Canaries Announce 2016 Post-Season Awards
BLAKE SCHMIT-TEAM MVP AND OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Canaries’ shortstop Blake Schmit put together an impressive offensive display in 2016. The Eden Prairie, MN native wrapped up the season ranking 7th in the American Association in batting average (.319) and 10th in the league in total hits (118) and was the only Canaries All-star this season.
Schmit appeared in 96 games for the Birds, finishing the year as the team leader in batting average, hits, and runs scored (61). The former Minnesota Twins farm-hand also finished the season tied for the team lead in triples (5) and stolen bases (20). The sure-handed shortstop hit safely in 14 of his final 15 games, posting a .346 batting average to go along with four extra base hits and eight RBI.
JOE BIRCHER- PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Canaries’ starting pitcher Joe Bircher was one of the league’s top pitchers in 2016. The Omaha, NE native finished the season holding the second best ERA in the American Association (2.55) and ranked sixth in the league in strikeouts (108).
The southpaw made a team high 19 starts this season while also leading the team in strikeouts, ERA, wins (6) and innings pitched (123.2). Over his final six starts of the season, Bircher went 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA. He was named the American Association’s Pitcher of the Week on July 24th after holding the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks and Grand Prairie Airhogs to just two runs on five hits while striking out 17 batters over 13 combined innings of work. It was the only league award for the Canaries this season.
ETHAN CHAPMAN- DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Canaries outfielder Ethan Chapman put together a solid year with the Sioux Falls Canaries. The former AAA outfielder set career highs in doubles (13) homeruns (6) and RBI (33) while finishing the season as the team leader in starts (98), triples (5) and stolen bases (20).
Chapman’s work at the plate did not go unnoticed, but the speedy defender made a name for himself this season roaming the outfield. The Rancho Cucamonga, CA native committed just four errors while posting a .985 fielding percentage. He was a human highlight machine at Sioux Falls Stadium, making terrific plays like these all summer long.
AARON OWEN- MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Rookie outfielder Aaron Owen had a strong finish to the 2016 season. The Palmdale, CA native made 54 starts in 66 games with the Canaries this season while posting a .207 batting average. The speedy outfielder finished fourth on the team in stolen bases (9) and seventh in runs scored (26).
Owen became a regular in the Birds lineup after putting together a solid month of August. He posted a .250 batting average while collecting seven RBI and seven runs scored, mostly as the starting right fielder. Owen found his groove in the middle of the month, hitting safely in 8-of-10 games (August 14th-August 26th) while collecting 11 hits, including a triple, a home run and six runs scored.
CAMERON MONGER- “MR. HUSTLE”
Canaries outfielder Cameron Monger had an up and down season for the Sioux Falls Canaries in 2016. The Fort Worth, TX native missed 14 games in June due to an elbow injury, but battled his way back in to the lineup, appearing in 83 total games for the Birds. Monger posting a .240 batting average to go along with his 22 extra-base hits and 34 RBI, while finishing third on the team in stolen bases (17) and fourth on the team in runs scored.
Monger hit his stride in the month of August, making 27 starts while hitting .319 at the plate. He collected 10 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases while also scoring 16 runs.
Monger was the definition of “hustle” for the Birds this seasons, but it was his Sportscenter Top 10 play that truly showed what the word means.