ROUND ROCK, Texas - Jedd Gyorko of the Tucson Padres and Will Smith of the Omaha Storm Chasers were the top players in the Pacific Coast League from June 25th to July 1st, and today the league office recognized their efforts with the Player and Pitcher of the Week awards respectively.
Gyorko was the best player at the plate last week, pacing the Pacific Coast League in average (.571), on-base percentage (.636), and smashing for the second-highest slugging percentage (.893) over his seven games as he led the Padres to a 5-2 record over that span. The infielder's 16 hits also led the league, as he added three doubles and two home runs, racked up 11 RBI, and brought his personal hit streak to ten games. Gyorko's biggest night came on Tuesday in Fresno when he went 4-5 with a double, a home run, and five RBI, including the eventual game-winning single in the top of the 8th to put Tucson up 9-8.
Born in Morgantown, West Virginia, Gyorko was selected in the second round of the 2010 MLB draft out of Western Virginia University, where he had won the 2010 Brooks Wallace Award as the best shortstop in NCAA Division I baseball. He hit .302 in his rookie season after being drafted, and in 2011 hit .333 between the California League and the Texas League. In 2012 he started back in the Texas League, but after 34 games was promoted to Tucson, where he has hit .355 with ten home runs and 39 RBI for the Padres.
Smith was perfect for the PCL-leading Storm Chasers last week as he went 2-0 in his two starts. On Tuesday in Oklahoma City, the southpaw gave up just five hits and one unearned run while striking out seven RedHawks over 7.2 innings to get the win. On Sunday he was even more dominant, silencing the Albuquerque Isotopes in Omaha over six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out nine. Smith's 16 strikeouts were the second-most in the league last week, while his 0.00 ERA and 0.66 WHIP were proof of his dominance.
Smith, born in Newnan, Georgia, was a seventh-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2008 draft. After going 10-5 in 20 starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League in 2009, he was part of a trade to the Royals for Alberto Callaspo in 2010. Smith made his Major League debut on May 23rd, 2012, starting in Yankee Stadium, and got his first win on the 29th in Cleveland when he struck out five Indians over six innings. He is 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA in 13 starts for Omaha this season, and is the second Storm Chasers pitcher in as many weeks to bring home the award after teammate Doug Davis received the honor last week.
(Courtesy: Tucson Padres)