Tampa Bay Rays 2017 Minor League Award Winners


On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays honored their minor league award winners for 2017, along with their Most Valuable Players for all nine of their affiliates, as well their organization-wide awards.

Prior to the game on Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles, the Tampa Bay Rays held an awards ceremony to honor their 2017 Minor League Players. Headlining the event was their Minor League Player of the Year Jesus Sanchez and as well their Minor League Pitcher of the Year Yonny Chirinos.

In addition, the Tampa Bay Rays also honored their Most Valuable Players for each of their nine affiliates, as well as their organization wide Baserunner of the Year, Defensive Player of the year and Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Jesus Sanchez took home the Minor League Player of the Year after an outstanding season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods where he batted .305/.348/.478 (145-for-475) with 15 home runs and 82 RBI in 117 games.

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Sanchez, is listed as the Tampa Bay Rays No. 4 prospect and the No. 64 by mlb.com and was selected in both the Midwest League mid-season and postseason All-Stars as he led the league in average, RBIs and while finishing second in the league in hits. As well, his home runs and RBIs were the most of any players throughout the organization.

As the Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Chirinos who is ranked as the Rays No. 19 prospect earned the honors after going 13-5 with a 2.73 ERA (168.1-IP, 51-ER) in 27 games (26 starts) between Montgomery and Durham. His 2.73 ERA ranked second in the organization and he tied for second in wins among all minor league pitchers.

After beginning the season with Double-A Montgomery in which he made four starts (1-0, 2.63) Chirinos was promoted to Triple-Durham where he would make 23 appearances, 22 of them starts going 12-5 with a 2.74 ERA (141-IP). With Durham, his 0.98 WHIP ranked second in the International League.

Nominated from Bowling Green, Miles Mastrobuoni was selected from a field that included nominees from each Rays affiliate, as the Erik Walker Community Champion. The award is named after former Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Erik Walker, who died in 2006 following his first season in professional baseball. This award recognizes a minor leaguer who exemplifies teamwork, sportsmanship and community involvement.

Baserunner of the Year honors went to infielder Lucius Fox, Diego Castillo was named Reliever of the Year and catcher Nick Ciuffo was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Recognized as the organization’s Baserunner of the Year, ranked as the Rays No. 11 prospect, Fox had 20 stolen bases on the season, which ranked him second among Ray’s minor leaguers. Additionally, he was successful on 30 of his 43 attempts (69.7 percent).

Castillo earned the Reliever of the Year award as he made 51 appearances while pitching for Montgomery and Durham. Combined he was 15 0f 18 in save opportunities while pitching to a 2.76 ERA (72.1-IP).

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During his time with Double-A Montgomery, Castillo made 21 appearances, was 8-for-10 in save opportunities with a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings pitched. With Durham, he converted the final six save opportunities of the Bulls regular season and earned the save in both the International League Championship game and the Triple-A National Championship Game.

For the second consecutive year, catcher Nick Ciuffo ranked as the Rays No. 25 prospect earned the Defensive Player of the Year as he threw out 23 of 60 potential base stealers for a 38.3 percent with Double-A Montgomery. He ranked fifth among all qualifying catchers in the Southern League and recorded a .990 fielding percent in 619.1 innings behind the plate.

Minor League Affiliate Most valuable Players

Durham Bulls – AAA: Infielder Willy Adames: hit .277/.360/.415 (140-for-506) with 10 home runs and 62 RBI in his first full season in Durham. Rays No. 2 prospect and the No. 15 prospect by MLB.com.
Montgomery Biscuits – AA: Outfielder Justin Williams: hit .301/.364/.489 (110-for-366) with 14 home runs and 72 RBI in 96 games with the Biscuits. Earned a promotion to Durham for the International League playoffs and hit .333 (4-for-12) in four games. Rays No. 10 prospect.
Charlotte Stone Crabs – A: Infielder Brandon Lowe: Ranked as the Rays No. 13 prospect, he hit .298/.375/.493 (122-for-410) with 11 home runs and 58 RBI in 114 games between Charlotte and Montgomery. Named the Florida State League Most Valuable Player and made both the FSL mid-season and postseason All-Star teams.
Hudson Valley Renegades – A (Short Season): Infielder Vidal Bruján: hit .285/.378/.415 (74-for-260) in 67 games. Bruján finished as the league leader in hits, runs scored (51) and total bases (108) and ranked fifth in stolen bases (16).
Princeton Rays – Rookie: Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez: 332/.382/.507 (74-for-223) with five home runs, 22 doubles and 40 RBI in 54 games with Princeton.
Gulf Coast League Rays – Rookie: Infielder Jonathan Aranda: hit .293/.352/.356 (51-for-174) in 49 games with the Gulf Coast League Rays. He led the GCL Rays in hits and stolen bases (14) and finished second on the team in batting average and on-base percentage.
Dominican Summer League Rays 1 – Rookie: Outfielder Yunior Martinez: hit .265/.312/.307 (50-for-189) in his second season with the Rays DSL.
Dominican Summer League Rays 2 – Rookie: Aldenis Sánchez: hit .333/.385/.392 (63-for-189) with 21 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 50 games with the DSL Rays2.

Next: Big Decisions on Rays Arbitration Eligible Players

Minor League Champions

Durham Bulls won their second Triple-A National Championship in 20 years as a Triple-A affiliate, all with the Rays.

Hudson Valley Renegades won their third New York-Penn League title, completing the sweep of Vermont in the best-of-three championship series

Statistical and profile information for this article provided by the Tampa Bay Rays PR Department