Year-end player awards: Best Pitcher in a Minor League Role

I finally got Scrabbles down for a nap after some Scrabby Snaxx (his favorite second-hand food pellets) and a visit from the Sleepening Stick. So now we put our focus squarely on the players.  

Players are pretty good, right? We'll be posting ballots for Best Minor League and Major League Pitchers and Position Players over the coming days. 

After graduating what seemed, at the time, like an enviable surplus of pitchers in the last few seasons, the cupboard is a little bare. But the Reds did draft 6 pitchers among their Top 10 picks in the June draft, including top pick Robert Stephenson and another guy who made our ballot (below) with a prodigious start to his career. And there have been a handful of impressive pitching seasons this year from farmhands who may be Cincinnati-bound before too long.

Players, check. But awards need presenters. What low-rent celebrities could Red Reporter rope into presenting these awards?

A Rosemary Clooney impersonator

Bryce Hollandsworth, ROOGY for the Youngstown Mildewcats from '91-'91

They enter.

FAKE ROSEMARY CLOONEY

You know, Brace, a Major League Baseball organization is more than just those star players you see on the banners at Paramount's Great America Stadium. Speaking of which, I've seen that Joey Votto cat and he's some kinda guy and I'd sure like for him to "Mambo Italiano" with me. But like my song, "Pet Me, Poppa," some of these minor league players have weird names with funny double-entendres. And they play in little towns that time forgot. But we haven't forgotten them. And some day, some of them are going to be hanging from the rafters too, unless they move those fences back.

BRYCE HOLLANDSWORTH

That's right, Rosemary. Where would the craft of baseball be without its minor league pitchers? In this day in age, some ask, "Why not just install a pitching machine on the mound and be done with it?" Yea? Well who's going to service that machine? I'm not. That's not my job anymore.  Rosemary, let's strike one up in a major key for these minor league hurlers. "MUG and the LOOK over at ROSEMARY."

FAKE ROSEMARY CLOONEY:

Here are the nominees for Best Pitcher, in a Minor League Role...

Daniel Corcino

Johnny Cueto comparisons will likely continue to follow Corcino wherever he goes in the Reds organization. But while DC has at least a brawl and near-miss of a National League ERA titles to go, he's beginning to make a name for himself. Corcino, like Cueto, spent his Age 20 season with the Dragons (though Cueto merely breezed through). This year, Corcino posted 3.42 ERA in 139.1 IP. Corcino was second  in the Midwest Leaue - and Dragons' franchise history - in strikeouts and 8th in WHIP. 

Team IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9
Dayton (A) 139.1 3.42 1.163 10.1 2.2

 

 

Brad Boxberger

Boxberger was the Reds' 2009 supplemental first round draft pick - compensation for losing Jeremy Affeldt to free agency. Now that Boxberger has reached AAA in his second professional season, he stands a decent chance in the near future of stepping into Affeldt's former shoes as a member of the Reds' 'pen. In his Age 23 season, after making 13 starts last season in A-ball, Boxberger made 30 relief appearances with Carolina and 25 with the Bats.

Team IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9
Carolina (AA) 34.1 1.31 0.845 14.9 3.4
Louisville (AAA) 27.2 2.93 1.120 11.7 4.9

Tony Cingrani

Cingrani converted from starter to closer when he transfered to Rice, but has been strictly a starter since his professional career began earlier this season in Montana. The Reds' 3rd round draft pick, who turned 22 in July, has made 13 starts for the Billings Mustangs and shown no discernible difficulty stretching back out again. A short season in rookie ball may not say much for a pitcher who's expected to drift back to a relief role at some point, but Cingrani has yet to be challenged in his very young professional career.

Team IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9
Billings (Rk)  51.1 1.75 0.799 14.0 1.1

Josh Smith

Smith was the Midwest strikeout leader and set the all-time single-season mark for the Dragons this season, edging out Corcino on both counts. Smith spent all season missing bats in Dayton. Having turned 24 in August, Smith is a full 3 years older than Corcino, but his lack of prospect status shouldn't negate the fact that he was excellent in his second professional season.

Team IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9
Dayton (AA) 142.1 2.97 1.089 10.5 2.1


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