis
Nelson Cruz
Trevor Crowe
Jake Fox
Ben Harrison
Christopher Carter
Leonard Davis
Cory Patton
Matthew Liuzza
Brandon Menchaca
Michael Stanton
Gerardo Rodriguez
Ernie Banks
Collin Cowgill
Neftali Soto
<%-- END POLL --%> Southern League
Jake Fox, Tennessee Smokies
.550 (11-20), 6 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 1 SO, 0 SB
After starting off the season with Triple-A Iowa, where he struggled with a .222 batting average, Fox was sent down to Double-A Tennessee. With the Smokies, Fox is making the case to be brought back up, particularly with his performance last week. In the first game of the week, Fox went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a home run in Tennessee's 13-0 victory over Mobile, then followed up with three more RBIs in a loss to Mobile the next day. With Tennessee, where he has played 43 games, Fox is batting .260 with five home runs and 27 RBIs.

Texas League
Ben Harrison, Frisco RoughRidgers
.500 (14-28) 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SO, 4 SB
While Harrison has hit for average the entire season, last week the left fielder did just about everything. Most notably was his performance against Midland on Monday in which he went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two home runs. Harrison's three home runs and four stolen bases this week epitomize the unique combination of power and speed that he's shown all year. Harrison has 13 home runs and 45 RBIs as well as 14 stolen bases this season.

California League
Christopher Carter, Stockton
.360 (9-25), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, 1.080 SLG
Carter has been a power-hitting mainstay for the Ports, and this past week was just another display for the designated hitter. Carter, who currently ranks sixth in home runs in the Minor Leagues with 20, blasted four more this week for Stockton and added 11 RBIs. Carter had back-to-back four RBI days on Thursday and Friday, hitting three home runs in the process. In addition, the slugger saw his batting average rise from .226 to .242 over the course of the past week.

Carolina League
Leonard Davis, Potomac
.526 (10-19), 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, .947 SLG
It isn't a wonder that Davis is hitting .342 on the year when he is having weeks like this at the plate. Davis was by far the hardest out in the P-Nats lineup this past week, as he hit .526 in 19 at-bats. The former eighth round pick of the Montreal Expos recorded at least one hit in each of the past six games, while adding four RBIs and two home runs, bringing his totals up for the season to 13 and 35, respectively. Davis' biggest game of the week came Saturday in Potomac's 6-2 win over Frederick in which he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run.

Florida State League
Cory Patton, Dunedin
.500 (9-18), 5 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, 1.056 SLG
Patton has been the guy to steadily get on base for Dunedin all season, as he is batting a consistent .314 on the year. While he can drive in runs, this week was definitely above average. His six RBIs last week brought his season total to 31. Meanwhile, Patton was up to the usual consistency at the plate, where he had multi-hit games in all four of his appearances this week.

Midwest League
Matthew Liuzza, Lansing
.545 (6-11), 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, 1.182 SLG
For the first couple of months this season, the Lansing catcher had been batting in the mid-.200s. While Liuzza isn't a stranger to making plays behind the plate, the month of June proved to be a boost for him at the plate. This month Liuzza is hitting an incredible .377 and brought up his batting average to .282 in the process. Liuzza's biggest game came Saturday when he went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a home run.

Brandon Menchaca, Dayton
.400 (6-15), 4 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, 1.067 SLG
It can be amazing what a player can accomplish in a week, just take Menchaca for example. Menchaca was batting a lowly .151 with just three RBIs. After the week, Menchaca brought his batting average up to .181 and tripled his RBI total to nine. In three of his four games played this week, the outfielder posted two RBIs.

South Atlantic League
Michael Stanton, Greensboro
.438 (7-16), 5 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, 1.125 SLG
Stanton came into the week as one of the Grasshoppers' biggest weapons in the lineup. On Saturday, he was the hero. Stanton, who had been held hitless in the game, came to the plate in the ninth inning of a tie game against Lexington and delivered the game-winning home run to give the Grasshoppers a 4-3 win. While Stanton only played in four games this week, his three home runs and six RBIs were crucial to Greensboro. Stanton is hitting .291 on the year with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Appalachian League
Gerardo Rodriguez, Danville
.333 (9-27), 5 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, .852 SLG
As the Danville Braves opened up their season this week, Rodriguez was out to make a statement. In just the second game of the season, Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with two home runs and seven RBIs. The first baseman had at least one hit in all of his games thus far except one, and closed out the opening week with a home run Sunday against Greeneville. Rodriguez's four home runs is an Appalachian League high.

New York-Penn League
Ernie Banks, Jamestown
.529 (9-17), 4 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, .765 SLG
Banks opened up Jamestown's year with a big boost at the plate, as the first baseman posted multi-hit games in all contests but one. Banks' timely hitting has led the Jammers to victories in four of their first five games. The 2007 Draft pick out of Michigan State is off to a booming start, hitting .529 with five RBIs.

Northwest League
Collin Cowgill, Yakima
.292 (7-24), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, .750 SLG
Cowgill probably couldn't have hoped for a better start to his professional career, as the first-year player out of Kentucky has already made an impact on his Yakima Bears. Cowgill has been quick to post the numbers thus far this season, as he has already blasted three home runs and knocked in nine RBIs. After going hitless in his debut, Cowgill went on to record at least one hit in every game for the remainder of last week, including home runs that proved to be pivotal in wins over Salem-Keizer.

Pioneer League
Neftali Soto, Billings
.481 (13-27), 7 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, 1.111 SLG
Soto has gotten off to an extremely fast start for Billings by recording at least one hit in each of their games so far, including three games with at least three base knocks. In the second game of the season Wednesday, Soto led Billings to its second consecutive victory to begin the season when he went 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs. His four home runs and nine RBIs are tops in the Pioneer League.

Ari Wasserman is an associate reporter for