Rays Minor League Awards 2008
I know it has been a few weeks since the team announced their award winners for the Minor Leagues during the last homestand. I was actually saving this for one of the off days of the ALDS, but I never got around to posting the results before today. So I apologize for the late posting of all the winners, and hope to find a few picture of them online to supplement the winners names.
In the recent years, the Rays have established and upgraded their presence in the Dominican Republic and in Venezulan Winter Leagues. These outposts will be a far reaching arm of the Rays instructional and scouting mission into the baseball rich countries of Venezula and the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Player of the Year Cesar Guillen
Dominican Pitcher of the Year Juan Wilsino
Venezulian Player of the Year Alejandro Torres
Venezulian Pitcher of the Year Devivis Manares
The Appalachcian League Princeton Devil Rays ended their season at 24-38 this year. The team is the first step for players to get a feel for the rigors and the responsibilities of playing professional baseball. The team is a great first stepping stone in the Rays organization at the Short Season level.
Princeton Player of the Year Elias Ostero
Osteros lead Princeton in hitting with a .332 average.
Princeton Pitcher of the Year Matt Moore
Moore had 1.66 ERA and 77 strikeouts for Princeton this season.
The Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League is a short season Class-A stop for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team ended their season 9 games back of the Staten Island Yankees in their division. But the Renegade are expecting big things in 2009 with their strong finish to the 2008 season.
Hudson Valley Player of the Year Kyeong Kang
Kang split time between left and rightfield in 2008 for the Renegades, and hit .279, with 15 doubles and 7 triples on the year.
Hudson Valley Pitcher of the Year Nick Barnese
Barnese appeared in 13 games this season , going 5-3 for the team. He also had 2.45 ERA, and struck out 84 batters in 66 innings, and allowed only 1 home run this season.
This is the last season in Columbus for the Catfish. They will be relocating to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the 2009 season. The Catfish finished their last season in the Southern Atlantic League with a record of 40-26, and finished 5.5 game out in the Southern Division. Columbus is a lo Class-A destination for the Rays minor league players.
Columbus Player of the Year Reid Fronk
Fronk hit .287 , with 29 doubles and 17 homers for the Catfish. Fronk also had 83 RBI’s and 74 walks to lead the Southern Athletic League.
Columbus Pitcher of the Year Jesse Darcy
Darcy threw 133 innings for the Catfish, and was 7th in the league in with a 3.05 ERA. He alsotied for 3rd in the league in WHIP at 1.05.
The Vero Beach Devil Rays will also be moving in 2009. Theyw ill move to the Tampa Bay Rays’ new Spring Training home in Port Charlotte and will be under run mutually between the Rays and the Cal Ripken baseball group. The name of the team has not been decided at this time. This team is a high Class-A farm team for the Rays. Vero Beach ended up at the bottom of the Florida State League’s Eastern Division with a 20-46 record for 2008.
Vero Beach Player of the Year Ryan Royster
Royster ended up with a .265 average for the D-Rays, and 58 RBI for the season.
Vero Beach Pitcher of the Year Jeremy Hellickson
This is Hellickson’s 2nd award as the Minor League pitcher of the Year for a team in the Rays minor leagues. Hellickson went 7-1, with a 2.00 ERA. He also had 83 strikeouts and a .90 WHIP for the Devil Rays.
The Montgomery Biscuits were the Southern Leagues Champs in 2006 and 2007. The Biscuite were eliminated from the post season byt eh West Tenn, Diamond Jaxxs. The Biscuite are the Class-AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. They finished their season 2nd in the South Division with a 35-33 record for the year.
Montgomery Player of the Year Chris Nowak
Nowak lead the Biscuite with a .295 average, with 80 runs and 35 doubles on the year. He also had 15 homers and 77 RBI’s for the Biscuits.
Montgomery Pitcher of the Year Wade Davis
Davis had a record of 9-6 , with 107.1 inning pitched for the Biscuits. He also had 81 strikeouts and 3.85 ERA for Montgomery before being promoted to Triple-AAA.
The Durham Bulls won the Southern Division title with a 74-70 record and made it to the International League’s Governor’s Cup final before losing to the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. The Bulls are the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Durham Player of the Year Dan Johnson
Johnson hit for a .307 average to rank 6th in the International League. He also had 25 home runs and 83 RBI’s on the year. Johnson also lead the International League in walks with 84 this season.
Durham Pitcher of the Year Mitch Talbot
Talbot ended up with a 13-9, with a 3.86 ERA for the Bulls. Talbot was 4th in the league with 141 strikeouts and had a 1.24 WHIP.
The Rays Minor League players of the year was really no suprise to the Rays faithful in the stands that day. Both of these players had remarkable years in which they made huge strides to make impressions on the Tampa Bay Rays Coaching staff.
Minor League Pitcher of the Year David Price
Price was selected by Baseball America as the Mnior League Pitcher of the Year before the event at Tropicana Field. Price went from Class-A Vero Beach through the Rays Minor League system to become a September call-up for the Rays after Durham was eliminated from the International League playoffs.
Minor League Player of the Year Fernando Perez
From the first day Perez took the field at Tropicana Field for the Rays he has done nothing but impress the Coaching staff and might have made a good reflection to get a long look in the outfield for the Rays in 2009. Perez hit .288, with 107 hits at Durham this year. He also was 3rd in the International League with 43 stolen bases this year. He has been considered the fastest man in the minors by Baseball America.
The final award of the night is the Erik Walker Community Champion Award. the award is given to the Rays’ minor leaguer who shows teamwork,sportsmanship and communit involvement. The award was created in honr of Erik Walker who perished in a canoe accident in October 2006.
Erik Walker Community Champion Award Matt Springs
Springs was a catcher with the Montgomery Biscuits in 2008, and is heavily involved in the Montgomery community. He is volunteer in the Alabama Summer Reading Program at the Community Center in Prattville, Ala. He was also involved in the Biscuits’ Junior Press conference twice this season letting school age kids 10-13 get a chance to ask questions and write a story about the Biscuits and Springs’ during the year.