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Tampa Bay Rays: 2016 Minor League Award Winners

By Althea Pashman
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The Tampa Bay Rays announced their minor league award winners for 2016 plus the Most Valuable Players for all nine of their affiliates, as well their organization-wide awards.

The Tampa Bay Rays showcased some of their future players on Friday prior to their game against the Boston Red Sox in an awards ceremony to honor their 2016 Minor League Players.

Headlining the winners was Casey Gillaspie named the Rays Minor League Player of the Year and Brent Honeywell the Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Additionally, the Tampa Bay Rays announced the Most Valuable Players for each of their nine affiliates.

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Plus their organizational awards for Baserunner of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Casey Gillaspie earned the honors as the Rays Minor League Player of the Year .284/.388/.479 (134-for-472) with 18 home runs and 64 RBI playing combined with Durham (47 games) and Montgomery (85 games).

A mid-season Southern League All-Star hit 11-HR for Montgomery,

Also, Gillaspie ranked fourth in the Southern League at the time of his promotion.

After his promotion to Durham, Gillaspie went on tear to hit .307/.389/.520 (55-for-179) with seven home runs.

Had 22 extra-base hits (13-2B, 2-3B, and 7-HR) with Durham.

Ranked tied for third following the All-Star break in the IL in extra-base hits.

Earning the honors as Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Year is Brent Honeywell who was a combined 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 20 starts between Charlotte and Montgomery.

Despite time on the disabled mid-season, his 2.34 ERA led all Rays minor leaguers with at least 100 innings pitched.

Honeywell started at Charlotte,  going 4-1 with a 2.41 in 10 starts.

Upon returning from the DL, he made 10 starts for Montgomery posting a 3-2 record with a 2.28 ERA.

Combined with Charlotte and Montgomery he struck out 117 with just 25 walks in 115-1/3 innings.

Named the Erik Walker Community Champion was Zac Law.

Walker pitched for Hudson Valley and passed away after just one year in professional baseball following the 2006.

This award, which recognizes the player who exemplifies teamwork, sportsmanship and community involvement.

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The Rays Baseball Foundation will donate $2,500 to a charity of Law’s choice.

Baserunner of the Year honors went to outfielder Jake Fraley, while reliever Joe Serrapica took home the Reliever of the Year and catcher Nick Ciuffo earned the honors as Defensive Player of the Year.

Jake Fraley earned the honors as Baserunner of the Year as he led all Ray’s minor leaguers with 33 stolen bases in 42 attempts in only 55 games after being selected in the 2016 June Draft.

Fraley was successful on 78.6 percent of his stolen base attempts.

Additionally, Fraley concluded his season with a streak of 13 consecutive stolen base attempts.

Nick Ciuffo earned the Defensive Player of the Year after throwing out 27 of 46 (58.7 percent) potential base stealers with Charlotte. His rate was the highest among Florida State League catchers (min. 20 attempts).

As well, he led Stone Crabs catchers to a league-best 39.6 caught stealing pct. as a team.

Reliever of the Year Joe Serrapica did not allow a run in 22.1 innings with Short-A Hudson Valley.

Drafted in the 24th round out of Fordham University in June, Serrapica converted all eight of his save opportunities.

As well he ranked tied for fifth among Rays minor leaguers in saves.

He struck out 28 and allowed just 13 hits and five walks. His eight saves tied for fifth among Ray’s minor leaguers.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Versatility Leading to Super Utility Role

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Affiliate Most Valuable Players

Durham Bulls, AAA: RHP Austin Pruitt
Montgomery Biscuits, AA: 1B/OF Jake Bauers
Charlotte Stone Crabs, A: RH Greg Harris
Bowling Green Hot Rods, A: INF Michael Russell
Hudson Valley Renegades, Short-Season, A: LH Travis Ott
Princeton Rays, Rookie: OF Eleardo Cabrera
Gulf Coast League Rays, Rookie: OF Jesus Sanchez
Dominican Summer League Rays 1, Rookie: C Ronaldo Hernandez
Dominican Summer League Rays 2, Rookie: OF Sabriel Polanco

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