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O'Hearn heads Pioneer League All-Stars

Royals eighth-rounder earns MVP honors after standout first season
August 30, 2014

There's nothing quite like a good first impression. Ryan O'Hearn has a knack for making them, it seems.

That's exactly what the left-handed slugger gave the Royals organization this summer en route to winning Pioneer League MVP honors, the Rookie-level circuit announced Saturday.

The Royals selected the 21-year-old first baseman in the eighth round in June out of Sam Houston State University, where he batted .298 with a career-high eight homers as a junior. He made his professional debut with Idaho Falls on June 22, homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 in a 12-4 win over Grand Junction.

From there, it was off to the races. Through Friday nigh, O'Hearn was leading the league with a .598 slugging percentage and 1.047 OPS in 60 games for the Chukars. He also ranked second in batting (.372) and on-base percentage (.449) and fourth with 50 RBIs. His 12 homers eclipsed the 11 he hit over three collegiate seasons.

Despite the team being on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, Idaho Falls led all squads with five postseason All-Stars. O'Hearn was joined by third baseman Mike Hill (.761 OPS), shortstop Corey Toups (.330 average, .965 OPS), outfielder Robert Pehl (.339 average) and right-hander Torey Deshazier (5-2, 2.85 ERA).

Right-hander Jose De Leon was named Pitcher of the Year after a dominant season with the Dodgers affiliate in Ogden.

The 2013 24th-round pick led all Pioneer League hurlers with 77 strikeouts, despite pitching only 54 1/3 innings for the Raptors. His 2.85 ERA and 1.16 WHIP also would lead the circuit had he enough innings under his belt to qualify. De Leon was promoted to Class A Great Lakes earlier this month and is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA and 42 strikeouts in four Midwest League starts.

Here is the complete 2014 Pioneer League All-Star Team

2014 Pioneer League All-Star Team
C Julian Leon Ogden LAD
1B Ryan O'Hearn* Idaho Falls KC
2B Jake Peter Great Falls CWS
3B Mike Hill Idaho Falls KC
SS Corey Toups Idaho Falls KC
OF Aristides Aquino Billings CIN
OF Justin Williams Missoula ARI
OF Robert Pehl Idaho Falls KC
DH Trevor Mitsui Missoula ARI
P Jose De Leon† Ogden LAD
P Dan Stone Great Falls CWS
P Tyler Mahle Billings CIN
P Torey Deshazier Idaho Falls KC
P Michael Bolaski Orem LAA
MGR Anthony Sanders Grand Junction COL
* Most Valuable Player
† Pitcher of the Year

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to