By MICHAEL KELLY
After a strong spring season hitting in the middle of the lineup for the Florida State Seminoles, former Amsterdam Mohawks first baseman John Nogowski has not taken long to make an impression on the professional scene.
The reigning most valuable player of the PGCBL, Nogowski was selected last month in the 34th round by Oakland and has continued to flourish this summer in the minors. Nogowski played only eight games at the Rookie level before showing enough to earn a promotion to Oakland's Single-A squad, the Vermont Lake Monsters.
While Nogowski hit .286 and played a near-flawless first base with his first team, the 21-year-old has taken his game up a level with his promotion. Through Tuesday's action, Nogowski had driven in seven runs and was hitting .421 in six games for the Lake Monsters.
Nogowski is coming off a college season in which he hit .307 with 18 extra-base hits in 212 at-bats.
In 2013, as the slick-fielding first baseman for the PGCBL champions, Nogowski hit a robust .365 with an on-base percentage of .497.
A star for the Mohawks in 2009 and for the first part of 2010, Mel Rojas Jr. continues to make a steady climb in the Pittsburgh Pirates' system.
Starting the 2014 season at Double-A, the 24-year-old hit .303 with 17 extra-base hits and earned a promotion in late May to Triple-A.
With the Indianapolis Indians, Rojas has not let the stiffer competition negatively affect him; the outfielder has hit .304 with seven extra-base hits in 36 games.
At this point, the only thing holding back Rojas: The Pirates' big-league outfield is filled with arguably the franchise's best three players in Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco.
STAYING WITH THE BUCS
A champion with the Mohawks in 2010, infielder Jon Schwind has started to find success this year in the Pirates' organization.
The 24-year-old was promoted to the best Single-A team in Pittsburgh's system, the Bradenton Marauders, at the start of 2014, and Schwind had proven himself to be a useful piece for the squad. In 47 games and 182 plate appearances, Schwind has hit .289 with 13 extra-base hits, including three home runs. Schwind also had knocked in 16 runs, nine off his previous career-high total in professional ball.
Schwind, a Marist College product, was drafted in 2011 in the 41st round by the Pirates.
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