In what is yet another amazing chapter in a nearly unbelievable storybook-type of season, Everett Aquasox third baseman Patrick Kivlehan was named the 2012 Northwest League Most Valuable Player on Wednesday. Kivlehan -- who the Mariners selected in the 4th round of the 2012 draft out of Rutgers -- won the Big East Conference Player of the Year honors after winning the conference's first Triple Crown by hitting .392/.480/.693 with 14 homers and 50 RBI, stealing 24 bases and leading the Scarlet Knights to a Big East Championship appearance and a 31 and 25 record. He was named a Third Team All-American by Baseball America after the year. Those accomplishments are great in and of themselves, but when you consider that 2012 was the first year that the 22-year-old Kivlehan played competitive baseball since his senior year of high school, the heights to which he has climbed in his short time on the field become even more impressive.
Kivlehan had a rough start to his pro career in Everett, hitting just .239/.286/.326 in his first 12 games with just 11 hits, 14 strikeouts and three errors. But the right-handed hitter took off after that and ends play tonight ranking in the top-10 in the league in a number of offensive categories, including AVG (4th, .301), OBP (10th, .373), SLG (1st, .502), OPS (2nd, .875), Hits (3rd, 81), XBH (t-2nd, 29), 2B (t-7th, 15), HR (t-1st, 11) and RBI (3rd, 47). He's even improved on the weakest part of his game, plate discipline. After drawing just one walk in his first 24 games (0.09% BB rate), Patrick has drawn 17 in his last 45 games (8.8% BB rate) with 12 of those coming in the 27 games in August (9.9% BB rate).
In addition, Patrick has been hit by 13 pitches, tore up left-handed pitchers (.345/.397/.638), slugged nine of his HR on the road and only been thrown out once in 14 stolen base attempts. Since the beginning of the year he's cleaned up his hitting mechanics to where his hands are more in sync with his body, cleaned up his throwing mechanics so that the ball is getting better, truer carry on his long throws across the diamond and despite leading the Northwest League in strikeouts (88), he's shown the ability to use the whole field to get hits.
An amazing 2012 for Kivlehan, and hopefully a sign of more great things to come for the Mariners farmhand.