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Chad Pinder named Texas League Player of the Year; Midland Rockhounds clinch playoff berth

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The Oakland Athletics Double-A squad will have a chance to defend its 2014 Texas League title after clinching a wild card berth to the Texas League playoffs.

Oakland Athletics Double-A shortstop Chad Pinder, 23, was named the 2015 Texas League Player of the Year, according to MiLB.com. Through 113 games, Pinder owns a .320/.362/.491 batting line over 504 plate appearances with 15 home runs, 100 strikeouts, and 27 walks and owns a .950 fielding percentage in 108 games at shortstop. He is the sixth player in RockHounds history to earn the honor, and the fourth from the Oakland organization, joining Adam Piatt, Andre Ethier, and Chris Carter. MLB.com ranks Pinder Oakland's #7 prospect, according to it's midseason update.

The Texas League also named to the league's Postseason All-Star Team reliever Ryan Dull and infielders Ryon Healy and Colin Walsh.

Right-hander Ryan Dull, 25, was recently promoted to Triple-A Nashville after completing a stellar 45-inning season, striking out 52 and allowing just three earned runs, one home run, and 13 walks on his way to a 0.60 ERA. In 15⅓ innings with the Nashville Sounds, Dull has 19 strikeouts, has allowed one earned run on a solo home run, and has walked just two for a 0.59 ERA.

Second baseman and occasional left fielder Colin Walsh, 25 actually bested Pinder's batting line by drawing a career high number of walks, 106, to earn a .309/.444/.482 batting line. Walsh has a 164 wRC+ (FanGraphs glossary), compared to Pinder's 137. Walsh hit 13 home runs and struck out 124 times for Midland.

Corner infielder Ryon Healy, 23, hit .303/.341/.432 for Midland with 10 home runs and drew 29 walks while striking out 73 times. Healy is ranked the #22 prospect on the MLB.com prospect rankings.

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The Midland RockHounds will return to the Texas League playoffs after clinching a wild card berth following their 10-1 defeat of the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros), eliminating the Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers) from the second half division championship. Corpus Christi won the first half division championship, and Midland long ago clinched the best overall record in the Texas League South, aside from Corpus Christi.

Midland has 11 games remaining on its schedule and has a magic number of two over Corpus Christi for the second half division championship, which would give the RockHounds home field advantage in the five-game Divisional Playoffs. The RockHounds play Corpus Christi at home at 5:00 PM Pacific Time tonight.