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Miracle garner league awards

August 23, 2013
Special to the Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Florida State League All-Star team for 2013 was announced Thursday by league president Chuck Murphy and the Fort Myers Miracle are well-represented.

Doug Mientkiewicz was named Manager of the Year while left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers, catcher Matt Koch and designated hitter Kennys Vargas also earned honors.

Mientkiewicz, 39, is in his first season with the Miracle and joined the Minnesota Twins minor league coaching staff after spending the 2012 season as a hitting coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. A 12-year Major League veteran, Mientkiewicz led the Miracle to a 45-22 record in the first half. The 45 wins in a half ties for the most-ever by a Miracle team and was last accomplished in 2008. The first half winning percentage of .672 is the highest in team history.

Guiding seven Miracle players to All-Star game selections in mid-June, Mientkiewicz has managed two of the top three prospects in professional baseball. Byron Buxton, the current Miracle center fielder, is the top rated prospect according to MLB.com and Baseball America and former Miracle third baseman Miguel Sano is ranked third by both publications.

The Miracle clinched the South Division championship in the first half with a 5-4 win over the Bradenton Marauders on June 8. The Miracle return to the postseason playoffs for the first time since 2009 with the opening game of the postseason set for Tuesday, Sept. 3 on the road.

"First and foremost, I'm very proud and honored to have managed all of the players I have had this summer," said Mientkiewicz. "They have all worked very hard for us and, for that, we are grateful."

Rogers, 22, was one of four pitchers recognized on the 2013 FSL All-Star team. An 11th-round draft pick of the Twins in 2012, Rogers has compiled a 10-6 record in 20 games, 19 starts, over 120 2/3 innings. Rogers' earned run average of 2.76 is currently second in the FSL and so are his 10 wins.

This season Rogers has tossed three complete games including a pair of nine-inning shutouts. On July 18 against Dunedin, Rogers allowed just one hit with eight strikeouts and blanked the Blue Jays. Rogers was also a mid-season All-Star in the FSL and started the All-Star game on June 15.

Koch, 24, boasts the top average for a catcher in the league at .279 and was one of two catchers named to the league All-Star team. A 12th-round pick by Minnesota in 2011, Koch has six homers, 19 doubles and has driven in 37 runs. Koch also was a mid-season All-Star and started behind the plate on June 15.

Vargas, 23, has been a premier power threat in the league with 30 doubles, 18 homers and 86 runs driven in over 112 games. Vargas' 18 home runs is tied for second in the FSL and his 86 RBI is second-most. A non-drafted free agent signing by the Twins in 2009, the switch-hitting Vargas is fifth in the league in doubles (30), fifth in slugging percentage (.484), fourth in extra-base hits (49) and fourth in total bases (200). Vargas was a mid-season All-Star.

"All-Star teams are a tremendous honor," said Mientkiewicz, "Many players deserve to be on this list that are not, but congratulations to those that were selected."

The Player of the Year in the FSL for 2013 was St. Lucie Mets slugger Dustin Lawley who has a league-best 25 home runs, and 90 RBI.

The Pitcher of the Year is Justin Nicolino (5-2, 2.23 ERA) of the Jupiter Hammerheads.

The Miracle were playing the Stone Crabs in Charlotte Thursday night after being swept 2-1 and 6-0 by the Crabs on Wednesday.

 
 

 

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