CURVE, Pa. - The Altoona Curve handed out their annual season-ending awards prior to tonight's game with outfielder Alex Dickerson taking home the team's MVP award for the 2013 season. Casey Sadler, who has since been promoted to Triple-A, was named the team's Pitcher of the Year while Luis Sanz took home the Fireman of the Year award. Justin Howard and David Bromberg (also promoted) were honored as the team's Unsung Heroes for the 2013 season while second-baseman Jarek Cunningham was selected the team's Iron Man award winner.
Alex Dickerson - Team MVP - Dickerson can add another award to the trophy case as it has been a tremendous first season in Double-A for the Poway, Calif. native. After getting things going in the middle of May, Dickerson turned things way up into June and July to go on and produce career-highs in both home runs (16) and doubles (36) while leading the team in RBI with 65. He won two Eastern League Player of the Week awards (both in July), the Eastern League Player of the Month award (July) and was selected to the post-season E.L. All-Star Team. Prior to today's game he also was honored as the league Rookie of the Year, an award voted on by managers and media members of the Eastern League. Entering play tonight, Dickerson is hitting .284 with 36 doubles, three triples, 16 homers and 65 RBI.
Casey Sadler - Pitcher of the Year - Sadler had a solid all-around campaign in his first season at the Double-A level and was arguably the Curve's most consistent starter from the start of the season until he was promoted to Triple-A on August 30. The Stillwater, Okla. native left Altoona tied for the second-most wins in the league with 11 (that total led the staff) and his 3.31 ERA at the time of print is fifth-best in the league. Even more impressive was Sadler's pitching on the road, where he picked up eight of his 11 wins and boasted a 2.61 ERA while going 8-1 in 12 road games. He was selected to the mid-season Eastern League All-Star team but did not participate due to an injury he suffered on June 30 in Akron. Despite missing nearly a month, Sadler led the team in wins (11) and quality starts (13) in 2013.
Luis Sanz -Fireman of the Year - Altoona's closer for a majority of the 2013 season, Sanz has amassed 16 saves in 17 tries and ranks fourth in the league with that total at the time of print. In his first season with the Pirates organization and his first season at Double-A, Sanz began the year as the closer before making a brief stint in the starting rotation in May before returning to the closer role later in the month. 14 of his 16 saves have come since June 1 and his ERA since that time is 2.91 in 30 games.
Justin Howard - Unsung Hero - Howard's season really didn't get going into full swing until near the end of May but he's been a steady force in the Curve lineup ever since. Since June 1, Howard leads all of Double-A (Eastern, Southern and Texas Leagues) in terms of batting average with a .339 clip in 76 games played. The Texas native really got going in June, hitting .386 in 22 games and then followed it up with a .338 average in 25 games in July. While he still hit well over .300 in August (.312), he mashed five of his career-high eight home runs in the month while playing in 29 games.
David Bromberg - Unsung Hero - Bromberg's season, like Howard's, really didn't get going immediately as he bounced back between the starting rotation and the bullpen for much of the first two months of the season before really settling in to the starting role where he'd been most of his career. The big right hander picked up the first of his six wins on the season on May 11 by beating Richmond in the second game of a twinbill and began to roll from there. In his very next outing, which was out of the bullpen, Bromberg spun five hitless innings with six strikeouts behind Charlie Morton on May 16 to earn the win. He went 2-2 through May with a 2.61 ERA in eight games (four starts) before putting up a 2.43 ERA in five starts during June. After a few starts in July, Bromberg went up to Triple-A for a pair of starts before being returned to Altoona at the beginning of August. His numbers since his return have been solid, going four straight starts from August 8-25 and allowing a total of five runs (four earned) in 26.2 innings. His best and most effective start of the season came on August 15 at home versus Portland when he shut down the Sea Dogs over eight scoreless innings with just a pair of hits and seven strikeouts. He leads the team in 127 strikeouts and his 3.51 ERA is seventh-best in the Eastern League.
Jarek Cunningham - Iron Man - Cunningham spent a second-straight season in Altoona after missing time with the Curve in 2012 due to injury and has gone on to set a career-high for home runs in a single season with 18 entering play tonight. A native of Spokane, Wash., Cunningham has been in the lineup virtually every day in 2013, playing in a team-high 130 games entering action tonight. An 18th round pick of the Pirates back in 2008, Cunningham was selected to his first Eastern League All-Star Game this season and also participated in the Home Run Derby, which was held in New Britain, Conn. He hit seven of his 18 home runs on the season during the month of May while playing in 30 games. Defensively, Cunningham has been solid all season at second base, committing just nine errors in 125 games at second while also playing four games at third base.
Altoona plays its final game of the 2013 season at 12 p.m. Monday afternoon versus Akron with gates scheduled to swing open at 11 a.m. It is the final Mirror Monday of the season and fans can get $3 Grandstand tickets with the coupon from the front page of the sports section in Monday's Altoona Mirror. Monday also serves as the final FREE Galliker's Curve Kids' Club Game for all members. After the game, kids can run around the bases.
For tickets and more information, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the ticket windows at Peoples Natural Gas Field.