The Red Sox have one of the premier farm systems in baseball, and it is one of the many reasons for their success as a franchise. The organization announced its 2011 minor league award winners Saturday in a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park.
Introduced this year was the Lou Gorman award, given in honor of the former Red Sox general manager who passed away just before Opening Day this season. The award is given to a player who has overcome obstacles and shown perseverance on the road to the major league club. Pitcher Tommy Hottovy won the award.
A former fourth-round draft pick in 2004, Hottovy debuted with the Red Sox in June after posting a 2.47 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings between the PawSox and Sea Dogs.
The Offensive Player of the Year award was split between catcher Ryan Lavarnway and right fielder Bryce Bentz.
Lavarnway, currently on the big league roster, batted .290 with 32 home runs and 93 RBIs in 116 between Double-A and Triple-A. His major league call-up came in August after winning the International League Player of the Month award in July. Lavarnway has hit .259 with four RBIs in 11 games in Boston.
Bentz, just 23 years old, split time between Single-A affiliates Greenville and Salem. He hit an impressive .306 with 25 doubles, 30 home runs, and 94 RBIs in 115 games. He led the Red Sox minor league system in batting average and RBI. The 36th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Bentz led off the season with a 36-game on-base streak.
Right-handed pitcher Alex Wilson, a second-round draft pick in 2009, went a combined 10-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 133 innings between Portland and Pawtucket to win Pitcher of the Year honors. An Eastern League All-Star in Double-A, he was the Sea Dogs' Pitcher of the Year as well.
With just nine errors in 904 chances during 97 games for Single-A Greenville, catcher Christian Vazquez took home the Defensive Player of the Year award. He threw out 33 percent of would-be base stealers and was named Player of the Week twice.
Base Runner of the Year went to Felix Sanchez. Also in Single-A Greenville, he led the league with 55 stolen bases in 65 chances for a 84.6 percent success rate.
The Red Sox organization also awards players in their Latin Program during the Dominican Summer League. Eighteen-year-old left-handed pitcher Pedro Reyes was Latin Pitcher of the Year, posting a 5-2 record and 2.88 ERA in 14 starts. Twenty-year-old outfielder Ynoel Aguero hit .303 with 11 doubles and 31 RBIs in 67 games to win Latin Player of the Year.