Former Cedar Rapids Kernels shortstop Royce Lewis is the 2018 Midwest League Prospect of the Year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)
With less than three weeks left before the playoffs begin, the Midwest League announced its postseason awards Friday. Former Peoria Chiefs third baseman Elehuris Montero was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, former Cedar Rapids Kernels shortstop Royce Lewis the Prospect of the Year, and Bowling Green Hot Rods skipper Craig Albernaz the MWL Manager of the Year.
Montero, who turns 20 Friday, batted .321 with 15 homers, 28 doubles and 69 RBI in 102 games with the Chiefs before being promoted to High-A on August 7. The St. Louis Cardinals prospect was named the Midwest League Player of the Month for July, during which he batted .359 with five homers, 10 doubles and 20 RBI in 25 games.
Montero is the third Chiefs player to win the league’s MVP award. The others were Albert Pujols in 2000 and Pablo Ozuna in 1998.
Lewis, who turned 19 in June, batted .315 with nine homers, 23 doubles, 53 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 75 games with the Kernels this season before being promoted to High-A last month. The Minnesota Twins prospect was last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick.
Albernaz is in his first season as manager of the Hot Rods, who currently have the best record in the Midwest League (78-44). Bowling Green won the first-half Eastern Division title.
Of the 16 MWL teams, only six are represented on this year’s end-of-season All-Star team. In addition to the Chiefs, Hot Rods and Kernels, postseason All-Star honors also went to players from the Kane County Cougars, the Dayton Dragons and the Fort Wayne TinCaps. (One of the pitchers, Tommy Romero, currently pitches for the Hot Rods, but began the season with the Clinton LumberKings.) The full list is as follows, with their MWL stats as of Friday (except for the two players already mentioned above):
First Base: Peoria’s Yariel Gonzalez (.308 BA, 10 HR, 32 XBH, 61 RBI in 102 games)
Second Base: Bowling Green’s Vidal Brujan (.313 BA, 5 HR, 28 XBH, 41 RBI, 43 SB in 95 games)
Third Base: Peoria’s Elehuris Montero
Shortstop: Cedar Rapids’ Royce Lewis
Outfield: Cedar Rapids’ Alex Kirilloff (.333 BA, 13 HR, 38 XBH, 56 RBI in 65 games), Kane County’s Ernie De La Trinidad (.311 BA, 8 HR, 56 RBI in 91 games) and Bowling Green’s Moises Gomez (.277 BA, 13 HR, 47 XBH, 67 RBI in 107 games)
Catcher: Bowling Green’s Ronaldo Hernandez (.287 BA, 18 HR, 38 XBH, 73 RBI in 97 games)
Designated Hitter: Dayton catcher Hendrik Clementina (.268 BA, 17 HR, 52 RBI in 82 games)
Right-handed Starting Pitcher: Bowling Green’s Tommy Romero (9-4, 3.01 ERA, 122 Ks in 113.2 IP/22 starts)
Left-handed Starting Pitcher: Fort Wayne’s Osvaldo Hernandez (11-4, 1.81 ERA, 94 Ks in 109.2 IP/21 G/19 starts)
Right-handed Relief Pitcher: Dayton’s John Ghyzel (3.49 ERA, 52 Ks, 18 saves in 38.2 IP/38 G)
Left-handed Relief Pitcher: Fort Wayne’s Travis Radke (1.74 ERA, 77 Ks, 14 saves in 57 IP/35 G)
Former Clinton LumberKings/current Bowling Green Hot Rods pitcher Tommy Romero was named an end-of-season MWL All-Star. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)