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The April MVP for the Sounds is . . .

May 2, 2009
Tim Dillard

We’ve culled through the myriad of stats, box scores and summaries, and my selection for the April MVP for the Nashville Sounds is starting pitcher Tim Dillard (4.0, 1.17).  Coming in for a close second is Mat Gamel (.392, 7 HRs, 26 RBIs).

The reasoning behind the selection came down to this. Three of the 11 Sound’s wins so far have been ‘hard ones‘ (i.e., by just 1-2 runs). They key to a great season is for any team to win 65% or more of the hard wins. I wrote about this on April 18th.

So, when one analyzes those three hard wins, who stands out overall as being a major factor in the victory? Let’s look at each of these victories and compare Dillard to Gamel.

Hard victory #1 – home victory over Red Hawks on 4.13 by score of 4-3.

  • Dillard wins it; pitching five innings and giving up just two runs (one earned). He walked two and struck out three.
  • Mat Gamel (1-2, a HR and 2 RBIs).

Hard victory #2 -away victory over the Zephyrs on 4.20 by score of 4-2. Of the three hard wins, this was the easiest.

  • Dillard did not play. Burns pitched the victory.  Was the 4th of five Sound’s road-wins in a row.
  • Gamel went 1-2, 1 RBI, 4th HR.
  • Harder to judge since Dillard did not play. Gamel had an impact on this game but don’t overlook that of the four wins in the ‘middle third’ category, Dillard won two of those.

Hard victory #3 – away victory over Memphis on 4.23 by score of 7-6. Of the three hard wins, this was the most difficult one.

  • Dillard win, 3-0. Pitched six innings, giving up one hit, 4 runs (but just one earned).
  • Gamel 2-4, 3 RBIs.

As I look at the big picture I have to conclude that the performances of these men in April was simply outstanding and a clear MVP winner is tough to call. But Tim Dillard rises to the top for me in light of the stats listed above and factoring in that each time he pitched in his first four starts he was excellent and directly contributed to his team winning.

This is to take nothing away from Mat Gamel who clearly wins MVP for best offensive performance in April by a Sound’s player. The Brewers’ #2 prospect and 2008 Topps Minor League Player of the Year, Gamel has hit safely in 15 of his 18 contests this season.

He currently ranks 2nd in the Pacific Coast League in home runs (7), RBIs (26), total bases (56), runs scored (18), slugging (.789), extra-base hits (14), is fourth in on-base percentage (.471), and is tied for sixth in doubles (7). Fourteen of his 28 hits on the year have gone for extra bases. Gamel’s team-leading .394 batting average ranks 5th among all PCL hitters.

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