Jakson Reetz Named Southern League Most Valuable Player
2022 Biloxi Shuckers’ catcher Jakson Reetz has been named the 2022 Southern League Most Valuable Player as announced by Minor League Baseball on Tuesday. In addition to being named the league MVP, Reetz was selected to the Southern League All-Star Team for 2022. “I’m very honored and very humbled by
2022 Biloxi Shuckers’ catcher Jakson Reetz has been named the 2022 Southern League Most Valuable Player as announced by Minor League Baseball on Tuesday. In addition to being named the league MVP, Reetz was selected to the Southern League All-Star Team for 2022.
“I’m very honored and very humbled by this award,” said Reetz. “I put in a lot of hard work this offseason, and I owe a ton of thanks to my dad who was there for me every day during the offseason and during the season. He put in the same amount of work, if not more than I did, to help me get ready for a bounce back season. And then another great family friend, Steve Russell, came along with my brothers to hit every day and brought positive energy.”
“I got to give my teammates a ton of credit, that was a great team I played with this year,” added Reetz. “I was very thankful to be a part of the Brewers’ system, they welcomed me in, and it was awesome. [Hitting Coach] Chuckie Caufield and [Development Coach] J.J. Reimer, they put in a lot of work with me, and they gave me everything I needed to go out there and succeed, and I owe those guys so much credit.”
Reetz slashed .281/.392/.636/1.028 with 16 doubles, 22 home runs, 58 RBI and 65 runs scored in 64 games with Biloxi. Among players with at least 250 plate appearances in the Southern League in 2022, Reetz had the highest slugging percentage, OPS and Weight Runs Created Plus (165). At the time of his promotion to Triple-A Nashville on July 11, the Shuckers’ catcher led the Southern League in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, RBI and hit-by-pitch (16), was second in extra-base hits (38) and total bases (147), fourth in on-base percentage, fifth in runs scored, ninth in batting average and tied for ninth in doubles.
Originally drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft by the Washington Nationals out of Norris (NE) High School, Reetz signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as a free agent on December 9, 2021. He hit his first home run of the season on April 17 against the Mississippi Braves, going deep twice and driving in all five runs in a 5-4 Shuckers’ victory.
HAVE A DAY @jakson_1!— Biloxi Shuckers (@BiloxiShuckers) April 17, 2022
The Shuckers' catcher hits his second 💣 and has driven in all 5️⃣ today! #ShuckYeah pic.twitter.com/agsUzt2Qsv
It was one of four multi-homer efforts by Reetz with the Shuckers, who surpassed his previous career season high of 13 homers, which he hit with High-A Potomac in 2019. The catcher attributed part of his increase in power and consistency to an early adjustment at the plate.
"Chuckie saw something in my posture and he had me lean over the plate a little more," recalled Reetz. "He saw something with my head and he got my posture to be a little bit different, and it made a huge difference for me. That's all we tried to focus on for the rest of the year was just creating good posture."
"Sometimes he was getting a little too much over the balls of his feet, which hurt his swing direction at times," said Caufield. "We also worked on his loading and his rhythm with his front foot, how he picked it up and put it down under control. That also smoothed some things out with his swing. When he controlled his front foot, he was in better command to not only hit fastballs but also allowed him to hit off-speed pitches as well with a pretty clean swing path."
That's a new career high for @jakson_1, his 1️⃣4️⃣the home run of the year! #ShuckYeah pic.twitter.com/A4VvtSYRNa— Biloxi Shuckers (@BiloxiShuckers) June 22, 2022
The 26-year-old homered in six of seven games from May 13 to May 20, missing the Shuckers' franchise record for consecutive games with a home run on two occasions (4 - Jake Hager: 2018 & Trent Grisham:2019). However, it is the first time in Shuckers' history that a player has homered six times in seven games. Reetz launched seven home runs in the month of May, tied for the fifth most in the Southern League, trailing teammate Joey Wiemer, who hit nine in the month.
It's a Parking Lot Party! Jakson Reetz has homered for the SIXTH time in the last SEVEN games.— Biloxi Shuckers (@BiloxiShuckers) May 21, 2022
109.7 exit velocity
407 feet#ShuckYeah pic.twitter.com/b8ijpT3pSa
During the final week of the first half, Reetz was named the Southern League Player of the Week, the first player of the week honor of his career. He followed up his Player of the Week honor by launching a walk-off two-run homer on June 29 against the M-Braves, one of 12 walk-offs for Biloxi in 2022.
“His ability to focus day-in and day-out and the intent behind his routine of what he was trying to accomplish, and his attention to detail, are the things that allowed him to be successful,” said Caufield. “It makes you happy to see a guy with that kind of buy in execute and help himself.”
🚨WALK-OFF HOMER ALERT!!! 🚨— Biloxi Shuckers (@BiloxiShuckers) June 30, 2022
Down to the last strike of the game for Biloxi and @jakson_1 DELIVERS!!! #ShuckYeah pic.twitter.com/55S0ks7IpQ
Behind the plate, Reetz threw out 15 attempted base stealers, including gunning down 47% of runners during the month of June. When the Shuckers were thin in the outfield during the first half of the season, Reetz volunteered to play in left field, appearing in the outfield in 11 games.
"I used to play left field when I was in high school, so it was nice to get back out there," said Reetz. "I was very thankful that the Brewers and Mike Guerrero were able to get me out there just to get my name in the lineup and play a little bit more."
"The fact that he was willing to play different positions and wanted to get the opportunity to get out there on a daily basis no matter what, that speaks to his willingness not just to perform but to help out the team," said Manager Mike Guerrero. "Because at one point, we were a little short on bodies and he took advantage of it and turned it into an MVP season."
The 22 home runs hit by Reetz are the second most in a single season in Shuckers' history, trailing only Corey Ray, who hit 27 in 135 games in 2018. Reetz' home runs helped contribute to a record setting year at the plate for Biloxi, who set the franchise record for home runs in a season with 154. The Shuckers also set their franchise record for home runs in a game, launching six on May 15 against the Birmingham Barons, a contest in which Reetz hit two long balls.
Jakson Reetz is feeling 2⃣2⃣— Biloxi Shuckers (@BiloxiShuckers) July 9, 2022
His 22nd HR of the season! #ShuckYeah pic.twitter.com/Y8ClbtO1O2
Beyond his offense productivity, Reetz earned the praise of the Shuckers' coaching staff for his professionalism and leadership in the clubhouse.
"Being a more mature player, he helped to develop the younger pitchers that we had," said Guerrero. "It was easier for him as an older player to control the pace of the game, especially when the game gets fast."
"What speaks volumes is how remarkable of a person he is and the kind of teammate he was," said Caufield. "The leadership qualities he was able to portray, not only was he able to set the standard with how he worked but also how he treated his peers. He's one of those guys that any coach, anywhere, those are the kind of players that make your job easy, and it's very enjoyable to work with people like him who have that kind of work ethic and then they are that selfless to others."
"Besides being an awesome teammate and a great player, I think the willingness to help out the players around him and his leadership was awesome," said Guerrero. "He tried to contribute to each players development and show them how to be a professional. Because a lot of the players we have, they're too young at times and they don't know the ropes yet, and he was there as a leader to show them what a professional looks like."
While he was with the Nationals, Reetz made his Major League debut on July 10, 2021 against the San Francisco Giants. Even though he had played in the Major Leagues, Reetz understood the opportunity and challenges at Double-A.
"Whether you're in the big leagues or you're in Low-A, High-A, Double-A, Triple-A, it doesn't matter, you have to go out there and play," said Reetz. "Because some of those guys in Double-A are also knocking on the door and they're big league talent, and there are future Hall of Famers that we played against this year. I don't know who they were, but you know there are going to be Hall of Famers from the Southern League from this year."
"One of my philosophies is if you learn how to play Double-A like you would in the big leagues, you'll become successful here and successful in the big leagues," said Guerrero. "That's exactly what he did, he played Double-A like he would in the big leagues, he took advantage and you can see the results."
Reetz is just the second Shuckers’ player to be recognized as the Southern League MVP, joining Corey Ray, who earned to honor in 2018. After his promotion to Triple-A Nashville, Reetz was added to the Milwaukee Brewers’ 40-man roster on August 4 but was designated for assignment and signed with the Kansas City Royals on August 24. In 104 games between Biloxi, Nashville and the Omaha Storm Chasers, Reetz hit .264 with 22 doubles, a triple, 30 home runs and 82 RBI. He was one of just 16 players in Minor League Baseball to hit at least 30 home runs.
ABOUT THE BILOXI SHUCKERS:
The Biloxi Shuckers are the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Shuckers are members of the Southern League and play at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. For more information please visit biloxishuckers.com and follow us on Twitter @biloxishuckers and at facebook.com/biloxishuckers.