2006 GCL Yankees Hitter Of The Year

Gerardo Rodriguez was a consistent force

It wasn't a banner year for the Gulf Coast League Yankees offensively, especially in comparison to last year's squad. They hit just .243 as a team this year and had just two players accumulate as many as 25 RBI's for the season. But while they struggled as a team, there were a couple of standout performances.

Catcher Brian Baisley had an immediate impact when he was recalled from the Staten Island Yankees. Playing sparingly in the NY-Penn League, Baisley hit .345 with one home run and eight RBI in just 14 games with the GCL Yankees, helping his team to a 14-3 record in August as they barely missed the playoffs.

Struggling to find a consistent stroke all season long, outfieder Melky Mesa did finish the year tied for third on the team in doubles (7) and tied for first in home runs.

But as much as Baisley and Mesa helped their team in 2006, it wasn't enough to crack the top three performances with the Gulf Coast League Yankees this season.

Second baseman Kevin Russo was a consistent offensive force for the GCL Yankees this year. Drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB Draft out of Baylo University, Russo hit .273 and tied three other players for the team lead in home runs with three. His ten doubles ranked second on the team and he finsished third on the team in runs scored (23) and RBI (23).

Unlike Russo, outfielder Josue Calzado did not bring consistency to the plate in 2006. However, what he did bring was an exciting style of play and showed flashes of his potential. The toolsy outfielder hit .250 with three home runs and a team-high ten stolen bases. He ranked second on the team in RBI (26) and finished first in runs scored (31), triples (3), and walks (21).

He hit .361 with two home runs, 14 runs scored, and 15 RBI in his last 16 games with the GCL Yankees before finishing out the season hitting .375 in 12 games with the Charleston Riverdogs.

But as impressive as Calzado was, especially down the stretch, he wasn't nearly as consistent as our "2006 GCL Yankees Hitter of the Year" - Gerardo Rodriguez.

A threat to hit a home run every time he stepped to the plate, Rodriguez hit three home runs and .285, which ranked second on the team among the regular players. His 13 doubles and 28 RBI also ranked first on the team.

Rodriguez also produced in the clutch, hitting a team-high .340 with runners in scoring position and he hit over .300 with runners on base and with two outs.

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