Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 10 Players of the Year - No. 1

Every Tuesday, Minor Matters will run down the top 10 players from the Thunder's 2010 season. In a year that saw eight of Baseball America's 16 pitchers (excluding Mike Dunn
and Arodys Vizcaino, who were out of the organization) in their top 30, not to mention Austin Romine and Brandon Laird, there were plenty of good choices to go around.

No. 1 - Brandon Laird

Why he's here:
Put simply, Laird had the most dominant season of any player in the Tony Franklin era. Before leaving after August 1, he put up the following numbers: .291/.355/.878, 22 2Bs, 23 HRs, 90 RBIs. Those 23 bombs came in just 409 at-bats, meaning he left the yard once every 17.8 ABs, which is pretty darn impressive.

He also earned the Thunder's first Player of the Month honor since 1999, when David Eckstein took home the award. Laird was also a Player of the Week, a mid-season All-Star, a postseason All-Star, the league's MVP and Rookie of the Year, and was named to the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars game. He also was the starting third baseman at Metro Bank Park for the EL All-Star Game.

Laird also put together two of the more memorable afternoons this year. One came when he had seven RBIs in the span of two innings against the Binghamton Mets. The other, which I said was the fifth-best game of year, saw Laird hit a walk-off home run to complete the cycle, something that, at that point, hadn't been done in the MLB in 26 years.

Outlook for 2011: Laird has switched to left field for now, to make his bat more attractive and to make him a more viable option in the Bronx. There seems to be a rather expensive roadblock standing in his way at the hot corner. He'll polish up in Triple-A in 2011.

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