The Hot Rods finished 2009 at the bottom of the South Atlantic League Southern Division, and had more wins than only two teams in the league. The Hot Rods finished second-to-last in batting in the league and finished four from the bottom in team-ERA, but the team wasn’t lacking for prospects. We looked at the Legends’ batter and pitcher of the year Tuesday, so today we’ll look at Bowling Green’s.
Offensive Player of the Year — OF Kyeong Kang
- Kang didn’t lead the team in home runs or RBI, and he just missed qualifying for the league batting race. Kang, the first South Korean to be selected in MLB’s amateur draft, didn’t make his 2009 debut until May 12 so he only appeared in 89 games. So why exactly was he the offensive player of the year? Well, there wasn’t a lot of competition, and Kang made up for lost time with his second-half performance. The outfielder’s season highlight was being selected to the Futures Game, but he also batted .307 with a .390 on-base percentage and team-high .880 OPS. In the second half of 2009, Kang batted .328 with four home runs and 26 RBI with a .940 OPS.
- 2008 MLB first-overall draft pick Tim Beckham was Kang’s chief competition for the award. Beckham held his own during his first full professional season, batting .275 with five home runs and a team-high 63 RBI, but his two-month slump to the tune of .245 batting average in June and July lost him the war.
Pitcher of the Year — LHP Matthew Moore
- Just as in Lexington the pitching award was much more competitive that the offensive one. Matthew Moore led the minor leagues with 176 strikeouts, he ranked second on the team in wins (8) and innings pitched (123). Moore was even better in the second half of the season with a 5-2 record and 2.91 ERA in 13 games.
- Chris Andujar led the team in wins (10) and ERA (2.70). His 2.70 ERA was fourth-best in the South Atlantic League, and if he hadn’t spent 14 games in the bullpen he might have taken the award from Moore.