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Topps honors best players of August

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Left-hander Matt Moore, who made his Major League debut last night against Baltimore, and seven players who led their league in batting average are among the Topps August Players of the Month. The Topps Company of New York, N.Y., in conjunction with Minor League Baseball, announces the honorees. Matt Moore, 22, of Edgewood, N.M., went 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA and an International League leading 49 strikeouts. The Durham Bulls southpaw’s ERA and .193 average against ranked second in the IL. Moore didn’t allow a run in three of his six starts, including two outings of six innings where he didn’t get a decision. The Tampa Bay Rays selected Moore in the eighth round in 2007 out of high school. Clint Robinson, 26, of Prospect, Ky., hit .400 with five home runs and 29 RBIs for the Omaha Storm Chasers. The 1B/DH led the Pacific Coast League in batting average and finished among the top four in on-base percentage (.466), OPS (1.126), RBIs and doubles (11). Robinson recorded hits in 22 of 28 games, including 13 multiple-hit contests. The Kansas City Royals drafted him in the 25th round in 2007 out of Troy (Ala.) University. Starling Marte, 22, of Santo Domingo, D.R., led Eastern League hitters in batting average (.393), runs (28), hits (46), extra-base hits (17), slugging (.650), OPS (1.086) and total bases (76). The Altoona Curve outfielder had nine doubles, five homers and 15 RBIs, and ended August with a 13-game hitting streak. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Marte as an undrafted free agent in January 2007. Scott Van Slyke, 25, of Ladue, Mo., hit in 24 of 27 games and finished the month on a 10-game hitting streak. The Chattanooga Lookouts outfielder led the Southern League with a .429 batting average, 45 hits, 77 total bases, a .733 slugging percentage and a 1.193 OPS. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted the son of former Major Leaguer Andy Van Slyke in the 14th round out of high school in 2005. Will Smith, 22, of Newnan, Ga., went 4-1 with a Texas League best 1.91 ERA. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals left-hander also paced the league in innings pitched with 42 1/3. Smith ranked second with 37 strikeouts and third with a 0.94 WHIP. His only loss was a complete game, 1-0, defeat at Springfield on Aug. 25. He tossed eight scoreless innings in another start in which he didn’t get a decision. The Kansas City Royals acquired Smith in a trade with the Angels in July 2010. Nick Buss, 24, of Los Angeles, Calif., hit .355 with six homers and 21 RBIs for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. The outfielder led the California League with 77 total bases and also ranked among the top five in hits (43), slugging (.636), average, home runs and runs (22). Buss had hits in all but three of his 29 games, including 10 multiple-hit efforts. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him out of the University of Southern California in the eighth round in 2008. Bryce Brentz, 22, of Knoxville, Tenn., hit .321 and paced the Carolina League with seven home runs and 23 RBIs. The Salem Red Sox outfielder tied for the league lead with 61 total bases and ranked third in slugging (.575) and OPS (.972). The Boston Red Sox selected Brentz with their sandwich pick (36th overall) in 2010 out of Middle Tennessee State University. Jordan Lennerton, 25, of Langley, British Columbia, had 15 multi-hit games on his way to leading the Florida State League in average (.406), hits (43), extra-base hits (19), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging (.745). The Lakeland Flying Tigers first baseman also ranked among the top five in the FSL in homers (8), doubles (10), runs (22) and RBIs (21). The Detroit Tigers drafted Lennerton in the 33rd round in 2008 out of Oregon State University. Donald Lutz, 22, of Regensburg, Germany, led the Midwest League with 29 RBIs and 43 hits. The first baseman had hits in 25 of 29 games and his .374 batting average with the Dayton Dragons was third best for the month. The Cincinnati Reds signed Lutz as a free agent in July 2007. Evan Gattis, 25, of Forney, Texas, had a 12-game hitting streak on his way to pacing South Atlantic League hitters with a .382 average. The Rome Braves catcher recorded a dozen multiple-hit games and tied for the league lead with 28 RBIs. His 1.107 OPS ranked second in the SAL. The Atlanta Braves drafted Gattis in the 23rd round in 2010 out of the University of Texas-Permian Basin. Wes Freeman, 21, of Bradenton, Fla., led the New York-Penn League with a .381 average, 15 extra-base hits and a dozen doubles. The State College Spikes outfielder, who began the month with an 11-game hit streak, was second in the league in slugging percentage (.577), hits (37), OPS (1.006) and total bases (56). The Pittsburgh Pirates, who drafted Freeman in the 16th round in 2008 out of high school, promoted him to West Virginia in the South Atlantic League on Aug. 28. Joseph Panik, 20, of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., had at least one hit in 21 of 29 games in posting a .333 average. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes shortstop ranked among the Northwest League leaders in hits (37), total bases (54), runs (21) and batting average. The San Francisco Giants took Panik with their first-round pick in June out of St. John’s University. Brandon Drury, 19, of Grants Pass, Ore., finished his regular season with an 18-game hitting streak. The Danville Braves third baseman hit in all but three of 28 games last month and was third in the Appalachian League with 23 RBIs. The Atlanta Braves selected Drury in the 13th round in 2010 out of high school. Joc Pederson, 19, of Palo Alto, Calif., led the Pioneer League with a .390 batting average, 39 RBIs and a 1.095 OPS. The Ogden Raptors outfielder was also among the league leaders in hits (46), total bases (75), runs (26), walks (16) and stolen bases (9). Pederson hit safely in 25 of 29 games, ending August with a 14-game hitting streak. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him out of high school in the 10th round in 2010. Yoan Alcantara, 18, of San Cristobal, D.R., tied for the Arizona League lead with six homers and 21 runs. The outfielder hit .377 for the Padres and finished second in the league with 24 RBIs, five triples and 59 total bases. The San Diego Padres signed Alcantara, who had hits in 17 of 19 games, as an undrafted free agent in July 2009. Juaner Aguasvivas, 21, of Bani, D.R., hit .349 for the Tigers and led the Gulf Coast League with 22 RBIs, 29 hits and 50 total bases. The first baseman tied for the league lead with five homers and ranked third with a 1.015 OPS. The Detroit Tigers inked Aguasvivas as an undrafted free agent in January 2007.

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