Year-end player awards: Best position player in a minor league role

2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Daniel Corcino, in a walk, with 42% of the vote.

Thanks to BK and 'creds for consulting on these ballots. Without their help, I would probably have included Matt Maloney on this list. He OPSed over .800 this year in the minors.

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Each year, starting this year, this award goes to the Best Boy in the minor leagues who exemplifies the courage it takes to step into the box against guys who throw 90s heat with sometimes terrifyingly erratic control. And to play for a teams that, at first glance at least, seem to be named after a piece of equipment you use in baseball and a cat that has gotten dirty.

Fresh off a round of promotions for the Louisville Bats' bats and only a few months removed from signings of the Robert Stephenson draft, the organization is in much better shape in the hitting department. Luckily, There is No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect anyway, the counter-thesis to which is: "Yuh-huh there is such thing as a hitting prospect... and why haven't you promoted him already, dingus?"

Note: Dave Sappelt, Zach Cozart and Jeremy Hermida were all likely deserving of a nomination on the merits of their seasons. But I've omitted them both to slim the list a bit and keep it focused on prospects who are still with the organization. Sappelt and Cozart were both at 350 PAs or below in Louisville before their call-ups, while Hermida was 27 in AAA and departed for San Diego at the end of August.

The presenters:

Mike "Archie" Kurtfalanski, guy who saw Devin Mesoraco get his first major league hit in Busch Stadium

Jean Bentwood, Charterite candidate for Cincinnati Gaming Commissioner (alternate)

MIKE

Playoffs! Still can't believe it, man. Wednesday night was INSANE. I woke up in the morning ON the Arch and I said to myself, I said, "This is really weird." So what choice did I have? I slid down it and pretty much died. But it was all worth it 'cuz Pujols' people called my hospital phone and told me, "How did you get our number? Please stop calling us?" And I said, 'I"m calling from a hospital. Is the King there?' And they said, 'A mental hospital? He's on Glenn Beck's yacht, please don't call again ever.' All you calculator-jockeys said, "no way," but I was like "Colby's gone, he was dead weight, now we got Co-Pat and Mark Rhryruuisihirsijzinskcky, and watch out, Super Bowl here comes the RedBirds!"

JEAN

While someone leads you away, I'll introduce those young, up-and-comers who have been knocking covers off balls from Bakersfield to BIllings, Dayton to Zebulon.

MIKE

Oh, yeah. The nominees for Stupidest Human on Eart--

He's led away.

JEAN

Best position player, in a minor league role. Made possible by Cincinnati USA. Cincinnati, USA: It's located in a state called "USA."

Devin Mesoraco

Still 22 when the season began, the Punxsutawney Kid was among the youngest players in the International League. He hit beyond his years and position, showing power in the gaps (2nd in the IL in doubles) while knocking 15 HRs in 499 PAs. The defensive reports behind the plate have been good too. Devin flashed that doubles power in his very first Major League swing on September 3, crushing a double to left off Mitchell Boggs. Despite a disappointing showing in his cup of coffee, we'll gladly throw out 50 PAs for a 23-year-old phenom who was 15th on BA's midseason prospects list (ahead of the likes of Desmond Jennings).

Team PA BA OBP SLG SB
Louisville (AAA)  499 .289 .371 .484 1

Yasmani Grandal

Grandal is yet another First Round "hit" for the Reds. Drafted just last year, he's done nothing but get on base since he's very brief stint in the Arizona League in 2010. This season, he avoided outs 40% of the time and hit for power, rocketing from A+ Bakersfield all the way to AAA Louisville. As Mesoraco's replacement there, he'll be 23 all next season and is a very credible threat at least to match his season, especially given his good contact skills and 13.7% walk rate.

Team PA BA OBP SLG SB
Bakersfield (A+)  251 .296 .410 .510 0
Carolina (AA) 172 .301 .360 .474 0
Louisville (AAA)  18 .500 .667 .667 0
TOTALS 441 .305 .401 .500 0

Yonder Alonso

Grandal's fellow Havana native and Miami alum was gone bfore Grandal reached Louisville, but along with Mesoraco, they left big shoes behind for the new class. Alonso made 62 appearances in LF out of 92 games played at AAA before his puzzling call-up/benching/3B experiment/un-benching in the majors. Despite the internal wrangling about Alonso's position, he mashed in AAA and the majors this season. The Reds are desperate to find a place for him as his power continues to bloom.

Team PA BA OBP SLG SB
Louisville (AAA)  409 .296 .374 .486 6

Ronald Torreyes

Ronald Torreyes hails from Venezuela and his name is kind of like a Spanglish portmanteau word for "Bull Eyes." He certainly had the bull eyes this season, as anyone who's a regular Farmer's Only Reader will know. Torreyes started the year in extended spring training, but joined the Dragons in June as one of the youngest players in the Midwest League. Over the remainder of his season prospect mongers thrilled to the 18-year-old second baseman's microscopic 6% K-rate.

Team PA BA OBP SLG SB
Dayton (A)  306 .356 .398 .484 12

Neftali Soto

Soto made his name this year by becoming the first Reds' farmhand to hit 30 HRs since Adam Dunn (2001). The 22-year-old's best-in-class power earned him a late season promotion to Louisville, where he'll likely have a chance to work on his discipline at the plate next season.

Team PA BA OBP SLG SB
Carolina (AA) 414 .272 .329 .576 0
Louisville (AAA)  18 .412 .444 .588 0
TOTALS: 432 .278 .333 .576 0

David Vidal

As far as I can tell, NOT related to the author or the shampoo. But, if you'll allow me to make a very tortured connection between all three, Vidal "cleaned up" and "wrote the book" at Dayton. Vidal is a 2010 8th round draft pick and a quick study. His stock has steadily risen over 1.5 pro seasons between '10 and '11. He was 21 this season and spent all of it playing 3B, hitting for power and getting on base for the Dragons.

Team PA BA OBP SLG SB
Dayton (A)  514 .280 .350 .498 3
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