2007 Continental Baseball League Postseason Honors

We found this recap from the archive (Wayback) of the old Texas Heat website. It details the post-season awards for the Continental Baseball League’s first season:

Heat’s Robby Winn Captures CBL MVP and Offensive Honors; Blue Thunder’s Zach Duncan Takes Two Pitching Awards

Texas City, Texas; August 17, 2007 – Texas Heat first baseman Robby Winn led the first year Continental Baseball League in home runs, runs batted in and hits, and it proved to be enough offensive punch to earn the 5-9, 255- pound former Keller (TX) high school star the independent league’s Most Valuable Player and its Offensive Player of theYear honors.

Zach Duncan, a 5-10 right-hander who led the Tarrant County Blue Thunder to the regular season championship also captured two pitching honors, winning the league’s earned run average crown with a 3.14 mark and also winning CBL Pitcher of the Year honors as he held opposing batters to a .241 average and struck out 57 in 51 innings of work.

Duncan’s manager, former Texas Ranger Curtis Wilkerson, won Manager of the Year, and the Blue Thunder’s shortstop, Josh Blackstock took the league batting title with a .373 mark. Another Blue Thunder player, reliever George Castillo, who had seven saves, shared Reliever of the Year honors with Randy Strann of the Lewisville Lizards. Each of the players and Wilkerson will be honored before Saturday night’s game during the double elimination CBL Ferguson Jenkins Championships which are set to begin on Friday at 7 p.m. at Robinson Stadium, weather permitting. The first game will find the second seeded Texas Heat facing the hometown Bay Area Toros. On Saturday, the first seeded Tarrant County Blue Thunder will meet the winner of Friday night’s action at 7 p.m. A double header is set for Sunday, with games beginning at 1 and 6 p.m., with the nightcap possibly being the title game. If two teams conclude Sunday’s action with just one loss, the championship game will take place on Monday at 7 p.m.

“We’ve had a very strong season on the field, and I have been very impressed with the caliber of baseball throughout our first year,” said CBL president and CEO Ron Baron. “The winners of these individual awards played on a higher level most of the season, and most certainly each player is to be commended for his hard work and effort during a season that found everyone having to overcome so many postponements due to the record rains we’ve witnessed throughout the state of Texas this summer.”

Winn, who is an aspiring film director, received All-State honors at Keller (TX) High School and then went on to play at Weatherford Junior College for two years, leading the conference in home runs as a freshman. Winn was one of several offensive standouts for Heat manager Royce Holder, who was runner-up for Manager of the Year honors. In addition to hitting the long ball with a leading 21 homers and driving in 64 runs, Winn’s .341 average was fourth best in the CBL, and his 46 runs scored ranked him third in that department. His 61 hits also paced the CBL.

Also getting consideration for Offensive honors was Karl Krailo of the Blue Thunder, who didn’t join the team until a month into the season, yet still hit 18 homers, drove in 43 runs and batted .474 in only 95 at-bats. Krailo won the CBL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player on July 17.

Duncan, who hails from Marshall High School (TX), won five games for the Blue Thunder, tying him for league honors in that department with Ryan Leger of the Heat and Will Smeltzer of the Bay Area Toros. He posted 57 strikeouts, 2nd highest in the CBL behind Kieran Mattison (79 in 55.1) of Lewisville, and kept opponents to a .241 batting mark, second best in the league. His ERA of 3.14 outdistanced runner-up Leger (3.71). Duncan made the All-Freshman team at Texas Christian University and finished his college career at Sam Houston State. His brother Jacob plays the outfield in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.

Duncan’s teammate Blackstock, a 5-10, 165-pound lefty batter from Conyers, GA, won the batting title in a race with the Heat’s Justin Meagher (.361) and another Blue Thunder player, Joseph Pagan (.357 and 20 homers). Blackstock tied for first place with 12 doubles and 2 triples, and finished second in runs (47) and fifth in hits (53).

Blackstock was a standout performer at Wallace Community College. Pagan was commended by his management for performing at a top level, especially for his leadership after his willingness to become the team’s catcher halfway through the season.

Castillo, a 6-2, 220-pound right-hander, once pitched a perfect game for Mansfield High School (TX) and was a Texas All-State selection twice. He also was a standout for Northwood University for three years. Lewisville reliever Strann, a 6-0, 200-pound right-hander, tied Castillo in the post-season awards balloting and picked up 3 saves, posting a 3.31 ERA. He limited opponents to just a .186 batting mark.

Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins, who starred several years with the Texas Rangers and was inducted into Cooperstown in 1991 after a 284-win career, has lent his name to the CBL Trophy and sent along his best wishes to each of the award winners.

“My personal congratulations go out to each winner,” said Jenkins. “I remember what it was like playing in the minors before the Phillies called me up in 1965. It is a test of a person’s physical and mental endurance to play in the minor leagues, and to lead your peers in these various departments is something that each winner can be proud of the rest of his career.”

Wilkerson, who has had previous coaching and managing experience, guided his team into first place throughout most of July and held that top spot down the stretch run, finishing with a 30-17 (.638) record to beat out the Heat by 2 ½ games. The former Texas Rangers middle infielder, who was a 4th round selection by the Rangers in the 1980 amateur draft, is ready for the CBL championship series to begin and has past post-season experience as a player with the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. The 5-9 Wilkerson played in 972 major league games and finished with a lifetime average of .245.

Among those not getting specific awards, but finishing atop various statistical categories were Mitch Elliott of the Heat (league-leading 45 stolen bases, more than double that of runner-up Josh Jennings of the Lizards). Elliott also tied for the league lead in doubles with 12 and scored the most runs in the CBL with 48. Jason Bleeker of the hometown Toros completed 3 games to lead the CBL in that category.


The Continental Baseball League was an independent professional minor league baseball circuit in the Southwestern United States. It operated from 2007 through 2010.