Tennessee Players of the Month--June

Jarred was the King of the Ball in June

There were several worthy candidates playing at Smokies Park in both the position player, and pitcher categories. Dan Uggla, Jerry Gil, and Jarred Ball all had good months at the plate, while on the mound Dustin Nippert, Tony Pena and Casey Daigle all shined. Alas, we pick only one pitcher and one position player each month, which made the arguments around the office that much louder than usual.

Position Player-- Jarred Ball

 

Ball struggled to find playing time early in the year, but with the struggled of Marland Williams he's started getting opportunities and making the most of them.  Ball hit a team high .359 in June with nine doubles, a triple, and a home run.  While shortstop Jerry Gil flexed his power stroke, hitting seven homers, and the always consistent Dan Uggla stroked at a .348 clip it was Ball's best tool, his speed, that put him over the top.  Ball swiped eight bases in ten chances in June, and played a stellar center field, something the Diamondbacks had wondered about. 

 

Though Ball is once again on pace to strikeout over 100 times (he K'd 123 times last year in Hi-A Lancaster) his 46 walks this season are already a career high, and proof positive that his pitch recognition is improving.  It almost seemed as if Ball was gunning for the award, he started the month with a 4-5 four run performance on the first and finished with a 3-3 three run performance on the 30th to give him the team lead for runs scored in June as well.

 

 

Pitcher-- Casey Daigle

 

There was no denying starter Dustin Nippert was incredible in June.  The big right hander, who made his first start of the season on May 29th after coming back from Tommy John surgery, was 2-1 in June with an amazing 2.29 ERA, but the Daigle picks up the award after finally settling into the closer's role and owning it. 

 

From the 10th of June until the 25th Daigle either won or saved all eight games he appeared in, racking up two wins and eight saves in 13 appearances and allowing exactly one earned run to post an ERA of 0.77, after a May ERA of 0.00.  It was an impressive showing for a guy who had pitched in relief exactly six times in his minor league career (118 games) until this season. 

 

Just as Nippert's June is more impressive in light of the Tommy John surgery, Daigle's circumstances have got to be brought up as well.  This was a guy pitching in the Majors last season.  Daigle's struggles, (2-3 with a 7.16 ERA in 10 starts with the D'Backs last season), while noticeable, couldn't even begin to compare to those of Edgar Gonzalez (0-9 with a 9.32 ERA) and yet when the season started there was Gonzalez, at Triple-A Tucson, awaiting an opportunity to move back into the bigs (and opportunity he got), and there was Daigle, back in Double-A and being told that yes, he would start, but only in spot situations.  And yet here he is now.  Not just pitching out of the bullpen, but doing it well, well enough that the rumors have started swirling he might skip Tucson entirely, and that if the bullpen situation at the BOB doesn't improve, he might end up being the next option.

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