Unexpected? Well, yeah; you'd think the league batting title would make a guy a shoe-in for the team MVP award, right?
I speak, of course, of Bobby Wernes, who batted .346 (and drew enough walks to lead the Tri-City club with a .434 OBP) in 53 games after being drafted. To be sure, it was an excellent debut showing, and it was hard to resist handing him the prize without a second thought.
But the season Johnny Sewald had simply can't be ignored. Playing in 70 games and accruing 85 more plate appearances than Wernes, Sewald was the spark plug at the top of the ValleyCats' lineup, helping to lead them to a playoff berth.
Sewald led the club in games, plate appearances, runs, hits, walks, and stolen bases, and all but the hits was also a league-leading figure. He was also rarely caught stealing, leading to an excellent 86% success rate. Along with his offensive contributions, Sewald is a plus defender at a premium position out in center field.
In addition to Wernes, who led the league in batting average and OBP, Dexture McCall deserves some mention as a runner-up. He hit .295/.376/.400. That .776 OPS of his was second only to Wernes on the club among players who played at least 30 games.