Indy Announces 2019 Award Winners
INDIANAPOLIS - In a pregame ceremony prior to tonight's game against Columbus, the Indianapolis Indians honored six players as 2019 season award winners. Jake Elmore headlines the group as Team MVP with Mitch Keller and Ke'Bryan Hayes taking home Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors, respectively.
Jake Elmore has been the ultimate player for Indy this season, batting in every spot in the lineup except cleanup while making starts at third base, shortstop, second base, left field and right field. His constant movement on the field hasn't slowed his roll at the plate, where he's hitting .336 (118-for-351) with six home runs, 31 doubles and 34 RBI in 105 games. Through August 29, Elmore's .336 average is second in the International League, and he also ranks among league leaders in on-base percentage (3rd, .403) and doubles (T-5th). Elmore's consistency this season is best displayed by his monthly averages, with his lowest mark being a .297 average in June. The 32-year-old was named to the International League postseason All-Star team and is vying to become Indy's first batting champion in 30 years.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Rated as the top pitching prospect in Pittsburgh's farm system and a consensus top 30 prospect in the game heading into the 2019 season, Mitch Keller lived up to the hype in his second year in a Tribe uniform. The right-handed starter went 7-5 with a 3.56 ERA (41er/103.2ip) in 19 starts for Indy and led the league in both ERA and strikeouts (123) at the time of his last promotion to the big leagues. The 23-year-old gave up two earned runs or less in 12 of his 19 starts and struck out a career-high 13 batters on June 7 at Toledo, his second of three double-digit strikeout performances this season. Keller made his major league debut in May for the Pirates and recently struck out nine over six innings in a start vs. Cincinnati.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Ke'Bryan Hayes has excelled in his first professional season in Triple-A. The son of 14-year major leaguer Charlie Hayes, Pittsburgh's No. 1 prospect owns a .266 batting average (110-for-413) on the year with career highs in home runs (10) and RBI (53). Prior to Thursday's game against Toledo, Hayes was named Indy's August Player of the Month and on Monday was named as the International League's Player of the Week, following a six-game stretch during which he hit .522 (12-for-23). The 22-year-old has started at third base in 100 of his 106 games played while compiling a .989 fielding percentage, nine percentage points ahead of the player in second to lead all professional third basemen in fielding.
RELIEVER OF THE YEAR
Montana DuRapau's third season with the Tribe has been superb, with the 27-year-old righty converting all 10 of his save opportunities while posting a 1.83 ERA (9er/44.1ip), .122 average against (18-for-147) and 0.72 WHIP. He has piled up 54 strikeouts and has owned right-handed batters, holding them to just seven hits with 33 strikeouts in 91 at-bats, good for an .077 average. The Florida native is riding a 15.1 inning scoreless streak and has converted each of his last 21 save opportunities dating back to May 2017. DuRapau made his major league debut this season with Pittsburgh in St. Louis.
HUSTLE & GRIT - PITCHER
James Marvel turned a strong start to his 2019 campaign into a dynamite finish with the Indians, going 6-0 with a 2.91 ERA (18er/55.2ip) and .208 average against in 10 starts. His Triple-A debut on July 5 at Victory Field featured seven shutout innings against Toledo in a complete-game effort. The right-hander only improved from there, throwing six or more innings in seven total starts and tying a career high with nine punchouts on July 18 vs. Syracuse. In the 25-year-old's last 16 starts between Double-A Altoona and Indianapolis, the Curve and Indians have combined to win 15 games.
HUSTLE & GRIT - POSITION PLAYER
Christian Kelley has had a knack for the clutch moment with Indianapolis. The Tribe catcher has either scored or driven in the go-ahead run in four of Indy's 11 last at-bat victories, including a walk-off single in the 10th inning on August 18 vs. Lehigh Valley to complete the Tribe's largest comeback win of the season. The 25-year-old California native has also played a key role in the development of many members of the pitching staff, helping send over 15 pitchers to the big leagues.
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