The A-level Calf League has announced its 2017 player awards, following the close of its playoffs earlier this week, and the Calf Cup Champion Peoria Mosquitos cleaned up big, particularly LHP Philip Lont, and 3B Jon Guillot.
Lont had an impressive postseason, but with only 4 games at A-level prior to 2017, his regular season stats assured him both a Rookie of the Year and a Pitcher of the Year for the Mid-West Conference.
The 24-year-old southpaw went 7-2 on the season, with a 2.65 ERA, and conference-best 122 K’s and record-setting 14.08 K/9. He is Rule 5 eligible, having spent over 4 years in the minors after being scouted out of The Netherlands in 2010.
The Pit Bulls have some decisions to make in whether they will purchase his contract this season, or risk having him snatched up in the off-season at the Rule 5 draft, as many teams are likely salivating over a young prospect lefty starter who can rack up strikeouts.
Over in the Desert Conference, it was a trifecta for the Jackson Bartlett, of the Albuquerque Crystals, the A-level affiliate of the Nevada Speeders. Bartlett won the Pitcher of the Year, Reliever of the Year and the Rookie of the Year trophies in that conference. The Crystals made the playoffs for the second year in a row partly due to Bartlett’s incredible pitching out of the bullpen.
He played most of 2017 with the Crystals, going 4-0 with 15 saves, 47 K’s over 33.1 innings for a 12.7 K/9, and a 0.69 WHIP. Most impressively, he didn’t allow a single home run all year at A ball. He was promoted to AA-level Hughes River Bats and made his debut in the Heifer League on July 27.
The Mid-West Conference’s best reliever was Luis Arenas, a right-hander for the Lexington Moonshiners (Boston Brawlers’ A-level affiliate). Arenas earned no saves this year, but was a solid role-player nonetheless, with a 3-0 record and a 2.06 ERA, striking out 58 in 52.1 innings.
The Mid-West Conference Most Valuable Player was Peoria’s Jon Guillot, who hit .279 and got on base at a .367 percentage, nailing 80 hits in 72 games, and leading the Calf League in homers with 11, and RBIs with 46.
Guillot was named the #5 prospect in the Bull League in May, and with his performance this season, and in the postseason, where he won both the Mid-West Championship Series and the Calf Cup series MVP awards, it’s easy to see why he ranks so high. The 2013 first round draft pick is also Rule 5 eligible this off-season, and league watchers are patiently waiting to see if the Pit Bulls protect him by putting him on the 40-man roster before the end of the Bull League season.
Meanwhile, in the Desert Conference, SS Brian Perron, another Albuquerque Crystals player, took the chalice with his career-high .281 average this season. He was also on base at a clip of .388, and held a big-league OPS of .821 by the end of his A-level time. Perron parked 6 homers and stole 12 bases, before being called up to Hughes with teammate Bartlett back at the end of July.