Saturday, January 2, 2010

Clemens given award

Koby Clemens was named Class A-Advanced's best hitter for 2009.

"One of the bigger things was that I started getting more consistent playing time. At the time, Castro was there, I was the backup to begin with. I was getting pinch-hit stuff, then I started to DH every day. When Castro moved up, I started to catch and mixed in a little left field. Got more comfortable when I started getting more playing time. That made all the difference in the world.

"It's almost a perfect storm hitting scenario, especially with the team we had. The lineup we had every day made it much more fun. We were putting up eight to 10 runs a game. It's a higher elevation and on some nights, the wind was blowing out. It is a big field, but when the wind is blowing out, it plays similar to a Rockies kind of stadium. You still have to hit the ball, have good at-bats. You can't change anything with your swing because of the park."

"My first two years were pretty average years. I made some strides, but had some downfalls. This is by far the best year I've had. It puts me on the radar, I think. I always knew I was capable of doing something like this, I guess it took me a few years to figure things out and get confident with it."

Good for Clemens. Writer Jonathan Mayo makes a pretty good point in response to critics who say that he - and Gaston - may as well have been playing on the moon:

Critics will say that Clemens is a product of his environment. Not only is the California League friendly for hitters, but his home park in Lancaster is one of the best hitting parks in all of Minor League Baseball. Clemens doesn't deny this, but there are two things that should be pointed out. While Clemens excelled at home, he wasn't exactly a slouch on the road (.338/.412/.610). Secondly, everyone else in the Cal League had the same advantage and none of them drove in over 120 runs or slugged over .600.