Reid Roper is the Honker of the Year, Matt Kent Pitcher of the Year and Alex Schultz is the Most Inspirational in the Honkers' special 2014
(Rochester, Minn.) – At the conclusion of each season, the Rochester Honkers organization determines the team’s postseason award winners. This year Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha) was given the honor as Most Inspirational, Matt Kent (Texas A&M) earned the Pitcher of the Year and Reid Roper (Illinois) was dubbed the Honker of the Year.
Alex Schultz: Initially, Alex Schultz was brought in on a temporary contract with the Honkers. His level of play immediately caught the attention of the coaches as his knack for getting on base and his versatile glove kept him in the lineup most days. With roster space full, Schultz was intraleague waived with the hope he’d clear waivers so the Honkers would eventually have a roster spot for him. Gone for just five days, Schultz was right back at the top of the order upon his return. Primarily an outfielder, to keep his bat in the lineup, field manager Matt Bowman had Schultz spend some time at first base, too. A leader on and off the field, Schultz worked hard for a permanent spot on the Honkers. He finished the season among the teams’ leaders in games (60), batting average (.287), hits (64) and led the team in walks (47).
Matt Kent: This past summer was Kent’s third with the Honkers. The true ace of the Honkers’ pitching staff, Kent was dominant for much of his season in Rochester, becoming the team’s all-time leader in innings pitched with 228.1 in his career. In his 77.2 innings this season, Kent maintained an ERA of just 2.09 all while striking out 69 batters and walking just 10 – he also tossed a team-high two complete games, as well. Kent earned honors as a Northwoods League Midseason All-Star, Postseason All-Star and was named an NWL Co-Pitcher of the Year. Kent also participated in this year’s Big League Dream Showcase in Madison, Wis., striking out two of three batters he faced in a 1-2-3 inning. Kent was always one of the first to arrive at the ballpark and the last to leave; his hard work made him the obvious choice as this year’s Honkers Pitcher of the Year.
Reid Roper: It will be difficult to imagine a starting lineup without Reid Roper in it next season. In his fourth and likely last season in Rochester, Reid made history time and time again. This summer, Reid became the team’s all-time leader in hits, walks, at-bats, RBIs and games – his total number of at-bats (783) is also an all-time Northwoods League record. A natural leader in the locker room made Reid one of the most beloved players ever to step on Mayo Field. He had an excellent season, leading the team in hits (65), doubles (11), RBIs (41) and kept a steady .288 batting average all season. He capped his Honkers career at home on Aug. 6 with a walk-off, three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to defeat the St. Cloud Rox, 6-3. A legendary career makes him one of the most deserving Honker of the Year winners ever.
These players represented the Honkers well all season long. Despite missing the playoffs, it’s players like Schultz, Kent and Roper that have made the 2014 season unforgettable.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com.