NEW YORK -- The MLB Draft League announced that Williamsport’s Matthew Etzel and West Virginia’s Max Alba were named Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for the period of June 13-19.
Etzel, 20, batted .500 (10-for-20) with one home run, one triple and two doubles in five games for the Crosscutters. He paced all MLB Draft League hitters during the period in hits, runs scored (8), total bases (18), OPS (1.445), RBI (8) and stolen bases (t-6). Etzel went 0-for-4 on Tuesday before recording multi-hit performances in three of Williamsport’s next four games, highlighted by a 5-for-5 effort against Mahoning Valley on June 17 in which he hit a home run and a double, scored three runs, drove in four and stole two bases.
The League City, Texas native leads the MLB Draft League (10 games played min.) in batting average (.447), on-base percentage (.519) and OPS (1.221) through 14 games this season. He also leads the circuit in hits (21), total bases (33) and RBI (12) and ranks second in stolen bases (tied-11). Etzel has struck out twice in 54 plate appearances. The Southern Mississippi-bound outfielder put up big numbers this past spring as a Panola College sophomore, slashing .433/.509/.711 with 84 hits, 34 extra-base hits including seven home runs, 55 runs, 49 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 51 games. For his performance, Etzel was named the NJCAA Region XIV Player of the Year.
Draft League Data: Etzel batted .588 with a 1.670 OPS against fastballs during his award-winning week, notching each of his 10 hits against the pitch. The Crosscutters’ leadoff hitter showed a combination of patience and elite contact skills, averaging 3.5 pitchers per plate appearance while also posting a 22.2% O-Swing% and 92.5% Z-Contact%. Eight of Etzel’s batted balls had an exit velocity of at least 90 mph.
Alba, 22, recorded five of his first six outs via the strikeout en route to completing four scoreless innings with six strikeouts against Frederick in his June 19 Black Bears debut. He allowed just three hits and did not issue a walk in the outing, throwing 40 of 57 pitches for strikes. The Franklin, Wisc. native recently completed his junior season at Liberty University, where he compiled 59 strikeouts against 13 walks in 41.1 innings spanning 17 appearances, including five starts. The Los Angeles Angels drafted Alba in the 39th round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Franklin (Wisc.) High School.
Draft League Data: Throwing his fastball at a 61-percent clip in his MLB Draft League debut, Alba topped out at 90.6 mph and 2498.9 rpm while averaging 89.0 mph and 2375 rpm with an impressive 20.8 inches of Induced Vertical Brake. He posted a 64-percent first-pitch strike rate as well as a 47-percent Whiff% with the pitch. Alba posted a 63.6-percent Whiff%, a 55.0-percent Chase% and a 52.9-percent CSW% with his 81-83-mph, 2400-plus-rpm slider, using it 29 percent of the time. In total, Alba used his fastball and slider to record each of his 15 swinging strikes.