Welcome to our another of our features that is designed as an additional enhancement to our updated statistical information about Australian players who fly our flag in the US Professional Leagues. Time permitting, we hope to track the performances of players for the previous week (or five or six days) and to make our assessment for 'Flintoff & Dunn's US PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK'. We may then be able to expand this into a 'PRO PLAYER OF THE MONTH' to add to our 'PRO PLAYERS OF THE YEAR' that we have published at the end of previous seasons... Stand by!
Like everything we do, we certainly don't expect that everyone will agree with our assessments from week to week and we don't pretend to know every intimate event or situation that might affect a given player from time to time. Our assessment will be based purely on the statistics produced from the past week with no particular emphasis on at what level the performance has been achieved. 
In any case, we will be happy if this effort sparks interest and debate for Australia's baseball community and we will always be happy to hear what you think!

*** MANY Thanks to our statistical auditor PETER WOOD for supplying the reference data ***

  To view the latest Statistics for Australian Players in the US Professional Leagues

2006: To view 'Flintoff & Dunn's' PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
from the 2006 season,
click here
2007: To view 'Flintoff & Dunn's' PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
from the 2007 season,
click here


'Flintoff & Dunn's 

Some Subscribers may be wondering if we were ever going to address our traditional PRO PLAYERS OF THE YEAR Awards this season. The fact of the matter is that we have been a bit tardy, while concentrating more on a hectic Claxton Shield program and then the onset of the World Baseball Classic.

In the end we decided that it would be an interesting prelude to the new US season to announce these winners in the weeks leading up to the new season.

Here they are (added over coming days):

 Congratulations to the following player(s) selected as our F&D Pro Players of the Year.

During the 2008 season Australia could boast a record EIGHT players in the USA major leagues at various stages of the season. Brad HARMAN became our 26th major leaguer when he rose briefly to the big leagues with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Phil STOCKMAN and Rich THOMPSON were limited again to short stays because of injuries. So too the very talented Chris SNELLING who batted .500 over his four games with the big league Phillies.

Our brightest star of 2007 Peter MOYLAN was another sad case when he went down with arm surgery after enjoying a 1.59ERA from seven games.

Justin HUBER couldn’t quite consolidate himself with his .246 batting average from 33 games with the San Diego Padres.

Our “Honourable Mention” for the 2008 season is for Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH who pitched well as a set-up relief man until he made a very good transition to a starting pitcher near the end of the season with the Seattle Mariners. He ultimately made 12 starts for his overall record of 5-3, 3.42ERA with two saves from 118.1 innings.

Taking our top award after a tremendous season that ended in the World Series with the runner-up Tampa Bay Rays was Grant BALFOUR. Grant earned universal recognition as a key late inning fireman with the Rays and his 6-2, 1.54ERA record with four saves is ample testimony to how effective he was.


 Grant BALFOUR (Tampa Bay Rays) 
51G   0GS  6-2, 1.54ERA   58.1ip  24BB  82K  
 Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH  Seattle Mariners 47G   5-3, 3.42ERA  118.1ip  114h  45er  48bb  77k

We don’t want to spend too much time discussing former AMLB import players, but a few worthy of mention are Geoff BLUM, Mike HESSMAN, Paul LoDUCA and Kevin MILLWOOD.

Blum batted .240 in 114 games as a handy utility with the Houston Astros. Hessman batted a steady .296 and he may have deserved more than 12 games with the Detroit Tigers. Veteran catcher Paul LoDuca batted .294 in 21 games with the Florida Marlins where he enjoyed his time much better than with the Washington Nationals.

Despite a modest record, evergreen Kevin Millwood was a “horse” for the lowly Texas Rangers and he had patches during the season when he was as tough as ever.

However, the clear winner of this award for former import players after 2008 is:


 Vernon WELLS (Toronto Blue Jays) 
108G   427AB  .300AVG  22D  1T  20HR  78RBI  .496SLG  
 Congratulations to the following player(s) selected as our F&D Pro Players of the Year.

As mentioned during our ‘AA’ review, Los Angeles Angels’ veteran Adam MORRISSEY has played enough at both ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ level to earn special mentions in each category. In this review he earns plaudits for his .299 average from 32 games with their ‘AAA’ Salt Lake Bees. Team mate Rich THOMPSON played mainly at ‘AAA’ level with the Bees during an injury interrupted season but his 1-0, 4.05ERA record from only ten games was not enough for special mention.

Injury prone Atlanta Braves' giant Phil STOCKMAN again played briefly in the majors, but he earns recognition here for his 1-1, 2.10ERA record from 19 relief appearances with their ‘AAA’ Richmond Braves. Fellow major leaguers Grant BALFOUR and Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH each pitched superbly during short stints at ‘AAA’ level but both of them will be rated for their big league performances this year.

There was no great discussion required to anoint Trent OELTJEN with our ‘AAA’ award this year after his magnificent season with Arizona’s Tucson Sidewinders in 2008. Trent batted a consistent .317 from 127 appearances with a .466 slugging percentage to compliment his brilliant outfield defence. For much of the season his batting average was above the .350 plateau and he must have been really close to cracking the majors… he may well do this during 2009.


 Trent OELTJEN (Tucson Sidewinders) 
127G   442AB  .317AVG  28D  10T  6HR  60RBI  .466SLG  
 Adam MORRISSEY  Salt Lake Bees 32G  107AB  .299AVG  14R  32H  7D  5HR  15RBI  .505SLG%
 Phil STOCKMAN  Richmond Braves 19G   1-1, 2.10ERA  30.0ip  15h  7er  18bb  26k
 Congratulations to the following player(s) selected as our F&D Pro Players of the Year.

Los Angeles Angels’ veteran Adam MORRISSEY has played enough at both ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ level to earn special mentions in each category. For this review he earns plaudits for his .280 average from 79 games with their ‘AA’ Arkansas Travellers. Team mate Michael COLLINS also deserves a mention with his .264 from 67 games with the Travellers.

Detroit Tigers reliever Brendan WISE made the successful transition from ‘A’ level to ‘AA’ during 2008 to pitch a very tidy 2-1, 3.30ERA from 43.2ip with their ‘AA’ Erie Seawolves. Both Collins and Wise represented Australia at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Sharing the award as our ‘AA’ Pro Players of the Year are two other World Baseball Classic performers Luke HUGHES and David WELCH. Hughes moved up to ‘AAA’ during 2008 and he may be on the cusp of cracking the majors after batting .319 from 70 games with a .551 slugging percentage for Minnesota’s ‘AA’ New Britain Rock Cats. 
Welch was typically consistent as a prominent starter who pitched for an 11-4, 3.90ERA record from 27 starts with Milwaukee’s ‘AA’ Huntsville Stars.


 Luke HUGHES (New Britain Rock Cats) 
70G   285AB  .319AVG  15D  3T  15HR  40RBI  .551SLG  

 David WELCH (Huntsville Stars) 
27G   27GS  11-4, 3.90ERA   147.2ip  51BB  95K  
 Adam MORRISSEY  Arkansas Travellers 78G  286AB  .280AVG  28R  80H  15D  9HR  34RBI  .427SLG%
 Brendan WISE  Erie Seawolves 30G   2-1, 3.30ERA  43.2ip  43h  16er  14bb  20k
 Michael COLLINS  Arkansas Travellers 67G  250AB  .264AVG  45R  66H  18D  2T  5HR  37RBI  .412SLG%
Flintoff & Dunn's SINGLE 'A' LEVEL PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2008
 Congratulations to the following player(s) selected as our F&D Pro Players of the Year.

It’s a bit hard to adjudicate on ‘A’ level players when you have such a substantial gap in the standard of ‘Short-season A level” and ‘Advanced A+ level’, however, ‘Flintoff and Dunn’ has done its best to take this factor into account, while not overlooking outstanding performances at each level.

This comes immediately to mind when we decided not to separate Minnesota’s Daniel BERG, who batted .279 with their A+ Fort Myers Miracle before moving up to ‘AA’ ball, from Boston youngster Mitch DENING, who batted a mighty .321 for their ‘A-ss’ Lowell Spinners. Both of these guys deserve their share of our top award this year, along with their selections for Australia in the World Baseball Classic.

Philadelphia lads Joel NAUGHTON, Tim KENNELLY and Drew NAYLOR each earned special mention for their efforts with the Lakewood Blueclaws. Naughton batted .275 from 86 games and was voted Defensive Catcher of the Year for the league. Kennelly also batted an identical .275 from 55 games, while pitcher Naylor owned a 5-3, 2.99ERA record before finding it tougher at ‘A+’ Clearwater.

Minnesota reliever Matt WILLIAMS had another solid season compiling 2-0, 2.09ERA with ‘A’ Beloit Snappers, then 2-2, 3.35ERA with ‘A+’ Fort Myers.

Josh WELLS was strong again with his 6-4, 3.92ERA from 16 starts with Toronto’s Auburn Doubledays, while young gun Ryan SEARLE pitched a promising 1-2, 1.03ERA from just six games with Chicago Cubs’ short-season affiliate Boise Hawks.

Also grabbing a share of our top award with Berg and Dening was WA pitcher Scott MITCHINSON who had a fine season with two Oakland ‘A’ level clubs. He pitched 5-3, 1.74 ERA in 14 games with the Kane County Cougars before going 1-0, 1.69ERA for their advanced level Stockton Ports.


 Daniel BERG (A+ Fort Myers Miracle) 
67G   222AB  .279AVG  8D  2T  6HR  22RBI  .414SLG  

 Mitch DENING (A-ss Lowell Spinners) 
62G   240AB  .321AVG  13D  7T  3HR  20RBI  .471SLG  

Scott MITCHINSON (A - Kane County Cougars) 
(A+ - Stockton Ports)
16G   15GS  6-3, 1.73ERA  88.1ip  12BB  87K  * Combined
 Matt WILLIAMS Beloit Snappers 23G   2-0, 2.09ERA  38.2ip  29h  9er  12bb  42k
  Fort Myers Miracle 20G   2-2, 3.35ERA  45.2ip  44h  17er  16bb  37k
 Joel NAUGHTON  Lakewood Blueclaws 86G  276AB  .275AVG  29R  76H  17D  2HR  33RBI  .359SLG%
 Tim KENNELLY  Lakewood Blueclaws 55G  200AB  .275AVG  27R  55H  15D  1 T  1HR  27RBI  .375SLG%
 Drew NAYLOR  Lakewood Blueclaws 14G   5-3, 2.99ERA  87.1ip  69h  29er  21bb  97k
 Josh WELLS  Auburn Doubledays 16G   6-4, 3.92ERA  64.1ip  72h  28er  23bb  47k
 Congratulations to the following player(s) selected as our F&D Pro Players of the Year.

There were plenty of Australian youngsters who dipped their toes into the demanding world of professional baseball as Rookie minor leaguers this season, but few of them played enough, or stood out enough, to really catch our eye for this award in 2008. Perhaps not surprisingly, the contenders for this award came mainly from those who were playing their second seasons of Rookie ball and, even less surprisingly, a couple of those who featured for this award in 2007.

If this award included progress since the end of the 2008 pro season, Australia’s recent World Baseball Classic infield star James BERESFORD would have been the stand-out selection, particularly after considering his terrific 2009 Claxton Shield campaign as well. However, we do not take this into account for this award and ‘Jimmy’ will have to settle for an “Honourable Mention” this time. His spectacular defence at short stop for Minnesota’s Elizabethton Twins was not quite enough to bolster a moderate .246 batting average, even though his .345 on base percentage from 55 games was none too shabby. Watch this guy over the next few seasons!

Similarly WA’s Matt KENNELLY who also batted .246 from 44 games with Atlanta’s Danville Braves before moving up to ‘A’ ball later in the season.

Kennelly’s Danville team mate Steve KENT was also very good with a 1-0, 3.68ERA from 12 appearances on the hill. 

Another Elizabethton Twin Jarrod EACOTT didn't quite have a big enough sample for special mention with just five appearances, but his 1-0, 1.17ERA record was about as good as anyone could expect from limited opportunity.

Narrowly missing the major award again this year was New York Mets Rookie league third baseman Stefan WELCH who batted a solid .281 from 63 games with the Kingsport Mets before moving up to ‘A’ ball. He also made a cameo appearance at the World Baseball Classic.

Winning this award as a repeat of his joint win in 2007 was NSW pitching ace Brad TIPPETT who pitched for a splendid 8-3, 2.55ERA record from 74 innings for the E-town Twins before he too earned a call up to ‘A’ ball during the season.


 Bradley TIPPETT (Elizabethton Twins) 
14G   14GS  8-3, 2.55ERA  74.0ip  9BB  63K  
 Stephan WELCH  Kingsport Mets 63G  253AB  .281AVG  33R  71H  14D  8T 4HR  34RBI  .447SLG%
 Steve KENT  Danville Braves 12G   1-0, 3.68ERA  29.1ip  25h  12er  9bb  31k
 James BERESFORD  Elizabethton Twins 55G  179AB  .246AVG  26R  44H  5D  1T  23RBI  .345OBP%
 Matt KENNELLY  Danville Braves 44G  167AB  .246AVG  14R  41H  9D  4HR  25RBI  .371SLG%
'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 8 SEPTEMBER 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

With most of the minor US professional leagues either concluded or very near it during the past week, ‘Flintoff & Dunn’ will also bring down the curtain on our PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Awards with today’s nominations. And, to celebrate the occasion, I thought that we might have a bit of fun by nominating all of those players who had a reasonable sample of performance during the time span, no matter how small. The simple fact of the matter is that four of our guys actually performed extremely well.

On other occasions GRANT BALFOUR may have missed a nomination because of his small number of innings pitched but, once again, we could not dismiss his 0.00ERA or his 5/1 strike out versus walk ratio… he is KILLING ’EM!! Also worthy of similar accolades lately is our re-invented major league starting pitcher RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH who, while not as dominant as Balfour, is doing a splendid job in quite a different role for a struggling team.

Once again, we would not have considered included these hitters in other weeks due to their few at bats but, really, how could you fail to recognise JUSTIN HUBER who batted 5-5 in his last game at the start of this time span? Or young gun MITCH DENING who played just two games during the same period but he maintained his lofty standards with an overall 4-8, with a .875 slugging percentage to earn an ‘Honourable Mention”?

That’s all for 2008 folks, but when the dust settles we will bring you our ‘Flintoff & Dunn’ PRO PLAYERS OF THE YEAR for each professional level. Keep an eye out for those…

This week's nominations are:

 Grant BALFOUR  (MLB - Tampa Bay Rays)
   2G   0-0, 0.00ERA  3.0IP  1H  0ER  1BB  5K  --  Season  4-2, 1.70ERA

 Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH  (MLB - Seattle Mariners)
   2G   1-0, 2.84ERA  12.2IP  14H  4ER  5BB  3K  --  Season  4-2, 3.61ERA

 Justin HUBER  (AAA - Omaha Royals)
   1G   1.000AVG  5AB  5H  1RBI   --  Season  .246AVG


Mitchell DENING (Red Sox 'A-ss' Lowell Spinners) 28AB  .500AVG  1R  4H  1D  1T  1RBI  .875SLG%
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 1 SEPTEMBER 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

‘Flintoff & Dunn’ are delighted that so many Australian players are enjoying a strong finish to their 2008 professional baseball seasons in the USA but, once again, this has given us more nightmares in trying to adjudicate on our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK Award this week. In all seriousness, over the three years we have been publishing this weekly award I cannot remember having so many players come under serious consideration as on this occasion. In our most common fashion we will start from the bottom up with those who narrowly missed nominations and, I’m sure you’ll agree, they could have received nominations on many other occasions.

Major league star GRANT BALFOUR didn’t pitch sufficient innings this time, even though he added another three holds and did not allow a run… that tells you how high the bar has been set! Baltimore’s ‘AAA’ stalwart CRAIG ANDERSON had a tremendous winning start, but just fell out of contention with a loss this past weekend. Arizona’s ever-present ‘AAA’ star TRENT OELTJEN couldn’t quite squeeze in with his .318 and five RBIs, and nor could Atlanta’s ‘A’ level catcher TIM KENNELLY who also batted .318. Rookie pitchers ALESSIO ANGELUCCI and TIM STANFORD both earned wins but had insufficient innings pitched.

Among the very unlucky ones to receive “only Honourable Mentions” were experienced pitchers RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH, who had a brilliant winning start for the Seattle Mariners in the big league, and former big leaguer DAMIAN MOSS who made three scoreless relief appearances for Atlanta’s ‘AAA’ Richmond Braves. Among the batters LUKE HUGHES has not had quite enough at bats since his promotion to Minnesota’s ‘AAA’ Rochester, but we could not ignore his 5-10 batting at the higher level. Boston’s ultra-consistent ‘A-ss’ campaigner MITCH DENING barely missed a top nomination with his .412 from 17 at bats. Also earning “Honourable Mention” were Minnesota’s promoted ‘AA’ man DANIEL BERG, New York Mets promoted ‘A’ player STEFAN WELCH and recent major leaguer BRAD HARMAN who each batted .333 for the past week.

Ahead of those, we were unable and/or unwilling to separate five players for our leading award this week. Not usually noted for his hitting is Minnesota’s ‘A’ level catecher ALLAN de SAN MIGUEL, who exploded with 8-19 (.421), including three doubles and five RBIs. Joining him were ‘A’ level pitchers; Phillies' ‘Drew-K’ DREW NAYLOR, SCOTT MITCHINSON who pitched a brilliant start following his promotion to Oakland’s Stockton Ports, Minnesota’s MATT WILLIAMS and Toronto’s JOSHUA WELLS. You can evaluate their statistics yourself and, as always, let us know if we should have excluded any one of them?

In the Independent Leagues, JAMES ALBURY collected a very neat win in his second start for the Midwest Sliders, while WAYNE LUNDGREN added another win for his very good season record of 11-3, 3.28ERA for his Brockton Rox.

This week's nominations are:

 Drew NAYLOR  (A+ - Clearwater Threshers)
   1G   0-0, 1.29ERA  7.0IP  5H  1ER  0BB  6K  --  Season  3-7, 4.85ERA

 Allan de SAN MIGUEL  (A - Beloit Snappers)
   5G   .421AVG  19AB  3R  8H  3D  5RBI   --  Season  .264AVG

 Scott MITCHINSON  (A+ - Stockton Ports)
   1G   1-0, 0.00ERA  6.0IP  1H  0ER  0BB  5K  --  Season  1-0, 1.69ERA

 Matthew WILLIAMS  (A+ - Fort Myers Miracle)
   2G   1-0, 1.00ERA  9.0IP  6H  1ER  1BB  8K  --  Season  2-2, 3.35ERA

 Joshua WELLS  (A-ss - Auburn Doubledays)
   1G   1-0, 0.00ERA  7.0IP  5H  0ER  0BB  1K  --  Season  6-4, 4.31ERA


Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH (MLB Seattle Mariners)  1G   1-0, 2.57ERA  7.0ip  5h  2er  2bb  5k
Mitchell DENING (Red Sox 'A-ss' Lowell Spinners) 617AB  .412AVG  2R  7H  2D  2RBI 
Daniel BERG (Twins 'AA' New Britain Rock Cats) 827AB  .333AVG  6R  9H  3D  1RBI 
Luke HUGHES (Twins 'AAA' Rochester Redwings) 310AB  .500AVG  1R  5H  1D  2RBI 
Brad HARMAN (Phillies 'AA' Reading Phillies) 624AB  .333AVG  2R  8H  1D  1T  2HR  6RBI 
Stefan WELCH (Mets 'A' Savannah Sand Gnats) 312AB  .333AVG  3R  4H  1D  1HR  3RBI 
Damian MOSS (Braves 'AAA' Richmond Braves)  3G   0-0, 0.00ERA  3.1ip  3h  0er  2bb  4k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 25 AUGUST 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

From the ridiculous to the almost sublime, our loyal Subscribers would be reassured to hear that sanity has returned to 'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK' Awards. After failing to separate eight Aussies for our major award last week, we are quite happy to feature only two this time, even though we didn't receive one solitary complaint from anyone about our over-abundance of award winners last week.

On this occasion we will nominate all of the pitchers we have identified this week for "Honourable Mention" as they were too difficult to separate, but not quite up to the level of performance of our two leading hitters this time. RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH pitched a very good losing start for Seattle in the major leagues, but it was not enough to earn a nomination. GRANT BALFOUR continues to blaze a hot trail in the major leagues, balancing a rare loss with a win and three holds last week while striking out seven in 5.1 innings. Evergreen CRAIG ANDERSON notched two wins, while SHANE LINDSAY and DREW NAYLOR each collected one victory. DAMIAN MOSS and LACHLAN HODGE joined them for mention with 0.00ERA efforts, albeit from fewer innings pitched.

Among our hitters STEFAN WELCH (5-18 with a home run) and CHRIS SNELLING (3-10 with a home run) just missed Honourable Mentions. Scorching ahead of them were TRENT OELTJEN, who batted .480 with a .720 slugging percentage for his amazing EIGHTH major nomination, and ADAM MORRISSEY, who batted .484 with a .677 slugging percentage to share the award. We don't expect any argument about their top nominations on this occasion.

Brief mentions once again for our Independent Leaguers. Pitcher JAMES ALBURY, who did well in his first start for the Midwest Sliders after 26 relief appearances this year. BRAD DUTTON has just clicked past 300 at bats while maintaining a .321 batting average for the Rockford Riverhawks, while El Paso Diablos catcher MATT KENT is batting a very good .289 from 343 at bats while receiving almost every pitch for his team.

This week's nominations are:

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
   5G   .484AVG  31AB  5R  15H  3D  1HR  4RBI   --  Season  .312AVG

 ADAM MORRISSEY  (AA - Arkansas Travellers)
   6G   .480AVG  25AB  2R  12H  3D  1HR  4RBI   --  Season  .267AVG


Grant BALFOUR (MLB Tampa Bay Rays)  5G   1-1, 3.38ERA  5.1ip  2h  2er  2bb  7k
Craig ANDERSON (Orioles 'AAA' Norfolk Tides)  2G   2-0, 2.25ERA  8.0ip  7h  2er  2bb  4k
Shane LINDSAY (Rockies 'A' Asheville Tourists)  2G   1-0, 2.53ERA  10.2ip  10h  3er  4bb  13k
Drew NAYLOR (Phillies 'A+' Clearwater Threshers)  1G   1-0, 1.29ERA  7.0ip  7h  1er  1bb  3k
Lachlan HODGE (Mets 'R' Gulf Coast Mets)  1G   0-0, 0.00ERA  5.0ip  3h  0er  3bb  3k
Damian MOSS (Braves 'AAA' Richmond Braves)  2G   0-0, 0.00ERA  4.0ip  2h  0er  0bb  4k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 18 AUGUST 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

OK Subscribers, we may have been accused in the past of some weak-kneed efforts to separate our PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK awards but, if you demand clear-cut decisiveness, then you’ll find this to be our weakest effort yet!!

Our excuse is that, having studied the performances this week up, down and sideways, we simply couldn’t slide a proverbial cigarette paper between the statistics of five pitchers and three hitters. I defy anyone to advise us how to adjudicate between terrific pitching and brilliant batting… just where is that defining line?… we’d love to know the answer!

Let’s start with those who narrowly missed nominations by mentioning two batters who wouldn’t normally be included with sub-.300 averages for the week, but on this occasion we couldn’t completely overlook the efforts of LUKE HUGHES (.286) and MATT KENNELLY (.263) because of their power and run production. Hughes batted 6-21 with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs, while Kennelly batted 5-19 with two home runs and four RBIs.

Earning “Honourable Mention” were Rookie infielders STEFAN WELCH and ALAN SCHOENBERGER, not so much because they owned averages above the .300 plateau, but also due to additional attributes. Mets’ Advanced-Rookie Welch batted .304 including two doubles, a home ruin and six RBIs, while Philadelphia’s Schoenberger batted .333 with two doubles and three walks for a .429 on base percentage.

It’s not too hard to explain the efforts of Minnesota’s ‘A+’ DANIEL BERG, Boston’s ‘A-ss’ MITCH DENING and San Diego’s ‘AAA’ JUSTIN HUBER who each had great weeks swinging the lumber. Berg batted .400 with a double, a triple and three RBIs, Dening batted .400 with two doubles, a triple and a RBI, while Huber batted .385 with six doubles and four RBIs.

The pitching was more difficult to adjudicate with three terrific 0.00ERA efforts from DAMIAN MOSS, MATT WILLIAMS and SCOTT MITCHINSON. We might have excluded DAVID WELCH and BRAD TIPPETT for allowing one earned run each, but both produced wins and superior strikeout to walk ratios… we just couldn’t leave them out of the top award. You can decipher their statistics for yourself and let us know who, if anyone, doesn’t deserve to be there!

We’ll also give a brief mention to Independent League pitcher WAYNE LUNDGREN who added another very strong win to his positive 8-3, 3.44ERA record with the Brockton Rox.

This week's nominations are:

 Daniel BERG  (A+ - Fort Myers Miracle)
   5G   .400AVG  20AB  4R  8H  1D  1T  3RBI   --  Season  .279AVG

 Mitchell DENING  (A-ss - Lowell Spinners)
   5G   .400AVG  20AB  5R  8H  2D  1T  1RBI  3BB  .478OB%   --  Season  .323AVG

 Justin HUBER  (AAA - Portland Beavers)
   7G   .385AVG  26AB  5R  10H  6D  4RBI  3BB  .615SLG%   --  Season  .236AVG

 Scott MITCHINSON  (A - Kane County Cougars)
   2G   0-0, 0.00ERA  6.2IP  6H  0ER  0BB  8K  --  Season  5-3, 1.74ERA

 Damian MOSS  (AAA - Richmond Braves)
   3G   1-0, 0.00ERA  5.0IP  2H  0ER  4BB  5K  --  Season  5-9, 4.25ERA

 Matthew WILLIAMS  (A+ - Fort Myers Miracle)
   2G   0-0, 0.00ERA  7.0IP  2H  0ER  3BB  6K  --  Season  1-2, 4.04ERA

 Bradley TIPPETT  (R+ - Elizabethton Twins)
   1G   1-0, 1.29ERA  7.0IP  7H  1ER  0BB  6K  --  Season  8-2, 2.34ERA

 David WELCH  (AA - Huntsville Stars)
   1G   1-0, 1.35ERA  6.2IP  5H  1ER  0BB  5K  --  Season  11-2, 3.49ERA


Stefan WELCH (Mets 'R+' Kingsport Mets) 623AB  .304AVG  3R  7H  2D  1HR  6RBI
Alan SCHOENBERGER (Phillies 'R' GCL Phillies) 618AB  .333AVG  0R  6H  2D  3BB  .429OB%
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 11 AUGUST 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Just to prove once again that ‘Flintoff & Dunn’ try to provide a balanced view we must, on this occasion, admit that it was not too difficult to assess our nominations this week. And, I must say, that it brings a pleasant change from the prolonged deliberations that normally test our abilities at this time each week.

Firstly, just missing out on nominations this week were NSW pitchers RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH, CRAIG ANDERSON and MATT WILLIAMS who each did very well, but not quite up to the standards set by those who will follow. Rowland-Smith returned to the major leagues after being “transformed” into a starter with two winning starts (one last week) for Seattle’s ‘AAA’ Tacoma Rainiers. His big league start this week was also pretty good with a solid no-decision. Craig Anderson pitched a winning start for Baltimore ’s ‘AAA’ Norfolk Tides but, as with Rowland-Smith, his 5.40ERA was just a bit too high for an award this week. Matt Williams did not collect any wins, but his 2.84ERA from 6.1 innings with a 5/1 strikeout versus walk ratio was again pretty decent overall.

Earning ‘Honourable Mention” this week were the ever-present GRANT BALFOUR, whose only crime this time was allowing a home run to veteran super-slugger Gary Sheffield, and hitter LUKE HUGHES who continues to thrive since his promotion to Minnesota’s ‘AAA’ Rochester Redwings. Hughes batted a respectable .333 over the past week, but he would not have received a nomination if not for the two doubles and two home runs that boosted his slugging percentage to .630, not to mention the SEVEN runs batted in for his team!

Soaring above all of those, we felt, were catcher JOEL NAUGHTON, who batted a monster 10-18 for Philadelphia’s ‘A’ level Lakewood Blueclaws, and another Philly ‘Drew-K’ DREW NAYLOR who struck out TEN in his 7.0 inning winning start for their ‘Adv-A’ Clearwater Threshers. Naylor certainly doesn’t “muck around” by fiddling with hitters as evidenced by his 10/0 strikeout to walk ratio, plus nine hits allowed, in this latest win!

Not involved in these awards, but still worthy of special mention, were Independent League Aussie pitchers ADAM BLACKLEY (El Paso Diablos) and WAYNE LUNDGREN (Brockton Rox) who both produced brilliant winning starts for their respective teams in the past week.

This week's nominations are:

 Joel NAUGHTON  (A - Lakewood Blueclaws)
   4G   .556AVG  18AB  3R  10H  2D  1RBI   --  Season  .272AVG

 Drew NAYLOR  (A+ - Clearwater Threshers)
   1G   1-0, 1.29ERA  7.0IP  9H  1ER  0BB  10K  --  Season  2-6, 6.18ERA


Luke HUGHES (Twins 'AAA' Rochester Redwings) 727AB  .333AVG  5R  9H  2D  2HR  7RBI  .630SLG%
Grant BALFOUR (MLB Tampa Bay Rays)  3G   0-0, 2.45ERA  3.1ip  1h  1er  1bb  4k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 4 AUGUST 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

I know that you’ve heard it all before, but I’m starting to ask myself whose bright idea it was to start these PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK awards? Quite frankly, we just don’t need the stress of trying to assess and somehow separate a number of very high quality performances without being unfair to somebody! You will see that this week provided a classic example of just how difficult this can be… anyway, what follows is how we walked the tightrope on this occasion.

Starting from the top this time, once again we can make no apologies for the lack of variety provided by the selections of GRANT BALFOUR (for the 5th time) and TRENT OELTJEN (for the 7th time) as joint winners of our top nomination this week. Who could possibly argue with Balfour’s 1-0, 2.08ERA that was spoiled only by a Gary Sheffield home run in a week that included a hold and an 8/1 strike out versus walk ratio. Similarly, Oeltjen’s .462 batting average for the week was spiced by three doubles, a triple, four RBIs and a monster .846 slugging percentage.

Joining these guys for the major award this week are our two 6-12, .500 average men DANIEL BERG and MATTHEW KENNELLY. Berg, playing for Minnesota’s High-A Fort Myers Miracle, laced two doubles for his .667 slugging percentage, while catcher Kennelly is proving very consistent since his promotion to Atlanta’s ‘A’ level Rome Braves.

Just missing out on our top award were Pittsburgh’s ‘AA’ Altoona Curve pitcher JOSH HILL with his scoreless six inning start, and Atlanta’s Rookie League Danville Braves’ reliever STEVE KENT who struck out six in four innings of scoreless relief. We will also provide an "Honourable Mention” for recent major leaguer RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH, who has been re-assigned to Seattle’s ‘AAA’ Tacoma Rainiers specifically to develop as a starter, for his solid 7.0 innings winning start last week. Not quite earning a special mention this time was Fort Myers Miracle reliever MATT WILLIAMS who pitched 3.1 scoreless innings from three appearances.

Earning ‘Honourable Mention” for their offence this time were Philadelphia’s Gulf Coast Rookie League catcher TIM KENNELLY who batted .345 from a large 29 at bats and Minnesota’s Adv-Rookie short stop wizard JAMES BERESFORD who batted .313 with four walks for a .563 on base percentage while playing for the Elizabethton Twins. Importantly, both of these guys also drove in five runs for their respective teams over the past week. Just missing a special mention due to his small sample size was Minnesota’s highly regarded ‘A’ level defensive catcher ALLAN de SAN MIGUEL who batted 4-9 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Far from simple I’m sure you’d agree?

This week's nominations are:

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
4G   .462AVG  13AB  4R  6H  3D  1T  4RBI  .846SLG%  --  Season  .300AVG

 Daniel BERG  (A+ - Fort Myers Miracle)
4G   .500AVG  12AB  2R  6H  2D  2RBI  .667SLG%  --  Season  .270AVG

 Matthew KENNELLY  (A - Rome Braves)
   3G   .500AVG  12AB  3R  6H  1D  2RBI  .583SLG%  --  Season  .400AVG

 Grant BALFOUR  (MLB - Tampa Bay Rays)
   4G   1-0, 2.08ERA  4.1IP  1H  1ER  1BB  8K  1H  --  Season  3-1,1.44ERA


Tim KENNELLY (Phillies 'A' Lakewood Blueclaws) 829AB  .345AVG  6R  10H  2D  5RBI  5BB
James BERESFORD (Twins 'R+' Elizabethton Twins) 516AB  .313AVG  2R  5H  1D 1T  5RBI  .563OB%
Josh HILL (Pirates 'AA' Altoona Curve)  1G  0-0, 0.00ERA  6.0ip  4h  1er  1bb  3k
Steve KENT (Braves 'R+' Danville Braves)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  4.0ip  0h  0er  0bb  6k
Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH (Mariners 'AAA' Tacoma Raniers)  1G  1-0, 2.57ERA  7.0ip  3h  2er  1bb  3k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 28 JULY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Crikey! We must have invoked the powers of “Murphy’s Law” after suggesting that there was a temporary lull in the performances of our Australian pros last week, because this week we have had an embarrassment of riches to select from. And, redundant to say, it has made our job just about as difficult as it can get on this occasion.

In the end we will make no apologies for failing to separate FOUR of our best performers from last week, or for the fact that each of these guys is no stranger to our awards this season, and seasons before! We’d like to share these awards around a lot more in an unrealistic world, but in baseball it is virtually impossible to ignore the cold hard statistics.

To start with some hitters who just missed selection. LUKE HUGHES returned after playing in the prestigious FUTURES GAME and after his MVP role in his ‘AA’ League All-Star game by batting.333 last week, while our most recent major leaguer BRAD HARMAN batted .308 with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI’s at ‘AA’ Reading. Young Red Sox ‘A’ Leaguer MITCH DENING batted .300, including a double and a home run, while Rookie STEFAN WELCH batted “only” .286 even though he hit in all seven games this past week. Young Rookies ALAN SCHOENBERGER (4-10 with a double and a triple) and JASON SMIT (2-4 with a double and a home run) missed out due to their small sample sizes.

Narrowly ahead of them for “Honourable Mention” was TIM KENNELLY who batted .421 plus four walks for his tremendous .522 on base percentage. The other player TRENT OELTJEN grabbed share of our major award this week by virtue of his splendid .471 average with two triples and six RBI’s… it is the SIXTH time he has featured in our top award this season!

The pitchers were just as hard to select with seasoned ‘AAA’ guys DAMIAN MOSS and CRAIG ANDERSON both having a very good week, as did younger pitchers BRAD TIPPETT (who collected another win) and JOSH WELLS. Fresh Rookie ALESSIO ANGELUCCI is settling after a rough initiation with seven strike outs from his six effective innings last week.

A couple of very familiar names deserve another “Honourable Mention” this week with Detroit’s ‘AA’ lefty reliever BRENDAN WISE and Philadelphia’s ‘A’ level K-machine DREW NAYLOR (even though he took a hard-luck loss) still commanding plenty of our attention this season. Narrowly ahead of them this week for a share or our top award were our 0.00ERA men GRANT BALFOUR (for the FOURTH time), along with DAVID WELCH and MATT WILLIAMS who both collected wins.

Even our Independent League campaigners were to the fore again with prolific Queensland infielder BRAD DUTTON churning out a .325 average from 206 at bats and pitcher WAYNE LUNDGREN earning another win to take his season record to a fine 6-2, 3.75ERA.

This week's nominations are:

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
4G   .471AVG  17AB  3R  8H  2T  6RBI  .706SLG%  --  Season  .293AVG

 David WELCH  (AA - Huntsville Stars)
1G   1-0, 0.00ERA  6.0IP  2H  0ER  2BB  6K  --  Season  10-1, 3.50ERA

 Matthew WILLIAMS  (A+ - Fort Myers Miracle)
   3G   1-0, 0.00ERA  6.0IP  6H  0ER  3BB  6K  --  Season  1-2, 6.63ERA

 Grant BALFOUR  (MLB - Tampa Bay Rays)
   4G   0-0, 0.00ERA  5.0IP  0H  0ER  1BB  7K  1SV  --  Season  2-1,1.33ERA


Tim KENNELLY (Phillies 'A' Lakewood Blueclaws) 519AB  .421AVG  4R  8H  2D  4RBI  4BB
Brendan WISE (Tigers 'AA' Erie Seawolves)  3G  0-0, 1.59ERA  5.2ip  5h  1er  0bb  2k
Drew NAYLOR (Phillies 'A+' Clearwater Threshers)  1G  0-1, 1.23ERA  7.2ip  2h  1er  3bb  7k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 21 JULY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

While it may have made our job slightly easier this week, it is unfortunate to say that there have not been quite so many stand-out performances from our Aussie professionals this time. For the “umpteenth” time this year GRANT BALFOUR forced his way into our nominations, even though he had a relatively small sample on this occasion. We still couldn’t overlook his two scoreless appearances that produced a brilliant save and a 5/1 strikeout versus walk ratio for the Tampa Bay Rays in the major leagues.

Minnesota rookie leaguer BRAD TIPPETT would have been well in contention for our top award with another superb winning start that produced eight strikeouts over seven innings, but he also took a loss later in the sample week. Consistent ‘AA’ campaigners DAVID WELCH (Milwaukee) and BRENDAN WISE (Detroit) each earned wins this week, but just missed special nominations.

Colorado’s ‘AA’ reliever ADAM BRIGHT sneaked in for “Honourable Mention” this week with two fine scoreless relief appearances. As did offensive players MITCH DENING, who batted .455 for Boston’s ‘A-ss’ Lowell Spinners, and TIM ATHERTON, who batted .417 for the San Diego Padres’ Arizona Rookie League team.

Our stand alone PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK this time is Philadelphia’s strikeout machine DREW NAYLOR who is finding his feet since his promotion to their ‘Advanced A’ Clearwater Threshers. You can view for yourself the stats from Drew’s terrific winning start that was, as often, punctuated by more than one strikeout per inning pitched… that is one way to be extremely effective folks!!

While we don’t include them in our awards lists, we will mention Independent League pitchers ADAM BLACKLEY (El Paso Diablos) and WAYNE LUNDGREN (Brockton Rox) who also added another win each to their season records.

This week's nominations are:

 Drew NAYLOR  (A+ - Clearwater Threshers)
1G   1-0, 0.00ERA  6.0IP  7H  0ER  1BB  7K

Season:  1-3, 5.93ERA


Mitchell DENING (Red Sox 'A-ss' Lowell Spinners) 311AB  .455AVG  5R  5H  1T  1RBI 
Tim ATHERTON (Padres 'R' AZL Padres) 312AB  .417AVG  2R  5H  1RBI 
Grant BALFOUR (MLB Tampa Bay Rays)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  3.1ip  1h  0er  1bb  5k  1SV
Adam BRIGHT (Rockies 'AA' Tulsa Drillers)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  4.0ip  1h  0er  2bb  4k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 14 JULY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

I know that you’re probably tired of us mentioning it but, once again, we did not find it easy to adjudicate on Australia’s PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK on this occasion, especially in terms of how to compare hitters who have made six appearances over the time span with a pitcher who has made one start? Anyway, ‘Flintoff & Dunn’ simply have to stand by our opinions and, as always, we are more than willing to hear and consider the varied opinions of our Subscribers.

Not a lot to assess among the pitchers this time with our major league guys GRANT BALFOUR and RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH not quite earning special mentions this time after many weeks of sustained excellence. TRAVIS BLACKLEY pitched another win for Philly’s ‘AAA’ Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, while DAVID WELCH pitched a strong no-decision for Milwaukee ’s ‘AA’ Huntsville Stars.

Also, young catcher CHRIS HOUSE missed a nomination for the second time due only to his lack of “sample size” after hitting 3-6 with two doubles and two RBI’s for Toronto’s ‘A-ss’ Auburn Doubledays.

Earning “Honourable Mention” for their offensive efforts were JOEL NAUGHTON, who batted .400 for Philadelphia’s ‘A’ Lakewood Blue Claws, DANIEL BERG, who batted .389 for Minnesota’s ‘Adv-A’ Fort Myers Miracle and TRENT OELTJEN, who batted .345 for Arizona’s ‘AAA’ Tucson Sidewinders. Not quite sneaking in, but finding some welcome form again, is our recent major league campaigner JUSTIN HUBER who batted .333 for San Diego’s ‘AAA’ Portland Beavers.

So, moving directly to our PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK, we simply couldn’t find the logic in separating catcher TIM KENNELLY, who batted a mighty .500 for Philadelphia’s ‘A’ Lakewood Blue Claws, from the high quality starting pitching of seasoned CRAIG ANDERSON for Baltimore’s ‘AAA’ Norfolk Tides and youngster BRADLEY TIPPETT for Minnesota’s ‘Adv-Rookie’ Elizabethton Twins. Both pitchers had identical 7.0 inning winning starts that yielded just one earned run, while Anderson ’s 8/0 strikeout versus walk ratio outshone Tippett’s 4/0. We hope you agree that all three were outstanding performers this past week.

We’ll wind up with a few brief mentions about our Independent League guys, headlined by ADAM BLACKLEY who pitched a masterly COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT for his El Paso Diablos last week. BRAD DUTTON has lifted his batting average to .324 with two more home runs for the Rockford Riverhawks, while MATT LAWMAN is batting .306 with six stolen bases for the Laredo Broncos.

This week's nominations are:

 Tim KENNELLY  (A - Lakewood Blue Claws)
6G   .500AVG  18AB  6R  9H  1HR  6RBI  .778SLG%

Season:  .349 AVG

 Craig ANDERSON  (AAA - Norfolk Tides)
1G   1-0, 1.29ERA  7.0IP  3H  1ER  0BB  8K

Season:  2-7, 7.88ERA

 Bradley TIPPETT  (R - Elizabethton Twins)
1G   1-0, 1.29ERA  7.0IP  2H  1ER  0BB  4K

Season:  4-1, 2.03ERA


Joel NAUGHTON (Phillies 'A' Lakewood Blue Claws) 615AB  .400AVG  1R  6H  1RBI 
Daniel BERG (Twins 'A+' Fort Myers Miracle) 618AB  .389AVG  2R  7H  1HR  2BB 
Trent OELTJEN (D'Backs 'AAA' Tucson Sidewinders) 629AB  .345AVG  4R  10H  3D  2T
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 7 JULY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

It has often been pondered among Australian baseball fans why we have, in general, produced so many more top line professional standard pitchers than hitters (especially those with power) over the years. While there may be no obvious answer to this, it was reassuring to see our hitters dominating our pitchers for this week’s Pro Player of the Week Awards.

Tampa Bay Rays flame-throwing reliever GRANT BALFOUR would have been in the frame yet again but for his small sample of only 3.0 innings pitched this week, even though he did register two important saves! Not quite earning an award, but still worthy of mention were RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH who has been asked to step up for two starts with his threadbare Seattle Mariners and former major leaguer TRAVIS BLACKLEY who owned a 1-1, 2.57ERA record from 14.0 innings during the period with the Phillies ‘AAA’ team Lehigh Valley. JOSHUA WELLS also attracted our attention with his winning start for Toronto’s Short-Season ‘A’ team Auburn Doubledays.

This week we found it much harder to split some of the hitting performances, but here is how we summed it up. MATT KENNELLY just missed our top award with his .350 average and .650 slugging percentage, while STEFAN WELCH was marginally behind him with his .320 and .520, along with LUKE HUGHES (.318 and .591). Joining them were JUSTIN HUBER who batted .310 with two home runs and seven RBI’s, plus DANIEL BERG who batted .308 with five walks for a .500 on base percentage.

While those guys will receive “Honourable Mentions” this week our PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK were TRENT OELTJEN, ALLAN de SAN MIGUEL and MITCHELL DENING who, we hope you agree, had better overall statistics than them and should not be separated for their efforts this week.

This week's nominations are:

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
5G   .429AVG  14AB  5R  6H  2HR  5RBI  .857SLG%

Season:  .265 AVG

 Mitchell DENING  (A-SS - Lowell Spinners)
7G   .407AVG  27AB  4R  11H  2D  2T  3RBI  .630SLG%

Season:  .373AVG

 Allan de SAN MIGUEL  (A - Beloit Snappers)
5G   .389AVG  18AB  4R  7H  1D  1HR  8RBI  .611SLG%

Season:  .278AVG


Matthew KENNELLY (Braves 'R' Danville Braves) 520AB  .350AVG  1R  7H  3D  1HR  5RBI 
Stefan WELCH (Mets 'R' Kingsport Mets) 625AB  .320AVG  1R  8H  2D  1HR  5RBI 
Luke HUGHES (Twins 'AA' New Britain Rock Cats) 622AB  .318AVG  3R  7H  2HR  2RBI 
Justin HUBER (Padres 'AAA' Portland Beavers) 729AB  .310AVG  4R  9H  1D  2HR  7RBI 
Daniel BERG (Twins 'A+' Fort Myers Miracle) 513AB  .308AVG  4R  4H  1T  5BB  .500OBP 
Grant BALFOUR (MLB Tampa Bay Rays)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  3.0ip  1h  0er  1bb  5k 2SV
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 30 JUNE 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Well Subscribers, if we mentioned that it was relatively easy to make these selections last week, then our easy ride has been very short lived! Once again we found it extremely difficult to decide where to draw the lines in terms of the sample sizes of appearances, innings pitched and at bats. We’d be interested to know if you think we are on the right track, but here is how we "split the hairs" this week.

Narrowly missing yet another top award was Tampa Bay’s red-hot reliever GRANT BALFOUR whose 0.00ERA and 7/1 strikeout versus walk ratio came from just two appearances and 4.1 innings. Seattle Mariners’ major leaguer RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH wasn’t far behind with his 1-0, 3.60ERA and 6/1 KvBB ratio from 5.0 innings pitched. These guys both clearly earned Honourable Mention.

Among the pitchers, another Honourable Mention went to BRADLEY TIPPETT who compiled a 2-0, 3.00ERA record from 12.0 innings with a 12/2 KvBB ratio. Just missing out were JOSHUA WELLS whose 2-0, 3.48ERA from 10.1 innings did not quite match Tippett and BRENDAN WISE whose 0.00ERA from two relief appearances came from just 3.0 innings pitched on this occasion.

The Rookie League guys came to the fore with the bats in the second week of their new season, featuring rising star JAMES BERESFORD who batted 5-11 for the Elizabethton Twins and TIM ATHERTON who batted 4-8 for the lower level Twins' Rookie team in the Gulf Coast League. Just missing a higher award because of the too small sample ONLY was WA catcher CHRIS HOUSE who batted 4-6 for Toronto’s Short-Season ‘A’ Auburn Doubledays.

Standing above all of those mentioned, we thought, was New York Mets' Rookie STEFAN WELCH whose 13-29 came from a relatively large sample and it was complimented by his .690 slugging percentage. Stefan takes our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK nomination this time.

This week's nominations are:

 Stefan WELCH  (R - Kingsport Mets)
7G   .448AVG  29AB  5R  13H  1D  3T  7RBI

Season:  .400AVG


Brad TIPPETT (Twins 'R' Elizabethton Twins) 2G  2-0, 3.00ERA  12.0ip  13h  4er  2bb  12k 
James BERESFORD (Twins 'R' Elizabethton Twins) 311AB  .455AVG  2R  5H  1BB  0K  1RBI 
Grant BALFOUR (MLB Tampa Bay Rays)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  4.1ip  1h  0er  1bb  7k 
Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH (MLB Seattle Mariners)  3G  1-0, 3.60ERA  5.0ip  3h  2er  1bb  6k 
Chris HOUSE (Blue Jays 'A-SS' Auburn Doubledays) 66AB  .667AVG  1R  4H  1BB  1k 
Tim ATHERTON (Twins 'R' GCL Twins) 38AB  .500AVG  2R  4H  2BB  2K  4RBI 
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 23 JUNE 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

With the Rookie and Short-Season Professional leagues just cranking up this past week, there were plenty of players to churn through for our awards, but in the end the choices were not too difficult.

To start from the top on this occasion, we’ll waste no time in announcing that our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK Award has been won by the continued brilliance of flame thrower GRANT BALFOUR at the major league level for the Tampa Bay Rays. There is not much more to be said other than to quote his 2-0, 0.00ERA record last week, with his 12/2 strike out versus walk ratio… WOW!! RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH has also seen plenty of action in very tough situations for the struggling Seattle Mariners but, despite some gallant efforts, he fell out of contention with a couple of tough outings over the weekend.

Among our hitters, MITCHELL DENING has started brilliantly with a .417 average after his first week with Boston's Lowell Spinners, while DANIEL BERG has returned strongly from injury with his .364 average and .727 slugging percentage for Minnesota’s ‘Advanced-A’ Fort Myers Miracle. The other pitchers worthy of special mention were TRAVIS BLACKLEY who pitched another very strong start at ‘AAA’ level for Philadelphia’s Lehigh Valley Ironpigs and youngster BRADLEY TIPPETT who also pitched an excellent start for the ‘Advanced-Rookie’ Elizabethton Twins.

Just missing a special mention this week is “regular suspect” TRENT OELTJEN who continued his return to form lately with a .692 slugging percentage over the last week for Arizona’s ‘AAA’ Tucson Sidewinders.

Finally, a brief mention for a couple of our Independent League campaigners. BRAD DUTTON has lifted his average to .330 with the Frontier League’s Rockford Riverhawks, while PJ BEVIS owns a 1-0, 0.00ERA record from four appearances since transferring to the Northern League’s Calgary Vipers.

This week's nominations are:

 Grant BALFOUR  (MLB - Tampa Bay Rays)
4G   2-0, 0.00ERA  7.0IP  2H  0ER  2BB  12K

Season:  MLB 2-0, 1.46ERA


Mitchell DENING (Red Sox 'A-SS' Lowell Spinners) 512AB  .417AVG  3R  5H  4BB 
Travis BLACKLEY (Phillies 'AAA' Lehigh Valley I'pigs)  1G  1-0, 2.25ERA  8.0ip  5h  2er  4bb  6k 
Daniel BERG (Twins 'A+' Fort Myers Miracle) 311AB  .364AVG  3R  4H  1D  1HR  .727SLG 
Bradley TIPPETT (Twins 'R' GCL Twins) 1G  1-0, 0.00ERA  5.0ip  2h  0er  1bb  5k
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 16 JUNE 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Let’s start this week with a further special mention for a few of our major league “flag bearers” with the terrific news that JUSTIN HUBER has found a solid patch of hitting form lately with the San Diego Padres, including his second home run of the season this past weekend. GRANT BALFOUR continues to do a sterling job since his promotion back to the Tampa Bay Rays big league team, as does PHIL STOCKMAN who continues to maintain his 0.00ERA from limited opportunities with the Atlanta Braves.

However, as far as our nominations go this week, it was the turn of our batters to hit back this week after being dominated by the pitchers last time. Chiming in for “Honourable Mention” was ‘AAA’ veteran ADAM MORRISSEY whose 5-13 did not come from too many at bats, but we could not fail to notice his power surge that produced three home runs and a spectacular 1.154 slugging percentage this week. It is not usual for us to single out others who didn’t have large enough samples, but we will make an exception for ALLAN de SAN MIGUEL who has not enjoyed too much success with the bat, but he did lash out with 2-6 last week which comprised of a rare triple and a home run. Also missing a nomination was our latest major leaguer BRAD HARMAN who emerged from a slump to hit 6-22 at ‘AA’ Reading Phillies last week.

One pitcher who has been steadily producing good numbers since his promotion to Detroit’s ‘AA’ Erie Seawolves is BRENDAN WISE who added two more scoreless relief outings and our former major leaguer TRAVIS BLACKLEY who struck out seven in his 7.0 inning winning start this past week.

Just ahead of them for our PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Awards this time were quality batters CHRIS SNELLING and TRENT OELTJEN who both hit an identical 6-15 at ‘AAA’ and MLB level this week. It is terrific to see our former major leaguer Snelling making a cameo return to the majors for a hit, while Oeltjen appears to be surging again after seeing his lofty average slide in recent times and he should keep knocking loudly on the door of the big leagues!

This week's nominations are:

 Chris SNELLING  (MLB & AAA - Lehigh Valley Ironpigs)
5G   15AB  .400AVG   2R  6H  2D  .533SLG%

Season:  .275 AVG

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
6G   15AB  .400AVG   1R  6H  1D  .467SLG%

Season:  .270 AVG


Travis BLACKLEY (Phillies 'AAA' Lehigh Valley I'pigs)  1G  1-0, 3.86ERA  7.0ip  7h  3er 0bb  7k 
Brendan WISE (Tigers 'AA' Erie Seawolves) 2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  3.1ip  2h  0er 0bb  2k
Adam MORRISSEY (Angels 'AAA' Salt Lake Bees) 613AB  .385AVG  4R  5H  1D  3HR  1.154SLG 
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 9 JUNE 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

The Queen's Birthday holiday has put us back a day this week, but we have used the same "time block" from Monday to Monday to bring you this week's nominations that have been dominated by our Aussie pitchers on this occasion. However, we will open this week's Pro Player section by commenting on how pleased we were to see injury crippled Aussie CHRIS SNELLING back and hitting with the Phillies in the major leagues.

Just missing out on a nomination this week were CRAIG ANDERSON who pitched a very strong 6.2 inning start for the Bowie Baysox for two earned runs and a 5/0 strikeout versus walk ratio; plus 'AAA' evergreen hitter ADAM MORRISSEY who batted 6-22 for the Salt Lake Bees with four RBI's.

Just better than those for "Honourable Mention" were regular nominations SCOTT MITCHINSON, who wasn't far away from his FOURTH SUCCESSIVE Pro Player of the Week Award, and MATTHEW WILLIAMS who produced two more strong relief efforts. Both of these pitchers continue to own splendid strikeout versus walk ratios. We were pleased to see early season dominator TRENT OELTJEN back in hitting form, but his 6-21 and .476 slugging percentage were just short of earning him one of the top awards this time. Another "forgotten man" who was worthy of special mention is former major league pitcher DAMIAN MOSS who also produced a quality start for Atlanta's 'AAA' Richmond Braves.

Scooping our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARDS this week were DREW NAYLOR who struck out 13 while pitching a one run, nine inning, complete game winning start and DAVID WELCH who earned a share of the award by virtue of his two wins from his two starts during the same period. In any other week Naylor's 13 KKKKKKKKKKKKK performance would have ensured him sole possession of the award, but we simply couldn't overlook Welch's two wins and 0.69ERA from 13.0ip.

This week's nominations are:

 Drew NAYLOR  (A - Lakewood BlueClaws)
1G   1-0, 1.00ERA  9.0IP  5H  1ER  1BB  13K

Season:  5-2, 2.61ERA

 David WELCH  (AA - Huntsville Stars)
2G   2-0, 0.69ERA  13.0IP  6H  1ER  5BB  7K

Season:  8-1, 3.11ERA


Scott MITCHINSON (Athletics 'A' Kane County Cougars)  2G  1-0, 2.08ERA  13.0ip  7h  3er 1bb  5k 
Damian MOSS (Braves 'AAA' Richmond Braves) 1G  0-1, 1.42ERA    6.1ip  4h  1er 2bb  7k
Matthew WILLIAMS (Twins 'A' Beloit Snappers)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA    3.1ip  1h  0er 0bb  5k
Trent OELTJEN (D'backs 'AAA' Tucson Sidewinders) 6 21AB  .286AVG  4R  6H  1D  1HR  4RBI 
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 2 JUNE 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

As much as we have been quick to highlight some of the marvellous form demonstrated by many of our Aussie professional baseballers in the US this season, we must also mention that, this week, there have been fewer really outstanding performers. But, let's be honest, it would be a lot to ask for that level of performance to be maintained every week!

One player who is worthy of extra special mention is GRANT BALFOUR who, not only made his richly deserved return to the major leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays, but he also performed well enough to earn him a share of our top award this week... GREAT to see you back where you belong Grant! Joining Balfour, and earning a share of our top nomination for the third successive week is SCOTT MITCHINSON who must have been dreadfully unlucky to be saddled with a loss after his terrific start this past week... once again his statistics speak for themselves.

Among the "Honourable Mentions" are BRENDAN WISE who has looked very sharp since earning promotion to Detroit's 'AA' Erie Seawolves and another pitcher DAVID WELCH who produced a high-quality scoreless start for Milwaukee's 'AA' Huntsville Stars. The other guy who continues to dominate our headlines with his batting is MICHAEL COLLINS who compiled a neat 6-19 over his past five games with four RBI's, even though this is just below his recent lofty standards.

Just missing out on nominations this week were the ever-present LUKE HUGHES who batted only .222 this past week, but he did boost his power stats with a double and two home runs among his six hits. Another not-so-old Aussie journeyman DAMIAN MOSS nearly came into contention with a strong recent start, but his numbers were thinned out  by his previous relief outing that was not so hot.

Just to provide a brief mention for a couple of our Independent League guys; BRAD DUTTON batted 5-10 in his first two games for the Rockford Riverhawks this season, while WAYNE LUNDGREN owns an excellent 1-1, 1.20ERA record with a 10/1 strikeout versus walk ratio from his 15.0 innings with the Brockton Rox.

Finally, my own memory would suggest that the EIGHT Australians to appear in the US majors (so far) this season must be a record for our "minnow" baseball nation and there is a genuine prospect of more before this season is done. GO GUYS!!

This week's nominations are:

 Grant BALFOUR  (AAA & MLB - Tampa Bay Rays)
3G   0-0, 0.00ERA  1SV  3.2IP  1H  0ER  2BB  6K

Season:  MLB 0.00ERA

 Scott MITCHINSON  (A - Kane County Cougars)
1G   0-1, 0.00ERA  7.0IP  2H  0ER  0BB  7K

Season:  4-2, 1.49ERA


David WELCH (Brewers 'AA' Huntsville Stars)  1G  0-0, 0.00ERA  6.0ip  3h  0er 2bb  2K 
Brendan WISE (Tigers 'AA' Erie Seawolves) 2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  3.2ip  2h  0er 0bb  1K  1SV
Michael COLLINS (Angels 'AA' Arkansas Travellers) 5G  19AB  .316AVG  1R  6H  3D  4RBI 
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 26 MAY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Well subscribers, it must be said, the names mentioned in our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK nominations are having a very familiar ring to them this season so far with most of the same players maintaining a high level of consistency.

Once again we have found it virtually impossible to separate some of our leading candidates and you’ll just have to excuse us for “splitting hairs” in some cases, especially where there are small samples of innings pitched.

Narrowly missing the major nominations this week due to those small samples were our recently promoted major leaguer PHIL STOCKMAN who still owns an unblemished 0.00ERA this season and he had two more very good appearances at the big league level with the Braves this past week. Another guy who we think should be pitching in the majors is GRANT BALFOUR who also refused to allow an earned run this past week from the same total of 3.1 innings from two outings.

DREW NAYLOR was excellent again with his eight inning winning start, while PAUL MILDREN wasn’t far behind him at ‘AA’ level with a five inning winning start. The one hitter that didn’t quite make our top award this time was the prolific LUKE HUGHES whose .333 average was just shaded by our main offensive nominee on this occasion.

This week’s winners included mighty MICHAEL COLLINS who racked up a .350 average with 7-20 plus five walks and five RBI’s. Major league reliever RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH also had a tremendous week for the Seattle Mariners with a total of 5.0 innings from three relief appearances that yielded just one hit and no earned runs. On this basis we didn’t think it fair to bypass SCOTT MITCHINSON who also boasted a 0.00ERA from his one five inning start. For Collins and Mitchinson it is their second successive nomination, but it was good to get a big leaguer in there with them this time.

This week's nominations are:

 Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH  (MLB - Seattle Mariners)
3G   0-0, 0.00ERA  5.0IP  1H  0ER  1BB  4K

Season:  0-1, 5.06ERA

 Michael COLLINS  (AA - Arkansas Travellers)
5G   .350AVG  20AB  4R  7H  3D  5RBI  5WLKS  .500SLG

Season:  .288 AVG

 Scott MITCHINSON  (A - Kane County Cougars)
1G   0-0, 0.00ERA  5.0IP  6H  0ER  0BB  4K

Season:  4-1, 1.71ERA


Phil STOCKMAN (Atlanta Braves MLB)  2G  0-0, 0.00ERA  3.1ip  1h  0er 2bb  5K 
Drew NAYLOR (Phillies 'A' Lakewood BlueClaws) 1G  1-0, 2.25ERA  8.0ip  6h  2er 0bb  6K
Paul MILDREN (Royals 'AA' NW Arkansas Naturals)  1G  1-0, 3.60ERA  5.0ip  7h  2er 1bb  3K
Luke HUGHES (Twins 'AA' New Britain Rock Cats) 5G  18AB  .333AVG  6R  6H  1D  1T  4RBI 
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 19 MAY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Let’s start this week as we often do by acknowledging PHIL STOCKMAN who has finally worked his way back into the major leagues after a couple of seasons battling constant injuries. ‘Big Phil’ has still yet to allow an earned run this season, including his big league appearance with the Atlanta Braves last week.

Still knocking very loudly on the door for a his own return to the majors is GRANT BALFOUR who finally allowed his first earned run of the season in his 12th appearance with Tampa Bay’s 'AAA' Durham Bulls.

Both of those guys will be among the “Honourable Mentions”, along with Colorado’s ‘AA’ pitcher ADAM BRIGHT and Minnesota’s ‘A’ level pitcher MATT WILLIAMS who both had three very effective relief appearances in the past week. We will also give a special mention to Philadelphia’s ‘A’ league catcher JOEL NAUGHTON who is still batting very consistently this season.

However, the guys who really caught our attention as joint winners of our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK this time were Oakland A’s ‘A’ league pitcher SCOTT MITCHINSON, perhaps just ahead of Los Angeles Angels ‘AA’ slugger MICHAEL COLLINS. Mitchinson stood out with his 1/16 walks versus strike outs ratio from 14.0 innings following two excellent starts, while Collins batted 9-24 with 8 RBI’s to grab a share of our spoils.

PS: Just for those who may not be familiar with our awards, some of the Independent Leagues are just starting their schedules for 2008 but, while we do list their stats, we will only occasionally mention their performances here as we do not compare them with the “main stream” professionals.

This week's nominations are:

 Scott MITCHINSON  (A - Kane County Cougars)
2G   1-1, 0.64ERA  14.0IP  8H  1ER  1BB  16K

Season:  4-1, 1.91ERA

 Michael COLLINS  (AA - Arkansas Travellers)
6G   .375AVG  24AB  6R  9H  3D  1HR  8RBI  .625SLG

Season:  .280 AVG


Adam BRIGHT (Rockies 'AA' Tulsa Drillers) 3G  0-0, 0.00ERA  4.1ip  3h  0er 0bb  5K
Matt WILLIAMS (Twins 'A' Beloit Snappers)  3G  0-0, 0.00ERA  1SV  3.1ip  2h  0er 0bb  4K
Phil STOCKMAN (Atlanta Braves 'AAA' & MLB)  3G  0-0, 0.00ERA  3.0ip  0h  0er 1bb  2K 
Grant BALFOUR (Tampa Bay 'AAA' Durham Bulls)  2G  0-0, 2.90ERA  3.1ip  2h  1er 1bb  8K
Joel NAUGHTON (Phillies 'A' Lakewood BlueClaws) 5G  13AB  .308AVG  2R  4H  1D  3RBI  .385SLG
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 12 MAY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

I’m delighted to report for all of our loyal subscribers that we had plenty of players to consider for our Aussie PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK on this occasion. This, of course, means that we have had plenty of Australian professionals who are performing very well lately with the only downside being our difficulty in who to nominate for the top award and also for honourable mention.

We’ll start this week by briefly listing a few of those who narrowly missed special mention and who might have earned a nomination in other weeks. Relief pitchers PHIL STOCKMAN, ADAM BRIGHT and BRENDAN WISE each added two or three more scoreless outings to lower their respective ERA’s, while DANIEL BERG has returned strongly from a spell on the DL with a .308 average last week, including a home run.

Ahead of them this week for ‘Honourable Mention” are hitters LUKE HUGHES (.500 AVG), JOEL NAUGHTON (.875 SLG) and ADAM MORRISSEY (.750 SLG), along with SHANE LINDSAY who struck out nine in a brilliant seven inning scoreless winning start.

You might well ask who could possibly have topped these guys? This time we couldn’t split two pitchers for the top award due to the quite outstanding efforts of GRANT BALFOUR who racked up three saves from another four scoreless appearances over this past week and DREW NAYLOR (AGAIN!) who just shaded Lindsay with his nine inning complete game victory that produced just two hits and a 1/12 walk versus strike out ratio… WOW! The guys must be nudging for promotion and, in Balfour’s case; his scoreless season so far has reinforced his status as a player who should be a bona fide major league pitcher.

This week's nominations are:

 Grant BALFOUR  (AAA - Durham Bulls)
4G   0-0, 0.00ERA  5.0IP  2H  0ER  2BB  11K

Season:  0.00ERA

 Drew NAYLOR  (A - Lakewood BlueClaws)
1G   1-0, 1.00ERA  9.0IP  2H  1ER  1BB  12K

Season:  3-2, 2.04 ERA


Shane LINDSAY (Rockies 'A+' Modesto Nuts) 1G  1-0, 0.00ERA  7.0ip  3h  0er 1bb  9K
Joel NAUGHTON (Phillies 'A' Lakewood BlueClaws) 4G  16AB  .375AVG  1R  6H  2D  2HR  .875SLG
Adam MORRISSEY (Angels 'AA' Arkansas Travellers) 620AB  .400AVG  3R  8H  4D  1HR  .750SLG
Luke HUGHES (Twins 'AA' New Britain Rock Cats) 3G  10AB  .500AVG  3R  5H  .500SLG
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 5 MAY 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Before we get into the nominations this week, we felt that it was time to provide a special mention for a couple of Australia’s recent major league pitchers who are on the verge of making it back to ‘The Show’ with some very consistent form at ‘AAA’ level. While the specialist relievers will rarely have a large enough sample to feature in our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK awards we will mention GRANT BALFOUR who is 1-0, 0.00ERA in six appearances and 10.0 innings with the Tampa Bay Rays’ ‘AAA’ Durham Bulls. Similarly, PHIL STOCKMAN who does get an “Honourable Mention” this week, but his season record of 1-0, 1.93ERA from ten games and 19.1 innings with Atlanta's ‘AAA’ Richmond Braves is also quite outstanding.

I’m afraid that we are going to disappoint those subscribers who’d prefer us to name just one award winner again this week with another three-way split… and, we’d challenge anyone to suggest that any of these guys should be excluded! If we had been forced to select one it would have to be TRENT OELTJEN for the third successive week with his .529 batting average that speaks for itself. However, we simply couldn’t leave out LUKE HUGHES with his .448 average and his .724 slugging percentage from quite a few more at bats. And, what about the week enjoyed by pitcher DREW NAYLOR who owned a 1-0, 1.80ERA record over two starts, with 17 strike outs from 15.0 innings? We think you should all agree that these lads are truly worthy nominations this week.

However, there were also some very good performances that we will acknowledge among our “Honourable Mentions” as a number of Australian players are enjoying very promising starts to the 2008 professional season in the USA, not to mention our SIX major league performers so far this year! Evergreen ADAM MORRISSEY keeps reminding people in professional ranks that he carries a dangerous bat, while NSW pitcher MATT WILLIAMS had one of his best weeks as a professional. Victorian star DANIEL BERG is making steady progress after returning from the DL recently, while JOEL NAUGHTON had almost identical numbers to Berg. Well done to all of those mentioned!

This week's nominations are:

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
4G   17AB  .529AVG   6R  9H  3D  3RBI

Season:  .341 AVG

 Luke HUGHES  (AA - New Britain Rock Cats)
6G   29AB  .448AVG   11R  13H  1D  2T  1HR  5RBI

Season:  .378 AVG

 Drew NAYLOR  (A - Lakewood BlueClaws)
2G   1-0, 1.80ERA  15.0IP  10H  3ER  4BB  17K

Season:  2-2, 2.25 ERA


Phil STOCKMAN (Braves 'AAA' Richmond Braves) 3G  0-0, 0.00ERA  5.2ip  2bb  3K
Adam MORRISSEY (Angels 'AA' Arkansas Travellers) 622AB  .409AVG  5R  9H  1D  2HR  4RBI
Matt WILLIAMS (Twins 'A' Beloit Snappers) 2G  1-0, 0.00ERA  4.1ip  0bb  5K
Daniel BERG (Twins 'A+' Fort Myers Miracle) 3G  9AB  .333AVG  3R  3H  1D  3RBI
Joel NAUGHTON (Phillies 'A' Lakewood BlueClaws) 3G  9AB  .333AVG  1R  3H  2D  3RBI
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 28 APRIL 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

We should start by CONGRATULATING Victorian infielder BRAD HARMAN for becoming the 26th Australian to reach the US major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies during this past week... good on you Brad!

This occasion has reminded us about one of the unfortunate realities associated with trying to select a PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK when we once again have multiple contenders among the pitchers, but these have only been able to appear in one start during the selection period. We just have to accept that these types of selections may be quite unfair to starting pitchers in particular and simply try to do our best. 

However, in order to provide some recognition for starting pitchers, we have included our best performer in the main nomination, along with a couple of hitters that we simply could not split. It may not please everyone that we refuse to narrow down this award to one player, but we will make no apology for seeking to acknowledge Australian baseballers who deserve special recognition... we just don't think that the number of "joint winners" is an issue!

This week we could not split hitters TRENT OELTJEN (.467) and JOEL NAUGHTON (.462), while we also felt that starting pitcher SHANE LINDSAY (1-0, 0.00ERA from 6.0IP with 9 strike outs) was outstanding. Our extra congratulations to Trent Oeltjen for sharing the award in successive weeks and he should be close to cracking the big leagues!

Mainly due to his marvellous strike out ratio, we picked Lindsay ahead of other pitchers that deserve special mention; DREW NAYLOR (1-0, 0.00ERA from 6.0IP with 6 strike outs), DAVID WELCH (1-0, 1.29ERA from 7.0IP) and SCOTT MITCHINSON (1-0, 1.50ERA from 6.0IP). Our other "Honourable Mention" goes to another one of last week's winners; LUKE HUGHES who batted .375 with 9-24 plus four home runs and eight RBI's... he would have won again most weeks!!

This week's nominations are:

 Shane LINDSAY  (A+ - Modesto Nuts)
1G   1-0, 0.00ERA  6.0IP  1H  0ER  3BB  9K

Season:  3.50 ERA

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
4G   15AB  .467AVG  3R  7H  1D  2RBI

Season:  .297 AVG

 Joel NAUGHTON  (A - Lakewood BlueClaws)
4G   13AB  .462AVG  1R  6H  1D  2RBI

Season:  .291 AVG


Luke HUGHES (Twins 'AA' New Britain Rock Cats) 524AB  .375AVG  4R  9H  1D  4HR  8RBI
Drew NAYLOR (Phillies 'AA' Lakewood BlueClaws) 1G  1-0, 0.00ERA  6.0IP  2BB  6K
David WELCH (Brewers 'AA' Huntsville Stars) 1G  1-0, 1.29ERA  7.0ip  1bb  3K
Scott MITCHINSON (Athletics 'A' Kane County Cougars) 1G  1-0, 1.50ERA  6.0ip  0bb  2K
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 22 APRIL 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Firstly, our apologies that our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK has been a little late on this occasion.

Before we start, we must commiserate with our first winner of the season PETER MOYLAN who is facing season ending "Tommy John surgery" on his elbow. We certainly hope that we didn't "jinx" Pete and that we have not started a disturbing trend for Australian players in 2008. 

This week we refuse to split TRENT OELTJEN (Arizona Diamondbacks 'AAA') and LUKE HUGHES (Minnesota Twins 'AA') for the award. Oeltjen's 8-15 hitting was quite brilliant, but Hughes' 10-23 featured more power and from more at bats.

RICHARD THOMPSON is pushing for a recall to the majors since being assigned to the Los Angeles Angels 'AAA' recently, while his 'AA' Angels club mate MICHAEL COLLINS and Colorado Rockies 'AA' pitcher ADAM BRIGHT were also worthy of special mention this week.

This week's nominations are:

 Trent OELTJEN  (AAA - Tucson Sidewinders)
4G   15AB  .533AVG  5R  8H  1D  1T  2RBI

Season:  .254 AVG

 Luke HUGHES  (AA - New Britain Rock Cats)
5G   23AB  .435AVG  7R  10H  2D  3HR  4RBI

Season:  .348 AVG


Adam BRIGHT (Rockies 'AA' Tulsa Drillers) 2G  1-0, 0.00ERA  3.0IP  0BB  2K
Richard THOMPSON (Angels 'AAA' Salt Lake Bees) 3G  1-0, 0.00ERA  4.0ip  2bb  7k
Michael COLLINS (Angels 'AA' Arkansas Travellers) 515AB  .400AVG  4R  6H  2D  1HR  2RBI  1SB 
  'Flintoff & Dunn's PRO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK' - 14 APRIL 2008

Congratulations to this weeks selection of our F&D Pro Player of the Week.

Welcome to season 2008, and the resumption of our PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK.

The season has just started of course, and only a few players have had enough starts to be considered.

In the Majors, Braves' reliever Peter MOYLAN was, once again, the outstanding performer. His seven game ERA of 1.59 and a great save in his last outing, puts him head and shoulders above all other contenders. New Padre Justin HUBER
had a fine .500 batting average, but too few at bats to be considered this time.

Pitchers Adam BRIGHT (Tulsa Drillers AA) had five outings with one win and 0.00ERA, while David WELCH (Huntsville Stars AA) had  two starts for two wins and 1.64ERA over 11 innings. The only batter to hit above .300 with more than 20 at bats was Michael COLLINS (Arkansas Travellers AA) with .308 from 26 at bats.

Congratulations to Peter MOYLAN on being this season's first PRO PLAYER OF THE WEEK. Having dominated the award last season, 'Big Pete' looks capable of doing so again this year and we will make no apology if he does!

This week's nominations are:

 Peter MOYLAN  (MLB - Atlanta Braves)
7G   1.59ERA  0-1-1  5.2 IP  1BB  5K

Season:  1.59ERA


Adam BRIGHT (Rockies 'AA' Tulsa Drillers) 5G  1-0, 0.00ERA  6.1IP  1BB  3K
David WELCH (Angels 'AA' Arkansas Travellers) 2G  2-0, 1.64ERA  11.0ip  2bb  2k
Michael COLLINS (Angels 'AA' Arkansas Travellers) 7 26AB  .308AVG  2RBI