In American Association Daily, the Minor League Sports Report and This Week in the Association name Sioux City Explorers infielder Jose Sermo as the American Association Player of the Year, defeating teammate Nate Samson and former Texas AirHogs outfielder Dillon Thomas.
Jose Sermo the League’s Top Player
The Minor League Sports Report and This Week in the Association named their American Association Player of the Year on Tuesday, selecting the Sioux City Explorers Jose Sermo as the top player in the American Association this season. Sermo was chosen over teammate Nate Samson and the Texas AirHogs Dillon Thomas.
Jose Sermo, Sioux City Explorers
Jose Sermo was named as the final Player of the Week in the American Association and that proved to be quite fitting. Sermo came to the Sioux City Explorers after a rough start in Winnipeg and only seemed to get better as the season went along, culminating in being chosen as the league’s top player.
It was a banner year for Sermo, who finished second in home runs with 22 and was first in RBI with 81. The infielder had gotten off to a tough start with the Goldeyes, recording just 2 hits in 13 at-bats before being released.
He signed with the Explorers a day later and never looked back, hitting .316 in 87 games with 75 runs scored and 100 hits in a Sioux City uniform. Sermo not only showed a great deal of power, adding 23 doubles and 5 triples to his 22 homers, but he also became the first player in American Association history to hit 20-plus homers and steal 20-plus bases in the same season, stealing 24 bases with the Explorers. Sermo also led the league in total bases with 201.
Jose Sermo became the second Explorers player to be honored for his performance in 2018, joining pitcher Justin Vernia who was named the Rookie of the Year by the Minor League Sports Report. Sermo was also chosen as the Pointstreak Player of the Year by the American Association.
Nate Samson, Sioux City Explorers
Nate Samson finished second in the American Association in batting, hitting .340. He set a team record with 141 hits this season, scored 79 runs and drove in 73. His RBI total was sixth best in the league and he was second in runs scoring, finishing three ahead of Sermo, who was third and three behind another teammate, Michael Lang.
Samson was the model of consistency this season, as he only went more than one game without a hit on three occasions, twice going three games and once going two games before getting a hit. He recorded 43 multiple hit games, including a 5 for 6 performance against the Texas AirHogs on August 29. The shortstop also stole 22 bases.
Dillon Thomas, Texas AirHogs
Dillon Thomas was very well on his way to an MVP when his contract was purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers with about three weeks left in the season. Regardless, he earned the right to still be called an MVP candidate and finished third in the voting.
Thomas appeared in 80 games, hitting .333 with 56 runs scored, 13 homers, and 54 RBI. Those were incredibly impressive numbers considering that the slugger had very little protection around him as the AirHogs were helping to develop the Chinese National team. That meant that he saw three or four good pitches to hit in any series, yet still put up MVP type numbers.
Despite missing three weeks, Thomas led the league in doubles with 37 and added 14 stolen bases. He was fourth in stolen base percentage (.875). He posted a .601 slugging percentage, second in the American Association to Sermo, and had an on-base percentage of .420, third in the league.
By Robert Pannier