The Buffalo Bisons today announced that INF MAURO GOMEZ has been named the team's Stan Barron Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season. The Herd also named RHP JUSTIN GERMANO its Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher prior to Fan Appreciation Night on August 29 against the Rochester Red Wings.
RHP CHIEN-MING WANG was awarded the Judge Michael Dillon Comeback Player of the Year while RHP MIKE NICKEAS was voted the Joe DeSa Most Inspirational Player Award by his Bisons teammates. INF JIM NEGRYCH was awarded the Jimmy Griffin "Hometown Hero" honor for his excellent play at Coca-Cola Field and OF ANTHONY GOSE received the Frank J. Vallone Community Service Award. The Joe Byron Fan of the Year Award was given to longtime season ticket holder and Bisons Booster club member MIKE KLEIN of Buffalo, NY.
Stan Barron Most Valuable Player - Mauro Gomez
Named after Stan Barron, a legend in Buffalo broadcasting, this award is given to the player who demonstrates outstanding ability, good sportsmanship and dedication.
Gomez has been one of the most dangerous hitters in the International League for the past three seasons and it was no different in his first campaign with the Buffalo Bisons. Claimed by the Blue Jays off waivers on April 8, Gomez made an immediate impact to the Herd's lineup en route to being named an International League mid-season and postseason All-Star.
In 105 games with the Herd, Gomez has hit .245 (94-383) with a team-high 29 home runs and 70 RBI. The slugger also tops the Bisons in extra-base hits (49), slugging pct. (.527) and total bases (202).
Gomez's 29 home runs are the most hit by a Bisons player since OF Karim Garcia hit 31 during the 2000 season. The home run total is also tied for the most in the International League this season and tied for the 9th-most in all of minor league baseball. Gomez has five multi-homer games this season and went deep in back-to-back games on three occasions. His 13 home runs in June tied the Bisons modern era record for most home runs in a single month.
Gomez's numbers are even more impressive when you consider he missed 18 games on the disabled list, August 4-22. He's hit .280 (7-25) with a home run and two doubles since his return.
Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher - Justin Germano
Established in 2001, this award is presented to the Bisons' pitcher who demonstrates outstanding ability, good sportsmanship and dedication throughout the course of the season.
RHP JUSTIN GERMANO leads the Bisons in virtually every pitching category. In a club-high 24 starts and one relief appearance, the righty tops all Bisons pitchers in ERA (4.47), innings pitched (151.0), quality starts (13) and strikeouts (103) and is tied with teammate RHP Dave Bush with a team-best eight wins.
Germano was the Bisons Opening Day starter and earned the first victory in the club's affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays. The dependable starter had a stretch of nine consecutive starts from June 2 - July 19 where he did not allow more than three earned runs in a start. Overall, Germano worked into the sixth inning in 19 of his 24 starts and struck out five or more in nine times.
Germano tossed a 9.0-inning complete game on August 15 against the Red Wings and struck out eight batters on June 2 in Norfolk and then again on August 10 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Judge Michael Dillon Comeback Player of the Year - Chien-Ming Wang
This award is named for the late Judge Michael F. Dillon, who was a three-time Erie County district attorney and served a 14-year term on the State Supreme Court. It recognizes an individual who overcomes injury, personal problems or a rough season and exemplifies the meaning of hard work and dedication.
RHP CHIEN-MING WANG has battled various injuries over the last four seasons in an attempt to return as one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues. In 2012, the starter made just 10 appearances in the big leagues, going 2-3 with a 6.68 ERA for the Washington Nationals.
In 2013, Wang has been one of the best pitchers in the International League. He began his season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but was signed as a free agent by the Blue Jays on June 9. Between the RailRiders and the Bisons, his combined 2.72 ERA is just 2.2 innings shy of qualifying as the 3rd best mark in the IL.
With the Bisons, Wang is 4-3 with a 3.18 ERA in eight starts. He has allowed just 43 hits in 51.0 innings pitched and has worked six innings or more in all but one of his games with the Herd. Wang has not walked more than three batters in a start and hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in any appearance. While in Buffalo, Wang has held opponents to a .228 batting average and an even lower mark of .179 with runners in scoring position.
Frank J. "Fremo" Vallone Community Service Award - Anthony Gose
The Community Service Award is named for the late Frank J. Vallone, the Bisons good will ambassador and most celebrated fan who served as a host and ticket salesperson from 1987-1990. The award is presented annually to the player who best represents the club in community related activities, charitable and youth oriented activities.
Right from the start with his appearance at the Bisons annual Hot Stove Luncheon, OF ANTHONY GOSE was a part of virtually every community event the team put on in 2013. From shaving heads and giving manicures at West Elementary School's Bald for Bucks event to teaching the game he loves at various youth camps and clinics at Coca-Cola Field, Gose served as an incredible player ambassador for the Buffalo Bisons.
Currently with the Toronto Blue Jays, Gose played 106 games with the Bisons this year and still leads all Buffalo players with 64 runs scored and six triples. Overall, Gose hit .239 (94-393) with 17 doubles, three home runs, 27 RBI and 22 stolen bases. On May 7 against Norfolk, Gose successfully completed a straight steal of home, a play that made ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 list that night as play #3.
The slick-fielding outfielder also had 15 assists with the Bisons, 2nd-most in the International League.
Joe DeSa Most Inspirational Player - Mike Nickeas
The Joe DeSa Award is named for the slick-fielding, power hitting player who was with the Bisons from 1985-86. He lost his life in a car accident in December of 1986. The award, which is voted on by his teammates, is presented annually to the player who truly exemplifies the meaning of inspiration by his play and love of the game.
C MIKE NICKEAS has spent the majority of the 2013 season with the Bisons and has been a leader both on the field and in the clubhouse. He caught more games (51) than any Buffalo backstop in 2013 and threw out 24% (16CS) or would-be base stealers. He also hit the team's lone walk-off home run of the season, as he delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning of 5-3 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox on August 3.
Overall, Nickeas has averaged .167 (28-168) with 12 doubles, a home run and 11 RBI in 55 games. He is only the second catcher to appear for the Bisons in five consecutive seasons in the team's modern era, matching Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Prince.
Jimmy Griffin Hometown Hero Award - Jim Negrych
The Hometown Hero Award was created during the 2008 season to honor the impact and support of the former Mayor of Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin. There was no bigger supporter of the team and of a downtown ballpark for the fans of the area than Mayor Griffin. He pledged his own money to have professional baseball return to Buffalo and later proved to be an innovator by insisting on the creation of Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo. The award is given to the player who performs the best in home games in front of the fans of Buffalo.
It's no wonder that INF JIM NEGRYCH was the Bisons best hitter at Coca-Cola Field. The Buffalo-native and St. Francis product hit .296 (59-199) with 14 doubles, a home runs and 23 RBI in front of Bisons fans at Coca-Cola Field. He also had a club best .374 on-base percentage playing in the backyard of where he grew up as a two-time All-Western New York player in high school.
Overall, Negrych leads the Bisons in batting average (.285), total hits (104) and doubles (27). He was also second on the club in walks (42) and tied for third in runs scored (57). Earlier this year, he was named a midseason International League All-Star for the second consecutive season
Joe Byron Fan of the Year - Mike Klein
The Fan of the Year Award is named for the late Joe Byron, who is best known for singing the Canadian and US National Anthems at Buffalo Bisons baseball games and Buffalo Sabres hockey games. The award is presented each season to the person who best represents fans through their dedication to the team and to baseball.
MIKE KLEIN was born in Buffalo and grew up a baseball fan, watching Bisons games at Offermann Stadium and War Memorial Stadium. A season ticket holder since the Coca-Cola Field opened in 1988, Klein rarely misses a game from his seat in section 113 and his knowledge of players past and present provides lively conversation at gatherings of fans.
Klein is an ambassador for the Buffalo Bisons whenever possible and has organized group outings for Temple Beth Zion and Perseverance-Suburban Masonic Lodge. He has also been an active member of the Bisons Booster club for over 10 years.