Phelan named West Coast League MVP

YAKIMA, Washington — Jace Phelan, the left-handed slugger who cemented the middle of the Yakima Valley Pippins’ lineup this summer, on Wednesday has been named the West Coast League’s Most Valuable Player for 2023.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Phelan, headed to Gonzaga this fall after a stint at Washington State, led the WCL in home runs (8) and RBI (50) while compiling a .320 batting average in 50 league contests. According to Trackman data, he also hit the longest two home runs in the league this summer.

“Excited for Jace to get the MPV,” Pippins manager Kyle Krustangel said. “He’s a very versatile, well-rounded player. He showed consistency from the first half of the season through the second half, hitting over .300 both halves, and obviously was on a tear in the second half.”

In his final 15 games of the year, Phelan hit .368 (21-for-57) with three home runs, 16 RBI and 10 runs scored.

“Jace is a great clubhouse guy,” Krustangel said. “He brings it every day, and he’s a great representation of what we’re trying to do here in Yakima. I couldn’t be happier for Jace.”

Phelan, from Otis Orchards, Washington, also led the league in times hit by a pitch (17), finished third in the league in doubles (13) and fifth in hits (58).

Phelan is the second Pippin to be named MVP. In 2014, the Pippins’ inaugural season, Vince Fernandez (UC Riverside) won the honor.

Halen Knoll, an Edmonton, Alberta, native, has been selected as WCL Pitcher of the Year. Playing for his hometown Riverhawks, he was among the top pitchers in the league for ERA, strikeouts and wins this summer.

By Pippins Staff

August 16, 2023