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Flying Squirrels Announce 2021 Team Awards

September 12, 2021 - Double-A Northeast League (AA Northeast) - Richmond Flying Squirrels News Release

Richmond Flying Squirrels Most Valuable Player David Villar (left) and Pitcher of the Year Ronnie Williams
Richmond Flying Squirrels Most Valuable Player David Villar (left) and Pitcher of the Year Ronnie Williams
(Richmond Flying Squirrels)

RICHMOND, Va. - The Richmond Flying Squirrels announced the 2021 team awards on Sunday evening at The Diamond. Third baseman David Villar was named Most Valuable Player and right-hander Ronnie Williams was picked as the Pitcher of the Year.

Additionally, Simon Whiteman was named the Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year and Williams was picked for the Community Service Award.

The awards were presented in a ceremony prior to the Flying Squirrels' final home game on Sunday against the Akron RubberDucks.

Villar, the San Francisco Giants' 11th-round draft pick in 2018 out of the University of South Florida, has produced a breakout season in his first Double-A campaign. He has clubbed 19 home runs this year, surpassing the previous franchise record of 18 set by Jarrett Parker (2013) and Mario Lisson (2014). He also leads qualified Richmond hitters with a .277 batting average heading into play on Sunday night.

Villar is ranked among the league leaders in nearly every offensive stat category. Heading into Sunday's series finale, he sits tied for seventh in the league with 19 home runs, sixth with a .379 on-base percentage, sixth with a .507 slugging percentage, sixth with an .886 OPS, fifth with 100 hits, tied for sixth with 26 doubles, tied for eighth with 45 walks, fifth with 45 extra-base hits, fifth with 183 total bases and tied for fourth with 66 runs scored.

"He has done a great job, and that's why he's getting this award," Richmond manager Jose Alguacil said. "He is the biggest improvement this year on the team. Coming off a year off last year, he took advantage of the opportunity that we gave him, earning an everyday spot and playing really well."

Williams is in his first season with the Giants organization after being selected in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft last December. He pitched 24 games for the Flying Squirrels this season, 23 times in relief, going 6-4 with a 2.45 ERA. Williams was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento on September 8.

"We have a to give a lot of credit to Ronnie," Alguacil said. "It's not an easy job to do. Sometimes he came in for short innings and sometimes we would take him for four innings. He was a guy who could also start. He was a perfect fit for how we used him."

Williams, a native of Miami originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014, ranks third among all Double-A Northeast pitchers with a 2.45 ERA (min. 60.0 IP). He also leads the circuit in relief innings pitched (58.1). Williams also made one start this season on June 10 against the Senators, tossing four scoreless innings in a combined shutout.

Additionally, Williams participated in all of the Flying Squirrels' baseball camps, giving instruction to local youth baseball players, the earn the team's Community Service Award.

Whiteman leads the team with 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts since being promoted to Double-A on June 15. Including his time with High-A Eugene, he has picked up 34 steals in 38 tries. In 64 games with the Flying Squirrels, Whiteman is batting .244 with three homers and 17 doubles entering play on Sunday. He has primarily played on the middle infield while also seeing time in center field for the first time in his career.

"He's a guy that brings a lot of energy and plays hard all the time," Alguacil said. "You know when Whiteman is on the field. We have been giving him some playing time in center field an he has done a great job. He has a great idea of how to steal bases. I'm happy for him. He has a great career in front of him."

The Flying Squirrels hit the road for the final series of the 2021 season next week in Erie. The team opens next season on April 8, 2022 at Bowie and will host their home opener on April 12, 2022 at The Diamond against Altoona.

Images from this story

Richmond Flying Squirrels Most Valuable Player David Villar (left) and Pitcher of the Year Ronnie Williams
Richmond Flying Squirrels Most Valuable Player David Villar (left) and Pitcher of the Year Ronnie Williams


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