West Michigan Whitecaps first baseman Will Maddox and Peoria Chiefs right-hander Ryan Helsley respectively were named the Midwest League offensive player and pitcher of the week for the period of April 18-24.
Although he drove in only two runs during that timeframe, Maddox earned his honor by batting a robust .611 (11-for-18). He is third in the Midwest League in batting average with a .404 average in 12 games. The two players ahead of him are Bowling Green Hot Rods second baseman Jake Cronenworth (.414 in 15 games) and Fort Wayne TinCaps catcher Austin Allen (.509 in 15 games), who was this season’s first MWL offensive player of the week.
Helsley earned his honor by hurling a masterpiece Friday against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out a career-high 11 batters in six scoreless innings.
Reed fans 11 in MWL debut
Kane County Cougars left-hander Cody Reed was impressive in his Midwest League debut Sunday, striking out 11 batters in 5.1 innings, including eight in a row. He gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits, walked none, and hit one batter.
The Quad Cities River Bandits won the game 3-1, with winning pitcher Alex Winkelman scattering six hits and a walk while striking out three batters in five innings.
Cougars infielder Robelys Reyes went 4-for-4 with a double.
Blair makes MLB debut
Aaron Blair, the former South Bend Silver Hawks hurler who pitched seven no-hit innings for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves last week, made his major-league debut for Atlanta against the New York Mets on Sunday. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. He struck out one and took the loss.
Blair made nine starts for the 2013-14 Silver Hawks, going 1-4 with a 3.88 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 18 walks in 53.1 innings. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded him to the Braves in December.
In an interesting coincidence, I saw Blair pitch in South Bend against then-Bowling Green Hot Rods hurler Blake Snell, who made his MLB debut for the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. I wrote about Snell’s debut here.