Friday, September 17, 2010

Dan Johnson, several Bulls players win Rays organization awards

The Tampa Bay Rays today named INF/OF Dan Johnson their Minor League Player of the Year and RHP Jeremy Hellickson Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The Rays also announced one Most Valuable Player for each of their nine affiliates, as well as organization-wide awards for Best Baserunner, Best Defensive Player and Best Relief Pitcher.

Elliott Johnson was named Most Valuable Player for the Durham Bulls.

OF Desmond Jennings was named the organization’s Best Defensive Player. Jennings, 23, played 90 games in center field for Durham and eight games each in left and right field. He compiled a .988 fielding percentage and had eight outfield assists. Baseball America recently named him the Best Defensive Outfielder and Most Exciting Player in the International League, after earning the same honors in 2009 for the Southern League. He is currently on the Rays active major league roster.,

Dan Johnson, 31, hit .303 (103-for-340) for Durham with 30 home runs, 95 RBI, a .430 on-base percentage and .624 slugging percentage. Despite being recalled to the majors on August 2, he led the International League in home runs, on-base pct. and slugging and was named IL Most Valuable Player and a mid- and postseason All-Star. At the time of his call-up, he led all minor leaguers in RBI. He paced the Rays system in home runs and RBI and ranked fourth in batting. Since his promotion, he has appeared in 25 games for the Rays.

Hellickson, 23, spent most of the season at Durham and has had three stints in the majors. Recently he was named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and USA Today, Minor League Pitcher of the Year by Sporting News, and International League Most Valuable Pitcher. For the Bulls, he went 12-3 with a 2.45 ERA (117.2-IP, 32-ER), allowing only 103 hits and 35 walks while striking out 123. The Bulls went 17-4 in his 21 starts. When he was first recalled on August 1, he led the IL in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Hellickson started the 2010 All-Star Futures Game on July 11 at Angel Stadium and earned the win for the U.S. team. Baseball America also named him the Best Pitching Prospect and Best Change-up in the IL, and at midseason rated him the top pitching prospect in the game.

Elliot Johnson, 26, was a mid- and postseason International League All-Star. His .319 (136-for-427) batting average ranked tied for second in the IL and third in the organization. The switch-hitter totaled 11 home runs, 56 RBI, 30 stolen bases (tied for fifth in the IL), 72 runs scored and a .375 on-base pct., while playing 109 games between shortstop, second base, left and right field. He signed with the Rays as a non-drafted free agent on June 29, 2002 and has spent his entire nine-year career in the Rays organization. He appeared in seven games in the majors in 2008.

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