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Minor League Baseball Announces April 2024 Players And Pitchers Of The Month

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MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ANNOUNCES APRIL PLAYERS AND PITCHERS OF THE MONTH

Winners come from 16 organizations; Orioles and Mariners lead with three selections

MiLB Press Release - Minor League Baseball

May 3, 2024 — Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) today announced the Player and Pitcher of the Month Award winners for April in each of the 11 full-season leagues in Major League Baseball’s player development system.

International League (Triple-A)

Norfolk Tides (Orioles) first baseman/outfielder Heston Kjerstad batted .324/.420/.770 and led the league in home runs (10), RBI (26) and slugging percentage (.770). He was second in total bases (57) and OPS (1.190) and third in runs (21). Prior to his April 22 promotion to Baltimore, he recorded six multi-hit games, including a career-high five-hit game that included two doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI on April 3 at Charlotte. Kjerstad, 25, was selected by Baltimore with the second overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas.

Norfolk left-hander Cade Povich went 2-1 with a 1.03 ERA in five starts as he allowed three earned runs on 10 hits over 26.1 innings with a league-best 40 strikeouts. His .116 average against was the lowest among IL pitchers with three or more starts. His 0.76 WHIP was second best among pitchers with three or more starts. Povich, 24, was originally selected by Minnesota in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of the University of Nebraska.

Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)

Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Astros) outfielder/first baseman Joey Loperfido batted .289/.404/.667 and led MiLB in runs (28), while also leading the PCL in home runs (10). He was second in total bases (60), fourth in OPS (1.071) and fifth in slugging percentage (.667). He recorded nine multi-hit games prior to his April 30th promotion to Houston. Loperfido, 24, was selected by Houston in the seventh round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Duke University.

Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) left-hander Jhonathan Diaz was 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five games (four starts) as he struck out 31 batters and walked four over 28.0 innings. His 0.93 WHIP was the lowest among PCL pitchers that made four or more starts. Diaz, 27, was originally signed by Boston as an international free agent out of Valencia, Venezuela, on August 9, 2013.

Eastern League (Double-A)

Somerset Patriots (Yankees) infielder Benjamin Cowles batted .351/.433/.623 and led the league in average (.351), hits (27), doubles (eight), total bases (48), on-base percentage (.433), slugging percentage (.623) and OPS (1.056). He was fourth in runs scored (14). He recorded seven multi-hit games and hit safely in six straight games to start the month and eight straight games to end the month. Cowles, 24, was selected by New York (AL) in the 10th round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of the University of Maryland.

Somerset right-hander Trystan Vrieling went 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts as he held opponents to a .145 average. He struck out 25 and walked six over 24.0 innings. Vrieling, 23, was selected by New York (AL) in the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Gonzaga University.

Southern League (Double-A)

Birmingham Barons (White Sox) shortstop Brooks Baldwin batted .408/.464/.566 and led the league in average (.408), hits (31), doubles (nine) and on-base percentage (.464). He finished second in total bases (43), RBI (15) and OPS (1.030) and was third in slugging percentage (.566). He recorded 10 multi-hit games and had separate hitting streaks of six games and seven games. His four-hit games on April 18 and April 25 are a career-high. Baldwin, 23, was selected by Chicago (AL) in the 12th round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Birmingham right-hander Drew Thorpe went 4-1 with a 1.20 ERA in five starts as he scattered 19 hits and seven walks over a league-best 30.0 innings. He held opponents to a .184 average as he allowed one earned run in his first 20 innings of the season. Thorpe, 23, was originally selected by New York (AL) in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Cal-Poly.

Texas League (Double-A)

Amarillo Sod Poodles (Diamondbacks) first baseman Deyvison De Los Santos batted .376/.430/.682 and led the league in hits (32), home runs (seven) and total bases (58). He was second in average (.376), runs (18) and RBI (18), while finishing third in slugging percentage (.682) and OPS (1.112) and fourth in on-base percentage (.430). He recorded nine multi-hit games and began the year with a seven-game hitting streak. De Los Santos, 20, was signed by Arizona as an international free agent out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on July 2, 2019.

Springfield Cardinals right-hander Tink Hence went 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts as he allowed 13 hits and six walks over 25.2 innings. He led the league with 31 strikeouts and held opponents to a .148 average. His 0.74 WHIP was the best in the league among pitchers with three or more starts. Hence, 21, was selected by St. Louis in Competitive Balance Round B (63rd overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft out of Watson Chapel High School in Watson Chapel, Arkansas.

Midwest League (High-A)

Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins) third baseman/first baseman Rubel Cespedes batted .373/.447/.657 and led the league in slugging percentage (.657). He was second in average (.373), total bases (44), RBI (22) and OPS (1.104) and was third in doubles (seven) and home runs (four). He recorded nine multi-hit games in April. Cespedes, 23, was signed by Minnesota as an international free agent out of Azua, Dominican Republic, on April 29, 2019.

West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers) right-hander Jaden Hamm pitched to a 1.33 ERA in five starts as he allowed 18 hits and a walk over 20.1 innings. He struck out 30, making him the only Minor Leaguer with 30 or more strikeouts and fewer than three walks, and his 1.33 ERA was the lowest in the league among pitchers with more than 14.0 innings pitched. Hamm, 21, was selected by Detroit in the fifth round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of Middle Tennessee State University.

Northwest League (High-A)

Spokane Indians (Rockies) third baseman Kyle Karros batted .333/.443/.530 and led the league in average (.333), slugging percentage (.530) and OPS (.973). He was second in doubles (eight) and on-base percentage (.443) and was third in hits (22), total bases (35) and RBI (14). He recorded seven multi-hit games in April. Karros, 21, was selected by Colorado in the fifth round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of UCLA.

Eugene Emeralds (Giants) right-hander Dylan Cumming went 1-0 with a 0.50 ERA in five games (four starts). He allowed seven hits and four walks over 18.0 innings while striking out 24 as he held opponents to a .123 average. Cumming, 24, was signed by San Francisco as a free agent on February 25, 2023.

South Atlantic League (High-A)

Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles) catcher/first baseman Creed Willems batted .299/.333/.975 and led the league in total bases (43), home runs (tied for the lead with six), RBI (21) and slugging percentage (.642). He finished third in OPS (.975 and fifth in doubles (five). He homered in five of the first seven games and drove in at least one run in the first seven games of April. Willems, 20, was selected by Baltimore in the eighth round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas.

Rome Emperors (Braves) right-hander Owen Murphy went 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in four starts. He scattered nine hits over 24.0 innings while leading the league with 37 strikeouts. His .110 average against and 0.63 WHIP were both the best in the league among starters with 16.0 or more innings pitched. Murphy, 20, was selected by Atlanta in the first round (20th overall) of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Riverside-Brookfield High School in Riverside, Illinois.

California League (Single-A)

Modesto Nuts (Mariners) infielder/outfielder Caleb Cali batted .404/.507/.649 and led the league in average (.404) and slugging percentage (.649). He was second in OPS (1.156) and doubles (seven) and was fourth in hits (23). He posted nine multi-hit games in 15 contests, including four straight games to end the month. Cali, 23, was selected by Seattle in the 16th round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas.

Modesto right-hander Elijah Dale went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts as he allowed eight hits over 18.0 innings while striking out 17. He held opponents to a .129 average. Dale, 23, was selected by Seattle in the 13th round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of Illinois State University.

Carolina League (Single-A)

Fredericksburg Nationals first baseman Brandon Pimentel batted .351/.412/.581 and led all Minor League players with 33 RBI in April. He led the Carolina League in total bases (43) and doubles (eight), was second in slugging percentage (.581) and finished third in hits (26) and fifth in average (.351) and OPS (.993). He recorded nine multi-hit games. Pimentel, 23, was signed by Washington as a free agent out of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians) left-hander Matt Wilkinson dominated Carolina League hitters, going 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA in four starts. He held opponents to six hits (only two for extra bases – both doubles) in 20.2 innings, while striking out a Minor League-best 41 batters (13 more than anyone else in the Carolina League). His .091 average against was the lowest in MiLB in April. He finished April in style, striking out 15 in six innings of no-hit ball against Myrtle Beach on April 25. Wilkinson, 21, was selected by Cleveland in the 10th round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of Central Arizona Junior College.

Florida State League (Single-A)

St. Lucie Mets centerfielder Nick Morabito batted .397/.518/.529 and led the league in average (.397), hits (27), on-base percentage (.518) and OPS (1.047). He was second in total bases (36) and fourth in triples (two), stolen bases (nine) and slugging percentage (.529). He recorded seven multi-hit games and hit in seven straight games to end the month. Morabito, 20, was selected by New York (NL) with a compensation round pick (75th overall) after the second round in the 2022 MLB Draft out of Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C.

Clearwater Threshers (Phillies) right-hander George Klassen went 2-0 and did not allow an earned run in 21.0 innings over four starts. He was the only pitcher in MiLB to pitch more than 20.0 innings without allowing an earned run. He allowed just seven hits (only two for extra bases – both doubles) and five walks while striking out 32 as he held opponents to a .103 average. His .103 average against was the third-best in MiLB and his 0.57 WHIP was the best in MiLB. Klassen, 22, was selected by Philadelphia in the sixth round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of the University of Minnesota.

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About Minor League Baseball 

Minor League Baseball consists of 120 teams across four classification levels (Single-A, High-A, Double-A and Triple-A) that are affiliated with Major League Baseball’s 30 teams. Fans flock to MiLB games to see baseball’s future stars and experience the affordable family-friendly entertainment that has been a staple of MiLB since 1901. For more information, visit MiLB.com. Follow MiLB on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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