Another offensive outburst at the plate from Akron outfielder Andrew Calica earned him the Eastern League’s Player of the Week Award, the league announced on Monday from its home office in Portland, Maine.
Calica was on fire throughout the week in games played between June 4 and June 10, hitting in all six games that he appeared in. Three times he put up two-hit games, he homered in back-to-back games, and he knocked in at least one run in four straight contests.
The 24-year-old outfielder from La Jolla, California, aided the RubberDucks lineup as they kicked off a six-game road trip through New Hampshire and Maine. He put up a .375/.516/.708 slash at the plate in six games with two doubles, two homers, four runs scored, four walks, and seven RBI. He was the Eastern League’s leader in total bases for the week with 17 and OPS with a 1.224 mark.
After an off-day on Monday, the RubberDucks visited the Fisher Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Calica went 2-for-6 out of the leadoff spot, hitting a single and a double. He scored a run during the four-run fifth inning and drove in two on his two-base hit with two outs in the top of the seventh to give the ‘Ducks an 11-3 lead on the way to a 13-3 victory.
Calica started the second game of the series in left field after playing center in the series opener. Batting third, he went 1-for-3 and reached base safely three different times. He was hit by a pitch and scored a run in the fifth, drew a walk in the seventh, and hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot, in the ninth. It would not be enough, however, as Akron fell 7-6 to New Hampshire.
The left-handed hitter was back in the leadoff spot but had a day off in the field in the series finale, won by Akron, 7-4. Serving as the designated hitter, he went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of extra base hits and his second multi-hit game in his last three. He doubled the ‘Ducks lead in the top of the third inning, hitting a two-run home run for his third of the season. He drew a walk in the fifth and doubled in his final at bat in the ninth.
The ‘Ducks headed to Portland to kick of a series with the Sea Dogs on Friday from Hadlock Field. Calica was once again instrumental in the Akron scoring, playing in right field and hitting back at the top of the order. He would strike out three times on the day, but he drove in the RubberDucks’ second run of the game with a two-out single in the second. He walked with the bases loaded during Akron’s five-run third inning to blow the game open, one won by the visitors, 8-2.
Portland claimed the middle game on Saturday, but Calica was on base three more times. Hitting leadoff and playing left field, he went 1-for-3 with a single, a walk, and a hit by pitch while striking out twice. He successfully picked off his 12th stolen base of the season in 14 attempts when he swiped third base in the top of the eighth after his single earlier in the inning. In a one-run game, he would be stranded at third on a pair of strikeouts and his walk with two outs in the ninth put him on as the go-ahead run, but teammate Connor Marabell struck out swinging with two on base to end the 3-2 loss.
Akron would take the series finale in Portland on Sunday afternoon, 7-2, to finish their road trip with a 4-2 record and a pair of series wins. Calica hit leadoff and played right field again against the Sea Dogs and went 2-for-4 at the plate with his third two-hit game of the week and his third time being plunked by opposing pitching.
With the road trip complete, Calica had logged 48 games of action for the RubberDucks this season, putting up a .322/.420/.448 line at the plate with 13 doubles, three homers, and 26 RBI while stealing 12 bases in 14 chances. His six-game hitting streak boosted his batting average nine points and his on-base percentage 18.
Calica is in his third season in the Indians organization after being picked by the Tribe in the eleventh round of the 2016 draft out of UC Santa Barbara, where he was teammates with current Cleveland top prospect Shane Bieber and 2018 Midwest League All-Star selection Kyle Nelson of the Lake County Captains.
After his selection, he joined up with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers, hitting .388 with a .491 on-base percentage in 40 games before ending his year with the Class-A Lake County Captains, hitting .359 in 10 games. He spent all of 2017 with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, slashing .274/.368/.396 in 103 games, hitting 22 doubles, three triples, and six homers while driving in 40 runs and stealing 14 bases.
The Player of the Week award was the first of Calica’s professional career. He is just the second Akron player to take home a weekly award, following his former teammate Bieber’s Pitcher of the Week nod for the days covering April 5 to 15 to open the season.
Erie’s Spencer Turnbull was named the league’s Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season.
Photo: David Monseur/Akron RubberDucks