Naturals sweep weekly awards
Lisson, Smith, Odorizzi honored as team wins division title
Texas League President Tom Kayser announced Monday that three Naturals combined to earn the Texas League’s weekly individual awards for the period of August 29-September 4, as Mario Lisson and Tim Smith shared Player of the Week honors and Jake Odorizzi was named Pitcher of the Week.
Lisson’ led the Naturals’ playoff-clinching surge last week, going 11-22 (.500) at the plate with five doubles and two home runs, including a game-tying blast in the seventh inning of the team’s clinching game on Sep. 3. Those two home runs also made Lisson the Naturals’ all-time leader in that category (31). Lisson ended the regular season on an eight-game hitting streak and overall, the 27-year-old native of Caracas, Ven. hit .293 with a .372 on-base percentage, 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 45 RBI.
Smith also finished the regular season with an eight-game hitting streak, as he was 14-30 (.467) with three doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI in the final week. A 25-year-old from Toronto, Ont., Smith played in 69 games for the Naturals in 2011, hitting .311 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs and 49 RBI.
Taking the mound against the Arkansas Travelers on Sep. 2, Odorizzi turned in his best pitching performance at the Double-A level. He held the Travelers hitless until the seventh, allowing just one hit over seven scoreless innings while striking out six and walking two. A 21-year-old resident of Highland, Ill., Odorizzi has made 12 starts for the Naturals since a mid-season promotion from Advanced-A Wilmington, going 5-3 with a 4.72 ERA. In 68 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander recorded 54 strikeouts against 22 walks, holding the Texas League to a .254 batting average.
These three players become the fifth, sixth, and seventh Naturals to earn a weekly Texas League honor in 2011. Buddy Baumann was named as Pitcher of the Week for May 23rd-29th, the team swept the awards given for the week of May 9th-15th, as Nick Van Stratten earned Player of the Week and Will Smith was named Pitcher of the Week, and Salvador Perez was named Player of the Week for July 18-24.
The Naturals will look for those contributions to continue as they have named Odorizzi their game one starter for Wednesday night’s playoff opener in North Little Rock.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.