The International League today announced its postseason All-Star Team and Award Winners as selected by the circuit's managers, coaches, media and club representatives. Bulls starter J.D. Martin has been named the league's Most Valuable Pitcher and skipper Charlie Montoyo has been tabbed as the IL's Manager of the Year. Vince Belnome was named to the Postseason All-Star Team as the league's top utility player.
J.D. Martin, 30, has pitched his way into Durham's record books in 2013 while dominating International League hitters along the way. The Ridgecrest, CA native set a new Bulls Triple-A era single-season record with his 15th win on August 18, and currently has three more victories than the next closest pitcher on the league's leader board. The year-end Most Valuable Pitcher award punctuates a memorable season for Martin, who tossed a scoreless inning in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Reno after being voted to the IL's starting squad. He has twice been named the IL Pitcher of the Week and was recently honored as Topps/IL Player of the Month for July. After starting the season on the fringe of the Bulls rotation, Martin now ranks in the league's top ten in ERA (2.84), games started (25), innings pitched (152.0), strikeouts (111), and WHIP (1.22). This is the first postseason All-Star selection of Martin's nine-year professional career.
Manager Charlie Montoyo earns his second career IL Manager of the Year award (2010) after guiding Durham back to the postseason for the sixth time in his seventh season at the team's helm. The 48-year-old won his 500th game as Bulls skipper on May 24, and his squad has owned professional baseball's best record for much of 2013. Montoyo missed several games in early April when his five-year-old son Alex underwent a successful open-heart surgery, the fourth of his young life. When he returned, Montoyo's squad continued their astonishing ascent up the wins list for the 111-year-old franchise. His Bulls currently sit just five wins shy of tying the organization's best Triple-A record (88-55 in 2010) and six wins short of the team's all-time best record (89-51 in 1962, Carolina League).
Vince Belnome has been selected as the International League's top utility player for 2013. The 25-year-old Belnome received votes as a first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and designated hitter after seeing significant time at each position this season. Also a mid-season All-Star, he is currently 2nd in the IL in both on-base percentage (.604) and runs scored (73), and he's 7th in batting average (.298). The last Postseason All-Star utility player from Durham was Elliot Johnson in 2010.
J.D. Martin, Charlie Montoyo, Vince Belnome and the rest of the IL South Division Champion Durham Bulls play their final regular season home game tonight against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05pm. After finishing the regular season on the road, the Bulls return to the DBAP on Wednesday, September 4 to begin the first round the Governors' Cup Playoffs. The Bulls will face the IL West Champion Indianapolis Indians in the best-of-five series, with Game 1 (September 4) and Game 2 (September 5) hosted in Durham. Tickets are available at the DBAP box office, by phone at 919.956.BULL or online at durhambulls.com.