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Smith named Appy Player of the Year

Osterbrock among six Twins on postseason All-Star team
August 22, 2008
NEW YORK -- Curt Smith is literally in another league when it comes to his 2008 dominance.

The Cardinals' prospect on Friday was named Appalachian League Player of the Year and earned a spot on the circuit's postseason All-Star team.

Smith, who leads the league in hitting with a .378 average, was promoted to Class A Quad Cities the day before the All-Star team were unveiled. The former Johnson City first baseman joined Dan Osterbrock, one of six All-Stars on the Elizabethton Twins, as the top two players in the league. Fourteen players, a manager and a trainer were recognized for their performances this season.

Osterbrock, a seventh-round pick by Minnesota in June, was named Pitcher of the Year. The University of Cincinnati product leads the league with 100 strikeouts and 73 innings pitched and ranks second with seven wins. The 21-year-old southpaw is 7-2 with a 3.08 ERA in a dozen starts, was named Pitcher of the Week on July 7 and has held opponents to a .239 batting average.

Osterbrock struck out 12 batters in consecutive starts on July 24-30. He's fanned at least 10 in five of his last seven starts, allowing 15 earned runs in that span.

Smith, St. Louis' 39th-round pick in June, picked up where he left off at the University of Maine. The 21-year-old hit .403 in his final college season and nearly matched that mark in 47 games for the Cardinals. He left Johnson City after hitting eight homers and leading the league with 49 RBIs.

Smith also was selected as All-Star first baseman, while Osterbrock was named the top left-handed pitcher.

Osterbrock was joined by five Elizabethton teammates -- outfielders Evan Bigley and Angel Morales, designated hitter Jonathan Waltenbury, right-hander Brad Tippett and reliever Mark Hamburger.

Elizabethton's Ryan Hedwell was named Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

Rob Mummau of the Pulaski Mariners was named Manager of the Year. The first-place Mariners were on the brink of clinching a division title in their first year back in the league.

A pair of Mariners were selected as All-Stars -- catcher Juan Fuentes and utility infielder Mario Martinez. Elias Otero of the Princeton Rays was named an All-Star at second base, with Danville Braves third baseman Jon Gilmore and Kingsport Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores rounding out the infield.

Jordan Kendall of the Bristol Sox and Ronnie Welty of the Bluefield Orioles are the other All-Star outfielders.

Bigley ranks second in the league with 14 homers and 46 RBIs. He hit .394 in June and cemented his spot on the All-Star roster last week when he hit two homers and drove in five runs against Princeton.

Tippett opened eyes last season for the Twins with an 0.93 ERA. The Australian was 8-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 this season. Hamburger, a Minnesota native, has 13 saves and 39 strikeouts over 35 2/3 innings.

Morales was the Twins' third-round pick in 2007 and hit .313 in his second Minor League season with Elizabethton. The center fielder leads the Appy League with 15 homers to go with 28 RBIs.

Waltenbury, a 2006 seventh-rounder, is hitting .331 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs.

Fuentes is third in the league in batting at .347 with two homers and 36 RBIs. He was named Topps Appy League Player of the Month for July and was honored as Player of the Week on Aug. 11.

Martinez joined Pulaski after hitting .281 in the Arizona League last season. He is batting .328 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 59 games for the M's.

Otero, the Rays' lone representative, has outshined 2008 No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham. The Puerto Rico native is batting .340 with five homers, 65 hits and 31 RBIs in 51 games.

Gilmore struggled in a brief callup to Class A Rome but dominated at Danville, batting .333 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 63 games.

The Mets' lone selection, Flores hit .386 in June and was named Player of the Week on June 30. He's batting .329 with eight homers and ranks fifth in the league with 41 RBIs.

Kendall was the White Sox's 11th-round pick last year but missed the season due to a broken finger. He's made up for lost time, batting .331 with three homers and 25 RBIs and ranks third in the league with 20 stolen bases in 45 games.

Welty struggled in June, hitting just .220, but got hot thereafter. He has raised his overall average to .315 with two homers and 32 RBIs in 52 contests for Bluefield.

Danny Wild is a contributor to