The Midwest League announced its year-end award winners Friday, with former Kane County Cougars outfielder Alek Thomas and former Bowling Green Hot Rods shortstop Wander Franco being named the league’s Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year, respectively.
Thomas batted .312 with 36 extra-base hits, 48 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases in 91 games with the Cougars. The Arizona Diamondbacks prospect currently plays for the Visalia Rawhide, for whom he is batting .259 through 14 games.
Franco batted .318 with 27 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 62 games with the Hot Rods. The Tampa Bay Rays prospect currently plays for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, for whom he is batting .329 with 15 extra-base hits and 22 RBI in 47 games. He is considered by many to be the top prospect in baseball.
Great Lakes Loons manager John Shoemaker was named the MWL Manager of the Year. The Loons have a league-best 76-50 record as of Friday afternoon. The team is heading to the playoffs after winning the Eastern Division first-half title.
Besides Thomas and Franco, here are the Midwest League end-of-season all-stars, along with their MWL statistics as of Friday afternoon:
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers catcher David Fry (.259 BA, 17 HR, 41 2B, 68 RBI in 125 games)
Cedar Rapids Kernels first baseman Gabe Snyder (.258 BA, 16 HR, 21 2B, 51 RBI in 105 games)
Fort Wayne TinCaps second baseman Xavier Edwards (.336 BA, 18 XBH, 30 RBI, 20 SB in 77 games)
Great Lakes Loons third baseman Miguel Vargas (.325 BA, 27 XBH, 45 RBI in 70 games)
Lake County Captains outfielder Will Benson (.272 BA, 18 HR, 12 2B, 55 RBI, 18 SB in 62 games)
Lansing Lugnuts outfielder Griffin Conine (.278 BA, 20 HR, 14 2B, 56 RBI in 70 games)
Bowling Green Hot Rods designated hitter Chris Betts (.210 BA, 18 HR, 13 2B, 68 RBI in 103 games)
Bowling Green Hot Rods RHP Caleb Sampen (9-4, 2.75 ERA, 102 Ks in 118 IP/21 GS)
Fort Wayne TinCaps LHP Joey Cantillo (9-3, 1.93 ERA, 128 Ks in 98 IP/19 GS)
Lansing Lugnuts RHP Cre Finfrock (1-1, 4.21 ERA, 15 SV, 46 Ks in 36.1 IP/31 G)
Lake County Captains LHP Skylar Arias (4-1, 1.79 ERA, 3 SV, 71 Ks in 60.1 IP/34 G)