GCL Nationals: Hitter Of The Year

Marrero batted .309 in 2006.

Overall, the 2006 season was a disappointment for the Gulf Coast league Nationals as far as wins and losses. The main issue for the Nationals was the lack of consistent offensive production, but make no mistake, they still had their share of standouts. Now, CapitolDugout.com will hand out the award for the GCL Nationals' Hitter Of The Year.

The Gulf Coast League has never been a league well known for overly impressive offensive exploits by even its top players and is usually dominated by pitching. The 2006 season was no exception as only 9 hitters in the entire league with enough at-bats to qualify hit .300 or better. Just one player was able to crack double digits in home run totals as well. So, it should come as no surprise that the GCL Nationals' top hitters do not always have overly impressive statistics.

It is difficult to hand out an award to a player who compiled only 35 at-bats with a team, and that is perhaps the only reason that Adam Carr didn't place first for this honor. The right-hand hitting slugger is also highly touted as a pitching prospect by the Nationals as well. But, in the 35 at-bats he compiled in the GCL, Carr smacked 2 home runs and batted an impressive .343. He also added 4 doubles and 10 RBI. Granted, at age 22, he was old for the league, but that doesn't mean he didn't impress the organization and his teammates.

"Adam Carr [would be the guy I'd least like to pitch against]," his teammate, Matt Perks recently told CapitolDugout.com. "He's actually a pitcher that has been hitting since college and he's dangerous. He hits everything hard and uses all fields."

Coming in second place for this award was the Nationals' 8th round pick in the 2006 draft, Sean Rooney. Rooney, who had an outstanding first half of the season, appeared to be a shoe in to win this award up until the finals weeks of the season. He slumped terrible in August, dropping his season average to .241 after hovering around .300 for most of the season. But, he still managed to be the GCL Nats' most productive hitter, leading the club with 26 RBI and 3 home runs. His performance also opened a lot of eyes in the organization.

"Rooney has a good approach and is amazing to have only been switch-hitting for a year," Nationals Field Coordinator, Scott Little raved.  "He could be a three hole hitter with some pop."

So, in a league dominated by pitching, who takes home the award for the GCL Nationals' top hitter? That honor goes to 2006 first round draft pick, Chris Marrero. Although the highly touted third baseman missed a significant portion of the season with viral meningitis, he was highly impressive in the time he was on the field. In 81 at-bats, Marrero batted a steady .309 with 9 doubles and 16 RBI. For those reasons, he's our 2006 GCL Nationals' Hitter Of The Year.

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