International League Announces 2018 Award Winners and All-Stars
August 28, 2018 - International League (IL) News Release
The International League today announced its Postseason All-Star Team and Award Winners as selected by the circuit's managers, coaches, media, and club representatives. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, who with the League's best record have already clinched the North Division title, are the first team since Norfolk in 1995 to sweep all four of the IL's major awards in a season. The 2018 IL Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year is IronPigs first baseman Joey Meneses, who leads the League in homers and RBI and is 2nd in batting. The IL's winningest pitcher, Cole Irvin, has been elected the Most Valuable Pitcher. First-year Lehigh Valley skipper Gary Jones has been honored as the IL Manager of the Year.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER & ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Joey Meneses (Lehigh Valley)
For the second straight season, a Lehigh Valley first baseman has claimed the MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards in the International League. Following in the footsteps of current Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins, Joey Meneses has dominated International League competition in his first season at the Triple-A level. He has blasted an IL-best 22 home runs and is tied for the lead in RBI with 78, to go along with a .314 batting average that's 2nd in the circuit. He is making a run at becoming the first player since Jim Rice in 1974 to capture the Triple Crown in the International League. Meneses has been named IL Batter of the Week on three occasions this season and was the leading vote-getter in online fan balloting for the 2018 Triple-A All-Star Game. The 26-year- old is also the first baseman on the IL Postseason All-Star Team, the third member of the IronPigs to be honored at that position after Andy Tracy (2009) and Hoskins (2017). Meneses is the 17th player in International League history to claim both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the same season.
MOST VALUABLE PITCHER - Cole Irvin (Lehigh Valley)
On the strength of a League-best 13 victories and 1.07 WHIP, Cole Irvin of Lehigh Valley has been named the 2018 IL Most Valuable Pitcher. He is 2nd in the circuit in ERA (2.67) and innings pitched (155.1), 3rd in strikeouts (126), and owns the 4th -lowest opponents' batting average among IL starters (.230). Since serving as the starting pitcher for the International League at the Triple-A All-Star Game, Irvin has been lights out, going 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA since the break. The 24-year- old been named the IL Pitcher of the Week two times. Like his teammate Meneses, Irvin is in his first season playing above the Double-A level and has yet to make his Major League debut. Irvin is the fourth IronPigs hurler to earn honors as the IL Most Valuable Pitcher, following Justin Lehr (2009), Tyler Cloyd (2012), and Jake Thompson (2016). Irvin has also been named the starting pitcher on the 2018 IL Postseason All-Star Team.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Gary Jones (Lehigh Valley)
For the fifth time in his career, Gary Jones has claimed a League's Manager of the Year Award. In his first season at the helm in Lehigh Valley, he has guided the franchise to its first-ever division championship. Jones also owns four League titles during his managerial career, including two in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with Edmonton (1996-97) when he also won back-to- back PCL Manager of the Year Awards. Lehigh Valley owns the IL's best record overall in 2018, as well as both the top record playing at home and the best away record. The IronPigs are 52-30 playing within their division. Jones has kept things on track despite the fact his club is 13th in the League in hitting (.246) and 10th in runs allowed (533). With the North flag in hand, Lehigh Valley is set to meet the IL's Wild Card winner in the first round of the 2018 Governors' Cup playoffs. The 57-year-old Jones is the first skipper in IronPigs franchise history to be recognized as the International League Manager of the Year.
In addition to Meneses (1B) and Irvin (SP), ten other players have been named to the International League Postseason All-Star Team. In all, eight IL clubs are represented on the All-Star Team. Lehigh Valley leads the way with four All-Stars. Indianapolis, with two, is the only other team with multiple All-Stars.
ALL-STAR CATCHER - Danny Jansen (Buffalo)
Danny Jansen, who earlier this month made his Major League debut with Toronto, has been named the 2018 IL Postseason All-Star catcher. The 23-year-old highly rated prospect excelled in his rookie campaign at the Triple-A level, posting numbers that have him in the IL's top five in both slugging and on-base percentage. He also served as the starting catcher for the IL at the Triple-A All-Star Game. Jansen is Buffalo's first catcher named to the IL Postseason All-Star Team since Einar Diaz in 1998.
ALL-STAR SECOND BASEMAN - Kevin Kramer (Indianapolis)
24-year-old Kevin Kramer is the All-Star second baseman. The Triple-A rookie is in the top five in the IL in several offensive categories including batting average, hits, runs scored, total bases, slugging, and extra-base hits for the co-division leading Indians. Kramer is the first member of the Indians to be elected to the IL Postseason All-Star Team at second base. He and Kevin Newman are the first teammates named to the All-Star middle infield postitions since Brian Raabe (2B) and D'Angelo Jimenez (SS) of Columbus in 1999.
ALL-STAR SHORTSTOP - Kevin Newman (Indianapolis Indians)
In his first full season playing at the Triple-A level, 25-year-old Kevin Newman of Indianapolis is 4th in the League with a .302 batting average. He leads the IL with 74 runs scored and 28 stolen bases and is in the top five in hits and doubles. Newman is currently with the Pirates, with whom he made his Major League debut on August 16. He is only the second shortstop in Indians franchise history to be elected to the IL Postseason All-Star Team, following Brian Bixler (2007).
ALL-STAR THIRD BASEMAN - Mitch Walding (Lehigh Valley)
Yet another Triple-A rookie for Lehigh Valley who excelled this year, 25-year-old Mitch Walding has made the IL All-Star team at third base. He's among the top five in the League this season in homers (19), on-base percentage (.395), slugging (.486), and walks (71). He crushed ten of his long balls in July and was honored as the International League Player of the Month. Walding joins Cody Asche (2013) as the second player in IronPigs history to be elected as the IL Postseason All-Star third baseman.
ALL-STAR OUTFIELDER - Brandon Barnes (Columbus)
32-year-old Brandon Barnes of Columbus is at the top of the IL leaderboard with 78 RBI, 53 extra-base hits, and 38 doubles, and is 3rd in the League with 211 total bases. Barnes was a starting outfielder for the All-Star Team in July playing in front of his hometown fans at Huntington Park, and he hopes to lead the Clippers into the postseason for a chance to play at home in the Triple-A National Championship Game. Barnes is the first outfielder from Columbus on the IL Postseason All-Star Team since Jose Constanza in 2010.
ALL-STAR OUTFIELDER - Rusney Castillo (Pawtucket)
Rusney Castillo has made his second consecutive IL Postseason All-Star Team, the first outfielder to do so since SWB's Ben Gamel in 2015-16. Castillo, 31, is in his fourth season with the PawSox. He appears to be closing in on the League batting title with a .323 average. He also leads the circuit with 150 hits and is tied for 3rd with 30 doubles. Prior to Castillo, the last Pawtucket outfielder elected to consecutive Postseason All-Star Teams was Phil Plantier in 1990-91.
ALL-STAR OUTFIELDER - Christin Stewart (Toledo)
He was temporarily derailed mid-season by an injury, but Christin Stewart bounced back and is among the top five in the League for 2018 in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, total bases, and walks. Toledo's 24-year-old All-Star is in his first season playing above the Double-A classification. The two-time reigning Tigers Minor League Player of the Year is the first Mud Hens outfielder elected to the IL Postseason All-Star Team since Ezequiel Carrera in 2014.
ALL-STAR DESIGNATED HITTER - Kennys Vargas (Rochester)
Kennys Vargas of Rochester has smashed twenty home runs this season. The 28-year-old slugger also leads the Red Wings club for the year with 18 doubles and 67 RBI. He has seen action in 236 games with the Twins at the big league level since 2014. Vargas is the first Rochester player elected to the IL Postseason All-Star Team as the designated hitter since Willis Otanez in 1998. The Red Wings boast 111 IL Postseason All-Stars all-time, the most of any franchise in League history.
ALL-STAR RELIEF PITCHER - Pedro Beato (Lehigh Valley)
For the second straight season the League's All-Star relief pitcher is Lehigh Valley's Pedro Beato, the first man since Tim Wood of Indianapolis in 2011-12 to repeat at that position. The 31-year-old comfortably leads the League with 33 saves, to go along with seven victories and a 3.23 ERA in a League-high 60 appearances. Last season Beato became the first IronPigs pitcher to be named the IL Postseason All-Star reliever. The journeyman has appeared in 85 big league games with four clubs, last pitching for the Phillies in 2017.
ALL-STAR UTILITY PLAYER - Kean Wong (Durham)
He was the Most Valuable Player in the 2017 Triple-A National Championship Game, followed by a selection as the IL's Top Star at the 2018 Triple-A All-Star Game. Durham's Kean Wong can now add IL Postseason All-Star to his growing list of accomplishments. The 23-year-old is in the top ten in the League in batting this season with a .284 average and received All-Star votes as a second baseman, third baseman, and an outfielder. Taylor Motter in 2015 was the most recent Bulls All-Star utility player.
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2018 INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS .
Most Valuable Player .......... Joey Meneses, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Most Valuable Pitcher ........ Cole Irvin, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Rookie of the Year ............... Joey Meneses, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Manager of the Year ........... Gary Jones, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
2018 INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR TEAM
Catcher ................................. Danny Jansen, Buffalo Bisons
First Baseman ...................... Joey Meneses, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Second Baseman .................. Kevin Kramer, Indianapolis Indians
Shortstop .............................. Kevin Newman, Indianapolis Indians
Third Baseman .................... Mitch Walding, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Outfielders ............................ Brandon Barnes, Columbus Clippers
Rusney Castillo, Pawtucket Red Sox
Christin Stewart, Toledo Mud Hens
Designated Hitter ................ Kennys Vargas, Rochester Red Wings
Utility Player ........................ Kean Wong, Durham Bulls
Starting Pitcher ................... Cole Irvin, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Relief Pitcher ....................... Pedro Beato, Lehigh Valley IronPigs
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