The Texas Rangers announced their 2019 Minor League Award winners today.
The Rangers’ Tom Grieve Player of the Year was first baseman Curtis Terry, who split the season between low-A Hickory and high-A Down East. Terry, who was the Northwest League MVP in 2018 for Spokane, put up a .263/.328/.560 slash line in 62 games for Hickory before being promoted to the Carolina League, where he put up a .322/.395/.515 slash line. The Big Rig, as Tepid has dubbed him, turns 23 next month, and was a 13th round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. His bat will have to carry him, but he took a big step forward this year, and could start 2020 with Frisco.
The Rangers’ Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year was righthander Jason Bahr. Bahr, acquired from the San Francisco Giants last year along with Cory Gearrin and Austin Jackson (who was promptly designated for assignment and waived) in a deal that was essentially the Rangers paying Jackson’s contract to get Bahr and Gearrin, split the 2019 campaign between Down East and AA Frisco. The 24 year old had a 1.71 ERA in 58 IP over 11 starts for Down East, with 58 Ks against 26 walks and 2 home runs allowed, and then put up a 3.23 ERA in 64 IP over 12 starts for Frisco, with 68 Ks and 25 walks, again with 2 home runs allowed. There are indications that his stuff improved as the season went on.
The Rangers’ Reliever of the Year was righthander Demarcus Evans. Mississippi Mean, as Tepid has named him, was, like Terry, a later round high school draft pick of 2015, being selected in the 25th round from Petal High School. Like Bahr, Evans started the year in Down East, putting up a 0.81 ERA, before moving up to Frisco. For the two levels combined he put up a 0.90 ERA and struck out 100 of the 235 batters he faced in 60 IP. He will be added to the 40 man roster this offseason, and could be making appearances in the big leagues in 2020.
The Rangers’ Defender of the Year was catcher Matt Whatley. Whatley, a 3rd round pick out of Oral Roberts in 2017, played for Hickory this year, and is currently catching in the Arizona Fall League.
The Rangers’ True Ranger of the Year was pitcher James Jones. The award goes to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a Ranger, both on and off the field.