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High A Avalanche Have MVP, Win Playoff Opener

Should have gotten to this a little bit earlier, but was unfortunately only goaded into it after some talk yesterday about our minor league system . . .

But wanted to be sure and mention that outfielder Mitch Einertson of our High A Carolina League affiliate, the Salem Avalanche, was named league MVP last Thursday.  

The right-handed Einertston, who was also Appalachian League MVP in 2004, hit .305 and OPSed .847 for the Avalanche, homering 11 times with 40 doubles.

Einertson tied for the Carolina League lead in hitting with teammate Billy Hart, while finishing fourth leaguewide in OPS, and ninth in OBP.

After being named Appy League MVP unanimously in '04, Einertson progressed to single A Lexington in '05, but then had to repeat for '06, a fact that had me rather skeptical earlier on.  But he appears back on track.

Einertson went 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI yesterday, and was perhaps the biggest offensive star in Salem's 10 - 3 playoff-opening victory over Kinston.

Mark Ori also had 2 hits with a double for the Avs, and Tim Torres hit a solo home run, helping to make Sergio Perez the victor.

As noted yesterday, Salem was our only affiliate to make their league playoffs, and even there, it was only on virtue of a second-half, second-place finish. Yet the Avs are already poised to go deeper into the playoffs than they did last year, when they were swept in the semis by eventual champs Kinston.

Beyond that, I'd also wanted to make mention because I'd not done so before, of the Astros' New York-Penn League All-Stars. The following members of the short-season Tri-City ValleyCats played at the NYPL All-Star game August 17:

  • Relief Pitcher Jason Dominguez, who led the VCats in saves with 10 and had a 1.38 ERA
  • Second baseman Matthew Cusick, who led Tri-City in hitting at .306 and finished 6th in the league in OBP with .422
  • Outfielder Steve Brown, who finished third on the club in hitting at .278, and
  • Outfielder Collin DeLome, who led the club in total bases.

In addition, it may be worth mentioning that Tri-City pitchers Carlos Ladeuth and Thomas Vessella each took no-hit bids into the seventh during the month of August.

Ladeuth, a converted reliever and an NDFA out of Colombia, in his second start of the year on August 28, fell four outs short of a nine-inning no-no against Vermont, striking out 8 over 7-2/3 while walking only one.

Ladeuth's effort came the following night after lefthander Thomas Vessella had a no-hit bid of his own, going 7 innings, striking out six and walking one.

Tri-City may have finished last in the New York Penn League, but perhaps there is hope from that particular sector of New York regardless. And even more generally, it is possible that the sky may not be falling in regards the entire system, or at least not falling quite so hard. Sure, Salem were the only team to make their playoffs this year, but recall that last year, five of six affiliates did so. The organization was perhaps light on league All-Stars, as well, but that doesn't mean that the light on players like Jimmy Barthmaier, Josh Flores, Eli Iorg, Ole Sheldon, Chad Reineke, Chris Salamida, and Mark Saccomanno, among many others has necessarily gone out. The organization has some problems, sure, but it's not as terrible as all that, at least I don't think.