Lindsey wins MVP, Yakubik snubbed from postseason awards
Without fail, every team puts the weight of a win or loss on the team as a whole. The Orem Owlz would not only agree, but go on to prove it true this season. They just went about it a different way.
They produced a team of all-stars and a MVP winner.
The Pioneer League announced that Owlz second baseman Taylor Lindsey was this year’s recipient of the Ralph Nelles award, given to the league’s most valuable player.
As well as the Owlz have played this year as a team, Lindsey stood out with his line drive base hits and diving defensive plays. One of his goals leading up to this season was his defense.
“I’ve worked hard at it and I feel that I’ve made some progress,” Lindsey said. “I still have a long way to go however.”
Owlz manager Tom Kotchman credited the Arizona native for earning the attention of vote-getters with his play.
“[Lindsey’s] had a good year and has impressed a lot of people,” Kotchman said in an interview with mlb.com. “This award was voted on by his peers. It’s a nice award and it can’t be taken away from him.”
This was not a case of one player dragging a team behind him, however.
Joining Lindsey on the All-Star team are outfielder Ryan Jones and first baseman Frazier Hall. Honorable mentions included relief pitcher Danny Reynolds, third baseman Kaleb Cowart, and injured designated hitter C.J. Cron (playing less than half the season).
Manager Tom Kotchman would contend the team MVP is the honoree who failed to make the all-star roster.
“Jerod Yakubik does it all,” Kotchman said. “He can play anywhere in the outfield and he can play a good first base. He and Jones play real hard and it rubs off on the other guys.”
Lindsey echoed Kotchman’s sentiment in a phone interview Thursday.
“I’m honored to win this award but I’m more happy for Jones and Hall,” Lindsey said. “They deserve it and have been awesome. I can’t believe Yakubik didn’t make it. He does so much and is a big part of why we win.”
This season has also included a personal milestone for Kotchman. He was honored in a pre-game presentation earlier in the year, commemorating his 3,000th career game coached. He also received votes for manager of the year.
Counting Kotchman and the honorable mentions, the Owlz field seven All-Star caliber players and one manager.
After a slow start in the first half season, the Owlz have come on strong late in the year and are currently four games ahead of Ogden for first place in the second half.
Ogden won the first half, earning a berth into the playoffs. As winners of the second half, the Owlz would face Ogden on the road in the first round that starts Friday.
CJ Cron played in 34 of 76 games and hit 13 home runs with 41 runs batted in and a .308 average.
Taylor Lindsey has hit nine home runs with 34 runs batted in, and a .400 average.