ROUND ROCK, Texas – El Paso Chihuahua’s catcher Austin Hedges, for the second consecutive week, and Sacramento River Cats’ left-hander Ty Blach have been named the Pacific Coast League Player and Pitcher of the Week for June 27-July 3, the league office announced Monday.
Hedges is the league’s first back-to-back winner since 2009, when Fresno’s John Bowker took home the award for the weeks of May 25-31 and June 1-7.
Hedges’ torrid stretch continued with a pair of multi-homer games, capping his week with some fireworks, blasting a walk-off three-run homer July 3 against Reno.
In total, the California native’s five home runs led Triple-A, with his 14 RBI, 30 total bases, six extra-base hits and 11 runs also pacing Minor League Baseball’s highest classification. Additionally, he hit .560 (14-for-25) with a .593 on-base percentage and 1.200 slugging percentage. His 1.793 OPS for the week only trailed teammate Hector Sanchez for the PCL lead.
The 23-year-old’s first multi-home run game of the week – and first of his career – came on June 28 at Reno, part of a three-hit, three-run, four-RBI game. Just two days later, also against Reno, Hedges hit a pair of three-run homers, and his six RBI were two more than he’s had in any other game of his career.
Hedges is in his sixth professional season, all in the Padres organization. He was originally selected by San Diego in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of JSerra Catholic High School (CA). He made his major league debut in a 56-game stint last season, hitting .168 (23-for-137) with three home runs and 11 RBI. He has been on the Chihuahuas roster all season, but missed nearly eight weeks because of a trip to the disabled list.
In 32 games, Hedges has hit .407 (46-for-113) with 14 home runs, 41 RBI and 27 runs scored. Hedges’ 14 home runs are tied for the seventh in the league, despite playing in at least 19 games fewer than everyone ahead of him.
Ty Blach dazzled in his two starts this past week. He won both, with a 1.13 ERA (16.0 IP, 2 ER) on 12 hits, no walks and 16 strikeouts. On June 27 at Las Vegas, he tossed a complete game shutout on six hits with six strikeouts, throwing 72 of his 94 pitches for strikes.
The southpaw became the fifth pitcher in the PCL this season to throw a 9-inning complete game shutout, but only the second to do so in fewer than 100 pitches. Most recently, July 2 vs. Albuquerque, he struck out 10 hitters over 7.0 innings, allowing two runs in the 5-2 Sacramento win. It marked only the fifth time this season a PCL pitcher has struck out 10 or more hitters, while not walking anyone.
The Colorado native was selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Creighton. He has spent the last two seasons with the River Cats. In 17 starts this season, Blach ranks second in the league in innings pitched (102.2) and sports an 8-5 record with a 4.12 ERA, 25 walks and 67 strikeouts. In his career, he has twice been named a Mid-Season All-Star (2013-14), once a Post-Season All-Star (2013) and once a MiLB.com Organizational All-Star (2013).
This is his third career Pitcher of the Week, having won last August with the River Cats and in May 2013 with the Single-A California’s League San Jose Giants.