Mike Hart Named American Association Rookie of the Year
In American Association Daily, the Minor League Sports Report and This Week in the Association name Sioux Falls Canaries OF/C Mike Hart as the 2019 American Association Rookie of the Year. Hart beats out Chicago Dogs RHP Kyle Halbohn and Milwaukee Milkmen/St. Paul Saints RHP Tanner Kiest.
Canaries Michael Hart Named Rookie of the Year
After hitting .297 in 78 games, Sioux Falls Canaries OF/C Mke Hart was named the 2019 American Association Rookie of the Year on Friday. Hart was a unanimous choice after blasting 11 homers and driving in 42 runs.
Hart was actually in his second season in the league, but qualifies as a rookie according to American Association rules. The Sioux Falls star began the season as an outfielder, but later filled in behind the plate as well when injuries led Manager Mike Meyer to call on his star to ask him to play a game or two a week as catcher. Hart was more than happy to oblige.
The outfielder played three seasons at Massachusetts before joining the Lincoln Saltdogs in 2018. He appeared in just five games before being dealt to the Canaries where he hit .311 in 61 games.
This past season, Mike Hart had 29 extra base hits, including 17 doubles. He posted a .386 on-base percentage and a .491 slugging percentage. He was outstanding in the outfield, recording 11 assists and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 57 games.
Mike Hart beat out a pair of relievers for the award. RHP Kyle Halbohn had an outstanding season for the Chicago Dogs, going 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 36 games. The right-hander tossed 41.0 innings, allowing 30 hits and 12 walks while striking out 46. Halbohn was a former Los Angeles Angels prospect.
RHP Tanner Kiest finished third in the voting. Kiest had battled through an injury plagued start to his career, but turned things around in 2019. The right-hander began the season in Milwaukee where he was 1-1 with a 1.72 in 31 appearances for the Milkmen. In late July, he was dealt to the St. Paul Saints, where he became the team’s closer. Kiest recorded nine saves in 13 appearances, striking out 25 in 16.0 innings pitched.
By Robert Pannier