By John Bohnenkamp
The Burlington Bees picked up one of the top honors in the organization’s first season in the Prospect League.
Catcher/outfielder Jackson Jones was named the league’s Mike Schmidt Player Of The Year on Wednesday.
Jones, who was also named to the West Conference All-Star Team as a designated hitter, led the league with 18 home runs and 17 doubles. He had 51 runs batted in, second most in the league, and batted .295 in 57 games. He also had a 1.035 OPS.
“He’s just a really, really good hitter,” Bees manager Gary McClure said earlier this season. “He just stays within all of the time. He’s always got a plan, got a great swing. He’s just a very mature hitter — he gets good pitches to hit and he puts good swings on them.”
Jones, who plays at Young Harris College in Georgia, had a 10-game hitting streak in June in which he raised his batting average to a season-high .363. He stayed above .300 until the final two games of the season. Jones had just one hit in his last 13 at-bats after being hit in the hand by a pitch in the July 28 game at Quincy.
Among the other awards:
• Cape Catfish manager Steve Larkin was named manager of the year after leading his team to the league title.
• Ryan Eiermann of the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp was named the Pro Prospect of the Year and Starting Pitcher of the Year. Eiermann set a new league record with 109 strikeouts.
• Anthony Klein of the O’Fallon Hoots was named the Fireman of the Year. Klein was 5-1 with five saves.
• Iowa’s Brett McCleary, who played for the Clinton LumberKings, was the catcher on the West All-Star Team.
Photo: Burlington Bees catcher Jackson Jones was named the Prospect League’s player of the year on Wednesday. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)