More Minor League Award Winners Announced

The Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off three days of minor league award announcements yesterday by naming the best coaching staff, best coach and best teammates. The latter two awards are named after manager Danny Murtaugh and long-time catcher Manny Sanguillen respectively. Today the Pirates announced four more awards named after greats from the past. Here are the winners.

Oneil Cruz received the Willie Stargell award as the top slugger in the system. He put up a .596 slugging percentage in 2021, mostly spent with Altoona. That was the highest slugging among regulars in the Pirates system in 2021, edging out Anthony Alford, who had a .593 mark, but he had 76 fewer plate appearances.

Lolo Sanchez received the Omar Moreno award for top base runner. While he didn’t have the best success rate in the system, Sanchez led all Pirates minor leaguers with 30 stolen bases (in 39 attempts). He also scored 79 runs, the second highest total in the system.

Jared Triolo earned the Bill Mazeroski award for the top defensive player. In a late-season poll, managers voted Triolo as the best third baseman in his league. He played 102 games at third base for Greensboro, where he had a .961 fielding percentage in 254 chances. He also played five games without an error at shortstop.

Enmanuel Mejia was honored with the Kent Tekulve award for the top relief pitcher in the system. This seems like the easiest choice here. He allowed earned runs (two) in one of his 32 appearances this year, leading to an 0.42 ERA, to go with 53 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. The 22-year-old came into the year with limited pro experience, playing the 2019 season in the Dominican Summer League, while finishing this season in High-A ball.

The top hitter and top pitcher will be announced tomorrow. The hitter award is named after Honus Wagner, while the pitching award is named after Bob Friend.