ZEBULON, NC - The Carolina Mudcats, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, are excited to announce that pitcher Enderson Franco was named the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Week for the week ending on September 5, it was announced today by the league front office.
The Atlanta Braves also announced today that Mudcats pitcher Matt Withrow and outfielder Keith Curcio won the organization's Class A Advanced Pitcher and Position Player of the Year awards respectively.
Franco, 23, won the award after tossing a complete game shutout during game one of a doubleheader versus Winston-Salem at Five County Stadium on September 4. The award was based on the week of August 29 through September 5. Franco struck out seven, walked two and scattered three hits while working through seven scoreless innings during his final start of the 2016 while en route to winning Pitcher of the Week honors. The complete game shutout was the second of his career and resulted in a season high 79 game score.
Franco finished the season 6-12 with a 4.69 ERA over 26 games, 25 starts and a career high 144.0 innings pitched. He also went 3-4 and pitched to a 2.60 ERA over 10 home starts and 11 games overall at Five County Stadium for the Mudcats this season.
Withrow, 22, finished the 2016 season at 9-6 and pitched to a team best 3.80 ERA over 25 games, 24 starts and 120.2 innings pitched for the Mudcats. Withrow also ranked fourth in the Carolina League in earned run average (3.80), second in most strikeouts (131), second in highest strikeouts/9ip ratio (9.78) and second in batting average against (.225) at seasons end. Withrow closed the season 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA over his final six starts of the season (33.0 IP, 18 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 HB, 18 BB, 44 SO).
Curcio, 23, hit .271/.352/.389 with a team best 124 hits, 67 runs, 29 doubles, and 24 stolen bases over 124 games for the Mudcats in 2016. He also set career highs in doubles (29) and runs (67) this past season while also finishing tied for the Carolina League's fifth highest on-base percentage (.383) in the second half of the season. Curcio closed the year hitting .294/.383/.427 with 16 doubles and 26 RBI in the second half.
The Mudcats also recognized Curcio as the club's 2016 Willie Duke Award winner following Monday's season finale at Five County Stadium. The Willie Duke Award is granted annually to the Mudcats' player(s) who best symbolizes the spirit and dedication to baseball exhibited by Willie Duke. Known as "Mr. Baseball" for his tireless efforts promoting the game, Willie played and managed in professional baseball for nearly 20 years. He was instrumental in organizing, promoting, and developing youth baseball programs in the Raleigh area since the 1940's.
Sal Giardina, 24, was additionally recognized as the Mudcats' 2016 Ed Hales Award winner by the team front office in a post-game award ceremony following Carolina's season finale on Monday, September 5.
The Ed Hales Award is awarded annually in recognition of the player(s) who best exemplifies unselfish spirit, dedication and commitment to the community. Giardina gleefully volunteered himself to appear at multiple community events on behalf of the Mudcats this past season. The events included two Miracle League of the Triangle camp days, several youth skills clinics and a visit to the Children's Unit at Wake Med Hospital.
The Carolina Mudcats are the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. First established in 1991, the two-time Southern League Champion Carolina Mudcats are in their 26th consecutive season of baseball at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C.
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