Edwar Gonzalez Had 6 HRs in July
Loaded with top hitting prospects like Eric Duncan, Marcos Vechionacci, Tim Battle, and others, along with seasoned minor league veterans like Mitch Jones, Mike Vento, and Shelley Duncan, it was a surprising month of July for top honors as the "PinstripesPlus.com Hitter of the Month". And the winner is....
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OF, Edwar Gonzalez - The Riverdogs' outfielder has had to carry the offensive burden in Charleston after the promotions of Justin Christian and Cody Ehlers to Tampa, while other Riverdogs' batters like Ben Jones (.216 with 2 HRs & 7 RBI in July) and Tim Battle (.243 in July) struggled last month. Gonzalez, thrust into a starting role in July after seeing action in just 11 games in the first two months of the season, hit .308 with 6 home runs and 22 RBI last month for Charleston.
Only Shelly Duncan had more home runs among the Yankees' minor leaguers last month and only Brett Gardner and Cody Ehlers had higher batting averages in July. Gonzalez improved his batting average to .377 with runners in scoring position on the year. While he might not have the hype of a top prospect, he surely turned in the production of one last month.
OF, Brett Gardner, Staten Island - Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Gardner got off to a slow start to his professional career, hitting just .200 in his first 9 games with the Staten Island Yankees. Seemingly just getting his feet wet, Gardner turned it around in July. He hit .316 in 28 games last month as only Tampa's Cody Ehlers had a higher batting average in July. He drew 15 walks, stole 8 bases, and drove in 17 runs, all from the leadoff position.
His three home runs in July were as many as top hitting prospect Eric Duncan's and he had more than twice as many RBI as Duncan last month. Throw in the fact that he scored 26 runs in 28 games, more than any other Yankees' prospect in July, a strong argument could be made to give Gardner the top hitting honors.
OF, Kevin Reese, Columbus - Reese had a Gardner-like month of July for the Columbus Clippers. Hitting .296 last month, Reese also had three home runs and drove home 18 runs. He stole six bases and drew 14 walks of his own. His 20 runs scored in 27 games for Columbus ranked 2nd among the Yankees' positional prospects in July.
OF, Jonathan Poterson, Staten Island - Poterson lead all Yankees' prospects in July with 25 RBI and 13 doubles. He hit .287 in 29 games for Staten Island, scoring 17 runs and hitting four home runs. 17 of his 35 RBI with Staten Island this year have come with runners in scoring position and with two outs. Only a 2-20 slide in the final week of the month prevented Poterson from taking the top honor.
2B, Justin Christian, Tampa - Christian hit .307 in July with 15 runs scored in 26 games for the Tampa Yankees, truly an amazing stat considering their anemic offense as of late. He drew 12 walks and wreaked havoc on the base paths, stealing 9 bases last month. Only Jose Tabata of the Gulf Coast League Yankees stole more bases in July. His .396 batting average with runners in scoring position and his .481 average with runners in scoring position and with two outs are indicative of his value to the Tampa team.
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