Durham, N.C. – Wichita Wingnuts 1B C.J. Ziegler was named the Independent Player of the Year by Baseball America on Wednesday.
Also the American Association’s 2013 Player of the Year, Ziegler broke the league record with 30 home runs and led the circuit with 99 RBI, helping to propel Wichita to a Central Division title and the best record in American Association history.
Anchoring the middle of Wichita’s order, Ziegler, 27, was a constant threat, also finishing fourth in the American Association with 32 doubles. The native of Tucson, Ariz., batted .318 this season, all while being an iron man for Wichita by playing all 100 games.
Along the way, he earned two Pointstreak Player of the Week awards. At the end of June, the slugger put together a 10-for-22 (.455) stretch, in which he drove home 14 runs. Over that six-game span, Ziegler hit three home runs and two doubles.
On Wednesday, August 21, Ziegler hit for the cycle in a 4-for-6 night at Gary SouthShore. To make the feat more noteworthy, his home run that night tied the American Association record, at that time held by Sioux Falls’ Brandon Sing with 27 in 2010. The cleanup hitter finished the remarkable week with a .552 average and 14 RBI.
Originally a 16th-round draft pick of San Francisco in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, Ziegler spent two seasons in the Giants’ organization before moving to independent baseball. 2013 marked his second season with the Wingnuts; in 2012, he appeared in 58 games, hitting .320 with 18 home runs.