Zander Wiel (with Curacao roots) has been named Player of the Month of the Midwest League as MiLB.com announced today.
Zander is the son of Randy Wiel, a former basketball player from Curacao, who played in the Dutch basketball league and was assistant coach of the Los Angeles Lakers during the days of Shaquille O’Neal and Koby Bryant.
As a product of Vanderbilt University, Zander Wiel won the college World Series in 2014 when the Commodores beat the Virginia Cavaliers. Zander was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the twelfth round of the amateur draft. Apparently his talent was obvious as the Twins sent him to their high rookie farm team in Elizabethton (Appalachian League). In 13 games he batted a lowly .194 but nevertheless the Twins promoted him to the Cedar Rapids Kernels (A Full Season Midwest League).
In the month of July, Wiel led the Midwest League in extra-base hits (18), home runs (8), RBI (24) and slugging (.660), while his runs scored (21), total bases (66) and walks (17) were second overall. His month of July included both a nine-game and a 10-game hitting streak. Currently Zander is hitting .254. This looks mediocre but in his last ten games Wiel improved from .246, hitting .324 in that ten game span.
This video shows that Wiel can flash the leather at first base. Nevertheless with 13 errors and a .986 fielding percentage, there is room for improvement when it comes to his defense.
In the week of July 19, Zander was also named player of the week.