The Coastal Plain League’s Player of the Week system is obviously broken.
The Morehead City Marlins have the best record in the collegiate wood bat league at 29-13 but have not had one player selected to the weekly honor. They had the best record in the league last year and only had one player selected out of a possible 16.
What’s the reason for this obvious oversight? I realize selecting a Player of the Week and a Pitcher of the Week isn’t necessarily indicative of their teams’ success, but shouldn’t that play at least a small role?
Apparently so. Since the start of last season, there are two teams with four players selected to a weekly honor – the Savannah Bananas and the Forest City Owls. The Bananas getting that number makes sense with their .700-win percentage since the beginning of last season. That ties the Marlins for the best in the league. The Owls sport a .570 average, ranked third over that period of time.
Even middling teams are getting more love than the Fish. The Peninsula Pilots (.569-win percentage), High Point-Thomasville HiToms (.539), Edenton Steamers (.511), Fayetteville SwampDogs (.466) and Holly Springs Salamanders (.438) have all seen three players selected over the last two seasons.
Notice that Holly Springs and Fayetteville are both in the Marlins’ East Division. Even the Wilmington Sharks have two selections.
It should be noted that the Lexington County Blowfish, the Gastonia Grizzlies and the Asheboro Copperheads have received no selections during that time. The Copperheads and Grizzlies are both part of the West Division, as are the Owls and the HiToms who combine for seven selections.
So what about the Fish? Is it possible the Marlins are just a really good team without any standout performances?
Leo Perez (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) has been a lights-out pitcher for the Fish all summer. Typically, starters get used sparingly over the course of a week with just two outings. During the week of June 24-30, Perez had five appearances and finished with a 0.00 ERA. He pitched 7 1/3 total innings, striking out 11, walking four and allowing no hits and no runs.
Instead, the CPL awarded the Pitcher of the Week selection to Savannah’s Dustin Saenz who allowed five hits over 11 total innings while striking out 18.
Jack Harris (San Francisco State) has been an absolute beast this summer, supplying multiple hits in 10 games. He upped his game during the week of June 24-29, combining for nine hits, eight runs, six RBIs, a double, a homer and four stolen bases. Apparently, that wasn’t enough to edge out the HiToms’ Angel Zarate (North Carolina) with 12 hits, three runs, seven RBIs, five doubles and a homer.
Granted, both of those examples are right on the line between who should have been selected. However, considering the Fish lead the league in lowest ERA (3.52), rank first in strikeouts (477), third in runs (273) and fifth in hits (366), it feels like there should be more recognition of the individual talent.
Harris ranks first in the league in runs (40), fifth in homers (9) and sixth in hits (45). Hunter Shepherd (Catawba) ranks ninth in hits (44) and 11th in hitting average (.336), while Jordan Schulefand (Richmond) ranks sixth in stolen bases (22). Yet, apparently, none of those guys have had a weeklong run worthy of note, at least by CPL standards.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe the best team in the CPL for the last two years is better as a sum of parts rather than individuals. Maybe, but the CPL has just two more weeks to rectify what this column considers an egregious mistake.
Otherwise, they’re only giving the Fish more bulletin-board material to fuel the flame for a second straight CPL championship.
(Send comments or questions to email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @zacknally)