Clubhouse Chatter

August 26, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns Fan Club had a number of tough decisions when it came to picking the winners of the annual team awards.

The Suns have lived by - and died by - success by committee. It is proven by the club's selections for the top honors of the awards that were handed out this weekend.

In many cases, the club chose to use the Noah's Ark method in their selections - giving the awards two by two. There were co-winners in three of the seven categories this season.

Most Valuable Players - Outfielders Bryan Clark and Branden Florence.

Statistics do not show Carter's whole contribution to the Suns efforts this season. He was a mid-lineup hitter forced to work out of the leadoff slot for most of the season. Carter, who has been hampered by injuries in the second half, has played 111 games heading into the weekend while hitting .246. After a slow start, Carter has clubbed 13 home runs (second most for the Suns) and 60 RBI while stealing a team-high 20 bases.


Florence joined the Suns on April 26 from extended spring training and slowly became the most dangerous hitter in the Suns lineup. Florence has had at least two hits in more than 30 percent of the 105 games he has played. Florence entered the weekend as the seventh-leading hitter in the South Atlantic League at .298 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI while striking out just 31 times in 410 at-bats.

Pitchers of the Year - Anthony Pannone and Ryan Hannaman.

Pannone might be the epitome of hard luck, proven by his 9-8 record in 26 starts. The right-hander has allowed just 51 earned runs in 155 innings (a 2.96 ERA) with 106 strikeouts and 58 walks.

Hannaman has turned into a strikeout pitcher in the second half, averaging 8.7 punchouts covering 42 2/3 innings in his last seven outings. Hannaman is 7-6 in 24 starts with 145 strikeouts in 131 2/3 innings. He also has a 2.96 ERA.

Unsung Hero - Kevin Alexander

Alexander became Mr. Versatility for the Suns in the second half with the promotion of Julio Cordido to San Jose at the All-Star break. Alexander has played all four infield positions and has served as designated hitter during the final 72 games. Alexander was hitting .292 heading into the weekend. He has also been versatile in the batting order, hitting in nearly every position. He had 97 hits in 84 games with four home runs and 26 RBI.

Sluggers of the Year - Tyler Von Schell and Julian Benavidez.

Von Schell came into the season earmarked as the Suns' main power source. He leads the team with 14 home runs and 67 RBI while hitting .243.

Benavidez has been the Suns gap hitter with 31 doubles to go with 10 home runs and 68 RBI.

Closer of the Year - Ryan Meaux.

Meaux picked up his award while standing in the other dugout. Meaux, who led the Suns with 17 saves and was an All-Star with Hagerstown, was traded last month to the Chicago White Sox in the Kenny Lofton deal. Meaux is now pitching for Kannapolis, the Suns opponent for this weekend.

Utility Pitcher of the Year - Julio Pavon.

Pavon had a season similar to Alexander, working as a spot starter, long reliever, middle reliever and now as closer. Pavon has made 40 appearances, including eight starts. He has saved seven games since taking over for Meaux. Pavon is 3-6 with a 3.35 ERA with 89 strikeouts and 19 walks, a 9:2 ratio.

Mark Zimmerman Community Service Award - Alexander.

This is an honorary award to the player who does to most in the Hagerstown community in the memory of Zimmerman, a former Fan Club member.


  • The Suns finished the season with a 17-15 record against the Southern Division. They owned 3-1 records against Savannah, Charleston (S.C.) and Macon.

  • The Suns are 16-9 in day games, 8-4 in extra innings, and 1-2 with three splits in doubleheaders.

  • The Suns have hit .260 against right-handed pitching and .234 vs. left-handers this season. Justin Knoedler is the top hitter against right-handers at .319 while Florence has hit .301 in 101 games against lefties.

  • Keith Anderson has been the best Suns hitter to lead off an inning with a .424 average (14-for-33), while Benavidez has been the best hitter with runners on base (.306) and with runners in scoring position with two outs (.328 and 35 RBI), Miguel Miranda is tops with the bases loaded (.571) and Tomas Garrido with runners in scoring position (.394).

Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for The Herald-Mail. He can be contacted at 301 733-5131 ext. 2310 or

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