Williamson, Naile secure season's first awards

Sacramento OF paces PCL in numerous offensive categories; Nashville RHP throws 17.2 shutout innings

Photo Credits: Ralph Thompson / Sacramento River Cats (left), Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds (right).

By Pacific Coast League | April 16, 2018 2:03 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Pacific Coast League announced Monday that Sacramento River Cats outfielder Mac Williamson and Nashville Sounds right-hander James Naile have been named the Player and Pitcher of the Week for the extended season-opening period of April 5-15.  

Williamson entered play today at or near the top of the PCL in every major offensive category, including batting average (.548, 1st), home runs (five, 1st), hits (17, t-1st), total bases (35, t-1st), RBI (14, t-1st) and extra-base hits (eight, t-2nd). Additionally, the outfielder leads all full-season Minor League players in slugging percentage (1.129), on-base percentage (.659) and OPS (1.788).

The 27-year-old recorded a hit in all nine games, a stretch that featured seven consecutive contests with at least one hit, one run scored and one RBI. Williamson's first homer of the season came as part of a three-hit, three-RBI effort in an April 6 win at Tacoma. After a pair of games in which he combined for five hits, including his only three doubles, he began a streak of four consecutive games with a home run, from April 10 through April 14. The last of those games, Williamson contributed two hits, three RBI and two runs scored as part of the River Cats' 12-run attack on April 14 against Tacoma. He capped his week by reaching base a season-best five times, three via hits and two via walks, on April 15, also versus the Rainiers.

Video: Cats' Willamson homers in fourth straight

The Wake Forest University product has been in the Giants organization for his entire seven-year career after San Francisco selected him in third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Williamson has spent parts of each of the last four seasons in Sacramento, hitting .264 (206-for-780) with 38 home runs and 137 RBI in 211 games. The Florida native has also appeared in 92 career Major League contests, all coming over the 2015-17 seasons, hitting .226 (48-for-212) with nine homers and 22 RBI. This is his second career Player of the Week award, having previously been honored by the California League in 2013 with Single-A San Jose.

Naile made three starts and did not allow a run over 17.2 innings, walking only two batters and striking out 15. He is the only pitcher in Minor League Baseball to have begun the season with more than 15 innings of shutout ball. Naile's season began on Opening Day in New Orleans; he went five shutout innings, surrendering just three hits and striking out five. Naile picked up where he left off in his next outing, shutting out the Iowa Cubs over 5.2 innings, while striking out three on April 10 in Nashville. The 25-year-old saved his best effort for last, tossing a seven-inning complete game shutout against Omaha on April 15 - the first complete game in the PCL this year. Naile fanned seven, allowed only five hits (all singles) and a walk.

Video: James Naile goes seven in complete game win

The right-hander was selected by the Athletics in the 20th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to this campaign, Naile made only two other Triple-A starts, both in 2016. He spent last year at Double-A Midland but missed nearly two months of the season with injuries. When healthy, Naile appeared in 14 games (10 starts) and pitched to a 3.21 ERA (61.2 IP, 22 ER). He entered this season tabbed by Baseball America as Oakland's No. 26 prospect. In his professional career, Naile has gone 17-14 with a 3.00 ERA (273.1 IP, 91 ER), 64 walks and 215 strikeouts. This is his first career Pitcher of the Week.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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