Round Rock, Texas - The Texas Rangers announced their annual minor league award winners on Tuesday afternoon with three members of the Round Rock Express taking home honors. LHP Yohander Mendez was named the recipient of the Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year Award, INF Ronald Guzman nabbed Minor League Defender of the Year designation and RHP John Fasola was tabbed as the organization's Minor League Reliever of the Year.
Mendez appeared in seven games with the Express, including four starts, in which he posted a 4-1 record with a miniscule 0.57 ERA (2 ER/31.1 IP). His ERA represented the lowest by any Pacific Coast League pitcher with at least 30.0 innings pitched since Tim Lincecum posted a 0.29 mark in 2007. In total, Mendez finished 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA (27 ER/111.0 IP) during stops with Round Rock, AA Frisco RoughRiders and the Class A-Advanced High Desert Mavericks.
Primarily a first baseman, Guzman batted .216 while knocking in 11 runs on five doubles, a triple and a home run in just 25 games with the Express. The infielder dazzled with his defense, posting an impressive .989 fielding percentage on the season. Combined with his time in Frisco, Guzman launched 16 homers and drove in 67 runs.
Although he pitched just nine innings with Round Rock in 2016, Fasola dominated from his perch atop the mound. The righty posted a 1-0 record, surrendering only two runs on seven hits to compile a 2.00 ERA. He notched 11 strikeouts while walking just one in seven total appearances. Fasola made stops in High Desert and Frisco as well, combining to go 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA (18 ER/51.0 IP) on the year.
The trio of players will be honored at the 2017 Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Awards Dinner on Friday, January 20 in Dallas.
The Express open the 2017 season on Thursday, April 6 against the Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics affiliate). Season memberships, Flex Plans and Kids Club packages are on sale now. For more information on the Express, visit www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter!