Tuesday, June 6, 2017

SuiteSports MIAA Baseball Player of the Year Watch List

BC High ace Mike Vasil has been stellar all season for the Eagles.
By SuiteSports Staff

The MIAA Division 1A “Super Eight” tournament and state tournaments are well underway, and that it means the baseball season is slowly coming to a close.

A number of players have left their mark on the 2017 season through memorable pitching performances, jaw dropping stat lines, and being able to single-handedly carry their team to postseason excellence.

There a select few, however, that have caught the attention of every spectator who has seen them perform.

SuiteSports is proud to release the candidates up for our very own “player of the year” award, which will be announced following the conclusion of postseason play.

Here are the candidates up for the award.

Ian Seymour, LHP/OF, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

The Pioneers have taken the state by storm in 2017, going 19-3 in the regular season and earning the number one overall seed in the Super Eight. There may be no greater contributor to the Pioneers’ success than Seymour, who has showcased his prowess all season long, both on the mound and at the plate. A left-hander committed to Virginia Tech, Seymour has been at his best when St. John’s has needed him most.

Using his fastball that hovers around 90 miles per hour to go with his devastating changeup and slider, Seymour closed out one game and won another during the regular season against BC High, and also tossed a complete game six-hitter versus Belmont in the opening round of the Super Eight. Through his first postseason start, Seymour is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA and has struck out 49 over 34 innings of work.
At the plate, meanwhile, Seymour has proven to be just as much of a threat. On the year he is hitting .319 with one home run and 13 RBIs out of the leadoff spot for St. John’s.

Mike Vasil, RHP, Jr., BC High

There is no one more instrumental to his team’s’ success than Vasil, who turns BC High instantly into arguably the top team in Massachusetts when he is on the mound.  That is clearly shown by the Eagles' record when he pitches, which stands at 9-0. Vasil, a University of Virginia commit, has followed up an impressive sophomore season with an even better junior campaign.

Over the course of the regular season Vasil went 7-0 with a 0.56 ERA, striking out 55 in 50.1 innings while walking just nine and allowing 24 hits. He has yet to give up more than two earned runs in a start and was named the Catholic Conference’s Most Valuable Player for his regular season efforts.

Vasil’s dominance continued in the opening round of the Super Eight as he went the distance against two-time defending Braintree, allowing just four hits on one earned while walking no one and striking out eight. He has a fastball that is consistently in the low 90s to go with a 12-6 curveball and a changeup.

Cal Christofori, C, Sr., Belmont

One year after Plymouth North became the first Division 2 team in Massachusetts to reach the Super Eight, Belmont has followed suit largely behind the play of their elite catcher Cal Christofori.

Christofori, who will continue his playing career at Yale next spring, has proven to be a force both behind the dish and at the plate. The senior hit .414 during the regular season to go along with a .485 on base percentage.

His defensive capabilities are well documented; Chrisitofori has had just two runners attempt to steal a base against him this year, with only one being successful. The Marauders have taken their program to new heights in 2017, and Christofori is at the root of it all.

Steve Hajjar, LHP/1B, Jr., Central Catholic

Similar to Seymour, Hajjar is one of the top two-way players in the Bay State, dominating on the mound while being a feared hitter at the plate. The left-hander was named the Merrimack Valley Conference’s most valuable player for his efforts as he led the Raiders to a league championship.

Hajjar, a Michigan commit, often finds himself shutting down the opposing lineup by using a combination of his four seam fastball that tops out around 89-90 miles per hour, a filthy slider, and downward spinning changeup.

At the plate, meanwhile, Hajjar has proven to be a significant power threat, with his most notable home run coming in a 1-0 win over Lawrence to win the league, a game where he also threw a complete game shutout. When the Raiders have needed him most, Hajjar has always been at his best. That was on full display in the Super Eight quarterfinals when he threw 6.1 quality innings while also coming up with two hits and an RBI.

Jack Gardner, C., Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

St. John’s (Shrewsbury) has had the top pitching staff in Massachusetts for the entirety of the 2017 season, and the man in charge of it all is Gardner.

Gardner, a senior who is committed to Franklin Pierce, has had a season for the ages at St. John's, both as a defensive dynamo and offensive threat. When not helping Seymour, Nick McDonald, Sean Burke, Matt Stansky, or Matt DelFalco shutdown the opposing team, he is nearly an impossible out at the plate.

Gardner has a stunning .620 on base percentage, .459 batting average, 3 home runs, 20 RBIs, and 1.308 OPS (on base/slugging percentage). He has struck out just six times in 92 plate appearances while earning nearly as many walks (27) as he has hits (29). His overall prowess both behind the dish and at the plate makes him a clear candidate for player of the year.

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