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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 11:55 am 
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There wasn't much competition as it came to players of the year this year for the Featherheads farm. We saw some outright amazing performances specifically in AAA Chesapeake in almost every position. The offensive stars of the "Oyster Experience" as it was described at the park were Jose Villarreal, Leon Brunskill, and Larry Palmer. The pitching stars were, of course, Luppe van Dam and Juan Acosta. The AAA championship winning squad put together an outstanding and exciting year. Fans in Jacksonville definitely have a lot to look forward to from this young nexus of players chomping at the bit to find their ways up on the 40 man roster.

Minor League Players of the Year

Jose Villareal (LF)
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(.285/.345/.407) ... 87 stolen bases, 5.6 WAR

Villareal was undoubtedly one of the breakout stars of the year. Coming from near obscurity, Villareal busted onto the scene after being used primarily in a backup fashion for most of the past two seasons. In his age 24 season, Jose showed that he was ready for the show by amassing a record number of stolen bases (87) while only being caught 13 times. He was no slouch at the plate, either. With a batting average nearing .300 and 38 doubles, Jose showed that he could be a fantastic lead-off presence for the team. If anything, the amount of doubles he hit only limited his ability to steal even more bases! As a truly exciting player to watch we are looking forward to seeing how Jose's career evolves.

Luppe Van Dam (SP)
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(1.79 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 181 IP)... 6.3 WAR

Coming into the year, many believed Luppe Van Dam to be one of the premiere minor league arms. Signing for an egregious 7 million dollar signing bonus during the 2024 international free agency period, Van Dam had always had expectations from those in the stands, but it hadn't quite come to fruition through his first 3 seasons. At only 20 years old, Van Dam had moved quickly through the ranks of the lower minors but not exactly lighting the world on fire, so the promise of Van Dam was mostly in regards to the dreams of scouts and what they saw in the surprisingly diminutive (6 ft, 175 lbs) Dutch arm. Well, those promises and dreams seem to have manifested into reality this year. The currently ranked #3 prospect made himself a fixture in the household lexicon of the Featherhead faithful with a masterful demolition of the competition in his age 20 season. 2 time pitcher of the month award and the AAA Outstanding Pitcher Award now don his trophy cabinet but Luppe has his sights set on the mound in Jacksonville. For many fans, that dream cannot come soon enough and the young phenom looks as though he has nothing left to prove. We here would be very surprised to not see him take that next step and move up and, dare we say, even start the home opener of the 2029 campaign? We can dream... just like the scouts who drool over every single one of his 6 plus pitches...

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Ken Hannahs -- Featherheads GM
2025 PEBA Champion


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:52 pm
Posts: 1235
Location: Spokane, Washington State, United States of America
Nice to see a former Gnat having success

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RJ Ermola
Vice President and General Manager of Baseball Operations
Crystal Lake Sandgnats

*2024 PEBA Champions*


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