Joe Sullivan, Ryan Birchard take home MLB Draft League weekly honors

Sullivan, Birchard named Draft League Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively
Draft League Hitter & Pitcher of the week (TW)

NEW YORK -- The MLB Draft League announced that Williamsport’s Joe Sullivan and Trenton’s Ryan Birchard were named Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for the period of June 19 to June 25.

Sullivan, 20, garners Hitter of the Week honors for the fourth week of the MLB Draft League season after batting .357 (5-for-14) with two home runs, two triples, one double and five RBIs in five games for the Crosscutters. The outfielder led the league in home runs, triples, total bases (16), slugging (1.143) and OPS (1.693) and finished tied for the league lead in walks (6). 

Sullivan began his week by homering in back-to-back games against Frederick, going 1-for-3 with a solo shot and a walk June 20 and following it with a 2-for-3, two-RBI performance the next day that included a triple the next day. After going hitless in the series finale against the Keys, Sullivan reached base three times against Trenton on June 23, going 1-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, two RBIs and two walks. He reached base four times June 24, hitting a triple, scoring twice and working three walks in a 1-for-2 effort. 

Sullivan is batting .237/.412/.553 with two home runs, two triples, two doubles and eight RBIs through 13 games with Williamsport. The Birmingham, Ala., native is tied for the Crosscutters’ team lead in home runs, second in total bases (21), runs scored (tied-9) and walks (11), and third in RBIs (tied-8). This past spring, Sullivan batted .304/.485/.591 with 13 home runs, 44 RBIs and 50 runs scored in 52 games as a South Alabama sophomore.

Birchard, 19, takes home Pitcher of the Week honors after the right-hander posted four perfect innings in two appearances, including one start, for Trenton. He tallied six strikeouts while throwing 35 of 51 pitches for strikes across the two outings. Birchard struck out five batters on 34 pitches (25 strikes) over three perfect frames – he struck out the side swinging in the second inning – in his June 21 start against Mahoning Valley. He notched another strikeout during a flawless relief appearance against Williamsport on Sunday, completing the frame on 17 pitches (10 strikes).  

Birchard has not allowed a run in his past three outings after he yielded one run on two hits in two innings during his June 11 season debut against West Virginia. Overall, the Auburn, N.Y., native has pitched to a 1.00 ERA in nine innings spanning four outings (two starts). He’s compiled 16 strikeouts (16.0 BB/9) against one walk and two hits overall, posting a 0.33 WHIP and .071 opponents’ batting average.

Birchard was a first-team NJCAA Division III All-American selection as a Niagara County Community College freshman this year after going 8-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 95 strikeouts on the mound. He permitted just 29 hits and six earned runs in 50 innings pitched. Birchard, committed to Oregon for the 2023-24 season, was also recognized as the Region III Div. III and Western New York Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

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