|Wednesday, August 29, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jesse Goldberg-Strassler
( 517) 485-4500, extension 233
LANSING, Mich. – First-year Lansing Lugnuts manager John Tamargo Jr. has been voted the 2012 Midwest League Manager of the Year and outfielder Kevin Pillar has been voted the 2012 Midwest League Most Valuable Player by the league’s field managers, MWL President George Spelius announced Wednesday.
The announcement marks the second consecutive season that a Lugnut manager has won the Manager of the Year Award, with John Tamargo, Jr. following on the heels of 2011 skipper Mike Redmond.
Kevin Pillar becomes the second Lugnut to ever be named Midwest League MVP, joining 2004 first baseman Brian Dopirak.
Pillar also joined a pair of Lugnuts on the Midwest League Postseason All-Star Team, with Justin Nicolino named as the top left-handed starting pitcher and Ajay Meyer voted the top right-handed reliever.
Nicolino, Meyer and Pillar were each also named as midseason Midwest League All-Stars, representing the Eastern Division – helmed by Tamargo and the Lugnuts’ coaching staff – at the 2012 MWL All-Star Game hosted by Kane County.
After spending his first two seasons in Lansing as a hitting coach, Tamargo was named to his first managerial role in 2012, guiding the Lugnuts to the first-half Eastern Division title and a multitude of new franchise records: most wins in a season (79), consecutive wins to begin the year (7), most wins in a month (20, May), most wins in a half (47, first half) and most shutouts in a season (16).
Pillar, 23, began the year with the Lugnuts and starred in his first season in the Midwest League. In 86 games in Lansing, Pillar hit five home runs, drove in 57 runs, scored 49 runs and stole 35 bases in 41 attempts before earning a promotion to Class A-Advanced Dunedin on July 15th. Pillar’s .322 average currently ranks atop the Midwest League. In its annual tools survey of the Major and Minor Leagues, Baseball America rated him as the top hitting prospect in the MWL.
In his finest game with the Lugnuts, the outfielder went 6-for-6 in a 16-4 victory at Dayton on May 12th to tie the franchise and league records for hits in one game, finishing off the performance with a grand slam in the ninth inning
Nicolino, 20, has spent the entire season in the MWL and currently leads the league with a 2.41 ERA. The Orlando native boasts a 10-4 record and leads the Lugnuts with 119 1/3 innings pitched, 114 strikeouts, and a 5.7 K/BB ratio. Baseball America rated his change-up as the best in the Midwest League.
Meyer, 25, has served as the Lugnuts closer since opening day. The Hamler, Ohio, native broke the Lugnuts single-season record for saves (32) and is tied for the MWL lead in games (52), and games finished (48). Baseball America rated him as the top relief prospect in the Midwest League.
Lansing is currently on the road, starting a three-game series tonight with a 7:05 p.m. contest against the South Bend Silver Hawks. The club’s next home game is on Saturday, September 1st, opening a three-game series against Lake County with postgame LAFCU Fireworks.The Lugnuts will host game two of the opening round MWL playoff series on Thursday, September 6th, at Cooley Law School Stadium, with The Verve Pipe performing a postgame concert. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.lansinglugnuts.com, at the stadium box office, and by calling 517-485-4500.
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