29/05/2024

Aaron Whitefield hits for the Wichita Wind Surge. (Photo: @windsurgeict/Instagram)

Aaron Whitefield has claimed the AA Central Hitter of the Week after an impressive first week with the Wichita Wind Surge.

Queenslander Aaron Whitefield has been rewarded for his top form during the first week of the 2021 Minor League Baseball Double-A season.

Playing for the Wichita Wind Surge, the Minnesota Twins Double-A affiliate, Whitefield was awarded the AA Central Hitter of the Week, announced May 14.

From May 4-9 the outfielder went 12 for 27 at the plate for a batting average of .444, amassing two hits in each of the Wind Surge’s six games of the week against the Springfield Cardinals, including two doubles and a triple. He drew three walks, taking his on-base percentage to .500.

The 24-year-old scored seven runs in six games that included two home runs, including the first grand slam in Wichita history. He collected seven RBIs and stole three bases across the week also.

Whitefield spoke to Chris Lilly from KAKE News in Kansas after the announcement, stating that trusting himself to go up to the plate and hit well talks of his seriousness to perform for the Wichita Wind Surge.

“Just getting that confidence in you know, not really playing or starting a game in two years, getting that confidence back,” Whitefield said.

“I was up there for a little bit last year, wasn’t at Big League camp so I kind of wanted to prove to them, I have changed my hitting. I did put in the work and here it is.

“You can say all the things you want like ‘I’m a better hitter, this and that,’ but it doesn’t matter until it’s out there on the field doing it. I think that was the biggest thing for me, just being able to, from the start, hopefully to the end, showing them that that bat’s there.”

In the second week of Double A action from May 11, Whitefield began the home series against the Amarillo Sod Poodles with back-to-back no-hit games. After that, he was back to his best, racking up another two hits in each of the following two fixtures including a run in each, and an RBI on May 14.

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He has been with the Twins organisation since signing a Minor League contract in May 2015 and made his Major League Baseball debut on July 25 last year.

In his first MLB game, Whitefield came on to pinch-run for Eddie Rosario at the top of the ninth inning. Whitefield appeared in two more games for the Twins during the season.

He again pinch-ran on July 26, scoring a run when Nelson Cruz homered and then stayed in the game, taking a position at centrefield where he took a catch.

On July 29, Whitefield was substituted into centrefield and took two catches while he had his first at bat of his MLB career, though grounded out to second base.

Whitefield is a two-time Australian Baseball League Helms Award winner – in 2017 with the Brisbane Bandits and in 2020 with the Adelaide Giants – and a three-time ABL Champion with the Bandits. He has also earned the Gulf Coast League Post-Season All-Star accolade while playing for the GCL Twins in 2016.

Aaron Whitefield playing for the Minnesota Twins during the 2020 MLB season (Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn)

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